Focused and soaring to greater heights: The life of an eagle

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash
You are to intentionally and deliberately zone in into your own vision if you want to achieve your destiny.

Hello crowned royals, I hope you are all doing well and staying afloat while the world is turned upside down. Now more than ever is a time for us to soar just like the mighty eagle especially with what is going on right now. From the title and the picture, you probably know what this blog will be about. Yes, we are going to talk about the eagle and learn a thing or two about this majestic bird. I don’t know about you, but I am often left in awe of this majestic bird and thought it is worth talking about. A friend and I were recently talking about eagles and I could not help write about them. I believe as humans there is so much we can learn from eagles and I see why the bible holds this creature with high esteem. For this blog we will unpack on the focus of an eagle and it’s ability to soar at such great heights. So the big question, what can we learn from the eagle? Probably a lot! But for this blog we will talk about focus and soaring.

Focus like an eagle

Unlike any other bird the eagle ranks on the top when it comes to vision. The eagle even has better vision and can see far ahead than the human eye can see. It’s vision gives it the ability to see sharply and helps it focus in on its prey even while it is still in the air. If you don’t know what I mean, I recommend you watch some national geographic show that showcases this bird in action. In the same way, we have to focus so we can eat too because not everyone just lands on destiny without focus. We may not be talking about literal food here or actual hunting, but the focus in our lives that regards our destiny needs to be as sharp as that of an eagle. This type of focus is not one that wavers because of the many distractions we are presented on a day to day basis. Imagine if the eagle got distracted while in the air and lost focus of its prey, it wouldn’t eat right? Hence it is critical that the bird maintains it’s focus in order to satisfy it’s need. Focus for every one of us is also critical as well, but many of us are still in spaces that distract us and further take us away from our destiny. Rather than focusing on the vision God has presented us, we miss the mark because we get distracted by what takes away our attention. Understand that not everything being done by others should be done by you. You are to intentionally and deliberately zone in into your own vision if you want to achieve your destiny.

When it comes to focus I am always compelled to talk about athletes because athletes embody focus. These people have to eat and breath to focus, they get paid to focus and if they lacked focus it was going to cost them. Think of yourself as an athlete for a second and see what it would cost you if you lost a competition because you got distracted and lost focus, it will not only cost, you but your entire team. Your vision is not just for you, but there are other people depending on you to focus so you can all win. This is not the time to get distracted, especially with what is going on in the world right now. While everything seems to be on a stand still, it may be a good time to re-focus yourself in any areas in your life that you feel that you have been distracted. Learn from the eagle that you can’t lose focus because if you do, you will not eat.

Soaring like an eagle

The majestic bird takes to the skies with such grace and demonstrates why it is different from the rest. The eagle does not flap its wings constantly, but because its wing span is different, once it takes flight it is able to soar in the sky at such great heights that other birds can’t reach. The eagle is the type of bird that still soars even in a storm, while other birds seek shelter. What can we learn about soaring from the eagle? What does soaring look like for us humans? I liken soaring higher heights to living your purpose. Purpose does take sometime to either be fully discovered or accepted and mastered. Let us be honest real quick, the human version of Soaring higher heights can be scary at first, especially if you have never done it before. Discovering purpose is great, but it is the work we put into that can either have us flapping our wings instead of soaring. Flapping often happens when we try to do things on our own. I know I am not the only one who tried flapping and got exhausted because I was doing things in my own strength and soon as the storm hit, I took cover. While the eagle has the soaring and braving the storm figured out, we need some help from the one who can align us to purpose and mount us up to take flight. Who is that you ask? Here is some scripture;

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40 v 31

When you purpose is birthed and aided by the Lord, you are sure to soar like an eagle. This bible verse tells us of our ability to soar on wings like eagle, not on any other bird’s wings because those type of wings wouldn’t be able to even go pass the ceiling. The eagle’s wings are for those that are ready to break the glass ceiling, those daring to step out of the generational dysfunction and fully embrace their purpose. Realize that the vision is much clear when you are soaring at higher heights and focused on achieving your destiny.

What more can say? My last words are that we can learn a whole lot more from the eagle! I doubt that the eagle is worried about you mimicking its way of life. If anything, God created the eagle as an everyday life lesson. Do you know how many motivational speakers have talked about the eagle? Probably to many for us to count. So all I can say is it time to focus and fight those distractions that take you away from your destiny and soar to greater heights were your purpose awaits. It is time for us to take our rightful place. It is time to trade thorns for crowns!

Lots of love,

Xholiwe

What was darkness: Step into light

Photo by kilarov zaneit on Unsplash
How did darkness become a place to hide out in fear of the light? Why do you avoid the light?
-Xholiwe

Hello crowned Royals, Happy new month! We made it to the 5th month of the year and we probably can agree that for some it feels like a century, but we can only pray that God sees us through it all. I have been doing a lot of resting and I must admit that it is time to get back to writing before rest turns into laziness. This blog post is going to be heavy before it gets light, so brace yourselves and let us unpack this together. To get us started, I want us to think about the times as kids when we feared sleeping in the dark and preferred the lights stayed on. How did the darkness make us feel? and why did we prefer the lights stayed on? I personally feared the dark because I believed monsters would get me and I was unsafe, but the light made me feel secure and safe because I could see around me. My reasoning as kid and as a grown adult about light has not changed because the light indeed makes me feel secure and safe. While I am proud to say I can sleep in the dark with the lights off now, it doesn’t mean that I did not overcome the kind of darkness that requires more effort than a flick of a switch. You know what am talking about right? The darkness in our lives that may have come into our life in many ways. It could have been through loss, sin, abuse, abandonment and the list goes on. Because this requires a whole lot more effort, we settle in it despite the fear and uncertainty we feel. What happened to being in the light? How did darkness become a place to hide out in fear of the light? Why do you avoid the light?

