Speak Life Over Your Life

A few weeks ago I wrote this post about how when all is said and done, YOU get to decide what your life looks like. I don’t know about y’all but as for me and my family, we shall speak the word of the Lord.

Those who know me know that I’ve been battling depression for a while. What you may not know is that I had a major depressive episode over the holidays that left me, well, depressed, because it was a reminder of just how weak I am in the face of that dark brute, and how even though I call upon the Lord, I still have a thorn in my side. Ok ok I just said that to be dramatic *insert self-deprecating giggle here*

Last night, after reviewing my expenses again and realizing again that I can’t afford my life I need to make some big sacrifices if I’m to complete my degree next year, I was feeling very sorry for myself. I curled up in bed and closed my eyes, ready to replay the endless litany of all the ways in which I am a failure when God! God!

You know, people talk about God and sometimes, I confess, I roll my eyes on the inside because come on already, there’s no need to be a real-live Bible-thumper. Well, I’m becoming that annoying person. I don’t want to be, but I do sometimes see -and feel, if it’s an online conversation- people’s eyes glaze over when I get started on who God is, on who He is for me specifically.

I say that so you will understand that I am aware of the implications of what I’m about to share, and so that you understand that there is no response that you can give that I have not given to someone else before. Be that as it may…*drum roll please*…

…last night God wrote me a love-letter, and I’m going to share it with you so that

  1. you know that God speaks to each one of us in a way that makes sense though to others it might seem like nonsense
  2. you realize that God knows your needs and answers the prayers of your heart.

I needed comfort last night, I’m not going to lie. It’s been a long month filled with disappointment but also, as last night, with God proving Himself to be God in spite of my many failings, weaknesses, and faithlessness.

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Did you notice that my love-letter is really a collection of sentences and phrases from the Bible, mostly from the book of Isaiah and a little bit from one of the Psalms? What says God better than God’s own words?  I also expect you to understand that although I did the typing duh, God gave me the words. I didn’t set out to write this, and although I did edit it afterward (for punctuation, because I’m a grammar nazi I do that), trust me when I tell you that this is God’s promise to me, for me, and it was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. I’m sharing it with you because if God can do it for me, He can do it for you too. Write you a love-letter? Well, yes, but more specifically, if you ask Him to He can and He will speak to you in a way that YOU understand, in a way that leaves you in no doubt at all about what you just heard.

My prayer for you today is that you too will hear God’s voice, that He will speak to you in a way that makes sense to you, that He will draw you close to himself and give you comfort, that in all things He will satisfy the longing of your soul. Over and above all this though, my prayer for you is that you may understand the true meaning of grace. Grace. Outrageous, undeserved, unmerited, SCANDALOUS GRACE.

 

I’m not running I’m hiding

Like most single adult women I have at times found myself caught up in a maelstrom of emotion over that most frustrating of creatures in the known universe – a man.

This morning I was about to ask Google for a solution: how to stop stupid feelings from ruining my life. You see I’m nothing if not self-aware and I know when I need help. Don’t judge me for that Google search because despite what you might be told by my children, I really don’t know everything. Two things stopped me from completing that search. The first, that I was on my way to work and did not have access to internet on the go, and the second, that the answer came to me. To save you from such Google searches, I’m going to share that answer with you.

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You don’t need Google for this. I got you boo.

Today was a morning like any other morning except that it followed a night that had definitely not been like other nights. I went to bed wracked with guilt and disbelief over my behaviour in the late hours of yesterday evening. Disbelief because I could not believe (still can’t) that I almost did that, and guilt because I had, in fact, allowed myself to get carried away. Whatsapp and Messenger should come with pop-up warnings: may cause you to feel stupid feelings.

 

You see what had happened was *wink if you know the reference*, I was chatting with a man who gave me a magical hug a few days ago. Please don’t get it twisted: magical is an understatement and it is not a euphemism for erotic. In actual fact it was the chastest hug in the entire history of male-female hugs and it.was.perfect.

So anyway, there I was chatting with the Giver of Magical Hugs and just when things were about to turn…uhm…you know… my situation-verse (I coined that term, yay me) popped into my head. Yes, I have a particular verse for that particular man, it usually stops me from being, you know, stupid. I shared the verse with him, as one does, thus successfully albeit reluctantly turning the conversation in a whole new direction – God-ward.

