Be True To Yourself

Proverbs 16:9
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

Trust: Access Issues
The most interesting thing I have observed in my own life is how much I have changed privileges with regards to the level of trust I have with both specific individuals and generally everyone else. It literally is a rollercoaster case. Some times I base my decision to trust someone on my emotions. At the time, because the people around me or the person I am with-and ideally am close to-would have given me good emotions more often than not, I naturally tend to trust them. Other times my decision is logical. If I can see, after weighing the pros and cons, a path worth walking with the individual or people, then they get higher clearance keys and thus deeper access to my trust.

A Strange Feeling 
Ever have those moments where you just know but do not know how you know, and therefore cannot explain how you know, that it is safe to trust someone? You get that sort of gut feeling that assures you beyond shadow of doubt and anything else that all systems are go. You can get an instinctive/intuitive feeling that most of the time you personally trust. This one can be automatic. You cannot decide to get a feeling to trust someone, but you can choose to go with the feeling or not. That choice is a no brainer for emotive people. The cogitative people will have time spent pondering the safety of going along with the feeling, that is if they get it, and if they do, acknowledge it.

Who Is That? 
Trusting someone is one thing, trusting yourself is a whole different matter. Essentially when you decide to trust someone you are trusting yourself with them. I find it interesting, just thinking about it now, how some people appear not to trust themselves in general which may be the root cause as to why they may have trust issues, aside from being betrayed quite a number of times in the past. For me trusting someone comes on its own until I get disappointed. This then heavily affects the next person I trust. It can be a 50/50 thing where you can still trust the next person partially, as a test, so as not to be too prejudiced towards them. That is my personality at least. If they cross the line and set off too many red flags then they immediately get denied when requiring access to my trust.

The Pain Of Expectations
One can ask, “Why do we get hurt by the people closest to us”? The truth of the matter is our vulnerability towards someone increases the closer we get to them. We open more of ourselves to them and become more delicate as a result. It is a very hard choice at the time opening up, because you are wondering whether or not they will display the most sensitive part of your life, which you have chosen to share with them. If they have gained complete access to your trust it will be a piece of cake. It does not mean you are not exposed and prone to social danger of any kind, but you have left yourself in the hands of the one you have chosen to trust, similar to giving them your most prized possession to take good care of and let nothing happen to it at all. That is an extremely huge responsibility which most people are not aware of. Your expectation regarding them are high meaning the last thing you believe they would do is reveal your secret life (both shallow and deep). Like the pain of breaking a very special, fragile, valuable and rare vase or trophy, is the state of a heart that is broken when least expected.

In the end growing and maturing in your character and personality essentially comes with and through the development of self-trust. Being true to yourself is all about complete honesty and trust wholly, first and foremost with yourself. Why do you keep procrastinating? Why do you choose to opt out of doing what you know is important, especially when it involves someone else? Are you avoiding what you know could stretch you because you do no think you have what it takes? If it has been a while since the last time you did something for the first time, you could do worse than starting as soon as possible.


Changing The World Without Changing With It

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light

Deut 7:6

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth

When you’re the only sane person, you look like the only insane person.” ― Criss Jami, Diotima, Battery, Electric Personality

“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.” 
― Albert Einstein

“A person who does many things differently and often independently makes perhaps the biggest difference of the highest significance for the greatest excellence in everyone’s life.” 
― Anuj Somany

We are in the world but not of it– Christian Principle

Fitting In To Eventually Stand Out
Being a spy can be a daunting job. The very skills required to gather info about someone or something else without any detection from them is tough. The very idea of bypassing security protocols, hacking into servers and mainframes and taking control of them and do everything from the outside in is intense. As deep as that may be, having to be a double-agent among friends is even harder. I essentially lived that life in high school and Bible school. I noticed there were individuals who were evil influences among others. The cunning aspect of this was that they did not know it. This frustrated me because they were able to turn people against me and still appear innocent! The most impressive portion of this was that I was the only one who could see all this happening, thankfully not exclusively to me, but was still a prevailing matter in my case.

The worst part that was challenging was the decision to be like these people who were devious in their ways. Not to the extent where I was making people believe I was a nice guy only to turn out to be the opposite later on, but to some degree, do what was against my personal (social) beliefs, appear to harm others or have them think I were doing so, pacify them and do the (good) deed for their benefit at the expense of getting credit for it. Trust me selflessness and anonymous volunteering does not work out for me. I had a hard time doing this but realized that I could find a way to still do good and stick to my beliefs while looking as though I were performing the contrary.

