Category Archives: Life Lessons

Why I’ve Left Being Flawless For Beyoncé 

    

“You’re crazy” is all my friend had to say after I told him that I would choose a non-brand, affordable suitcase over a Louis Vuitton case. What he didn’t seem to understand was that I didn’t (and still don’t) have any interest in owning expensive luggage if it doesn’t match the pieces I currently have or if I can’t buy the matching set. We’d been talking about luggage (as you do when you’re working hard at work…) and I was trying to explain how much I love matching suitcases. I’ve ended up travelling a lot in the last three years, and I like to look like my life is together. Maybe it’s an attempt to avoid those embarrassing scenes of overweight bags and the repacking it brings at the airport *shudder* but in my mind having matching suitcases is a testament to organisation and a preclude to a smooth journey. They don’t have to match in colour, but there has to be some kind of linking theme and I’m conscious of that whenever I buy a new piece. So no thanks, to the LV bag, if it doesn’t come in a set or go with whatever I have at the moment. Yeah, I’m kind of crazy, whatever – I like it.

It doesn’t just stop with my luggage though: my nails are always done, or at the very least filed and tidy. It annoys me when they’re not. I like for my underwear to match (at least here I know I’m not the only one) and for the two twisted crowns I put my hair into to be even on both sides. I am just filled with an incredible sense of satisfaction and achievement when everything is organised and in place and going according to plan.

So perhaps you can imagine my intense frustration when my. life. is. not. to.get.her.

A couple of months ago I blogged about being a terrible christian and not much has changed since then. Or at least, I feel like not much has changed since then. If I am completely honest with myself and objective, I know I’m not everyday-fail-as-a-christian but I tend to focus on the bad days more than the good. Because I HATE not being everyday-amazing-christian. I am annoyed with myself when I make the same mistakes over and over and over again. It upsets me that I don’t love God as much as I should, that I don’t walk in the light and purpose which He’s called me to consistently. I’m frustrated – by myself!- when I know if I would just readmybibleprayeveryday that my life would be closer to what I want it to be, but I still don’t do anything about it.

And so I haven’t blogged much this year because it has been the above struggle. I know what my life is like and where I am lacking spiritually, and writing about anything else feels hypocritical. The truth is – much as it annoys me – I don’t have my life together and I haven’t been very successful in doing my part and picking up the pieces of my life; yet I don’t want to constantly write about it and be that blogger who is always “woe is me”. That’s just depressing.

However.

I don’t think I’m the only one who is in this space and I do think there’s value in battling oneself like this and being transparent about it. Maybe writing about it will help us get better about admitting our faults and weaknesses to one another. Maybe not playing down the ugly parts of ourselves will actually help us in spreading the truth of the gospel. Maybe acknowledging that the answers are there but it’s a lot easier said than done will mean something to someone. I don’t know. But in the spirit of being transparent, here is some evidence that my life is not as together as it may seem:

  1. My closet is a complete mess. It has been for a while now. So much so that I have piles of clothes everywhere and the laundry I managed to do last week has nowhere to go so it’s just sitting in a basket. Also, I don’t think I care enough to do this week’s laundry. TMI? Ah well. 1.b) Inside my bag is worse. It gives me a headache just looking at it. I’m going out later today and I’m going to take a different bag instead of cleaning my main one out. 
  2.  I’d rather spend all my time in bed. Not even sleeping. Just in or on my bed. I’m young, single and crazy clever different enough to do amazing things with all this time I have; but instead of writing one of the many books in my head or volunteering or tidying my closet or whatever, I just sleep.
  3. My eyebrow game is not on fleek.
  4. I haven’t memorised as much of the Bible as I should have. Especially after that blog post I wrote about doing so.
  5. I’m constantly sinning. Sometimes new sins. Mostly the same ones. It’s a vicious cycle and I hate that I don’t trust that Jesus has the power to set us free from sin. Okay I believe it but I almost always give into temptation so I don’t really know what that means.

The fact that I desire to grow in my faith has to count for something. The fact that I get up each time I fall has to mean something.

I’m not perfect but I’m not ready to give up on this Christian thing. It’s me and Jesus, forever and always, and even if things don’t happen as quickly as I’d like them to, we’ll get there eventually.

Love Deborah

 7 Reasons Why I Am Basically Kanye West 

  


 Thou shalt not be alarmed! Although the title may suggest otherwise, no, I have not married a reality TV star and named my daughter after a direction, or given my son a title usually earned by those ‘special’ people who have lived a little and done a lot-tle. I have not grown a beard and told the world that my latest album which contains cursing and verses centred around sex and other ‘stuff’, that it is in fact a gospel album. 
 
