Love in Marriage

I have had my fair share of admirers…some secret and some not so secret… in fact I married one of them! But before I got married, I dated a few guys. One of these, I loved so much… there was a time in my life when this guy was my world- I would have and did anything for him, I would have given up everything for him. In fact I loved him so much that when ever we had a fight my heart will break it literally hurt. You can imagine how I felt when we broke up! Ouch! But for the longest time, the love I experienced in that relationship was my standard of what love should be- If I did not feel that “young love” with a guy, then it presupposed I did not love him and he was X’ed off my list.

Fast forward to about 10 years ago when I met my hubby- we connected right away but that “love” was not there. I kept waiting for the moment when that “young love” would kick in and it never came. I kept thinking well maybe when we get married it will come and frankly after all these years I’ve got nada! Oh I know you know I love my husband very much… He is my everything and owns every part of me and that is biblical okay? lol But you know sometimes I have wondered if I truly love him since I have not felt what I felt when I was much younger and in love. I have secretly pondered if I sold myself short on love and settled for the next best thing.

Many get into marriage with a perspective that mainstream media portray love in marriage to be- endless days of kisses and lovemaking, and getting along with this gorgeous human being who makes breakfast in bed only to be disappointed. Some start off with a whirlwind romance that sweeps them off their feet and expect that everyday of their marriage will look like that only to be disappointed. Or maybe you are looking for this person that you can be desperately in love with, be shamelessly infatuated with and hopelessly fawn over and he/she is simply not there or has disappeared since the I dos .

Over the past few years, God has been teaching me to change my perspective of what love is, particularly love in marriage, and here are a few of the things I am learning. Love in marriage:

is selfless– before I got married I read a book where the author described that the love in marriage should look something like so: that the wife seeks the best for the husband, seeks to please him, to make him fulfilled in every which way with no consideration for herself and the husband seeks the best for the wife, seeks to please her, and prioritizes her needs in every way- that selfless love will sustain them. This is a love that gives, that sacrifices and puts you first. Realistically, would you see this selfless love all the time? No because we as people are inherently selfish but with careful intentionality this selflessness can be more the norm in any marriage- For God so loved the world that he gave…

is sacrificial– do you have a spouse who makes you feel valued by giving you the best of their time, attention, worldly possessions and is not stingy with their affections? Are you the kind of spouse that does not give the leftovers of your time, attention, affection and possessions to the marriage? For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son… The price of love is costly, is precious, is “only begotten”… it is not leftovers. Sacrificial love does not have to involve anyone literally dying for you (although it is nice to know without a shadow of doubt that a person will literally take a bullet for you), It may look like a spouse putting away his/her devices to have a conversation with you and focusing on just you in that moment. It may look like a lavish getaway… It may look like taking the time to help you dry the dishes while you wash… What ever it looks like, it leaves you feeling valued, feeling like you are a priority, and someone’s #1 just as God made you his priority the day he gave up his only begotten son for you.

is rewarding- …that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Do you feel reciprocity in your marriage? Is there a healthy balance of give and take? Do you feel like you have someone who is always in your corner? A constant friend, and confidante, and someone you can complain to, celebrate both small and great things with, someone who accepts you warts, farts, and all? Marriage should not feel like punishment or a chore but it should feel like hard work and effort. Just as you have to believe to be saved and enjoy eternal life, the rewards of marriage do not just drop in one’s laps. Love in marriage, looks like a spouse who is putting in the effort to make the marriage work- it may look like forgiving indiscretions, investing in counselling when things get tough, being intentional in not giving the other reason for regret and going the extra mile to make sure the other person feels like they hit the jackpot when they got you. Marriage should leave you feeling like you are getting something out of it- a partner who steps into your life’s story and does life with you till your race ends. That, in and of itself is a reward.

So I conclude with a line from one of my favourite songs: How deep is your love? Happy Valentine’s day.

