For the hurting neighbor: How to show love, kindness and mercy

Photo by Andrea Tummons on Unsplash

Hello Crowned Royals! I hope you are doing good and are as excited as I am about the changing season. I love autumn and would not be mad if it was an all year-round season. I look forward to all possible autumn activities and cozy nights where I can write to you.

I had this thought last week about how easy it is for us to get so engrossed in our own lives ups and downs that we so easily forget about our neighbor. Who is our neighbor? Our neighbor is everyone! It is the person we walk pass in the store, the pan handler on the street, the teller at the bank, your co-worker, the person that lives next door, your close knit circle such as friends and family and the list goes on. The well being of our neighbor depends on how we show love, kindness and extend mercy to them. I wouldn’t say I have been at the best at showing love, kindness and mercy to my neighbors at all times and I know I don’t speak for myself. How well have you been looking out for your neighbor? I am most certain that not all our neighbors are excited about their lives and may be hurting, right now, they need your love, kindness and mercy just as much as you would want theirs if you were hurting. It shouldn’t surprise you that alot of what we call our society or community walks hurt, talks hurt and continue to deal with life hurt. You may not be a hurting neighbor right now, but you do know how it feels to hurt from your personal experiences. I bet while you were hurting you appreicated the love, kindness and mercy that people showed to you and to some extent it helped you get through. So, why not show the same love, kindness and mercy to a hurting neighbor?

My heart was moved to think about the hurting neighbor after looking at a random post on facebook asking on who attempted suicide this year alone. The many comments that flooded that post overwhelmed me and from that one post, it was so evident that our neighbors are hurting. What broke my heart is that they were hurting that much that taking their own life felt like the better option as they thought no body cared about them. Showing love, kindness and mercy to these neighbors may not be as complicated as you think. Sometimes in life all what people need is a smile, a hug and a listening ear. Caring for another person shouldn’t feel like a chore that you hate doing and trust me there are several chores that I wouldn’t be opposed if someone else did them for me. According to the dictionary, care is defined as the feel of concern or interest or attaching importance to something. The word we would like to think everyone wants to hear is ”I love you”, but for the hurting neighbor we might want to start by saying “I care for you”. In some cases care could be misunderstood as providing provision of material things for someone’s well being, but it is more than that because care goes far beyond material provison. Care in the literal sense is the providing of time and effort to see another human being feel better about their situation. Many people are in dire need for people that actually care. People that care to listen, care to share, care to be present and that is to mention a few. Your might have to be that person for others right about now.

5 ways to show love, kindness and mercy to the hurting

I know there are several ways that this can be done, but I choose to share on these 5 ways and hope it resignates in your heart and pushes you to take a second and check on your neighbor.

  1. Give genuine care: Show that you care for someone, be genuinely concerned, interested and attach equal importance to all those you come across.
  2. Be a listening ear: This can be hard for most of us to do because we are always ready to talk, but when in conversation with a hurting neighbor listening can be of great help to them. Understand that sometimes the hurting neighbor already knows the solution, so your immediate advice or response/react is not not they may need at present, but just allow them to speak.
  3. Fellowship with them: Just like Jesus fellowshipped with the 12 and bigger multitudes, amongst themselves were some that actually hurt and needed to feel like they belong. So you follow the example of Jesus and fellowship together. The word of God does encourage us to do so. Fellowship can be a done through sharing a meal or even ashared fun activity or outing.
  4. Actions speak louder than words: We are not only to think of love, kindness and mercy as an after thought and carry on with our lives, but we are to be doing these very things that show them. Love in action looks like sacrifice, kindness in action looks like helping the our community and mercy on action looks like showing compassion to those that need it as much as we do when we are in need of it.
  5. Use your words wisely: You can speak to the hurting, but choose to be wise about it. Words have this way of either building or breaking others. How you choose to comfort or encourage the hurting is very crucial and should be done with much wisdom and be of genuine intention. The Bible says that words have the power to heal, bring life, bring health, crush the spirit, are life-giving and refreshing (Proverbs 15:4, Proverbs 16:24 and Proverbs 18:4). Read one of my older blogs on how words can make or break a person for an indepth understanding on the power of words.

Start with these few steps and let the hurting neighbor know that you care. We are commanded by the word of God to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, which is one of the greatest commandments that Jesus spoke of in the new testament. (Matthew 22 v 39). This particular verse reminds me that the same love I show for myself, I should show to my neighbor and Visa versa. Unfortunatley, with so many hurting people, not so many are loving themselves enough to extend their love to others, but if you are able to do so, please be the one that is looking out for the hurting neighbor and letting them know that they are not alone. If you find it hard to do so, just reference to Jesus, he examplifed great ways on how we are to show love, kindness and mercy to the hurting neighbor. You can do the same too! It is time for us to make our rightful place! It is time for us to trade thorns for crowns.

Much Love,

Xholiwe

Branded by Pain: How to conquer and master the art of letting go

Along the way, you will learn to let go of all the things that helped you conceal the pain.

Hello Crowned Royals, I must admit that I haven’t been great at keeping up with you all, but surely God has dealt with me immensely and that is why I am writing to you today. I hope all is well with you and that you continue to put in the effort of trading your thorns for crowns. This blog post might be heavy for some you that continue to deal with extreme pain, but I hope it brings healing.