I just thought I should clear that up. (I’m naturally an exaggerator, sorry)
 
This morning, I was so close to putting my finger on the Twitter trigger and sending a series of word-vomit, off-the-cuff, rant-style tweets about things that irked me, and as I was about to pull the trigger and press send on my opening statement to let rip onto my timeline (you know, as you do), it dawned on me… it was only a few weeks ago that I was rolling my eyes at Kanye’s rant about the industry and kissing my teeth at the fact that he was always ‘on one’ (not to mention the fact that he basically referred to Africa as a country which is something that gets me easily riled up), but I was on the cusp of doing exactly the same thing! This somehow got me thinking about Kanye as a whole being and subsequently led to me writing this post. 
 

Sidebar: is it just me that sometimes arrives at a thought and traces back to all previous thoughts that led to that final thought and gets amazed at the fact that the initial stimulus was (typically) completely unrelated?

 
I digress, for those of you who may not know who Kanye West is (or for those who enjoy a bit of scene-setting), let me give you a brief overview:
 
– Kanye Omari West is an extremely talented (imo), Chicago-raised producer, rapper, songwriter, entrepreneur and (recently) fashion designer who released his debut album in 2004 “The College Dropout” which had great success. He has since released a multitude of highly successful albums to date

– He is well known for his outspoken views and outlandish ways of addressing them, notably when he jumped on stage whilst Taylor Swift was accepting an award for Best Video to say “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!” or when he stated on a live broadcast for hurricane Katrina in 2005 that President-at-the-time, George W. Bush, “doesn’t care about black people” 

– In 2007 he suffered the terrible loss of his mother with whom he had a great relationship – there was a noticeable change in himself and his music after that

– He is regularly hounded by the paparazzi, and his aggressive responses to the paps are repeatedly shared on social media where people ridicule or, in some cases, applaud him

– In 2014, he married reality TV superstar Kim Kardashian and the couple have since had two ridiculously cute children (North and Saint)

 
Okay, so now we all know (to some degree) a bit about who Kanye is, here are 7 ways in which myself and Mr. West are alike:
 

1. I love and respect great music/artistry

Of course great music/art is subjective, however I believe that my view on it is accurate, spot on and on-the-money. Much like Kanye, nobody can tell me that I do not know great music/art and that my taste sucks basically. Nobody.
 

2. I hate being put into a box

What if I don’t want to stay in my lane? Just because you like what I do in this space, does not change the fact that I have a burning desire to enter a whole new space and master whatever that is too!

 

3. I love my privacy and my personal space

If the paps were in my face 24/7, I doubt I’d be smiling politely and simply strolling to my car…

 4. I don’t always think before I speak

I am naturally quite illogical and emotionally-led; I put my hands up to that. Sometimes, I say exactly what is on my mind, even when it does not make sense, may not be appropriate, is offensive, or isn’t actually how I feel. I often end up having to reconfirm what I really mean after getting out of my feelings (see Kanye’s apology to Wiz Khalifa after speaking about his little boy)
 

5. I can be a bit irrational at times

Again, as I am quite emotionally-led, I can act irrationally when under pressure or in an uncomfortable situation and can end up doing things that to people that know me, may seem completely out of character. We do not personally know Kanye at all, who knows what his norm is aside from those closest to him?
 

6. Sometimes I’m a hypocrite

I say I don’t agree with certain things, or profess to not believe in certain ideas/ways of living however some of my actions and choices I make wholly contradict that. I regularly justify this by saying “I don’t have bad intentions”, however I doubt the majority of us do have bad intentions yet not-so-great things do happen somehow don’t they?
 

7. I’m just trying to figure this whole life-thing out (and honestly, I’ve made and am making plenty of mistakes along the way)

 
Being in the spotlight in such a major way, means that negative things are inevitably magnified. Accidentally bumping into someone when running to the airport to catch the flight you’re almost certainly late for, can leave you branded an aggressor and have you slapped with a lawsuit. Not greeting a fan in an overly enthusiastic, hyperactive way because you just received some terrible news that morning, can have you labelled as cold and unappreciative towards your fans. I say the above 7 points are the reasons why I’m similar to Kanye, but in reality I do not know him and it’s therefore unfair to assume things about a man I do not know. 
 
Although I share those 7 qualities with Kanye (I believe), they do not completely define who I am, what I believe to be right and what I’m about – they’re just a small part of me. Therefore, this could also be true for Kanye or those other people we (the public) have branded as ‘crazy’. I sat and tried to think of obviously amazing qualities that Kanye has (aside from his talents) and struggled to find more good than bad, not because he doesn’t possess them, but because the idea that “bad news travels faster than good” is unfortunately very true. Imagine knowing that you have many great and wonderful attributes that the majority of people are unaware of simply because your mishaps and awkward moments are the only things that make it to primetime.