Yours Truly

A Relational God

In the past couple weeks I have been listening very closely to God about what it means to have a relationship with him. God has been speaking with me regarding this and it all starts in a garden. For those of you who missed last week’s post, this is coming from my realization that I do not know what it means to be in relationship with God so I asked God to teach me. I do so with the understanding that in order to persevere in my faith , I need to see clearly who Jesus is, and what he has done for me. So, let’s go to the garden…

In the beginning, God created humanity to have a relationship with Him. The full embodiment of the Godhead created Adam and Eve to be in the image and likeness of God and gave them creative power and dominion over everything (Gen 1: 26-30). God made humanity different from the angels- who are God’s messengers that do His bidding. He created beings who were a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory (Heb 2:7- 8) and filled them with many of His abilities and attributes so that he could relate with them on a different level- not as servants like He would the angels but as friends. He made humans with the ability to create beings in their own image and likeness like God had done; to call things into existence by speaking just like God had done; to have power over created things like God does; and He gave man the ability to take care of things, and to nurture and cultivate things just like God can. He even topped it all by giving humans the ultimate key to relationship with Him: CHOICE. (Relationship is all about choice- you choose who you want to be in relationship with and how much you want to give to that relationship. You choose whether people you meet will become strangers, acquaintances, friends, lovers, etc. The only thing man did not choose was to be created- because that choice lay in the hands of the Creator and that still remains true today for us as humans with the the ability to procreate, children do not choose to be born, that choice lay in the hands of the parents, the creators- but I digress). So on a daily basis, God came down and spent time in fellowship with Adam and Eve in the garden He made for them. Until one day, Adam and Eve chose to no longer be in relationship with God and chose disobedience over obedience; and the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil which is death over life. And that day, everything else broke. Humans still had everything that God had bestowed upon them in creation- the ability to create, nurture, to have dominion and to bring into existence things that are spoken- but what had changed was that because Adam and Eve chose death- everything that humans have created and done since then is tainted by the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the internal struggle of good and evil was reproduced in every human after that day.

In the meanwhile, humans were created by God, for relationship with God and God’s plan is to reconcile and restore humans back to that original place of relationship in the garden where God would come down and dwell with his creation and He promises to do this in the fullness of time:

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelations 21:1-4 NIV

However, in order for humans to return to this place of relationship with God, they had to make a choice to reject the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil which is death and choose life. But how? Humans have tried for many millennia to find their way back into relationship with God but cannot on their own because everything we do comes from the nature and likeness of Adam and Eve which is not the same as the nature and likeness of God. For us to get back in relationship with God, our nature and likeness must be changed back to the way it was in the beginning because the only way to be in that kind of relationship with God as Adam and Eve had in the garden is to be in the image and likeness of God as it was in the beginning.

God had to remove the option of death so that the only choice left to make was life for anyone who is ready to make that choice. The only way to do that was to take on death itself by dying. In order to do this, God had to assume the human nature with its struggles between good and evil (which is death) and life. God in human form as Jesus (also known as Emmanuel which means God among us and with us), chose life for all, just as Adam and Eve had chosen death for all. He did so by being the sacrifice of death in the choice of life and death so that as many people who want to be reconciled to God no longer had the option between death and life- only life. This is what we call being ‘born again’- it is the act of choosing life over death and by so doing, taking on the image and likeness of God so that you can go back to being in relationship just as you were created to be.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons [and daughters] to glory, it was fitting for God, for whom and through whom all things exist, to make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. For both the One who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 

Hebrews 2: 9-11NIV

So in last week’s post, I admitted that I did not understand how God can keep forgiving over and over again and when His love would run out. There is still a mystery there but that does not negate or diminish the fact that Jesus revealed the depth of God’s love for humankind by taking our place and dying for us. It is this love, this yearning to restore relationship that is activated every time I pray for forgiveness of sin and choose life- even if it is 1000 times per day! This is why God can forgive me unconditionally because every time I renounce sin, I am choosing a relationship with Him and I am choosing life and that is all He desires- that no one perish but that all come to choose life, even everlasting life. He wants a Revelations 21 ending for everyone of His creation- to be back in relationship with Him forever as was intended in the beginning. And this is the simple gospel.

