Updated: Jun 12, 2020
Here are some quick thoughts I noted while reflecting on moments, people and decisions I have made. I wondered, if I were going to share a lesson, what would those lessons be?
Here we go:
1. People choose to hear what they want, so why spend your time explaining. Not everyone needs to hear from you
I used to have this weakness where I always felt I needed to get people to understand my decisions and behaviours. Like I owed it to other people to explain my reason, season and process.
I realised over time it was my own insecurity. I didn't have confidence in myself or what I was doing, so I explained because I didn't believe in me. I hoped by explaining it to someone else, they would understand where I was at and in getting it, validate me.
The funny thing was, the more I explained my issues and struggles, the less they got it. They were not in the same place as me, doh!
I began to understand the importance of being more aware of myself while being sensitive to each individual's - time, season and process.
It is something I continue to work on, choosing when to speak and whom to speak to about what. I no longer look for people to validate me because I am secure in my identity in Jesus Christ. He has done it all and in Him I am complete.
2. Life is full of decisions and each decision is made by you. Be careful what and how you decide.
This one is quite straightforward or at least it seems that way. Throughout the day we are making decisions, choosing when to have a bath, what to wear, who to call and where to go. However, when it comes to the wider scheme of things, both internal and external influences have an impact on how we decide, whether or not we are aware of them. One thing for sure is you have to live with the outcome of whatever those decisions are.
Example - when choosing to lend money to a friend, you cannot be certain of what the future may present that could affect their ability to pay back the money. Are you willing to forego money for friendship?
Or when choosing a spouse, you observe certain abnormalities in their behaviour, like not wanting to be questioned about anything or always asking you for money and never having a job? Do you just tell yourself, 's/he will change' and push on through to marriage or get counselling to be certain s/he is the right choice for you?
With every decision there is a consequence, it could either be positive or negative. What we hope for are more positives. We all make mistakes, learning from them would honestly be the best. Make each decision count. I am counting on fewer negatives for more positives.
3. Opinions can be given but they do not have to be accepted.
Just as making the right decisions is key to more positive outcomes, not taking on the opinions, words and thoughts of other people could save your life in many ways.
Yes, I am being a bit dramatic, but think about it!
What is lost is different from what is stolen.
When you listen to the opinions of man over God, the outcome can be costly.
There are some things we have to do in life but have not done because people said something, even though we knew God had instructed us. Yes, we can't blame other people for our decisions but they affect us nonetheless.
Okay let me make it easier on you, maybe not every idea was God-inspired, but what's wrong with venturing out, giving it a go? Robert F. Kennedy said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Being wrong can help us discover what makes us original.
Not every advice is good or useful, sometimes it is a personal opinion derived from personal experience, experience which may have impaired perception.
This was a hard lesson for me. I found myself battling with thoughts that were not even mine. But God is so merciful, He showed me His Truth and helped me to silence every lie and negative opinion placed upon me. I actually wrote, produced and acted in a play about this - positive outcome!
4. The quickest way to get up a mountain is to pray and then begin to climb.
Life can be quite unpredictable. It is different for each of us but one thing is the same, we desire to fulfil the purpose for which we were created - those things God intended for us to fulfil when He thought and designed us to be.
The opportunity to discover the path to purpose requires climbing up the mountain - we must go up. Although I do wonder if will are willing to?
Moses went up, in the book of Exodus. The temple of God was said to be up the mountain. The mountain represents going up to seek and be in the presence of God. Moses came down with the 10 commandments and blueprints, all given to him by God. What will you discover when you climb up?
The journey up the mountain into God's presence starts in prayer. I am not even going to lie to you, I have found it difficult at times to pray, sometimes because of challenges I was facing but also because of a misrepresentation of who God is.
In His lovingkindness and goodness, He always beckons me to come. "Come and talk to Me Michelle about how you feel, I already know but I want you to choose to come and tell me. Come, My Beloved."
Will you accept the invitation to climb up and be with Him?
