Posted in Life Lessons

Who are you?

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from youwhen I was made in the secret place,when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body;all the days ordained for me were written in your bookbefore one of them came to be.

Psalms 139: 13 – 16

Have you ever felt left out? Have you ever feel like you had to be someone else or act in a certain way to fit in with a group of people you liked? Have you ever felt like something is wrong with you because for some reason you rub people the wrong way? Not because you are a mean and bad person, but because you are different…?

I have been asked to leave homes because I was different, have lost friendships because I reason differently, have been called names because I analyze things differently. People have defined me as rude because I like to get to the point, difficult because I like to have clarity, irritating because I ask too many questions, antisocial because I am a quiet person, not loving because I express my love differently, stingy because I don’t like to spend money on the things they like, I could go on for a while but let me leave it at that for now.

After a while, I noticed that I had accepted these things as who I am. I started introducing myself as an antisocial person or as an annoying person because I tend to ask a lot of questions and apologizing for it beforehand. Now and then I met someone who would tell me that being quiet didn’t mean I’m antisocial or that having a lot of questions wasn’t annoying but interesting. So, depending on who the others are, certain personalities or characteristics are interpreted differently.

As a Christian, I have the habit of starting my day with a morning devotional which includes reading the Word, meditating and journaling. One day as I was meditating on who I am, intending to know who I wanted to be. As I was journaling The Holy Spirit* reminded me who I used to be. He helped me see the things that stood out about me as a young child, like, courageous, honesty, openness and friendliness. This is one of the attribute of The Holy Spirit. They were things I had lost sight of because they were not appreciated or recognized as valuable. They were seen and experienced as annoying. I started writing down all the labels I had received including everything I knew myself to be.

I don’t deny what they were saying about me, but The Holy Spirit helped me see them from a different point of view. Not as something bad, but as something good depending on how one viewed them. When I started to see them from a positive point of view, I could accept them as who I am.

If we are not careful, we will go through life claiming personalities and characteristics that others have given to us. The world is always ready to tell you who you are if you let them. They will define you based on a snapshot of what you said, did or didn’t do.

Some people don’t ever take time to know who they are and end-up going through life with a twisted point of view of who they are or are not. It is of great importance that we take time to know who we are. There is great joy and peace in having that knowlegde. It makes it easier to also know where we want to go, which on it’s own helps us discern our priorities. Which ofcouse is very important for our existances.

So, will you depend on others and the world to tell you who are or will you let the spirit of God our Father guide you into who you truly are?

You have searched me, Lord,and you know me.

* The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God that lives in born again Christians. Who functions as a guardian.

Posted in Life Lessons

Decisions

The moment we wake up we are thrown into the sea of decision making.
Some decisions we make, we don’t think about because it has become an everyday habit. Do I wake up now, or a little later? Do I brush my teeth now or in the evening? Do I take a shower or not? Do I go to work/school today or not? You get the point.
We usually believe that big decisions determine the course of our life. But believe me when I tell you that even though small decisions don’t immediately affect our lives, they do over the long run. So, try not to make any decision without giving it a good thought because everything adds up over time.

Today I would like to talk about those big decisions in our lives. Like everyone else, I’ve made quite a few of them. Before I go any further, I want to make clear that every decision you make should be based on the kind of person you want to become. This is very crucial. A lot of us make decisions based on emotions. Emotions have often proven not to be trusted when it comes to making decisions. I wished someone told me that ealier. I’ve made so many emotional decisions that at the time made perfect sense but in the long run, really weren’t the right decision.
It’s honestly not an easy thing to do because emotions always fight their way to the surface of our hearts, which clouds our thoughts.

The upcoming decision is THE decision that has change the course of my life. I can definitely say that I’ve have learned a lot of lessons from it.

Stop existing, start living

I used to live a very anxious life.
I was continuously afraid because I was mentally and physically being abused almost on an everyday basis. Which left me with a broken soul and sleepless nights.

