RSS

SIGNIFICANT LIFE LESSON #2 – PAIN IS TEMPORARY

“Pain is temporary!”

I remember the first time I read this statement it seemed to jump off the page at me. I had spent so much of my life doing my best to avoid pain that this appeared to be a very novel concept. The idea is this – regardless of how much physical, emotional and spiritual pain one may feel in the process of doing what one ought to do, when one ought to do it, it’s not worth abandoning the act or project. The pain will pass eventually. You will be left with something quite pleasurable.

A simple case in point would be exercise. Exercise can be downright painful sometimes, from a physical standpoint. Even if it isn’t physically painful, there is the fact that one could be spending the time one spends exercising, doing something that is more immediately gratifying.

What could possibly keep one exercising through pain, especially when there are many other things one could be doing? Perhaps without exception it is the thought of the pleasure one will eventually gain from the benefit of the exercise. Your vision has to take you beyond present pain to future pleasure.

My master Jesus had Himself mastered the concept. For the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross and scorned the shame. (Hebrews 12:2) What an awesome example He has set for us! We should therefore keep our eyes fixed on Him so that we “will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:3) “This too shall pass!”

Sleepless nights studying for exams? This too shall pass!

Vigorous, painful exercise? This too shall pass!

Have to tighten the belt and stick to a strict budget? This too shall pass!

Reminding myself that pain is temporary helps me focus and get things done, even when I don’t want to do it. I hope this helps you in the same way! Do you have any similar secrets you would like to share?

Advertisements
 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

SIGNIFICANT LIFE LESSON #4 – TRUST GOD! (The story of my trip to Bangalore)

It’s time for another blog post. I know I missed last week in the flurry of wrapping up the launch/dedication of my ministry (CREW 40:4) and preparing for this trip to Bangalore and the UK. I decided to just let it pass rather than posting it late. Hope that didn’t bother anyone too much, especially after my big talk about consistency! Well, I’m still somewhere on the learning curve so please bear with me J.

It’s amazing how after many experiences where God shows up with His usual faithful self I still find myself doubting, but it happens. Sometimes it’s as if you just can’t help yourself. So anyhow, here’s the story…

Somehow I just couldn’t get myself settled for this trip to Bangalore. I just had this nervous, anxious feeling in my stomach. Coming into New York was crazy. Road works caused us to take two hours to make the half an hour trip from the airport. So when the person who was taking me to the airport for this part of the trip said he’d pick me up at 6:30 I was a little disturbed and said I’d prefer 6:00. We struck a compromise with 6:15. I was still very nervous. In fact, I was so nervous that I wasn’t quite ready when he came! I was doing that spinning around thing that you do when you’re in panic mode! So we left at about 6:30 by the time we had got the luggage into the vehicle.

Traffic. Lots of it. Luckily my designated driver knew what to do but it still took us almost twice as long as it should have. Not to worry though, since I was still there two and a half hours before departure time, right? Ha! We looked through the glass and saw what looked like a million people … well at LEAST half a million … in the terminal waiting to be processed. Then, first ominous sign, as I we took my roller bag from the vehicle one side of the pulley handle broke. Wonderful!

I hurried inside as best as I could with the injured bag, found a check-in kiosk, and tried to print my boarding pass. Failed! I took my place in the ‘line’ (it was really much more than a line. ‘Line’ does not begin to define that monster of a snake!) After about 20 minutes I had it figured out. At the rate at which we were moving, it would take me two hours and twenty minutes to get to the counter. Of course, my flight would be gone by then!

I was encouraged when at one point an agent came through and pulled out people who had a flight leaving at 8:40. Mine was scheduled for 9:55. I figured they wouldn’t let the flight leave without me then. The agent would come back and pull me (and the others who were on my flight) just in time and I would be processed with enough time to spare to catch my flight. I watched and waited. The agent never came back. Well, eventually he did, but only pulled those who already had boarding passes! You will recall I was unable to print mine, so I had to stay in the line. By this time, though, I was almost at the front so I was extremely hopeful.

Then I finally get to the agent. She looks at my flight information and says “You’re not going to make this flight.” I was about to protest when she added “Even if you make it your bags won’t!” No more protest from me. I was not about to leave my bags behind. I’ve had too much bag drama in my short life already!

