Taunet Nelel means 'New Beginning.' This blog is about finding purpose and living in purpose. It seeks to inspire hope and help you live a fulfilling life. One with "No Regrets, No Fear, No Shame and No Anger."

You are Not a Victim

Friday, September 28

These words changed and continue to change the course of my life and I pray that you would see the truth in them too. Good or bad, successful or unsuccessful, happy or sad, fair or unfair – you own your life.

“You are accountable for your life. You have always been accountable. You will always be accountable. If you don't like your job, you are accountable. If your relationships are on the rocks, you are accountable. If you are overweight, you are accountable. If you are not happy, you are accountable.” (Phillip McGraw, Life Strategies Page 56)

You are not a victim. This may not be easy to accept for some, nonetheless it is the real deal. It is a deal breaker. Responsibility begins when you accept this truth. Responsibility is about accepting that you make decisions in your life and that you own the consequences for those decisions. Good or bad.

You are not a victim

It is not the weather, neither is it your angry boss nor is it your parents' fault. It is not the government, nor is it the economy. No, your husband is not at fault, your children are also not the cause of your problems and your wife didn't ruin your life.

Maybe you went through a traumatic loss, rejection or experience such as physical rape, when you were a child. You might not have had the knowledge or power to make certain choices as a child and therefore you were not accountable then.

From the point when you had the knowledge or power to make choices, you became accountable for your life.

The past is behind us and the future is not yet with us. We deal in the present because this is where we are. Today is the present, it is God's gift to us.

You choose now how to respond to everything that happened in your life.

Here is what a victim says: “They are all out to get me.”

Here is what an accountable person says, “I am responsible.”

Are you honest about getting well or do you just want to manipulate others with your condition?

A victim seeks to draw sympathy and excuse themselves from the problems in their lives. They complain, pout, blame, everyone and everything else apart from themselves. They seem to desire change but all they draw to themselves are the circumstances they endlessly complain about.

An accountable person is the one who realizes they are responsible for every choice and every consequence in their lives. They own the problem, they accept that they are part of the problem and also own the task of finding a solution.

Do you want to get well? If yes, accept accountability for your life. If no, remember you are not a victim.

What are your thoughts? How has realizing that you are not a victim changed the course of your life?

photo credit: John Steven Fernandez via photopin cc

John 5:6-7 (Message Version)

When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?
The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.”

God-sized Goals

Wednesday, September 12

We have talked about goals already. I am sure you have heard about them over and over. Allow me to indulge you in a AHA-moment I had recently.  I read on a blog I follow, a post titled 3 reasons why vision goals are inseparable and it got me asking - "Are my goals God-sized, can I accomplish them without God working with me?"

To give you a quick introduction:
  • A vision is a mental picture of what you see your future holds. It has been said that your feet will never take you where your mind has never been. You first take the journey through your minds eye before you start walking.

  • Goals are specific steps to help you attain the vision. They give you a sense of direction. You have to know where you are going (vision) to follow the right path (goals).

God gives us a vision, then He takes us through a process.

Our part to play is to hold on through the process. To let God shape us into who He desires of us. And to do that we have to set goals and work towards attaining them.

Success is what you attract by the person you become. Jim Rohn

Sometimes we let our own complacency, comfort-zones and negative attitudes get in the way of the vision God has given us.

Here are questions you need to ask:
  • Have you set humanly impossible goals?
  • Do your goals motivate you, do they excite you? 
  • Do they force you to ask, "What was I thinking?" after reading them?
If they don't capture all the above - you could be planning to work alone at attaining them. You could be working with human probabilities and this means there is a likelihood of them not coming to fruition.

Your goals have to be centered on God's limitless possibilities.

If your vision truly comes from God, then you have to align your goals with His working through you.

You can't risk wasting precious time on probability analysis of the goals.