While I was living day in and day out in a prison-like home for 10years, I made a friend at school. She seemed to live her life freely while doing what she wanted to do. It wasn’t like she was doing anything mayor, I mean she was just a high school student, but she made me realize how much I would regret it if I end-up dead at that time. So, I started doing what every child does when things are not going their way. I started rebelling. Things got worst at home, but I didn’t mind because I was fighting for what I believed was right. After a while the situation became unbearable. I had several reasons why I didn’t want to leave all this time, but in the end, I choose for my happiness and left. I had fought the good fight.

The family of my friend I went to live with, were Christians, which allowed me to know the Christian faith a little bit more. Though I was a Muslim at the moment, I was very open towards other religions. Getting to know Christ has been the best thing that has ever happen to me. He transformed me from a fragile, broken and fearful girl, to a young woman who know who she is, whos she is, and what she is worth. I found peace in Christ that surpasses all understanding. I found rest in my soul and felt a love that I can’t begin to fantom. Christ did and is still doing all of that for me today through his death on the cross. John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

I believe that if I didn’t leave home, I probably wouldn’t have converted to Christianity as fast as I did. Because I grew up in a family that has been Muslims for generations and generations. I do believe that God called me to Himself since I was already searching for Him. I guess I can say that I was searching for Allah, but was found by Christ.

Jeremiah 29: 11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

When I became a devoted Christian, the only thing that has truly helped me in my decision making is prayer and trust in God. The Bible teaches that the plans He has for us are plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans that will give us hope and a future. Since He knows the beginning from the end and the end from the beginning, I have decided to trust in His plans for me. And His way has never been disappointing up-till now. Although I have to say that I don’t always directly see what He sees but, yet I choose to trust Him. Obedience to God is one of the major keys to Christianity.

Proverbs 3:5 – 6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Posted in Life Lessons

"5 Life lessons from 5 books"

I lost count of the number of books I’ve read in 2019. I do remember that it wasn’t as much as I wanted it to be. But since it was the first year since I started reading books regularly, I consider it to be a success. I’ve learned some amazing things through them, things I want to remember forever.

1. The right fight: How to live a loving life – John Kennedy Vaughan

John uses 1 corinthians 13: 4 – 8 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails... To show us how if we don’t operate in love, we automatically start operating in fear.

I had listened to a lot of sermons on love and the importance of it. Especially as a Christian since it’s the greatest commandment in the Bible which Jesus Christ Himself taught us. But yet I only understood what love was after reading this book. I realized how much we as humans base our everyday decisions as well as our big decisions on fear… which is actually very normal since we live in a fallen world, but as Christian, we are called to be the light of the world, and our Lord asks of us to love above all things. The insight that I got from this book caused me to start reading way more than before. Because as weird as it sounds, I wasn’t aware of the fact that there were books on biblical themes written by Christian (pastors, prophets, apologist…)

When a person stops living in God-who is love-they cannot sustain the love in their lives that produces the blessings of fruit.

This book made me realize how much I was limiting my love for others based on the fear that it won’t be returned to me or simply because of pride. That might sound a bit weird doesn’t it?

If we believe love to be a feeling then we will continuously fight for the feeling we want-fight to win, fight to be respected, fight to not get hurt-and to destroy love itself in the process. What we are doing is fighting for what is beyond our control and, in the process, destroying what is within our control: the source of the feeling.

2. Silence: The power of quiet in a world full of noise -Thich nhat Hanh

To be alive and walk on the Earth is a miracle, and yet most of us are running as if there were some better places to get to.

I am at the age at which it seems like every decision I make will be vital to my future, which is a very scary thought. So, I have often found myself in situations where I was striving with all my might for something that honestly wasn’t even that important to me…
Besides that, the whole society seems to be telling us that we need to do more, which continuously pushes us to be the best/greatest. Less is never an option. Which continuously keeps us busy with everything and at the same time, with nothing.

What are we so afraid of? We may feel an inner void, a sense of isolation, of sorrow, of restlessness. We may feel desolate and unloved. We may feel that we lack something important. Some of these feelings are very old and have been with us always, underneath all our doing and our thinking. Having plenty of stimuli makes it easy for us to distract ourselves from what we’re feeling. But when there is silence, all these things present themselves clearly.

