Category Archives: Currently Affairing

Will The Police Ever Stop Killing Black People?

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Currently, there are lots of hot topics getting our lips moving and tongues wagging. The Leaders Debate, featuring the best politicians Britain has to offer a collection of people, who have skilfully have one way or another, acquired the position as the Head of their respective parties, was surprisingly entertaining  and unquestionably frustrating all at the same time.

It would be wrong not to mention just how well Ed (yes, I call him Ed) performed at this point.

If for some magic reason you’re reading this Ed, (I had a huge debate this week about how shortening your name does make you seem quite personable) I want you to know that you did me proud. I digress. What I found quite entertaining was their belief that they all stood for something unique and if elected would implement wildly different policies to that of their competitors. Although it was almost sweet, their beliefs were juxtaposed with the extremely irritating way that they answered questions.

It’s funny how politicians all have their speech enveloped in that ‘I- think-you’re-quite-unintelligent-across-the-board-but-I-hope-you-can’t-tell-that-I’m-struggling-to-dumb-things-down-for-you’ and none of us are really allowed to complain. Why can’t we complain? We can’t complain because hearing people speak in obnoxious tones with sentences that are inherently insubstantial enough is all we really expect from the strange group we call Politicians.

Collectively, politicians are a group of people that we expect very little from. However, since they hold the keys to the doors that have been slammed in our faces and the ones we’ve been banging on in hope for years, they demand lots of our attention. So when they all get together and grace our TV screens with a more rehearsed version of their jumble of their manifestos, we are amused but never surprised. When they claim they’ll do x, y, and z but spend their whole term implementing l, m, n, o, p, we are slightly disgruntled but never surprised. When they claim to be all about the people but secretly spend our hard earned cash making a mockery and claiming ‘expenses’, we are highly disappointed but never surprised. And why should we be? They’re just people in power behaving the way people in power do: abusing the system on various levels with a slight arrogance.

When I heard of yet another police man killing yet another Black man, I was hurt, frustrated, angry and all the other emotions you feel when something is so clearly wrong but you feel helpless as to its reoccurrence. But I wasn’t surprised. Then I watched the recording of the incident and it hit me: the surprise I thought was no longer possible to feel. I was surprised at the extent of the cruelty.

‘We’ have come so far and yet we are humans sharing a planet with others of our kind who have limitless destruction capability and what seems like hidden cruelty planted deep in some of our hearts. We expect people in power to abuse it and we expect systems to work against us to varying extents according to our gender, race, or creed but we do not expect to see weapons planted on victims after they have been murdered by police officers.

I watched the video featuring Walter Scott as he was murdered in South Carolina and my heart ached at the sheer brutality of humanity.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

‭Ezekiel‬ ‭36‬:‭26-27 (NKJV)

I remember when I read that scripture and I thought ‘heart of stone’ was a bit extreme but you look at the atrocities that have been committed throughout history and it becomes a complete understatement. By all means we are not all the makings of Hitler, we will not all join IS, or start genocides, or cause wars… but we all need Jesus. Of course people claiming to be Christian commit atrocities but a true relationship with Christ takes us away from the sinful lives we lead, ever closer to a life exemplifying the love that our father in Heaven shows us. Only God can begin that transformation.

I remain speechless at the events that led to the murder of Walter Scott but I will take my frustrations to God because only he can change our stories.

Love Dani xxx

Should Gospel Music Be Played In Nightclubs?

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Last week, Erica Campbell dropped a controversial song from her debut album ‘Help 2.0’. The song is entitled ‘I Luh God’ and it begins:

‘I luh God, do you luh God, what’s wrong wit’chu?’

Listen to the full song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MapyjAtETcY

It is when the beat drops that all hell breaks loose; the beat can only be labelled as a ‘trap’ beat and like all music that breaks the cultural norm, it has divided its gospel listeners.

‘I’m forgiven, I’m forgiven, see now I’m livin’

Campbell isn’t the first to push back against the norm and create a new sound; Kirk Franklin did it, Canton Jones did it and Lecrae didn’t reach the number 1 spot on the Billboard charts by churning out the usual ‘We Fall Down, But We Get Up’ or the ‘Take Me To The King’ sound. The song itself isn’t bad at all; in fact, it’s pretty great. The lyrics are positive, a mixture of her personal experiences and Biblical truths. It speaks of freedom, almost falling into sin but rising above it (I think.. some of the lyrics are lost and it’s too new to google the lyrics) falling on her knees and being filled with gratitude.