I’m a firm believer in “there’s a reason why people are the way they are and why they do the things they do” (this applies whether the reason justifies it or simply just explains it). Kanye fans will agree that after the passing of his mother, there was a real shift in Kanye as a musician and ultimately, as a man. Life has the tendency to do that to us. We all have things about ourselves that aren’t particularly good, and have all done things that we are not completely proud of. 

 
“Judge not that you be not judged. (…) You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” 
Matthew 7:1&5

 
Now, you may think that it’s more likely Kanye has a tree in his eye rather than a speck compared to you, but remember sin isn’t hierarchical in God’s eyes.

 
“As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one.”  Romans 3:10

 
We all have stuff going on. None of us are perfect. We all fall short but it’s only by His Grace that we get by. Before branding that guy as a write-off and that girl as wayward, remember that you should look at them with love and understanding first and remind yourself that you’re not so squeaky clean yourself.
 
Love, Stella West (lol, jk) 
 
xoxo

3 Ways To Ditch Goal Setting For Goal Getting

  

At the end of each year & approaching a new year there’s always a number of things going on within us as humans. It’s exciting. It’s emotional. It’s interesting as we wait and see what awaits for the year ahead. HoweverThe what happens when you suddenly feel like your goals are unachievable, or when your year so far isn’t going the way you expected it?

With so many #goals out there these days Its easy to set yourself high, sometimes unrealistic goals. 

Here’s a few things I’ve learnt about getting goals done: 

1. Set realistic goals 
If you’re setting yourself goals that deep down you know aren’t achievable in the timeframe you’ve set, then be realistic. I mean I’m all about positivity, optimism and faith. But for me when I set goals that are unrealistic sometimes it can become really overwhelming when it comes to achieving them. I find it best to break down goals and look at steps l can take to reach them over a time frame. 

2. Don’t leave goal setting to the New Year 

We should always have goals and a vision for our lives because ‘without a vision the people perish’. You can’t accomplish anything if you don’t have anything to strive for. (Hmmm – that pretty much sums up life in less than 140 characters). But don’t leave goal setting just for the New Year. The time to start something new, go after your dreams or break into your ideal career is NOW! 

I guess it’s nice to start new things in a New Year, but I’m learning that I should always have goals throughout. Don’t wait for a new month or a new year to come, because while it may be nice to wait for a Monday before you start that next project, it’s nicer to just get things done.

3. Set yourself goals for you 

This is something I have to remind myself frequently. I’m not competing against others people but competing with myself. It’s so easy to see what other people are doing and try to reach their level of attainment. Its great to be influenced or inspired by someone else but that shouldn’t be motivation to try and be like them or do what they are doing in their life. 

We each have different paths. My goals I set for myself are going to be different to the goals you set. 

Competing against yourself is the best way to measure success because you will be able to see where you are now and look back at where you’ve come from. 

Nobody will set your goals for you and generally no-one has a vested interest in you achieving your goals like you do. So set yourself the goals you know you’ll put the work in to achieve and you will see you’ve managed to cross off so much more off of that to-do list.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:12-14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Love,
Precious 

10 Rules To Follow If You Want To Survive The London Underground

 

london-underground-tube

Whenever I’ve told people that I live in London, especially those living up North, I’ve usually been met with the same disdain and horror.

“London?!” they cry, “How do you cope living there?!”

Cope? What’s there to cope with?

Well, if you didn’t know, it’s ‘smoggy, dirty, dingy and overpriced’, full of ‘rude’ inhabitants that walk with such strength it’s though they’re trying to shatter the earth beneath their feet, and with such pace, one could assume that there’s a devastating hurricane in the not-too-far-distance. 

I love LDN. I’m not a die-hard Londoner who can’t imagine living anywhere else – I imagine myself in different countries all the time. However, I think I am privileged to have found my place in such a vibrant city, with each ‘end’ having its own culture, even cultures that exist within cultures. I’ve learnt how to whine like a Jamaican, doba’le like a Nigerian, sing along to a few Bangra tunes, drop a couple words of Twi – I’m sure you get my drift.

As cliche as it sounds, there isn’t a city quite like LDN. Growing up here has resulted in a spillage of other cultures into mine; we live in dynamic city (and I’m pretty sure my ability to twerk dance to Rihanna’s Work would be overall mediocre if I’d grown up on the outskirts of Cumbria).