When darkness settles in your life

On a normal day to day we always know when darkness is about to settle, the sun sets, and the buildings around us light up. As you walk or drive you notice the street lights come on and the drivers on the road turn their lights on because darkness is settling. It almost happens naturally and because we are used to it, it becomes second nature to turn lights on once darkness settles for the night. How about when darkness settles in our lives? Can we tell that it is about to happen? Most definitely we can! We can tell that the toxic relationship is turning into darkness when we have been emotionally or physically abused once too many times. We can tell when we lose a loved one and depression kicks in that darkness is about to settle. We can tell that it is turning dark when we have repeatably committed the sin we have been struggling with for quite a while. So why do we decide to stay in the dark then? There are several reasons we refuse to turn on the lights, one main reason being that a lot of things that happen in the dark always come with a couple of other things. Things such as shame, hurt, anger, bitterness, regret, guilt just to mention a few literally push us into further darkness. We then fear the light because we fear our truth, not realizing that very truth is what will lead us to the light after darkness settles. Understand that living a life in darkness is tragic whether you believe in God or not. I was listening to an old sermon by my pastor and he asked this question, do you know how expensive living a life in the dark is? You pay for it with you peace, rest, joy and destiny. You can’t afford it! Don’t allow for darkness to settle. It is time to find the light.

Finding the light

Can we be honest? We all have at one point got so tired of the darkness and wanted to find the light. The question is not where do we find the light. It is who is the light? The light is found in Jesus and the word of God clearly says it several times. There is one of the many verses that let’s us know Jesus is indeed the light;

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8 v 12 NIV

Because we often look for where the light is instead of who the light is, we continue to stay trapped in our darkness. We may find temporary light that will never last you as long as the light of life from Jesus. With Jesus as you light, even when darkness comes upon you, his light will quickly see you through. You no longer have to feed off the light provided by man when God becomes the light of your world. Find your light, not in the “where”, but in the “who” and that is Jesus!

Stepping into the light

If you ever tried to step into the light after a long time of living in the dark, you can probably agree with me that it does take a lot. The decision to step into the light can simply be you being tired of the dark and realize it is taking you nowhere. Other reason could be;

  • The word of God that is spoken in truth and proven that darkness wasn’t meant to last forever.
  • Godly assigned people that help you find the “who” in the light and pull you out of darkness.
  • Your own desperation to leave the darkness.

Realize that stepping into light takes a ton of readjusting. Just like the human eye readjusts itself even exposed to light after being in the dark for long, so does the spirit reform. Somethings may feel foreign until the spirit readjust to the light, but that is part of the process.

Walking from the dark into the light will expose you, but the key is to be transparent. My pastor said in one of his sermons that living a life in the dark is living in a life of falsehood and people who live there fear being exposed (John 3 v 20). He continues to say you can not be powerful if you are not transparent. The absence of transparency keeps a person longer in the dark. In the dark you nearly forfeit all power and allow the devil to have authority over you, but it is time for you to step out now.

One thing that we should also prepare for as we step into the light is the shadow behind us also known as our past. As long as there is light, there will also be a shadow. What do you do when you come face to face with your past (shadow)? Well, now that you are exposed to the light it is clear to see your past in the light. It is no longer a giant form of darkness that consumes you and makes you believe that your life is over. Be rest assured that your past (shadow) will go with you, but that is no reason to be ashamed, but rather let it be your testimony. Someone battling the same form of darkness needs you to tell your story!

Living in the light

Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! My last words are that stepping into the light is the best decesion you would ever make in your life. Here is what the light does for you;

  • You see clearly
  • You are refined
  • You are made whole
  • You heal
  • You are set free
  • You walk into your destiny

Those are some nice things to have right? Sound like a perfect recipe for what we call “living my best life”. So why not make the choice to trade that darkness for the light? Let’s do this! It is time for us to take our rightful place. It is time to trade thorns for crowns.

Much love,

Xholiwe

Find your rest: Rest beyond sleep

While putting the effort into finding rest, I believe that the ultimate rest comes from God

Hello crowned Royals! I hope everyone of you are doing well in midst of all panic and fear around the world concerning the Corona virus. While all this is going on, God gave me this reminder and I want to share it with you just in case you are fearful right now. He said be still and know that he is God! I thought that was a great reminder for me as well because just a couple days ago I was faced with fear. This week I thought of writing on rest because a lot of us including myself can use some of it. Resting is an essential God given crown that most of us only relate to sleep, but I hope with this blog you look at rest beyond sleep. While sleep is important and necessary, we also need to know that there is rest beyond sleep. How do we find rest in the midst of what sometimes feels like a never ending race?

Race and Pace

Have you ever competed in a race or observed another person compete in a race? Notice how pace is dependent on the distance of any type of race? Running is competitive and pace matters because it is what determines the win. A runner in a short distance race requires fast pace while a marathon runner is better off keeping a steady pace. There is a reason why these different racers decide the pace for their race and it is evident that one compared to the other requires a regulated pace because of the distance. I always compare our lives to a marathon runner because of the long distance we have to take in order to get to the place of rest. The unfortunate thing is that most of us prefer to keep a fast pace for a long distance race and we get frustrated when we are unable to find rest. I say so because there were times I wanted to maintain a fast pace for what requires a regulated pace. I did it in school, relationships, career growth and the list goes on. Have you ever experienced that too? I bet you have! And I totally understand. Once we wake up every morning it is almost like we already begin to compete with the hours of the day and as if that is not enough we compete with so much more. Think about all the competing thoughts in your mind and your competitive nature towards others that often leaves you restless and missing out on what could be a restful life. I know it is a lot, but many of us do it even without consciously knowing what is going on. I hope we begin to regulate our pace and start to find rest.

