Tag Archives: purpose

The Transforming Power of Belief

As I thought about moving from unbelief to belief, I realised that my early life had shaped my perspectives when I learned how to interact with people and what to expect. The shift happened as people decided to go on with their lives and keep growing. It became clear that I could not count on most of them because they had things to do that made me unimportant in their scheme of things. 

I had always assumed that everyone wanted me to see myself grow and become better until I learned that I had to take care of myself and my growth. I was perplexed because this did not look or feel authentic to how I wanted to be loved and appreciated.  

My ability to believe stuttered because of what I had experienced.

It took a while to understand that I am the total of my thoughts. My convictions and beliefs show in my words because they are inner work. In my reflections, I remembered Joseph, Esther and others in scripture who went through hard times but did not leave the faith. I also thought of people who went through hard times in this life and walked away from the faith.

I understood the dangerous notion that if we walk with God our Father, life should be stress-free and struggle-free but is that true? No, it is not. Show me anyone who did great things for and with God without some hard times in their lives. I have looked around but cannot find a single person whose life spoke to the enormity and goodness of God without going through something difficult.

But guess what; God never leaves us alone, especially in trying seasons.

God always steps in for His people and gives us a way out. We see this when he rescued Israel from Egypt using Moses and his crew and sorted Abraham by making it possible to have a child in his old age. God strengthened Mordecai to support Esther so she could go before the king and sent four unshakable Hebrew boys into captivity together so they would stand and keep each other accountable. He sent Ananias to anoint Paul after the Damascus experience and sent Phillip to interpret scripture for the Ethiopian eunuch.

God never promised us a good and simple life. He promised to be with us and manage things as we lean on him. God declared that he would stand with us and walk the journey no matter what happens, how long, how far or who walks with us. He promised to provide a way out in times of trouble like he did when Paul and Silas were in prison when the people prayed.

Faith is the certainty that God is on the throne and in control.

Belief now means a few different things to me:

  • I will stand on the word of God because it is reliable. 
  • Nothing will change or shift my position or faith in God.
  • I will align with people who encourage me and hold me to account for the journey.
  • I will speak the words of life to my heart and over my life.
  • I will remind myself of His goodness every day.
  • I will write a memorial of how He has come through for me.
  • I will align myself with His purposes for my life.
  • I will surround myself with people with a deeper understanding of divine principles.
  • I will remember that God is aware the state of affairs and all is well. 
  • I will stand on the plan for my life as designed in heaven.

Shifting to belief has meant that I must re-wire my mind to our new state and position. 

Scripture has become my foundation and strength. It encourages me daily to remain truthful and on course despite the situation.

  • And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
  • In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John 16:33
  • Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. Matthew 12:34,
  • Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrew 11:1).

Do not despair in your situation, God has a plan for your ultimate good. Shalom.

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Conquering Unbelief

Recently in a conversation with God, he asked me, “Do you actually believe?”

What??? How could that be the question? There is a back story here. It was on the back of a question about a promise that seemed late. As a family, we received a clear word from God more than a decade ago, but we are yet to see its fullness. I was in a tizzy because I couldn’t understand why we were so stuck and were not arriving at our destination. So, imagine my surprise at God questioning my belief. 

Let me laugh at myself. Of course, God knows all and sees all so the gap in my beliefs is evident to him. The shock was that I had never seen it. I could not imagine that I could have such a gap. When did my faith get this low? What happened to me; how did it happen? What should I be looking at in my life? Like all divine encounters, all one needs is the desire to see, and He will open your eyes.

I saw it! Where? I confessed the promise but always had a niggling doubt in my mind or heart of its fulfilment. I spoke the promise but questioned the process and timeline. I confessed the word, but whenever trouble hits, I look for a way, a plan B an option.

Sadly, I honestly didn’t believe unequivocally. 

Belief is much stronger than anything I know. It is beyond decreeing and declaring the word. It goes deeper than stamping my foot in confidence as I talk to others. It is much more than anything I knew about myself and my life. It is about a depth I was unaware of and unwilling to admit until that end. 

Belief turned into something so much bigger than me. It showed up as trust, faith, and confidence that started deep within me. It is certainty in God even about things that seem impossible to me. The word that holds my attention is a certainty. Certainty is a firm conviction, meaning that no matter what happens, my mind will not change, and I will not doubt or wonder if things will happen as said. 

Belief is an undying commitment to a word so strongly that I will remain steadfast in the face of all things, including adversity, like the three Hebrew boys, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, aka Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Certainty is the only way out of unbelief.

How did I stop believing?