It’s not all good though, is it? Those who have the misfortune of travelling into Central London every day are well aware that LDN is indeed overcrowded. Between the commuters near punching you in the face in order to reach a seat before you, that awkward walk behind a slow moving buggy and that annoying person who keeps getting their clothing trapped in the door (how do we know? The driver keeps announcing it to the whole tube), I’m sure that we can all agree that the daily commute into LDN is a truly treacherous experience.

Here are a few rules to be aware of if you are new to the LDN underground and are appalled by what you’re experiencing.  

1) It’s okay if you haven’t showered, feel free to put your armpit in someone’s face. We accept that you’ve had to get up early everyday this week and haven’t showered since Sunday.

2) It’s perfectly acceptable to discuss your love/sex life in a full, yet silent, carriage. We are all dying to know that new thing Luke has been trying out.

3) When there’s no space, create space. Pushing people aside in order to fit you, your sweat, your rucksack and your desperation, on the already packed tube, is fine.

4) A couple that commutes together, stays together. If you want your relationship to be successful, travelling together everyday is essential.  And of course, we all want to observe your lengthy, saliva-filled goodbye before 7.30am. Approaching the stop at which one of them has to depart often feels like the dramatic ending of a scene from a romcom (“It’s time now…I have to go…I know, I know…But I’ll see you again…I won’t be long…”) so please, feel free to entertain us.

5) Hundreds of people queuing to access an underground station isn’t a safety hazard at all – do not be alarmed.

6) It’s okay to be pressed up against a man you don’t know. The lights are dim enough and the fact that we are all using headphones anyway (please see number 7) means that there’s already music playing in our ears (although it might not be the same song). Feel free to have a cheeky whine.

7) Headphones are essential because the silence is too loud.

8) Judge the ‘seek assistance’ people who definitely knew they didn’t have enough money on their oyster card to travel to work but were moving in faith, tapping away, hoping that the god of TFL would create a miracle.

9) You will feel an immense surge in panic as you realise that you’re approaching the stop you need to get off at and there are copious amounts of people blocking your pathway to the outside world. Don’t worry, they will part for you. Or you will push them aside whispering “sorry, sorry..I’m sorry” as you pass.

10) Someone will tell you about Jesus

How strange it is that we never use our daily commute as an opportunity to share God’s love with those around us. We don’t know what the person beside us is going through, whether they desperately need someone to listen to them for a short while or to hear 5 simple words: You’re going to be okay.

Sharing the love of Christ is hard at times – how do we share our faith without seeming fanatic or delusional? What’s more, how dare we share our faith with the person sitting beside us awkwardly on that awful commute to the job we sorta-really-maybe hate?

I’m not telling you to start shouting down the carriage about hell and repentance – I don’t think that’s the way to go about it. I do think you should share a smile with someone. I think you could say ‘Have a good day’ as the person beside you gets up to leave. Perhaps you could ask about the book they’re reading. Maybe they’ll ask about your devotional in response (or they’ll  look at you like you’re a crazy person and move across the carriage). Whatever the outcome, you’ll know in your heart that you are fulfilling God’s greatest call to us all: to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14)

There are hundreds of ways to share Christ’s love and to embody his character. Let’s try some of them next week!

Lots of love and happy, glorious Friday to you all!

Joy xxx

7 Things Being Married Has Taught Me

 

1. Letting yourself go is not a wise move

I took a lot of pride in my appearance when I was single – partly because you feel attractive when you look attractive, and you feel good when you look good. When my pay check came in, I’d make sure that my hair and nails were on fleek, I worked out religiously because I was trying to keep this body tight. A few months after getting married, looking good (for my husband) was not one of my priorities. I’d make an effort when I went out, of course, because the world deserved to see me at my best; my husband saw me first thing in the morning so I felt he wouldn’t mind what I looked like, right? Wrong.

Men like pretty things and they like their women looking good too.

2. Perfection is a myth 
Real life is not a fairy tale and no marriage is perfect. Marriage is a lot of work and romance takes effort. It’s really easy to take your spouse for granted because you are always with them. Simple things like “I love you” can go unsaid for days because… well, you married them, didn’t you? Oh, obviously you love them.

Eventually the burden of perfection begins to take it’s toll: the focus is no longer about ensuring that your marriage mirrors the love and commitment between Christ and his bride (the Church), instead the marriage becomes centre stage, where acts of love and service become a performance. Being consumed with your marriage, your home and your spouse being perfect only robs you of the blessings and joy which can be found in the contentment and gratitude of today.