Finding your rest beyond sleep

For someone that appreciates physical sleep, I have also found such great importance in mental rest. When you find your mental rest, getting enough physical rest is a walk in the park. Once you are able to bring your unrest to God, regulate your pace and know when and when not to react to situations that would take away your rest, you will be able to find your rest. Not an easy task if you ask me, but by the grace of God and determination to get rest you found some. If I found rest in all my restless days, so can you! But you would have to want it bad enough to be able to find it. Here is how you do it;

  • Have an honest conversation with yourself about what pace you are currently maitaining. Is it fast? or regulated? or no pace at all?
  • Think of the past, current, future situations in your own life that take away your rest. (write them down)
  • Bring all these situations before God because he is the God that gives your rest.
  • Identify people that take away your rest.
  • Maintain your distance from people that take away your rest, but still love them. (side note: people pleasing is not cool. especially at the expense of your rest)
  • Remind yourself that life is not a competition, mind your own and keep your pace. (manage your time well on social media)

There are several ways one can find rest, the ones listed are what worked for me in finding my rest. While putting the effort into finding rest, I believe that the ultimate rest comes from God. God gives you rest once you bring it before him in confidence. There are many situations, thoughts and people that can easily take away rest or give us a reason to fast pace, but when God is involved he brings rest and regulates our pace. It is a beautiful thing! Don’t believe me? Here is some scripture for you;

31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Mark 6:31 (NIV)

I want to end this blog with my thought on the bible verse above. While many of us are coming and going, God calls out to a quiet place with him to find our rest. Our rest is found in him and so our efforts to finding rest should lean towards him. The way we pace ourselves and eventually find our rest is determined by God’s involvement. The beautiful thing with God’s rest is that even when situations around you can easily take away your rest, once you go with him to a quiet place, he gives your rest. Do your part first and may your soul find rest in Christ alone! It is time to take your rightful place. It is time to trade thorns for crowns.

Much Love,

Xholiwe

The Unexpected Blessing of Suffering

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash
For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

Hey Crowned Royals! I hope you are doing wonderful! It is hard to believe that we are already in a new month and this close to spring. There is something about seasons changing that always reminds me that even the suffering we go through in our lives will pass too just like the seasons. I thought this week we should talk about suffer and I will start us off with this question. What are the unexpected blessings that come from suffering? I am reading a wonderful book by Nika Maples called Hunting Hope that will help us answer this question and see the unexpected blessings in our suffering. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it! (am not being paid to say this, but it is a good book especially if are losing hope and want to hunt for it!

Suffering by definition is the state of going through pain, distress or hardship, and we all have been there sometime in our lives. How did suffering come into your life? was it the lose of a loved one, was it financial struggle or stressful work-life balance? We all have been there so please don’t feel alone. There are many reasons why we despise our time of suffering and if I could share a list we would see a lot of similarities. While we all have legit reasons to despise our suffering, we also fail to understand the reasons for it. In my on sufferings I never understood why it had to be me to go through harder situations and I am guessing you too have felt that way. It is not until I went through the entirety of my suffering that made it clear to me there was not just one, but several unexpected blessings God showed me later. Is there any unexpected blessing that came from your suffering?

Our initial struggle with suffering as human as we are is that we are creatures of comfort and suffering let’s be honest brings discomfort. Because we want the immediate comfort, we either hasten ourselves to get out of the suffering or find comfort in the pain. Those of us that hasten find ourselves seeking comfort in the wrong things and miss the blessings because we needed a quick fix. Those of us that find comfort in pain lose hope and miss the blessings because enduring the suffering till the end felt impossible. I don’t know where you fall in these two categories, but I know from my experience that there always comes blessings from your suffering. Two sure blessings that come from suffering that Nika Maples shared in her book were refined character and oneness with Christ. We will look at both blessings in this blog and hopefully by the end of this read you will understand why you had to suffer for a season.

The blessing of a refined character

Ever thought you could polish up your character and be a better person for you and others? Well, hard to believe that the blessing of suffering refines our character. How is that even possible when you feel defeated to refine your character? That is the whole point, suffering will almost give you a version of yourself that you often couldn’t see because you were comfortable. It is in that very difficult time that our characters are refined and we see the good, the bad and the ugly of ourselves. Have you ever seen an arrogant wealthy man lose all his money remain the same arrogant man after suffering a financial loss? What happens to the wealthy man is that his arrogance is revealed in his suffering and that is an opportunity for him to change that or now become an arrogant poor man. The whole point of this example is for you to think of yourself and what parts of your own character can be refined by your past or current suffering. God wants to work with us, but he needs to refine us and refining happens in the heat of our suffering. Gold is refined in fire for reason, the heat from the fire sheds of the impurity from the gold and makes it pure. Without the heat it is impossible to purify the gold and present it to the world. Your character goes through the exact process as the gold, so the choice is on you. Do you turn the heat off and miss the blessing of refined character or endure till the end and come out refined? Here are a couple of scriptures on refined character;

Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says:

“See, I will refine and test them,
    for what else can I do
    because of the sin of my people? Jeremiah 9:7 (NIV)

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
    but the Lord tests the heart. Proverbs 17:3 (NIV)

See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
    I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 48:10 (NIV)

The Blessing of Oneness with God

How do we become one with God? We become partakers in his suffering. Through our own suffering we are able to fully understand God’s sufferings and we too can boast in our own sufferings that created endurance. I am enamored by several people in the bible, but when it comes to suffering and endurance, I learn a lot from Paul. Paul was a mighty man of God who experienced so much persecution for the sake of the gospel. He suffered for what Jesus suffered for, the truth to reach all people. The blessing of oneness with God is that you will also like Paul suffer for the truth and later you will be greatly rewarded for you shared in the sufferings. Oneness with God is a blessing because God now can entrust you to give truth to others. When we come into oneness with God through suffering, we are then well prepared for the sufferings we have not even experienced yet. God equips you for the suffering you endure and brings you to a place of understanding. However, if you lack the understanding of your suffering, you will be unable to comprehend where God has equipped you so that you are able to endure. Hence the need of oneness with God that allows for a clear understanding of your suffering aligned to his own sufferings.

For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

2 Corinthians 1 v 5-7 (NIV)

Last words, there is comfort in Jesus. The unexpected blessings of suffering are far more worth than the temporal fix of comfort or lose of hope. There is no need to hasten yourselves when God is helping refine your character so that it is more like his own. While suffering is difficult, your endurance and perseverance will surely create good character, which is such a great blessing for you and others around you. With refined character God is able to use you for his glory. Also, while you take part in your sufferings, you take part in his for the sake of the gospel. With your sufferings, you join some of the mighty men and women of God such as Paul that endured for the sake of truth and the received his greatest blessing, the oneness with God and the reward of eternal life in Christ. Use your suffering as training and testing ground! Do not despise it. It is time for us take our rightful place. It is time to trade thorns for crowns!

