Tales of 2 Timothy 1.7

Tales of 2 Timothy 1.7

ALL things work together for my good

Recently I found myself laughing in amazement when I realised how all my steps had been ordered for my good. Yes, even the hardships were allowed by The Creator of all things to get me prepared for life.

Just now thinking about it I realised that just like David (in 1Samuel 17 34-36), I had to fight with bears and lions (figuratively) in my life before The Creator of all things placed a Goliath before me.
You see, I have been through hardships, have made it through troubled waters and during those times I would go down on my knees and cry out: “Why me?”
I thought good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people, but then here I was not understanding why I had to go through all that when all I wanted to do was being a good person. At the time I didn’t understand, I didn’t know the true meaning of “ALL things work together for my good” (Romans 8:28). You see I thought only the good things worked for my good, and the bad things well, that must have been the enemy. But now I realise that The Creator of all things allowed the good and the bad things to get me where I needed to be. You see David had never been able to fight Goliath if he hadn’t fought the lion and the bear in the unknown. What I am trying to tell you is that there is a purpose for everything.

Since I’ve had to fight those battles, now when any adversity comes my way I recall what I made it through in the past and then just like David, I remember that this mountain can not stop me. I am glad to finely say that I am so confident in the word of G-d that my faith gives me strength when I feel weak and gives me peace even in the middle of a storm. It is incredibly deliberating this kind of faith. I hope that one day you may know this kind of peace. It doesn’t come from one blog post or several online preachings but by your own self seeking to understand the word through reading and self study.
I would like to close off with this powerful verse from Joshua 1.9:
“Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do dot be discouraged, for the Lord your G-d will be with you wherever you go.”

Storms may come but you shall not be shaken

I often have this calm and collected look on my face and try to always be positive, so much so that sometimes people wonder are you not worried about xyz? Although I have my moments of questioning, I have learned to set my eyes on the things above. Is it because I have been through a few storms in my life that I have developed an unshaken attitude or is it because I know Who’s I belong to? It maybe a bit of both. In these uncertain times I thought I’ll share with you how I have learned to cope with the storms in my life and hope that this may help you, if you are going through one yourself.

Calm down First of all before doing anything else you need to take a deep breath. Nope this is not a yoga exercise (I’ve never done yoga). If you are truely panicking, then this might affect your breathing. So take control of your breathing pattern by breathing slowly in & out. You can count in silence from 3 to 5 while doing so. I like to repeat my favourite quotes in silence while doing so, even when my courage has sunk in my shoes, I would remember : I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. This breathing techniek will help you to get more oxygen in the brains to help you think rationally.

Once you can breath properly and think properly you can go to the next phase which is:

Take action:
In whatever is going on, you need to identify what you can do to improve the situation or how to get rid of what is causing discomfort. At times you may not know what to do, in those cases you may need to pray first and ask for guidance. Once you know what to do, you need to take action. Don’t just sit down and worry for days because that won’t help anyone. Instead, take action & do it now.

Once you’ve done all that you can do, you need to pray. In life there are times when you ‘ll have done what you can do but the rest is out of your control. When this is the case humble yourself & pray.
Once you’ve prayed; trust that your times are in His hands and He knows the end from the beginning. Therefore stand still and know that He is who He says He is.

So collect yourself and gather your strength. Know that you were born for such a time as this. You are alive right now because you have in you all that it takes to make it through what is going on in the world right now. Trust me, you got this. Be courageous!

Pruning is an act of preparation for greater growth

Today I read this quote : « When God means to make a man great, He always breaks him in pieces first” This quote caught my attention, it’s just a few words that build one sentence but it contains so much truth.

