THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

“Lord Who Did You Create Me To Be?”


possibilitiesThe last month has been full of talk about resolutions and goals so I am not going to add much to that. I am sure you have your goals set if you are one of those who wait for January or you already had them set if you are one of those who do them before the end of the year or you fly by the seat of your pants.

If you ask people who know me well they will tell you I always have a plan A to Z till the end of day with little or no room for failure. As an ardent planner I would always have every t crossed and every i dotted. Recently, something has repeatedly come to my attention and in the last few months it has changed me. 2014 changed many of the thoughts and patterns for good because I came to understand a few things differently.

I have always been driven in life and in some instances these dreams of grandeur were misplaced and were driving me insane. Ok, maybe to say insane would be pushing it a bit too far. In 2001 things weren’t going as planned and I was going out of my mind because I couldn’t wrap my head around how to get out of that place. Help finally came when a group of us did a joint focus with forty days of purpose and very simple questions to answer:clouds 5

  • Lord who did You create me to be?
  • Lord how do You deal with me?
  • Lord how do You desire for to live my life out from here on out?

In a past post I have talked a lot about the question of how God deals with me and you can read it in greater depth here. The question that has been on my mind again recently is “Lord who did You create me to be?” This I had come to understand related directly to purpose and reason I am alive. We all talk about purpose and why we are here but it is such a technical discussion that many of us aren’t even sure what it means. We are looking for a deep explanation or great well written statement yet it is often something very simple with a deep outworking.

Here is an example. A good friend had her purpose simplified to “Nurture and give strength”. Before you think that is too vague let me explain a bit. Her core gift is to encourage and support others. This is lived out in many different ways depending on the person, situation and instruction. For some it is a listening ear, for others a hug, for others a word, for others working alongside and for others it is a slap on the face. It can even translate to a profession like an administrator, HR manager, teacher, pastor, etc. Can your purpose statement be so simple? Yup! Can it be lived out daily? Most certainly! Does it need interpretation? Totally! Purpose has to be the thing that gets us out of bed every day and gives us the energy to go on even when things aren’t going as well as we would like.

Picture courtesy of Sociedad Argentina de Horticultura
Picture courtesy of Sociedad Argentina de Horticultura

Recently my daddy reminded me that when I walk into purpose and consistently stay there everything is good even when the surrounding circumstances look different. So using my friend as an example again, if she has to care authentically she has to feel and understand the needs around her. This has meant that she has faced significant struggle and pain in life. Sometimes it has seemed that God has deserted her and her life is off the rails but at the end of each season she has come out stronger and deeper in her relationship with Him. Each time it has brought her closer to the realities of her purpose and made her more relevant.

The other day someone struggling with meeting their daily needs sat with her and she was able to share real life, heartfelt options that ministered to them. She didn’t have money in her pocket to give but she had ideas about who this person could talk to who could open a door. She had a challenge to their current perspective that helped re-align them to God. She had compassion and love to respond with the right words, in the right tone and at the right time. Most of all she had the heart to pray the right prayer and be the right contact for this person in need.

It has been amazing watching her walking in her path even when it didn’t make sense to her family and those of us who are her friends. However, every day I find that she is clearer in the things that matter to her questions about how to walk. Did she want the big car, the nice home and the recognition? Sure. Is it the centre of her life anymore? No. Her understanding of who she is in Christ is now the bigger issue. This really got me thinking and in many ways I am still thinking about it. Suddenly, something I saw by Joel Osteen made sense. He said, “Don’t stay focused on what somebody else can do better. You’re not running their race. You don’t need what they have.”

As we live out our daily lives, it is absolutely essential that we find this place and operate in this kind of balance always. Ps 139 resonates in my heart because I know that if He knew why He created me and I connect to that purpose then my life on this earth will definitely be worth something bigger and longer lasting than my years here on earth.

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Divinely Designated for Service


Heb 12:1

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clouds 3clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (ESV)

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Each of us has an individual road to walk, race to run, reason we are here, personal schedule. Each of us is part of an established plan that will eternally affect the lives of all those around and even others we don’t know, may never know or meet. Each of us is utterly important in the scheme to provide a different element and side of the story that we call life.

If we were destined to be alike we would have been made from one mould, same body, eye colour, hair type & colour, temperament, likes, dislikes, height, skills….the list is absolutely endless. Yet no two people are the same; not even twins. Our fingerprints are unique, our smiles, pouts, sighs, footprints, palm prints, voiceprints, tones are totally different.