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Phew! Disaster averted! Stand down the infantry!

Except I couldn’t help thinking, things should never have gotten as far as they did. I knew then that the entire conversation was evidence that the thing I’d been trying to avoid had in fact happened: I was down with the feelings.

My Google search was therefore necessary – Google saves lives doncha know – but was thankfully rendered useless by the Divine because you know what? – God is good even in the midst of our foolishness. So long story aside, how do you stop stupid feelings from ruining your life and messing up your makeup cos running mascara ain’t cute?

Short answer? Hide in God. 

Keep reading for the long answer.

Hidden in God I would not have had a restless night wrestling with guilt and berating myself for behaving like a virginal schoolgirl. I take full responsibility for opening nudging that door open.

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I did that. I apologize for my shenanigans

Why hide in God?

Because, where else?

My education, skills and talents obviously won’t make me a smart dater so I can’t hide behind those, neither will my salary (it barely covers my expenses, fix it Jesus!) nor my family, nor any of the things of this world. Nothing can cover me and give me the protection I obviously need like God can. I know this and so I consciously choose to hide myself in God.

What exactly do you hide in God?

Everything. My past, my present and my future. Everything about me that makes me prone to saying and doing stupid things. My loneliness. My sexuality. My prideful nature. My contrariness. My love for attention. My fears, my worries. My weaknesses, and my idiosyncracies…All those things that make me me but that also make me vulnerable to situations like the one I’ve just described, situations that make it obvious look like I don’t know my own mind, don’t know how to behave myself with the opposite sex; things that make me look like everything but a child of God; all of those things that make me difficult and strange and weird; all those things that have kept me from forming a meaningful exclusive relationship all these years … All of those things, I hide them in God. The man who wants me will find me there and I will know that he is the one because he will come to me through God, by God. The truth is that I must just hide. Forever. Because clearly I can’t be trusted out on my own.

What do you do while hiding?

Well, I’ll tell you what I shouldn’t do. I shouldn’t engage in inappropriate conversation. I shouldn’t put myself in situations to be hurt by men or where I can hurt them in turn. I should let God’s word be a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. That’s what I should do. 

It sounds like I’ll become this boring woman spouting Scripture at every turn. Since that idea doesn’t exactly encourage the warm and fuzzies, do you think I’m worried? No! God is the author and perfecter of my faith, the one who meets my needs and stays my feet on the path of righteousness. If you know me at all you know that that’s not an easy job (hence giving it to God, ha) and if you know God you know that He is anything but boring! Look at Him sending me magical hugs! Look at me taking magical hugs and messing them all the way up. Boring? I laugh!

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Hiding means I do not fear that I’ll never find a man who gets me, because God has not given me spirit of fear and He is a God of peace

Hiding in Him means not worrying about my future because He is Jehovan Jireh, God my provider. It means not lying awake at night wondering if I’ll ever get laid again. He is the God who satisfies the longing of my soul.

Fear is not of God, worry is not of God, and since it is fear and worry that sometimes drive me to take matters into my own hands and act like a crazy person, hiding in God will and indeed does keep me out of trouble.

I shall not fear nor shall I worry
I shall not panic nor shall I be anxious
Because God is my God
And He has called me by name.
I am His.

-Beauty’s Daughter

Choose Life

​This is the thing: at the end of the day, you are responsible for your own happiness. It is up to you to change the faulty thinking that’s led to your current situation; no one else can take the necessary action to alter your circumstances. Only you and you alone can make you happy, nobody else can change your life. 

I know the excuses: daddy issues, a deprived childhood, a mean mother, a stingy husband, hateful relatives, sub-par education, you belong to a minority, you’re a victim of abuse, you’re shy, an oppressive government…

…yes it’s been rough and in many ways it still is.  I am sorry, really I am. However, the choice to stay stuck where you are right now -in a dysfunctional relationship, a dead-end job – whatever it is – the choice to remain there is yours and yours alone because YOU have the power to choose something different. 
YOU can choose to be alone instead of unhappy, because alone doesn’t equal lonely and unhappy in a relationship is just that: unhappy. 

