Love your past to love your future

The other day I said to a class of young people:  the past is gone but it’s far from over, and I meant just that. It’s your past and you need to examine it, learn from it and only then can you let it go. I am a firm believer in letting the past go, probably because until very recently I felt as though my own past needed to be buried away and never again allowed to see the light of day. However, letting the past go is easier said than done as any adult knows, and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on this seemingly nebulous formless thing we refer to as ‘the past’.

If you’ve ever listened to ‘prosperity seminars’ or attended a ‘wealth summit’ or even listened to preachers of the ‘prosperity gospel’ *insert eye roll here* then you will, at some point, have been told all about how your future is now, unlike your past which you need never speak of again, you being a new wealthier creation and all if you just say so loud enough and often enough. This is not entirely true though, the part about your past being irrelevant. You see, the truth is that the past isn’t done. In spite of what you may have learnt in the pew or in that expensive seminar, the past is not over.

The past is impacting us even as we go about living our futures now. It is changing us as we think about it, as we collect fresh understanding and pick up previously unnoticed nuances from it.  You see, as counter-intutive as it might seem there is a certain freedom to be found in identifying and naming the mistakes of the past just as there is in rightly deciphering and attributing the victories. Knowing why and how you failed is just as valuable as knowing what factors contributed to your success.

Your attitude about your past matters because you cannot truly call yourself free if you’re still living in bondage to your past, if you’re in a constant state of fear of being found out to be other than you portray yourself to be. Adulthood is an intensely beautiful, agonising journey but it is also the best trip you will ever go on, certainly one you don’t want to miss. Who wants to wake up dead without ever having lived? See what I did there? How can you call yourself living when there’s entire tracts of history, your history,  you can’t bear to examine or worse yet lie about?

I know now that not coming to terms with your past and not celebrating even the bad parts of it is akin to being one of the walking dead. Every single thing that has happened to you whether for ill or good neutrality has shaped you and if you did your part – learning and growing through experience, it has all made you who you are. When you deny your experience you are also denying aspects of your personality, stifling yourself, stunting your own growth. You aren’t fully yourself because every day you deny your past you kill some part of yourself, and that is no way to live. I know; I’ve tried it.

To truly enjoy your journey through adulthood your priorities have to be straight, your goals set, and your vision wide enough to encompass the many facets of who you are. In addition to all that you should understand that you can’t be fully joyous in your current setup no matter how lavish it is without acknowledging the less than perfect circumstances of the past and thanking God that you came through.

Your past is still impacting you today, whether you like it or not. Turn this in your favour by daring to face your past and accept it as it is, without embellishment, denial or crippling regret. Acknowledging past mistakes is not the same as living in bitter regret, make sure you understand the difference. At the end of the day, living a life of secrecy and falsehoods isn’t worth the effort it takes to maintain the facade.  That’s energy with which you could be drawing happiness closer to you. Live a life of authenticity and you’ll be amazed at how the forces that govern the universe converge to bring you what you really need and truly desire.

Own your truth, love it, live it.

Of time and Grace

What is time? Time is Grace. If in one of its many permutations Grace is a second, third, fiftieth chance then time is another chance. Time is Grace, therefore. Another chance to do God’s will, another try; Grace says, try, I’m on your side, I want you to win. All you have to do is obey. And therein lies the rub.

The obedience isn’t the hard thing. The hard thing is dying to self. I can follow your rules as long as they don’t conflict with anything I want to do. I’m obeying, but when there is a conflict between my perceived interests and yours and I do what you want me to not what I want, I am successfully dying to self, subsuming my wishes to yours.  That is the hard thing.

When we say we are obedient to God’s will, do we really mean that? Do we even know what we’re saying? Most people I know who call themselves Christian, myself included, talk about how they obey God’s will, but not many of us have died to self. When what we know to be the will of God conflicts with what our own will desires, what path do we most often choose? This is what sin is. A choosing to follow our own will instead of the Father’s will.

The letter you knew you shouldn’t send. The phone call you shouldn’t have made. That sex you weren’t supposed to have.

