The Pursuit of Love

 

February, the Month of Love ♥

It’s that season when some of us are Boo’d up, and the rest…hmm not quite, but we’re still happy.

 

One thing I love about love is The Pursuit.  You know when you’re just getting to know someone, there’s this relentless pursuit.  The constant calls, the WhatsApp messages back and forth, the lengthy texts.

It’s exciting, it’s new, you’re hooked, and you want to be around the person ALL the time.

You want to speak to them all day, you look forward to seeing them.  Dates are fun, even when they just consist of quiet walks where no-one is saying much.  Just the presence of the other person brings a sense of satisfaction, and happiness.

 

Goodbyes can be hard, even when you know they are just temporary. New love is amazing.

And then somehow, things slow down.

You kind of get ‘used’ to being with each other, the new things aren’t so novel anymore.  The little cute things slowly lose their spark. The love hasn’t necessarily diminished, but the overt and elaborate expressions of love have…

Whilst most would agree the pursuit should never stop, the reality is that it does.  It’s the sad trajectory of a lot of human relationships.

If you think keeping the momentum in a relationship is tough (and expensive), try maintaining that same energy in a relationship with a faulty foundation.  The ‘love’ will peak quickly, before it rapidly and sometimes hurtfully crashes.

If you find yourself pursuing a ‘love’ in a [hu]man because of loneliness, discontentment, insecurity, hurt – I can almost guarantee you will not find what you’re looking for.  At first things may seem amazing, but beyond the surface you will realise ‘that love’ will not make you feel complete, valued, fulfilled or healed.  Pursuing love ‘just because’, can get messy and leave you broken.

To those who are happy in love, continue to celebrate each other in love, commending the good in one another, and in love covering weaknesses.

And if you are not in a good place this Valentine’s Day, if you are unhappily single (because being single is not a bad thing – another post for another day), nursing a heartbreak, going through challenges in your relationship you are most likely not alone.  Do not let this day ‘highlight’ all the things the things you lack, or things that are wrong.  Instead bask in the knowledge that:


He loves you with an everlasting love.

(Jeremiah 31:3)


Yesterday at the Bible study I attend we were looking a this scripture and thinking about it is really mind blowing:  

 

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

(Philippians 2: 5-8)

 

Imagine leaving your home which is full of glory, comfort, complete luxury and every other great and incredible you can think of to go to a place that is the total opposite.  And on top of that you’re subjected to all sorts of abuse, ridiculed, mocked, beaten – all for the sake of LOVE.  Despite the sacrifice of leaving your glorious home, you’re rejected by the ones you came to show and give this Love to.  It doesn’t discourage you, the rejection gives you more oomph to keep pursuing….now that is the definition of LOVE.

Complete Selflessness. Complete Sacrifice. That is Love.

The breadth, and depth of the love of God is crazy!! Too much for us to fully comprehend.  And what’s great about it, is that it’s unconditional


But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

(Romans 5:8)


It’s not limited to one day a year, but  it’s eternal.

True Love is liberating and is found in Jesus Christ.

 

His love for you is so wide and runs so deep, that you were and always are worth The PURSUIT.

Happy Valentine’s Day

In truth and with lots of love

Faith xox

Are you walking in your purpose?

The word of the season seems to be ‘purpose’. I guess the obsession is understandable for this time of year, as many use the first couple of months to set goals and plan the rest of their year.

 
I’ve heard so many…

‘I need to walk in my purpose’, ‘I need to find my purpose’, ’I’m quitting my job to live my purpose’, ‘what is your purpose, and are you walking in it?’

These questions sometimes make me cringe or roll my eyes. Reason being, is the trending nature in which these purpose fuelled conversations are discussed.

Quick disclaimer: Purpose is important. Knowing your calling, identifying and using your gifts and talents are all vital parts of our existence.  I strongly believe it is important to live a purposeful and fulfilling life to the glory of God. 

My issue lies in this unrelenting quest to discover ‘purpose’.  Some are so bent on discovering their ‘purpose’, they’re no longer living life, as this pursuit has positioned itself as their biggest if not only mission in life.   

 

I also hear bold talks of giving up day jobs to ‘pursue purpose’.

