Wednesday, July 1, 2015

You Can Always Start Over

This evening my buddy and I were talking about life. It was no pity party; we were simply moaning about the difficult decisions we have to make on this beautiful journey called life. Decisions about what to study, if we should study further, where to live, who to date, who to cut out of our lives... the list goes on. The choices we have to make in life are endless, and this got me thinking about where the wrong choices lead. Wrong choices can sometimes lead to a dead end where the only way out is to reverse and try another route, and this is what many of us find difficult. 

I have come to realize that living is like being in a theme park filled with rides that can shoot your adrenaline levels off the charts. Some rides are simply fun, some are downright scary, while some are a combination of both. In order to get your money's worth, chances are you will try different rides in the three different categories, right? That's the attitude you should have towards life. I have watched children very often at theme parks and admired their excitement for a new ride even though the last one they just got off was scary enough to send an adult like me into a heart attack. In spite of the fear, and perhaps unpleasantness of the previous ride, there are people who are often willing to go on another ride and start over. 

You must understand that your journey in life may not always be pleasant; as a matter of fact, it may be simply scary and not fun by any stretch of the imagination, but understand that the ride will come to an end, and you don't have to sit in a corner and relive how terrifying it was. You can start over on a different ride and enjoy it to the best of your ability. So you've made horrifying mistakes, who hasn't? Many successful people may like to have you believe they have everything together and have never stepped out of line, but that's not true. It is impossible to live a life of impact without making any mistakes. Understand that your mistakes are not there to define you, they are there to mould you and teach you the necessary lessons. 

You can always start over in life. You can always redefine yourself instead of letting the ride you're on define you. Don't be crippled by the fear of not matching up to your friends if you reverse and take another route. Don't be worried about what may seem like shame simply because you made an error in judgement. Without these mistakes, you'll simply be alive, but not living. Mistakes are part of the core of your existence, so you can have an impact on those you come across in life. Starting over is tough, no doubt about that. Sometimes, it may be easier to sit at a dead end and pretend that's what you want, and you might even be able to fool all the people around you into thinking you're forging a way through this dead end. But it will be more fulfilling to retrace your steps, learn all your lessons and start over on another route. XOXO

Ladies, You Don't Need A Rich Man Or A Man With Potentials.

I had a chat with a friend of mine recently and we shared a laugh over women that try to analyse a man’s purse from the first date. We all know that could be a wrong analysis, seeing as people set out to impress on first dates but many women are guilty of this.

We try to keep our cool and take things as they come but our analytical minds always take over. We find ourselves taking in every information from the first time we meet a potential suitor and project same into our future to see if such man fits into our big picture.

Have you ever caught yourself saying a prayer to God about needing a partner that is ‘rich’, and then you catch yourself midair and probably mutter to God to forgive your secular mind?
Come-on, don’t be like that. God doesn’t detest wealth.

Really though, who are we fooling.Money is an important factor in a relationship. 
If I were to check by a show of hands, I will discover that there are not many people that are interested in taking long stressful walks with their partners especially when the road looks endless. Meaning that a man, who is likely going to be, taken seriously by a woman has to either be rich or on his way to making something out of his life (otherwise referred to as a man with potentials).

You however need to be careful when making life changing decisions. Money is good but when in the wrong hands, it can fast become history. Meaning that you need to look past the cars, nice apartments and expensive gifts that a man gives you. You need to look at the man behind all that. What does he do? How hardworking is he?  What are his plans for the future? Is he motivated towards greatness? What are his core values?

I have seen really rich people become broke for one reason or the other but the possibility of them bouncing back is always totally dependent on their character.
If your focus is on all the flashy things, you might miss the signs that point to his success not being sustainable. Trust me there are lazy rich men and the signs are always there to see.

A man with potentials on the other hand might be a good partner if his potentials are well defined. You can’t compare a brilliant doctor that is still in school to an unemployed graduate that has loads of dreams and ideas but spends the bulk of his time playing video games. With one, finances would get better after some time, with the other you are not sure when things will get better since he never tries. 

All in all, a rich man is not who you need, what matters is the character of whoever you are with or getting with. Who you need is a confident, hardworking and focused man.

You don't need a rich man or a man with potentials, who you need is the man with the right attitude. The kind of attitude needed to weather whatever storm.