Much Love,

Xholiwe

When purpose is birthed from pain

Take the blindfold off and see that there is more to your life than the pain that has limited you for way too long.
-Xholiwe

Hello crowned Royals! Hope all of you are doing great. Shame on me for being away for too long. I am back though and hopefully we can continue on our journey together as we trade our thorns for crowns. I have so many thoughts about pain and how it usually takes away from us being able to see beyond it. I am often fascinated by how pain has a way of connecting us all in very different ways. Pain almost like a universal language knows no boundaries, it doesn’t matter what religion you belong to, what race you are or your economic status, we all have felt pain. Pain can be felt from the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, a major heartbreak, divorce, molestation, rape, emotional abuse, injustice and the list goes on. Often times if ever faced with any of these painful situations, it is almost hard to see the purpose from the pain. We ask ourselves a ton of questions before coming to the conclusion that there is nothing good that can come out of all the pain. I totally get it and that is why I want us to talk about it. So the question is how can purpose be birthed from pain? Purpose is birthed from pain when we understand the reason for the pain and why it had to be us and not someone to experience it. Understanding comes from the process, which we will also talk about in this blog. So let’s keep reading

Rawness of pain and how to handle it

Pain expressed in its rawness leave much to be desired for many of us. It is a messy emotion that we often times want to silence and cover up. Pain is a complex emotion that can not be handled with simplicity. Have you every seen a serious injury only be covered up by a band-aid? Am guessing not, but that is how most of us handle our pain. We cover big and painful wounds with band-aid only to continue to feel the pain and miss out on proper healing. If we are not intentional about healing from our pain, we can get buried and blinded by the rubble from all the pain we experience. Very few of us decide to dig ourselves out of the rubble because we lose hope. We experience despair and go under to only acquaint ourselves to similar people and things in the same exact situation. I remember handling my pain wrongly, like a badge of honor I paraded myself in my pain and thought this would be my life moving forward. At least so I thought. I asked the question that most of you have probably asked yourselves too “what good can come from this pain?” To my surprise, a lot of good can come from seeing beyond the pain. The experience of pain when handled in its rawness allows for you to feel and master ways to change those feelings into purpose. You are not handling pain well if you suppress the tears, lie to yourself, avoid conversations that remind you of the pain and turn away people that can help pull you out of the rubble of your pain and in the process birth your purpose. All these examples point to honesty, be honest about you pain and that is one easier way to handle pain. So with that think about what is it that you are currently doing that is not helping you handle your pain correctly. And then think of what can you do differently to handle it better.

The process before the purpose

While we all want to live our purposeful life, a lot of us neglect the process. Purpose from pain could be the easiest to find, yet most of us have a tough time coming to terms with the the pain hence the process feels like torture. Unfortunately, life is not like that blu-ray disc that you can fast forward and skip the process and land on purpose. The process is necessary even for purpose that is not birthed from pain. Think about it, a doctor goes through the process of learning tough medical procedures just so that his/her purpose can be birthed. Another example in relation to pain is a guy that experienced pain from substance abuse, then went through the process and finally got better and later opened a rehab center for people currently dealing with substance abuse. See anything similar in these two examples? Their purpose is to help others. So here is how we can process, what from your pain triggers you to want to help others who have experienced similar pain? Dig out from the rubble of your pain and you will be surprised to see how many valuable things that will come from it. Some of these valuable things will even help you know you better. You will learn what you can and can not handle as you allow yourself to process. The process can be ugly and dirty, but you must get dirty for your purpose to be birthed from it. The process can even cause more pain and sorrow, but your job is not to quit, you are to dig deep and understand the reason for the pain. The understanding of the reason surely helps birth purpose. While you go through the process be patient and allow for God to help you through it. When pain hit you, God knew you could process and find purpose in it. If you don’t believe me then here is some scripture;

He [God] will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1 v 8

Another version of this verse says that God will sustain you. Will you still experience pain? Absolutely! But it is surely good to know that God will sustain you! He will carry you through until all the pain makes sense to you and others. Take this from someone who birthed their purpose from pain that God will sustain you. God has held me firm and kept me from falling when I let the pain in my life almost bury me and blind me to see beyond it all. Here are a few things that I did to help birth my purpose;

How to birth purpose from pain

  1. Acceptance – accept your pain and be raw about it. Feel all the emotions and don’t deny those painful situations
  2. Forgive – You need to forgive yourself and others that caused the pain.
  3. Reflect – This can be very hard to do, but you will have to re-visit the very moment that caused you pain. Write it down! How did you feel in that moment, where were you went it happened? who were you with? etc
  4. Ask questions – Yes, those though questions you try to avoid, ask them. Have talk with yourself or a trusted person in your life
  5. Learn valuable lessons – What can you learn from the pain about yourself? this can be both positive and negative.
  6. Connect with supportive people – You can’t process this alone. There are people who have experienced similar pain that you can learn from. These people processed it and found purpose. So learn from them!

Realize that there are several way to get to birth purpose from pain, but these are just a few that helped me birth my own. My last words are keep going! You can’t quit now when you are so close to birthing your purpose. Learn the valuable lesson and expand yourself to see beyond the pain and grasp on to your new found purpose. No, you will no longer be blinded by your pain and be buried under without a fight for more. Take the blindfold off and see that there is more to your life than the pain that has limited you for way too long. It is time to take our rightful place! It is time to trade thorns for crowns.

