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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NOT MY WILL

Hmm! Suffice it to say, the last few weeks have been very humbling for me. Last night I spent a long while ruminating over the events of the past few months and trying to use a lessons-learnt approach to analyse where I find myself today.

My beautiful baby sister (yes, that’s what she always will be to me despite having grown into an incredibly beautiful and intelligent woman) is getting married in a few days from now. As at today though, it looks like I won’t be there. I have dreamed about being at her wedding since she was about 15years old. She has always been my baby-girl, my princess. I remember her birth so well. I remember vividly some rather amusing incidents from her growing up days.

I remember how mortified I was when she almost drowned in a swimming accident when she was 5years old. I remember her as a teenager in her blue school pinafore. I remember watching her with her friends and thinking how she just seemed to radiate with a light that brightened each of their lives. I remember when she had to have her appendix out and I had that hospital experience with her. I remember taking on those ‘young’ doctors who I thought were not qualified to operate on her. I didn’t want those ‘small boys’ toying with my angels life. Thankfully, God used them to heal her and we all became very good friends out of that. 

I remember how she has always just seems to ‘get’ me and how I always ‘get’ her. I have always felt perhaps it’s because we look so much alike that we have this special ‘thing’ between us. I have loved with her, laughed with her, cried with her, prayer with and for her and generally just indeed reserve a special part of my heart just for her. Bottom-line is that I love her so completely and totally...... and I won’t be at her wedding.

How I arrived at this point is perhaps not so much the issue anymore. Suffice to say that I have beaten myself up so much about what I could and should have done, what I shouldn’t have done but did, etc. There is a saying that in life hindsight is always 20:20. But, there is also a saying that the reason that the rear-view mirror on a car is usually smaller than the windscreen is because what lies behind is largely insignificant compared with what lies ahead. Yes, there is a greater learning and growth that has resulted out of this entire experience.

I had prayed and petitioned God endlessly. I fasted. I cried. I tried to negotiate with God. Indeed, I actually tried to ‘psyche’ God, using scripture to try to get Him to turn the situation around for my benefit. I remember telling God ‘Lord, you know right now this is not because of me anymore. It doesn’t matter if I don’t make the WAN convention. This is for my sister. You know she will be heartbroken if I am not there’. I reminded God that He said we should ask and He would give us the desires of our hearts. I reminded Him that He said we should come and let’s reason together. My reasoning was that my sister really needed me to be there for her. Somehow though, I had a nudge in my Spirit and I could almost hear the Holy Spirit say ‘Come on my daughter. I know the thoughts and intents of your heart, you know!’.  Hmmm! Suffice to say I quickly changed tactics and moved into a ‘Lord I just beg you. Grace and Favour, Lord....Pleeeaassse!’.

But God is God and always will be God. He has shown me in so many other things and ways that He is always miles ahead of me. He has shown me that every disappointment is indeed a blessing – maybe not dressed in the clothes I expected, but a blessing nonetheless. He continues to remind me every day that I should never take anything for granted, but indeed should always bring ALL things to Him in prayer and supplication just like His Word says. As I think over the past months, I realise that I was confidently making boast in all my travel plans, without specifically talking to Him about them. I never asked what His will was for my proposed attendance of the Dallas event. I just said I would be there and expected Him to move His plans for me in that direction. 

I never consulted Him about my plans to attend my sister’s wedding. I didn’t hear from God before I communicated my travel plans to my sister and she booked her wedding date to accommodate my schedules. I remember that I had a clear impression to ‘wait’ before I revalidated my ticket, but I ignored it.  I remember clearly going into a tongue-speaking frenzy as I drove off to the embassy that very early morning. Somehow, I had a sense in my spirit that the interview wouldn’t hold and I know now that that was a last ditch effort at negotiating with the Lord. I came out feeling sad and sorry for myself. Funny, I also felt the Holy Spirit‘s sadness as He brought to my mind certain steps I had taken that clearly didn’t align with His will as far as trip was concerned. As I continued to push, my entire focus being on being at that wedding, God just continued to resist me on all sides as I ignored His quiet prodding’s which were contrary to what I wanted to hear.

Finally, I broke. Amidst my tears, I decided to just surrender completely and to trust God. I reminded myself that I believe absolutely that nothing is impossible for God. I believe absolutely that He is well able, that He is the God of by-this-time-tomorrow. I believe absolutely that He hears me and answers my prayers according to His riches in glory. I believe absolutely that He sees my heart and knows my most intimate thoughts. I believe absolutely that He works everything out for my good. I believe absolutely that His ways are not my ways, or His thoughts my thoughts. I believe completely that nothing is too hard for Him so it wouldn’t have been a hard thing for Him to turn around my situation and open a door for me to attend this wedding.