Fairly recently I was watching a telenovela about slaves in the 19th century and while watching, a lot of the things that happened were hard to stomach or imagine myself or family go through such pain. I was particularly disheartened by this one act where slaves where lined up and one by one each of them were pressed with a hot iron cast and branded by their slave masters. Through out the show the slaves lived and died with that brand that signified their slavery. The branding of the slaves is more of a physical act that indeed caused pain and this pain was carried on till their graves. Tragic right? I know, but we too in some form have stood one by one and have been branded with pain. It may not all be physical, but it surely did something to us. But what you do with that branded pain is totally up to you, you can either live and died with it or decide to conquer. Understand that branded pain seems nearly impossible to erase, it almost feels like it is only unique to you alone and no one will understand just what you have been through. But you will be surprised to see how many more people experience the same pain. Pain is indeed a universal brand that we can all tell when it is present within us or in others, simple based on our experience and others. Many of us are living defeated by our pain and because of it we have lost our ability to conquer. Here is a question for you; how has living in defeat because of your pain limited your ability conquer it?

When Pain Becomes your Master

Remember the show I was watching about slaves? I want to talk about it again. To be slaves, these people had masters and one thing masters would do is do anything with their slaves. They literally could do anything! they flogged them, raped them, branded them and treated them worse than animals. Again this is more physical, but how many of us have allowed pain to become our master? Our pain has flogged us, raped us, branded us and has treated us less than we are. This much is true about our pain, we have given it power over us. If pain is your master, it dictates your entire life. When pain is your master, it will help you pick your;

  • Friends
  • Entertainment
  • Coping mechanisms
  • Close relationships
  • Places you frequent

Understand that when you are at the mercy of pain, it will continue to dictate your life and how you move forward with it if you do nothing to change it. I am guessing before the pain, they may have been things you set out on doing and changing, but once you gave power to pain, you were more set on the hurt and hate from others, your day to day was plotting your revenge and in hopes to conceal the pain you did things that you were not even capable of doing before it.

When you allow pain to be your master, you give up the right to conquer it, but rather you are made powerless, mocked and hopeless. It slowly eats at you and with every passing year the pain only grows more and more. You thought dying suddenly was tragic, trying slowly dying because pain has invaded your whole being. Now that is tragic. So, how do you get out of it?

How to conquer and master the art of letting go

I would like to provide you with the universal blueprint of how you conquer pain and master the art of letting go, but unfortunately, it wouldn’t work that same for each person. I do however know about one biblical act that even people before us surely can attest to it working. It is giving your pain to Jesus. Jesus has a way of taking that pain and replacing it with that much desired peace, joy, love, rest and laughter you long for. I don’t know about you, but I personally got tired of pain being my master and one day decided to fight by all means necessary. I did not want to feel all the hurt, plot my revenge daily and live less than what God put me on this earth to do. Placing the pain in God’s hands doesn’t take long, but the process of conquering and fully letting go might take longer, I am not talking weeks, but years. Once you commit though, you will along the way understand your pain and begin to fully grasp the art of letting it go. Along the way, you will learn to let go of all the things that helped you conceal the pain. Things like;

  • People
  • Places
  • coping mechanisms while still in pain

All this is not all walk in the park, but if you want it conquer and heal, then this is where you have to go. Especially if you are now desperately seeking for peace, hope, joy etc then friend this is the way to go. Because of the complexity of letting go, you certainly can’t do this alone. You need Jesus, the right environment and people that will allow you to release and let go. Please don’t expect this to happen without all I have mentioned above because you will only be lying to yourself and pain will continue to be your master. Here is some scripture to assure you that once you give you pain to Jesus, he will see you through the rest of the process of letting go;

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

1 Peter 5 v 10 (KJV)

11 You have changed my sadness into a joyful dance;

    you have taken away my sorrow

    and surrounded me with joy.

Psalms 30 v 11 (GNT)

What a blessed assurance right? What he did for others, he can also go for you! Give your pain to Jesus. His word says it will settle you and just like he did for David, he can do for you. Allow him to take away the sorrow and trade it for his joy. You have to conquer and let go, it is better on the other side. It is time for you to take your rightful place! It is time for you to trade thorns for crowns.

Much Love,

Xholiwe

Crumpled but not destroyed: Regain your vision and purpose

Hello Crowned Royals, it has been a while since I took to writing and it is about time that all the thoughts I have been having about vision and purpose are written down. We all have time and again slept and woke up to the same thought of our personal purpose and how we envision it, but there have also been times when both purpose and vision seem far apart. Well, here is a little story that will help you make sense of everything I am trying to get at. A few weeks ago I made my once a week trip to the grocery store and once I was done I headed on my way to exit. As I was walking out a man suddenly stopped in front of me and facing down, he bent down to pick a crumpled $10 bill, and with a huge grin behind his mask, he unraveled and stretched it out. He then looked back to me and said that it was his lucky day and he went on his way. I did not get to think about this story until a couple days ago and I am glad it came to memory because I want us to understand crumpled does not mean destroyed. The money was still going to serve its purpose of purchase whether it was crumpled or stretched out. If you currently feel crumpled regarding your vision and purpose then this blog post is for you, you just need a litte unraveling and streching. I would like to think that most of us have felt crumpled, some more than others have felt that our purpose has been destroyed. We fail to see purpose fulfilled through this crumpled vision we have accustomed ourselves to. We then walk around with the worst feeling of purposelessness and miss our purpose entirely. The main question before you get further into this read is; What crumpled the vision and caused you to lose sight of your purpose?