I was born in the South where we had only two seasons, the dry season and the rainy season. Each season took about six months so I never knew winter or autumn, unless it was in the movies. I only witnessed snow for the first time when I moved here. One of my aunts told me that short after I arrived, as I was quiet young, I felt saddened to see trees that were leafless and some of them were pruned so much that they barely had any branches left. I was sad to see that as I was used to see massive forest of full green coloured trees pretty much all year around, seeing pruned trees was something I didn’t understand. Press forward to about a year ago, I went for a run to one of my favourite forest outside the city centre. As I was running, I noticed on the side of the main path, there were several branches that were pruned and set a side, they would probably be used to make fire for heating with coal. Again the first thought that came in my mind was how sad it was to see those branches be pruned and cut off. Those tree now looked almost bare naked, it was like they lost a great deal of their beauty. Wouldn’t be better if they just left the branches on the trees all year around without pruning them? I wondered.

Then I did a little researsch and realised that due to the environment those trees were in, the four seasons cycle, those trees had to be pruned in order to reach their full growth potential. If they weren’t pruned regularly some of them wouldn’t be able to grow as beautifully in the spring as they should. Because of that, they wouldn’t be able to give the fruit or flowers they aught to give because they’d have too much dead branches that would take the vitamine of the branches that should grow fully.

Lately in my life I had been through this same scenario. Luckily for us humans, our four seasons are generaly a bit broader which means that we don’t have to be pruned as much every year. Sometimes once in a life time we would be subjected to harsh pruning where a great deal of what we thought we couldn’t live without is taking away from us. This can go from the people we care for to other things such as jobs or other circumstances that changes in our lives. We find ourselves in a place or situation that we think: ‘This shouldn’t be. I can’t make it without this or that, I neeeed this or that.’

Often just like I had, we try desperately to hold on to something that has passed it’s season in our lives. Because in our little human imagination we can’t imagine a life without that person or thing. But life is so much greater than what we can comprehend and so there will be moments we have to fight for what we want to keep but sometimes holding on to something that has had its season in our life can do us more harm than good.

I had to learn the hard way, I spent this past year fighting to hold on to the branches that were no longer productive in my life. The branches that life had given me in a certain period in my life but now it was time for me to let go of it. Letting go is a tough teacher ya’ll. It’s a tough lesson that everyone has to go through someway or another in their life. But it’s only when you let go of what you are trying to hold in your hand that you make space for the new thing that life has for you.

With that being said, I decided to make it official and so:
I declare that I let go. I let go of everything that no longer serves me to my greater purpose, I let go of everything that has been weighing me back and I trust that I have done the work that I needed to do, I cleaned up my closet, I confessed, I forgave and now I let go and lookforward to the new branches, the green leaves that are coming to help me reach the best of my self. To you too, I encourage you to let go of all the things of which you know deep down that are no longer serving you. Things that are weighing you down, this can be as simple as a bad habit of smoking or can be as complex as an unhealthy relationship. Not because that person is a bad person but because you need to let go to reach your full potential. By letting go commit yourself to do this with love and kindness, so that the space that this person or thing leaves behind can be ready to receive pure new green leaves to start the spring of your life.

If you have ever had to let go of something that used to be of great importance to you, feel free to share it in the comments. Would be great to hear your feedback.

The Power of showing your vulnerability

Dear Readers, first of all welcome back to my blog. Although I haven’t posted anything in a long while, writing however has been something that I have been doing almost daily.

I love writing. Everyone has a different way to express themselves, some people can express themselves through a painting or through a beautiful intimate dance performance or so many other ways. I often look up to those who can express themselves effortlessly through the spoken word. Because for me there is nothing more challenging then trying to say outload how I feel inside. But luckily I found my safe heaven in writing. If you ask me to express myself on a certain subject I may find it difficult to say the right things but when you give me sometime; I could put the subject on paper in a way that would sometimes even impress myself.

But the thing about sharing your passion with the world is; that you expose your vulnerability to the world. When I started writing I knew nothing about this, I would write and say it all without holding back. It wasn’t until I started truly exposing my vulnerability that expressing my passion started to scare me. I quickly went back into my cocoon of avoiding to share too much out of the fear to be hurt and misunderstood.