3. Sex is not like it is in the movies

– In other words, Hollywood stays selling us dreams!
Check in your expectations at the door. Like every good thing in life, sex takes time to perfect. No one is an expert, even if you’ve had multiple sexual partners in the past. The bond of love and level of intimacy that takes place between a man and his wife during their sexual union is light years away from what Hollywood would have us believe. It’s easy to feel immense pressure to perform well in the bedroom and incredibly defeated if you don’t.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in this area, it’s that great sex comes with paying attention to your spouse and communicating effectively with them.

4. Your spouse is not God
So you’ve gotten your man, you’ve fallen in love, he’s put a ring on your finger so now you’ve stopped praying and your quiet time is virtually non-existent. You now bow down and worship at the altar of your husband, and God is still fiercely jealous for you.

Eventually you find that your husband makes a terrible God; he can’t complete you, not in the way God can.

5. One size does not fit all 
When I got married everyone, and their mama, had an idea concerning the way we were to run our home. Some people told me that because I was the wife, it was my duty to cook and clean; some told me that my first year married would be the hardest year, others even went as far to tell me what my husband would be like.

Your marriage is unique to you and finding a fit that works for you is very important. How your parents ran their home might not work for you. How your girlfriend treats her husband might not work for yours. The longer you stay married the more you understand just how your spouse wants to be loved and served by you and the better you get at loving and serving.

6. There is no place to hide 
I honestly believe that one of the key ingredients that every marriage needs is transparency. If you’re not ready to be completely open and vulnerable about who you are, flaws and all, do not rush into marriage. Marriage has a way of exposing your insecurities, your fears and your heart. Despite this, it’s comforting to know that your spouse will be there to love, support and pray with you regardless.

7.Love never fails. 
1 Corinthians 13 v 4-7 is the go-to scripture on LOVE – that four letter word that is thrown around so much that has almost lost it’s meaning. Before getting married, I thought I understood what it meant to love deeply and passionately. Once I got married, it became clear that I had completely misunderstood the essence of true, biblical love. This has been my biggest lesson and one which I continue to learn. Everyday, by the help of the Holy Spirit, I resolve to love as best as I can. I strive to be more patient and kinder; to put my husband first, forgive him quickly and occasionally bite my tongue when the words I wish to express are best left in my mind.

Love ,

Grace Labeodan

Why I’ve Stopped Chasing My Goals

  

Happy new year all! I hope that it has been just as happy as the phrase commands and if your new year has not been a bed of roses (maybe that’s the wrong saying because a rose bed would be quite prickly) maybe if your new year has been a bed of roses, thorns hidden amongst the festive cheer, then I hope the year to come brings the happiness that has escaped the season. The new year is usually laden with corny phrases and lacklustre determination to achieve the goals that will make this the year that changes it all. For some lucky lotto winners this is literally the year that things started looking up with the addition of two more mere mortals turned millionaires, but for the majority of us it’s singing the same ‘new year, new me’ tune, people begin to question why they’ve been out on the planet which comes alongside a drive to find ones purpose and for those who feel like they’ve found it, a list of resolutions to help them achieve it.

This year I have missed the new year self transformation boat and January has felt like the 13th month of the year, with the only difference being the waves of excitement I feel in knowing that this year I will tie the knot and marry the man I can’t wait to do life with. Not a single New Years resolution in sight, I have stopped chasing for the new me that I hadn’t seen fit to find in 2015. 

What’s changed?

1. I’ve accepted that the old me was already on a journey of improvement which has continued on

2. I’m so excited about 2016 I haven’t had the times to fret about my shortcomings and to worry about what my future holds.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not slating those of you who have written your list and are trusting God to help you achieve everything therein. It just dawned on my that there is more to life than chasing goals and wishing you had a raison d’être. Before you pick up your pitch-forks let me explain the blasphemy.

What am I grasping at?

Do I firmly believe you are created for a purpose? Yes

Do I want you to achieve all that God has for you? Yes 

Do I want you to be consumed trying to figure out what you’re meant to do, whilst life passes you by? Definitely not

All I all I just can’t muster the energy to make January all about me.

It is important to have a vision and to follow up that vision by setting goals, but it is also important to not get blind-sighted trying to find your purpose you forget to use the gifts you know you’ve been blessed with for the purpose we all share. Whatever my goals are, if they don’t play a part in loving the Lord my God with all my heart and all my soul or loving my neighbour as I love myself then it’s likely they fall into the self gratification scheme of things or the get rich motive many of us keep on a back burner.

There is a lot of benefit in using this year to get fit and to progress in your career but if the only person you’re loving with your goals is yourself, I think now is the time to make room for some more. 