Our idea of vision and purpose: Clear and unclear

We all have this vision of how our lives should go and what must happen for us to feel accomplished in our purpose, but what happens when it is unclear and both the vision and purpose seems to not make sense anymore? There may have been a time in your life where you felt led in your vision and living your purpose, then suddenly either through difficult situations or self-sabotage, everything felt crumpled. Talk about frustration right? When vision and purpose are unclear or in other words crumpled, we tend to think that they are destroyed. On the contrary, it may just need a little unraveling and stretching for us to see clearly once again. Remember the guy from the grocery store that picked the money up? The money was crumpled, but nothing changed about the $10 bill, the value of the money did not change and the store cashier would still take it for a purchase. If you are currently battling with your thoughts of whether your vision and purpose is destroyed, I have good news for you, your vision is still well intact. There may be a couple of distractions, pains, regrets, fears, anger, bitterness, just to mention a few that you may need to uncrumple so you can see clearly.

Where did it start?

It had to start somewhere right? When in your life did you feel worthless and worse off purposeless? We all have a story to tell, and I know for some vision was crumpled at an early age where you were unable to fully understand who you are. I pray that all the heaviness and pain that came from your stolen vision is restored. I also pray you make peace with those that took it away from you. For the rest of us that can fully recall where it started, we might want to come to terms with what was and forge ahead to what will be, and that is our restored vision and purpose. It may take a little more unraveling and stretch for some than it may for others to fully grasp the vision and purpose, but make it your mission.

Practical steps to uncrumple you vision

Now that you know that your vision leading to your purpose is not destroyed , here are some practical steps to uncrumple your vision and fulfill your purpose;

  1. Identify where exactly your vision started to feel crumpled (unclear), was it a cycle of difficult situations, or small/major distractions, sin, guilt, shame, etc
  2. Surround yourself with people that can envision your vision with you. These people will remind you of your “why” constantly. These are also people that are willing to work with you to help build your vision and fulfill your purpose.
  3. Write your vision; this is not a vision board party where you stick a bunch of pictures and have no clue how you will get there. Let your vision be clear and make it plain (Habakkuk 2:2). Have some alone time without distractions and write your vision. If you want, crumple the piece of paper and after a couple days unravel it and read it again.
  4. Remember your “why”; there is a reason for your vision and desire to fulfill purpose. Take yourself back to when God places this vision in your heart and were excited and ready to fully live it. Sometimes all it takes is a walk down memory lane!
  5. Seek God about it; through prayer bring it up to God and let him know that your vision feels crumpled and you want to restore it. This is the part where you should be willing to put in the work. At this stage, you should be attentive and not miss what God is trying to show you.

I hope this short list pushes you to finally regain the vision that you thought was destroyed and realized that it was only crumpled and all it needs is some unraveling and stretching. Here is what the bible has to say about your vision and I hope it encourages you:

And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end, it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

Habakkuk 2 v 2-3 (KJV)

While everything regarding your vision may feel crumpled and uncertain, I hope you find encouragement in the scripture knowing that it will surely come. What a great assurance! It just confirms what I said the first time! Crumpled does not mean destroyed! Pick up that vision and being to live your purpose again. It is time for us to take our rightful place! It is time for us to trade thorns for crowns.

Much Love,

Xholiwe

Botched Plans: Trusting God’s plan

Photo by fotografierende on Unsplash
A couple detours and stabling blocks will still get you there, it may be different from what you imagined or it may be exact, but trust that God will get you there.
-Xholiwe

Hello Crowned Royals! It’s crazy how quick the weekend comes and goes so fast and not all weekend plans are accomplished in their scheduled time. Today I planned to do my laundry in the morning, but plans to do so were botched because I snoozed my alarm way too many times. This is not the first time I have experienced botched plans and some of the plans I actually needed to be botched because God knew better. Ever planned to leave for an event at a certain time, but ended up being late and hating yourself for it? Then Later on you got word that the exact street you planned to use had a terrible accident. You then took a moment to thank God for that botched plan because maybe that would have been you. I know this has happened several times that we got saved by 5 late minutes.

I am not much of a planner so when I do plan, you best believe I have calculated every possible and impossible event that will make or break my plan. I have had some serious plans concerning my life that were well thought out and planned so precisely, but not all my plans fell through they way I imagined they would. If I were to be honest, most of my plans were botched and I couldn’t be more grateful to God for my botched plans because they saved my life.

I am probably not the only one that has experienced botched plans, if you are reading this you know what I am talking about. You had plans for your present and future that did not fall through the way you imagined them. This is not the time for you to be hard on yourself for the plans that didn’t fall through, but it is time for you to be grateful. God being all knowing knew exactly that 5 years from now your plan would not be sustained and so he turned things around. I don’t know about you saints, but when God turned things around, I was not very happy about it, in fact, I would be low key mad until God showed me why he had to botch my plans. For me it took several botched plans for me to trust that God has better plans for me than I did.

Botched plans can come in different ways when in comes to serious life plans. I think if you have lived long enough you would agree with me that failure, disappointments, delay, lack of and heart break have a way of telling us our plans did not work. How we deal with all these pains that come from our botched plans will determine whether or not we trust God for a better plan. For example if a particular failure paralyzes you not try again then you trust your botched plan and not God’s plan. In the same way, if you keep repeating the botched plans in hopes that they will have a different outcome, then you are more trusting of your own plans and not God’s. I totally get it, your plan is well thought out and pretty perfect, but did you ever stop to think in the long run how well this plan would serve you? I mean it is great plan that you want to accomplish so much, but do those plans line up with the greater plans God has for you? A couple detours and stabling blocks will still get you there, it may be different from what you imagined or it may be exact, but trust that God will get you there.