But from time to time I felt the need to share my experiences and my findings cause I realised how valuable this is when others share theirs with me. It wasn’t until I heard a speech from Brené Brown about vulnerability that I realised the importance of being afraid but doing it anyway. Brené Brown said and I quote: ‘vulnerability is the birth place of innovation, creativity and change’. When hearing this, those words stroke a chord with me. I realised that the greatest achievers never achieved anything from a place of total confidence. But instead they had to walk the path of uncertainty. And by doing so they were very vulnerable.

Taking a step outside of your comfortzone to achieve something that is different than what you are used to in a day to day life is a big risk and you will never feel 100percent confident doing that. It takes faith, courage and hard work to achieve something outside of your status quo. But if you want to achieve something greater than what you are used to you need to be willing to let go off the shore.

Do you exercise enough?

In my family we’ve been gifted with a pretty fit body. In general I have to say both men and females of my direct family are well-built. So I never had to struggle with overweight or any eating disorder. Having been blessed with this, I always thought that exercising was something you did for fun. So I never paid much attention to it.

My best friend was an athlete when she was younger. We used to go running together. From her I learned the little running tricks, how to keep the right tempo, control your breathing and stretch afterwards.

My father too was great in sport , having won medals in Judo and other sports he was a very fit young man in his teenage years and so I inherited the healthy habits of loving sport and being able to exercise and enjoy it. From time to time I would do some Push-Ups, Set-Ups and many stretch exercises to keep my body fit. As I genuinely love running, I even run several half marathons and one I did for a charity. Exercising was something I did, without really realising the importance of it.

As time passed by, I started to learn about the importance of healthy eating and exercising. The first thing that surprised me was that exercising isn’t a burden that only overweight people have camp with but something that all of us need to do to be healthy. Nowadays as we spend a great deal of our life sitting behind a desk and eating processed food we need to make sure that our body keeps functioning correctly. In order to do that we need to eat more healthy and exercise.

Now, just like me you probably think; exercising well, I don’t have time for that. I work full time and when I come home I have a full list of chores to do. So I don’t have an hour time to spend on a treadmill. But exercising doesn’t have to take that long.  A half hour, fifteen- or even ten minutes a day are more then enough to get your body going.

You certainly wonder: What does exercising do to your body?

Exercising increases the blood circulation. Anatomy tells us that the circulation of blood or what’s also called the cardiovascular system organises the transport of nutrients, oxygen, carbon dioxide, hormones and blood cells to provide nourishment and help fighting diseases, stabilize temperature and pH. This all is accomplished through that circulation in your body. But in order for all this to take place there needs to be movement. If you spend eight hours or more sitting down, then your body doesn’t do enough movement for all this to function properly. That is why you need to exercise. By your movements you increase the oxygen and the transport of all the necessary elements all over your body.

Physical exercise is not only necessary for the rest of your body but also for your brains. By working out, you bring oxygen to the right organs. This results to the fact that you are able to concentrate much longer, to focus and get more work done. All these elements makes that you are able to be more creative and increase your capacity to be more patient and thus improves your overall achievements.

I know you used to think that exercising was a luxury that only does with too much time on their hands could afford. But knowing all this makes you realise that it is something that each one of us have to do on a daily basis. Ideally you should work out five days a week. But if your schedule doesn’t allow you to do that, then you can try to make time to work out at least three days a week. This can be in the morning, before going to work or in the evening. Like I said before, it is not about how long you exercise but more about your body getting enough movements to get that circulation going. So you don’t need to spend your whole day in the gym. You can take five minutes to do some Jumping Jacks at home or go for a fifteen minutes jogging session.

Like every healthy habit,  in the beginning you will need to push yourself before you get used to it. Now that you know all this, it is up to you what you choose to do, but whatever you do, keep it moving!

The power of forgiveness

Forgiveness or better the power of forgiveness is such a complex notion that I thought it is important for us to look deep into this in order to understand what this important life’s process truly mean.

The dictionary defines forgiveness as follows:
The intentional and voluntary process by which a person undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.

