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

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

Freedom: So good to be free

There is no complex way to say it, it feels so good to be free. I was once crippled with fear, shame, guilt and regret, but once I started to break free, it was a game changer.
-Xholiwe

Hello Crowned Royals! It has been a minute since I got on here, so this better be good. I wrote my ever first blog on freedom and I am writing on it again, since no one put rules in the blogging world on how many times we can talk about one thing. Let’s talk about how good it feels to be free! My recent travels took me to the beautiful country of Morocco and I got to see so much in one country, but there is one visit that I would like to highlight in relation to freedom. I got to visit a 17th century old underground prison in the city of Meknes. Pictured is me standing right above the underground prison, which three century ago held captive foreigners who were captured and imprisoned by the Moroccan Sultan of that time. It is amazing to see what a couple centuries can do right? I remember going into the underground prison and the contrast was so vivid, it went from so much light to pitch black. The only light that guided my path were the small open holes on the top that allowed for some light from above. While we walked through the prison, I was thankful that I was physically free. Physically, we couldn’t imagine being imprisoned in such a place, but spiritually we have been there a few times too many. I know this because I have been there and the contrast was so vivid, what was light turned real dark pretty quick and the only light that guided me was the one above me.

Physical freedom is great, but nothing feels as great as being free in the spirit. If we were to be honest, there many of us that are physically free, but not every free person would say that their are free in their spirit. Why is it so? Freedom in the spirit is certainly not a walk in the park because if it was we’ll all be doing it right? However, for someone that continues to seek this freedom, I can tell you that it certainly worth the fight. Walking in the spirit free from what once were thorns certainly will feel good. Unfortunately, all that does not happen without a worthy fight. As much as you want to be free so does the devil want to imprison you. You don’t believe me? Think of the times you have tried to heal from bad past experiences and all other hurts just to be hit with something similar. It is much easier for the prisoner to stay imprisoned if they buy into the notion that they deserve it. Guilt often times is what will keep the prisoner in a prison that was not for them to stay in in the first place. Until there is that realization of the need for freedom, as people we will continue to lack the freedom we desire in the spirit.

The purpose of a prison is to confine one’s freedom, lack of freedom means limitation. What you can do when you are free is confined by this prison. Unlike the physical freedom that confines you by the walls and fences, the spiritual prison is all your fears, shame, guilt, regrets and pain. Only until you start to break down those walls of fear, shame, guilt and regrets, you might lack the freedom you so desire. The devil uses your fear, guilt, shame and regrets to keep you from partaking in the freedom your rightfully deserve. How many times have your stayed in the same situation due to fear? How many times have you felt shamed and guilty over past mistakes? How many times will you continue to stay imprisoned by situations and past hurts that you believe that you don’t deserve to be free from? Prison is so vivid like I said, the contrast is very clear. You know when it is dark or when it is light around you just by taking a good look at yourself and evaluating yourself. Ask yourself this question and answer it honestly, am I imprisoned or am I free? If you feel imprisoned, then you have to work on breaking free. You will be glad that you did!

There is no complex way to say it, it feels so good to be free. I was once crippled with fear, shame, guilt and regret, but once I started to break free, it was a game changer. One of my sisters recently said something profund and it hit every point to why I urge you to be free in the spirit. She said, “if you don’t own your story, the devil will”. What was miniscule can easily be magnified and used against you if you don’t own your story. Understand that not every prisoner’s case is the same because some are innocent, but once they start to read into lies, it makes it hard for you to break free. They start to magnify the situations that bring more fear and eventually it impairs them. Unless they stop being into those lies about themselves, the will continue to live in a prison.

Darkness is something you choose because it might be is all you know, but have you tried looking above? Remember the little small holes that were above the underground prison I visited in Morocco? To me those small holes symbolized hope. They brought some light in this dark underground prison that made all the difference. The little small holes with the little light they provided, helped me see a little more clearly and eventually I found my way back to the top. Sometimes the little small holes providing light is what we may need to break free from the dark underground prison we have created for ourselves. Instead of looking around us to what is dark and painful, how about we look above? Breaking free starts with looking above. Breaking free starts with rising above. So you begin to look and rise above the sin, fear, shame, pain, guilt and regrets by owning them all and then releasing them. Wondering who the light above is? It’s God! He provides you with just enough light so you can walk out of darkness into your freedom. Here is a scripture for you and me:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5 v 1 (NIV)

Once we are set free, we have to stand firm and not allow ourselves to back to what once held us captive. As much as freedom feels good, you need to protect it. Standing firm is you always making the choice to look above. If Christ set us free, we look to him right? If you know what it is like to be in a dark place spiritually then you will fight to keep that light. You stand firm by owning your story, every bit of it, even the shameful part of it. You stand firm by pushing away all thoughts that are lies about you. You stand firm by always seeking light in every dark place that clearly wants to separate you from God’s truth. Stand firm to this new found freedom! It feels so good to be free! It is time to take your rightful place. It is time 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!

Best version of you: No prototypes

Photo by José Alejandro Cuffia on Unsplash- Prototype
To every finished product, there is a prototype that just did not make the cut.
-Xholiwe

I might not be the science nerd, but I know a lot of science requires testing. The medicine we consume when we are sick and the smart devices we use daily all went through a test. Even the cars we drive did not magically be the awesome cars we love to drive and feel safe in, they too had to be tested. One thing that is fascinating and pretty neat about science is that before the finished product, there is a good number of prototypes. To every finished product, there is a prototype that just did not make the cut. The scientist works towards making sure that the finished product is the best version before placing it into the consumers world. Why does he/she do so? Well, no one will put their hard earned money to something that was not tried and tested. Take a moment to think about your smart device missing certain features, would you be inclined to buy it? I am guessing you wouldn’t because those features are important to you right? It is amazing how we invest so much time and money into what features the latest device has and forget that we too need to be the best version of ourselves. Let us get this clear, we are not trying to be perfect because even the Samsung 7 had it’s flaws despite it being tried and tested. We want to be the best version of ourselves because the prototypes are just not cutting it anymore.