I think my concern with Gospel music is that it is only accessible and listened to by Christians. I’ve become sceptical of generic Gospel music of late; music which rises and falls at particular moments and has been written intentionally to make me feel a certain way. Sometimes I want to dance, sometimes I want to run around and it’s difficult to find a plethora of Gospel music that I can work out to and get dressed to in the mornings, (which doesn’t have a 500-people strong choir coming through at the end) which doesn’t make me want to cry and repent for sins that I am yet to commit.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this sound; I just think we need to have variation. I realised this when my best friend came over to my house (who wasn’t a Christian at the time) asked me not to put on Gospel music because it was too slow and sad. I was confused – I told her that Gospel music was uplifting and she just needed to listen the lyrics. To her it wasn’t; she wanted music to make her feel good, not take her to the depths of her emotions. And to be honest, I got where she was coming from. While there are times where I want to hear a slow song that will bring me to my knees, there are times where I just want to hear Christian lyrics over a tight beat.

Our role as Christians is to share the message with the world but I am aware that trying to become accessible comes at a cost; it is difficult to change our style without changing who we are and moving away from our core. Do we submit to culture or do we shape it? Should we remain conservative and safe or should we adapt our sound in line with our ever-changing world? Gospel music should be distinctive but can it remain distinctive while becoming accessible? Do you want to hear Gospel music in places other than your church? Would it be a bad thing if this song were played in a club and 500 people started singing ‘I luh God, do you luh God?’

Views in the comment section over on Youtube are split. Many have said that they will not be listening to her album or any of her music in the future while others respect her innovative style and her confidence to step out.

What do you think?

Comment, comment, comment! I would really love to hear your views!

 

Disclaimer: I tried to type up the lyrics I quoted as accurately as possible but I literally couldn’t understand them at times. Please let me know if you hear something different so I can correct it. 

Why I Won’t Be Voting Conservative At The Next Election

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I would like to make a disclaimer: The Conservatives haven’t committed any unforgivable sin and I am not trying to fight God’s battles by not voting for them.

Most people see politicians the way teenage girls see the male population after the first guy breaks their heart: lying scumbags that don’t deserve to be trusted. Voting becomes a choice between drinking the poison that will cause the least amount of pain as it suck the life from you. I share these sentiments in the actuality of choosing between the candidates that are only willing to jump through hoops when it’s time to win my vote. I do, however have a way of distinguishing them. For me, it’s not about whether they’re willing to leave the EU or are against bankers bonuses, I make my vote based on the principles under which the combobulation of similar sounding proposals are based.

I will never vote Conservative because I can’t stand the: “we all have the opportunity to succeed, life is what you choose to make it so money must only be distributed to the most truly deserving of us all” attitude. I’m going to get a bit philosophical now, but I dare say that you do not deserve the talents that you possess anymore than I do.

I’m not saying anything new to everyone who was hoping to read something about Jesus and is wondering how they got roped into reading about politics. Moral of the story: life isn’t fair. We can’t all go to Oxford or Cambridge or RADA(Oxbridge for actors), we won’t all be tall enough to be models, we can’t all win Xfactor or become the CEO of Goldman Sachs. That is life, you might be better at Maths than me and I might have longer legs than you. (Lol, it’s very unlikely, I’m just over 5“) So where does that leave all of us who feel like we got a raw deal when God was handing out talents or deciding which families we’d be born into?

Then he [Jesus] sat down opposite the offering box, and watched the crowd putting coins into it. Many rich people were throwing in large amounts. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. Mark 12:41-42

Nobody wants to be the poor widow who can’t throw wads of cash in the offering bowl. We all leave Uni and it becomes an unspoken race for securing grad schemes, earning ‘I can afford a mortgage’ money, and being able to say ‘I manage X amount of people.’ I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive for the best, and look forward to a life of financial stability and monthly outgoings that don’t leave a bruise from their pinch, but until then we aren’t justified to belittle our achievements thus far.