Think of the vision as a cake and you only need two great ingredients that must work together :-

  1. Faith: This is the strong conviction that the vision is possible despite the circumstances, surroundings, dissenting voices - you will only succeed if your belief rises above seeming impossibilities.
  2. Deliberate action: Take specific deliberate action to follow through on your faith. Be flexible to change the actions when you deem it necessary, just remember that the destination remains constant.

Hebrew 11:1 (Amplified Version) says, Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

James 2:17 (Amplified Version) says, So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).
You have to  step of the boat. Stamp out of mediocrity, wave goodbye to the masses and start being uncomfortable with safety in numbers.

Do you perceive that God called you out from the darkness (lack of knowledge) to shine light into the world?

Is it important to set God-sized goals? What do you think would be different if God backs your commitment to goals? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Habakkuk 2:2-3

Amplified Bible (AMP)
And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day.

photo credit: Krissy.Venosdale via photo pin cc

Are You Waiting on Somebody?

Thursday, September 6

Today, I watched a sad story of a lady who in less than one year has gone from a renown athlete to a deplorable state. All these questions about what happened for the situation to get to where it did, what can be done and who can help popped up in my mind.

"Understand that your current results are the direct outcome of the past. The past does not equal the future." Excerpt from the book, Born to Achieve by David Muriithi

I think more disheartening than anything is people's reaction to the story. Everybody has an opinion, an analysis about the causes for the problem or better yet a solution to offer. But like most stories, no one does anything good out of all the reactions.

Please take a few minutes to intentionally read this ancient story. It is about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
I wonder where you fall in place. Are you Everybody, Somebody, Anybody or Nobody?

There is an Acappella song that also speaks on this by the title, "Everybody said, but Nobody did", the chorus says:

Everybody said that anybody could do
The important things somebody should do
Everybody knows that anybody could do
All the good things that nobody did

Are you waiting on somebody to do the good and the important things that nobody is doing?

You are the Somebody, you are waiting on.

Here are a few points to ponder on:

  • There is a lot of bad, but there is also a lot of good from the bad - depends on which end you want get in on.
  • Stories open your mind up to the needs, what you are faced with after are decisions to make and actions to take.
  • We can't do everything but we can do something. 
  • Most times we see the humongous impossibilities, when what we need to pay attention to are the immediate needs.
  • You are the Somebody Everybody is waiting on.
  • You are the Somebody, you are waiting on.

I wonder what stories you listen to everyday. What story captures your heart, that you feel the push to do something?

Are you waiting on Somebody else to act?

Stop waiting. You already know what ought to be done. Realize you can do it, you have to start now using the resources you have.

Those who take action, rather than wait on Somebody find more fulfillment in life.

If you want to watch the song on YouTube please click the link below:
Everybody Said, but Nobody did

photo credit: Umang Dutt via photo pin cc

Philippians 3

Amplified Bible (AMP)
12 Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.

Moving towards "What Moves You"

Friday, August 31

What Moves You?

We move out of old houses, old neighborhoods, old territories and move into new houses, new neighborhoods, and new territories time after time. Change is inevitable. We don't like change and sometimes we don't anticipate it. We fight change most times. Others move into new relationships, implement new business ideas and form new alliances.

  Anatole France said it better:

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. 

The word move has various meanings, we shall focus on just these two:
  • Take action
  • Provoke a strong feeling, esp. of sorrow or sympathy, anger

Anybody can either be frustrated or fascinated by what they see in their daily lives; only a few take action or are provoked to compassion. Mostly compassion ultimately compels one into taking action.

  • How to be moved

A 'seeing eye' will sometimes not see, and a 'hearing ear' does not always hear.

To see, or hear -- you must feel after you see and again listen to what you hear.

Many people walk past beggars on the street daily without as much as a look. I am guilty of that a number of times. Only a few notice the despair on their faces, even fewer care to ask why they are on the streets, and only a select few decide to buy them a decent meal.

Is it the loss of hope, the orphans, the abortions, poverty of the mind, poor living conditions, wasted resources, the lack of morals, youth wasting their lives, disintegrating family values, faulty leadership, propaganda in the media... what cry captures your listening ear, what situation gets you really angry and provokes you to action?