But He has chosen not to. I have also made a choice. I have chosen to be at peace and know that He is God and that whatever He has not allowed me, is not for my good. I choose to believe that He felt a strong need to remind me not to leave Him out of any area of my life and not to assume I can achieve things in my own strength. He reminded me that we need to be careful not to assume some kind of spiritual arrogance where we go round making the right set of sounds, but in real terms we ignore God and the counsel of the Holy Spirit. So this is a call and a reminder to myself and to you all, to be sure that we keep a God-will focus in every area of our lives. From the decision of what to wear in the morning to the things that it comes to our minds to say throughout the day; from quiet little decisions which we make daily that may affect no one other than ourselves, to those major decisions that impact on us and other lives around us, it becomes clear that we need to ask ‘Lord, what is your will?’ or ‘Lord what would you have me do’.

I know God is not mean. I know He loves me and He loves my sister. I know that He would love for me to be at that wedding. But, I also know that He knows there is some critical decision point that lies ahead of me, which I have not had this painful experience now, I will also walk into blindly on the wrong path. So, as I chose to wipe my tears, as I choose to allow the Holy Spirit humble me on one hand and heal my pained heart on the other; I am actually choosing once again to allow God be Lord over every area of my life. I am choosing once again to say ‘Lord, not my will but Yours be done’. As I choose this, I feel His peace flooding into my soul.

My prayer is that is the Lord is dealing with you in any way today, small or great; you will be strong enough to yield to the Spirit and like me declare ‘Not my Will Oh Lord, but yours’.