He called his disciples and said to them, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others.For they all gave out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in what she had to live on, everything she had.” Mark 12:43-44

It’s almost as if there’s a pinnacle in life where people say you’ve “made it” and until then you just have nothing to celebrate. But life is not so much about everyone knowing your name or being able to splash the cash wherever you go, as doing the most with the dice you’ve been rolled.

I guess this sounds pretty morbid, it’s not really meant to be. Some people are blessed with the agility to run a marathon and others with a mind that can comprehend quantum physics, that doesn’t mean the rest of us should feel disheartened. The skills and the talents you possess have already been decided, but the umph at which we pursue life is all in our hands.

I look around at all the success around me and feel so proud of the people who are “making it.” I hereby promise to myself and to God to not look down on the coppers in my purse; I’m determined to give life my very best shot.

Love Dani

The Problem I Have With Drake

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This is the second article that I’ve written about Drake and despite what the title suggests I am a fan. From his debut single “Best I Ever Had” to his most recent “How About Now?” I have followed Drake since his mixtapes and pretty much fall in love with every catchy hook he produces. I love his ability to create and articulate a tagline for a moment in time/culture which will resonate with the masses and usually floor me. I went to his concert a couple of years ago and I still remember screaming “DRAKE, PLEASE, LOOK AT ME, WHAT ABOUT ME?” as he identified members of the crowd and personally thanked them for coming to the show.

So what’s my problem?

As I sat in one of my English lessons this week, I realised that I have a strong dislike for the term Y.O.L.O (You Only Live Once). Released by Drake in 2011, “The Motto” was another hit that blew up and its success resulted in the term Y.O.L.O becoming firmly fixed in our lexicons. I guess Y.O.LO is another way of saying ‘Carpe Diem’ (seize the day). I love the idea of seizing the day: whenever I hear the term I imagine taking hold of the day with both hands and making every moment count. Perhaps at the heart of the term “Y.O.L.O” lays a similar sentiment but the contexts I hear the term Y.O.L.O used in makes me think otherwise.

When people usually use the term Y.O.L.O they are usually using it a way of dismissing the likely negative consequences of a decision they are about to make. For example:

I want to go out tonight and I have work at 8am tomorrow… YOLO! 

My exam is in two days and I haven’t revised…YOLO!

Maybe my experience of the term isn’t representative of how it is used, but over the years I have only heard it being said when people are doing things that could be detrimental to their well-being. I don’t hear:

I’m going to start eating healthily because…YOLO

I’m going to work really hard throughout my academic career because..… YOLO

I am going to travel to as many countries as possible because…YOLO

I am going to spend time building better relationships with my siblings because…YOLO

I am going to help the poor because….YOLO

I am going to volunteer at a homeless shelter this Christmas period because…YOLO

I am going to speak that person that everybody has walked away from because…YOLO

I am going to read my Bible even though I don’t feel like it because… YOLO

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.

Joshua 1:8

There are days where I don’t feel like reading my Bible. I wake up and I’d rather scroll through my Instagram feed than open the Word and meditate on it. There was a time where I would have waited to ‘feel’ like reading my Bible but now I understand that it is a habit that needs to be cultivated, a discipline that must become enshrined in my daily routine regardless of how I feel. No matter how I ‘feel’ in the morning before reading the Word, I am always challenged by what I read and it is ultimately for my benefit.

My challenge to you today is do something that will benefit you, your Christian walk and your life because…Y.O.L.O.

Lots of loving,

JOY xxx

What Happens When Your Plot To Kill Your Father Fails?

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We have an insatiable urge to know what the future holds. Whether it’s paying extortionate amounts to hear from a fortune teller, joining the queue to speak to a prophet, or grabbing one of those Spoilers mags, if there’s something claiming to reveal what’s on the horizon then we’re oh so eager to find out. I used to be in this clan, not so much when it comes to entertainment (if you tell me the ending of a book/film before I’ve finished reading/watching I might just explode with momentary I fury) but when it comes to life, I’ve spent many a long tube ride wondering what will happen in the days, months, and years to come. (Just me that does all their thinking on the tube?)