So I say to her “Can you put me on the next flight?”

Says she: “I can’t do that. You’ll have to go around the corner to ticketing.”

The way she was treating me one would have thought it was my fault they didn’t have enough personnel to handle the massive number of persons coming through the terminal! (Not good British Airways!!)

Anyway I grab my bags and dash around the corner. One more line. Granted, not as daunting as the one I was just in, but on close examination, this line was almost not moving at all! I now realize that it will take a miracle to get me on the next flight, which would be the last flight for the day, which would mean that I would miss my connecting flight from London to Bangalore. Not acceptable!

You will remember that I was feeling inexplicably nervous and anxious about this trip. Now it was beginning to unfold. I tried to relax, but found it extremely difficult. I tried to remind myself that God was in charge. Yes, I knew this in my head but my body was not adjusting itself to the knowledge. I prayed. I tried to submit myself to whatever the outcome would be. Not having any means of communicating with anyone outside the airport was not helpful. I had visions of me sleeping in the airport, waiting for the next flight out. I had visions of me having to forfeit the ticket. I had visions … all kinds of thoughts were just swirling through my head, none of them very pleasant!

I glanced to my right and saw the check-in area for the first and business class passengers. It was empty, but there was an agent at one of the desks. I plucked up courage in my desperation and went over to her. I explained my situation. She made a call. Next thing I knew she was telling me she had me on standby for the next flight! “How many bags?” “Two” I told her. By this time I had decided I couldn’t manage the injured hand luggage. Furthermore there was a sign that said I should be able to place the bag unaided into the overhead bin. I knew I couldn’t do that, and probably shouldn’t, given that I’m still on the tail end of recovery mode after major surgery. The lady at the first counter had told me it would cost $60 for the extra bag, so I took out my purse. There was no need! She didn’t charge me a cent!

I was in shock and disbelief as I headed for the gate. How did that happen? I felt a bit guilty leaving all the others behind who had also missed the flight, but I didn’t look back. I was recognizing favour! I ran to the security checkpoint. No use running because of course there’s a line. It was time for boarding. I almost got agitated when my heart finally recognized the situation – THIS WAS A SITUATION OVER WHICH I HAD ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL ! In situations like these, the modus operandi is to pray, and then go to sleep while God works! This is what has worked for me in the past. God always shows up! (I recall the time I had to travel from Kingston to Montego Bay on a very small plane. I was very uncomfortable about that, and what worked for me was to quote this verse: “He will keep in perfect peace he whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in Him.” (Isaiah 26:3) I promptly fell asleep and didn’t awake until we were landing in Montego Bay safe and sound!)

So I get to the gate and all the people are waiting. Boarding has not yet begun. The gate area is crowded. I go to the counter and identify myself. They tell me to have a seat but it looks doubtful because there are only 4 extra jump seats (whatever those are)and those were already assigned.

They started boarding the plane. No sooner had I sat down in the crowded departure area, envisioning myself spending the night in New York and trying to figure out how to get to Bangalore, than I heard them paging me! They called me through the line of people boarding, handed me my boarding pass, made a call to I don’t know who, confirming my seat on the plane – 25A – and the next thing I knew I was sitting in a premier seat on the plane (more leg room, socks, and those cushy earphones they don’t give to the people in the back of the plane!), wondering how the dickance did that happen!! The tears came. I knew I didn’t deserve this because my faith had been so weak. But then I also knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that this was not about me. This was God doing what He had to do to fulfill His purpose! This was also God doing what only He could do and confirming His presence with me on this trip!

So there you have it! One more Godincidence for my collection! If you have any similar stories feel free to share them! I also invite you to share what lessons you learned from this episode. You never know how your story may encourage someone else!

 
8 Comments

Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

SIGNIFICANT LIFE LESSON #3 – DESIRE

When I was in my early 20’s my father told me I had no ambition … and he was right! This was something that my ninth grade English teacher had also come to ‘discover’ when she asked each of us in the class to say what our career ambition was. I remember struggling in my mind to know what to say when my turn came. Eventually when it was my turn to say what I wanted to become, I said “I want to be a hairdresser!” I still remember the disdain with which this teacher regarded me.