Yours Truly

Scoring Brownie Points

For the past few nights I have had trouble sleeping- every night I go to be bed with a sense of dread and today, I have finally discovered why. As I pondered what has been troubling me I realized that the root cause is that I am grappling with the fundamentals of who God is… yes I know it is a scary thing to say since I have pretty much gone my whole life professing to be a Christian.

My overall view of God is very similar to what the bible says He is but relationally, I do not treat Him as a loving forgiving father. I have lived a greater portion of my life in a transactionary relationship with God and this has been enforced by church doctrines that overemphasize cause and effect- if you give, God gives back to you more; if you pray hard and loud enough for something, you move God into a favorable response; if you forgive, God forgives you; and if you sin you step out of God’s love and his protection and whatever happens to you is on you… and so on and so forth! I read my bible because I am convinced that as a good Christian this is what I need to do on a daily basis and I am afraid of that if I don’t then somehow I do not score brownie points with Him. Sometimes, I give even though I do not want to because I am afraid that if I am not generous then God will retaliate and not be generous towards me. At the start of every year I pray that no one in my family will die and I hold my breath for 365 days hoping that I don’t screw up so bad that God does not keep his end of the bargain. I walk on eggshells and tiptoe around God waiting for the other shoe to drop because I feel like at the drop of a hat He will take away every good thing He has given me- my life, my husband, my job, my home, my family. Every time my phone rings, my first thought is “This is it! your luck has finally run out and here comes the bad news”. I buy lottery tickets because I am so afraid that the day God decides to take away his provision and providence for my family we will be out in cold. Every step of my walk with God is a transaction- If I do this, then He will do that… If I read more of my bible or post on my blog like I promised God I would, then I earn enough points for the change of another day at life. Certainly God cannot forgive me for everything! He probably will find a way to punish me and so when bad things happen to me, I just need to accept it as God’s way of justice- making me experience the consequence of my sin even though he has forgiven me.

My whole life is filled with the fear of God but not the kind that that is holy and leads to deeper relationship. My fear of God keeps me up at night with dread. Cerebrally, I know God loves me but deep down in my heart I do not believe that God can love unconditionally. Where is the intersection between the mercy, the love, and the justice of God? How do I process unanswered prayers, dreams dashed, and hope deferred in the light of God’s love? I am not having a midlife crisis or a crisis of faith… this is the reality of my walk with God. There are certain areas of my relationship with God I have not been entirely honest with myself and God about. There are questions I have about God and about who He portrays Himself to be that I would like some insights into but have hidden under the Christian phrase “He is an unquestionable God” and so I accept concepts, doctrines and personalization of God that make no sense to me with consolations that I “will understand it better by and by”. In the meanwhile, my walk with God is very unfulfilling, shallow, robotic, and transactional. And you know the sad truth? I am not alone.

Some of you will read this and this will resonate with you right away and wonder what the next steps should be. Others who are farther along in their relationship with God will empathize and feel a need to reach out.. please do… (you can use the comments). Today, after coming to this realization, I decided to do something antithetical to what I would usually do, which is, to silence my thoughts with some comforting scripture or rebuke myself for my unbelief. Instead, I decided to go to God and ask for His help to navigate this. So for the next few weeks and months, I will be listening so closely to God as He helps me deal with this and I will keep you posted on what I hear. If you have some suggestions on great reads that will help me I’d be glad to hear them. If you want to offer up a prayer to God, I’d take that too. If you’ve walked this path before and you have advice, drop it in the comment box below.

George Guthrie, a bible scholar once said, “Your perseverance in the faith will be in direct proportion to the clarity with which you see who Jesus is, and what he has accomplished on your behalf”. I know God welcomes the opportunity for any of his children to want a deeper relationship with Him and see Him clearly for who He is- He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. He says:

“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God…”

Luke 18:16 ESV

Yours Truly

The Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude, comes from the latin word gratus which means “pleasing, thankful”. It is a feeling of deep appreciation felt by the recipient of kindness, gifts, help, favors, or other types of generosity, to the giver of said gifts. 