It usually starts contemplating the present day, evaluating the goings on of the hours since breakfast, and mulling over what needs to be done before bed. At this point I look up and realise I have quite a few more music-less (don’t know where I’ve placed my iPod) and entertainment-less (I’ve been forbidden from reading the book on my dresser till my book club partner gets a copy) stops before home. So the pondering continues and my mind wanders through the rest of the week. Before I know it, wondering what I’ll have for dinner has become..

When will I get married?

How many bedrooms do I want in my dream house?

Will I ever move abroad and buy a house on the beach?

What if I don’t ever find a job I love?

Will the 40year old me have lots of regrets?

And the morbid continues…
What was a perfectly happy tube journey has left me downhearted as my questions go unanswered and the future remains uncertain. Can anybody relate? We get so focused on the future that the present just passed us by.

So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

We have every reason to plan our lives with the future in mind:to save for a rainy day, and to delay present gratifications for future rewards, but we shouldn’t allow ourselves to become so fixated on what is to come that we forget to appreciate what is here now.

Cheers to enjoying the moment and to living in the now!

Hugs and kisses,

Dani xxxxx

5 Things To Consider Before Getting Bum Implants

Nicki-Minaj-pic-I became aware of my flaws quite early on in my life. I was just six years old when I decided that my feet were ugly. I would often say to my Mum that if I could only just cut my feet in half, they would be a normal size. I felt that they were dreadful; too fat and too large for my (then) slender frame. As I grew in age, I also grew exponentially in size and I spent most of my teenage years believing that if I could just lose weight, all my problems would disappear. The root of every issue I had was somehow linked back to my appearance through the faulty thought circuits I had created. By my late teenage years, I ditched the desire to be slim because apparently, as a Black woman, I needed to be ‘thick’. I was thick. I was definitely thick, but not thick in the right places. My breasts were thick, my thighs were thick and my stomach (unfortunately) was thick. Everything was thick, but not in the way that I was told was desirable. My bum wasn’t big enough and my waist wasn’t small enough so my ‘thick’ was just fat.

I always thought that with age, we did away with all the insecurities we accumulated throughout our teenage years. But do we? Or do we just find ways to conceal those insecurities? We stop complaining about our spots because we discover foundation, our weight is no longer a problem because of the hours we spend at the gym fighting our genetic disposition and our natural hair which refuses to grow remains hidden under weaves and wigs.

But what about the flaws that cannot be concealed or mediated naturally? What do we do when the things we hate most about ourselves cannot be impacted by external variables?

We opt for surgery.

I have nothing against surgery but in light of another young woman dying because of the desire to change her body, I felt compelled to ask some questions.

1) Who told you that you were not good enough?

Yes, society continuously pushes images of perfection upon us, images that no ordinary person can attain, but who told you that you weren’t beautiful? Who makes you feel like what you see is not enough? Who told you that those changes were the ‘right’ changes to make? Who dictates what is beautiful?

2) Will it solve your problems?

For a long time I thought that all my personal issues were caused by my weight until I lost the weight and I still had my issues. I naively thought that as soon as my BMI changed I would view all aspects of myself more positively. Unfortunately, that negative self-talk and those insecurities stayed close by until I addressed them. I am not going to argue that perhaps having a larger/smaller *insert here* wouldn’t make you feel better, but I want to know – will it solve your problems?

3) What will you tell your daughter?

NB: this does not apply if you do not want to procreate, please move onto number 4

One of the main reasons I stopped being crazy/obsessive about my weight was because I didn’t want my child to have the issues that I was battling with. In hindsight, this was quite strange because I was 19 at the time I began to fight for my mental freedom, there were no kids in my immediate future and yet, my fight began because of them. I didn’t want my daughter to meet an insecure, broken woman because I knew it would increase the likelihood that she would become one also. I didn’t want her to stand in the mirror and criticise herself because even without meeting her, I knew that she was beautiful and I never wanted her to think otherwise. Imagine a day where your daughter says that she wants to spend x amount in order to change an aspect of herself, an aspect that you consider to be beautiful – what will you say?

4) Will it be worth it?

The thing that pains me most is when surgeries go wrong and we lose beautiful people on a table that they didn’t need to be on in the first place. Unfortunately, it is only after death that we remember how minuscule our flaws are and how precious life is.

