Relaxation should be part of daily living

Just a quick motivation today on RELAXATION! Remember to create a balance for yourself.

Work is great, it is a healthy, godly practice. Working allows you to grow in various areas. It keeps you engaged and alive. It allows you to meet others and develop relationships. Working teaches you to cope with challenges of all kinds. Yes! Working is good but relaxation is just as good or rather just as important.

I often struggle with finding that balance; even to this day. What I have found however, is bite size ways to relax while on the roller coaster.; while at work or during a work week or period when it seems impossible to dedicate significant time to relaxing activities.

Here are some ideas:

Try to take your full lunch hour break if you are working traditional 8-4 jobs or 9-5. Use this hour to take a walk, listen to relaxing music with your eyes closed or just meet up with friends or work colleagues and chat about anything else but work. Choose the lighter conversations that would help you to relax.

At the end of the day, take off your clothes and just remain in your undergarments. Lie on your bed for fifteen minutes before dressing again and getting busy with home matters.

Sit outdoors in the shade where it is windy and enjoy one of your favourite treats/snacks. I love ice cream. What do you love?

Journal – Yes pull that journal out and just pour your thoughts into the pages.

Dance/exercise – I love putting on up-beat gospel music and exercising or dancing.

Explore a hobby by browsing relevant sites on the internet. For example, I love interior decorating so I get a thrill from just looking at great modern houses with great interior designs. I love to look at vidoes of great Do-it-yourself decorative projects. It is an awesome way for me to relax and all I need is about fifteen minutes.

Call a family member and just chat.

While I know sometimes what our body really needs is a two or three week break from it all, a day at the spa or a long walk on the beach, realistically sometimes it is a bit more challenging to achieve. It would be helpful then, to consider these everyday relaxation tips as we seek to keep our mind, body and soul as healthy as we possibly can.

Trust God while waiting (Part II) – How to wait joyfully!

Waiting joyfully is not impossible but it can be tough at times especially when you have been waiting for a while. But there are practical things we can do to help us focus less on “the waiting”.

Seek to live in Gratitude. Living in gratitude helps us to place our mind on the things that are happening for us, the blessings we have received, the lessons we have learned and just the simple things we enjoy every day. We should make the effort not to complain and to ensure that we are emanating a spirit of appreciation that is evident in our interaction with others. We can strengthen our ability to live in gratitude by what we read, the company we keep, the music we listen to and by posting verses, quotes and various statements of affirmation on our bedroom walls, in our offices and even in our vehicles. In other words, saturate your environment with reminders and positive enforcements.

1 Thessalonians 5: 18 says “In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Think about this verse, we are commanded to always be thankful. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are expected to choose gratitude even when things are not going well. You are commanded to choose gratitude when you may have lost your job and you are desperately seeking new opportunities, when you have tried to succeed at your dreams and experienced failure or when you have lost a loved one.

It is a choice that we make daily! It begins with what we believe. If we believe that nothing can separate us from the love of God, we would be able to remain anchored, stable and confident even when we are waiting for answers from God. The joy of the Lord stays in our hearts when we choose to actively believe His promises.

Trust God while waiting (Part 1)

Many of us know what it is like to be on pause. Your foot is on the brake paddle and you have received no directions for moving forward. There are signs that something is happening behind the curtain, you can see a flicker of light every now and then, but it seems like it is taking forever. Despite the discomfort, you know deep within you that your God can be trusted. He has proven it before, not once, not twice, but many times. But no matter your history, it is still difficult to wait.

The good news is there are strategies we can learn that would help us to exercise patience in waiting through-out our lives. If you are able to wait and be joyful and content while doing so, you have accomplished something significant.

Look at your rear view mirror at a time when you planned a date with your girlfriend or a family member. You both agreed to meet at the coffee shop for 8:00 a.m. You arrived 8:55 a.m., it is now 9:20 a.m. and you are still waiting. You are waiting outside of the coffee shop which faces the east, so about that time the sun is hitting you head-on and it is blazing hot. You considered entering the small coffee shop, but it is crowded. On your shoulder is a bag which contains a number of books you are returning to your friend; the bag is quite heavy. In your left hand is your phone and in your right a cold bottle of water. Your hands are getting numb so you are switching both items between your left and right hand. In addition to that, the slippers you are wearing are uncomfortably tight.