So I have been asking myself a few hard questions:

  • Why have I wanted what others had and really complained about it?
  • Why have I judged myself based on others gifts?
  • Why have I placed such a low value on myself?
  • Am I saying God made a mistake?

clouds 5Don’t shake your head at me in wonderment because if we are all honest with ourselves we have thought of the same things. Yes the desire to be like others isn’t always negative and drive us to great heights of achievement but how often does it actually do that? I have had to ask myself many questions this year and the answers aren’t always what I want them to be. Yet scripture and the Rhema word of God reminds me that indeed there is hope and I can count on the Word and stand on it with full trust that I will not be put to shame.

 

 

Psalms  139:13-15 has really lent me strength in this time;

13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Since the above word is true I have come to the conclusion that each of us is:

  • Uniquely Called
  • Specially Appointed
  • Divinely Enabledclouds 2
  • Clearly Designated
  • Individually Gifted
  • Urgently Required

The fact that we each have a role & purpose and we each are specially established makes me hold on especially when the night seems pitch dark & unbearable. I also remember this when the answer to my prayer or the provision of my need takes longer than anticipated to come. I have come to believe that every day is a special day to re-establish my faith so that I can keep walking one day, step, meter, and mile at a time. This road is mine, the call is mine, the load is mine too, so I choose to walk by faith and hearing.

The Simple Life

My Unexpected Teacher


On one of my many public commuter journeys I met an amazing and unexpected teacher. I had a brief encounter but it was a Masters class. It was at about 6pm and I was on my way home at the Railways bus station. It had rained and so as it typical in Kenya, the public commuter vehicles had hiked the fare by at least 50% while on some routes fare had gone up 100%. Added to this fact was the reality that many of the vehicles were trapped in traffic on the way to town so there were few to no vehicles at that normally bustling bus Amazing Rock-splashes-at-sunset-resizecrop--station. This day the place was thick with people and thin with vehicles.

At about 6.30pm, vehicles started coming but none of them were willing to get onto our route. You see, only part of the road is tarmac and the rest is all weather but it is rough and it goes on for about 10km. There was no other option so we stood for quite a while and waited. Ok…it is be a stretch to say we waited patiently because we were antsy, fidgety, tired and many were complaining. Finally, one bus came and they said they would go as far as the end of the tarmac and many of us quickly got on. I like seats near the front, so I got to sit in the seat next to the conductor a young man I will call Karis. He is a very polite young man who intrigued me from the start. Those who know me well know that when I am intrigued I want to know more and understand the person on the other end.

We started talking when I gave him a crisp Kshs 200 note and told him I don’t want dirty money for change. He smiled and said that he has learnt to be fair and give people what they give him. If you give him old notes you get your change in old notes; if you give him clean notes you get your change in clean notes. Hahaha! That was the funniest thing I had heard all day. I got my crisp Kshs 100 shilling note back and off he went to collect money from the rest of the commuters. Once done, he came back, sat down and we began chatting. I learnt so much from him I couldn’t believe it.

This young man is 26, he has four other siblings and they are orphans. Their parents died when they were teenagers and they were raised by their aunts and uncles. He was raised in the church but because of lack of fees he never went far in his education. However, he said something so profound I was reminded of it this week. He said, “In life there those who are educated and those who are wise. The people who are successful are the wise and not necessarily the educated because wisdom helps you make good choices.” This was the start of an hour long conversation because that day there was traffic.

Amazing Two-lovable-babies-resizecrop--The highlights for me were several:

