THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Joy Not Happiness #Reflections


I have always prided myself for being reflective and introspective but my dearest friends @esthairu, posted something on Facebook today that I will share because it made me stop and think again for a long time.

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Something borrowed…..via Kijala Shako

“Some people appear to be happy, but they simply don’t give the matter much thought.

Others make plans: I’m going to have a husband, a home, two children, a house in the country.

As long as they’re busy doing that, they’re like bulls looking for the bullfighter:

They react instinctively, they blunder on, with no idea where the target is.

They get their car, sometimes they even get a Ferrari,

They think that’s the meaning of life, and they never question it.

Yet their eyes betray the sadness that even they don’t know they carry in their soul.

Are you happy?”
― Paulo Coelho, The Zahir

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The question I am writing about today is not…Are you happy? The questions is; Are you fulfilled with your life. The easiest thing to say is Yes…but is that the honest answer? Let’s be brutal and real with the questions we are asking today.

Let me put some context to this discussion, and share from my ongoing lessons:

In November 2011 under the unction of good friend I enrolled in a class at the Strathmore Business School in Nairobi. The class I signed up for was the most expensive class I had ever paid for to further myself up to then. However, once I was done I realised it was the best investment I had ever made. It no longer holds that record because the value I gained pushed me to go back and do another more valuable class.

Anyway, back to the story. The class was called WILLS – Women in Leadership & Learning Series. Now if you are like most of us who were in the room, we wanted to know how to deal with the people under us and make out statement in our areas of influence. Many of us assumed that was the content of the course and so were prepared to get tips on how to make people hear and listen to us. You can imagine our shock when we heard the content and were asked to answer just a few simple questions. The questions are:

  1. Why should anyone be led by you?
  2. Why do you do what you do?

They sound simple enough but just stop and think seriously about them. Let me add some dimensions to the two questions. What about you gives you the moral authority to be a leader? As you think about it, please remove all your academic qualifications and your roles at work. The real issues here revolve around what about you the person makes you a person of influence and impact? Why should someone listen to you or take instruction from you? Ok, if that is hard, think about the next one…Why do you do what you do. What is your driving force? What gives you fire in your bones? Let me put it differently for you…

  1. Why did you go to college or university and take the course you took?
  2. Why did you do pursue high education?
  3. Why did you get married?
  4. Why did you have children?
  5. Why did you take the job you took first?
  6. Why are you working where you are working now?
  7. Why did you start your business?
  8. Why did you sell your business?
  9. Why do you live where you live?
  10. Why do you believe what you believe?
  11. Why do you go to the church you go to?
  12. Why do you dress the way you do?
  13. Why did you choose the car you have or desire to have?

…the list of possible questions is endless of all the questions but with the list i figure you are beginning to get my drift. Spanner in the works…Do these things make you happy?

One thing I can guarantee you is that the things that make me happy are unlikely to be the things that will make you happy. Answering the above questions made me realise that up to then I had done things because it was expected of me. Think about it, it is hard to get far in life without education…however little. When you are done with that the next logical course of action is to get a job and move on with life. Then at a certain age comes marriage and children and family. hot on the heels of that or alongside that is the accumulation of wealth to leave an inheritance for the children and have impact in life. I am aware that many of us have found happiness in the process and if you have you can stop reading right here. 🙂

It was different for me however, as a result of these two questions, I begun an intense pursuit to find meaning and I finally realised that it was not Happiness I thought but JOY in my life. The move to the pursuit of joy happened when I finally realised that happiness was fleeting and hard to hold onto but Joy was richer and deeper and longer lasting. I do not hold the record for this discovery…there are others who have come to this realisation before me…the thing that caught me was that I had found a place of growth for me…real growth.

I am still on the journey to live in my place of joy. I have however nailed the most important source of JOY for me…my relationship with God. This is critical for me because of His unchanging nature and his deep, unshakable love for me that cannot be replaced by anyone or anything. That said, I daily seek to find the things that add value to my life and bring enjoyment and joy that I may be balanced and share the same with the world around me. My pivotal moment was the reality that I had sought satisfaction in things that will never stack up. There is then an ongoing process of unlearning the things that are of no value and learn the things that add great value to me and hence the world around me.

I just want to ask you one question…What is your greatest source of Joy that you harness so the rest of your life will be the greatest time of your life?

Shalom.

THE CHRISTIAN WALK

Set up to Succeed by Outrageous Love


PSALM 30
The Blessedness of Answered Prayer
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I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up,
And have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me.
O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.
Now in my prosperity I said, “I shall never be moved.”
Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong;
You hid Your face, and I was troubled. I cried out to You, O Lord;
And to the Lord I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my blood, When I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth?
Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me; imageLord, be my helper!”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

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The realisation that God is in control and that He loves us no matter what is profound beyone explanation. It makes me look ahead and say Thank you Lord and love my life. I also realise that there is nothing I cannot do when I tap into the love and power of God. Today I realise afresh that I am a blessed Child of God and nothing can stand in the way of that.

I have seen many things this year. I had never imagined the intensity of the experiences of success and failure, loss and gain, frustration and elation, sadness and joy, kindness and menace and many more…yet everyday  I found reminders and assurances that “The blessing of the Lord makes rich and adds no sorrow.” Until recently, I used to think that to be blessed meant that I would not lack anything and I would roll in the dough. In hind sight this is the funniest thing I could have ever thought. I found out that there have always seemed to be challenges keeping abundance from remaining present.

It was such a shock to realise that my focus and understanding has been wrong. Blessing I have learnt, is the provision of everything that will help me prosper. Yes everything!!!! Everything means the good and the challenging. We so often focus only on the good and forget the challenging. In life there are things that we do not like to talk about that when accepted and harnessed will help us prosper. In my humble opinion some of the most important ingredients for success that are not adequately recognise are adversity and hardship. These two though often pleasant aspects of life are actual key ingredients to success. To overcome the challenges they bring we must take a hard look at ourselves and either find the reserves to go on or just give up and go the other way and fail to realise our full potential and purpose on this earth.

I dare say that the right response to the combination of adversity and hardship is to recognise that both will come, individually figure out why a certain path must be pursued and conquered and then take one determined step at a time to get to our goal. The daily total trust in God, along this walk of faith and the consistent work for our salvation and our lives builds diligence and brings clarity eventually making us better and stronger people.

Let’s walk the path set out for us with the clear knowledge that “He who begun the good work in us will be faithful to complete it in us.” This assurance makes Ps 30 more meaningful to me because I am reminded that as I walk, God thinks of me, provides for me, protects me and most important…walks with me.

Here’s to another great day in this walk of live and love