You can choose to switch careers, to go back to school, to be an entrepreneur; you can choose financial independence and do the work it takes to achieve your goal. 

You can choose to make healthy food choices, to be more active, to just look after your body better, nje. 

You can choose to fight the system because you’d ‘rather stand tall than live on your knees*’…

The point is, YOU. CAN. CHOOSE. 
Before you is set life and death. Choose life.* 
*Conqueror – Estelle

*Deuteronomy 30:19

Let There Be Peace

My prayer for anyone reading this is that you may know the peace of God in your life.

I pray that you may experience the peace that surpasses all understanding, that your heart may be at ease in all matters affecting your life.

My prayer for you is peace about your finances: I pray that you meet Jehovah Jireh the God who provides, and never again worry about what you shall eat or drink or wear, or what your children shall eat or how they shall get to school. Worry is not of God and I pray that it shall not be your portion.

I pray for peace about your relationships. I pray that you learn the art of giving of your treasure, whether that is your time, your money or anything else that another may need. I pray these things for you because God works His miracles through people and I want you to be a miracle-giver for those in your life, and that this might be returned to you a thousand-fold. I pray for the love of God to overwhelm you and through you to be spread throughout your community; I pray for love to be returned to you in abundance; I pray for you to walk so close with God that no human relationship can hurt you, but that in all relationships -with family, lovers, colleagues- your heart is hidden deep in God and protected by Him.

I pray peace over the full scope of your life. I rebuke fear, worry, pain, anger and bitterness. I pray these things for you dear reader, through the blood of Christ and in His name.
Amen.

Fighting the Good Fight of Faith

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He is God, He does not need your help

Today, a quick piece on fighting the good fight of faith.

You cannot pray outside of God’s will and expect positive answers. No matter how hard you pray, if your prayer is not in line with God’s will it availeth nothing. In Jesus the answer to every question is Yes, therefore there can be no such thing as God answering a prayer with No. A ‘No’ from God (for lack of a better term) simply means ‘ask again and this time, ask according to my will.’

God needs nothing from us to do what He has said He will do. Prayer is not for God to move, prayer keeps us focused on Him to whom we pray. We don’t pray so that God gives us what we want, we pray to make sure that we are where God wants us. The moves of God – what we call ‘answer to prayer’-  are simply confirmation that we are in God’s will.

God causes it to rain on the just and the unjust as He pleases, and the sun shines on the wicked and the righteous alike. We cannot strong-arm or blackmail God into doing anything. And therein lies the rub: if all that is true, what then is faith and how do I exercise it? If faith is not me screwing my eyes closed and praying hard so that God hears me, then what is it?

So many times we hear and say to each other ‘trust God’ but my problem has always been – what does that mean? What does it look like? What does it mean in practical terms to trust God? What does it mean, really, to have faith? Well, I’ll tell you because thank God I finally get it:

Trusting God or having faith means resisting worry, fear, anxiety; it means resisting the urge to take matters into your own hands and do what you think needs to be done; it means leaving everything up to God. Trust me, it’s not as easy as it seems.

Faith is choosing to stand with God. Faith is believing what God has said to you whether through dreams, prophecies, visions or whatever way He speaks to you. Check out Hebrews 11 and see what the ancients were commended for: their faith. They didn’t all receive what they had been promised, but didn’t they all die in faith? Faith is not a magic panacea like ‘have faith and all your dreams come true’ – No. Faith is a state of being, an attitude of living. If you have faith you live as one who has the Almighty to fight all her battles. Think on that a minute, and consider what the life of one who is always in faith must look like. 

All around you the world is clamouring for your attention; someone is offering a slightly dubious solution to your problem; every day you find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things you need to do to get your life to look the way you want it to look. Well, faith is resisting all those urges because you trust God. Faith is understanding that your fight is not to fix things, but to remain steadfast in God.

The Bible says in Proverbs:

the horse is made ready for the battle but the victory belongs to the Lord.
Proverbs 21:31

and in Exodus (one of my favourite verses and now I know why)

The Lord will fight for you, you have only to be silent.
Exodus 14:14

That, ladies and gentlemen, is FAITH.