My life path had been treacherous for so long that the depth of my faith shifted. I had allowed the things that weren’t working or seemed delayed to destabilise my position. The shift had been so gradual that I did not see it happening. I did not see my faith waning, my heart moving or my mind changing. I didn’t perceive the pain was slowly chipping at the pillars of my faith until it was almost all gone. 

On the surface, I said I believed, and it appeared so, however on the inside, there were lots of doubts. I denied the questions and fear. I rejected the notion that I possibly had no foundation or base anymore. I couldn’t admit that I had moved out of my place of rest into a situation of works and machinations in the name of remaining true to the path to bring the will of God to pass. My words and inner actions were totally out of sync. 

The solution is that I return to the place of rest.

It became clear that unless I return to rest and trust God truly, nothing will work. Nothing is possible without a complete recalibration. I can now see why the questions I asked my mentors didn’t make sense to them or seemed shallow. I now understand how some comments I made got me strange looks from others. I acknowledge the sag in my shoulders is because I lost confidence in my walk but camouflaged it well.

The beauty is that God doesn’t leave us in unbelief. 

When we ask, He sends us help. I attest that assistance has shown up for me. I realised that He is a Father who never lets His children die. He is gracious enough to reach out or send us people to support. He will never leave a child who is calling Him stranded. He responds to a responsive and committed child.

The journey back to a strong belief is still going on and has taken several things:

  • Acknowledging what I had seen in myself. 
  • Repenting for getting distracted by the troubles of this world.
  • Creating a new pathway with Papa. 
  • Speaking the new path out loud so my whole being can hear. 
  • Repeating the new pathway to myself when I feel my faith is waning. 
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Take Responsibility

Take responsibility

No one makes you mad

Even when they taunt

You choose how to respond to their jeers

Take responsibility

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No one makes you fall into sin

Even when they tempt you with the benefits

You choose whether or not to do it

Take responsibility

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No one makes you attack them

Even when skimpily or suggestively dressed

You choose to let your urges overshadow you

Take responsibility

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No one makes you fat

Even when they ply you with food

You choose to keep on eating

Take responsibility

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No one keeps you unhealthy

Even when they encourage you to skip your workout

You choose to remain on the couch

Take responsibility

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You only get one life

So live it to the fullest

Make choices that count for you

Take responsibility

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So little has changed.

This week I had a conversation with some teenagers that upset me.

One of them shared how in their school, the girls must pull their socks up and under their skirts all day so that no part of their legs is visible. Apparently, the sight of their legs can cause their male teachers to be distracted. Really?

Why was I so upset?

If you cannot see it, let me explain. Why are we making fourteen-year-olds responsible for the behaviour of adult men? Why is it their responsibility, yet it is the men who should know by now how to control their urges? This story upset me because I heard the same thing as a teenager. At the same time, the boys around weren’t taught anything about managing their appetites until they were older.

Why do we make men’s behaviour the responsibility of women?

I understand that men are visual but are we saying they cannot control their appetites? To say that they cannot control the attraction and subsequent action is to say they are wild animals; that is not true. My experience has been that as we tell girls to be decent and control themselves, we are not telling the boys anything.

It is sad to hear boys put girls down or misunderstand their actions. As a result of this misinformation, when a girl says no, many assume she means yes. When she is assaulted and raped, it is her fault. If she wears a short skirt or form-fitting dress, she asks for something sexual. When attacked, the first question is about what she wore that day. Why?

This narrative must change!

We must teach our sons to be responsible for their thoughts and resultant actions. Man is created as the priest, protector, provider and leader so that the women are under his care. How can he demand that the one he should protect is responsible for his protection? How does he turn around, assault her and make it her fault? How can he say that she is the reason he did something so nasty to her?

Let us teach our sons their role; to stand up for their sisters and not gaslight them into shame and fear. Let us train the men to stand up and defend the women and girls before they are preyed on by others. It is time to make the men responsible for their actions and those of their brothers. They must hold one another to account for their appetites and the outcome of their actions.

Today I am just sad because, on this matter, very little has changed.

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Joy is so much

Joy is an astounding thing

It is not happiness

It is not a warm feeling

It is not the usual thing

Joy is the reality of God as the driver of everything

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Joy is found in understanding

Understanding the path is ordained

Understanding the route is set

Understanding there is a way

Joy is the reality of God as the driver of everything

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Joy is found in understanding

Understanding the purpose of God

Knowing that He has ordained it

Knowing that He is reliable always

Joy is the reality of God as the driver of everything

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Joy is found in peace

Peace is a choice to believe the word

Peace is the presence of the Father

Peace is the confidence of the word

Joy is the reality of God as the driver of everything

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Joy is found in waiting

Standing on the word of God

Standing on the hope of His word

Standing on the path of righteousness

Joy is the reality of God as the driver of everything

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Joy is found in Christ

The author and perfector of our faith

The firm foundation under our feet

The pillar of strength in our Father

Joy is the reality of God as the driver of everything

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Joy is found in the knowledge that God is the centre of everything

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The Reality of JOY

A while back, I showed up to see a friend with a sad face. A long conversation ensued about where I was on the journey. We spoke until I could see what he meant by sadness should never take root and I should never get used to it. Funny how I hadn’t seen it before. 