To my constant planners who plan your life by the hour, it may be hard for you to deal with botched plans, but when you see why God had to interrupt that day to day planner you had going on, you will be grateful that he slowed you down. He slowed you down not because he doesn’t want you to accomplish your hourly tasks, but also to remind you of his existence. There is nothing wrong with planning your day and getting things done, but somewhere in your plans do you have some time for God? Or are you so wrapped around your planner so much so that your planner is full and God has no slotted time? God needs some time with us, we were created to relate with God as much we do with our family and friends. God desires to have a relationship with us and so if an hour planned date is botched for some time with God please take it. Enjoy some quiet time with God either through prayer or praise and worship, you will be grateful you did.

To my quick planners that are so quick to plan, but not well prepared for these plans, you too may deal with some botched plans. Perfect example, this year I quickly planned to change my closet like I always do from Winter to Spring as the days approached. Did I do it? No, days went by and I was not prepared for Spring. On a more serious life note, how many plans have you made that you are not well prepared for? Have we ever just taken the time to sit down with our plans and honestly look at our lives to see if our plans match our preparedness? God wants us to be prepared for what we ask for, so if you deal with botched plans from your quick plans trust that God wants to prepare you. Remember that quick fixes sometimes cost you so much later because most of them don’t last. So trust God as he prepares you for his plans.

Often times when things don’t go as planned all planners tend to be mad and want to throw their fist at God rather than be thankful. I have been there and after I learned why my plans did not work I broke out into a praise break because God knew best! Thank God for my botched plans. You too need to rejoice in those botched plans because those botched plans saved your life. God knows better! Here is what he has to say about planning;

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

Jeremiah 29 v 11

Until you allow this verse to sink into your spirit, you will continue to make your plans and end up frustrated when they do not fall through. God is not on his throne waiting to harm you, but his plans are to prosper you in all things, not just some. Unfortunately, we look at God’s direction as harm until weeks, months or years down the line where we realize why your plans were no good. I don’t know how many times I can emphasis this, but there is no use being mad at God for your botched plans. There are many reasons for you to be grateful and not hurtful. A closed door does not mean that God doesn’t have a plan. Stop relying on plan A, B and C when God only has one plan for you.

My last word before I eat these perfectly glazed wings are you are not the best planner. Yes, I said it, you are not the best planner. Allow God to do the planning and be amazed at what he does for you. Don’t let the botched plans paralyze you from trusting God’s plan for your life. Also, don’t make plans without first consulting with God. Are your plans well aligned with God’s plans or are you basing them of your own human understanding. Remember God knows better! While you are at it, be well prepared for the plans God has for you. You can’t be so quick to make life plans in a hurry without fully understanding them. Slow down and take some time to look critically at the plans you make concerning your life. Lastly, make some time for God talk to him about your plans and trust him when he botches some of your plans for better ones! It is time to take your rightful place! It is time to trade thorns for crowns!

What is breakthrough supposed to look like?

Breakthrough doesn’t always look or feel like the beautiful sight of dawn.
-Xholiwe

Ever woke up to the sight of the sun rising? Beautiful? I totally agree with you. My friends while in the beautiful city of Pirovac, Croatia asked me to sneak out and see the sunrise. Apparently, the sunrises in Pirovac are the most beautiful according to the locals. The sunrises right above the beautiful Adriatic sea and creates a sight everyone must see. Unfortunately, I did not see this beautiful sunrise because I was not up for an early morning the day my friends sneak out to see it. They did however, show me the pictures and I regret not going because the sight of light touching earth again feels like a perfect breakthrough after you have been in the dark for too long. I have always likened breakthrough to dawn, you know always beautiful and worth the view, but what if breakthrough is dark and not a sight to see? No one wants to think of a breakthrough as dark, but I have had experienced breakthroughs that were dark and at first this type of breakthroughs threw me off because I wanted that sunrise type of breakthrough. I obviously didn’t not appreciate this type of breakthrough because it was hard, it involved letting go of certain people and things that I genuinely had love for, but they were clearly not God’s plan for me. Going through this type of breakthrough can be hard and a lot of times if you are not grounded in the word of God, it could be very discouraging. However, I got good news, once you brave this type of breakthrough you will appreciate it and see so much beauty in it.

We expect it, we all do, the sunrise, the birds are chirping and breathtaking type of breakthrough were everything falls into it’s rightful place. It is not wrong for us to want that, like who wouldn’t? It is a reminder that God is a good God and he is sure to keep his promises over our lives. That is great, but I am focusing on the dark breakthrough that even has you doubting if God even sees you. This type of breakthrough that tests your faith and patience when all you see around you is dark and uncertain. Often times with this type of breakthrough we get caught up in feeling hurt and discouraging versus viewing it as breakthrough that is necessary for our next level of growth. We all have those questions; God why me? or why have you forsaken me? Ever realized the minute our breakthrough does not match that of a beautiful sunrise we all go into question mode? This is a good time to take the time to find the right answers to all the questions.