5. Being honest to yourself is a breakthrough.
I used to hate hearing the truth because it always hurt so much. It hurt because a lot of the time, it was true. Who wants to hear the truth? I don't but really I do.
Not knowing the truth means you are living in a lie. Joyce Meyer puts it this way, "If you want to become fully mature in the Lord, you must learn to love truth. Otherwise, you will always leave open a door of deception for the enemy to take what is meant to be yours."
Now you see why even though it hurts, it is safe for us. We need it to ensure every door of deception is closed. Listen, I could tell you all the many ways I hated hearing the truth but it won't help you. We all need to be willing to learn where our faults and weaknesses lie. I have found that most of the time, the truth is not easily recognised by us.
Yep, I said it. Other people see your blind spots too, if not better. I did not understand this but I get it now. Value the people in your life who have the fear of God, give you Godly counsel and love you enough to tell you God's truth.
Pray to God about everything.
6. Growing up does not stop you from using your imagination. Use your imagination to see what God has placed within you.
I think it's important to provide a definition for the word imagination. It means:
The faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.
The ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful.
The part of the mind that imagines things
Synonyms for imagination includes vision, inspiration, creativity, curiosity, fascination, resourcefulness.
I included a definition because it says it all. Using your imagination is not an immature or childish thing, it is you making use of your creative ability in God. I personally do not know a lot of people who spend their time just imagining with God, or maybe they just don't talk about it.
As children, we would watch the clouds, notice the birds and trees, as the environment around us felt so intriguing. Now we are too grown and too busy to use our imagination. When you look at the synonyms, we are using our imagination every day but let's go deeper with God.
I would like you to be intentional about spending time with God just imagining the possibilities, see what God shows you.
“I pray that the light of God will illuminate the eyes of your imagination, flooding you with light, until you experience the full revelation of the hope of his calling—that is, the wealth of God’s glorious inheritances that he finds in us, his holy ones!”- Ephesians 1:18 TPT
God is limitless therefore there is much more to you in Him.
Dream with Him.
7. Success is not about what you acquire but about being a blessing to others no matter how small.
Experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic has brought us to the realisation, that when it really counts we must support each other. Every Thursday at 8pm people run outside their homes to clap for the #NHS. A way to appreciate everything they are doing to save lives - #thankyouNHS. Churches, charities and celebrities are raising money to help their communities pay rent and get food.
Having a heart of service must be our mark of success. Our ability to serve one another encourages hope and strengthens our community. It looks different for each of us, for some it could be donating money, time, items, skills; whatever you are able to do, do it as onto the Lord.
Jesus showed us how successful He lived by doing the will of the Father. He is fixed on being who God says He is and expressing Father's heart. Let us check our motives for success and make adjustments where necessary. We have to do things differently for us to affect the world with the love of God.
So Jesus said, “I speak to you timeless truth. The Son is not able to do anything from himself or through my own initiative. I only do the works that I see the Father doing, for the Son does the same works as his Father. “Because the Father loves his Son so much, he always reveals to me everything that he is about to do. And you will all be amazed when he shows me even greater works than what you’ve seen so far! - John 5:19-20 (TPT)
There are greater successes to be fulfilled in Christ. Begin to live them out by fixing your heart on what God is doing. The world will marvel with awe and wonder.
8. When you look back all you see is what was behind, face forward to see what lies ahead - your dream awaits you.
You know it used to irritate me when people would say, "you should forget the past" or "you need to put the past behind you". I would be like whatever, my pain is in my past and I am still hurting. And rightly so, if the pain you feel from something that happened in your past still hurts, you have got to deal with it. But, yep here it comes, you cannot live from your past.
Think about it, yesterday is but a memory relived when we remember it. You cannot live in yesterday. When you think about it, it is only in the moments of your memory that you actually are reliving it. You decide where you live in your thoughts and memories.
The more time you spend back there, the less time you live in the present moments - right here and now, which within a blink of an eye becomes the past.....vroom, yesterday is gone, another day comes along!