Much Love

Xholiwe

Embarked Journey: Road to Damascus

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash
As you embark on this journey know your destination. Know that there may be some set backs and be okay with that as you move forward.
-Xholiwe

Hello Crowned Royals! Happy new year! Here we are alive in a whole new decade that should mean something to you. I am so glad we made it because I have a feeling that this year will be set up for more people seeking to trade their thorns for crowns. Since we are in a new year, I am pretty sure a lot of us are geared towards a fresh start for several thing regarding our lives. I consider it an embarked journey that we have set on and the thing about journeys is that you just never know what may happen while you are on them. For someone who has traveled a fair amount of times, embarking on a new journey is often exciting and concerning because I have a prediction on how the journey will go or will not go and so I prepare for it. But let’s be real, we all have experienced delayed flights, bad weather conditions, lost luggage, flat tires, tired bodies and the list goes on. I know it can be very frustrating because we have places to go and things to do and what we don’t need is a set back right? Well in the same way, how does this relate to your own life journey? You have embarked on this new journey, let’s call it flight 2020 and you have your predictions and intentions nailed down, are you going to be okay with any set backs as you journey to your destination? If not, I suggest you continue to read this blog. If yes, you still need to read this blog. It is for everybody on a journey, which would apply to all of us.

I have the perfect example from the bible of a guy that embarked on a journey with his predictions and intentions all nailed down, only to be completely changed by God on his way to what seemed to be right at the time. Yes, you guessed it! it is the Apostle Paul! Towards the end of 2019, I was studying the book of Acts and got to the story about Paul’s conversion while he was on the road to Damascus. Then Saul, before his conversion to Paul embarked on a journey to Damascus with the prediction that he was going to kill any Jesus followers of that time. His intention for this journey was to kill those that followed Christ, only to be dumbfounded by God’s direct approach to him. How many of us have been dumbfounded by God in the midst of our ill-intentions towards others and were stopped? I know I have and till this day am grateful that God intervened. In Paul’s case, the set back in his journey was necessary because many people that followed Jesus would have died. In our case the set backs are necessary too, maybe your intentions for this journey is not to kill thousands of people, but you may be seeking revenge towards a person/people or you have started your journey off with the same bitterness you had last year. God will surely have to intervene just like he did with Paul so that there is a change of heart. Your job is to be sensitive to the promptings that come from God and not your flesh as you embark on this new journey. I know from experience that if I gave in into my flesh, I would be dealing a whole lot of unnecessary internal conflict with myself and external with others. What are your internal and external conflicts? Are the worth you missing your final destination. Keep in mind that destination is different for many of us. While you destination maybe revenge (not recommended), another person’s destination may be healing or clarity from God, so as you embark on this journey know your destination. Know that there may be some set backs and be okay with that as you move forward. This applies to whether or not your intentions are pure on your journey.

I honestly believe this new journey should be different for most of us especially if we have been making the same predictions and betting on the same intentions that got us nowhere in the past. God certainly wants to do something different and walk with us on new journey we have embarked on. I recently put up a post on Instagram on submitting. I will say it like I said it on my post, the word submit is the most dreadful word in the times we are living in because people wants to know what is in it for them. We tend to dismiss God’s will and direction for us because we are set on our own ways, and so submit sounds like an insult. While our ways may make a lot of sense to us, If God’s will doesn’t match, we might be going around several unnecessary cycles. Do know that Paul was not the only one stopped by God so that the will of God would be fulfilled? Think of Jonah, he too embarked on the journey clearly instructed by God, but he decided to go a different direction and we know that God had to intervene mightily in Jonah’s case. Again, people’s lives were at sake if Jonah did not deliver that message to Nineveh. Thousands would have died at the hands of one man’s change in direction. What will your change in direction cost others? How many people’s will die because you can not deal with set backs? Food for thought. Submitting is not a punishment, but a blessing. Walking in God’s will is the best thing you could do for yourself and those connected to you. Let us look at scripture that will help us moving forward on our journey;

Then they said to him, “Please inquire of God to learn whether our journey will be successful.” The Priest answered them, “Go in Peace. Your journey has the Lord’s approval”

Judges 18 v 5-6

From the many journeys embarked in the bible, which are many! I think most of them have one thing in common, they were approved by God. Your journey should not be left out on this list. Some of our embarked journeys do not have the approval of God because of the ill intentions behind them. So when God wants that to change, you are likely to expect some set backs as he works on a change of heart. In other cases, your intentions are pure and all you want to do is please God, you might experience some set backs in that too, but before you get mad and throw your fist at God, figure out the reason for the set back. It may be God telling you that there are parts of you that still need some working on before you get to your destination, but you are on the right path. I hope we all inquire from God as we move forward and take on flight 2020 with a sensitivity to his promptings and not our flesh. Like I mentioned earlier, submitting to the will of God is not a punishment, but a blessing. Rather than embarking on this journey on your own, allow for God’s direction because he sees far ahead than we do.

My last words for you as you embark on this new journey are, take it easy and stop pressuring yourself to have it all figured out. Just like the verse in Judges said, inquire from God first, then get your approval because this life journey is not one you have to do alone. See you on the other side! It is time to take your rightful place. It is time to trade thorns for crowns!

Much Love

Xholiwe

Masks Off: Your honesty with God

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Hey Crowned Royals! I don’t know about you, but these winter days are what I live for, which also means I should be working out little more because all these holiday treats are not helping this sister out. While winter is not for everyone, I hope you make the most out it this year. On a less wintry note, I wanted as to talk about masks and how masks have kept most of us from being honest with God regarding who we truly are, where we are in life and how we hope God works in our lives.

Here is a disclaimer, this blog is not going to address physical masks that are visible to the human eye, we will talk about the masks that are impossible for human eye to identify, but there a lot of masked people right now. Solely, the purpose of a mask is to hide the true identity of a person. We all know that from the superhero movies we watch right? Marvel fan moment here, how messy would it be if people knew Spider-man’s true identity? I am guessing pretty messy because true identity is not always well received by others. Also, being able to say I am spider-man to everyone down the street without fear of being rejected, made fun of, and ridiculed would be wonderful. I hope you are thinking of your masks right about now because we have all worn some or continue to, at least I know I have. I wore the masks that misidentified me and rid me of who I truly was, where I was at in life and how I hoped things would change. I eventually came to realization that my masks had to come off, because I would still be doing well with keeping the masks on and acting like I had life figured out. So maybe you too have some masks on right now and are acting like you have life figured out, but like always I am here to burst your perfect little bubble. A life lived behind a mask only gives you so much to survive and never enough to thrive in who you truly are. You most certainly are surviving to keep up with the act, and from my experience, it can be exhausting. It can be exhausting to act like you are happy, when you are not. It can exhausting to act like you have money, when you don’t and the list is endless. If you are exhausted with all the acts, it maybe time to take those masks off and come clean with who you are, where you are at in life and where you need God to bring you. How do you do that you ask? Well, you get honest with God first. Are you honest with God?

Our honesty to God is not possible with masks on, if anything, it actually is a barrier. Perfect example is when Adam and Eve realized their were naked and hid in the bushes to cover up their sin towards God. While we are not hiding behind bushes, we surely have had some form of covering to mask some things in our lives. But wasn’t God still merciful and showed Adam and Eve grace? Yes! Despite their mess, he still provided them some form of covering that was not as shameful as hiding behind bushes. Most of us, have not stepped out of the bush or behind that mask because we fear, we are shamed, we are prideful, guilty and the list goes on. It will take complete honesty to come up out of that mask and own up to God. The beautiful thing about taking the mask off and being honest with God is that he gives you grace. I feel like often times we complicate grace and altogether miss it, but I listened to pastor Hart Ramsey this week, and he said something that I thought you can apply to your life. Pastor Hart Ramsey said this, “trying to get God to accept who you pretend to be will not render grace from him, but rather God is trying to get to the real you”. The you that messed up time and time again is the person God would render his grace to, not the person who you have decided to mask up in hopes that God will work some magic. God is not a magician, he is God. We often mistake God for people, and because we have experienced evil from the people we were honest with, we liken God to them. That my friend, is a wrong way to approach God in all honesty. God needs to see that vulnerability that we often hide from people in fear that we will be different. Our openness allows God the permission to work on us, after he renders grace, he works on us. Grace will unmask us and then allow us to know who we really are, where we are in life and where we want God to bring us to. When the masks come off, be prepared to see the good and the bad about you. When in the process of unmasking, don’t be quick to cover up again because all you see about you is bad, but rather let God know about it. He will be glad to work with an honest person that is willing to change and live a mask free life. Here is some scripture that tells you it is okay to unmask yourself;

13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Hebrews 4 v 13 (NIV)

There is no use hiding from God. He sees you, the real you. You maybe doing well with painting this false picture to your friends and family, but not with God. The scripture says that Nothing! Nothing is hidden in all creation to God. We exposed and naked before him, but unfortunately we also have convinced ourselves that God needs people that are perfect and can only speak in KJV. My bible says that he came for the sinners, not the perfect, he came to render mercy and desired it for sinners (read Matthew 9 v 9-13). The truth is that God is always willing to work with you, but only if you come to him in all honesty.

My last words, Be honest with God. Let him know exactly what is going on and do not leave out anything. You may even have to revisit some past experience to figure out why you wear certain masks, once you discover why, take that to God in all honesty. Have no fear for God has a covering for you, his grace! Allow for the all so powerful, loving, gentle and graceful heavenly father to help you through this process. Masks off! It is time to take our rightful place! it is time to trade thorns for crowns!

Much Love Royal Fam!

Xholiwe

Mocked Crowns: One against all

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay
Beyond that mockery is a greater purpose that is birthed from our standing one against all
-Xholiwe

Hello Crowned Royals! Here we go again, another week for another trade in. I hope you all are doing well and continue to trade those thorns for crowns! I have so many thoughts regarding what am going to write about this week, so get your reading eyes and open minds ready. This week I think it is fitting to talk about mocked crowns. Xholiwe what do you mean by mocked crowns? Well, I will let the story of mocking of Jesus help us understand the term mocked crowns. So it was at the release of Pontius Pilate Jesus was left into the hands of the Roman soldiers. The Roman soldiers mocked Jesus several ways that included, flogging, laughter, spitting, insults, piercing and as if that was not enough they put a crown of thorns over his head. Oh what such pain to bear, all that for the redemption of a magnitude of people. Jesus from this example was the one against all, but even while he was mocked and crucified to death he still have the victory. While most of us can’t compare our pain to that of Jesus, we surely know what it is like to be mocked physically and spiritually, but there is the good news, we already have the victory! While you stand in the presence of your mockers, be reminded that it too shall not last. So what will we unpack in this blog? We will unpack on how to stay standing even in the presence of your mockers.

Modern day mockery is not as gruesome as the ancient day mockery that involved brutal torture, but it has its effects on people that don’t choose to stand against it. So how does modern mockery attack the one person? The mockers of today don’t have to flog you, insult you, or spit at you, all they need are a couple of hurtful words, lies about you, and old truths that no longer define you to get an unfulfilled satisfaction within them. Unfortunately, so many people fall for this and that is why I think bullying is so predominate in schools, work places and churches, yes, I said it churches have bullies too. Your choice to stand alone against all is what will determine your moving forward. If you are the person falling every time you are mocked then you have some work to do. In the midst of your mockers, it is important to know who you are, just like Jesus knew he was even when they Roman soldiers mocked him. When you know who you are the hurtful words, lies and old truths will not effect you as bad as they would if you didn’t know who you are in the first place. Standing alone is not glamorous as many people expect because it comes with some persecution that is often times unexpected. Can we be honest, not everyone does well under persecution and when the pressure gets too much most will tap out. But why should we not tap out? because beyond that mockery is a greater purpose that is birthed from our standing one against all.

Making the choice to stand one against all can be scary because what we often think is what will people think of me, so then conformity happens. Oprah said it nicely, she said that, “I was once afraid of people saying, “who does she think she is?” Now I have the courage to stand and say, “This is who I am”. Conformity comes from the “what will people think” and victory comes from the “This is who I am”. If Jesus worried what people said towards him and conformed to the mockery of others, we would be telling of another story of our redemption. Jesus knowing who he was brought all of us victory. Knowing who you are is what will bring you victory. I remember being wrapped around the the fear of what will people think of me or say about me and now I acknowledge that limited a lot of the things I actually wanted to do. You may still be that person that is still wrapped around this fear and you are probably looking at how you have limited yourself, but there is a solution! It will take a whole lot of courage stand while everyone else makes mockery of your choice to stand. Let us get this clear, standing is not the weak, it takes a little more strength to stand than it does sitting with the crowd. So what are you currently doing? Are you standing or sitting because it is safe? Please stand up because every season in your life will have some mockers and you will will not sit around mocked and defeated.

Since we still continue to deal with mockers, standing one against all is not a one time thing. We have already established that at every other level or season in your life their will be mockers, so realize that every season will require a little more courage. Courage means you confront the mockers with the confidence of you are. You are a crowned child of God! You are set apart and made for a time such as this! You may not believe me, but there is a word that never lies;

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2 v 9 (NIV)

The royal priesthood or in other words “crowned royals” are to be set apart because for most of us, we are aware of how God called us out of the darkness into his marvelous light. So while others will not understand why you are protective over your crowns, they mock you for it, but I commend you to hold on to it! Hold on to the victory of knowing who you are and refusing to be someone else because mockers stand against you. Reminder how I told you modern mockery is not as gruesome as ancient mockery, it actually sounds like people care, so there are a few words that may be spoken to you as you stand against all that you should have solid answers for;

  • You have changed. Answer: Yes, I am supposed to change if I am growing and healing
  • Everyone is doing it. Answer: Doesn’t mean I should be doing it
  • That is how things have always been. Answer: Well, it has to end with me
  • It doesn’t take that much. Answer: It does take that much for me to get to where I want to be
  • You take this God thing too seriously . Answer: Yes, I do because he takes me seriously too
  • You will not make it. Answer: Unless God is not on the throne, but I know he is so I will make it
  • You think you are all that. Answer: I am a pretty big deal to God, so yes!
  • You are too happy. Answer: What else should I be other than happy?

I know there are a whole lot more other statements that mock others, these are just some that I have personally experienced. Some of these questions I answered out of fear, now I know better and so do you! Let’s continue our conversation in the comments, share any mocking statements you have dealt with either in fear of what people would think or from knowing who you are. I would love to see more of us standing one against all the mockers that do not know better. It is time to take our rightful place, it is time to trade thorns for crowns!

Much love,

Xholiwe

While you wait: What is your posture?

Hello Crowned Royals! After a really busy work week, it sure feels good to relax and finally get my hands on my laptop and write to you. Talking to you through this blog gives me so much more reason to live.This week I want us to talk about waiting. We are waiting for something right? When we wait on some things in our lives to happen our posture matters because that determines our readiness for what we are waiting for. I would like to give you a simple understanding of waiting through my “shopping when hungry experiences” that often times leave me regretting what I did because I was shopping while I was hungry. If you ever shopped for groceries while hungry you totally understand what I mean by regret. When I shop while hungry, I often times do not consider what I need and don’t need when I am in the store. Every thing looks good to eat, so I buy things I don’t need, spend the money I shouldn’t have been spending and waste the food I didn’t need because it was not what I needed in the first place. What does this have to do with waiting in real life? The wait for some of us is like hunger and because we are hungry we hasten ourselves to quench the hunger without considering the reason of the wait. Our posture is then impulsive and impatience and we begin to take matters into our own hands. Things that don’t look good begin to look good, things that we don’t need are things we begin to crave for, and so we compromise our posture while we wait. Only to later regret our impulsive and impatient posture to the wait. Don’t feel bad, we have all been there, but we are going to change our posture. We will have the right posture while we wait.

Can we be honest for a second? waiting is not that easy. For those who continue to wait and those that waited before, most can admit that waiting for something significant in life can be hard. If you were to tell your story, after the wait, you can agree with me that your outcome was based off your posture. How was your posture while you waited for somethings to change? Was it good or was it bad? Here I go with my ever available examples, my job search season was good, but not always great, I would be frustrated at times, desperate and would have a negative attitude all together. I tell you right now that this is not the type of posture you should be in the whole time you wait. Truth is that the frustration and all that impatience will come, but it is important to get back to the posture of gratitude and patience while you wait. I guess what I am trying to say is that while there are several ways to wait, a good posture would be to show gratitude and practice patience. It worked for me, and I am pretty sure it will work for you too. Other good postures you can practice while you wait is prayer, fasting, trust God’s plan, encouraging yourself or receiving encouragement from others, and have an positive attitude all together. I would love to write on all of them because they all are essential while you wait, but my heart is fixated on talking about gratitude and patience while you wait.

Posture of Gratitude

I know that you are probably thinking that there is nothing to be grateful about right about now. You are in the middle of what seems to be a long wait and because you are so focused on this new thing you wait for, you are forgetting to be grateful for what you have now. There has to be at least 5 things or more that you are grateful for and should acknowledge everyday, especially while you are waiting. This doesn’t mean that when you wait is over, you stop being grateful. The posture of gratitude at least from my many experiences while waiting is that it helps focus the mind on the grand picture and not just pieces of it. All the pieces will come together, but you are to express gratitude to God for the pieces you already have in the now. Life can be challenging even for the strongest people you know, but what can keep a person going is showing gratitude. While we have experience some not so great things in our lives, we have also experiences some really amazing things too. We have been blessed in life and surely there has to be something we are grateful for somewhere. Let God know how thankful you are for what you have and what you are yet to have when the wait is over. Now that is a good posture that will please God!

Posture of Patience

By one definition patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. How many of us from the definition can admit we lack patience while we wait? Have we been able to realize that there are things we have not accepted? Acceptance makes the wait much more bearable. When you understand that you are waiting and accept it, you are less likely to experience constant frustrations while you wait. Practicing patience is something some of us have to work on constantly. Just last week, I remember being in line at a grocery store and telling myself to accept the fact that the line was long, but it would eventually be my turn. Even in your wait, it will eventually be your turn, so you have to be patient. Patience is a good posture that can also help you make sound and stable choices while you wait. A bad posture that comes from the lack of patience in your life is hastiness. Hasty decisions have been the downfall of many men and women that were starting to lose their patience and decided to take matters into their own hands. You shouldn’t be that man or woman that loses their patience and misses what you were waiting for all the while. If patience has taught me one thing, it has taught me that eventually it will also be my turn. Ecclesiastes 7:8 summaries all this by saying;

Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

Ecclesiastes 7 v 8

There is no way you could go wrong with combining gratitude and patience while you wait. It is the perfect combination that kept me going and still never fails me. The wait is so much easier when you are grateful for the present and patient for what is yet to come. Think of gratitude as your humbling tool that protects you from having a proud spirit. The end is never better for the proud spirit that doesn’t show gratitude and exercise patience. Please read Ecclesiastes 7 v 8 again for re-emphasis on all this that has been said about gratitude and patience.

My last words for the night, couple gratitude and patience with all the other good postures I mentioned earlier, and you eventually get your turn. Stop shopping while hungry, you remember what that does right? Be in constant prayer, show gratitude, practice patience, choose hope over defeat and work on self each any every day while you wait for your turn. It is time to take our rightful place. It is time to trade thorns for crowns!

Much Love,

Xholiwe

Problem Solving: Do you have the right tools?

what happens when we are uncomfortable and the discomfort is coming from an unresolved problem? we immediately want to fix it. But are we using the right tools? -Xholiwe

Hello crowned Royals! I hope you all are doing great! I am beyond great because my favorite season is upon us. It is fall season and I couldn’t be more excited about this change. I could talk about fall all day long, but I would we have more pressing matters I would like to share with you in this blog. I was recently thinking about problem solving in a much different way than I usually do. While thinking about problem solving, what came to my mind was the memory of me as a little girl and how I always wanted to fix broken things in our little apartment. I did that with the sense that I did not want my mother to incur another expense over a broken door handle, clogged bath tub or leaking tap. So I usually would take matters into my own hands and use the wrong tools. The tools I used were either ineffective to solve the problem or too complicated to solve a simple problem. Because of using the wrong tools, I did not solve the problem, but rather made it worse in most cases. Fortunately, that did not make me give up my desire to help take the burden off my mom incurring repair expenses. So I started to get curious of how I could fix stuff around the house and what tool would be effective and not complicated. So I would closely observe what tools the professional repairer would use. I started to pay close attention to what the professionals did to solve the problem and I slowly became better. Eventually, I was changing door knobs, unclogging bathtubs and fixing leaking taps. I did that for some time and mastered ways to solve small house repairs that now that I live on my own, I can get the job done! I gave you this entire example, just so that we can connect my example to how most of us solve our life problems. Can we talk about how many of use continue to use the wrong tools to solve our life problems?

This blog is for all the problem solvers, which I think is all of us. We are constantly trying to fix stuff because we are wired for comfort. So what happens when we are uncomfortable and the discomfort is coming from an unresolved problem is that we immediately want to fix it. We want to fix it as soon as possible so we can be comfortable again, but unfortunately certain problems do not get resolved as quickly as we imagined. We then get frustrated from the problem, which often times worsens the problem. We often worsen our problems because of our lack of understanding on how best to address it and what would effectively solve the problem. If we were honest with ourselves, we would be able to admit that most of us are not the best problem solvers. We have been doing it wrong or have not been effective and now we deal with the same problem over and over again. So how do we change that?

Change starts to happen when we acknowledge that there is a problem. While most of us can’t compare our life problems to me fixing door knobs at 8 years old and getting good at it, we solve of our life problems in a similar way. We mess up at first, worsen the problem, learn and lastly we practice then get good. The question is do we eventually get good at it? Funny thing about problems is that you just can not pretend like there are not there and hope they disappear. It takes a little more than just wishing on stars. Solving problems comes from experience and since experience is the best teacher it may be time for you to jot things down. Ask yourself what did you do last time that did not solve the problem, but made it worse. This is not rocket science, from what you learned from your experience, do you do things differently? Do you now know how to manage your finances? Do you know how to handle your emotions? Do you now know how to speak your mind in a non-toxic manner? There are many more questions I could ask, but based off these questions, there has to be something done differently for someones response to be positive and change.

It all starts in the mind, the mind is a very powerful tool that God gave us, but if it is used ineffectively to solve problems it benefit us nothing. There is a reason why God asks of us to renew our minds (Romans 12:2). Why should we renew our minds? Because some of our minds may have learned the wrong ways to solve problems effectively. In some cases it is was not even our fault, but it is what we saw the family do and so our minds only know of that way of solving problems. While all of us have minds, not all of us have the mindset to solve problems effectively. It is unfortunate to see the right tool being wrongly used. Just imagine what the world would look like if we had more people solving their problems with a right mindset.

Another tool we use wrongly and ineffectively is people. We can learn a thing or two from people. I learned how to fix things around the house from observation. There are people in your life you should be observing that will help you solve problems the right way. You can also observe people that dance around their problems so that you make the choice not to do so because you see the consequence of not solving problems effectively. Many of us fail to realize who we should be learning from on how to solve problems effectively because again the mindset might have to unlearn some things so it can learn new things through other people. Who are you learning from? Are they the right tool?

As we get our mindset right and learn a thing or two through other about solving problems, we have to get Jesus on this journey! We can’t effectively solve our problems without getting God involved. Why do I say this? Well, a couple of times in my own life I tried to solve the problem without God’s help and let us just say I paid for it in tears. God has a way of solving problems that no other person can. It is solid, effective and all the way right when you God is part of your problem solving. He is a God that is bigger than our problems! There is nothing he can not do!

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121 v 1-2 (KJV)

Where does your help come from? is it from the temporary tools the world has to offer? You can go on as many spa dates and still not deal with half the problems that has been a thorn in your life. Who are you looking to? If it is not to God, you might be dealing with that problem for what will seem like forever. Let me just tell you that problem solving with God involved, the right mindset and learning from the right people will change your life! Guaranteed that problems will come, but you will be working with the right tools! You might have some work to do if you have been using the wrong and ineffective tools to solve your problems. But it is never to late to work on that mindset, learn from the right people and most importantly to get God involved. It is time to take your rightful place! It is time to trade thorns for crowns!

Much love!

Xholiwe