Call me a cynic, I honestly believe many have not actually realised their purpose and are quitting jobs and assignments to follow their own dreams or desires. I do not necessarily disagree with this, but when I think of ‘purpose’, I consider it to be far greater than personal wants or desires, there is a bigger picture which I’ll touch on in more detail later.  There are some extreme cases where people follow trends and disguise it as ‘pursuing purpose’, which is too dangerous and unfulfilling game to be playing.

 


What exactly is your purpose?

Do you have to know what your purpose is?

How do I fulfil my purpose?

How do I know if I’m in my purpose?


 

I recall my pastor’s commentary on purpose at a young adults meeting,  he frankly started that purpose is something only revealed by The Creator. 

He asked us to think about what we would do with a product we were not sure of its use.

He answered, ‘you would probably refer to the manual’.
Why?
Because it has a description of what the product is, how it should be used, and step by step instructions on how to use it. Using our intuition and instincts to piece the product together will probably result in mis-use or even complete damage.  Hence the importance of the manual, it is essential for proper and maximum use.  I believe this same principle should be applied to us.

To live a full, life of purpose, to understand our purpose; what we were created for and how to properly utilise our skills, gifts and abilities we need to refer to our Manual.

The Manual.  

 But, this is a step we often skip, as we tend to head straight over to ‘in-use’ mode.  Then when things start creaking or playing up we begin the hunt for the instructions.  At this point you would think we would refer to ‘The Manual’, nope, most would rather refer to a quick read because of that very reason –it’s quick; there’s no need to take time to understand, a quick glance and you get the gist and off again to in-use mode.

We rush to sign up for conferences, seminars, talks and the likes, to get understanding of what our purpose is.  We begin looking for answers that can really only be provided by The One who created us.

 

Do not misunderstand me; I believe attending conferences, seminars, workshops are great.  Having mentors, coaches, teachers are all really important, but they cannot give us the specific answers we need for our lives, only God can.

If we look at Samuel for example, who called out to him? God.

 


Only God knew exactly the reason and purpose for which He called Samuel.


Eli functioning in the capacity of a mentor was able to guide him towards acknowledging the voice of God. Eli did NOT act as an intermediary and get Samuels purpose downloaded from God and then transfer it to him.  Nope, being someone who was experienced in the office of a priest and having the understanding that God speaks to His people, he was able to share this knowledge with Samuel, so Samuel could respond.  It was God who called Samuel; Samuel had the responsibility of responding and listening to what God had to say (see 1 Samuel 3 for the full story).

This is how we should see our mentors, coaches and teachers.  Most of them have walked the road we intend to, thus more experienced in particular areas. They lend their knowledge and expertise to help and nurture us in these areas.  They are to help us identify areas of strengths and improvement so we can fulfil that calling. But they cannot tell you what your purpose is; only The One who created you knows the specific reason for creating you.  Only He knows exactly what you should be doing and how you should be doing it.

If you do not know what your purpose is, that’s fine (for now). I would advise spending quality time talking to your Creator, inquiring of Him.

We need to break this ‘I need to know now and do right now’ frame of mind.  We cheat ourselves of n developing a deep relationship with our Creator, cultivating our character, honing our gifts and skills because of this need to obtain quick answers and results. 

We are told:


For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.

(Matthew 7:13)


This road is wide to accommodate the multitude that travel through and  fit the plethora of glossy and well manicured tips and suggestions to live life.  We know from this scripture that this attractive wide road only leads to destruction.


But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

(Matthew 7:14)


 

The truth is spending quality time seeking God is not always fun and glamorous.  But the narrow road is narrow for that reason, it is tight, it squeezes out of us the excesses of life contaminated by sin.  It is sometimes hard; this moulds us, shaping us to be more like Christ.  It is narrow because not many choose to journey through, and not all who choose this path make it all the way to the end.
 

To find your purpose you need to get yourself into His presence, spend time in The Word, engage in dialogue that means pray, wait and listen.  This will probably give you the answers you need and provide the clarity and revelation you so desperately seek. 

On a practical note, be diligent.  We need to learn to consistently put our best foot forward.

Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand in the presence of kings. He will not stand in the presence of unknown men.