Living a life with gratitude means choosing to focus your time and attention on the things you appreciate, are thankful for and find pleasing. It does not mean that one has to pretend that bad things or difficult things are not happening. It is not a wishy washy ‘kumbaya’ lifestyle. Remember the conversation about neuroplasticity? What you focus on your attention on will form neural pathways that strengthen your thought processes and change the way you view life. Gratitude gives us different perspectives to situations- good or bad and helps us to adjust our attitudes towards those situations. Now let us backtrack and situate this topic with our bigger conversation of changing our thought patterns and metacognition.

Do you see how focusing our attentions on things we are grateful for can help us change both our internal and external narratives? It truly takes effort to focus on the positives of a situation but the benefits are so worth it! I recently read the testimony of a husband who practiced this and ended up reaping a hundred folds of peace and joy in his marriage. He started a journal to document every single day for an entire year one thing about his wife that he appreciated with the commitment not to repeat anything. Initially it was hard but then eventually the fighting and strife got less and less. The process helped him to truly experience the tenderness of every moment with his wife as searched constantly for things to appreciate. So how do we show gratitude?

If you like to journal then a gratitude journal is certainly one way to do this. A gratitude journal is the practice of jotting down, each day, things that we are grateful for, which allow us to become more present and aware. But if you are like me and do not like to pen down your emotions but are constantly ruminating on them, then may I suggest trying Phil 4:8. When you encounter any situation good or bad, before you speak, ask yourself, “Is there anything true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy about that situation?” If so, allow your mind to dwell on that for a few minutes. This metacognitive activity will help to bring the positive things to focus and give you a reason to always be thankful. It takes work… at least initially… until it becomes a habit to be able to acknowledge the negatives but instead, dwell on the positives. You need to work on your ‘gratitude muscle’ because the attitude of gratitude does not come naturally to everyone. It needs to be an intentional and iterative process which will eventually shape our thinking. If you want to think positively, you have to actively look for positive things to think about and that is what gratitude does.

God in His infinite wisdom and design knows in this life we will face adversity, trials, and some very unbearable times along with the good; and He provides us with the tools we need to safeguard our minds and our sanity. In order to not have our thought overrun with negativity, one such tool He puts in our toolbox is gratitude and admonishes us to:

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus

1Thessalonians 5:18

So what are you grateful for today? If you cannot think of anything let this scripture set you on the path of gratitude:

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all His kind deeds-He who forgives all your iniquities and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with loving devotion and compassion, who satisfies you with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 103:2-3 BSB

Yours Truly

Changing our thought patterns

Last week, I ended the post with the fact that it is possible to influence our thought patterns and this week I want to share one of two ways I believe we can do this: with the things we say. Lets start with our anchor scripture:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 

Phil 4:8 NIV

Have you ever heard the saying “watch your thoughts, they become your words…” This connotes a forward linear relationship between thoughts and words but in reality, it is more complex than that. While it is true that your thoughts become your words, research has shown that words inform our thought processes on both a conscious and a subconcious level. We respond to words not only at a conscious level but also at a visceral, autonomic level. Neuroplasticity is the term used to describe how the brain continues to re-invent itself. What we think about actually rewires our brains—for better or worse. Older, unused neural pathways fall away, and new ones, with repetition and focus, are created and words are one way in which we do rewire our brain’s responses. This is true whether we are responding to words spoken by someone else or responding to our own self-talk which what we say to ourselves in our heads. So in as much as your thoughts becomes your words, your words become your thoughts and they become you.

For as he thinks within himself, so he is.

Prov 23:7a NASB

Gary in the Oct/ Nov edition of Focus on the Family gives very sound advice on this topic. He says when it comes to leaning into positive thinking, “talk to yourself more and listen to yourself less.” What do you say to yourself about who you are, how you view the world, what your reactions to situations should be? Your words shape both your internal and external worldview. So a practical way to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy is to surround yourself with words that possess those qualities. Remember, neural pathways are created with repetition and focus and so if we want your thought patterns to be positive then we need to be intentional in speaking positive things to ourselves and surrounding ourselves with positive speech. This is a process known as priming and what priming does is that it triggers the production of oxytocin in the brain which is a “feel good” neurochemical to trigger feelings of wellbeing and happiness. This is one way to ensure that the wellspring of your heart always flows with freshwater (in reference to the question posed in James 3:11-13 when he was talking about being careful what we say).