No Gender No Position
Some time back I heard about how a lot of celebrities, specifically men were trying to promote some trend about how it was perfectly fine for them to be putting on female clothes. It was preposterous and absurd in every sense of the word!

Imagine if as a fashion designer your product is carefully drawn and tailored for women, but you look around and see your work of art being displayed by men! That would come as a huge shock. These are people that believe that clothes have no gender. Standing out in this day and age may actually mean watching the world to see how much lower its standards are getting, looking for the loophole in the attempt to persuade one to join in (especially if its made to seem both natural, harmless and the best decision of one’s life), and gaining the courage to say, “No.” Doing so is much better than adapting to the superficial customs of this world. It may even mean detaching yourself from the friends who, on the surface seem like they mean no harm, but at the heart of the matter, do more damage than they realize.

The Process
The decision to change is never an easy one. The very idea of accomplishing it is no small feat. It takes an immensely intensified desire to implement it. As is the case with any habit, the main factor that contributes to success is remembrance. All one has to do is remember to continue the actions leading to the new habit and they will eventually achieve it. Discipline goes without say as does the act of being intentional about it. I love to liken this to my strong, irritating persistence in defeating an opponent in a video game. I may lose numerous times but I immediately re-strategize, refocus and re-engage the battle. To me it is like nothing else exists and nothing else maters except me successfully defeating my opponent. This essentially is what the need to change should feel and be like.

What Exactly Constitutes A Happily Ever After?
A few weeks ago the whatsapp group I am part of  showcased the worst piece of news I have heard and seen to date. For me, more than the political and economical state of a nation, the social position takes precedence. I could care less of there are millions of jobs and the government is doing well with international relations among other things, if abortion, prostitution, gay marriages is legalized, believe me there is something seriously wrong with the nation. Those things, down to the core affect the very lives of the individuals both influenced by and practicing such things. If the next generation grows to understand and accept them, saving the world will literally be a daily struggle. Let me illustrate what I mean:

Disney’s gay marriage

There was someone from this post that commented on this idea, sadly in the affirmative:

Every 8th grader knows the simple facts of biology that demonstrate that homosexuality is a sexual disorder. Human sexuality is complementary (male/female) in nature and coitus is the primary function of the male/female genitalia. Homosexuals permanently substitute other sexual practices for coitus in the same way a bulimic permanently substitutes disordered eating practices for healthy eating practices. It is obvious.

An artist decided that displaying this image in a public school or library was just very fascinating and states: It is not my intention to offend:

At the end of the day, parents and guardians really need to watch what their children are watching. To reach a point where you have to teach a child about self-worth and help them have a very high self-esteem, so that they are not tricked and fooled into believing that there is an alternative to receiving love, if not from the opposite sex, is unfathomable yet very necessary. Their minds will be conditioned to live this way if nothing is done about it. T.V, the Internet and friends must not dictate what life principles children live by, that is the parents/guardians responsibility. It is not about judging but determining where the line is drawn and never crossing it. Standing out may be a lifetime job and lonely road to walk, but the impact on society and future generations is invaluable.


Tell The Right Story

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After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
― Philip Pullman

People very often miss the beauty of the joy and wonder of story has in everyday life. We are beings that thrive and live on the essence of story. It is our life’s staple food. We tell stories more often than we both realize and give ourselves credit for. All it needs is the right trigger: What happened?

Closing Open Questions
The six valuable questions we learned in our English class to some degree get lost in conversation. I think the only one that is used most appropriately (unintentionally might I add) is “What”? The most unsettling conversation I have both seen and been in are the ones where open questions have to be thought of in order to get the person saying something! Yes an expression of lack of desire can be a huge deal breaker when it comes to straight answers. The sad thing is the recipient giving off these vibes does not realize it a lot of the time. Body language is what they become completely oblivious of. This leaves you wondering if you in some way are at fault. It can at times feel like a dagger piercing right through you with each attempt to get something out of them other than, “Fine, ” and “Good.” You start asking yourself some of these open questions:
When did I get this boring?
Why is sh/e not in a good mood today?
Where is their mind right now?
How can I change this atmosphere?
Who can help me in this situation?
What would they do if they were in it right now?