  • How to move towards what moves you

It is not about you
You being born was not the grandest event on earth. It is what you do for others that makes your life really count.

Forget yourself

No one who is selfish ever went out of his way to help others. You have to be selfless. Think about others more than you do about yourself.

What do you have in your hand?

Start with what is in your hand. You don't need millions of money to give a smile or to speak out against the ills in the society.

Is there any building that starts with the roof being put up first? You start with the foundation and gradually add the supports.

For anything to succeed, you start small; not big. Mother Theresa believed that sometimes we feel what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.

Most times we see the vast ocean, we don't remember the drops of water that make up the ocean. Just as there are no small drops, no contribution is small. Start with what you have and grow from there.

You might fail

The key word here is might. Until you start, you will not know if the probability has a chance to materialize. When you do fail, it will be after you have started and that will not be a failure. Choose to fail forward and pick up the lessons as you go.

Don't listen to dissenting voices

"You can't." "Others have tried and failed."

When dissenting voices speak against you, ask yourself two questions

  • Do they feel as strongly as you do?
  • Have any of them taken action yet?

Most times people criticize what they don't understand.

Learn from others

There are those who have tried and failed forward. Borrow their wisdom. Connect with them through books, seminars, one on one. Do whatever it takes to learn the rules of the trade and then follow them.

Leo Tolstoy said
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
The truth is moving has an action-reaction effect. The decision to move will require you to stretch - the change to be effected without must start from within - and it is a process. A process of forming a character able to effect the change you desire.

If you don't yet know what moves you, you owe it to yourself to make it a lifelong pursuit, until you do. You won't come up empty.

If you know what moves you, then start moving towards what moves you.

If you have already started moving, keep moving and share your insights with others.

Do you know what moves you? How else can we move "towards what moves us." Please share your views in the comment section below.

photo credit: NazareneMissionsInternational via photo pin cc

Mark 8
New Living Translation (NLT)
18 ‘You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear?’

Pure Gold Character

Wednesday, August 15

Walking even with no end in sight
In every journey there is a path to follow. Some choose to travel through the less traveled on road ~ a road as Robert Frost said:

"I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
I believe every person's journey is unique; but the choices each of are faced with along the journey are the same. To some the journey is treacherous, we are weary from the baggage, the valleys seem to go deeper ~ the real choice is whether we will give up and quit or we will keep moving forward.

I know of a young boy Joseph in the Bible. He was the darling of his father Jacob. For this reason his brothers despised him. He had a crazy dream about his 11 brothers bowing before him. He shared the dream with them probably not grasping it's meaning at the time. Now that fueled his brothers' hatred towards him the more. They even plotted to kill him. Luckily Reuben the eldest saved him and Judah another brother suggested they sell him as a slave to some foreigners. Fast forward after serving as a slave and a prison sentence albeit on a false accusation; he became Governor of Egypt and true to His dreams his brothers bowed before him.

Joseph's journey to Governor inspires me to know that the dreams I have will see the light of day. What I don't understand or have trouble with is the process of it.

The valleys don't seem to make sense, the storms seem too strong to bear.

In life, your character is formed during the tests and trials. The process to obtain pure gold involves melting of scrap gold in a furnace to separate the impurities from the gold. Just the same way you will have to go through a furnace of sorts, a fire, a dark alley ~ to obtain a character that is unshakeable when your dreams become reality.

Most times we are not patient during the purifying process, we push for the dream to become reality. We wish to bypass the process and make it unscathed. That is a pipe dream. Be willing to endure. Be willing to learn. Be teachable. Allow yourself to be moulded.

I always wonder, do you ever hear good stories without struggle, without enduring pain, without overcoming of the suffering. Mandela had to endure 27 years of political imprisonment before he became president, before his dream of independent South Africa was realized. Just like you, I love the part of the story about gaining independence, but the story would not be complete without the imprisonment.

Helen Keller said, "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."

If you won't loose heart during the process, you will surely see the reality of your dream. Keep Moving Forward. You need to develop 'larger feet' to fit into the vision you have.