A couple of days ago I sat opposite a woman on the tube who was clearly fighting tears. As I searched in my bag for something resembling tissues a was relieved I could offer her some unused Pret serviettes which she accepted and then let the waterworks flow. I sat opposite her and I squirmed. Should I get up and hover next to her trying to speak to her through the glass on the end of the carriage or should I crouch in front of her and completely freak her out by trying to not tumble and speak sense at the same time? After a couple of stops of debating with myself the woman sitting next to her got off and suddenly I was faced with a whole new dilemma: to move or not to move. I’d just been tweeting about speaking to people you wouldn’t normally speak to and I could see God staring at me asking if I was going to be all mouth and no motion. I decided to man up and began a conversation that started with small talk about tissues and ended in us sharing a genuine squeeze as she thanked me. I didn’t do much. I didn’t preach about how Jesus could save her from all her problems, even though I believe he can. I didn’t use it as an opportunity to talk salvation and the imminent nature of hell, despite being fully aware of the importance of giving ones life to Christ. What I did do was lend an ear and offer a hug midway to a stranger who looked like she needed a cuddle.

I’m not sure what your purpose is, I don’t even know the full extent of mine, what I do know is that we are commissioned first and foremost to love. First our God, and then each other, and with each breath we need to make it our mission to do so. 

“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:8-10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Instead of #newyearnewme Why not use 2016 to see where love can take you. I can say I love therefore I lean in for an awkward hug with a crying woman? What will you let love cause you to do. If you have any experiences where you’ve been able to step outside of yourself to show love I’d love to hear about them 🙂

Love lots,

Dani

7 Things I left Behind In 2015

squad goals

Well, hello there! Happy New Year and all that good, good stuff.

I hope the beginning of the year has been eventful; a little strange, altogether wonderful and completely in line with how you intended it to be. If it hasn’t, don’t worry; you still have approximately 359 days (I think, my maths is dreadful) to turn it around and become all the things you said you wanted to be.

2015 was (tries to remember the year; they go so quickly these days) an interesting year. It was monumental for many reasons; a lot of ‘firsts’ took place in my life. I grew as a person and, in growing up, I realised that there was much more to do and much more to become. What a humbling experience it is to recognise your potential but also grasp the gulf between where you are, where you could be and where those around you are heading.

2015 wasn’t all roses, growth and the like; there were periods of darkness, of intense sadness, where my faith was tested, my heart was broken and life became a dull, spinning wheel which, to be quite frank, I wanted out of. That’s not to say I wanted to jump off of a bridge, but there were moments where I didn’t feel alive; where life had become a mundane activity, mediocre and (ironically) lifeless.

In these waves of darkness, the notion that life is full of peaks and troughs, rife with ups and downs, was crystallised. No season is permanent, so while there is sun, bask in it; when the rain comes, get out your umbrella and keep walking. If the umbrella breaks, use your hood and if you don’t have a coat, run through the rain as best you can. Whatever you do, don’t stop walking because there will be always be sun. I feel like bursting into a Glee song after writing this paragraph.

As the title suggests, there are some things that weren’t privileged enough to ride on with me into 2016. Here are a few:

  1. GOALS!

I bet you read that in that weird way people are saying it nowadays. If you didn’t, where have you been?! This weird phenomenon took place last year  where it became okay to share your heart’s desires (in the form of pictures) with your social networks. Pictures of couples, babies, holidays, outfits and the like were shared with the caption ‘GOALS!’

Abeg, make we stop that this year.

There is no problem with having goals but I think constantly comparing where I was with where the people in the pictures were  was harmful. Obviously, I think sharing the goals with EVERYBODY is weird too (I never did), but for me, the most important thing is being content with the progress I’ve made thus far in my life, but also taking steps to where I would like to be. Tweeting a picture of strangers without putting the work in makes the picture a wish, not a goal.

  1. Bad food

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this on the blog before, but I am allergic to all the food most people enjoy. I am not exaggerating. The story of how I came to be this way is a blogpost in itself (one I will probably never write) but the conclusion of the story is that I should stay away from the food I love that hates me. Did I do that in 2015? Of course not. I’m hoping to have more self-control (generally, not just in this area) and stop eating the foods that make me sick.

  1. Ill-fitted clothes

No more buying a size 20/XL because my size isn’t in stock but I don’t feel as though I can live without the item.

Also, to all my beautiful ladies/men out there who buy bigger clothes in order to feel more comfortable and to walk past the mirror without cringing as I once did: push back against the unattainable standard of beauty that exists. You may not feel as though your body is perfect but it is yours. If you need to work out, start. If you want to eat clean, do that! But please stop shaming your body; you’re worth so much more that.

  1. Spending time with people that I don’t want to spend time with

I will no longer spend money meeting up with people I’m indifferent about seeing. It is unfair to you, me, my time and my bank account.