Contrary to what some would have you believe, faith is not inexplicable and it is not difficult to understand. Well, in some ways it is (reference this entire post) but essentially faith is believing what God says and who He is. Now don’t get it twisted, faith is not what makes God real, faith is the only acceptable response to who you know God to be. If you have faith in God i.e. if you know who God is, then you expect God to do what He has said He will do, and you will therefore not be consumed by worry or fear or anything that is not noble or pure or beautiful or true. Anytime you start to worry you can go back to God’s promises to you and rekindle your passion, before worry, fear and anxiety set in. That, ladies and gentlemen, is FAITH.

Does this mean then that the believer is exempt from battles, fights, and struggles? By no means: we live in a fallen world and we have an enemy. The important thing is to know that though the enemy may attack, it is not your job to fight back. If you look at the armour of God in Ephesians 6: 10-18 you will notice that all the armour is defensive, except for the sword which is the Word of God. Understand that you do not have to fight, you only have to stand, and when you have done all, stand, speaking the Word of God over your circumstances.

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Stand, therefore

You stand still long enough to let God fight your battles.
You stand for stillness in your life that you might know that He is God.
You stand unwavering where God has placed you.
You stand in God’s will in all times and at all places.
You stand for the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living;
You stand with God’s hand upon your life.
You STAND, and when you have done all, YOU STAND.

You don’t hope God will come through for you, you expect Him to, because you have faith and you know that faith is knowing who God is and knowing that He will do what He has said He will do.

I am the Lord, and there is no other;
besides me there is no god.
I arm you, though you do not know me,
so that they may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is no one besides me;
I am the Lord, and there is no other
Isaiah 45:5-6

References:
Proverbs 21:31
Exodus 14:14
Nehemiah 4:14
Hebrews 11:1Ephesians 6:10-18
Isaiah 45:5-6
Deuteronomy 2:7
Romans 8:28
Romans 5:3-4
Psalm 18:47
2 Chronicles 20:12-17

Wait for it, though it tarry

I came across some old journals today and flipped through them, stopping here and there to read and marvel at how stupid I have been. I have written evidence of times when I prayed to God for something and then turned around and took matters into my own hands. The number of times I’ve gone ahead and acted instead of waiting on God -! I think you get the idea of how mortified I am by my past behaviour.

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I have no regrets, but lots of lessons to revise

Mortified is the wrong word. What I am is…strengthened; encouraged, because ngivela khatshana and my story is far from over.  Today I was reminded of where I have gone wrong in the past, and it was a timely reminder that I need to do what I have failed (spectacularly) to do in the past:

I need only be still and wait, for the Lord will fight for me.

I need only be still and remember that He is God.

I used to moan and mumble about how God never answers my prayers. I remember even saying that God obviously IS a respecter of a persons, because why else would I face the same battles? Reading through my old journals with the benefit of hindsight showed me that it’s not that God didn’t answer my prayers, it’s that I called myself ‘fixing things,’ often ending up in the very situation that I was praying to avoid, all because I was impatient (which really just means that I lacked the faith it would have taken to trust God to work things out for my good).

How can the body be healed if the body isn’t being truthful about what hurts?

In 2013 I was a single mother of one and I wrote in my journal that I would trust God with my love-life. In 2016 I am a single mother of two because instead of trusting God I decided to solve single myself. I won’t go into the details of my relationship history; suffice it to say ‘waiting on God’ when the hormones are raging is not the easiest struggle I’ve ever had. I would say -I’m giving it to God; I’m waiting on Him- only to find myself in an unsuitable relationship trying to strong-arm God into overlooking my wilful disobedience.

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Do you believe, really believe, that He is a faithful God?

 

It took re-reading those journals to show me where I’ve been weak in the past (just in time, too), where I’m winning now (I have learnt some lessons), and how I can maintain momentum. It took reading my own words to see clearer than ever before how my desire for romantic love and companionship has been corrupted and used against me (damn you, sin-nature!) and to see how loneliness, boredom and lack of ambition are a deadly trio against living a godly life.

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The dream, right? Wait for it, it will come.

I could tell you how many years/months/weeks it’s been since I had sex, but that is not the point. I’m not trying to win any medals for celibacy and that information will not help you, anyway. What will help you is to know that it does get easier, temptation does fall away, and more importantly, that although waiting on the Lord is difficult and almost impossible (almost, I said) in the beginning, it becomes sweeter the more time you put into that relationship.

