Sunday, 31 January 2016

Purpose. Find it. Pursue it.

Happy weekend! (Actually, it will probably be almost over by the time this is posted)
En route to the gathering of the brethren
I hope you have had a great week. I didn't get up to much in the week, but the weekend has been super busy. One of the many activities was a family gathering to remember and celebrate the life of a great aunt who passed just before Christmas, in Ghana. Although such an occasion would ordinarily be a sombre time, in my family we don't like to think of death as the end. After the tears have been wiped away we tend to celebrate the time spent on earth, the fact that the departed is in a better place, and the hopeful expectation of being reunited with our loved one. However such occasions always send me on a long and winding road of deep thought.

A fixture of many family gatherings
So, I want to touch on something that I feel every human being on earth should know about, and should pursue while he or she has been blessed with the gift of time.


In short, all I want to say about purpose is that you should chase after it. Chase it like something is chasing you.

I believe that  graveyards are some of the richest places in this world. What a crazy thing notion, you're probably thinking. However I put this notion forward because, with our loved ones are books that were never written, businesses that were never started, ideas that were never explored, speeches that were never given, and love that was never shared. I am making sense now aren't I?

So then, how do you know what your purpose is? It may help to grab something you can make notes with, because I would love for you to answer as many of these as you can.

On kitchen duty with mummy

1. What abilities come to you the easiest? This is a great place to start.
2. What frustrates you the most? Sometimes, knowing what you would most love to change about your community, society or workplace can pinpoint the purpose you were created for.
3. If you HAD to volunteer a week of your time to any cause, charity or organisation, what would it be? I say this because if you make money your motivation, you will get demotivated quite quickly.
4. What activity/ career move or project do you regret not embarking on the most? It's never too late you know!
5.What scares you the most? Sometimes your purpose will scare you just as much as it excites you because the possibility of a thousand doors being opened to you, due to that fulfilled purpose is almost too much to bear!

Now on serving duty. That's how my family does it!
Have you found it yet? Great! Now you have no excuse BUT to commit time to pursuing it.  If not, PLEASE do not worry. In fact this is a serious task so I would expect you to take some time. But I would advise you to keep note making until your thoughts make sense to you. I would also suggest you keep pursuing your hobbies and interests (and possibly explore new ones), and keep interacting with the people and the world around you, until your purpose becomes clear to YOU (it doesn't have to make sense to anyone else).

Have a great week. 

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Do You Need a Resolution?

We are officially in the shadows of the post festive period; fairy lights and Christmas trees have been put away until next Christmas, and it's now #backtowork. I am sure we are now all firmly focused on our new year resolutions and goals for 2016. This will form the backdrop of today's post.
Sad, dismantled Christmas tree
I remember in my childhood and teenage years, with every new year that ticked over I would make a firm pledge to the skies of what I will do religiously and abstain from for the next twelve months. The opening pages of my journal (because I just HAD  to get a new one every year) would have sentences beginning "I will give up...", and "Every morning, I will...". The problem with doing this, is that by mid January I would have already flouted half of these resolutions. I sadly did not have the discipline or tenacity to stick to them.

It's for this reason, that I no longer make new year resolutions.

I have learnt these three things about new year resolutions: One, that once you place a restriction on yourself, or tell yourself you cannot do or have something, you are naturally drawn to it. Two, if you really serious about making a lifestyle change you do not need to wait until the 1st of January to do it; and three, the first time you don't do something you promised you would commit to, you become a failure. You have failed to keep your new year resolution.

So how do you avoid this problem?
Juicing: one change I was determined to make before the new year
Don't get me wrong, new year resolutions probably do work for some of you reading this, but I guarantee you that for most people, there is probably a better way to go about things.

Bringing me to my next point. Goals. I have weighed this whole business of making life decisions at the new year and I have figured that it's probably better to make attainable goals, with an end date in mind, that can be achieved, and whose success can be fairly measured. So for instance instead of "I will quit smoking", you could probably tell yourself, "by April 2016, I will be a non smoker". This is a better resolve because it gives you the chance to quit gradually, without breaking any resolutions, and without the risk of relapsing. 