5) Where does your confidence come from?

The greatest turning point in my life was when I realised that although I didn’t think I was that special or beautiful, God had created me in His image. I realised that I looked like God. I thought God was amazing; I still do. When God made me, He took into account all the things I would ever need, combined them together and VOILA. It may not look like much when compared to what I see around me but I know that there is nothing that needs changing desperately; I am enough. My confidence isn’t unshakeable but because it depends on a God that does not change, I can always look to Him to affirm me.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous—how well I know it.

Psalm 139:13-14

You may never look like the people you see in the magazines, you may never look like the people on Instagram but you are wonderfully complex, you are marvellous and you are enough simply because God says so.

Joy

P.s: Dani and I are so overwhelmed and humbled by all the visitors we’ve received over the past week! Thank you so much for reading xx

5 Ways To Not Get Fired (According To The Apprentice)

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I absolutely love The Apprentice. Nearly as much as I love MasterChef, and that really makes my heart sing. I don’t know what it is about TV competitions that gets us going, but from Week 1 when we’ve decided if we’re better than the contestants, to Week 3 where we choose our favourite, all the way up onto the end where the winner is announced, we are hooked. There’s something special about the apprentice though, not just because all the contestants have to work with each other until the bitter end, The Apprentice stands in it’s own league as the show for all of us non-singing, non-dancing, under 5″7 people that don’t have legs as delicately crafted as chopsticks who aren’t prepared to master their smise in the hope of taking one good picture. (Not that I don’t love XFactor, Britain’s Got Talent, and Americas Next Top Model). As I tune in weekly, and watch people make mistakes that result in them getting the chop I’ve noticed 5 key lessons to stay in the game.

1)Don’t dream small

This has got to be number 1 on the list. There’s nothing worse then when it’s down to the final two and we finally get to hear the candidates’ business plan, only to be disappointed by the lack of adventurousness and stand-out ideas. Lord Sugar may not want to gamble all his money away but he always chooses the person that’s actually taking a bit of a risk, because their idea usually brings about the biggest return. Sometimes we get really tunnel visioned that all we see is our families and the success we want to have in our careers. God is trying to tell us to dream bigger and impact the masses but we ignore this in favour of focusing on our individual dreams and desires. How can we fulfil all God has for us, when we’re only focused on one small section?

2)Get on well with your teammates

One competition you can’t win if you lack people skills is The Apprentice. A sure road to getting brought back into the Board Room is refusing to listen to anyone’s opinion but your own and not following the instructions of the Project Manager because you don’t agree with them. Once people forget that each week they aren’t in competition with their team mates, but need to work together to win the task, the whole mission goes downhill. You can see the importance of getting on with people in church. Even if we forget that God tells us to love each other which means showing them respect, listening to their opinion, putting them before our ourselves, as a church we are supposed to be one body of Christ, so we have no choice but to work with each other in one accord.

For just as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body – though many – are one body, so too is Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12

3)Stop arguing with Lord Sugar

Have you seen how infuriated Lord Sugar gets when he’s trying to tell someone how awfully they’ve performed in a task and they take it among themselves to interject all the way through his speech? I’m always cringing at my TV thinking shh and just take the grilling, and yet I have the audacity to do the same thing with God. He’ll be giving me instructions that aren’t my cup of tea and I’ll be interrupting trying to get God to agree to my terms and conditions. Non-sensical of what?!

4)Focus on the bigger picture

The amount of candidates that shoot themselves in the foot because they aren’t interested in the business are that that weeks task is focused on is unbelievable. We aren’t always going to be enthralment by every task that a God wants us to complete but we shouldn’t forget that we’re on one long joiner and every step takes us closer to fulfilling out destinies. You might be pursuing a champagne and caviar lifestyle and God wants you to take a year out to run orphanages abroad but that doesn’t give us the right to spend that entire year grumbling and doing life half heartedly. Life’s too short to check-out and not be interested on each and every day that God blessed us with.