  1. Saying yes when I really want to say no.

I found myself doing 384793467 at once last year because I instinctively say ‘yes’ when I am asked to do something. I want to help everyone but in helping everyone do everything, I found myself burnt out and unable to stand due to exhaustion. My best friend taught me last year that is okay to say ‘no’ and it is okay to admit that ‘I can’t’. What a wonderful lesson.

  1. Being reduced to my mistakes

No longer will I allow others to make my mistakes representative of my character and no longer will I do the same to others.

  1. Inconsistency

Although this is last on my list, it is the most important. Last year, my faith was up, down, all around, fluctuating from week to week. I don’t want that this year.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Matthew 6:33

This verse is my mantra. I am seeking in the hope of finding and reading in the hope of learning. I want to be more. I want my relationship with God to be more.

What did you leave behind in 2015?

Let me know!

Joy

Why I’ve Stopped Comparing Myself To People

compariosn

God is teaching me a lot much about life, and so much about myself…daily, hourly and by the minute. No one but Him can say they know all there is to life, or that they know everything that will come in their own lifetime.  There are things I know today that I did not know or didn’t think applied to myself just a week ago! But thankfully I know now. One of these things is that…..

Comparison is draining. 

And I’m learning that gradually.

The thing is, I thought I knew this before, especially during my academic years. I knew that we were all individual students and we all had our subjects we would be good at and others wouldn’t. However, this isn’t a concept that should only be applied in academic cases, but one that is also relevant to all aspects of life. God is teaching me to stop comparing myself to others. Period.

We each have completely different lives and the way things work out for one person is not necessarily how it will happen for another. What someone has achieved by a certain age is not what everyone else should also have achieved by then!

We all have different walks, experiences, testimonies. God uses us in various ways which aren’t identical, but are  specific to our individual destinies.

Comparing ourselves to other people is an incredibly draining process and eventually steals our joy.

Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!

2 Corinthians 10:12
This is EXACTLY what the world does! It uses itself as the standard of measurement which leads us to think that we need to live according to a specific standard in terms of accomplishments; that by 21 we need to be a graduate, by 25 we should be well into our careers, engaged and living our first homes and by 30, married with 3 kids! But this isn’t the standard we need to go by, neither are the achievements of people anything to go by! We all have different lives and callings and nobody can tell us what we should have accomplished by a certain timeframe. But GOD!
  • Comparison is a thief of joy because it takes our eyes off of what God has for our lives and causes us to look at our faults and highlights everything we don’t have. We become discontent and joy and focus what we are lacking which opens doors for sadness.
  • Comparison can lead to competition; this is harmful because God requires us to move at our own individual pace. Being inspired by others is definitely a good thing and having goals set for yourself is also beneficial, but envying someone else’s life hardly brings any good.

God sees our lives on such a large scale – He sees it from beginning to end and there is an appointed time for everything. Don’t feel pressurised by what other people are doing or saying. If anything use other people’s lives as an inspiration for yourself. Never envy what someone else has or try to live up to a false timeline because the truth is, we don’t know how they feel about their lives; they may ‘have it all’ but still be deeply unhappy.


Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. (Galatians 6:4)

Love,

Precious

Top Tips For 2016

  

Sometimes you have to ask yourself…

Why are you so focused on the future? Why won’t you let God be the orchestrator of your life? Why won’t you let Him hold your hand, to guide you? Why do you pick and choose when to trust in Him? He needs your trust. He needs you to let Him be God in your life.

Trusting someone is a decision. If we actually started to seek God in all we do (Matthew 6:33), life would be a tad easier. We need to start giving God room to rebuild, move and declutter our hearts and minds. If we become rigid, there will be no room to change, anything.

God finalises all the plans you have or choose to make. He gives them a backbone, purpose and depth. He makes them come true.

Staying in the warmth of His embrace requires us to remain focused and hungry. We need to dwell in His presence more in order to become more familiar with who God says we are, and what God wants us to do. Why do we find it so difficult to see ourselves the way God sees us?

You have been equipped with strength, use it. You have been equipped with wisdom, use it.

Who is your first call for help? Only God can embody the emptiness, fill the void and heal the broken hearted. Only God can quench your thirst.

Walk with Him. Let Him in. Let Him help you. Rest in Him. Stop doing life without your creator.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the LORD in all you do, and He will give you success. Don’t depend on your own wisdom…Proverbs 3:5-7

Stay transfixed on what is urgent and important. If we depend on God in every part of your life, He will guide, protect, and comfort you. Surrender to His glory, for your glory.

I haven’t got much else to say. I am at a place where I’m talking less, and listening more. I’ve just shared all the lessons I have been learning over the last few months, I hope you can make the most of the new year we are about to be blessed with.