For many years I saw forgiveness as a gift to the other person, the one who hurt you. But nothing is less true. Just like me you may have been hurt by someone’s words or actions in the past. This resulted to you carrying around bitterness and resentment for what had happen. But by doing so you actually block yourself from receiving healing, light, peace and great blessings. You may think that by keeping your anger towards that person you are showing that you didn’t forget and that you didn’t agree with the way they treated you. But what you are actually doing is hurting yourself even more.

Early on in my search to understand people and what moves them I quickly learned the importance of forgiveness. Christianity one of the greatest religion on earth is based on forgiveness. Many of the great teachers that I admire such as Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, Joyce Meyer and others all have gone through some great process of forgiveness before they were able to step into their great achievements in life.

So I knew that forgiving others or the ability to ask for forgiveness was an important process in life.  This process isn’t as much for the one who has done you wrong as it is for you. Living with resentment is like building a wall of anger around you that you take with you everywhere you go. The problem with walls and fences is that it holds back not only the bad things but also all possible good things that could come to your life. By forgiving you break free from these walls of anger and resentment and you accept light, love and peace to be part of you, part of your life again. It took me a long time to come to that conclusion, but once I did my life changed. Greater and more positiver things started to come into my life.

From then on I learned that every time someone does you wrong you shouldn’t carry it with you everywhere I go. You should take some silent time, think about it and forgive that person or even yourself and only then you could move forward with your life.

A school teacher once did this experiment with his students. He asked them to bring one potato for each person they were angry with, some brought one or two; other brought six or seven. They were told that for the whole week they had to carry these potatoes with them everywhere they went. If they went to sleep those potatoes had to lay next to them, when they went to the bathroom they had to bring it with them, when they went to the shower, to dinner or out to play with friends they had to make sure that they carried these potatoes with them. At the end of the week the teacher asked them how it was carrying around all that extra weight and of course no one was very happy about it. To which the teacher replied, well that’s exactly what happens when you carry around anger and resentment towards someone. That person won’t be that much affected by it, but you will be the one slowing yourself down in life by carrying that extra weight of anger and bitterness towards them. That’s exactly what I had been doing for so many years until the day that I had chosen to forgive.

You might ask yourself, well forgiveness is great. But how do I forgive? Here is one of the ways that I use to forgive others.

Dear x, I forgive you for everything you have done. I forgive you for everything you’ve said and done that hurt me. I forgive you and let go of all the anger and resentment. I am no longer angry with you. I wish you the very best in everything you do and wish you the very best in life. May God bless you.

Sometimes you might need to repeat this to yourself before you truly mean the things you are saying. But once you’ve not only been able to forgive but also have had the strength to wish the other person well in their life and mean it, even though they hurt you; then you become the better person. Then you open yourself to receive light, love and peace and are ready for greater blessings in your life.

When people tell you who they are, believe them, from the first time.

This was an expression made by Oprah in one of her many great interviews. The first time I heard this I was completely shocked. This resonated so much with me, more than I could explain. I have spent a great deal of my life making excuses for others and not willing to see the clear signs that were right there in front of me.

Today I would like to talk about this simple phrase that brought so much insight to me and I believe that it can help you too on your journey to separate the wheat from the chaff .

Five years ago I met the most wonderful man. He was handsome and had the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. We fell in love, and yes it was that kind of ‘love at first sight’ thing. I met him on a packed busy night out, when I saw him I didn’t move until he came and spoke to me; from then on the sparkles flew all over the place. It was an attraction almost as strong as gravity. After spending the whole night dancing we exchanged numbers and had our first kiss; from then on I was hooked for five years straight.

He lived 185 miles away from where I lived and at the time I had no car so seeing each other was a matter of detailed organisation. What we managed to do for a whole year and half. We would see each other pretty much every weekend as we both worked during the week. I have to say, he was the one travelling the distance most of the time. Opening the door after having been waiting to see him for a whole week was like heaven. No fringe in me would think that this would ever come to an end. For me he was the one. I loved every little hair on his head to his little toes. To him I was the first woman he brought home. The first one to meet his grandmother and the rest of his family; and the one to celebrate new year with his best friends. As you can see all was set for a successful life together. Needless to say that I spent all my free time dreaming of our wedding. (That’s an inside female note, please don’t judge me).