The Mystery The Open Book
Have you ever been around those people whom you feel there is nothing you do not know? I remember in my mini Bible school course, literally on our first day, I sat down with a student who spilled pretty much all her guts out in front of me after sitting down for about 5 minutes! I was thinking that most of the info should only be disclosed after knowing each other for at least 2-3 weeks. You know, build up to those sensitive and intense pieces of her life. Then I realized that it was in her personality. Strangely enough, when I spoke to new students the next year, since I was now staff, some of them confirmed my theory. Glad you asked. It was the fact that it was more or less a cultural thing. I first thought it was family culture until I found out that it stretched much farther than that. Then there are those friends who lie on the other side of the coin. The side I described above: the reserved.

How do you treat open books? Do you take advantage of their carefree attitude? Do you encourage it even more? Are you not concerned of possible pain that could rise from too much information? These people will need to learn the art of guiding their thoughts in order to communicate clearly because it is very easy to mix up two or more feelings in the same story, especially when they are two completely different ones only to them.

“Funny how a beautiful song could tell such a sad story
― Sarah Dessen, Lock and Key

Musical Touch
Upon reading that some may come to mind. Keep them there if that is the case. We are approaching Valentine’s Day and it would seem appropriate if the song/s that came up was/were about love. True this week is more of a love week but who says that has to be the only thing impacting you as far as music is concerned? Surely an adventure you embarked on that you thoroughly enjoyed is what brings you to memory lane. What would really be amazing is a song that kept playing during your stay as if it were your theme song for the holiday/field trip/business trip. Were you alone? Were you with friends or a friend’s family? Are you the person who wishes they could experience what I just described? My trips to Slovakia, Faroe Islands, Norway, Italy, Denmark and Germany were amazing. There were a lot of thrilling experiences. Funny enough Mika’s Relax (Take It Easy) was my theme song during the two years I was in Europe.

“…What happens is of little significance compared with the stories we tell ourselves about what happens. Events matter little, only stories of events affect us.
― Rabih Alameddine, The Hakawati

Our Reflection In Movies
I do not think I have ever had a friend who did not like a movie because one or more characters experience very closely what happened to him or her. I have, however, met friends who could relate to characters in some movies, others feel for them. In some ways I have felt as heedlessly ridiculous as Danger in Million Dollar Baby. After being comforted by his trainer about asking stupid questions, he asks about a water bottle, “How’d you get all the ice in here through this little tiny hole?” I will not box myself in a crowd by saying we have all been there before, I will be honest, if I am the only one then I am the only one. Other times I feel like Captain America in The Avengers calling all the shots in battle, for most of my scholastic life I have felt that way, often not by choice. In the heart of movies are stories. That is why no matter how many times we have heard them before we can never tire of a very good story. I wonder if it is the same reason we relate to some movies so well, some times to the point it scares us?

What Story Are You Telling?
No I do not mean this in the deep philosophical sense but rather in the literal sense. Every time you are asked the appropriate question at the right time, you have a story to tell. If you were hurt, “What happened?” can mean the difference between healing and prolonged pain. If you were impacted by someone you cannot stop talking about, “Who is/was this person?” can influence what the asker perceives of them. It all comes down to how you tell the story. I have been with people who tell the wrong story. Meaning they have the wrong motives. Two reasons for the wrong motive a) they want to be or feel pitied and b) they want to fabricate an event to a certain extent in order to gain support. This does not help them in any way whatsoever. A speaker once said, “You delay your prosperity when you tell your story for the purpose being pitied.” It is perfectly fine to get your thoughts out and let the weight off your chest in the beginning, but build to an ending where you, the hero, emerge victorious or at least have a plan for getting there. Whenever you tell your story the most important thing to do is always leave the listener with a positive perception of you. The key factor about the listener is that you choose them.

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. Bryant H. McGill

The Listening Challenge
People talk about reading between the lines. That is actually quite an art. When it comes to enjoying stand-up comedies, of course the object of the show from the audience’s perspective is to listen. You are literally listening to one person. What about your best friend? Your spouse? Coworker? Even a stranger has a voice. Everyone has something deep within them that they are bursting to communicate, except it has to be with the right person at the right time. My Greenlandic friend told me I was a good listener even though I listened to her for literally less than a minute. At that time all she needed was to be heard. It is that simple (because it is not complicated) but not always that easy. This is your undivided attention, coupled with uninterrupted, attentive listening, not a two-second quicky that can be solved in just as short a time.