You decide to call your friend or family to find out how much longer your wait may be. Your friend/family says to you “I will be there in five minutes”. You waited for an additional twenty minutes before they arrived. The most important aspect of this scenario is that you did not prepare to wait and this made it more difficult for you.

This scenaro allows us to reflect a bit on our behaviour while waiting on God to answer our prayers or to show us what’s next in our lives. We need to be more prepared to wait and we need to utilise our time well, while waiting and while making every effort not to complain or become grumpy. As we experience the waiting periods, we can choose to worship, to reach out to others, to build relationships, read a good book, get involved in “do it yourself projects”, get therapy, work on a healthier you and more, but we must never just sit and wait. It is in the joyful waiting that we grow, learn and are able to influence others positively when we least expect it. Joyful living even through difficult times helps us to cope during the times when we do not have answers or directions.

Let’s make that effort to wait joyfully and never let go of the promise that He (God) will never leave us.

(In part two we would talk more about practical ways to wait joyfully – Please feel free to share tips we can all practice while waiting).

Support for the bereaved

No matter how old we get, no matter how often it happens, losing a loved one through death is no easy experience to get over. However, if you are surrounded with family, friends or acquaintances who are sensitive to your needs, it can make a huge difference.

Here are a few things to remember when seeking to support a friend or family who has lost someone through death.

1. Give them space – Avoid calling during the first two days. You can opt for sending a message instead. This would allow the person to read the message and respond in their own time. When some time has passed and you wish to call, avoid calling too early or too late. Suggested hours are between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Many times when individuals are grieving they may wish to sleep in or just stay in bed. They may also wish to retire early; this is absolutely normal. These adjustments are all necessary as they seek to cope with their loss.

2. Avoid asking sensitive questions surrounding the death such as: the cause of death and how it transpired, funeral plans, family travel plans, whether or not there is a Will etc. Keep in mind that the individual is grieving and may not wish to discuss such details at that point. Your aim should be to make them as comfortable as possible. Keep your conversation along the line of comfort and support. Seek to uplift and assure them that you are available if they need anything. For example: You can say; “I wish to extend condolences on the passing of your sister. I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that I am praying for you.”

3. Avoid visiting during this time as we are still experiencing a pandemic. However, if you must, be sure to contact them first to confirm that it is o.k. to visit. Never turn up unannounced. Try to keep your visiting party very small with a maximum of three persons. Be sure to wear your mask and adhere to all COVID-19 Protocols. Keep in mind also that once you decide to visit, the bereaved becomes the Host and would want to be able to accommodate you well. Being a host to visitors requires cleaning, preparation of a refreshing drink and of course the energy to engage your guests. You can consider taking off some pressure of the Host who is also the bereaved by doing the following;

~Offer to help them with a daily chore eg: Cut the grass, wash the dishes or rake the leaves.

~Offer to provide refreshments that they can serve to their guests.

~Call in advance and find out whether there is something they would like you to bring from the Supermarket.

Individuals who are hurting because of the loss of a loved one appreciates our ability to place their needs above our needs. It is a sign of true care and empathy. Having understanding family and friends around, allows us to relax outside of pressure and demands and it assures us that a support structure is there for us when we need it.

My new year’s hope for you!

Happy New Year! It is by the grace of the one and only Almighty God that we have entered into 2021. I am so happy we both made it.

This is my hope for everyone!

I hope you and I remain or become discipline in setting goals and pursuing them. God created us to create, to dream and to build. Don’t let anything deter you. Nothing must stop you from achieving the goals that God has birthed in you.

I hope you and I mature to understand what true love is. It is not selfish, proud, impatient or unkind. Love is unconditional and allows us to uplift others, sharing when we have much or little. It directs us to put others’ first, to empathise, to listen, to patiently rebuke, lovingly pointing out the implications of poor quality decisions. Love does not divide but mends and unite. Keep this in mind as you relate with your family, friends and even enemies.