While you are on this hunt, I hope you know it goes two ways. A smart hardworking man wants a woman that can motivate him to be better. You will need more than your body to be that woman. What will you be bringing to the table? Work on your attitude and life too.
Remember Iron sharpens iron.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Breaking The Habit Of Sin

I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone. You know those towns where church services are the highlight of one’s social life. There were not so many distractions so the church was a major social gathering. I looked forward to choir and drama practices. It was just a way of staying close to God (so I thought then) and having a great interaction with people . Anyone watching would have passed me off as a really zealous Christian as I never missed any church program but I had my struggles. I had become so used to the church that nothing entered my head or heart anymore. I wasn’t really reading my bible or doing things that would edify my spirit. I was just the typical bench warmer. I led a fairly moral life but inside of me needed an overhaul. My understanding of a relationship with God was deeply flawed. I didn’t do some  terrible things not because I didn’t want to but because I didn’t want to be judged by the church crowd.
 I had deep my spiritual struggles, I just never had the grounds to exhibit my other not-so-good traits.
As the years rolled by, I left my childhood town and I was like an animal uncaged. Not only did I forget my roots, I sunk really low.

I knew something was missing but it was just so hard to lay hold on what exactly was wrong. I answered an altar call one day- the first of many, and started making my way back to God.
I struggled with sin and at some point I almost gave up. I felt like I was never going to get it right. As I found my way out of the pit of self-condemnation, I discovered that being able to keep God’s commandments is a function of understanding that holiness is achieved by faith and God’s grace.

There are always going to be temptations. You will always have to face drunk reckless drivers that would have you cussing out before you realize what you have done. You would have a job that might make you lie about delivery time. You will sexually attracted to someone you are not married to. Long story short, you’ll discover it takes more than you saying you are born again and promising yourself to stop doing some things. You will require an inner strength that can only be of the Lord.

Someone needs to know that we are not made whole by our own power. I relied on my strength for a long time trying to fight sin but I have realized that my strength can’t make me holy, I needed to stay nourished spiritually. When you become born again, you are so fired up that you think that you can conquer sin by yourself but that always changes with time.
You’ll find yourself falling short too many times if you let yourself go.

Don’t make the same mistakes I made. Don’t think a casual stroll on the edge wouldn’t make you fall. Don’t think you know so much that you stop reading God’s words. Don’t be so contented in your own knowledge that you think there is nothing new preachers have to say.
Stay hungry. Don’t starve your spirit man.

At this delicate times, you need God more than ever. If you take in the right things, you will not have to struggle with sin, you will live comfortably above it.

May God never desert us all.

Stay blessed.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Being A Christian Doesn't Cure Infidelity. You Require More.

With the frequency with which infidelity occurs in relationships, it is understandable that it always comes up as an object of discourse. I have written about it many times but since my first post on it, my eyes have been opened to certain truths that I'd love to share. 
When choosing that special one, we are quick to say we want a God fearing person who understands how deeply important it is to keep and fulfill God’s commandments. Such person is not likely to have an affair or be caught in other messy situations we hope.
Who fits this description better than an influential man of God? One that is so deep in the Christendom that he understands what is totally wrong and what isn’t. Probably the one others look up to for strength and guidance. It is disheartening however when one reads of this men of God slipping.

The latest of such stories is Billy Graham’s grandson  Pastor Tchividjian admitting to an affair before his congregation while married.
Honestly, I am not one to judge but situations such as this one can be mind puzzling. Maybe the unbelieving philanderer can’t get over his lust or doesn’t understand the sanctity of the marital bed so as to defile it but how does one explain a man of God. The one that reads the bible often enough to probably recite all its verses. The one that enjoins other people to keep the same commandments he is breaking. How does such person slip?

Affairs are not faith based, anyone can be tempted.
So, how does one avoid it?
We need to do reality checks on ourselves from time to time. What things are we exposed to? There is something about the way our senses work, the things we see and listen to shape our thoughts a great deal. They stay locked away and come back to us in our quiet times. That’s why we need to constantly sanitize our thoughts. Let the words of God be in our hearts and mouths at all times. We should allow the Holy Spirit be our guide because the flesh is really weak. We should know some things are simply not edifying and so should be avoided.

We forget that being Christians doesn’t automatically protect us from getting tempted to sin and the moment we start thinking we are invincible, we become exposed. You don’t walk on the edge of a high building without risking a fall. Pastor Tchividjian was going through a really hard time coming to terms with his wife’s affair and it was during that period that he started an affair with a woman he was close to. He was very vulnerable at the time and he should have avoided establishing that kind of close relationship.

We need to be alert at all times. The devil won’t stop tempting you because you are now spirit filled and tongues speaking. The temptations will increase, let the Love for God be your guide. Understand you can’t conquer sin by yourself so when you perceive sin from miles away, please flee, then pray.

All in all, being a Christian doesn’t automatically guarantee a faithful partner. What makes a faithful partner is dependent on having the fear of God coupled with self-discipline and the grace of God.

