WHAT AM I AFRAID THEY WILL SEE IF I’M REALLY MYSELF?

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” – J.K Rowling

In most cases we are not fully aware of our deepest fears, the things that threatens to hold us down. Most of us are so afraid that we would go as far as sabotaging our relationships because we are so fearful of anything real, anything that can feel like security.

I used to cling so much into my comfort zone and for a very long time I couldn’t understand why I shouldn’t. Comfort zone feels great; in this space you avoid disappointments, you avoid failure, you avoid saying the wrong things, embarrassing yourself and just putting yourself in awkward positions. Comfort zone is safe, it’s warm and it’s easy…I get why it’s difficult for so many people to get out of it.

But on the other side, it limits you from progressing, growing or evolving. It deprives you of the joy and fulfillment of being engaged and totally present. It paralyses you, shrinks you and makes you so small to a point that you don’t recognize yourself. It also chops away parts of you until you find yourself intimidated to be around people of thought.

What I missed in the process was not that I enjoyed the comfort of the bubble but instead I was so afraid that I am actually the best thing.  The beginning of this journey starts with self-awareness, understanding your response to situations and analyzing your reactions. For me, it’s a spiritual practice of inviting the Holy Spirt to awaken my understanding and help reveal parts of myself I still need to deal with.

Hard work begins after this stage of awareness and understanding, this is the part where most people shrink back to their corners or boldly accept the great that is in them. Being the best version of yourself is not a walk in a park, it’s a lifetime learning, process of accepting small revelations and working towards them, it’s a journey of becoming and it’s also a responsibility. If you don’t like responsibilities, you’ll probably hate this part because here is where real work begins. When you know better, you have a responsibility to do better.

The enemy doesn’t need to put fires in your way to stop you from doing anything, he just needs to make you afraid enough for you to not even try. What this does to a human mind is cause too much confusion and frustration. Your imagination or vision for yourself is alive in the mind but the reality of your present moment is the opposite. That causes stress and frustration. It’s hard being productive when you’re frustrated because you are so focused on what you are lacking. See, that’s the circle the enemy uses; to get you feeling stuck which automatically leads to self-doubt and hesitation.

I was afraid of a lot of things growing up, especially in my teenage years. I agreed with things I wasn’t happy about, I pleased people who didn’t really care about me, I entertained bullies because I was afraid of losing friends, of being alone. I knew that having a voice and speaking your mind really makes your circle of friends small. I didn’t want that. I wanted to be loved, cared for, embraced, seen and noticed. I mean, do we not all just want that? I wanted a place to belong and be a part of something, a community or a home. So, I compromised in fact I did more than that…. I shrinked. And the gap between me and the people around me kept filling up with all the things we don’t say to each other.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting all of that. I mean, we are relational beings, created in the likeness of God who exist in relationships. We are born from love and for love. Wanting to belong and fit in is not necessarily wrong, it’s how you mute yourself, disqualify yourself and dim your light to make others comfortable that make its all wrong. And it took me a long time to understand that.

It’s really connected with self-worth and self-value when you think about it. I know this is kind of cliché but when you really discover who you are and get to experience the love of God shared for you in the cross, it changes your whole perceptive on life and how you see yourself. I know for me; it was a revelation I didn’t know I needed.

It is a scary place when you meet parts of yourself that you’re experiencing for the first time. You are allowed to feel some type of way and be surprised at how much you can stretch. You are allowed to share some tears and freak out, that’s what I do. But in the process of being in your feelings, do not ignore the joy and the sense of peace that comes with hugging yourself for the first time…. I love it!

Sitting in your comfort bubble will definitely make you miss moments and will make you miss your purpose. You cannot continue praying for something you don’t have the character for. We pray for marriages without the depth understanding that marriage is a ministry and not everyone is called to it. Everything begins with you, how you love yourself will determine how you love others, and how you treat others reflects the condition of your heart.

There is so much to learn about you, like how to face your fears and deal with your ego because if someone has more pride than vulnerability to show you, they really aren’t in the position to love you the healthy way. Your first step to healing, to being the best version of yourself and allowing growth to take part begins with self-awareness and taking ownership of your growth and also making the decision to challenge yourself to say yes to everything that makes you scared. Once you allow yourself to experience life that way, you get to feel this warmth in your heart, like the sun shining and glittering inside of you.