Your approach to this type of breakthrough will determine your moving forward. Are you going to get mad with the answers you get and forfeit your breakthrough? Why will you get mad at God because he did not do it the way you pictured it? Rather than being mad, how about you trust that God still has a plan way better than you had.

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

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Understand that God is not out to get you. He is not looking down from heaven thinking, hmm how can I ruin these people’s lives? If we were honest with ourselves we would know that there are certain habits, people, and places we visit that don’t represent us in the light God sees us. If we go through situations and think that everyone is the problem expect us, then we missed it all together. The dark breakthroughs that don’t make sense to you and others around you should be used to reflect and see what worked and what did not, so use this time wisely. Spend some honest time with yourself and learn your lessons. No, you are not busy to spend some honest time, please make time for our own sake. Grow in the understanding of who you are and who you are to God. Once you get pass this, trust me there is a sunrise breakthrough waiting for you, but you got to get pass this first! It is possible for you to go from not understanding;

  • Why you were laid off the job
  • Why the relationship didn’t work
  • Why you were the black sheep
  • Why the the deal didn’t work out
  • Why you had to deal with all the pain, while those that hurt you seem to be free

It will make sense one day, when you get to a place were you see it was worth it and necessary because God had a better plan for you!

So if are going through the not so pleasant kind of breakthrough, here are my last words of encouragement;You will get through it! And at the end of it all, it will be all so beautiful! Get ready for your sunrise breakthrough crowned royals!

Much Love!

Xholiwe

Survivor mode: How long can you live just to survive?

Why just survive, when you were meant to thrive?

The word survival kept coming up in a conversation I had last week and because it resonated on my heart, I thought we should talk about it. What further confirmed me talking about survival was when I was listening to the Woman of God Dr. Sonja Stribling a couple days after my conversation and she spoke on survival. She touched on several topics that often lead people to just survive in life versus them thrive. She asked a question, that I hope as you read this blog will resonate in your spirit and help you realize that you were meant to thrive! The question was, “why just survive, when you were meant to thrive?”

There is a very big difference between a person that just tries to survive and someone who thrives in life. The difference should not only be about money because that is where most of our mindsets venture off to when we think of surviving versus thriving. But understand that there are some people on this earth that have all the money, but are just trying to survive. They are trying to survive depression, past hurt, anger, bitterness, greed, pride and everything else you might think of that requires one to survive. Their inability to raise above all that makes it hard to thrive. Thriving requires more than just a fat bank account, status and power in anyone’s life. As people we can not just thrive in one thing and try to survive through the rest, we thrive in every area of our lives especially if God is involved . I am not by any means discrediting the survivors, we are all survivors because in our lives we were faced with trouble and we survived. Despite all the pain and all the confusion, we survived our dark days, but to thrive means to go beyond just saying we survived our dark days. We would have to use those dark days as a weapon and a reminder that we grew and will continue to grow by any means necessary. By definition to thrive is to grow, to flourish and to make progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances. Our circumstances are not for us to be constantly enslaved with the idea of trying to survive through them all, but rather look for other ways where we can thrive. What happens when we are just trying to survive is that we are constantly faced with panic as we anticipate the next thing need to survive from. Living life that way leaves you constantly on the fence, and until you break off the need to survive you might be on that fence for a long time. Survivor mode does not give you a moment to even reflect on your life, because in your mind there is no time to reflect, but just to survive. How do you deal with pain, bitterness, hurt, anger and everything else when all you trying to do is stay alive to see another day? How do you make the choice to just survive for the rest of your life when you are meant to thrive?

For one to thrive, one has to get out of the mindset of living life just to survive. However, if you want to thrive, it will require some growth pains and a tough break up from what you always have been used to doing your entire life, surviving. When you make the choice to thrive, you set goals towards changing the circumstances. While in the process, understand that no goal is too small. You are working your way towards bigger goals that will turn things around for you as you continue to grow. Also, thriving allows for time to reflect, to look at the things that don’t serve their purpose in your life and choosing to eliminate anything that can easy get you back to survival mode. So if you want to thrive, you are eliminating pain of the past, dealing with your anger, letting go of bitterness and killing your pride. Addressing all that came in the times where all you felt you needed to do was survive will set you up to thrive. You are not taking all the unnecessary pain in your thriving life because it will easily weigh you down. It all stays behind, the pain, hurt, anger, resentment, low self esteem etc. In your thriving life, you are able to handle all the things I mentioned previously a little differently than you did when you were just surviving. This time around as you thrive and go through life that will still have it’s ups and downs, you will make the choice to learn from any situation that you face. Learning in turn brings growth and growth leads to flourishing.

7“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17 v 7-8

The verse is talking to people that want to thrive in life. You can’t do this on your own, you have to trust that God will provide. God will step into your situations and make the crooked way straight. You are royalty and royalty does not just survive, we thrive! The word clearly says that we don’t need to worry even in a drought because we will still bear fruit!

My final thoughts, surviving is temporary, but thriving is something that will out live you (legacy). The choice of what kind of life you want to live is entirely up to you. I don’t know about you, but I want to thrive despite all the growth pains that may come with trying to break free from just surviving.

Much Love Thrivors!

Xholiwe

Healing is your responsibility: Emotional wounds

God’s touch has so much power that it can instantly make you feel better when you allow him to touch you where it hurts and heal you.