(Proverbs 22:29)

 Learn to be content in whatever season of life you’re in, this does not mean settling or burying ambition. It means to be okay with where you are now and who you are, trusting God has got you and:
[..]know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28).

Meditate on this scripture and live it!


Whatever you do, work at it with your whole being, for the Lord and not for men

(Colossians 3:23)


Do not be fooled, this dream that the world and social media is selling about purpose, is not all glamorous. I believe whatever your purpose or calling it is beyond you.  It is to be used for God and to serve humanity. Therefore, whatever you are doing now, wherever you are now, whatever season you’re in; it’s a purposeful season to serve God, serve others and develop yourself in preparation for the next stage. 

In truth and with love,
 

Faith xox

 

 

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2018

08.01.18. Day 8 already!

Happy new year everyone.

I’m sure some are already tired of hearing ‘Happy New Year’.  I’m one of those people that continues to wish people a happy new year well into March! If I have not seen you in the new year, whether it be mid February or late March you will most certainly receive new year salutations from me.

Earlier last week one of my Pastor’s posted on Instagram that before wishing her followers a happy new year she meditated on what she was actually saying. Yesterday at Church, the senior pastor along the same lines spoke about the weight our words carry and how greetings such as happy new year are  almost said with no true conviction. 

With this in mind, I genuinely wish you all a very Happy New Year. A year filled with the blessings of God. May He make all things new and beautiful for you and to you this year.

 

In all my reflections of the last year, I can truly testify that God indeed answers prayers. Though it may tarry and take longer than we expect, He is true to His Word.

 

Last year I saw the manifestation of this scripture:


For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth,

making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,so shall my word be

that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I

purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

(Isaiah 55: 10-11)


If He says He’s going to do it, trust me (well trust Him) He will do it.

To trust in Him means to surrender it all to Him. When we offer our prayers, make our applications and requests known to Him we need to leave it there at His feet and trust that:‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28).

I’m sure many of us have major plans, goals, vision boards and all that good stuff set for 2018. I pray that whatever is in our hearts, whatever we desire God will grant us this year and more.

And whatever the year has in store, just remember that ‘many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails’ (Proverbs 19:21).

That being said know God has got you 100% this year, hold on to what He has said and remember He will never leave you or forsake you (Joshua 1:5).

 

Happy new year!

In truth and with love 

Faith xox

 

 

Perspective Vs. Reality

A few weeks ago I was in ‘panic-I’m-not-good-enough-everyone-is-better-smarter-more-able-than-I-am’ mode.  This was triggered by being in new terrains, a new place that explicitly placed a non-negotiable demand of ‘more’.  I simply was required to be and do more. 

Being in a new place often means being stretched, which can be quite a frightening experience, especially when you have not been stretched to such capacities before. This, well at least for me, triggers a train of thoughts, or rather a train of questions such as:


Can I or will I cope?

Will I succeed? 

Am I capable of the task ahead?

Do I deserve to be here?

Am I here by mistake?

Am I qualified?

Will I fail?

Will I crumble at the first major challenge? 


And so on.

A few weeks ago, I asked myself these questions and many others on a daily basis.  I was now in a place surrounded by a group of people that I perceived to be smarter, brighter, and more articulate. Don’t worry this is not a pity me post I’m not about that ‘woe is me’ life.  But I did know by virtue of being part of this group, I was expected to perform at the same level, and deliver to at least the same standards as my new peers.  

As the expectation sank in I saw myself slowly retracting and cowering.  A part of me was afraid by the threat of where I was and who I was not. And the other part of me was actively trying to fight the intimidation and overcome the fear. By trying. Let’s just say the latter part of this conflict was the lesser part so I felt small and inadequate.  
I thank God that giving up is not really part of my life’s mantra. But I am still queen of excuses, stalling, procrastinating and avoidance.  I knew very well that these techniques and my current state of mind was not helpful in navigating this new season of life.  So I took myself to the Lord in prayer, explicitly stating all my fears, insecurities and concerns one by one.   
  
During this emotional and vulnerable time of pouring out, I was reminded of a story in Numbers 13 that deals with intimidation and fear.  
 
For those of you unfamiliar with the story I ‘ll give you a brief run through. 