Story is built in the very core of all that we are. It is one of the most inspirational aspects about us. It is what separates us from the rest of creation. Tears, laughter, love, celebration, mystery, are all encounters we have when story meets people. When I mentioned earlier how we should not tell stories to be pitied I excluded counseling and psychology sessions because that is a whole different thing. On that note gossiping does not fill the heart with the fulfillment that comes from a beautiful story. Children yearn for the glory of story. Even made up stories told the right way with the right atmosphere make that much of a difference. The only thing every story needs-whether fiction or true- ultimately, is a good storyteller.

Tell the story that’s been growing in your heart, the characters you can’t keep out of your head, the tale story that speaks to you, that pops into your head during your daily commute, that wakes you up in the morning.”
― Jennifer Weiner

Auto-Alert: Being Ready Anytime, Every Time For Anything

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Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 2 Timothy 4:2

If you’re not ready for everything, you’re not ready for anything– Paul Auster

Regret’s Hard Lesson
This year I have one very important resolution: to be ready for anything at all times. It essentially is a strategy for helping me fulfil my life motto. There is nothing worse than realizing what could have been because it is already gone, the moment is already past. Someone could say, “Yeah but you can always relive the moment,” except the truth of the matter is, some moments cannot be recreated. You cannot make someone feel about you the way they did at the time they did so, before you gave the wrong impression about yourself through you making a fool of yourself, whether that was intentional or not. Losing dignity and self-honor-especially in the eyes of someone you care about-is most shameful and heart-wrenching. Now granted, the possibility of unknown circumstances bringing out the wrong side of you-more so prior to the time preceding your predicament-could be an underlying factor, unfortunately even if you were in a bad mood or had the wrong words slip out, you were responsible of your emotions and actions and therefore can really only blame yourself. Know what I mean?

The Appreciation Mentality
I cannot stress the astronomical importance of gratitude. They say that you only realize the value of what you have always had once you’ve lost it, right? On the other hand someone else may say that the real truth is you have always known what you had except were too proud and naive enough to think you would never lose it. On the one case, the former leads a passive life by growing a passive relationship because the time spent with the individual/s is not valued. The party/ies involved are therefore taken for granted. The latter case also has some passivity to it but with awareness added to the picture. In other words the first case loses time spent in the relationship, while the second wastes time. We never know how long the people who are in our lives are there for, so it becomes more than imperative that every encounter with each person is held in high regard. The person you shape yourself to be is heavily influenced by such experiences.

Composure: The Essence Of Self-Control
This one is actually a very serious step. It requires being extremely and brutally honest with yourself: How much do you really love yourself? I am not completely talking about self-esteem but I am referring to a crucial part of it. What you think of yourself determines how you behave in certain situations. Should anyone say something inappropriate about you or to you, they will undoubtedly receive something from you. Now depending on a few factors such as the individual, location, atmosphere, your reputation and mood, the degree to which you react will leave the recipient in for quite an experience. Your actions in any and every given situation will obviously bear consequences that you will need to be ready to face. With that said, pumping the brakes and driving slow, breathing in and out a few times, and literally taking a step back for a good perspective of what is before you, is the wisest course of action.

Measure Your Growth
Sometimes I wonder how much I have grown over the past few years. Not so much in stature but rather in character. Have I become someone who is more caring than before? If I were to be honest with myself, how patient am I really? It would be a good idea to write down the person you think you are or know yourself to be and who your closest friend/partner or spouse sees you as. Then after each month, write another list without looking at your previous one then compare. This is the simplest way to tell just how far you have come from the person you used to be. It is especially important if you are looking to change who you are now.

Every Season Is Your Season
Paul was encouraging Timothy to be ready to preach the gospel both when it was convenient to do so and when all things turned out to seem unfavourable. The urgency to spread the message was what outweighed the conditions necessary to do so. In essence, Timothy had to create those conditions. Just like him, we too need to be ready for anything that we can do for anyone at any given moment. We must not neglect opportunities to give, creative ways to love, decisions to mature during disagreements, and the need to do what we know is right and might hurt as well at the time. The key in gaining and maintaining the art of being auto-alert, is not so much a security mentality where we take precautions to protect our valuables and loved ones, that goes without say, but rather how we handle the discomforting, depressing and disappointing times where naturally anyone and everyone would expect us to react in a typical manner. If we can do the opposite of what is conceived and perceived to be understandable and expected, basically be unpredictable and yet beneficial, then we are one step closer to living life and not merely existing.