God gives us a vision, and then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of that vision. Oswald Chambers

When you bypass the furnace, you will get through to the other side but the joy won't last. You will realize that you shortchanged yourself. You got the raw deal. Keep the faith, choose to endure and don't let the want for ease or the hurry, steal the joy that awaits you. Be patient and let a pure gold character be developed. In the end, you will be grateful that you waited.

1 Samuel 7

New Living Translation (NLT)
12 Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah.He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!”

Don't Just Dream, ACT

Tuesday, July 24

I recently shared about dreams and awakening our dreams. There is a creeping dream buster called inaction, which can also be labeled mediocrity. Life sometimes happens, some say. Time went too fast, after college, job(s), marriage, kids, grandkids; there was never enough time to pursue your dreams.

If it were an analogy we would probably agree that “The dream got drowned in the vast ocean of life.
The question that would naturally arise is, Who submerged the dream in that vast ocean of life?Was it the job(s), perhaps the responsibility that one has in marriage...or are we probably just finding comfort in blaming everything and everyone but ourselves?

Action is not 'easy' but it is the only thing we have to do, take specific actions on our dreams. We fear that we might fail or that people will ridicule us if we fail.

Most of the time when on a dance floor, the ones criticizing your moves are those sitting on the sidelines.

There is no short-cut to realizing our dreams. It takes work and deliberate specific action on your part.
I wonder if you've ever seen a baby learning to take their first steps. They move from one support object to the next being really careful not to trip. It takes time to learn and they will surely fall severally while learning the tricks. Eventually, they walk without any support objects.

What if the baby decided to sit and crawl simply because it was too hard to walk? What would you do as a parent?

Begin taking baby steps to achieve your dreams

Secrets to taking action:

  • It won't be easy but it will be worth it. Nothing good comes easy.
  • You have to be your own best friend and motivator. The dream is yours so no one will help you if you don't help yourself.
  • It will take time to learn the tricks. Don't be in a rush for quick-fixes.
  • Be prepared to trip while taking action. You will make mistakes, learn the lessons and push forward.
  • There will always be people who ridicule you, most of the time, they don't understand the dream as you do. “You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.” ― Winston Churchill
  • Ask for help when the going gets tough. There are always people who have been through the road you are on.

Goals are dreams with deadlines.

Specific steps:

  • Write down the dream.
  • Write the specific actions that need to be undertaken to achieve the goal.
  • Write down dates when you hope to have achieved each goal. This will help you measure progress.
  • Share your dream with people whom you can trust. This will keep you accountable.
  • Adjust the goals and deadlines appropriately as you progress.

To live your life fully, you have to take action. Take it now! As Jim Rohn said, "You do not find what you need, you find what you search for."

Matthew 7 (PHILLIPS)

7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you. Search and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened for you. The one who asks will always receive; the one who is searching will always find, and the door is opened to the man who knocks.”

Dreaming Awake

Wednesday, July 18

Each of us has dreams.
Of a better tomorrow.
Not of a better yesterday.
Yesterday is gone, so we dream of tomorrow.
Some of us dream only while sleeping.
Some when awake.
Big or small, all are dreams.
Mental pictures of what we envision.

I had big dreams as a child. 
Back then we celebrated each others dreams.
Now we just laugh with our mouths.
Our hearts cry in secret.
We still desire that the dreams have a chance.

I watch those living their dreams with awe.
As if they are an alien species.
Unconscious of the journey,
Of perseverance in the storms.

Some say their dreams died.
I just buried mine alive.
Along with that dreamer child,
I will exhume them today.

Martin Luther Jr. said, “I have a dream.”
That dream came true.
You see I now understand.
Dreams don't die,
We just bury them alive.

Declare your dream,
Set the sails,
Change direction when necessary,
Don't lose sight of the dream.

Believe in the dream becoming reality,
And God the giver of the dream,
Start dreaming again,
Impossibility is only in the mind.