Should we slip, we need to bear in mind that God's grace is sufficient. We should never think we are made righteous by the works of our own hands.Get on your knees and sincerely ask for forgiveness.

As always, I am still learning and would love to hear from you. Kindly share your thoughts.

How to Gently Cut Off Bad Friends

No one should tell you the kind of friends to keep. As a mature individual, I’d expect that you already know what’s good for you and what’s not. But the thing is patterns in relationships and friendships, detrimental as they may be can be very dangerous, and often lead to the same mistakes recurring simply because you have the proclivity to choose certain kinds of people as your buddies. Sometimes, it has nothing to do with inclination; some people come into your life, and are just so awesome, you wonder how you’ve been living without them all these years until their true colours start to show, and it starts to dawn on you that you’ve made an error in judgment.

Cutting people out of your life is not always easy because some people are always in your face. No matter how hard you try to let go of them, they stick to you like glue, and you often find yourself in the name of diplomacy enduring the friendship much more than you are enjoying it. These kinds of friends are the gossips, story-fillers, unnecessarily aggressive know-it-alls, and the ones who are always making you second-guess your decisions. Cutting them off is usually never easy because they know so much about you, you’re probably worried they’ll tear down your reputation should things get ugly. Here are a few tips to gently letting go of bad friends:

Reduce communication.  This is the first step to cutting off a friend that has become a thorn in your flesh. Many people make the mistake of cutting off all communication, immediately alerting their ‘friend’ they might be displeased, which in turn leads to discussions in circles that eventually cause them to mend their friendship in spite of the unhappiness that comes with it. To reduce communication means to check on them once in a blue moon, and give formidable excuses as to why you just can’t hang out. Work, school or a project eluding you is always a good place to start.

Be Polite. Chances are you will bump into the friend you are trying to cut off at some point, or you will be invited to come over. The key thing here is to be polite. Give hugs, smile, pay a compliment, refer to how stressed out you are, talk about plans you’ve already made, and let them understand how sad you are that you can’t honor their invitation.

Don’t gossip about them: Seal your lips with glue if you must! The fact that you are trying to cut a bad friend off doesn’t mean you have to start spreading stories about him/her, even within your circle of friends. The reason is that gossip will eventually turn the tables on you, causing you to be the one in the dog box trying to make things right.

Make new friends. Best way to get rid of the old? Come with something new! People underestimate the ability of new relations to break old vicious cycles. New friends can make the process easier. In essence new friends or friend can occupy the space your bad friend once occupied hence completing the removal process. Advice: Don’t gossip to your new friend about your old friend. If you begin the foundation of a new friendship with gossip and tales of others, that friendship will dry out when there’s no more gossip. Begin new friendships with people who are the opposite of your old friend- people who are driven, strong and uplifting. In such company, there is no need to tear anyone down, even if that person deserves it.

Ending a detrimental friendship as gently as possible can actually turn out to be a long process, but the longer it is, the more amicable the separation will be. Not everything has to end with a fight. XOXO

How to achieve the work-life-family balance

Balance is probably every woman’s nightmare. The one recurring question I’ve heard at meetings where successful women were given a platform to speak was how they’ve been able to become successful, keep their homes together, and still manage to crawl out of bed every morning. Why no one asks men the same question is still beyond me, but that’s a topic for another day. The work-family-life balance is indeed a nightmare for women as it sometimes causes them to make life-changing decisions all in a bid to ensure they have the important things on lockdown.
So how can you achieve it? I got some pointers from women with the most nerve-racking jobs who still have time to meet with their friends for dinner every now and then, and still attend to their children’s pressing needs. Here they are:

1.       Choose the right partner! The most valuable lesson I learned from these women is that the kind of person you choose to marry will determine how balanced your life is. A partner who’s wrapped up in his/her own little world, or obsessed with gender roles within the family will probably not be of much help to you when it comes to striking balance. An obsession with gender roles suggests that your partner will not cross into your zone to assist you even if all the boxes around you are falling into bits and pieces. He will not help you clean on weekends, assist with putting the children to bed, or even order takeout for days when you return home exhausted; just like she will not pay a cent towards the family’s financial upkeep because you know, that is your territory. An obsession with gender roles will result in one partner falling beneath the weight of all they are expected to do, while the other partner simply lives in an oblivious zone to these struggles.