  • Your start doesn’t matter: where you were born doesn’t determine where you will end up. He was not born rich but he lives well and has found joy. He worked for a garbage collection firm and arrived at work at 4am and left at 10pm so he had no time to waste. All he did was eat and sleep in the evening and then get back to work in the morning.
  • A good upbringing makes a difference: he was raised in the church and taught to love God, focus on life and avoid a loose wasteful life. He was also taught to work hard and dream about the future. He also saw what alcohol, smoking and living loosely did to his colleagues and opted not to get involved.
  • Saving: it is important to put money aside and invest it. He saves at least Kshs 4000 a week. He learnt that as long as he is able to eat and sleep every day he can put aside all that he didn’t use. You see, most conductors earn at least Kshs 1000 daily. If he spends less than Kshs 300 daily it leaves him to save Kshs 700 a day which translates to Kshs 4900 a week. there are days when it’s more.
  • Never give up: a few years ago he was dating this girl and he was really serious about and he gave it his all. In the scheme of things the relationship ended after about a year and she left him high, dry and broke. He had to find the strength to go on and start again. He moved out and away to start away
  • Always look for quality at a good price: it was interesting when he said that he was looking for leads on expatriate sales so that he could get good deals on quality furniture.
  • Have a plan: know where you want to be in a set number of years. Clear goals. Set timelines. Clear action plan.
  • Never give up: life will send things your way that may be huge to get over or through. Don’t let the obstacles keep you from getting what you want to. The important thing is to keep moving and life will work out.
  • Appreciate the people around you who care about you: Karis owes a lot in his life to his uncle who gave him opportunities to grown and encouraged him when things were thick. He also let him know when it was time for him to stand on his own and be a man. He also has an older sister who took care of them when they were younger until they could stand on their own. It was never easy but they stood together.
  • The importance of salvation: In his words, ‘Imani yangu ndio imeniweka kwa yote imehappen…Kama sio Mungu…’ (‘My faith is the only thing that has kept me through all that I have been through. If it wasn’t for God…). Enough said.
  • Seek to be wise over and above schooling: Schooling without wisdom gets you nowhere…seek both and reach higher in life. In his definition, schooling happens when someone just goes through school and comes out with papers while wisdom is the ability to assess situations and survive because of street smarts. I use schooling because I believe the education is what is left when all else is forgotten, so it is beyond schooling. I am still unpacking this one lesson and when I am done you know what will happen around here.

Suddenly I was at the end of my journey and had to get off the bus but there was so much to think about as I walked the last distance to the house. We were all dropped at the start of the dirt road to proceed to our respective homes as the driver and Karis turned around to head back into town for a few more trips to the nearby areas. In that instant I realised that his shift was far from over but he hadAmazing-tornado-over-water-resizecrop-- taken time to talk to and inspire another person.

I am totally inspired every time I think of Karis because when I am honest with myself, he is doing so much better than I am with so much less than I have. My decision from that day has been to be grateful for what I have and use it to make life better for me and those around me. I also decided that my life has to have value and be shared with others so that I can make the kind of difference in their lives like Karis made in mine.

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Purpose Worked Out


Have you ever listened to a speaker and been blown away by their understanding of scriptures that you have always know? Did you wonder where they get their depth and insight? Oh it happened to me this week. I was listening to my Daddy and the revelation and understanding he has seemed totally out of left field. Then I begun to really listen to more than the words he spoke. To listen to the sound of his heart and spirit and then…I heard it. I heard the one thing that connected him to deep insight, understanding and revelation. That thing that resonated deep in him was in the frequency of his communication with God. It was evident in his deep love and affection for God alongside a deep reverence for God. His love for God is obvious and profound.

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This got me thinking. Each of us is created with a #Purpose that we are meant to accomplish here on earth. To put it another way, I am created as a certain person, connected to a certain place, in a certain way to a certain people. This means that I must be connected in the right place, in the right way without any borders, to the right people for the right reason. So let’s say that I am called to be a minister of the word…I must be aware of my call, connected to the right congregation, at the right time and with the right team. Within this setting I will have no borders because my purpose is so clearly defined and I am operating as God intended. It doesn’t mean that there will be no challenges but it means that in the midst of the challenges I have peace in the knowledge that God is in control and I am in the right place and therefore it shall be well.

I must understand the patterns that go with my ordination. #Patterns are the things that when put into practice bring forth fruit and enable me to I reach the level of impact I am intended to have. Using the above example or a minister, I must not give stale fruit. This means that everything I give to the congregation needs to be of value. It needs to be the best I can give anyone. To be able to do this, I must receive a fresh word every day that will first nourish me and then them. It’s like fresh bread. I must partake daily to be able to give life to those around me. My bread must have the right flour, leavening, flavour and cooking time. I must connect to the requirement for the moment and the day.

How often do we go out to work, spend time with people without thought of the impact of our personal relationship and communication with God? Do we prepare before we share your heart with others? Do we pray through our opinions before we share them with others? Do we prepare? Do we take time to listen to what God would have us say? Do you take time to compose our thoughts or do we just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind?

How then can we dare to go before the people God would have us minister to with little or no preparation? How do we go to work without spending time with God? How do we prepare for the day before hear from God how to deal with the upcoming challenges? How do we prepare to speak to people before we get clarity about the situation and clear words to speak? I admit that there have been many instances when I did not stop to listen to God or follow through on the path He had laid out. Does He speak to me? Yes. Does He speak daily? Yes. Do I always hear Him? No. Does that mean He isn’t speaking? No. He continues to speak even if He has to turn to speak to another to get the message across. I must admit that it seems simple enough yet, very few of us actually wait until we have clear directions before we move a step or lift an eyelid? We use common sense and culture to decide rather than the voice of God.