With untapped potential,
Dreamers cultivate patience,
Work on the dream against the storm,
And don't give up!

Response – Ability and the Three Channels

Monday, July 2

Response and ability. These two words seem to make up the word responsibility. How you respond to the events in your life; and how you utilize the ability you have at your disposal will ultimately determine how responsible you are.

From changing a toddler's nappies, making a bed, to cleaning a mess that was made by someone other than yourself. These and many more events call for responsibility.

Imagine a football game where the two opposing teams never score because both teams could never hold ball possession until they score as a team. In such a match, it's always about how “I have an injury, I can't play” or “It's so and sos fault, he didn't tackle well enough” or worse “After all I've done for this team, if they won't consider giving me a pay rise, what's the use?” The three looming enemies of responsibility : “Excuses club, Blame game and Complain mode” Channels.

If you are always feeling inadequate, cheated on or shortchanged; that is a victim mentality – chances are you are not responsible in that area. And you will remain irresponsible as long as you choose to be a victim.

Remaining a victim of circumstances is a state of being that we choose, a choice that:
[1] allows us to blame other people 
[2] lets us blame circumstances 
[3] permits us to avoid responsibility for our lives 
[4] encourages us to feel sorry for ourselves, and 
[5] guarantees that we will stay victims. 
No one has to be a victim!" (Ben Carson, M.D., Think Big (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), p. 248].

I wonder what Channel, you are tuned to at any one point. When something goes wrong, as it is bound to, how do you respond? When someone messes up a project, do you do anything other than equate blame? Do you constantly whine about the ifs, could haves, would haves?

Rome wasn't built in a day. While we could be quick outdoing each other to point out at problems, if we gave it a bit of thought, we would actually have to admit that we had a part to play in the mess. The messes are as a result of gradual irresponsibility on our part. Adam and Eve are good examples of “Blame game” Channel. They blamed each other for the grievous sin of eating the fruit from the tree.

Where there is a problem, there is also opportunity. Opportunity to change, opportunity for growth, opportunity for better solutions. You could as well see it is as a difficulty. See it as an impossible situation. Consequently, you will then not use your ability to effect change. Your response will be to make excuses, to blame or complain.

Walking in the streets, you come across many people. The ones that amaze me are those who sit on the street at one spot daily, are not impaired in any way and choose begging as a day-to-day activity. I realize that I won't be any better than these guys if I am not responding to the problems I face daily in the right way. If my ability to tackle problems is interpreted as inability or disability, I am as good as those in the street. My day will be a torturous one filled with whining and no action.

Just because you have a dream doesn't make you any better than those who don't have one. You could just be as miserable as they are. What puts you apart is taking the response-ability to bring the dream to fruition. That takes work. You have to be willing to face fear, opposition, take risks and make mistakes. Even start the process afresh. This time better equipped.

Being responsible is a choice. You grow into responsibility as with many of life's choices. If you prove to be responsible with little, then you will be trusted to be responsible with even more. Whether or not your dream becomes a reality, choose to live responsibly. Daily purge yourself off of the three channels. You will gradually be a victor over your circumstances and the one who effects change.

2 Peter 1:5-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Missing Pieces of the Puzzle

Wednesday, June 27

"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." T.S. Eliot

Life is a puzzle. A puzzle that seems impossible at the beginning. It seems that the pieces don't quite fit into the whole piece of art. We look for the beautiful picture in life only to see cracks, holes, missing pieces, brokenness and a clear mess of this and that. Desperately we try to make sense of the mess, so we make other messes altogether. We are back to where we began in the puzzle.

We long for things, and feel as if our hearts are tired in the longing. Once we find what we long for the search seems futile. The maze seems bigger, seems like we are lost, there is a looming possibility we couldn't get out of the maze. Desperately we trace our steps to try to make sense of where we would have missed the other path. We are back to where we began in the maze.

Where did we begin?