There is something about a mother’s love for her children that makes observing it for me so profound. I usually sit in the back pews at church just a two rows down from the pews filled with families. There is a mom who has three beautiful kids that I can’t help but observe her interaction with her little boy. Her little boy is so trusting of his mother that he usually runs to her when he is hurt because he trusts his mother will sooth him like she always does when he is hurt. There is one profound observation for me, one time the little boy was hurt physically and he ran to his mother, his mother kissed his little hand where he was hurt and the little boy ran off to play in a few minutes because it was all better.Oh how I wish healing from emotional hurt was that easy, kiss it and it goes way. Unfortunately, as we grow older and we start to lose the innocence of a child it gets harder to trust that we will be healed instantly by a simple act of someone else kissing our hurt away. As we grow older we have to be responsible for our own healing, not physically only, but emotionally and it may take a little more than a kiss on the hand to make us feel better.

Going back to my observation of the little boy and his mother, there is one thing or two the little boy teaches us. He teaches us that healing is not something we have to do alone. He also teaches us to trust in someone that truly loves us and wants to see us well again. In the same way, we do not have to try to heal alone, we have access to God who we can trust can help us heal from our emotional hurt. God wants to see us well again, but we need to realize that healing is our responsibility. We can not expect healing to come to us if we do not act upon seeking it. What use is it for us to want to be healed when we continue to nurse emotional wounds on our own? Rather than us nursing old wounds, how about we become honest with ourselves and come to terms with the fact that we need healing. I think honesty is our first step towards being responsible for our healing. How does one heal if they think there is nothing to heal from? We need to be honest that there are some emotional wounds that we need healing from. The second step would be accepting these emotional wounds caused you pain and you not constantly covering them up. Emotional wounds can not be covered up for so long before they start to show through your attitude towards yourself and others. It takes one trigger that can set off a perfectly covered up emotional wound to burst up in flames. How does this happen? Someone acts like another person that hurt you in the past and since you have not done a good job healing, you reaction to their acts still comes from a place of pain. You don’t believe? have an honest moment with yourself and think of the time you reacted to someones actions because they reminded you of someone else that hurt in the exact same way. Yes, you need healing and it is entirely up to you.

Why is it your responsibility? It is not like it was your fault any way, other people hurt you and they should come fix it and help you heal. Wrong, truth is that people hurt you one way or another whether it was their intention or not, but if you wait on them to come and make everything alright, you might wait for the rest of your life. If you are saying it is not fair, I see where you are coming from because you feel like you are left alone to pick up the broken pieces and heal all by yourself while the ones that hurt you move on with their lives. Your job is not to keep tabs on their lives, you job is to begin working on your healing.

Understand that the emotional wounds that have brought you to a place where you desperately seek healing will be the emotional scars that remind you of how strong you can be despite all the hurt. Healing takes work, and you need your natural effort to match the super natural efforts of God to help you heal. Since you are taking responsibility for your healing, here is what you are doing in the nature;

  • You are being honest with yourself about the hurt you have experienced
  • You are accepting the existence of the emotional wounds that were caused from the hurt in your life
  • You are praying; your prayers are aimed towards forgiving yourself, forgiving others, denouncing guilt, letting go of all the hurt that came with the wounds, seeking peace and comfort from God, asking for healing and restoration.
  • You are reading the word; the word that point to healing and let’s you know that God is a healer and all the promises that are in the bible serve as a reminder
  • Cultivating your environment; your surroundings should cultivate peace, the people in your life as you go through the process of healing should bring peace and encourage you to move forward. Be around people that pray for you and trust that God will see you through the healing process
  • Spend time loving on you: Do things that you actually love to do and be unapologetic about your choice to heal. It is so important to spend time with yourself and love on you as much as possible. Be your own crush everyday
  • Protect you peace as you go through the process of healing.

Here is what God does for you Super naturally;

  • He gives you undeniable peace while you go through the process
  • He listens to your prayers and gives you strength as you seek healing
  • He helps change your environment by allowing people in your life that will genuinely pray, encourage and lift you up as you go through the process
  • He speaks to you through his word reminding you that he loves you and that he can heal you from your wounds
  • Just like the mother that kissed her son’s little hand so the little boy can feel better, God’s touch has so much power that it can instantly make you feel better when you allow him to touch you where it hurts and heal you.

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

Psalms 147:3 KJV

It is time to put in the work, if you want this healing you will need to be responsible for it all the way. God is a healer and he will not allow you to do this alone. His word already confirms that he heals the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. He will bind your emotional wounds once you give him the permission to do so. It takes a touch from God to make all things better!

It is time to get healed!

Much love, Xholiwe

Normalizing Hurt: There is liberty

When will it all get better?

Some time ago I remember having a conversation with my dear friend in the UK while I was hurting and I asked her, when will it get better? I remember saying that I needed to catch a breath, but when I tried to, it just seemed like I was under deep waters again. She quickly hit me with the word of God that served as a great reminder when I needed it right before I was out there thinking being hurt should be my lifestyle.

When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.

Isaiah 43 v 2 NLT

Real talk though, have you ever felt that way too? That feeling where you feel like God just healed from some hurt and then soon enough some other hurt finds it’s way to you? You ask yourself why do I find myself in hurting situations and question if there is something wrong with you. Yup! been there and I know how it feels. If not dealt with, It does get to a point where you normalize being hurt all the time and if you don’t get out this mindset that normalizes hurt you may find yourself hurting all the time. Hurting all the time is not normal and if you are a child of God, you certainly will not have to constantly be on an endlessness hurt marathon.