By that, I mean waiting on God doesn’t mean doing your own thing in every other area of your life except the one in which you’re waiting for God’s move. It means seeking God in every moment and thanking Him in every circumstance. It means acknowledging that HE is the Creator and you the created, and living like you know that He knows best in EVERYTHING.

It means receiving the gift of discernment: you cannot build a relationship with one you do not know and whose voice you cannot pick out from the pandemonium of your life. Building your relationship with God does not just mean daily reading of Christian blogs and praying form prayers and making sure you’re in church every Sunday (although that’s not the worst thing). It means exactly what it says: building YOUR relationship with God. It means making time to hear God’s voice for yourself, by yourself, throughout the day. If you don’t know what that means, find out, because there is no way you will ever be able to wait on God if you can’t hear from him in a way that makes sense to you. If you can’t hear from Him, you might never experience the abundant, victorious life that God has for you; you might forever be on the outside looking in, wondering why God doesn’t seem to bless you the way He blesses everyone else.

It’s taken me almost a thousand words but all I really want to say is this:

You will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart  and your joy will be complete.

I know what you’re thinking: you’re thinking ‘but I haaaave…’

 Have you really? Or have you been following the forms and going through the motions?

Can you honestly say

I will wait for the vision though it tarry.
Yet I will wait
For I know that it will surely come
And will not be late?

Can you?

 

 

References:
Habakkuk 2:3
Exodus 14:14
Psalm 46:10
Jeremiah 29:13
John 16:24

 

 

The Blessing of the Lord is Perfect…

…it brings no sorrow with it.

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That’s right. The blessing of the Lord is perfect, it brings no sorrow with it. What kind of God would He be if His blessings brought us pain?

God wants to bless us.
He has plans to bring us prosperity not lack, because lack is not a kingdom reality.What does not exist in heaven can, should and must be banished from earth because on earth, as it is in heaven.

True Kingdom Living
If you say you’re living in the kingdom, living for the kingdom, then you cannot live in a manner that is not of the kingdom.  Lack is not a reality in the kingdom because for God to be God all things must be infinite in Him. It is impossible for your needs to be unmet if you are in God; impossible for your desires to go unsatisfied, if you are in God. God is infinite therefore His supply is infinite.

What my life must look like
Lack is thus an impossibility in the kingdom of God and for me, for whom all things are possible in Christ. As a Daughter of the King it therefore follows that lack cannot be a reality in my life, thus lack and poverty, if they exist in my life, are merely a signpost towards my abundance.

Lack is God saying ‘you’re going the wrong way’
It doesn’t matter what you’ve been doing, for how long, who taught you to do it, why you’re justified to believe it – none of that matters. What matters is, are you living a Kingdom life?
Are you experiencing the peace of God in your life?
Are you joyous in the Lord?
Are you living the abundant life that Christ died to give you?

If not, why not?

Take heed, listen.
God is telling you that you’re going the wrong way. God is telling you that your blessings are being highjacked and you need to do something about it.
Look at your life: what are you compromising on?
Where are you blocking your own blessings?
What manner of thing is standing between you and the abundance that God has for you? 

Go, therefore, and ready yourself for your blessing.

If Christ is in you, and His name is Excellent, Excellence must be in you. Excellence must be your standard. Poverty, lack…these things are not excellent and therefore these things cannot be God’s plan for you.
If God is Jehovah Jireh, why are you living a small, mean life of lack? If He is The All then shouldn’t you be walking in abundance and prosperity, daily?

God wants your prosperity, your success
Jehovah Jireh has only good things for you, pressed down shaken together and running over. You have one job: ready yourself for the blessing of God. Do that which is within you to do to come closer to God. In short: remove sin from your life, accept Grace, and be ruthless about both.

Last words
Pay no attention to those who teach that God has no desire for you to be wealthy or that He is unconcerned about your success. Pay no attention to those who teach that poverty is holy in any way. Equally pay no attention to those who keep you bound in the lie that wealth must come with bad consequences such as ill health or loneliness or meanness of spirit. Stand on the truth that God’s blessing is perfect and brings no sorrow with it.

The blessing of God makes rich and He adds no sorrow with it.

Proverbs 10:22