I hope you and I prosper financially. It is great to be independent to be able to handle your business on your own and in a timely manner. Be wise with your income, spend after thinking carefully about it. Develop a reserve or emergency fund, keep building your savings. Remember always that your finances are a blessing from God and never allow it to become an idol.

I hope our family relationships grow closer. May you seek to appreciate the family God has blessed you with, whether you see them as good or bad. May we demonstrate Christlikeness at home first before we seek to show it to others on the streets.

I hope you and I remain employed or find employment. Whether self-employment or otherwise. May we seek not to offer meagre service but rather our very best. Seek to do your best at work always even when you do not feel appreciated.

I hope you and I consistently seek to keep our mind and body healthy. Exercise is necessary for healthy experiences daily. Find a physical activity or programme that you are comfortable with but would bring you results. Never tolerate toxic thoughts about yourself or others.

Finally, I hope our pride does not hinder us from glorifying God with our lives. May we never be silent when there is a need to speak. May we never speak when there is a need to be silent. May we learn to recognise the voice of God by building intimacy with him. To be intimate with God, we must allow ourselves to find a quiet space where we can communicate with him without distractions. This begins with a relationship with God where we choose to believe what His word says about us:

that we are sinners in need of the gift of Salvation, and Jesus the Son of God died so this gift can be offered to us. We accept by simply repenting of our sins (turning away from lifestyles and behaviours that he does not approve of) and asking him to be Lord of our lives, committing ourselves to obey his teachings, seeking to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit daily.

I hope, and where there is life and a God who majors in doing the seemingly impossible, it is a worthwhile hope. Now let’s do our part to make our hopes reality, starting from this minute.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Pursue wholeness!

Have you ever experienced a newness that propels you to do all the things that you wanted to do for years? All of a sudden you find the motivation to move, to act and just like that you start living your dreams. This wave sometimes come after years of spiritual stagnation or being told you can’t, or telling yourself you can’t or a struggling illness or toxic relationship. When it comes, don’t ask why, embrace it.

Sometimes the wave of newness is short-lived, other times it brings sustainable change. What is important to remember is that when the newness is short-lived we should not become demotivated. Instead, keep persevering.

Maybe you are experiencing what I am experiencing now; a new wave has come over me and I love it. It is renewed confidence, renewed drive, renewed hope. It is the next level where my mind seems, more than ever, to embrace the seemingly impossible as possible. It is that time when negativity cannot stick, its got to go. It is that position where I look forward, more than ever, to wholesomeness in Christ, more than popularity and material possessions. It is that blessed space where the inner peace I feel abounds and I can’t find the words to adequately explain it. It even comes at a time when challenges are very present, but I don’t see the challenge as an obstacle, but rather as a golden opportunity to grow.

It is a sustained moment of gratitude that allows me to be content and remain joyful when everyone else is restless and discontented.

I urge you to pursue wholesomeness by accepting the flawed you and the existence of an Almighty God, who really thinks about you and wants you to enjoy unconditional love, joy, and peace, right here, right now, and even after you have ceased to exist on this Planet.

True intimacy

I speak of true intimacy but I am not thinking of my husband nor am I thinking of the few faithful girlfriends I cherish. I am thinking of God. You see there is no intimacy that can be compared to what we experience with God. I am struggling right now to find the words to explain this intimacy. This is so because He is immensely divine, perfect and glorious. He is deeply unmovable and grounded with truth; He is the very essence of Truth.

He is the Alpha and the Omega! A God that is God of all; He has no worthy competitor. Some may fail to recognize His majesty but He is who He is.

True intimacy occurs at the feet of Jesus, when we are vulnerable before Him and we acknowledge our folly and accept the abundant living He offers us . Ture intimacy allows us to shut ourselves in the closet and empty our hearts, sharing our deepest secrets and fears with the only friend who truly understands and is willing to love us despite our stubborn hearts. True intimacy is experienced when we burn our idols and we submit to the bidding of our Master. It is when God is truly allowed to guide us in our decision-making and in our choices. It is when He leads us, daily whispering in our ear words of assurance, reminding us of our value, our beauty and our gifts.