As we journey through life we need to understand that hurt will come in many forms and how we approach it will determine how we will overcome it. I will let you know that if you want to play a victim from your hurt, you are well on your way to an endless hurting marathon. However, if you play a victor from your hurt, you are about to get through life with a better understanding that hurting should not be normalized. You will have the knowledge to look at hurt as a place of growth versus it being a death sentence. Do you know how many people die thinking that constantly hurting was normal for them. I am guessing a lot of people, unless you think other wise. Understand me when I say that hurt should not be normalized in your life. You should not get so used to being hurt that it starts to feel like a lifestyle for you. No one wakes up in the morning everyday looking to get hurt, but have you ever just thought about what environments you allow in your life that can easily get your hurt. The people in your life, are they people that encourage you and see the greater worth in you? Are they people that treat you well and speak kindly to you without hurting you? Are you able to speak up to them in a respectful way when you feel hurt by their words or actions? If your answers to all these questions are no, then it is most likely that this is where you are experiencing some of your constant hurt. When it comes to people we fall under the obligation to keep them around even when they hurt us because they are family, they are friends, they are co-workers and we forget that toxic is toxic. Day after day the people around you find ways to hurt you and eventually it becomes normal for you. In this case, I would like to tell you that there is nothing wrong with giving yourself permission to avoid toxic people and enjoy some peace for once in your life.

Truth is that not every person in your life or people you meet along the way are out to hurt you, but if you have normalized hurt, you will be looking to get hurt because it seems normal for you. Your normal has become crying all night, your normal has become hurting others with your words because you are hurting and isolating yourself in the fear of being hurt again. If you don’t cry, you will want to find a reason to cry, so what do you do? Go back 10 years ago to some major hurt and cry the whole night because that feels normal. I beg to differ, our hurt can either make us or break us and that solely depends on how we normalize it. Learning from your hurt and overcoming helps you realize that hurt is only but a stepping stone that helps you grow.

Some of you would probably tell me that you have been hurting since childhood and if you were honest with me and yourself, you would say you feel like it has been an endless series of hurt. Hear me when I say that I am not ruling out the fact that we all have experienced some major hurts in our lives. For some it may be death of loved ones, divorce, heartbreak, betrayal, rejection and the list goes on, but that doesn’t mean we should expect death, constant rejection, heartbreak etc in the entirety of our lives. We need to work on that mindset that has made us believe that it is normal for us to be constantly hurt that when we feel happy we get suspicious. There is freedom that comes from overcoming that mindset that tells normalizing hurt in your life is the only way you should live your life.

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

Romans 8 v 18-21 NIV

I love how the book of Romans in this particular chapter makes it so clear that we as the creation of God will be subjected to frustration, which in other words I can call hurt, but we are to liberate ourselves from it and experience freedom! It is possible to be liberated, but we have to put in the work. We have to decide that hurt should not be normalized in our lives and we should be seeking liberty from this type of mindset.

I leave you with these last words, you are not a victim of hurt, you are an over comer. I urge you to break away from the mindset that has made you normalize hurt that you don’t know any other way to live your life unless you are hurting. It is possible to live a life where you are not constantly expecting to be hurt. Let’s put in the work! We are shifting from Thorns to Crowns!

Much Love,

Xholiwe

The Power of words: Make or Break

Make a conscious decision with your words.
-Xholiwe

What a busy weekend this has been, but as always the weekend is never enough to get things done. I am glad, however, that I finally got my hands on my laptop because I would love to share on what is so significant in our lives and that is words. I am not talking about the words we use vaguely in our daily lives, I am talking about words that can either make us or break us.

We all remember that one great compliment that we received and how it brightened our day. We also remember that negative word that was spoken to us or spoken by us and it hurt us badly. Unfortunately, is it very easy to remember being called a failure than it is to remember that you were once successful in something. Why do words have some much power? Because words are the essence of all our lives, words can build our character and in the same way words can break our character. Ever wondered what happened to the sweet innocent girl from middle school that turned into an a mean girl in High School? No, it is not always puberty, but maybe along the way as she grew up she got bullied or was not spoken to in kindness by people around her.

The word of God makes it clear that words are powerful, with words God created and also with words God destroyed. In the same way, we can create and destroy, not just ourselves, but those around us. Let me talk about making for a second, as a child I was often told by my mother that I was smart and that I could do great things. My mother would remind me more of my strengths more than she did remind me of my weaknesses. Her doing so made me believe fairly quickly in my early childhood in myself and my abilities. She built my character in such a way that till this day, I am confident in my strengths and abilities. Making or building others takes us using the right words to encourage and uplift each others. Good words such as you are loved, you are wonderful, you are smart, you are unique and talented have a way of turning someone that felt like a zero to a champion. You don’t believe me? Ask the woman that was in a verbally abusive marriage and later on in life escaped and met the right person who told her she was loved. She will tell you that it changed her life and how she looks at herself. I am not the one to speak for the verbally abused woman since I have not experienced that, but I bet you that she is 10 times a better woman that she was in her previous marriage. There is something about using kind words that changes people and that shows you how powerful words are in our lives. Also, kind words towards yourself have a way of building you to truly understand who you are and believe in your abilities even when people around you want to break you. There is a sense of freedom that comes with using these words to free you from all that is not true about you.