We began as children, knowing our world way before we made our arrival on earth. We were not innocent, maybe naïve but still knew how to get our way if adults were not watchful. The good thing is we were open to ideas, open to criticism, happy at new discoveries, content in whatever state in life, ready to make messes, looking for solutions, clean them up and make messes again.

Where are we now?

We grew up too fast. We matured into adults. Adults who didn't learn how to think but what to think. We learnt that to have things of our own – we had to do by going to school. We learnt that to be accepted – we had to do by behaving within the societal norms and standards. In order to be artists, masons, doctors, teachers, IT specialists, CEO's – we had to do courses and degrees that probably we didn't like. Our mission in life is now to have, have, have.

We have accumulated information, it is called knowledge, but we like to say we are wise. Imposing this knowledge on our children is what we know best. They need to learn without exploring. They can't make mistakes, they have to avoid them. How else do we think they will survive? Our instincts tell us to avoid mistakes, to stay comfortable, to not ask too many questions. Especially, don't question your life, no, don't question the status quo, don't even question the social ills in society.

If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” C.S. Lewis

The real answer to the puzzle which is a combination of our beginning and the now lies in three words – be, do, have. These are the missing, maybe even misplaced pieces in the puzzle.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Trying is Not Failing, Failing is not Trying

Thursday, June 14

But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me,
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed.
The waves they keep on telling me,
Time and time again. “Boy, you'll never win!”
You'll never win.”

Lyrics of the song, “Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns”

Have you tried your hand at something recently and failed? I would like to introduce us to a new concept today. The concept is: 'If you tried, you have not failed.' Failure is not trying at all. You may choose to NOT TRY hence FAIL because of fear of failure or past failures.

Many of us have dreams. The definition of a dream is an aspiration or ambition that seem as ideals. The dreams remain just that until we put action into achieving the dreams. You have to have deadlines as to when to achieve them; the dreams then cease to be just dreams but measurable goals.

The hardest part of execution of any goal is starting. We think of the risk of failure and distance ourselves from even the thought of starting, we ask, “What if I fail?”. There are always two sides of the coin, just as there is failure, there is also success. Have you ever counted the number of letters of each of these two words? Both have seven letters which means there is an equal chance of occurrence of either success or failure. Instead ask, “What if I succeed?”

The question today is, “Have you tried doing to do something with what you have now?” Don't quit before you try otherwise you fail. Let's assume you don't succeed, every time you face obstacles and difficulties, let them instruct you as opposed to obstructing you. The obstacles tell you how not to go about it the next time you try.

Don't stop trying!

Have you heard of Thomas Edison known mostly for his invention of the light bulb? He tried 10,000 times before he got it right. Do you think you would have been able to stand those number of tries until the finish? In a race, it is not about how many times you fell along the way, or even the hurdles you had to get through. It is about those who made it to the finish line.

Always remember, you are going through the race to the finish line. Start the race, fall and stand up again. Many fall along the tracks in the race and stay down. Choose to stand, dust yourself off and continue running even with more vigor than the last time. Choose to try. Try again and continue trying. That is really what the journey to success entails.

Choose the voice you will listen today. Is it the waves that remind you, “You'll never win” or is it the voice that says, “You'll win, just try and continue trying.”?

Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

A Story of Forgiveness

Monday, May 28

A King gets a poor guy, let's call him Tom, that owes him 100,000 dollars. Of course that's a lot of cash, so he wants Tom, his family and all his goods to be auctioned off. Tom begs to be given time to pay back. But the King does something much bigger than that. He forgives Tom of all the debt and erases it, as if he never owed the King anything.

Please forgive me...

Oh, so Tom goes on with life (because it does go on...) and he meets his friend, Tim, who owes him 10 dollars. That's a lot of money right, according to Tom it could help pay back what he owes the king.

The thing is Tom has never believed that the King erased his debt. His plea was that he be given time to pay back. Tom has been going on with life trying to pay back.

Tom gets Tim by the throat and asks that he pays up...Same script, Tim is so poor he can't. He begs to be given time. But this time, Tom wouldn't do that. Tim is thrown in jail until he pays up.

