Growing Up Ain’t So Bad

I had a conversation with my daughter that went something like this.

ME: “Whose birthday is it next week?”
My Daughter: “Meeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!”
ME: “How old will you be next week? lets say it together.” (Swinging my arms like a classical music conductor to get us to synchronize our response).
My Daughter: “Threeeeeeeee!!!”, ME: “Fourrrrrrrrr!!!!!”
ME: “Oh O Alina, you will be four not three next week.”

My daughter paused, put her head down and began to sob seriously. Perplexed, I pulled her to my side and asked what was wrong. Her response was emphatic,  as if she were making an emotional plea of desperation to correct my first statement.  

I don’t want to be four, I want to be three,” she said.  I guess it is true what they say about women and their age but I digress.

What I realized from this episode is that sometimes it is so easy to accept our present state as permanent. We get so comfortable with where we are in life, business etc, that when pressed to stretch ourselves or grow, we throw fits like my little daughter did. The reality is that, growth like change is an essential part of life and the day we stop growing whether physically, mentally or spiritually, that is the day we start dying.

Ephesian 4:14-15 says “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”

God wants us to grow up in all things and we have to be willing to stretch ourselves and do whatever it takes to improve at whatever level we find ourselves. If you have a business, ministry or initiative, don’t be satisfied with were you are. Continue to press towards God and strive for a life that is constantly growing.

At every stage in life, let us bench mark our progress so that we can measure our growth because a life that is constantly growing, is also constantly very fruitful. Your level of responsibility will also increase as you grow but be assured that your maturity level  will equip you to handle them. So be encouraged to take steps that would enhance growth in your life and when you do this, you would end up making a difference in your world. So you see, growing up is not so bad after all.

 

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Discover Your Purpose By Following

The  best  is he who  calls men to the best, And  those who heed the  call  are  also  blessed, But  worthless who  call  not, heednot, but rest.

—        Hesiod

Your purpose in life is always linked to that of another. You can never fulfill or discover your true identity or purpose in isolation. Followership ignites the process of discovering where we fit in the grand scheme of things. In fact, followership will prepare you for what you have been called to do in the future. If you are sensitive to the process, you will begin to have an inclination of your true identity and purpose in life as you engage in true followership.

There is an interesting story in the scriptures about a young lady called Ruth. She was the daughter in-law of a woman called Naomi. As the  story  goes, Noami was  widowed and  had  lost two  of her  sons that  were married to Moabite women, one of whom was  Ruth. Since she had no more sons to marry them to, Naomi urged her two childless daughter in-laws to return to their land. Naomi planned to return to her home town of Judah. Orpah the other daughter in-law kissed Naomi goodbye and left. But, the scripture says this about Ruth:

“But Ruth replied, don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me. “ [Ruth 1:16-17]

When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her to go. Ruth exhibited followership when it came to her mother in-law Naomi. She yielded her will and emphatically refused to be separated from her mother in-law. As a result of this decision, Ruth went on to follow Naomi back to Judah and subsequently marry Boaz, Naomi’s wealthy relative. The result of the union between Boaz and Ruth was a son by the name of Obed.

Obed became the grandfather of King David of Israel.  Ruth’s decision to follow shows that when we follow correctly, we become divinely positioned to live out our purpose, discover our gifts and talents, while reaping an abundance of blessings.

When Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men,” he made this statement to a group of disciples, most of whom were uneducated fishermen. They were good at this profession, but upon following Christ they discovered their true identity as apostles to various parts of the world.  Similarly, Paul the apostle who thought his purpose was to uproot Christianity found his true identity once he began to follow Christ.  Paul realized his purpose was to preach salvation to the non-Jews, or Gentiles. In keeping with this calling, Paul went on to write two-thirds of the books of the New Testament.

[Except from Discovering Followership: Learn The Secrets Of Walking Behind And Staying Ahead.]  So who are you following today? Let me know what you think about this.

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The Time Factor

I remember growing up and having the “when I grow up” conversations with friends. You know, those conversations you have about what you want to become when you grow up. I remember a childhood friend that we all thought would end up doing great things in technology. Guess what? He is now doing great things in photography.

The reality is that only God knows who or what we will become in the future and that is why we should be close to Him. I am sure that we all can relate to having dreams about our future, however regardless of how many dreams you have or how vivid the images you paint of your future are, the way you spend your time today plays a vital role in determining what you end up becoming in your future.

To some of us, there is a level of certainty about our future, to others the future might be as bleak as muddy waters, but what we can’t deny, is the link between your past, present and future, that “constant” called “Time.” That is why it is important to use it wisely because effective use of our time is the difference maker.

Ephesians 5:15-17 says “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,  redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Time is constantly moving and we are to “buy it” back which means to make the best use of the time that we have. The scripture says that we should not live life foolishly by wasting time on things that don’t help us with our future goals. It goes further to say that it is wise, when we understand what the will of God for our lives is.  Therefore, we are to spend our time understanding and doing God’s will for our lives. This is the guarantee that you will end up being and doing all that God has called you to do.

So take courage friend, focus on what you actually have control over, don’t sweat the small stuff and make sure that every hour is productive towards His will for your life, which is the final destination of our future.

Where Are You Now?

Last week, My wife and I went on a weekend retreat to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It was nice to get away from all the hustle of daily life and spend quality time together.  We decided that we would visit one of the local churches in the area we were staying. We had done some earlier research on the church and were so excited for the opportunity to visit.  We did not want anything to hinder or delay us from arriving early at the church, so we made sure that we woke up early and got ourselves ready, more than an hour before the service began.

We even ensured that we used the “express” checkout system of the hotel to save time when checking out. With the church being only 15 driving minutes away, we were very certain we would make the service in good enough time to experience their worship in its entirety.  So with all this in place, we set out on our journey to church.  I pulled out our GPS machine and entered the address of the church into it.  We followed the directions giving by the machine and about 15 minutes into our driving, I realized we were lost. There was something wrong with the directions the GPS was giving.  We tried to re calibrate the GPS several times but for some reason it could not get our exact location.

We were so frustrated by the episode that we even considered calling it quits and driving home instead. However, after driving for  some minutes, I decided to do the old-fashioned thing, by pulling into a gas station and asking an attendant for directions. It turns out that we were heading in the opposite direction.  We immediately made a U-Turn and guess what the GPS “miraculously” began to work correctly now (go figure). We arrived at the church  20 minutes late and although, we missed the beginning of the service, we were glad we made it all the same.

After the service, I began to question why the entire episode happened in the first place. What happened to our GPS and why did it give us bad directions? I questioned. The answer was a no-brainer and quite embarrassing when you think about it. I discovered upon close examination of the machine, that the GPS had mapped our path from a store address that my wife and I had visited the day before and not from our hotel. It was giving us directions based on our previous site instead of our current location. In other words, it mapped our path based on where we had been instead of were we were presently. At that point my mind began to race and the scripture by Apostle Paul to the Philippians flashed in my mind.

This is what Philippians 3:13-14 says

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Paul’s attitude towards his end goal was to press forward by forgetting where he had been and focus on the journey at hand. It doesn’t matter were you have been or the experiences you have, the real question is where are you now? Where are you in your finances right now? where are you in your walk with God right this instance?  Don’t live off the glories or failures of your past, check your current position/situation and by faith, ask God to direct you with wisdom as you navigate through life. God bless.