In summary, if you want to change the way you think, one way to do it is to change the way you speak. There is nothing phony or “new age” about this principle. It is bibical- Solomon told his son, “Above all else, guard your heart; for out of it are the issues of life?” Why? Because one’s thought life controls the rest of his/her life- and the words we speak have the potential to shape our reality (James 3:3-6) as they create neural pathways in our brains which govern how we live and intepret our life experiences. I conclude with a scripture to reflect on:

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

Prov 4:23-27 NIV

Join me next week as we talk about another way to change your thought patterns.

Yours Truly

https://anchor.fm/intentionally-me/episodes/Changing-our-thought-patterns-e1d2sl8

Thinking about thinking

In 2021, one of the things I struggled with the most and posted about the most was about my thinking patterns and the things that consumed my brainpower. All my fears and anxieties were housed in the recesses of my mind and from time to time I would take a trip down ‘what if’ lane. Every time I let my thought wander, I realized my anxiety or fears or anger in the situation in question increased exponentially.

Have you ever thought about what you are thinking about? Thinking about thinking is a process called metacognition. Metacognition is a strategy that allows us to organize and evaluate our thought processes related to learning and problem-solving. The more intentional and iterative the metacognitive process is, the better one gets at it. There are many scriptures that speak to aspects of metacognition and one such helpful and revolutionary verse is found in Philippians 4:8:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Philippians 4:8 NLT

This scripture calls for us to take charge of our minds and rather than let our thoughts run off on their own, be intentional in what we think about. A rather apt illustration comes from Gary Thomas in the the Oct/Nov edition of the Focus on the Family magazine. It says if we want to be physically healthy, we won’t eat everything that looks delicious; we’ll exercise self-control. Likewise, if we want to be healthy relationally, we shouldn’t think about everything that demands our attention. We need to exert the same self-control with our minds that we do with our bodies.

We must not dwell and ruminate on things that are distasteful, dishonorable, frustrating, anger-inducing, shameful, or deserving of censure. Instead we should reject negative thoughts and lean more into the positive ones. Metacognition does not come naturally to anyone. It is an intentional process which involves making an effort to rein our thoughts in- making it a conscious part of our lives to think about what we think about and actively reject the negative thoughts.

In the past few days, I have been practicing this and this is what I have learned…a lot of my emotions both positive and negative first start with a thought-often a perception based on my assessment of the situation and then that thought becomes an emotion that leads to a reaction. Let me illustrate: An acquaintance sent me a message about a new business he had started and in my excitement I asked, “Can I share this information with others?” The response back was, “That is why I shared it with you”. Now lets consider that response: My first thought was “wow! how rude- I am trying to be helpful and I get attitude back?” In that moment, I equated that text with sarcasm and disrespect and then I got angry at the impudence. Then I remembered Philippians 4:8 and decided to put it into practice so instead of reading the text through the eyes of impertinence, I decided to imagine that there was good intention and joy behind the message and with that in mind, I interpreted the text as “Yes, that is why I shared the information with you because I knew you would be kind enough to pass it along”. Two different reactions to the same message because the starting thought processes were very different. And you know the interesting part of this, I would never truly know if the text was sent with sarcasm, excitement, or indifference and frankly that does not matter. What matters is how I reacted and in the moment, I reacted negatively to the text and developed resentment-this is why we must exercise control over what we allow ourselves to think about.

The act of thinking is not a passive process at all, we can influence our thoughts more than we realize and in my next post ,I will explore how we can do this more. In the meanwhile, stay tuned and try practicing Phil 4: 8 and take control of your thought patterns- be intentional about thinking about your thinking!

Yours Truly

https://anchor.fm/intentionally-me/episodes/Thinking-about-thinking-e1cpp2n

Hell0 2022!