3 Key Things About Destiny

A few weeks ago a friend of mine mentioned something extremely important. At the time it was something he said in passing as part of normal conversation. I don’t really think he has an idea how profound what he said is. Some time ago I had also written about ways to discover your future for those moments you are uncertain about it, or know it and believed in it up to a certain point and started getting doubtful, or simply didn’t know what it is at all. If you haven’t read it, it may be a good idea to start with that and continue to here. Not because this a sequel to it or anything but it is more so, for the purpose of getting a good wholesome perspective on one’s future and destiny.

That in essence is what this post will be covering. I have looked into more of what my friend said and came up with these easy-to-understand principles that I believe everyone should either know or at least have a good idea about.

The 3 Keys
1) Your destiny is designed by God. 
He says here:

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

The truth of the matter is God is our Creator and Designer. Every aspect of not only our being but also our life was created by Him, therefore, the only One wo would know about all that has to do with us is Him. Now you may say, “Yeah but I have some friends who are skilled in sports and continued that into their career,” or “I know some people who are millionaires or at least live a substantially comfortable life with what they have and a re not even Christians,” great points. Well here is the real factor behind all their success:

Deuteronomy 8:18
But you shall [earnestly] remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

In essence what happens is their success hinges on their application of biblical principles. A few ones like:

Ecclesiastes 11:1-2
Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.
Give a portion to seven, yes, even [divide it] to eight, for you know not what evil may come upon the earth.

Proverbs 16:8
Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice.

Which focuses on diversifying or having two or more vehicles of investing such as real estate and stocks for the purpose of having multiple streams of income. The second passage is about the value of time and how that can play a very important factor in generating a lot of income when you save and invest (notice it does not make a distinction between the two because the principle is the same). The more patient you are the greater the returns. It is like a time-to percentage growth ratio. The amount you earn is directly proportionate to the time you are willing to wait for it grow. Integrity is an important side of this too. The interesting thing is an aspect of faith like a mustard seed plays a part in this too. In a future post I will go deeper into this.

Psalm 112:5
It is well with the man who deals generously and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice.

Genesis 2:15 
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

That is a word for business owners, whether small or big businesses. The principle is the same. Do not exploit your employees or deal dishonestly (such as stealing from the business, although that’s something more an employee would do) with the money but divide it to strengthen every facet of the business.

James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Referring mostly to those who excel in sports, arts and crafts  and other domains containing and requiring exceptional skill to do as a profession. For those who are not Christians that wonderful gift they have is something given to them by our loving Father. They simply have not come to that realization yet.

2) Your destiny is linked to God
Meaning that the pleasure and joy you get out of fulfilling the place you believe you were born to be, is something that is connected to the goodness of God. I like to think that some times unbelievers who are in the position where they excel in their domain may have a void on the inside concerning the source of their knowledge, the privilege of their experience and accomplishments.They may not have it all the time but it may come from time to time. The one evidence of this could be when they see people less fortunate than themselves being happier with little the have than they (the more wealthy) are with the plenty they have. Just something to think about.

3) Your destiny is designed to please God
At the end of the end of the day that is all it comes down to. In essence, is it not the reason for our existence? The meaning of life? Thinking about the creation around us, the gifts we possess, the families we create, the friends we have, those times when someone comes just at the (precise) moment you needed them. The thing that makes it even more worthwhile is when it is stranger. Even better when a stranger tells you their story and you glean something from it that you know can change your life completely or at least in some small way. When the person you hate the most does something that is of significant value to you when you least expect it, especially when you believed they were the person least likely to do it.

Small things like these are just a taste of all the reasons why we should acknowledge, thank and praise God! These things can happen in the area of our domain. Whether that’s work, ministry, jobs as big as founder and CEO of international business or as small as babysitting, nothing is too big or too small for Him to be pleased with. For Him it is all about faith and the heart. Think about this quote by Hans Urs von Balthasar:

What you are is God’s gift to you, what you become is your gift to God

1 Corinthians 10:31

So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.

Related Posts:
Comfort Zones- The Disabler Of Destiny by Sherline
Destiny Is Determined By Choice by Have A Dream
3 Lessons From King David About Destiny by Kingspeech
Do You Deserve Your Tomorrow? by Ain’t I JI


Knowing what matters most

“When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want?

Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?”
― Max Lucado