Word gets to the King. Tom did the unthinkable. The king says to Tom, "I erase $100,000 debt and you don't have mercy on Tim for $10 dollars." Of course, the King puts Tom in jail to be tortured until he pays up.

Whose debt do you have to pay back? Whose debt have you not forgiven today? Who have you thrown to jail because of the $10 dollars until they pay up?
Do you expect the one who you owe the $100,000 to forgive you still and you are holding the $10 guy at their throat to pay up?

The lesson is, God erased all your debt. You owe Him nothing. God was merciful to you. But you go around putting all the people who owe you in jail until they pay up. Just like Tom, you'll be tortured until you pay back $100,000 which you can't pay back for.

The torture could mean the pain, the hurt, the load you carry because of not forgiving. Don't peg your forgiveness on people paying back the debt, God didn't and He expects you to do the same. Leave God to work on the people in your life all you have to do is love yourself enough to forgive.

Love yourself enough to forgive : "Unforgiveness is like taking poison but expecting someone else to die."

Matthew 18 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.
35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”


Monday, May 21

Our definition of perfection, “being entirely without fault or defect; satisfying all requirements; corresponding to an ideal standard.”
God's definition of perfection, “being in Christ; live upright and throughly furnished unto all good works.”

We live in a perfectionist world. Parents who want a perfect child, who won't make mistakes. Children who seek perfect records, to be in everyone's good book. Adults who seek perfect mates, to be treated just how they want to. Man and woman who seek perfect marriages, for their expectations to be met. The truth is its all a lie. Who is perfect except God? Everyone is imperfect but striving for perfection. Talk of water mixing with oil. Ain't going to happen soon. You will never be perfect and neither will other people. God doesn't want you to be perfect. Yes, He loved you in your imperfection. He loved you anyway. How much more when you accept His forgiveness and love? Stop the endless dancing to the songs, 'If only...I could...I should...I would'
God loves you anyway. He says 'Come just as you are.'

Does reading the paragraph above have implications on how you live and what you expect from people?

Authenticity is a rare priceless gift. My definition of the word authentic is this, “Shedding off the mask you are wearing and revealing the beautiful person hidden inside.” I wonder how many people I interact with are authentic. I ask myself, “Am I authentic?” Recently, I have had the privilege to meet a few successful people who are authentic. They have poured out their lives, their challenges and the lessons they derived from them to me. The impact has been amazing, most of their experiences are similar to mine and some even worse. They conquered and their experiences are a beautiful story.

Imagine with me a box containing all the “stuff” you don't have any use of anymore, good or bad. You lock the box and throw away the keys. You then place the box at the back of a closet that you rarely use, in a room you never visit, in fact the room is locked and the keys either got lost or you threw them away – you just don't remember.

That is how so many of us live, we only see the outcome. Rare forced crooked smiles that last less than a minute, forced handshakes because you simply don't want to say the rare Hi's, worst among them are forced laughters that leave your heart aching because you don't have real joy.

Being authentic is a painful affair, but it is rewarding. You have to find the lost doors and get past the animal called DENIAL. Having hidden all the past hurts, disappointments, successes in a closed ROOM, CLOSET and BOX and trying to live like the “stuff” is Missing In Action; will not help.

Take off your mask

Matthew 11:28-30 "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (The Message)

An authentic parent will let their children fail, even if they saw it coming. They won't rub in the all too familiar, “I told you so...”
An authentic child will not feel bogged down by their failings, they will understand that the failure does not define who they are. Many people think that failure is a person when it is only an event.
Authentic couples know that their spouses are not gods. There are mere mortals just as they are.
Understand that only God is perfect, and He loves you just as you are. He will turn your ashes into beauty. He alone can make you perfect.

Refer to this for an explanation on Biblical Perfection: http://www.learnthebible.org/biblical-perfection.html

You have one life, LIVE it fully

Wednesday, May 2

A friend recently shared a quote that I believe is vital to today's topic:

"Life is not a rehearsal, you either leave it or live it."