There is a verse that has come up repeatedly this year and I believe it will remain with me for the rest of my days.

           John 5:30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but

                                    Him who sent me.

Is this true of our lives? What drives us; our personal standards, culture, common sense, life, expectations, the Word of God? What? I was asked that question a few months ago and I have realised that the things I thought guided my life indeed were not the true.

I pray that John 5:30 becomes true about my everyday life. Join me in this walk and let’s encourage each other.

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THE CHRISTIAN WALK

#Purpose Unveiled


There is a question I have asked myself many times this year and it has come up again… it is relatively simple yet not at all simple. The question is…Why Am I Here? I have been asking myself afresh because I have collided head on with some major shifts in life and they have shaken all the answers I had and was comfortable with. It is so easy to go through the paces in life on the regular road doing the regular things and yet never finding true meaning. I  have indeed found that it is hard to get up and walk a different road or take a turn in the road that leads down an unknown path.

I was born and raised in Nairobi but my grandparents lived in the rural areas. My maternal grandparents lived 45 minutes away while my paternal grandparents lived 12 hours away. Yes…I actually said 12 hours. My parents made sure that we spent time with both sides of the family as we grew up as well as with our other relatives. Of course you can tell by the distance that we went to see my maternal grandparents more often than we did the paternal ones. It was simply a function of time, cost and distance. However, despite this we had great relationships with both sets of grandparents and to date I miss all of them dearly.

One holiday we spent the day in the village with our maternal grandparents and our older cousins. In the family we have 3 generations of cousins based on the ages of the siblings. The gap between the first born and last born is over 25 years so you can imagine that each generation of cousins’ baby sat the subsequent generation so we always had someone older to lead the way. Anyway, grandma had a farm by the river where she grew my favourite foods of arrow roots and sugarcane among others. On this occasion we went to the river farm on the back of the cart drawn by the bulls to fetch water.

On the trip back we decided to take a ‘short cut’ through the farms as the bulls slowly took the road home under the weight of the water. There were clear paths through the farms of course but one wrong turn would have you going for a long distance in the wrong direction. Indeed this happened to us but since we were still walking up hill we did not realise we had taken a wrong turn. You can imagine our surprise when we reached the road and could not figure out where we were. Indeed we were on the right road but we were further from the homestead than we should have been. We spoke to the villagers to ascertain where we were and indeed we had come out almost a kilometre off course. Oh the despair when we realised that we still had more than 30 minutes’ walk to reach the homestead yet we had already walked 30 minutes. A step on the wrong direction can be extremely costly.

This got me thinking…isn’t this what many of us do? We have accepted life and acclimatised to the life that we found others living when we were born. We did not realise that we may be a different kind of peg. Life around us was going in a certain way with certain expectations and we simply joined the band wagon and went with everyone. We did not even realise that we could be different from the pack. We did not stop and ask where the cart was going let alone consider whether this was the road we should actually be walking on.

#Purpose is that one thing each of us was put on earth to do for the honour and glory of God. As I was thinking about that messed up walk from the farm to the homestead I realised that the thing that got us caught was the fact that we saw a road and took it assuming it was going in the direction we wanted to go. No one asked for directions as we passed through the farms because we assumed we were headed in the right direction. We felt we knew where we were going. But Alas, it was not so.

  • Am I living my life like that?
  • Am I walking in a maze without a clear direction?
  • Am I aware of where I am in my walk and where I need to go?
  • Do I have a map for where I am headed?
  • Am I equipped for the journey or at least preparing for the next phase?
  • Am I planted where I need to be to thrive?
  • Do I know what I should be doing to fulfil my mission on earth?

And the list can be endless…

These are some of the questions that I have been asking myself every day as I live life because my deepest desire is to get to heaven and hear my Father say, “Well done good and faithful daughter.” I would like to be able to say with Paul,

For as for me, I am already being poured out on the altar; yes, the time for my departure has arrived. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  All that awaits me now is the crown of righteousness which the Lord, “the Righteous Judge,” will award to me on that Day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for him to appear.” 2 Timothy 4:5-8 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

This is only possible when I find that which I was sent here to do and do it well. It may mean that I have to walk on the road less travelled or even walk though places that none has ever been to leave a trail for others. I am willing to do so. I have realised that when I understand that my core purpose will never change I am stable. However my new reality is that the way my purpose is expressed may change along the way and I must be ready to adapt the form of expression on short notice and keep going to fulfil the reason I am here.