The Israelites had left Egypt and were in the wilderness. They were on the cusp of transitioning from the desert place to the Promised Land.  In this particular passage, God told Moses to send men to scout out the country of Canaan; the land He had promised to Abraham that his people (the Israelites) would possess.  God instructed Moses to send one man from each ancestral tribe, each one a tried-and-true leader in the tribe.” So Moses sent them off from the Wilderness of Paran at the command of God. All of them were leaders in Israel, one from each tribe (taken from Numbers 13:1-2, The Message translation).  


Let’s pause for a brief moment. I want you to imagine you were one of the Israelites.  Imagine you have been in this dry, desolate place for a while, and all you have been clinging on to is the hope and expectation that God was taking you to a new place. A much better place.  A place of abundance. A place where there are plenty of resources, opportunities. A place where you will thrive and be established.  

You have now been told by your leader that the Promised Land in nigh, but before possessing and moving into the land, a few men will go and have a quick browse of what is there and report back to the rest of the clan.  

 

I would like to think if I was amongst the men that were sent to scout the land I would eagerly get myself together with a positive mindset, a confident attitude (because this land has been promised to me after all) and come back with great feedback of our new home.  


This wasn’t the case in this story. You had Caleb – who was like, ‘YEP! Let’s get it! We are ready to possess the land’. But the others, the majority were struck by ‘what they saw’ and thus came back disheartened and discouraged. 
 
I want you to hold this in the back of your mind for a moment – the thought of entering this Promise Land was not their thought, or idea. It was a Word that was given to them by The One who delivered them from Egypt.  So you know it has come from a completely reliable source- based on past experience of successful deliverance and freedom.That in itself should give have given them enough confidence to go forth, right? But instead of going and returning with that confidence, the men, the leaders get there and become intimidated and afraid. 


27-29 – “We went to the land to which you sent us and, oh! It does flow with milk and honey! Just look at this fruit! The only thing is that the people who live there are fierce, their cities are huge and well fortified. Worse yet, we saw descendants of the giant Anak. Amalekites are spread out in the Negev; Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites hold the hill country; and the Canaanites are established on the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan.” 
30 – Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses and said, “Let’s go up and take the land—now. We can do it.” 
31-33 –  “But the others said, “We can’t attack those people; they’re way stronger than we are.” They spread scary rumours among the People of Israel. They said, “We scouted out the land from one end to the other—it’s a land that swallows people whole. Everybody we saw was huge. Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants (the Anak giants come from the Nephilim). Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.” 
  


In reading this passage I was reminded that Perspective and Reality are two different things. 
Caleb went to scout the same land as the other men, but he came back with a different report.  
 
Why? 
 
Simple. It’s all about perspective. 
  
The perspective of these men were they were inferior, smaller, ‘grasshoppers’. 
  
First of all, the reality was they were not grasshoppers they were humans. That was an objective fact.  They were also not inferior, in fact they had the upper hand because they had The Lord of Host on their side, but they could not see that. 
  
As I reflected on this, I started to think about my situation and reasoned my perspective was just that, my perspective which was not an accurate representation of reality. 
   


And so I began thinking about things that affect one’s perspectives: 
 
1. Knowledge of who you are and what you’ve got. 

  • 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 (1 Peter 2:9).  
  • No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you (Joshua 1:5). 

2. Understanding of the situation and what exactly is required of you (note: what is required is different from what you think is required.) 

 

3. Where you’re standing (or sitting) – We know that if we are in a place where our view of what is ahead is obstructed, our description of what we can see will not be a full account of what is actually before us.  It will be limited to the fragments we see because of the subordinate position we look from.

 

4. Previous experiences – This can include past failures and past successes.  It is important that we should not fall into the snare of generalising. One or even a few failures does not necessarily mean you will always fail. Let us refrain from predicting the future based on one or two instances. 
5. Belief system – What do you believe and more importantly in Whom do you believe?  

6. The eyes of those around you –  There is an old African Proverb that says something along the lines of, an elder can see more sitting down than a child can standing up.  I should have Googled the actual phrase before inserting it, but the main point is that even when your eyes or your vision fail, it is good, actually it is important to have those around you who can see beyond your limitations.  Through their experience and wisdom they can help guide and push you towards the goals ahead.   
 