This book taught me the importance of enjoying the moment. It helped me enjoy the precious little moments of life, by just being still and letting myself take hold of the moment. Whenever I start stressing, getting irritated or angry, I remind myself to check if what I am stressing about, being irritated about or getting angry about it is that important to steal my peace.

3. The pursuit of Holiness – Jerry Bridges

What a strange kind of salvation do they desire that care not for holiness… they would be saved by Christ and yet be out of Christ in a fleshly state… They would have their sins forgiven, not that they may walk with God in love, in time to come, but that they may practice their enmity against Him without any fear of punishment.

This quote hits me so hard! These are things we barely speak or think about. Part of the reason I felt spoken to after reading this quote, is because of my lack of seeking for knowledge during those time and partially because I had never been taught the importance of being Holy like the way this book taught me. Even though I lived a devoted Christian life (or at least so I thought) and was part of a Chruch community.

It seemed that living a holy life was something for the pastors, apostels, prophets… those kinds of people. It seemed impossible for me as a simple servant. But I did know it was something that was part of being a Christian so, I prayed for it now and then, but never took it as something urgent. This book taught me that I too have a huge responsibility in my own holiness. It even says that God had already done His part by sending Christ to die for us. We are made Holy through the blood of Jesus Christ. And as the Holy Spirit lives in us, He always helps us to act out the desires of God in our lives.

4. The purpose driven life – Rick Warren

Before I read this book, I did things with the thought that God was for me. Meaning that He existed for my good. To help me, guide me and to give me my greatest desires (which were close to what I believed His desires were for me). As am writing this down I realize how stupid and crazy that sounds. But then again, in those times my faith was built on a prosperity Gospel. Which at the moment I didn’t know. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. After reading this book my eyes opened to certain things and that’s when I started having more and more disagreements within my local church.

You were made by God and for God – and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.

So what this book taught me was that I was made for God and not the other way around. And because He created me for Himself, He knows exactly why He made me. Certain things only started making sense after understanding and accepting this fact. These are the benefits the writter promises after finishing the book:

  • It will explain the meaning of your life.
  • It will simplify your life.
  • It will focus your life.
  • It will increase your motivation.
  • It will prepare you for eternity.

Am happy to say that they were not just empty words… The book really did do what the writer said it would.

‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ‘ Romans 12:2

5. Discerning the voice of God – Priscilla Shirer

There was one specific incident that got me very frustrated.
I dream a lot when am sleeping. The bible teaches us that one way God speaks to His people is through dreams. But these dreams were so symbolic and prophetic that I couldn’t even start to deceiver them with the little knowledge I had of God. So, because the bible also teaches us to pray for dreams, I prayed. But I wasn’t getting any answers. I got frustrated because I felt like I was doing everything the bible told me to do concerning these dreams but God still wasn’t answering me. I never asked for the dreams so, why wasn’t He answering me? This went on for several months. It even got to a point that I stopped praying and one way or another closed my Spirit from receiving dreams. So, yes the frustration was real!

Have you sincerely taken time to hear, to see, to wait, to watch-to allow for the margins that would give God an opportunity to offer you that which you claim to desire so earnestly? Or have you already filled every conceivable space with your own opinions, ideas, decisions, and actions-space that God might otherwise fill with His perfectly timed and precisioned and personal insight?

Y’all I tell you, I felt so convicted after reading that paragraph…
It just struck me! I wasn’t even listening, to begin with.
The worst part is that I’m known to be a very good listener. I love to listen to people. I am the kind of person who is very engaging in conversations by asking questions etc. But for one reason or another when it came to God, I never had the patience to listen long enough. It never struck me that I had to listen to Him as I listen to others around me.

I knew I wasn’t listening because I felt the conviction, but also because after reflecting on the situation, I could see that all I did was pray about it. I didn’t take time to see, hear or watch.

‘And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. ‘ Ezekiel 3:10

Which books have taught you lessons you will never forget? Let me know in the comment below. Have a blessed day!