Now she was wrong. It was wrong of her to look down on any profession, and especially one which calls for such an exquisite blend of science and art! However, it could be that she was looking through my response and seeing that it wasn’t coming from any deep place of desire. Somehow it wasn’t built into my DNA to desire any of the fine things that other people seemed to naturally desire. I only wanted to be happy and comfortable. That was all.

Many things have transpired in my life since those days. I look back on my ambitionless life and think that I really couldn’t have done a better job if I had actually planned it myself. Would life be any more purposeful now if I had focused on things that I desire?

One fine day, though – and I wish I could recall each detail so that we could really trace a pattern or something that would indicate how I arrived at this truth experientially – one fine day I recognized the power of desire and passion. One fine day it dawned on me that God wants to grant the heart’s desire of those who find delight in Him (Psalm 37:4). If His children have no desire then how can He fulfill those desires? It is one of the most powerful things when our own desires connect with the desires of God!

I did some soul searching and realized that a huge part of my not desiring things through the years was a fear of the disappointment that comes with not receiving what we desire. It is stemming from a lack of faith in God at least to some degree.

Slowly but surely, I’m giving myself permission to desire. It’s a scarily beautiful experience! Can anyone relate?

 

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

MY TOP 5 HABITS

They say our lives are the result of the habits we have formed. Habits are things we consistently do. They could be taking us toward our goals or away from them. For the past two weeks I have shared about consistency. This week I will simply share the top 5 habits I have formed or am in the process of forming, which are helping me to meet my physical, social, spiritual and other goals:

  1. Talk to God – commit the day to Him and give thanks for life and purpose!
  2. Drink a green smoothie every day at breakfast time.
  3. Take a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Read a chapter from the book of Proverbs each day. (There are conveniently 31 chapters.)
  5. Send a blessing to Facebook friends who are celebrating birthdays! (I have over 2,500 FB friends so each day there is at least one person celebrating a birthday … except for that one day when stangely there were none!)

So what are YOUR top 5 habits? Do you share any of mine? What habits have you not yet formed but would like to form, and why? (I could think of quite a few for myself! Perhaps next week’s post will be entitled – THE HABITS I STRUGGLE WITH THE MOST!

Image

 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

THE NUMBER ONE THING THAT HELPS ME MAINTAIN CONSISTENCY

Last week’s post was the first in a series of significant life lessons that I have been learning. It was about consistency.

You know how it is. You make up your mind to consistently do a thing because you know that thing is good for you. Somewhere along the line, sooner rather than later, you are strongly tempted to do otherwise; to compromise in some way. “Just this once…” prods that voice in your head … or is it in your heart?

Yes, you’re working toward a goal. There’s a good, strong reason why you decided to consistently reconcile your accounts each night, or to consistently write one page per day, or to consistently exercise 5 days per week, or to consistently  _________________ (fill in the blank).  It does help to have a good, strong reason to keep you focused, and I’m sure that has helped me in some of those times that I have been tempted to veer away from consistency in some area of my life.

However, I heard this one statement that has revolutionized my approach to pretty much everything. It is simple, yet profound. I wish I could remember where I first heard it! (If anyone reading this could help me to find it I would be deeply grateful!)

Here it is: “Do what you need to do, when you need to do it, WHETHER YOU FEEL LIKE IT OR NOT!” Somehow it strikes a chord with something else in me and I realize that this should have been my mantra a long time ago. Think of it – as a follower of Jesus Christ “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

IT THEREFORE DOES NOT MATTER WHAT ‘I’ FEELS! In fact, that feeling is really like the phantom pain one feels when a limb is cut off. From what I hear, it is a very real pain or sensation, but will in most cases eventually go away once the brain realizes that the limb isn’t there any more. The ‘I’ that is feeling, and expressing that feeling in such a way as to prevent my action, is different, in a sense, from the ‘I’ that has decided to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. That ‘I’ that is feeling is actually dead, so the other ‘I’ is free to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done!