Dear readers, we made it to 2022! At the end of every year, my husband and I set aside 3 days to reflect on our year, pray, and then set goals for the new year. 2021’s end-of-year reflections led to some encouragements from the scripture and my commitments which I would like to share with you:

God has started me on the course of this year with a mandate to be intentional about my thinking (Phil 4:8) and to be intentional about being holy and walk a spirit-filled life (Isaiah 4: 2-4; Isaiah 6: 5-7). He does not promise a problem-free 2022 but what He promises is to be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain (Isaiah 4:6). He promises that his grace will be enough and his strength will prevail through the uncertainties. He encourages me to bring my doubts and fears to him and not allow my experiences to shape my beliefs but rather that my beliefs shape the lenses through which I view all my experiences in this year (Isaiah 7:9). And finally and more importantly, He gives the blessing of His presence- He is the God of 2022.

“Do not be afraid, be strong and courageous, do not be dismayed, be careful and keep calm and do not lose heart. For I will be with you wherever you go. I will be your Emmanuel” (Joshua 1:9; Isaiah 7:4)

My anchor scripture for you for this year is from Psalm 46:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging

PSALM 46:1-3 NIV

Now regarding my commitments to you- last year one of my goals was to write and post at least one blog/ week and frankly, I failed woefully. This year I want to take on that goal again but also be intentional about my writing and posting schedule. What you can expect to see is at least one post every week on Mondays. I will also be launching a complementary podcast titled ‘Intentionally Me’ to accompany each post in the next few weeks- this way, this post can come to you in whatever manner you find convenient. Remember you can also subscribe to this site so that every post is delivered to your email on schedule.

I look forward to a fruitful 2022 of sharing my walk with God and together being intentional in living our our faith. Be encouraged! The Lord your God is with you!

Yours Truly

https://anchor.fm/intentionally-me/episodes/Hello-2022-e1d0ct3

Advent Calendar day 23: ‘Nuff said

If God could sit and reflect on the year I have had with me, I am pretty sure His advice to me for next year would be exactly the reading from today:

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
2 Timothy 2 : 20-26 NIV

‘Nuff said.

Yours Truly

Advent Calendar day 21: Fear of the unknown

This year, I found myself in situations where I was afraid- afraid mainly of the outcomes of things that were beyond my control. What will the result of this medical test be? What will the result of this court case be? What will the result of this application for XYZ be? I was fearful that the outcomes would not be be what I wanted and would change everything. Today’s reading gives me a different perspective to situations that are beyond my control:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7 NLT

What can power, love and self-discipline do for me when I am anxious about something I have no control over? I can declare boldly and with POWER, God’s supremacy over every situation. I can rest in the promise that because of God’s great LOVE for me, everything will work out for my good even if it does not “look” good. And finally, I can exercise SELF-CONTROL and wait for God to do what He does best in His time- He makes all things beautiful in its time. And the beauty of this is that all of this is possible because of God’s spirit at work in us. He has given us a spirit of POWER, LOVE and SELF-DISCIPLINE so that we can triumph on days such as ones that are filled with fear of the unknown.

Yours Truly

Advent Calendar day 22: Season with Salt

Have you ever had a conversation about someone or something and felt worse afterwards? This year, a few of my conversations felt that way. There were lots of situations that I had very strong opinions about and did not hesitate to voice them out but I always seemed to feel less unburdened and more ungodly afterwards. I always felt like I had let myself down because of the flavour of those conversations which in my opinion were irreverent. Today’s readings is an admonishing about this exact issue:

But avoid irreverent, empty chatter, which will only lead to more ungodliness,

2 Tim 2:16 BSB

As the year comes to an end and I start reflecting on how I can be better in the new year, this will definitely be something I would watch out for: empty, idle, and godless chatter and babbling about people and situations and instead try to be flavour my conversations with grace and season it with salt.

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Colossians 4:6 NIV

I have always wondered what it means to season one’s conversation with salt- I assume it was an expression that came from the ancient Near East. To take it literally, I look at the function of salt in adding taste, adding flavour, and preserving and I think this is what conversations with every one I encounter should be like. People should walk away feeling enriched and with their dignity preserved and that is what seasoning my conversations with salt mean to me. What does that statement mean to you?

Yours Truly