Although love was strong and present it wasn’t enough to last. The distance was too much. As I couldn’t make all the parties or some other occasions there were, of course, other women who made sure to fill that gap. Because of this I grew insecure over us and over myself. He loved dancing and so he often took one day of the weekend nights off to go and dance, as I lived on the other side (of the world) I couldn’t go dancing with him and so he did this with a “friend”. (The first red flag; who not so long after we broke up became his girlfriend but they eventually broke up not so long after that). Which was of course like a needle in my heart every time I thought of it. He was honest with me and so I trusted him with my most precious. But as time passed by, the distance and the so called friendly dance partner started to come in between us.

Well, life happened. One day we went to a lovely restaurant and after that he broke my heart and told me that he didn’t think that we were made for each other and that this wouldn’t work. Hearing this shook my whole being, I was young and over my head in love and this did hurt more than I could put in to words. This was another red flag, but instead of listening to it; I choose to ignore it.

We parted ways, but not so long after that he contacted me again and from then on the wheel kept turning. Instead of learning the lesson once; that when someone had hurt you that deep, you shouldn’t offer them this same broken heart again for them to keep, I did exactly that.  I would travel around the world and meet new people but right when I would start opening myself again for a new romance I would receive one of his messages and just like a drug I would be hooked again, thinking that we could give it one more chance.

On one side he was a friendly kind and generous man with a good heart; on the other side he could be this cold hearted person that I barely recognized. I remember once he invited me to his mother’s fiftieth anniversary, this was a year after we broke up and had barely seen each other. I accepted the invitation, I was young and foolish what else could I do? So I went all the way there, only to hear him declaring somewhere in the middle of the party to his family members that he would never get back with me that between us there was nothing left. I felt hurt and humiliated, why would he have me come 185miles far  for this occasion if I meant nothing to him? Red flag number three, but again, I choose to ignore it.

I would go travelling, but once I was back in the country we would meet up.  Sometimes we would be so close that it would feel like we had never left;  and other times he would sit on the corner telling his friends all the 101 reasons why I wasn’t good enough. Which would weaken my self confidence and my self worthiness big time. You would think that I learned the lesson by then but it took me five years of these ups and downs to finely hit that point. It wasn’t till I heard this  simple saying: When people show you who they are believe them from the first time, not the 29th time. That I realised what was happening. He had showed me many times before that I couldn’t trust him with what was most precious to me, my heart; but still I kept on avoiding to see this simple truth that was right in front of me and decided to chase something that wasn’t there. I have to add to this that he wasn’t a bad man, in fact he had helped me in so many ways and deep down he has a good heart also he gave me plenty of mixed signals; such as coming to see me for a few days once I moved to London. I mean I’m a woman, when a man those that for you; you just melt. But the thing was, his good heart wasn’t meant to be with mine. You see, not all good souls are meant to run in the same direction as your good soul. But I choose not to see this  and because of that it had cost me so much.

This particular phrase made me think past my romantic relationships. I have had friends who wanted me to be a certain way, who didn’t love or accept me the way I was.  Instead of seeing this from the first time and taking distance I would ignore the signs and hold on to the idea of a friendship. Of course it was only a matter of time before the castle came tumbling down. I would realise that I couldn’t live up to the expectations of an untrue friendship and would then let go. But this would be after spending many years of investing in the wrong things instead of allowing the emptiness,  in order to meet the right people and create relationships and friendships that were healthier for me.

Looking back in my life I had seen many times where people showed me who they were but I had chosen to deny this. This is why I wanted to tell you this story today. Hoping that it wouldn’t cost you as much tears, energy, time and money as it had cost me to learn from the 29th time. Instead you can choose to see the signs of an unhealthy relationship right away and get yourself out of there before this would consume the time that you could spend building better and healthier relationships around you.