God knows our thoughts presently, and in the future. He loves us unconditionally. He calls us to His purpose and weeps when we can’t see the dangers around us. He sends his angels to protect us, even when we don’t appreciate it. He hurts when we abuse our bodies, He hurts when we choose to give credit to the whispers of the one who is roaming and seeking precious souls to devour. The one who roams seeks to rob us from experiencing God’s divine purpose. This Devil plunders and he pulls, he stomps and he rages until we can no longer see clearly, until we are broken and worn.

He clouds our minds with bitterness, unforgiveness and deception. He targets our identity, or usefulness and our marriages. He then targets our families and our churches.

True intimacy is a God who patiently waits for us to hear His voice, hoping we would step back into his perfect plan for our lives.

True intimacy is desired by everyone, even when we don’t realise it. We would search the whole world and not find it; true intimacy is only found in Jesus, Saviour of this World.

Doing what is right at the right time

Last night I visited the supermarket and found myself dodging the few who choose to make supermarkets their base for begging or requesting a dollar. I am usually annoyed by their bold approach and their eagerness to confront you. Personally, I feel the need to escape because 1. they never smell clean and I am super sensitive to unpleasant cents, 2. they convey such pity and sadness on their faces that it is hard to bear, and sometimes I do question their sincerity. 3. I don’t like the feeling of being stalked or harrassed and finally, 4. I don’t want to give my money to someone who would use it to buy alcohol or illegal drugs. It is much easier for me to buy someone a meal; something I have done before.

This struggle is experienced weekly. Some larger supermarkets are less tolerant of the “beggars” but you can still find them at the outskirts of the compound. It is not a pleasant sight but it is the reality of our lives. I find myself thinking about them quite a lot; what’s their story? Why are they begging? Who are they related to? What went wrong? Of course, in order to get the answers, research into their background will be necessary; this could take days.

I call them “beggars” because I can easily describe the group of persons I am writing about by using that name. I do know however, that they are not just “beggars”; they are human beings with a name; maybe, it’s Andy, David, Sarah, Shantel or Kennedy. Whatever their names, they were created by a loving God and he cares about their well being. Unfortunately, many times we are more concerned about them being a nuisance to society.

At the Supermarket last night, there was one I couldn’t dodge. I did my shopping and began walking towards my vehicle. I noticed him from the corner of my eye; he used clutches as a result of loosing one leg. I felt his eyes observing my every move, trying to read my facial expressions and body language, while hoping I would notice him. I did notice him but was careful not to make it obvious. I unlocked my vehicle and quickly secured myself inside. As I prepared to back up, I looked up and there he was in front of my vehicle signaling with his index finger for one (1) dollar.

I resisted and backed out of the drive way but I couldn’t leave. I felt that I couldn’t or shouldn’t ignore his plea. I quickly pulled back into another available parking lot and searched for a $5.00 bill, but to no avail. I only had $20’s and $50’s in my purse. I considered giving him twenty but I was unsure for many reasons. Next to me there was a little slot where I would drop change from time to time; after searching, I was able to give him about four dollars in coins. I was touched by how his face was immediately transformed with a huge smile; he looked like a little child receiving a toy he wished for. He closed his fist around the precious coins, said thank you, and quickly walked away. I must say that receiving such smiles and words of appreciation from the “begging” community is rare. Who knows, maybe if I knew his story, I would understand the happiness he felt. I left the supermarket feeling fulfilled and at peace.

I believe God spoke to me to reach out to that man. Understand though, that God does not have to speak to us before we share with someone. It is just something we should be doing as part of life. However, we must be wise and we need to be able to practice discernment. Sadly, many who beg, do not need money, but what they may need is deliverance from being addicted to alcohol or drugs, demon possession, generational curses, poverty and the list goes on. I suggest we ask God for wisdom daily so that we are always alert to these encounters and we never take the “beggar” for granted. We need to see “beggars” as human beings created by a God who loves them just the way He loves us. It is no easy thing to practice but we can all change and we can all grow to be more like Christ.

Colossians 3:12

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.