How could I, a child of God, have so many sad days? How can the weight of sadness be so settled and not lifted? Did I miss something in my journey? Did all the people feeling down miss something too? How could such sadness take hold of the people and never seem to let go? Some days we smile to cover it, while on other days walk away and hide. How could such pain coexist with faith?

A lot of the sadness we carry is often from relationships. 

Life can be challenging because of how we interact with people and then how we expect them to deal with us. We hold onto those feelings and even project them onto others unrelated to that pain. It is possible to be so used to sadness that it becomes our cloak and identity. Other times, sadness is a tool in the hands of God to teach us to press into him and earn of him. It could be the place to create compassion for others. 

As I write, I see how I choose the cloak I live in; I am astounded. Everything works together in God for my good and His will. I must understand the importance of how I feel and turn it to Him. God is in control because nothing is impossible with Him. Everything happens according to his purposes and plans. 

It then struck me that JOY is critical to life, but a choice.

It is not the absence of sadness or a feeling but rather the reality of God as the driver of everything. Joy is understanding His purpose with this season and then walking with confidence. Joy is grounded in God and only understood through Him. Therefore, I must choose to connect to the Father and remain hidden under his wings. No matter how hard the things around me have been, I make a definite choice. I choose to listen; I choose to follow; I choose to become. 

I find strength in several scriptures that I will share here today:

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings, you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. Ps 91:4

The joy of the Lord is my strength, Nehemiah 8:10

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. 2 Cor 1:20

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov 18:10

…as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises… 2 Peter 1:3-4

…Weeping may endure for a night, but [a]joy comes in the morning. Psalms 30:5b

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Prov 17:22

My journey in God is founded on and grounded in the realities of His word and His work. The promises of God will never fail. 

Shalom.

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Grow beyond comparison.

It was interesting to see how often we compare people and things. 

A while ago, I had the unfortunate experience of being judged negatively by someone else’s experience; it stung like a bee sting. It hurt because of two things. First, the intention behind the situation had nothing to do with what they thought it was. Second, I was unaware of the matrix being used to judge me. The accusation broke my heart so I walked away from the person and conversation. In the end, an honest conversation with my coach righted my thinking.

I had taken issue with the person in this instance, but I had also done the same thing to others. How often have I taken offence when someone shows us late without asking? How often do we sit in our corner and decide what someone’s silence means? How often have we determined the impact of something was because of a specific action without asking? I was shocked when I saw myself in that space.

Several things came up from my reflections:

Do not judge or assume you know why something happens: there are always factors that I cannot see in the background of every interaction, and I need to be open to hearing about them. Every person is working through something, and they may be responding from pain, fatigue or other emotions I cannot understand.

Step back and evaluate your response: Yes, you are hurt or angry. Yes, you expected something different. Yes, others have done better. However, was your response the best? Could you have done something differently? How can you deal with the frustration created by the situation? What can you learn that will shift your response next time?

Forgive: We forgive for our personal sanity and not for recognition from the other person. We do not forgive so that we can make a show of it. We forgive to reconnect to our inner balance and remain connected to God. First, forgive yourself for getting angry and lashing out since it is not part of your character. Second, if you have been a short fuse for a long time, use this opportunity to learn to be a long fuse and gracious person. Third, forgive the other person. Finally, be free.

Extend grace: reach out and find out what is up with the other person. Encourage them, pray for them, raise a banner on their behalf, and place them in the hands of God.

As I reflected, I realised that I was upset because of comparing. I was seeing the actions of this person as the same as others who hurt me in the past. Ah! How good can life be if I do not compare people and experiences? How different will my response be when I learn to allow people to be themselves and meet me free of judgement? It would be absolutely different; that is what I am pursuing. There is extreme peace that comes with letting go: such peace.

Pursue peace by letting go of comparison and thrive.

I am still on the way, but I have grown.

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Preserve The Promise

A few conversations this week got me thinking. What is happening to the plans we made at the start of the year? Where are we in the plan for these things? Are they still valid, have some of them been thrown off track or are they all on track? I can say with confidence, that life as we knew it has changed. Nothing is or ever will be the same again.