5)Know why you were chosen

It happens all the time. People feel confident in their abilities until they’re put in a room with people who possess even bigger personalities and appear to be much more capable. We can’t allow our insecurities to stop us from having our voices heard and pursuing the things we want to achieve. A lot of the time on the Apprentice, it’s the candidate with the most quiet voice that makes the most sense, but they’re too afraid to push their ideas through. To everyone who feels they are lacking that special something to make themselves stand out, God thinks your perfect. Of course you have flaws but you can so all things through Christ that strengthens your. Your weaknesses are made perfect in Him.

Just like The Apprentice, we are all on our way to pursuing our dreams. Let’s not limit ourselves by dreaming small or get thrown off track by petty arguments with the people around us. And just so you know, God isn’t in the habit of firing people. God will walk with you every step of the way to you fulfil all you are created for.

Love lots,

Dani xxxx

12 Struggles Only People In Their Early Twenties Will Understand

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I went to visit my friend yesterday. I thought I was in Kent but I was really in Uxbridge (new lows of ignorance for me). It was so refreshing to get away from my world for the day; this week has been a challenging one in many ways. I haven’t been on a campus in almost two years so it felt strange being around students again. You know how students are just ‘up’ until the early hours of the morning without any real concern for the next day? Yeah, there’s a lecture but attendance is still a choice and there are no real consequences if the lecture is missed. I dare not sleep after 12pm these days (even that is living life on the edge) because my alarm is going off at 6.45am and my train is leaving at 7.40am and I need to be on it.

When did life become more than eating last night’s take-away before 10am and talking about the latest episode of Scandal?

This post isn’t for recent graduates…you guys live a different struggle. This post is for the those of you who have lived the graduate life for about a year now; you’ve settled back into your hometown and you still can’t quite believe how old you feel despite knowing how young you really are.

12 Struggles Only People In Their Early Twenties Will Understand

1) Everyone around you is getting married/in a relationship

What is going on? Seriously? I can’t scroll through my newsfeed without seeing a man on his knees proposing to the love of his life or declarations of love in the form relationship status changes. Can everyone just chill?

2) You start to worry about your parents

It crept up on you – suddenly you became intimately aware of their mortality and the fact that if you are getting older that means that they are getting older too. Now spending time with them is more appealing than it was before because you realise that moments with them are precious; it’s time that we can never get back.

3) You feel like you’re acting at work

You wear the right clothes, paint on a facial expression that you’re convinced says ‘I know what I’m doing’ but you spend meetings thinking “what the heck am I doing here?” You still can’t believe that your employers trust you to care about things and listen during their meetings.

4) You have fewer friends so God inevitably takes on a really important role

Your friends no longer live 5 minutes away and you don’t ‘bump’ into them on the street. Unless there is an intense planning session and a laborious process of trying to squeeze each other into diaries, meet ups are few and far between. On top of this, because work is a real thing now, there just isn’t enough time to be in constant contact with anyone but Jesus.

5) Doing things alone becomes easier than calling on the many two friends you usually hang out with

Before a ‘+1’ was essential. Now you’re so used to doing things solo that you forget to contact your friends to see if they’re interested in going somewhere; you just go alone.

6) You prefer sleeping to socialising

Friend: Let’s go for drinks after work!

You: But when will I sleep?

7) There isn’t any time to watch all the shows you started watching during University

Once upon time, life was:

Uni.

Library.

Watching 6 different shows in bed (in the dark)

These days, I can just about keep up with Scandal. Where is the time going?

8) You are thinking about ‘real’ things

For most of our lives, our focus has been getting through the academic year without failing. Now that’s all over, concepts like ‘career progression’, ‘marriage’, ‘children’ and ‘savings’ are being thrown at us left, right and centre. The worst thing is, we’ve started thinking about them without being prompted.

9) Despite these adult concepts slowly consuming your mind, you still secretly fantasise about quitting your job, travelling the world and eventually settling down in Spain and becoming a bartender

There are always moments during my working week where I wanna throw my notebook and pen in the air, run home, pack a bag and leave on the next flight out of town.

10) You feel bad when you haven’t attended Church or read your bible in a while

During my Uni days I could easily go three months without attending a church service. Fast forward four years and missing two weeks of Church and Bible reading can leave me feeling vulnerable and lost. My faith has stopped being a choice – it is really the thing that holds me together.