Breaking words on the other hand are what we constantly need to heal from and it is unfortunate that so many people are surrounded by negative words. Breaking words/negative words can make champion feel like a zero, negative words have a way of breaking a person’s character to a point where they actually start to believe them. Yes, the son that was constantly called a failure by his father because he did not live up to his father exceptions believes that he is a failure. Negative words have a way of misrepresenting who we are and truth is the devil wants us to believe that because it would be easy for us to fall for his traps. When we focus so much on these words, it is very easy for us to lose who we are or who we are meant to be. Remember how I told you that it is easy to remember a negative word than it is to remember a compliment? Why is that? because negative words damage the spirit and with each negative word, it takes a little piece of you that is the essence of you. Eventually what happens is that the negative words outweigh the kind words and who you are supposed to be is buried under a pile of words. But do you have to stay there? No, you have break out and it may require a lot from you than just a couple feel good songs and a spa session. It is time to take your rightful place! Who told you breaking means that you can not be mended and made whole again? Tell that person that they are a liar because God is able mend all the pieces that where taken away from you because of negative words spoken over you. Believe me when I say this because I took along the journey of life have had not be spoken to so kindly and it had to take God to mend those broken pieces that where all bundled in a capable of negative words spoken over me.

Because I know words are powerful, I choose to be very cautious about how I talk to people and my choice of words. My suggestion is that you make a conscious decision with your words. Use kind words towards others, even those that are not so kind to you, you just never know what they are going through and your kind words might change their day.

Kind words are like honey—
    sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

Proverbs 16:24 NIV

Speak with love and respect for others and teach those around you to speak to you that way too. Parents teach your children to speak with love and respect for others because kids have a way of learning from you. Surround yourself with people that use words to build you, to encourage, to uplift you and help you heal from all the negative words you have heard about you. Read the bible, the word in that book is living and active! There are so many promises and truths about you that live in that word.

Final thought, proverbs 20:15 says, “Wise speech is rarer and more valuable than gold or rubies.” Be that rarer person that speaks wisely and kindly towards others, extend the same grace God has given you. Lastly, help others heal! we all still battle with some negative words that broke us along the journey of life.

Let your faith be greater than your fear

Giant leaps are not for wimps.
-Xholiwe

I am notoriously known for displaying inspirational quotes and bible verses and quite honestly find the pleasure in hanging up each and every one of them in almost every room in my apartment. These inspirational quotes and bible verses serve as a reminder for me especially when I am not so in tune with myself and just feel discouraged. I can’t pick a favorite quote or bible verse that is hang up in my house, but I would like to point out the canvas that hangs right above my bookshelf . I have many times glanced at this canvas that reads “let your faith be greater than your fear” and for the many times I have looked at this canvas, I have needed those words to help me look pass my fears and activate my faith. You probably don’t have this canvas that reminds you time after time that you have to let your fear be greater than your faith, but I hope this blog serves as a reminder for you. For those that are like me and have this displayed or hanging somewhere in your space, good for you, but let as dive more into the quote and learn ways we can apply it to our lives.

Fear often times has a way of limiting our abilities and strength to conquer all the obstacles we face as we journey through life. As humans we face some many different fears that it is very easy to notice each other fears without verbal confirmation. Have you ever noticed the fear the shy girl displays when she is asked to present her project to the whole class? Yeah, that fear of public speaking is easy to recognize, but what of the fear that you personally have and allowed it be greater than your faith. So maybe you fear is public speaking and because you have allowed this fear to limit your abilities to speak to larger crowds, it ends up taking away from your the desire to engage with larger crowds. I would like for us to understand that fear takes away, while faith adds to our lives. However, it is easy to hold on to our fears versus letting go because fear has a way of keeping us in our comfort zones while faith requires us trust God and step out of our comfort zones.

Understand that fear starts small and progressively gets bigger. In the same way, faith starts small and progressively can get bigger. In this case, the choice remains entirely up to you. You have the choice to either make your fears bigger or make your faith bigger and I would say pick the second choice. When you start to increase your faith, it is becomes easy to overcome your fear. Here is a practical example; I was feeling adventurous last year in Zambia and decided I wanted to zip-line from Zambia to Zimbabwe, but I feared! The thought of being over water at such a great height and only hold up by a couple of ropes was frightening. I remember shaking and thinking of backing out last minute, but I was already strapped in and only a few steps away from what I thought was my death. When the man that operated the zip-line let go of me for a second there I felt my heart drop, but once I saw the view, I was amazed and glad i did it! This whole experience that lasted only a minute was so profound for me that I am glad I did it! If I allowed my fear take over me, I would have missed out on such a beautiful view!

Faith requires more from us than fear does, but the difference is that faith is rewarding. I have met some people that have such great faith and they testify of how they stepped out in faith and that their lives were never the same again. They talk about the blessings that came from overcoming their fears and allowing their faith to be greater. These are people who took huge leaps and had faith only in God to step into their situation. I want us to realize that sometimes what stands between our fears and faith is us. We have to make the leap, whatever your leap is, you have to make. Giant leaps are not for wimps. Giant leaps require that unshakable faith that can withstand all your fears.

For we walk by faith, not by sight

2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV

All this was to say to you, let your faith be greater than your fear. You can overcome whatever fear that has stood between you and the life you much desire. Let faith arise in you and increase progressively so that it gets so big that there is no room for fear any longer. And whatever you ask you in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith (Matthew 21:22 ESV)