Maybe, also challenge yourself to speaking your whole truth and stop living as less than God has called you to be. Remember, you are the legacy… You are breathing rare air, embrace it and say yes to choosing yourself.

DELAYING INSTANT GRATIFICATION – MEANING NO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE!

A journey to spiritual purity and choosing myself

I’ve been struggling to tell this story for a couple of weeks now. I realized If I said that, then it would make it easy for me write this. I have been on this journey for 3 years now and it has been rewarding in every way possible. The truth is sex is deeper than just physical and even deeper than most people want to admit. It’s an intimate experience that is meant to be shared by two people are who ready to be joined that way. When you say yes to sex, you are automatically saying yes to everything that the other person comes with spiritually, emotionally and physically.

This activity was created to join two people in becoming ONE, it is a spiritual act more than it is physical. This is how attachments are formed and soul ties are created – people who are connected emotionally & physically. This story begins with sex, but it is way complex than that. There’s so much clarity and discernment that happens when you practice waiting. Must I also add that this is a personal choice and a personal journey that you must embark on for yourself.

Celibacy has helped me unlock the power of patience, self-value and self-discovery which permeated in every other area of my life. This practice has also allowed me to be more disciplined, international and more specific about what I want. It was like I could breathe in a different way; I saw myself for who I am, and that perspective shift has helped enlighten me in ways unimaginable.

This kind of purity also helps God reveal things you could have missed; it has allowed me to become more aligned with the purpose and the vision that God has for my life. It gave me a different perspective and revealed so much about myself in a life changing way. This decision was more about choosing myself and finally putting myself in a position where I’ll be happy with the results. Whether in relationships, or at work and in my home.

It’s like everything else in life, whether you choose to wait or not, you need to work on yourself before allowing anyone to become a part of you that way. There’s a journey you need to walk alone – without your parents or your friends and I don’t know what that means for you but I know that you need to discover it and once you do, you’ll be glad you searched for it in the first place.

This doesn’t make me anti-sex; I love sex just like the next girl and walking this path has not been easy. I’m not a virgin which makes this even harder because I’ve lived on the other side. But it is worth preserving my integrity. And if somebody doesn’t see my worthy enough to wait then it’s a process of elimination and that means I’m getting closer to what God has planned for me. Anybody who doesn’t value me, doesn’t see that I am the prize.

Sex has kind of defined what a relationship is supposed to be. In a worldly perspective, it has become an important part in a relationship. We live in a society where messages that opposes this are not celebrated or even told enough. Most of the time good sex gets in the way of clarity. You start being okay with things you wouldn’t be okay with long term because you are physically dependent on this person, it gets messy.

I know there are many people who will say that celibacy is not a proven act for successful marriage, maybe that’s right. But a successful marriage as a Christian is based on God’s standard of love. In the end I have lived on the other side and God challenged me to do something different that has unlocked certain areas of my life in an incredible way.

God created us, he gave us the desires to want what we want, and he also knows when it should come into the world and when people will be able to receive it. I’ve never been married before so I’m not saying delaying sex is a guarantee for an easy union, relationships are not a walk in the park either. But this is more about you than it is about anyone else.

This is not about finding a perfect partner, it is more about you embarking on a journey of self-discovery. It is about you figuring things out for yourself, getting healing and working on being a healthy and happy individual. It is about seeking a whole life and committing to doing all the things that give you a sense of completeness. It’s about your relationship with Christ and being clear on the vision He has for you. It’s also about you understanding your value and worth outside of a person. It is about you!

“real love does not make you disobey your creator”

5 THINGS TO DO TO ENSURE A PRODUCTIVE DAY

This routine will help you use your time wisely and enjoy a peaceful, focused day. These steps do not guarantee a perfect day, but can ensure you a productive one.  The secret is in the morning; how you start your day sets the tone for the rest of it. It’s also not about waking up in the morning but what you do when you’re up.

  • WAKE UP EARLY

1st thing, I strongly suggest you do is exercise. It doesn’t matter what form or type of exercise you do, as long you’ll sweat. Research shows that exercising in the early hours of the day helps reduce stress and anxiety. It helps boost your confidence and allow you to take control of your day ahead. I live in one of the dangerous neighbourhoods in Cape Town, so I can’t jog. As much as that kills me but I found an alternative; I bought a skipping rope. I do that for 20 minutes and do sit ups for like 10 minutes.