What do you need to identify or do to keep walking in #Purpose? Let’s talk and share and walk together.

Shalom

The Simple Life

Renewed mind


I spent ten days away in Nigeria, and gained incredible insight and clarity. In plain English…Life in Nigeria is hard!

 

How does one live without simple things like electricity? Can you imagine running your home and office on generator most of the time? To add to that, traffic is a nightmare and people spend upto eight hours a day in it. Can you imagine leaving home at 4.30am and getting back at 10.00pm yet you only work 8.00am to 5.00pm? Plain and simple…it is hard.

 

In ten days I came to understand a lot more about the common man and woman of Nigeria and create great parallels. They fight for everything they have and very often it is not much for the middle class and lower income families. This therefore gives them the fighter spirit they have and the seeming level of madness. It takes commitment, faith and determination just to survive. And they survive day after day, year after year, challenge after challenge. They seem indomitable and unstoppable.

 

I came to the awakening that I did not really understand what I am blessed with. I need to be grateful for what I have and realise that I can grow it and make more as long as I work in the area of my calling and gifting and I am walking in the ways of God. Funny how so often I have forgotten this and then have to come back here again and again.

 

A clear understanding of whose I am and what I have going for me serves as a great motivator regardless of the situation around me and the challenges I face everyday. This brought to mind Jer 29:11 = For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil to give you a future and a hope. When I understand my calling on this earth and the correlation to the purposes of God for me then the rest of the things that happen are details. The driver becomes my faith and commitment to God and the purpose of my life.

 

  • Why are you here?
  • What were you design to do?
  • What impact will you have on this earth?

 

We must learn to live for more than just our stomachs and our appetites.

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

God’s Way


Proverbs 20:24

24 A person’s steps are directed by the LORD.  How then can anyone understand their own way?

Proverbs 16:9

9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

 

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It is interesting that we all seem to think that we are in charge of our lives when in actual fact we are not. Oh, I thought you knew that. Anyway, I discovered this truth in greater depth this week so I don’t blame you. I was reading the Proverbs this week and it is amazing how this fact is repeated periodically and in different ways all through the book. I learned from one of my teachers that repetition is for emphasis and emphasis alone; it is not a stammer.

 

So it got me thinking of Jonah. He was sent to warn a city of impending destruction and he opted to go his own way. He was in a boat going the opposite direction when a storm brewed and almost overcame the boat till they threw him overboard at his own request. He did not drown even in the deepest part of the sea rather he was swallowed by a big fish and spat out on the beach near his original destination. I must say it must have been icky to be in the belly of a large fish will all the bodily fluids and all. Anyway, he eventually arrived at the spot he was sent to and spoke the word of God. When the people came to repentance and he was stark raving mad. What he didn’t realise was that God is not bent on destruction rather he wants all men to come to him and love him and make his name known.

 

The thing I find most interesting is that even in his deliberate and great efforts to elude God he was brought back again and again to the place he had to be and the path that had been set up for him to walk and accomplish. I find this utterly remarkable. Even more awesome is the fact that God was so patient and gentle with him in an effort to bring him to the light. I realised that even today, He is as patient and gentle with me and will move to ensure that I accomplish the reason he has put me on this earth. I like Proverbs 19:21 which says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

 

I need to align with the PURPOSE that God intended me to achieve or else my life be of lesser value than He intended. The thing that remains with me daily is that the purpose of the Lord prevails. Regardless of how much I resist it and try to walk in my own ways His plan for me will not change to suit me and what I want to do. It is therefore in my best interests to be still before Him and listen and meditate on Him all the time then I can be all He wants me to be and more. When I am all He wants me to be I am effective and a blessing to all.

 

Are you like me? Does it overwhelm you sometimes to keep on the path He has selected for you? Do you wonder why things are not going the way you want them to? I urge you to find your peace and rest in Him and discover His purpose for you then you will thrive. When you are sure He is the one who has said you will stand regardless of the circumstances surrounding you. I know without a doubt that being comfortable and content in Him is worth every moment and I seek to be found there daily.

 

Connect to Jehovah and walk with Him no matter what and the rest of your life will make sense. I did not say be easy, I said, will make sense…sense because you will be assured of the hand of God in all you do and that will ensure success by His standards that is better than success by our standards. Walk in His purpose for you. You are blessed.