11) Being hungover just isn’t fun anymore

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve finally started paying more attention to the scriptures about drunkenness or maybe you’ve just realised that your body can’t handle alcohol in the way it could four years ago. Either way, going to work hanging is N E V E R worth it.

12) Life just feels like it’s moving too quickly and there is nothing you can do to slow it down

We frequently experience moments of crippling fear where we suddenly freak out and wonder whether life is ever going to work out.

Don’t worry, it will. God has a plan and everything is going to be OK (Jeremiah 29:11).

Happy Friday y’allll!!!

Joyxxxxxx

P.S: The picture of today’s blog is of Ms Olivia Pope simply because I mentioned Scandal twice and I can’t wait for this week’s episode.

Why You Keep Lying On Facebook

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In my Sunday School class, the question was once asked:

 If a man held a gun to your head and asked you if you were a Christian, what would you say?

 Now, of course the “right” answer was to scream “I LOVE YOU JESUS” and suffer the unspeakable consequences but over a decade has passed and I’m still yet to decide what I’d do simply because I never really show up in moments of panic, I freeze and scream internally until the moment of panic passes. Also, I believe that hypothetical responses are rarely indicative of what one will do when faced with the situation. This question came to mind this morning and although I still do not have an answer, it always causes me to think more deeply about life, what I am willing to die for and more importantly, what I am living for.

“They say ‘you only live once’ but what are you living for?”

I let my Mum use my Facebook yesterday and it was fascinating watching her read through my newsfeed; she could not understand why the people I knew felt comfortable sharing such intimate moments of their lives online. When she asked me why, the cynic within me arose:

“Mum, people want to show other people how happy and content they are, even if that means giving 500+ people access to the most sacred moments life offers.”

As I was saying this, I realised that most of us are living for the applause. We are living for the ‘likes’, the moments where others validate our actions. We carefully choose what we will reveal online in order to create what we feel will be the perfect image. Underneath the façade lies the real; the real moments of pain, confusion, frustration, anger, happiness and joy.

Although we cannot pick and choose the moments that God sees, we act as though He isn’t watching 24/7. We spend more time choosing filters on Instagram than filtering out the negative parts of lives and we spend more time controlling the way others view us than we do allowing God to take control and fix the broken parts of our lives – the parts that aren’t picturesque enough for the online world.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

Hebrews 4:13

One of things I enjoy most about being a Christian is the fact that I am forced to have honest conversations with God. I can’t lie and I can’t pretend that everything is okay when it isn’t. He sees right through the façade because He sees all. When I have no words to say, He still hears the pain I feel or the joy I don’t know how to express.

God sees.

My challenge to you today is to live each moment in light of the fact that God sees. I don’t want you to think of Him as a judgemental, domineering presence which seeks to dictate your every action and can’t wait to punish you, but as a loving Father (Isaiah 64:8), who is interested, concerned (Luke 12:7) and full of love for you (1 John 3:1).

Lots of my love & Happy Wednesday!!

Joy xxxxxx

The Lie Drake Told Me

no-new-friends-Story2

Although women generally speak candidly about their trust issues due to their interactions with our beloved male species, all my heartache (okay, most) have come in form of women I once called friends. As time goes on I will fully divulge all the…interesting friendships I have had -the ones I broke and the ones that broke me. To be quite honest, I think I’m the problem. Once I have decided that you and I are on the same team and once the walls I built come tumbling down, I am prone to riding for you, kicking down trees and people for you, praying for you, calling you (everyone that read the call anxiety post knows that this is a big deal) and ultimately trying to make sure that you are living the best life possible.

I am intense (can you tell?) which means until I (recently) learnt how to control the intensity of my friendships a lot of them weren’t very healthy. Over time, I had to learn that if a friendship wasn’t healthy it was okay to walk away;  I had to stop giving myself to people who would never truly appreciate what I was giving them. Walking away doesn’t mean that there has to be an intense burning of the bridge we once walked together, and it doesn’t mean that we don’t love each other anymore, it just means that the nature of the relationship adjusts in accordance with the new expectations both parties have.

So what does Drake have to do with all this?

In 2011 Drake taught me that because of the sheer fact that I would only ever live once, I should do whatever I pleased (I think YOLO is the ghetto version of carpe diem). Since then I have listened avidly to all new Drake songs hoping for a new life lesson.