2ndly, Pray or meditate. Whatever you do in your quiet time that keeps you centred, do that. This may include listening to a podcast, reading a book or spending time with God. I use this time studying the Word and growing in my relationship with Christ. It fulfills me and helps me stay grounded and rooted. Invest in something that feeds your soul, that gives you a sense of peace and a sense of completeness.

Take time to enjoy the beauty of nature; listen to the birds sing or watch the sun rise. Do what human beings are created to do; just be alive. This does not guarantee you a positive day, but it will definitely give you a positive start. This helps you plan your day instead of always rushing into it and you respond better to situations because you’re sort of prepared. Time is important; when you use it wisely, you’ll see the rewards.

Last one; write down your to do list. Planning and organising skills are essential to a productive day. Tackle one task at a time and keep track of where you are and how far you still have to go.

  • EAT A HEALTHY BREAKFAST

Most of the time it’s easy to let breakfast fall low in your list of priorities for the day but taking few minutes to prepare a healthy meal can go a long way.  Research shows that a healthy breakfast needs to have calcium, iron, vitamin B or protein and fibre.

Having a healthy breakfast will boost your concentration and energy levels and restores your glucose levels which is an essential carbohydrate that is needed for a brain to function.

Breakfast ideas: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/easy/g871/quick-breakfasts/

  • TAKE WALKS IN BETWEEN THE DAY

I cannot stress enough how important this is. I work at an advertising agency and it’s always crazy to a point that sometimes you forget that you need to eat. So, believe me when I say taking walks in between the day can be an almost impossible task.

This will take commitment and sacrifice. You must understand that you are important too; your work needs your attention, but you also matter. This is not just beneficial to your mental health only, but it helps you become more productive and focused. You are not a Robot, that’s not how you were created, that’s why when our bodies have had enough, they breakdown. You cannot allow this to happen.

Take care of yourself so you can do what you need to do.  We’ve all heard of the old cliché “self-care is self-love” and that’s real talk. Do not allow the busy schedule to take away your sanity. I know how difficult it is to think about yourself; I have a daughter in school. She needs help with homework, I must bathe her, prepare her food and make time to read her a story before bed time. My time doesn’t really belong to just me, but I had to challenge myself to master the art of taking care of myself.

I grew up in the generation where choosing yourself was always seen as a selfish act. We were taught to give ourselves to everyone before us and that’s not okay. These 5 -10 minute breaks will give you a sense of clarity and peace. It gives you some time to gather yourself before tackling another task or project or changing another diaper.

Research also shows that sometimes being around nature can inspire creativity. Maybe you next best idea will come from taking only a few minutes to walk, enjoy the sun, take all in everything that life has to offer and live enough for that moment. Give yourself a chance to breathe differently.

  • JOURNAL

Writing things down is real even though there are still people who believe that journaling is old-fashioned. This exercise has some healthy benefits to it both mentally and emotionally. I believe it is also a spiritual act that helps you visualise, clarify and put things into perspective. Journaling does more than helping you record your memories or find self-expression; Research shows that it’s also good for your health.

It’s a good idea to keep a journal or notebook for taking notes during our quiet times with God. Exodus 17:14 (NLT) says, “…the Lord instructed Moses, “Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder…”  Jeremiah 30:2 (AMP) says, “This says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write all the words that I have spoken to you in a book.” 

Record your growth and your expectations. This works perfectly well when you’re honest about your mistakes, your imperfections, your weaknesses, your strengths, achievements and everything that God whispers to you.

I recently opened a journal from my early teenage years when God whispered the vision he had and still has for my life. The funny thing about this story is that He whispered the same vision a month ago and told me that “It was time and that I am ready”. It was such a great feeling to open that notebook again to find the message and the purpose that God wrote in my heart when I was a young girl.

As I write this, I’m reminded of the scripture in the book of Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV) that says “… then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.” There’s no formula to journaling but simple start where you are. Don’t preoccupy yourself with managing perfect punctuation, grammar or spelling. Just write and don’t censor yourself. This is for you.