Many didn’t imagine we would be working in these conditions. Many didn’t think it was possible to be home for three months or out of work in a blink. Many children were happy to close early but are now missing their teachers and friends. Some businesses have closed for a little while others have closed their doors for the last time.

HR professionals have the daunting task of showing people the door when they don’t even know how much longer they have their own jobs. CEOs and Founders are grappling with how to keep the doors open, lights on and staff working despite enormous and unanticipated cash crunches. So what happens now when it all feels like it is falling apart?

Is there a glimmer of hope in such trying times?

What happens when we have a promise or vision we are waiting on and we are not careful to make sure it happens? We can say that life is hard and things aren’t working and we give up along the way but surely there has to be a plan that will work no matter what and we can find a way. In so many ways it feels like we are in a place of confusion and unsure what we are doing and how we will go forth. It is even more intense when we realise we aren’t the first to experience challenges and we will not be the last. That really caught my attention.

Genesis 25 blew my socks off. First off I had never really thought about how many children Abraham had. The focus on Isaac had until now hidden some facets of his life. So I began counting the sons and almost got distracted. I almost spent long hours just looking at those sons and maybe I will do that later.

It all begun to clear up as I read…

Abraham had a promise in Isaac and even with all his other actions, he stood firm on the promise and acted as such. His posture as he got older and more settled into the realities of walking with God became stable and still like a rock set in quick-dry, high strength cement and nothing moved him from his position.

Genesis 56:5-6 really fascinate me…And Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac. But Abraham gave gifts to the sons of the concubines which Abraham had; and while he was still living he sent them eastward, away from Isaac his son, to the country of the east. To stand solid on the word of God, Abraham gave his other sons an inheritance and dispatched them to another so he could make room for only the child of promise to inherit what was promised to him. This got me thinking about life.

Do I fully stand for and on the promises my life is built on?

Do I give everything to build the purpose of my life? Do I ensure that all possible distractions are removed even physically if need be to protect the word? Do I move away from places that would be a hindrance? What happens when the promised fruit is slow in coming? What do I do when the promised realities are invisible? Do I believe and work on the promise and assignment no matter what?

Abraham’s whole life was about that reality. His father Terah left Ur of the Chaldeans and led them to Haran where he died. Then God led Abraham out of Haran to the Promised Land and appeared to him several times. He almost sacrificed his son on the Word of God. He went to war against 5 kings for the sake of Lot. He pleaded for Sodom because his nephew was there. He sent his servant to bring a wife for his son with absolute faith that he would come back. The final thing he did to secure the promise was to the boy’s inheritance so that Isaac’s heritage was secured.

Abraham gave it all for the promise.

God called Abraham and he responded in the affirmative. Abraham believed God’s word over him and made a covenant with God then guarded it jealously. He believed it even when nothing seemed possible. He laughed when the promise was discussed but corrected his position when questioned. He believed God so deeply that it was credited to him as righteousness. He was dedicated even to the potential loss of everything to preserve the promise.

Can we do that?

Can we hold onto the promise of God and the plan He has given us no matter what? Are we willing to lose some things, gain others and course-correct daily to remain on the path no matter what? Can we stay set to the task, with a gaze set like flint even in a season like now in faith that God is who He says He is and you are who He says you are therefore your life will indeed manifest his word?

That is what it takes to deliver the promise put in your hands and become everything God sees in you and calls out from you. I know it sounds hard but it is really simple. If He said it is, nothing can change the plan unless you or I step out of the plan. Simple…really simple.

Is it always easy for me? Not at first. Do I go off course? Sometimes, but I have learnt to stop, assess, confess, repent, get back on the road and walk on. Every course correction makes me aware of my weaknesses and build in needed support structures. As we continue to walk together He has become the only one I lean on all the time because He will never fail me.

Know that it is possible.

  • Know that all things are possible for you and I when we believe and follow instruction to become
  • Know that you are appointed and will become what you decide to focus on and work towards.
  • Know that your God is able to do exceedingly abundantly, above all you could ask, think or imagine.
  • Know that He knew you from before and He is certain you are the best choice for this path.
  • Know your Father is true and never fails, but He watches over His word to perform.
  • Know that when you lean into God your path makes sense and will succeed.
  • Know that you can preserve the promise and attain the assignment.
  • Know that you are one of a kind with a one of a kind assignment.
  • Know that you are not alone and will never be alone.
  • Know that He is the one and only one.
  • Know you can in Him.

Know it is possible.

Photo by David Alberto Carmona Coto on Pexels.com

“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.

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.