Have you tried a visionary board?
Sorry about the poor focus
Visionary boards are also a great way to keep you focused on your impending achievements. Incase you are not familiar with visionary boards, they are simply a visual of what you'd like to see in your life, and they can be built with words, magazine cut outs and drawings. I like visionary boards but I have learnt that they will only work if you believe in your vision; you keep your visionary board visible; and if you set yourself timeframes in which to achieve your goals.

What do you think? Do you agree with me? Are new year resolutions difficult to stick to? Have you set some goals for this year? If so what are you doing to ensure you achieve them? Please share.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Study Time: Faith

Hi all,

By the time this is published it will be 2016! How were your new year celebrations? Me, I had a wonderful time at church followed by a massive party at my aunt's. We literally partied until day break!
What better way to start the year than to exercise a little bit of faith? You have probably set yourself goals or a list of achievements you would like to see fulfilled this year. Well, to have any chance of realising those dreams for 2016, you will need faith. That, and a little bit of hard work!

This installment of Study Time will give you the basics of what faith really is. After you have read this, you will need to go out and add to your new found knowledge, and most importantly ACT on this knowledge. 

Definitions of Faith

Dictionary: Belief that is not based on proof
Bible:  Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

The first thing to note from the two definitions is that faith is knowing that something exists without you even having to cast your eyes upon it, feel it or even taste it. For example, it's like ordering a new sofa, and clearing space for it before it arrives, because you know it's coming.
Before Crossover Night on the 31st

Key Scriptures: Hebrews 11: 1- 12, James 2: 14-26

If you have a copy of the Bible, turn to Hebrews 11, or simply google it. There you will read about all the champions of the Hall of Faith, and what their faith did for them

Six Things to Know about Faith
1. It requires action 
Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works (James 2:26, NIV)

2. It must be authentic

Truly I tell you, if you have faith, and do not can say to this mountain 'Go throw yourself into the sea', and it will be done (Matthew 21:21. NIV)

3. It has to impact others
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not show it by your actions. Can that kind of faith save anyone? (James 2: 14, NIV)

4. It will make you look foolish

Some were jeered at... (Hebrews 11: 36, NIV)

5. With prayer, it will not fail

You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it. (Matthew 21:22, NLT)

6. Start small, it can be built upon.
"Truly, I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed...nothing will be impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20, NIV)
The main thing to also remember is that faith is not magic. It requires patience and perseverance. I must also repeat that it won't work if you do not act. What have you always wanted to do? Start a business? Go on a course? Get healthy? Save money? Travel? Write a book? 

Why not start your chain of action by writing one of your goals on a large piece of paper, and underneath that goal, list one thing you will do each week of this quarter (January to March) to work towards it? Pin it up somewhere you can see it as a reminder, and as a way to hold yourself accountable to the promise you have made to yourself. With each quarter that passes you can change this sheet of paper, replacing it either with the same goal or a different one. 

At church, after crossover night
In keeping with the theme of faith, one of the most important thing the Good Book says about faith is:  "...the very message about faith that we preach: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10: 8-9). 

Not only that, God is 100% faithful and dedicated to us. If you submit your plans to him, you will do more than just achieve goals, you will smash them!

So if this lesson has awakened your faith and you'd like to be saved and to enjoy a relationship with the God I speak of; or your faith in God has been dimmed by disappointment and you'd love to rekindle it, please read aloud the following prayer:

Heavenly Father, I recognise that I am a sinner, and ask for forgiveness for my sinful nature.
I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for me, rose for me and is coming back for me.
I declare in Jesus' name that I am saved!
It's as simple as that!

Was meant to take a photo of the party food before we tucked in!

Good luck with your endeavours this year. I pray you will have enough faith to step out and make life happen!
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