I was in my room on January 1st 2014, spring-cleaning and suddenly Drake’s ‘No New Friends’ came on. It dawned on me how profound the statement was; Drake had done it again, he had managed to encapsulate a phenomenon in a catchy and sexy way, which would once again tell the masses how to think, how to feel and how to treat people.

 

….Okay, let me be honest…

 

I didn’t clean my room on January 1st and I think I only heard this Drake song in passing coz my sisters are way cooler than me and keep me in the loop.

 

Although Drake’s involvement in my decision-making wasn’t as high as the title suggests, this year I did decide that it was time to pick a team carefully which would involve NO new additions. I looked across all my social ties and picked a few people who had shown themselves to be supportive and reliable for a substantial amount of time, and were therefore less likely to let me down. For these chosen ones, I would give my time, my resources and my heart. Everyone else? Well, if we crossed paths, we could cook it up and chill, but really, it wasn’t going to go any deeper than that anymore.

I was done, bruised in many ways and screaming NO NEW FRIENDS, NO NEW FRIENDS, NO NEW FRIENDS NO, NO, NO.

It went well at first. I was supported, loved, no longer giving myself to people who could potentially hurt me and I had successfully decreased the probability of being wounded. To be quite honest, I was loving life. (I’m not sure if I was actually. Let’s just say I was.) Due to the horrifically beautiful 2013, I was prepared for 2014’s first major hurdle. What I wasn’t prepared for was the team I had so carefully chosen at the start of the year having their own life hurdles to contend with while I was struggling to jump over mine. Where there were once uplifting conversations and text messages telling me that everything was going to be okay, there was only silence. In the silence, I found myself trying to find the balance between understanding the hurdles they were facing and feeling indignant that no one was around to help me get over mine.

SO in this season of self-absorption, anger, hurt and fear I learnt a couple of lessons which I’ll share now, and a few more I’ll share after the smoke clears and I’m running the home stretch.

 

1) Choose your number One

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

Psalm 20:7

Could you do something for me?

Exchange the words ‘chariots’ and ‘horses’ with the names of your two closest friends.

Now read the Psalm again.

Yes, to some degree you can trust in these people to pull you through your storms but at the end of the day, the only friend who will die for you is Jesus. It is that real. We can’t place mere mortals on pedestals and expect them to be there all the time – it is not their job to tend to our needs and ultimately, humans are concerned primarily with their own self-preservation. We are all battling our demons and it is unfair for us to have irrational expectations of those who love us the most and expect them to drop their own issues and come running just because we’ve slightly bruised our knees.

Thankfully, God can handle the weight of our expectations and will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Who do regard as your team? It’s okay to have a team, just as long as God is the most important person on it – everyone else will eventually let you down.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5

 

2) God will bring new friends – whether you like it or not

You can scream ‘no new friends’ as much as you like, God is going to bring new people into your life that you are required to change through your perspectives and your love. I know you have trust issues, I know people have hurt you in the past – they’ve hurt me too – but in hiding from new people, we do ourselves a disservice.

Look at all the beautiful friends you have –they were once ‘new friends’. We are changed most by people, the experiences we share with them and the worlds they birth within us, to shield ourselves from these  new friendships is to live a life that is lesser than the one God intended for us to live.

 

3) What about your old(er) friends?

I sat with a friend this week. Although time and distance had passed between us, I thought everything was fine. They weren’t. Her words broke my heart and I sat in the middle of the shopping centre with tears streaming down my face as she revealed to me the depths of her current situation. In that moment, I realised that I had missed the point (once again). You may not need any more new friends but there are people out there that still need you. Your job is to give yourself to old and new friends believing that God is able to fill you up again if you are left empty and heal the parts of you that may be broken during the giving process.


 

I could have written this post about how sad I was that my team had let me down but I think we need to shift our focus from viewing people as sources to viewing ourselves as resources that can be drawn from in times of need. We should seek to lay the trust issues we have accumulated over time aside if we want to become the light that shines for those in the darkness.

 

Lots of light on this dreary day,

Joy

(Can we all take a moment today to pray that it will stop raining? Many thanks.)

xxxxxx