2.       Get help…As much as you need. I find it rather interesting these days that women are often made to feel guilty for getting help. People say things like “How can you expect a stranger to raise your children?” or “Will your children ever sing the song ‘sweet mother’ for you and mean it? These statements suggest that to have true balance, a woman must either give up one phase of her life, or suffer beneath the strain of her choices alone. If she wants to be a mother and a career woman, fine! But she shouldn’t complain when the strain breaks her neck. Well, that’s what it sounds like. The option of getting help is often a last resort approach. I learned that it is necessary to get help as soon as you need it. It doesn’t hurt to have a person who comes in once or twice a week to clean the house, and do the laundry. It doesn’t hurt to pick up ready-made meals on your way home to ease the strain of having to cook after a long hard day, and not getting any time to spend with your children or even your husband. It doesn’t hurt to have your children picked up from school by a well-trusted individual who can help them with their homework, while you simply go over it with them after dinner. Getting help does not mean you are weak. It means you are a leader who knows when and why she should delegate. With sufficient help on your side, there’s no reason for your work life, family life or social life should suffer.

3.       Be realistic with yourself. You are not a robot. The more time you spend stressed out, the more drained you become emotionally, and the more your self-esteem takes a big knock. Decide on the things that are truly important to you and focus on them. You don’t have to volunteer to help out with every single event at church if you know you barely have the time as it is, and you don’t have to step up to the plate every single time within the neighborhood to do a bake sale or organize a car wash. Sometimes, we do these things for the wrong reasons- to either make people admire us, or to fulfill our sanctimonious desires. Sometimes, it’s OK to have nothing to do and just spend the weekend resting. Sometimes, it’s OK to send your children on a day excursion to somewhere interesting with the nanny while you bond with your spouse, and just have some fun. It doesn’t paint a bad picture of you, unlike what the world would have you think. It paints a balanced picture of how you understand that everyone in your family needs your attention and they all need a different kind of attention.

You can achieve work-life-family balance if you are open to understanding your limitations and your needs, instead of drowning in the pressure the world believes you should drown in. Any more tips? Do share! XOXO

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Five Signs You Are Too Desperate

Marriage is lifelong – so it is meant to be.
Seriously, it really should be lifelong, meaning; decisions pertaining to marriage need to be well thought out. The problem is the society makes it really hard. A friend of mine called me some time ago and I could tell from the tone of her voice she was trying to hold in her anger. She shared that an elderly driver at her workplace has made it his duty to remind her how old she is getting and how much she needs to settle down as soon as possible. Can you imagine that?
 While marriage talks from friends and family can be slightly tolerable, nobody enjoys when a stranger weighs in on one's personal matters.  Imagine if we were all taunted by random individuals of how we might end up as old lonely maids.

Really though, I am still trying to work out the relationship between getting married and being fulfilled. I wonder why a woman is expected to chase after marriage like it is her only call.
While I am not trying to undermine the institution of marriage, I honestly don’t think it is all one has to aspire to. There should be more reasons to want to live. There is also the need to be confident in one’s space before entering a union with another.
I know there is always that biological reason to want to do things and get it over with but I also believe there is God’s time for everyone and everything. It is good to want to be settled, what you don’t want is to be perceived as desperate and thereby taken for granted in some cases.

Bad thing about being desperate is that one might be totally oblivious how desperate one seem. If you exhibit any of the behavior cited below, the adjective ‘desperate’ describes you.

You picture a relationship with every guy that says Hi: It is normal for the societal pressure to get to you. What you don’t want is to be pressured into settling for something that is doomed to end in torture. You find yourself getting mad over a guy that just wants to be friends and nothing more. You create a phantom relationship in your head with your boss just because he complimented your dress. Not every guy that you meet is the one for you. You need not give yourself heartache over things that are not.

You don’t understand the principle of phases: You forget there is the ‘get to know you’ phase. You are in such a hurry. You already talked about the size of ring you want during the first outing together. You already talked about how cute your babies will be if you got married. It is good to have plans for the future but don’t put the cart before the horse with your over eagerness.

You have no standards: You have probably been told that you have too many rules and you thought you should lighten up a little bit. This has made you drop every single criteria. It doesn’t matter if the man is an alcoholic unbeliever or if he wants to have sex with you before marriage against your belief. All you want is just to be called a Mrs. It even doesn’t matter if he is married.

You don’t care how you are treated: you don’t mind tiptoeing around who you are seeing lest they get angry and call things off. This makes you accept various acts of disrespect. He can have other women outside your relationship. He can beat you if he has to. You have totally forgotten about your own mental, emotional and physical health.

You want to meet his family after your first date: Calm down sweetheart. This is no sprint. This is a decision that might affect your lives forever. Don’t blame him if he wants to take some time to know you. He is trying to get comfortable with you. It is not the time to throw family into the mix. Give him some time.

Desperation doesn’t look good on anyone irrespective of sexes. Just take your time, enjoy your single life. That special someone will definitely find you. You deserve a healthy loving relationship.

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