Ttyl



Sunday, October 9, 2011

It’s the GOD in me


I’ve had a few amazing things happen to me over the last two weeks, some good, some great, and the others kinda ‘....oh dear’.  But there’s a lesson and learning in everything if we would only look out for it.
A few days ago, I was watching the One Gospel channel on DSTV and the video of ‘The God in Me’ by Mary Mary was on. For some reason it caught my attention more than ever before. I had some sort of revelation between hearing the words and seeing the graphics play out on the screen, as the song took on a new life and meaning. I recalled an outing with a friend last week. We had gone for an event organised by another friend, in honour of notable women of achievement and their protégés across various spheres of endeavour – the arts, music, education, fashion, business and the corporate world, etc. Expectedly as with every women’s event, we were all ‘glammed’ and ‘blinged’ to the nines. As she was called on stage, the organiser commented that she felt like such a fake based on all the accolades that were showered on her as she walked on to the stage. She’d said that accolades aside, said she was just a simple woman trying to make a difference in her own little way. As we all laughed, my friend sitting beside me leaned over and whispered that she felt exactly the same way whenever people spoke about her so glowingly also. I looked across at her – brilliant, beautiful, highly intelligent, achiever that she is; I had then laughed and said ‘Me and you both, and indeed all of us’.  
Yes, among the best of us - the most confident, ‘together’ looking and sounding of us, I have come to realise that we all have our little insecurities (though some more so than the next). Somehow though, we tend to become so focused on what we see as our shortcomings or areas of lack that we fail to see through the veils of those that we – directly or unwittingly, adjudge to be better than we are in some form or other. I remember about ten years ago, I was in some conversation with one of my younger sisters and I had said to her that I wished I was more like her. In my view she was such a collected and well-organised person, confident in her abilities and self-motivated enough to go for whatever she set her heart and mind to do. I had admired how easily she appeared to make friends, how she so easily held her own regardless of reactions of those around her, etc etc. She had thrown her head back and laughed herself to the point of tears. She then confessed that the person I’d described didn’t exist in her, but that I had just described exactly how she saw me. To say the least, I was incredulous when she said that she had always been somewhat in awe of me and always wished she was just like me. Hmm! That was difficult to digest and needless to say it took her a while to convince me that she meant it. As I opened up to her what my own fears and insecurities were, we found ourselves almost finishing sentences for each other. Yes, ultimately we had almost exactly the same set of issues. We came to the conclusion that some of our childhood experiences – parent’s bad marriage, the way we were raised; were responsible for our shared insecurities. We all are the sum total of our life’s experiences and everyone has got a bit of baggage left over. I believe that day was divinely orchestrated by God to give us both a kind of release from a bondage we had each thought we were in alone.
I would be very much a liar if I said that over the years I have never again found myself to be in a position where I had that same sense of not being as good as, as well put together as, as confident as, as intelligent as...... someone or the other that I have come across. But, I have trained and continue to train my mind to take control. I remind myself that for as many people as I have met whom I may find myself somewhat in awe of, I have met tens more who I find to be so much more in awe of me based on the outward things that they can see. Automatically therefore, if I know that I am a bundle of insecurities and imperfections just trying to make the best of me that I can in the midst of all that, then it stands to reason that anyone I find myself in awe of is simply just that also. I have learnt that any form of awe/admiration I may have for anyone, has to be channelled - not as a confirmation of any form of superiority over me, but as a platform for me to learn from them in whatever may be their area of strength, and grow based on my interaction with them as a whole. Funny thing is, I have had several of these people eventually turn around and one day tell me how they have admired me so much for this or that reason. Hmmm! People are just so complicated aren’t we?
I have learnt that in our innermost closets we are all just lonely spirits looking to be loved, accepted and admired by the world. The challenge then becomes where we are so inundated by our insecurities that we decide to allow them to define us, and limit us. We withdraw from living our lives to the fullest simply because of people’s reactions to, comments about, or treatment of us. Have you noticed how even when twenty people tell you how lovely you look today, that singular negative comment or question keeps resonating in your thoughts one week later? We are each uniquely created of God – fearfully and wonderfully made in His image and after His likeness. This is one fact that I have learnt to keep front burner. There are so many notable people in Bible history that undoubtedly faced their own fear and insecurities. David for instance was sneered at by his own wife as he danced before the Lord. You and I know that one of the most painful experiences in life is to have your spouse, close relative or friend put you down. I suspect that in those moments David would have thought ‘Hmm! Maybe I should calm down a bit more and act like the king I am. Since even my wife is sneering, maybe I am being silly. Maybe I am overdoing it a bit. Do people also think I am being ridiculous? ’. David did the one thing that we all need t do. He reminded himself he was who he was and he had achieved the things he had, not of his own making, but because of the God in him. David chose in that instant to define himself by God and not by his wife or other people’s opinions of him. David must have realised that before God, his appearance of foolishness didn’t count. What mattered was his heart, and whether he was applying himself fully to the glory of God. The same thing must apply in our own lives. We must realise that even if the next person appears to have giftings/talents that we don’t, or appear (in worldly terms) to be better ‘packaged’ or more of an all-rounder than we are, it does not count. What counts is whether we are showing forth the God that is in us such that the world is able to benefit from those things (or even that one thing) which are (is) worthy of emulation in us, even as we continually learn from and grow out of those things that are worthy of emulation in others we come in contact with.
I believe it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said that no one could make you feel inferior without your consent. This is where I land. So what if the next person appears to be prettier, better dressed, wealthier, have more friends, highly acclaimed/acknowledged by society, speaks through his/her nose (lol), carries designer bags, drives a better car, has more international degrees, yada....yada...yada....than you do? They are not YOU and will never be. Since I know God doesn’t make mistakes, I know He thought me through before He put me together and orchestrated my life, as He did yours also. I know that all things are working together for my good, as they are for you too. I know that what counts in the end will be the inner man standing naked before God ready to answer the question ‘Did you use that which I put in you to do the best which you could do for the world? Did you run your race faithfully to the end or did you allow the trappings of someone else to undermine your confidence and shy away from your purpose? Did you keep your eyes on Me or on the things of the world? Did you really appreciate that you were my unique creation, manifest for My glory? Did you....? Did YOU....? Did YOU.....? ’. Yes, on that last day it will be all about YOU. This is therefore the time to reassess ourselves and realise that we are really ‘All That’ in the eyes of God. And why not? He is in us isn’t He? I choose again today to declare that I am unique and I am called for a purpose, that I will fulfil purpose. I’m called to be extraordinary simply because of the God in me! I choose every day to relax in who I am, to do the best that I can, to learn, to grow, to conquer. I choose to give Him my all so that on the last day I can stretch out in full confidence before the Lord – no fears, no insecurities, no issues.

Put your heads up folks. You are beautiful just the way you are!

Ttyl folks

About Me

Entrepreneur, Mentor, Wife, Mother, Sister, Friend. A firm believer in God. Walking in faith everyday that by His grace, I will achieve harmony in all areas of my life, and make measurable impact in the lives of other women of the world

WORD FOR THE WEEK

LUKE 1:

34“-How can this be, Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God

JEREMIAH 2:

5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

6 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am only a youth. 7 But the Lord said to me, Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.

8 Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord. 9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. 10 See, I have this day appointed you to the oversight of the nations and of the kingdoms to root out and pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.

1st CORINTHIANS 1:

25 [This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men. 26 For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. 27 [No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. 28 And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are,

Colossians 1:

28 Him we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing everyone and instructing everyone in all wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God), that we may present every person mature (full-grown, fully initiated, complete, and perfect) in Christ (the Anointed One).

29 For this I labor [[z]unto weariness], striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me.