Love lots,

Yolanthe

5 Signs He’s Not Into You

into me.jpg

 

Before two people decide to embark on a relationship together, there are a few questions that are usually asked. I wish I could be bothered to list some of these all-important questions, but it’s been a long weekend so I’m just going to jump straight into the most frequently and universally asked question:

Does he like me?

I unintentionally cringed while typing the above question. It’s a needy one, right? One you never really ask the object of your affections but instead have endless conversations with your bestie about. Hours, guys, we spend hours thinking about this question, trying to assess your behaviour, reading between the lines in order to figure out what you really mean.  Imagine how quickly things would come together (or fall apart) if we just asked him the question? Ah, but where’s the fun in that? Never mind, let’s just keep overthinking.

In all seriousness, it is a hard question to ask. The moment one asks, “Do you like me?” a host of conclusions can be erroneously drawn. Suddenly, you’re eager, needy, insecure and clingy, and nobody wants to be seen as anything other than strong and in control. Most of us fear vulnerability, often overlooking the power that can be experienced in our most vulnerable moments.

I can’t, in good faith, encourage you to ask your love interest this formidable question. Why? Because I wouldn’t. It would be wrong of me to encourage you, beautiful lady, to ask a man a question I wouldn’t dream of asking (even though it has its benefits).  What I can do is point you in the direction of various signs that he may not like you much at all. He might think you’re cool, he might even think you’re beautiful, but if he’s ticking the boxes below, start running in the opposite direction, knowing that you’re saving yourself from potential heartache.

Disclaimer: I thought of these signs at 6am this morning, so feel free to throw them out of the window. I, however, would encourage you to take note as they as based on years of research (okay, not really).

  • He never calls you.

I mean, never. He rarely texts you first and in the event that he does, his replies are inconsistent and vague. Also if he does call, it’s always after hours (because we all know what that means), or if he hollers, he’s always on his way home from somewhere else. Girl……

  • You never see each other

If plans aren’t initiated by you, they don’t happen. This is a warning sign because all the guys I know are pro-active. They want something, they go and get I t. They don’t want something, they make excuses. If he’s never asked “So when can we meet up?” or rarely tries to make plans with you, then girl…….

  • You’ve never met his friends

This isn’t too problematic, but I still consider it to be a warning sign. If you’ve been ‘talking’ for a while and he hasn’t brought you around his people, it’s time to throw him the side-eye. I’m a bit of a lone ranger, but there are times when my friends meet each other. Important people in my life tend to cross paths. Those that aren’t important aren’t mentioned and are rarely brought around the inner circle. Also, if you are brought around his friends and they look at you vaguely/don’t seem to have even heard your name before, then girl……

  • He talks to other girls

I’m literally rolling my eyes as I type this, but my experience with guys has taught me that most have an insatiable desire to speak to multiple women at once. Is it ego? Is it insecurity? I’m not sure. All I know is that some married men even struggle to show loyalty to one woman. How annoying. If you are in the ‘getting-to-know-you’/’I-think-we-are-a-thing-but-it-might-still-be-in-my-head’ stage and he’s talking to multiple girls unapologetically, even going so far as to mention them to you, then girl…..

  • He’s told you

I’m rolling my eyes again, but this time, it’s at our actions as women. Why don’t we listen sometimes? A man will tell us what he doesn’t want, it might even be crystal clear, but we linger in the background, hoping and waiting for the tide to turn. Isn’t this insanity? If he’s told you he doesn’t want you, leave. No questions asked. No crying (in front of him). Wish him well and delete his number; you should never, ever have to convince someone to love you.

 

The thing that struck me most when writing/thinking about this article was the hours I’ve spent obsessing over crushes, sometimes in very (very) hopeless circumstances. The love and admiration wasn’t mutual but the overthinking created a moment in time where things would suddenly come together. Imagine if I’d spent that time doing something productive?

As the year draws to a close, I’m forced to face the good and bad decisions I’ve made and the consequences these decisions have had. Imagine if I’d spent more time with the One who is completely and utterly ‘into’ me instead of thinking on those who, in reality, were not?

Last Sunday, in Church, I apologised to God for my lack commitment and faithfulness; for wavering, for being inconsistent; for being hung up on things and people who made me question my worth instead of clinging to Him, the One who continuously affirms me. It was a humbling moment.

I can’t tell you to approach your crush and ask him about his feelings , but I can remind you that you are loved; that you are wanted and longed for. I can encourage you to ask Him questions and I promise you that the answers, in whichever form they come in, have the power to change the course of your life.

All my love,

Joy xxxx