I think a lot of the harm we do ourselves stems from not aligning our will with that of the Father, particularly in the areas of our sexual desires and economic stability. In these two areas we walk a grey area, cutting corners, rationalising, cheating, essentially stealing from ourselves. We make up or exaggerate experience to get and keep our jobs. We lie to ourselves and each other about the people we allow into our lives and into our bodies. We give each other license to sin in these areas, speaking in terms of ‘needs’, and ‘reality’ and ‘being grown’. Of what else do we speak when we say things like: everyone has issues, and so&so is broken? The language we use speaks of a lack of rightness that is in no way superficial, but that runs deeper than the physical, deeper even than the emotional, and goes all the way to the spiritual. But back to the subject at hand – dying to self and living in the Father’s will. Had I died to self instead of indulging my own desires, it is highly likely that my life would look very different. What a comfort to know that even when I look back and see missteps and unnecessary detours, God loves me enough that I have still, in spite of myself, ended up living His perfect and pleasing will for my life. In order to see that though, one has to look beyond the superficial, beyond the obvious, and see, really see, the deeper things of God.

Psalm 86:15  – But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

God doesn’t have a dollar figure for the perfection he has for me.  My glory, my abundant life, isn’t to be measured in financial worth. What God has for me is happiness, peace of mind, joy, beauty, delight, awe, wonder…when I look at my children, I have all these things. When Thembi says ‘Mama’ in his very own unique way, I touch a bit of heaven. When Siya looks right into my eyes and sees me, and smiles, it’s ecstasy in my heart. The point I’m making here is that even when I haven’t always been obedient, even when I’ve sinned and turned my back on God, He has never turned His back on me. He has loved me enough to still give me happiness beyond measure, even when I keep yearning for more. He satisfies my soul. When I begin to hanker after the things of the flesh He lovingly reminds me that what I have is worth far more than what my sinful nature is craving.

Every day that I wake up is time. Time to draw closer to God, time to enjoy the gifts He has given me, time to become the person He created me to be. Every moment is another chance, every breath is Grace, unmerited favour, another chance to choose to obey, to say yes, God. I mean, how many people have I cut off and been cut off by because there were no more chances? How many times have I dared to say God, you’ve let me down again, it’s over? Yet God against whom I have sinned so grievously continues to give me chance after chance, breath after breath, day after day. He still pours out His Grace upon me, still blesses me abundantly even when I am ungrateful. What kind of love is that?

Psalm 136:26 Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His steadfast love endures forever.

Changes coming; change is coming

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Yes. I’ve not been posting. What can I say? The graphic above refers. Been growing through stuff. I thought about deleting this blog and starting over but…I figure I need this documentation of my journey, and so many of you (more like all two of you, but like Jabez I pray…) have written to let me know your thoughts on particular posts that I didn’t want to poof all that away.

I haven’t yet decided what direction this blog is going to take, but I just wanted to say thank you for your support, for reading and engaging, and I’ll be back sooner than you know it.

Meanwhile, where are you in your faith walk? I seem to have forgotten how to ‘press forward’; please keep me in your prayers.

Stay blessed.

Because trust, marriage is divine

The power of a man is in the woman he loves and chooses to spend his life with. A wife is a sacred being. To be a wife is to be forever changed. A wife holds her husband’s life in her hand. Feminists arise and say ‘but men…’ Yes, I hear you and I agree: men should carry a fair portion of the blame. But as the woman is different to the man, so too is the wife different from the husband. A man’s strength, his manhood, his manliness is measured by how he provides for, protects and ministers to his wife. A woman’s betrayal of her husband is a direct blow to that man, to the very core of him, the part of him that is man. Who does not know that the quickest, surest and most effective way to destroy a man is to sleep with his wife, and make sure he finds out about it? What does that do to a man? Is such a man not humiliated beyond any action he may take to save face? Do you not feel sorry for him? And the feelings are so confused because on the one hand he is a victim: his wife cheated on him, but on the other, come on, his wife cheated on him. To be a girlfriend caught cheating is one thing, but to be a wife, a cheating wife? That is another thing altogether. There’s no cheating girlfriend tag on adult sites but items in the cheating wife category abound. There’s a difference, and there’s a reason for that difference.
I read something somewhere, a line that went ‘when a woman loves a man he is her strength, but when a man loves a woman she is his weakness.’ There is so much deep profound truth in that statement. Let he who has ears hear.