  • NO TECHNOLOGY BEFORE BED & SLEEP EARLY

People believe that to sleep late means you’re productive. We live in a world that encourages this self-sabotaging behaviour. Do not fall for it. There are so many messages that opposes early sleep but sleeping late does not guarantee you great quality results. Some people may argue this by saying they can’t work during the day because of destructions and the busyness of their world around them. I get it but depriving yourself sleep in the name of “Grinding hard or working till you drop” is not an excuse to overwork yourself.

I’m saying work hard but learn time management skills.  When your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress, anxiety, fatigue and high blood pressure which increases your risk for heart attack and stroke (Dr. Isaac O. Opole, 2019). You need at least 7 hours of sleep, not less than that.

I was advised to not sleep in the same room as my electronics, but I can’t because I use my phone to set an alarm like most of us do. But It is important to set up a time where you stop browsing in your feeds, you log off on all your social media networks and drink a cup on camomile tea for a good rest. I suggest that to be an hour before you sleep.

The more electronic devices that a person uses in the evening, the harder it is to fall asleep or stay asleep. Research shows that sleeping late suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing hormone and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. This is largely due to the short-wavelength, artificial blue light that’s emitted by these devices. This is a habit that requires commitment in order to master it.

This applies to everyone, whether you are a stay at home mom, you work 9/5 or you’re an artist; you can take these principles and personalise them however you wish according to your schedule. The most important thing is getting the results desired. Remember that anything you want to achieve cannot happen unless you work for it. There are no guarantees and the world doesn’t owe you anything. We need to make the necessary changes or position ourselves in the direction we want to go.

This may or may not work for you, but it has however been of great help to me. As a result, I am clear in my vision and intentional with my time and the activities I choose to participate in. My days are not perfect, but they are better and healthier. It’s amazing how just a planned routine can improve beyond than just your day. Try it!

REFLECTION

2019 was a year of healing and a year of growth. So many times when we deal with internal battles, scars we can’t touch or see can be frustrating. It’s easy to heal a wound when it’s right in front of you, when you can also see and measure its healing progress.

I’ve suffered more than I can say the past year. I’ve been tormented, stripped, tested and sifted. I’ve sacrificed myself more than I can count. I was crushed completely in many ways than one. There was a moment when I wanted to give up, when I was done with life and all its challenges. I was tired of trying, of being positive and understanding, I wanted out.

I was dealing with black tax, expectations and pressure from my family who thought I would be the one. The attitudes that came with those disappointments put me in a very horrible shape. I didn’t really care about being on a pedestal before because I liked the attention, I was honoured. But to live up to those expectations was a different story. It was hard.

From a cancer scare, battling with anxiety and pressure, I remember being held at gunpoint and surviving what was meant to be a kidnapping. I had to let go of resentment and anger issues and start healing childhood traumas. I’ve relived moments in my life I thought were buried and long gone. I had to confront them in order to make space for planting new seeds and growing them. I still remember thinking it doesn’t get lower than this.

I had to put up a brave face and smile through the pain every day as I try to survive another day at work. Trying to survive being undervalued, underpaid, underestimated, unseen, and discriminated against. There were moments I wished I would escape, run or disappear. I walked in school meetings alone and parenting my daughter with grace without projecting. It was difficult to the core.

My life is all kinds of screwed up, I am far from perfection. My goal is wholeness, completeness, finding peace in the midst of storms and pressures of life. My goal is to be alive! This year has taken so much from me, starved me of moments of love, laughter and joy, and paralysed me with fear, hopelessness and unhappiness.

But I also think it has opened a window of putting the past to rest, an opportunity for me to find healing and letting go of things that were eating away my joy. I see things differently now, for the first in my entire life I feel like I can breathe, that it’s okay to exhale. I am more myself now that I have ever been in my entire life. There’s something liberating about rediscovering your own truth.

I am not immune to pain but now I am prepared. I am determined to bring all of myself to life; I would be doing an injustice to myself if I gave half of anything. I am not afraid anymore, I am content.

GOD HAS BEEN REAL in ways unimaginable. He taught me so much about being prepared before you are positioned, the process of planting new seeds, the growth and the joy that is found in Christ alone. There’s still so much I do not know but I know this; I don’t think I’m here to escape pain, run away or disappear, I’m not here to live my life moment to moment. I think I’m here just to be alive, to see it, hear it, and feel it even when it hurts.