Evolving through your purpose

I believe it is our responsibility to do the work necessary to position ourselves to embrace opportunities. The word “opportunities” is used in the context of your calling, your gifts and abilities, your interests, your strengths and your passions. Growth is essential for successful living. The existence of sufficient flexibility is essential for change, another necessary ingredient for successful living. It is a bit disturbing to picture someone who has not changed or evolved through-out their life. The ability to constantly evolve is crucial to our success.

I chose to use the word “evolve” for a reason and took a little time to study the meaning. One of the meanings is “to develop gradually”. It also means to grow and change over a period of time. When we think of the word “evolve” we think of changes that are made in order for us to be better suited for our environment or the times in which we exist. You would find words like, advance, emerge, unfold, enlarge, work-out, disclose and many more, further explaining its meaning. I am not referring to evolving from Ape to Man, as others believe but from good to better, from weak to strong, from fearful to bold, from an amateur to an expert, from a selfish character to a kind hearted angel, from financially poor to a sound manager of your finances and comfortable living, from a poor self-image to understanding one’s true identity.

For successful living we must give ourselves permission to move from one stage of lesser to more, whether it is more knowledge, more experience, an improved character, better quality relationships or just the quality of our thoughts. We must be brave enough to allow our depth to emerge allowing us to face the limitations within us and strive for the prize. Evolving requires us to be honest with ourselves, it requires confession, revelation and disclosure, it requires working things out, as painful as they may be. It requires a process that is often uncomfortable but bears beautiful fruits.

COVID-19 offers an added motivation to every man, woman and child who is concerned about meaningful living. We are cornered and provoked to consider “what new thinking, attitude, knowledge or skill must I now acquire to continue to live a life full of purpose, until God returns?” “What is God prompting me to do, or reminding me to put in place, to start or to stop?” “What doors has he opened that I have not walked into because I failed to trust his leading?”

My prayer is that, no matter how hard we have been hit recently, how bleak the future may seem, or how old we may be, we would seek to be constantly evolving so that we can influence our world the way God would want us to and the time to begin is now.

Relaxation……

Years ago, my doctor told me, ‘someone like you need to exercise a lot”. I would never forget his advice.

Here are the reasons: 1) All my adult life I have been engaged in an occupation that required me to sit for hours; 2) I am a deep thinker and can easily become anxious about the cares of this world. 3) I am an introvert and suffer from social anxiety, this means that I love my house and because I am very creative, I can find enough things to do to keep me indoors. Note however, that I do love outdoors, on my terms of course. 4) My body often feels tense from thinking too much and doing too much and not having a proper balance – work/relaxation. I then become irritable and not much fun to be around.

I have discovered that not only does exercising do me good but relaxation. Anything that allows me to escape into a place where I do not have to think too much but just embrace my surroundings.

Hear are some things that works for me all the time;

1. Journaling or writing an article for my blog – I write until I feel as if I have emptied myself of my expressions, deep thoughts and feelings. Sometimes I write a little bit of how my day went and a little bit of what I intend to achieve tomorrow. On my blog I share life experiences I feel comfortable sharing and I also share general life principles that I hold strongly to.

2. Driving out and sight-seeing – Choosing a day when the traffic is not congested and finding great sights and seeking to capture the moment by taking pictures; fresh air and peaceful environments is heaven on earth for me. My preference is to do this with small groups.

3. Soaking my feet in warm water. Ahhh another heavenly episode.

4. Going to the beach and lying on the sand listening to the sound of the waves and the birds and just enjoying the beauty of the trees with their well designed branches. I can enjoy the beach without stepping into the water but if I step in, the water needs to be fairly calm and warm, at least a little. Cold rough waters are not my cup of tea.

5. Meet with a trusted friend and just talk, talk, talk.

6. Curl up on my bed with my bible and soak in the word of God, preferably a little at a time.

I can go on and on but I would stop here. I am grateful for what I can enjoy! I am grateful that God saw it fit to create things we all can enjoy. The older I get the more I desire RELAXATION!

What helps you to relax, release stress and feel rejuvenated? Are you satisfied that you are doing enough?