And no, I am NOT schizophrenic! Are you confused yet? I’d love to hear your comments!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

SIGNIFICANT LIFE LESSON #1 – CONSISTENCY

SIGNIFICANT LIFE LESSON # 1 – CONSISTENCY

One morning recently as I went walking in my seaside community, I found myself meditating on the fact that every day has a morning and an evening. We are constantly in cycle – days, weeks, months and years. I meditated on how the sun comes up every single morning (even when it’s cloudy it’s still there!). I found myself thinking – here is something very important about the God who created us in His image – He’s consistent! He set things in motion and they function like clockwork! It dawned on me that this is one key way to operate as God intended – be consistent. Put good systems in place to govern how you function, and follow them religiously regardless of how you feel. (Feelings are often the greatest obstacle to our success!)

Developing consistency causes me to operate with a greater sense of confidence in myself. It also causes people around me to have a greater level of confidence and faith in me! People will learn to trust that what I have always done I will continue to do. It takes quite a load off doesn’t it?!

­­­­­­­Take this blog for instance. What if I decided that no matter what, I would consistently post a blog on the same day of each week? And what if that blog were meeting a need that you have? Wouldn’t you look forward every week to reading that blog, especially if that blog was consistently of high quality?

So here’s my decision, and I’m making it public so you can hold me to it – I will consistently post one blog on Tuesday morning each week. In fact, I’m in the process of setting up a schedule where I will be blogging more frequently but I will let you know more about that soon. Let’s just start with the Tuesday morning blog. Why Tuesdays? Simply because many other persons choose Mondays so I’m just trying to separate from the pack! J

And here’s my question to you – What will it take for you to be more consistent in each area of your life? And while you’re answering that, what one thing will you commit to being consistent about in order to improve the quality not just of your own life, but the quality of the lives of those around you? Think carefully before you answer. And think about this: that the outcome of our lives – our successes and failures – is determined by what we consistently do. Looking forward to hearing from you!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

MONEY!

Everyone knows that the Bible says “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Some persons just go ahead and love money anyway, If they perish, they perish. If it takes them to hell then so be it!

Some persons, of which group I have been a fully paid up member for most of my life, run in the opposite direction, making it their absolute rule to just not think about money, hoping that in so doing they will escape the temptation of loving it and as a result fall into all kinds of evil.

After overcoming the fear of giving energy to money by thinking about it, and after giving it very serious thought, it occurred to me that it is just as bad to not think about money at all as it is to think wrongly about it. I have a lot of thoughts on the subject, but I’ll just discuss one here.

Growing up, I don’t remember us ever having extra. We always had just enough … and in some cases, depending on who is assessing, not quite enough. The mantra was usually “WE CAN’T AFFORD IT!” I’m still trying to understand how my mom was able to stretch one chicken leg so far. In all our years of going to school we never got ‘spending money’ or lunch money. My mom would get up each morning and make and package our lunches and send us off to school. In primary school, SOMETIMES we got bus fare. Sometimes we just had to walk. We understood not to ask for or expect anything extra.

Somehow I carried that mindset with me into adulthood. Add to that the unspoken rule that Christians should feel guilty if they had too much more than they absolutely needed, and you ended up with a perspective of lack and scarcity.

One day I was in a store, looking longingly at the beautiful clothes on the rack, and pretty much deciding that I couldn’t afford it. The owner of the store had become a friend over the years, and when I told her that she hadn’t seen me in a while because I couldn’t afford to shop, she pretty much lost it. She said “I’m tired of hearing you Christians speak poverty over your lives all the time! If you keep saying you can’t afford it you’ll never afford it! Do you think that is a good reflection on the God you serve?”

I was taken aback to say the least, and of course I was at first wary of what seemed to smack of prosperity doctrine. But then, I went home and thought about it. The thinking led to this action – I no longer say “I can’t afford it!” What I now say is “I don’t choose to use my money in this way.” It’s amazing what this is doing for my whole outlook! I’m embracing the fact that Jesus came to give us abundant life. No, I’m not saying that this means we’ll all be rich, but we should have that understanding that God is not a God of limitations. He is a God of abundance, and we are His children, made in His image. I’m watching to see (and I think I’m already seeing!) the benefits of this new outlook on money and on life. Tell me: what do you think? What are your thoughts on money being the root of all evil?Image

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: