Never settle: Escaping Dysfunction

Hello crowned royals! I hope you are all doing well and staying steadfast in the Lord. What a year 2020 has turned out to be right? Huge sigh. However, I can’t help it but imagine that God is up to something that will bring ultimate healing for not just us as individuals, but an entire nation! Now that is some good news! Well, what I would like to talk about as per usual is individual healing. Part of individual healing comes from never settling, settling can mean many things to different people, but this time around I want you to look at from the lenses of dysfunction. Ever worked with a tool or appliance that did not work like it should? I have! I once used a loosened hammer that broke of the handle and hurt my foot a couple of times. Also, fairly recently I have tried to make a rice cooker work when clearly the appliance has been exhausted and I would need to buy something new. Can you tell what I was doing to myself while operating these dysfunctional items? I was constantly hurting myself and not producing. Could I have do things differently? Absolutely! While, this may not make sense to some, this may make sense to some of you that have constantly settled in a life of dysfunction and have had enough. For this blog I want us to ask ourselves this question, what have you settle for that is dysfunctional? The other question is, how do you escape?

Never settle in dysfunction

The idea of dysfunction may not reside in one’s mind as a call for making a difference or changing the narrative, but rather most of us have normalized dysfunction and sadly even settled in it. Dysfunction by simple definition is abnormality or something not operating normally or properly. Take a minute to think about any situation in your life that you consider abnormal and check yourself to see if you have settled. Have you told yourself that is just the way it is? and eventually have concluded by saying what there is no point of changing things. Then you have clearly chosen to settle. You have settled in dysfunctional relationships, dysfunctional work places, dysfunctional churches and the list is endless? I totally get you, I have been in a place in my life where dysfunction seemed normal. I settled quite a few times then after a couple cycles around the same situation, I believe I got fed up and had enough and hence my desire for change grew even more. Remember that hammer I talked about earlier? How it constantly would hurt me because it was dysfunctional? If the hammer was tightened to the handle that held it and operating normally, then I wouldn’t have be constantly hurt from it. One way to know that you have settled in dysfunction is how constantly you are hurt from a situation, but go right back to it. Doing this all the time eventually can lead you to repeated cycles of dysfunction that can easily make you believe that nothing can change. However, God calls us to make that change and never to settle. God being a God who knows no confusion will not operate in the dysfunction you have settled in, but rather he calls you out of dysfunction and brings you out from the places you decided to settle. There is more that comes from the liberation of never settling in dysfunction. I am talking about more peace, love, joy, rest, hope and assurance. If you were like me and you had enough, then it may be time to plan your escape.

Escaping dysfunction

How do you escape something that you have already normalized and settled in? I wish there was an easy way out, but because of my own experience I can assure you it may be the toughest thing you have to do, but it is totally doable! First of all, don’t let others talk you out of escaping dysfunction. Secondly, which I think is the most important is that you don’t allow yourself to talk yourself out of it. Think about how many times you came to the realization that things just didn’t seem right, but you went on with it anyway. Think back to the many years that constantly brought you hurt and this time commit to planning your grand escape. For this you will need a whole lot of Jesus and a hint of will power if you want to see a difference in your life or change the narrative. Below are a few steps to get you positioned and ready to find normality from what has been abnormal in your life and that eventually led you to settle:

  1. Do your research; what is normal and what is abnormal? This could be in any area of your life. For example, what does a normal healthy relationship look like and compare that to a dysfunctional relationship.
  2. Examine yourself; What have you settled in that is dysfunctional. This is where you can write things down and read them back to yourself.
  3. Recognize and reflect; This is the part where you ask yourself why you settled in dysfunction. This can be a painful process because you may have think far back and see very similar cycles that have surrounded you even as a child. This may or may not include family cycles much similar to yours.
  4. Acceptance; This is so important and people often skip this and think living in denial will fix all the dysfunction. The elephant is the room is staring your right in the face. Acceptance will help you identify those specific areas.
  5. Prayer and commitment; If you are not praying and committing to this escape then all the other steps will be pointless. Prayer still works! Ask God to help you escape and commit to getting out by any means necessary.
  6. Pick your support; Who will remind you to keep putting the effort? Get yourself around people who either have escaped dysfunction or are doing exactly what you are trying to do. Pull from each other strength and courage to escape dysfunction.

While these steps are not scientifically proven, I speak based off my personal experiences of escaping dysfunction. I know what it feels like to reach at your wits end and literally start to desire a clear escape that will give you peace of mind. Like I mentioned earlier, it is not easy, but when God gets involved and you are positioned, you will see the change! Here is some scripture for you as you being to escape dysfunction;

You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, [insert your name here]. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.

2 Chronicles 20 v 17

I pray that you begin to desire normalcy in your life and also clearly identify what your have settled for. I pray you make your escape from dysfunction and find the peace of mind from finally deciding to make a change. I hope you see that your life can be different and more fruitful because of your decision to no longer settle in dysfunction. I disagree with you, it is not just how it is, you can no longer settle. Look to the Lord for help and escape that dysfunction. It is time for you to take your rightful place! It is time to trade thorns for crowns.

Much love,

Xholiwe

Heavy Burdens: Not for you to carry

There are heavy burdens that you have to take up to God because he is the only one that will give you rest.
-Xholiwe

Hello crowned Royals! I hope you are all doing well! Can we talk about heavy burdens since I dealt with that recently. The last two weeks for me where quite heavy and I took on more than I was capable of carrying. Try picturing an amateur in weight lifting try to carry those 50lbs dumbbells, yup that was me last couple of weeks trying to carry what I had no business carrying. I was an amateur thinking I can do all things based off my own strength, but I was so wrong. I am glad God stopped me on my tracks to remind me that certain things are not for me to carry. I decided to talk about heavy burdens because we all had or have dealt with heavy burdens. You know those heavy burdens that easily weigh down not only the spirit, but the soul and body. It is unfortunate that many of us continue to take on these heavy burdens that are not meant for us to carry. I hope this week’s post serves as a reminder to you that are still carrying heavy burdens to lay them down at the feet of Jesus. Not some of it, but all of it.

Because we live in a distressed world, we often get burdened with anxieties, pains and sufferings. There are so many people trying to lift 50lbs dumbbells when all they can do is 20lbs or less. Day by day people take on so much that most societies are filled with distressed people carrying heavy burdens beyond their strength. Some would even tell you that burdens seem to get heavier and heavier with each year passing. Some say that people died because they were heavy burdened. The cares of this world keep a lot of people awake at night and rest is non-existent. While we crave rest and a peace of mind, our minds are weary from the heavy burdens that we carry. So what do we do with these heavy burdens?

First off, can we are agree on one thing right now? Can we agree that life is not always easy even for the one that walks with God. The people of God get burdened too, but the good thing is that we can give our heavy burdens to God. When faced with difficult times as people we tend to take it upon ourselves instead of giving it to God. We do that with the sense that God will not understand and so for some, not all, we come to the conclusion that we have to carry the heavy burdens alone. If you have ever carried heavy burdens on your own, you would agree with me that it is exhausting. What was an emotional burden can easily turn to physical deterioration. The body reacts based off what you carry. You don’t believe me? ever seen some dealing with depression? When I dealt with depression I lost so much weight, but now when you look at me you can tell that things are better. Your girl has been casting her burdens unto God! You too can do the same! Let us not complicate our lives people.

You may have this question that most of us also at one point in our lives had, how do i give my burdens to God? The answer is simple, but often times very difficult for people to do. What you do when you are carrying heavy burdens is that you run to God and he will give you rest. Here is your answer straight from the bible just in case you don’t believe me.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11 v 28-30 (NIV)

I think this verse is pretty clear on what to do when we are faced with burdens right? So as people what are we doing wrong? We are not going to God and presenting our burdens to him. We are either trying to figure it out on our own or giving it to other people that are unable to take up your burdens because they are carrying some themselves. We are quick to go to the phone, but very slow to go into prayer. There is nothing wrong with calling friends or family that can help share the burden, but there are certain burdens that will not go away with a quick phone call, but will go away with an honest prayer. There are heavy burdens that you have to take up to God because he is the only one that will give you rest.

Oh! How good it is to rest in Jesus. For someone that has experienced rest after carry some heavy burdens, I can tell you that the rest of God is incomparable. Once you taste the rest of God, you will be quick to give any burden that comes your way. You many have to give God your burdens almost every day if you face them on a daily basis. As long as you are giving them to God, you will be well rested. One major thing about giving your burdens to God is that it is very is easy to do it in prayer than it is to just be silent and continue to carry what was not meant for you to carry.

My last words for you if you are dealing with heavy burdens is that it is time to give them to God. Say this simple and straightforward prayer. God, I give you my heavy burdens that are too much for me to bare(you can name them e.g financial burden). Lord, I give you these burdens and seek rest in you. Remind God of his promise while you pray, his promise from Matthew 11 v 28-30. Proclaim the rest from God in your life. It is time to trade those heavy burdens for rest! It is time to take our rightful place! It is time to trade thorns for crowns!

Much love,

Xholiwe

Woe is me: Woes of playing a victim

Sorrowful man
If you are justifying your present bad actions based off the event that happened in the past, then there are some woes your have to overcome.
-Xholiwe

Who is a victim? What does a victim go through? How does a victim become a victor? These are all questions that we may have different answers to, but an easy way for us to get to think about the woes (sorrow and distress) of being a victim. There so many stories about victims, but have you noticed that only the victors make a name of themselves. By definition a victim is a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of crime, accident, or other event or action. If you alive right now and have had some years under your belt, then somewhere along the way you could have fallen victim to something. This could have be something that hurt you, harmed you, injured you or almost killed you. What those events or actions make you go through can easily lead to sorrow, depression, pain and trauma. However, it is not in your place to stay there when there is a whole life you could live passed all that sorrow and distress. You could actually be able to use that event as a stepping stone, so rather than being a victim for the rest of your life you become a victor. We will look at some woes and be able to identify them in our own lives in this blog, and hopefully work on moving on pass them.

Unfortunately, I will not be giving you 10 steps on how to be a victor in this blog post for this particular reason. We first have to deal with the woes of being a victim and shifting our victim mindset. I have been a victim in some situations, so trust me when I say it is easy to be a victim than it is to be a victor. It is easy to throw the victim card to everyone that pushes you to be a victor because as a victim you are not challenged to change for yourself and others. I remember when my mother died and the victim card was my only escape. Clearly, I was not the first person that lost a mother, but it felt that way for a couple years and so I found out that the victim card was an easy pass for my bad actions, but not anymore. I don’t know what event victimized you, but we may have to have an honest moment that will push you to getting over the victim mindset. What is it that triggers you to play the victim? Is it when someone calls you out on some bad behavior? or is it when things don’t go your way? If you are justifying you present bad actions based off the event that happened in the past, then there are some woes your have to overcome.

If you and Eeyore (Winnie the Pooh’s friend) are starting to look alike and sound alike, Houston we have a problem. If all you do is complain about how unfair life has been to you, then we have a victim mindset problem. Understand that I am not disregarding those bad events that happened in your life because I too can not disregard what happened in my life. I am not telling you to not share some pain points with trusted family and friends because that is important. However, I would like you to understand the woes of playing the victim in your stories and how they affect your life. Woes being great sorrow or distress have a way of changing how we look at life, and we can all agree that we experienced some stuff that we indeed were victims. The sad part about this is that we stay victims for too long without addressing the woes that the event brought in our lives. It is great that we want to move on, but we can not move on healthily if we are victim minded. If we are victim minded, every other event that follows us as we move on will keep us in the same place. Therefore, there needs to be an entire mind switch that no longer looks at current events in our lives with a victim mindset.

Because you have breath, things will happen and what will be crucial is how you decided to view this these things. Can we talk about Joseph from the bible? He is a victor that made a name for himself with the help of God, but he could have easily been a victim and forgotten. Just think of how easy it would have been for Joseph to play the victim in his story. His brother threw him in a pit and sold him because they were jealous. Joseph had every right to play the victim, but the sorrow and distress that could have come from that would have not seen him through to be the second in command in Egypt. He eventually saved the same brothers that sold him because he chose not to magnify the woes of playing the victim. Joseph had dealt with other events that he never allowed to get him trapped in the victim mindset. He was a victim when he was accused of rape. He was a victim when he was thrown in prison for something he did not do, but we all know that he his story did not end in prison. His story could have ended in that pit or in prison, but he did not allow the woes of playing the victim rule his life.

What is it that you have fallen woe it that it has impaired you to live a much desirable life? Pity parties for one are no fun, sitting there brewing on the many woes of your current situation does not fix it. Woes such as depression, despair, heartbreak, dejection, sorrow and gloom should not be your norm. The life you deserve is the life that brings out the victor in you. The victor that looks at those events as stumbling blocks that helped them see the importance of standing up again despite the falls.

Sorrow and distress can change your life based on how much you invest in them. If you are constantly looking for a reason to be sorrowful or distressed then you will certainly find it. How about if you are tired of playing the victim and feeding into those woes what do you do? Jeremiah says this:

Woe is me because of my hurt!

    My wound is grievous.

But I said, “Truly this is an affliction,

    and I must bear it.”

Jeremiah 10:19 (ESV)

Playing a constant victim in your story in the long run won’t serve you. You may have to bear the affliction with grace and grow through it. You don’t want to be stuck playing the victim in every situation, all it brings is deep sorrow and distress. You want to be able to enjoy your life knowing that despite it all, you are a victor that overcame all that that the devil throw at you hoping he would keep you stuck.

In closing, I just want to let you know that your present woe can be your future victory. But your victim minded way of thinking might be what hinders you from seeing beyond that present woe. You are spending too much time reliving those hurtful events and constantly reminding yourself that you are a victim. Do you know you can relive those events and see yourself as a victor? You overcame! Be proud of yourself. You certainly took your rightful place! You continue to do so as you trade your thorns for crowns.

Much Love,

Xholiwe

Dear Younger me: I still believe

Remember when life was a blank canvas and as kids there was so much we believed in? Can you go back to believing like a child?

I feel nostalgic this Saturday and it was all because I watched a 10 minute video of all the opening songs to some of my favorite cartoons while growing up as a child. The most nostalgic 10 minutes of my life that took me back to remembering the little girl who believed in so much more and thought of life a little differently than I do as an adult. Oh, how damaging a couple years can have on us. We are now believing less and conforming more to what has been set and stone because it is easier to believe in what we see than what we can not see.

What happened to that little girl or boy who just believed in themselves and anything mommy and daddy said? Well, we grow up and once we got some understanding and stumbled upon some pain, shame, guilt and frustration we stopped believing in almost everything. We got into our teen years and we found ourselves trying to believe other stuff that were not true because everyone else was doing it, so we thought fitting in was much easier. Why did we conform? Why did we stop believing? We started to believe less in our abilities and our strengths because let us face it there people out there who do it better than you did. There is a prettier girl than you, there is a more handsome fella than you, their are more smarter people than you. But truth is they can’t be you and you definitely can’t be them and that is okay. Believing in yourself is so important because it sets you up to be an authentic version of yourself. In the a society where everyone is trying to be someone they are not, it feels good to be a real version of yourself. Your skills, your talent, your abilities and strengths can take full form if you can only believe. Believe like you did as kid! As a kid, you were doctor, a lawyer, an activist, a pastor, a fashion designer, a baker etc. It is still possible to be that kid again that believed that you could do it all. There is a place that can make use of your skill, there are people who will appreciate you talent and their are people out there that will believe for you if you are having a hard time at it.

It is never too late to believe again, I have had conversations with people younger, my age and older and the usual response is something in these lines;

  • It is too late to start the business
  • It is too late to pursue that job
  • It is not worth it investing into my dreams at my age
  • I am too old
  • I am too young
  • I am not qualified
  • Starting a new life in a different place is too risky
  • I have children
  • I have a terrible past

Excuses are the enemy that hinder us from believing in us again. We now have an excuse for everything because it is much easier to be excused than to believe. What ends up happening is that we settle feeling unfulfilled. We settle for the miserable and unhealthy relationships, we settle for the job we hate, we settle for the regular because we don’t believe for better.

Doubt is another enemy that hinders us from believing in us again. We doubt that things will get better because maybe things at some point in our lives didn’t get better, but that should not keep us from believing again. We doubt and so we make excuses. We have already counted ourselves out even before we try. We have to stop looking for signs for us to believe because God does not always give us signs. He will test our faith by not giving us a sign and because we didn’t see a sign we don’t believe, ye of little faith.

27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

John 20:27

We want God to move while we have settled in our lives full of excuses and doubt. God does not operate that way, he wants to meet us half way, we have take the step first, even one step is enough to show God that you are serious. God is looking for believers, a people that believe that all things are possible just like a child. God comes through for some crazy believers that believe in themselves and the God they serve. I am sure you have meant some of these crazy believers that just jump and never find excuses that reason with their logic. Might as well jump with them

In closing, is younger you proud of where you are at right now? Or is he/she reminding you of the dreams and aspirations you once had? If younger you is not happy with were you are in life currently, then it means you got some work to do. You have to believe again! You have to break all that has kept you from believing again. You are capable, no one can be you better than you can! Let’s get to work! We are trading our thorns for crowns!

Much Love,

Xholiwe

Closed doors: Are they necessary?

It was closed for a reason, keep it closed and keep it moving.
-Xholiwe

Hey crowned Royals! Can we talk about how Portillo’s shut their doors on me a couple weekends ago? I was 2 minutes pass their business hours and they closed their doors on me. I remember saying I want an Italian beef sandwich to nourish my grumpiness and I decided to risk my life driving to beat the closing time. So I took off with hope and expectation that I will walk out of Portillo’s with an Italian beef sandwich, well that did not happen. I was welcomed by a closed sign and faces through the window clearly saying go away, but I was not going to just quit because of a sign and mean faces. I wanted Italian beef and was set on it, so I waved politely at the workers and nudged on the door. They did not even react to my actions and desperate need for food. The sign was up, it was closed, which meant that Portillo’s was no longer serving customers. However, I still thought of trying because maybe just maybe someone would see my desperate need for a sandwich. What ended up happening was that I left empty and disappointed, but it was not the workers fault and they were not obligated to open those doors for me. Also, lingering around in hopes that they would open the doors for me was a pure waste of time because I left without my sandwich. There is a moral to this story, I just didn’t plan to tell you about my disappointment and leaving you without a good word.

Moral of the story? Don’t go to Portillo’s two minutes pass their closing time and for the sake of this blog post keep the closed doors closed, there is a reason why they are closed. We all go through life experiencing closed doors, for most of us we get too curious to know what is behind the door and sometimes when we find out the hard way. I get it, because some closed doors don’t give us much detail, we didn’t know that the company we wanted to work for badly would file for bankruptcy and leave you out of a job. We didn’t know that the career path we chose would keep us miserable. We didn’t know that the people around us were really not for us. We just opened some wrong closed doors in hopes that it would be right. This is not where you beat yourself for opening the wrong closed doors, this is a place where you thank God that the closed doors were necessary for your growth and drew you closer to your destiny. I have had several closed doors and just like anybody else didn’t like that feeling of rejection, but now I look back to closed doors in job opportunities, career paths, relationships, friendship etc and I am so thankful. I quit aggressively nudging on closed doors that were closed for a reason and I would hope the same for you.

Closed doors can also be our past too, we go back to opening up past hurts and bruise the wounds that took us so much time trying to heal. Is it necessary? You are getting hurt over and over again because you keep going back to the closed door you have no business opening. It was closed for a reason, keep it closed and keep it moving. You can’t experience a great future, if you continue to live in the past. Understand that God will not close one door and leave you stranded. Trust that because that door was closed, God got a better plan. God is not a mean God that says “aha let me disappoint (insert your name)!” He knows what we need better than we do, so if a door closes there is a reason and as you continue to journey through life you will understand each reason for a closed door. God will protect you, he sees way ahead of us and can tell us;

  • it is time to close this door and move on
  • it is time to close this door for now, we may revisit it when we are more mature
  • it is time to close this door forcefully because it is dangerous and we refuse to listen
  • It is time to close this door because we need to be protected

Sometimes it does not have to take God to do the closing for you. You will be beat down and tired of trying to open this closed door that you personally decide to close it yourself. When you do so, realize that you did it for you and your better future. Celebrate yourself for loving yourself enough to close doors that are not fulfilling purpose.

Are closed doors necessary? Yes, they are necessary because rather than you staying stuck on that one door you get to a point where you challenged to grow and move pass it. Unfortunately, too many people stay stuck on a closed door in hopes that there is something there when God’s blessings for you already shifted and is waiting on you to leave that closed door. The doors God opens for you are one that no man on the face of the earth can shut, those are doors we should be seeking for.

I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

Revelations 3:8 (NIV)

My last word are that you should be okay with closed doors, be okay with keeping them closed too. It is not in your place to push on closed doors and end up disappointed. Like I mentioned earlier there is a good reason why God closed some certain doors that were not serving their purpose in you life, but rather these doors were hurting and discouraging. If you have been stuck at that closed today for way too long, I challenge you to walk away even two feet away and see what difference it will make for both your body and spirit. Remember this is all in the process of shifting from thorns to crowns! You got this!

Much Love,

Xholiwe