Have you ever reflected back on your life? Where you came from, how you were born, what your parents taught you whether wrong and right, what you observed growing up? The low and high moments in your life. Where you are now? Where you want to be in 3-5 years? What you are potentially able to do? I'd like to think of this as a graphical representation of your life.

I believe that we are all laden with unlimited potential. There are resources, people and opportunities around each of us but they are hidden in plain sight. Just because you can not physically see something doesn't mean that it is isn't there. All these will be vital in attaining the goals, and the vision you have in life.

All the people that ever died having emptied themselves of their potential have various things in common. It did not matter what religion they were in, what mattered is that they believed in a greater power than themselves. They believed in a cause greater than themselves and pursued those causes even unto death. Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gadhi, Mother Teresa, and our very own Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathae are a few examples. They were not driven by material gain, popularity contests, awards, “followers” or none thereof. Their significance was measured by how well every activity they engaged in tied with their purpose. Nothing deterred them from pursuing their calling. Yes, they generated a lot of criticism, but none of them resulted to war as a weapon to champion their causes. They were peaceful even in the midst of turmoil. They remained steadfast and ultimately lived fulfilled lives. Isn't it better dying trying to do something than to live doing nothing?

Have you read the story of one Anne Sullivan? She was an American teacher best known as the instructor and companion of Helen Keller. She epitomizes a life fully lived. She died empty.

The world is devoid of action only small-talk.

What is sad is that many people walk around doing nothing and changing nothing? Always complaining, blaming and excusing themselves from what is essentially their duty. Where you complain the most, please take a moment to see whether you are the missing change agent? Most probably you are the one who'll make a difference. You are the one who needs to change. It's not so much about making a big change in the shortest period of time, rather than making steadfast small changes, one day at a time. It is also not about being perfect as much as it is about striving for excellence.

Maybe the guy who is always throwing tantrums in your office only needs a smile. Probably, no one has ever cared enough to smile at him.
Maybe your small brother just needs someone to tell him, he can do it. All he has been hearing around is that, "It's not possible." No wonder, he's always in his room watching TV from dawn to dusk.
Just maybe, your boss, or the president of your country is not the problem. You just need to wake up from your dream of 'freedom' and take action.

People find it easier talking about others than being introspective and talking about themselves. It's not about being overly self-conscious or on the extreme and being arrogant. It is much harder to look within yourself, and admit that you are fearful of failure, that you can't ask for help, that you never delegate routine tasks because you don't believe that others can do a better job.

What do you love doing most? Give it some thought. What do you hate most and would want to do something about, if given opportunity? If there is something you could do for free and not mind if no one paid you, what would that be? What gives you tremendous energy? These are pointers to what your life's purpose is.

Until you do what you love, your life will be controlled by emotions such as fear, anger, shame and regret. Until you stand up for what you truly believe in, you will always have to compromise, settle for second-best. Opportunities will pass you by in broad daylight. Remember, you are not getting any younger as you age.

What footprints will you leave behind after you die? What is the legacy that you will leave? Will you have made the world a better place to live in? Will you have made it easier for another soul to breathe better in the world? The change has to start inside you, but you have to take actual steps and make an impact.

Dr. Anthony Campolo, Professor of Sociology, Eastern College, St. Davids, Pennsylvania, shares the results of a survey where 50 people 95 years and older were asked: “If you could live your life over what would you do differently?” These old people said they would do the following:

  1. Reflect more.
  2. Risk more.
  3. Do things that would live on after they died.
Do you have to wait until you are ninety to reflect so painfully? (excerpt from Made for Greatness, Anthony Gitonga)
I pray for you my friend today as I do for myself, may we empty ourselves of the uniqueness we have in us. May we pursue our purpose. May we fulfill God's calling of us today. Whatever you do, wherever you are, the Maker is calling for you to touch the life of another, and by chain effect, many others and ignite them through your purpose. Choose to spend your life wisely today, you only have one (life).

What steps will you take starting now? Your “Hellen Keller” is waiting!

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