 


   
The Spirit reminded me that just like these men, my perspective was negatively skewed.  The reality is like these men I did have the upper hand because ‘greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world’ (1 John 4:4).  So my reality in this case was that I had, well have a secret weapon, and despite my inadequacies and shortcomings The One who resides in me covers all of that and will enable me to stand in the midst of people and shine. 
 
So having considered the facts of the situation I reasoned:  

 

  • I was there – so I must fulfil the criteria of what they were looking for 
  •  I went through the same application and testing experience as my peers and made it through, as they did. So my being there was not a mistake. 

 

 

I was reminded of these scriptures:  


“Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

(Romans 10:11) 
  
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

(Joshua 1:9) 
  
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. 

(Psalm 9:10)
 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 

(Proverbs 3:5-6)
  


As I pondered on these scriptures I thought how would God look if He instructed them to go scout the land that He said He was going to give them, then allow them to be consumed and defeated by the inhabitants of that land? Let’s take spirituality out of it for a moment, if you instruct someone to go out and do something, one would be right to think that you are equipped to support and render provisions needed to succeed in that pursuit, right?  Seems like a fairly logical way of thinking, but when in panic mode, or when being confronted by a new challenge this rational way of thinking is sometimes no where to be found.  
  
I took a step back and thought to myself, The One who has put me here surely would not leave me, will He? I mean He honours His Word more than His name (Psalm 138:2).  Him promising that I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:20). He actually means He is with us throughout, even in our darkest, loneliest and most insecure state He is there. 
  

 
As we consider where we are individually, or even collectively in these last few weeks running up to the end of the year we may feel like grasshoppers in comparison to the magnitude of what we have left to face or achieve.  Just to encourage you, our reality is not necessarily what we see or hear, but our reality is what we find in God’s Word. 
 
I have been constantly reminding myself The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Because His endures forever; And he does not forsake the works of His hands.  Therefore, we need to be confident that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns (Philippians 1:6). 
 
In truth and with love 
  
Faith xox 

1 YEAR ON

    

    

 

 

 

 

 

        

 

It’s been about a year since I started Faith’s Guide, and it has definitely been a journey.

I have learned a whole lot about myself, God and situations.  I usually write  most of my posts on my (very long) commute to work, which gives me a lot of time to reflect.  Apart from sharing my faith, this has probably been one of the greatest benefits (for me) of Faith’s Guide. You know when things happen,  sometimes you just get on with it, with little to no regard of how significant the event was, or the lessons that was supposed to be learnt.  My writing time has now become reflecting time; I would pray, seek God, search scripture to understand what happened, why it happened and the significance of it for my personal growth and development.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second major lesson learnt over this year is the hard work that goes into creating and maintaining a blog. There’s a process of writing, editing, shooting, designing, researching, praying and finding the time to do all of this – which is not always fun.  Nonetheless when I sit down and get to work, it is something that I find really fulfilling.

 

 


I know it sounds cheesy, but if there is anything you want to do, try and GO FOR IT!

Will it be easy? Probably not.

Will it be fun? Maybe sometimes.

Will it be fulfilling? Who knows, you will only find out when you try it.

 


Just a few tips, that I constantly remind myself of that I want to share:

Remember WHY you are doing what you are doing

( So encourage each other to build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Remember WHOM you are doing it for

(And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24)

Never, ever compare yourself with others

(Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.  For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Galatians 6:4-5)

There are no short cuts in life – be diligent and committed

(The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor. Proverbs 12:24)

Have a good support system and use them when you need the encouragement, but also be a part of someone else’s support system and provide metal support and encouragement

(And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16)

Just give it your best shot!

(Whatever you do, do well. Ecclesiastes 9:10)

 


I really hope this blog has been a blessing to you.  The journey is not yet over and by God’s grace it gets better and better.

Regarding the vision for next year, I honestly do not know where and what direction I will be going in. What I do know is I will continue to combine two great loves: Christ and Creating. 

 

Thank you all sooo much for your support and love. It means so much to me!! I sincerely pray for God’s blessings and grace on all of ya’ll.

Love your girl,

 

 

Faith xox

Oh and in case you have missed any posts click on the images which will take you straight to the post x

 

 

 

Faith’s Guide