I understand the power of processing our emotions and going through seasons - the traumas we face and the circumstances we have to overcome which can sometimes be so devastating it cripples us, but the power of your ability to process those emotions and experiences lies in your hope for a better tomorrow.
With tomorrow comes a new day and with a new day, new possibilities and opportunities - to heal, learn, explore, and live. Don't let yesterday trap you, take control and choose to live forward.
9. Difficult situations challenge your character, if you choose to learn from them, you will experience transformation and then growth.
Life has a funny way of dealing with us.
When you are a child, you develop an idea of how you want to live your life. You believe you know stuff and base your future on those juvenile ideas - your limited knowledge, understanding and experience.
But as you grow up, you realise, I don't know anything!
If only someone had made me aware of the fact, that life itself is school, maybe I would have taken my 'education' more seriously and chosen to apply myself to learn my lessons studiously.
Life exposes you to reality - relationships, financial matters, health, faith, emotions and death. Your character is tested. You soon realise that life is about your evolution. Those plans no longer fit, why? Because your character is who you are and it impacts how you choose to live.
My advice to anyone - be more alert to the lessons of your life and allow your character to be transformed, then you will soar.
10. Disappointment can pollute your heart. Give people the benefit of the doubt, sometimes it’s just their ignorance.
Have you been disappointed at some point in your life? Yes!
Have you disappointed someone at some point? Yes!
Are you aware of every situation where you disappointed someone? Definitely not.
Do you regret being a disappointment? In most situations, yes!
Now I can only speak for me, and this is a bit general, but when I disappointed others, I did not set out intentionally to disappoint them. Yet I did.
So how then do we work through disappointment?
I believe ignorance can be so harmful - when we lack knowledge and information, our decision-making process can be hampered. We do what we know to do based on how we know to do. Sometimes we just do not know. Other times we just need to learn to do better.
When we are disappointed, we feel sad because our hope or expectation was not met or fulfilled. The question is, what is your expectation set on? A person? A thing? A position? A place? An opportunity?
Maybe you need to give up your control and put your trust in the only reliable, guaranteed and assured One - God Himself through Jesus Christ. God's words never pass away because He is not a man. When you set your heart on Him, He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me? - Hebrews 13:5-6 (AMPC)
I am grateful to God for my closest friends because they call me out on my stuff. They have made me aware of my blind spots. But the Holy Spirit is the One we must rely on to reveal the truth of God's word and revelation in truth. There are many hidden parts to our hearts, only God sees all. Holy Spirit keep me pure.
But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you. - John 14:26 (AMPC)
Consider any of the following if you are dealing with disappointed:
get upset and harden your heart towards that person (been there, done that, wore the t-shirt - but it does not help anyone at all and it is not of God).
pray to God about the situation and ask the Holy Spirit to comfort you, so you do not hold anything within your heart against that person.
you can be your brother's keeper and show love by making the person aware of their behaviour, using wisdom to articulate your observation. They may not be aware of their behaviour.
adjust your expectation of yourself and others, check your heart and place your hope in Jesus Christ and cultivate a relationship with His Holy Spirit.
I think I will end it here for now and post the remaining 9 reflections in another post. To continue reading, please click here.
Please make time to go deeper.
If any of the reflections I have highlighted struck a nerve, here are some suggestions to help you with them:
Sit with God and speak to Him about how you feeling - be transparent.
Search through the bible for words that apply to what you are feeling and meditate on the bible verses
If you have Godly counsel you trust, please utilise it - like speaking to your pastor, mentor, or a friend.
Take some time to journal - I love writing and I find it very liberating and therapeutic.
Consider counselling - it was the best thing I ever did!
and developing healthy boundaries in your relationships.
PRAYER IS THE KEY.
I believe God speaks and prompts us to discover from His Holy Spirit where we truly are in our hearts in the place of prayer before Him. He loves us coming to Him about everything in the name of Jesus and He ready to reveal, to heal and to carry our burdens no matter what it is. Nothing is too hard for Him, just call on Jesus.
You can share your nuggets in the comments below, I would love to hear your thoughts.