So why is it important for us to the best versions of ourselves? If I was to speak as a scientist that knows my craft, I would say the best version sells, not the prototype. People want to be the best version of themselves while still acting like prototypes. I have some bad news for the prototypes, you won’t sell. You may think that all is well until life demands you to be the best version of yourself in order to move on and grow. The best version of you might be a person that is more assertive, compassionate, honest, confident etc, but since you have not allowed yourself to be tried and tested you are still not making the cut. Trust me when I say trying to be the best version of yourself requires so much effort from you. You just can’t do nothing and expect to be the best version of yourself.

Self-evaluation

One thing that scientists do when creating a product is that they evaluate. They look at the things that didn’t work in the several prototypes and work on changing that for the finished product. In the same way, we to have to evaluate ourselves, we look at our habits and all other things that are hindering us to be the best version of ourselves. Is it the mindset you should be working on? Is it the people you surround yourself with? Is is the bad decisions you keep on making? Track some of these things and evaluate them carefully as you work towards being the best version of yourself. Give yourself time in your busy schedule to have a meeting of one where you self-evaluate yourself. You might be your biggest critic, but this is so important for you to build towards being the best version.

Molded by God

We are diving in a little deeper now, I want us to think more spiritually. Think of God as the the scientist in your life experiment, you have had enough of being the prototype and are ready to be the best version of yourself. You probably need God right about now to step in quick before you are discarded. Into the potters hands you go! Understand you can not do this alone, stop trying to figure things out and allow God to mold you to be the best version of yourself. His word confirms that he can do the same thing that the potter did with the clay. God’s message to Israel through Jeremiah was that he was the potter and the people of Israel where the clay (Jeremiah 18 v 6). While you put the effort, allow for God to work with you through the process of being the best version of yourself.

Tried and tested

One thing that we appreciate that is tried and tested is our car. The car carries our lives and that of our families, so scientists ensure the safety of the cars through trying and testing. On a more spiritual aspect, we too are tried and tested when we go through trials. Trials are God’s way of testing our true character, which can easily be a prototype instead of the best version. One thing I have learned from my own trials is that it stops me on my fast tracks to actually think, then eventually I evaluate myself. Trials are not so bad after all, if you start to look at them as building blocks you can use to be the best version of yourself. Trials can either bring out the best in us or the worst in us so when our character is proven by God we know where we stand. Here is a bible verse that sums up all that I am trying to tell you:

These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

1 Peter 1 v 7 (NLT)

Once we are tried and tested, it will show through our faith whether or not we want to be the best versions or be discarded prototypes. God wants to know if he can work hand in hand with us or will we choose to curl up and be disarded at the first sight of trial. God wants to see the best version of us that has been tried and tested and still stands in faith. God wants to see the best version of ourselves that has learned from their past mistakes and works towards not repeating them. God wants to see us for who we truly are and not our potential.

Fall in love with your best version

Potential is all what it is potential. It will never measure up to the best version of yourself. There is a reason to why every consumer demands for a finished product because the potential prototype is not consumable. Have you ever heard someone say that they love their smart device’s potential when it has missing features? No, so why are you in love with a potential you that hasn’t fully decided to be the best version? Is it because it is much easier to act on potential than it is to be authentically you. Falling in love with the best version of you will push you to get rid of the potential you. The potential you that doesn’t make the cut anymore because your growth is demanding for the best version of you. Once you fall in love with the best version of you there is no stopping you because you know who you are. People need you to be the best version of yourself, in fact certain people’s lives depend on you being the best version. When you fall in love with the best version of you, you are willing to put in the work so that you maintain yourself even when the trials come.

My last words to you, stop living like a prototype when you are meant to be the best version of yourself. You have to put in the work, the best version of you wont came from doing nothing. You may need to have a meeting of one with yourself and evaluate what is hindering you from being the best version of yourself. Allow God to step in and work hand in hand with him as he brings out the best in you. Reminder he is the potter and you are the clay. When trials come hold your head up and let them bring out the best and not the worst out of you. God wants to work with the best version of you that can fight through and can be tried and tested, but still come out proven. Lastly, fall in love with the best version of yourself because that is all for all! You do want to take that rightful place right? The rightful place requires for you to be the best version of yourself! It is time to take our rightful place. It is time to trade our thorns for crowns.

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

Crown of Thorns to Crowns of Life

He that wore a Crown of Thorns now wears a Crown of Life
-Xholiwe

As we are still in the spirit of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I thought of sharing on how possible it is for us to go from dealing with pain to being whole again. We are all excited that Christ has risen and oh what a joy to know that the tomb is empty! Jesus the King of heaven and earth is seated on the throne and he that was crucified for your sin is alive. It is great that we are celebrating, but can we take some time to learn from Jesus about pain and wholeness for he that wore a crown of thorns now wears a crown of life. If you don’t have any examples of people in your life that endured pain and became whole please feel free to take your example off Jesus.

Just like Jesus, we too have had to endure pain and that crown of thorns sometimes leaves us wondering if there is the slightest possibility that we can take it off. Truth is that if Jesus did it, so can we. We do face pain I know and sometimes that pain feels so pressed deep on our minds and hearts that it feels like the crown of thorns is a permanent accessory you have to wear for the rest of your life. The devil is a liar! Because he that wore a thorn of crowns now wears a crown of life and so can we! I remember dealing with pain so much that I thought it would always be that way. I thought I would have to live the rest of my life wearing a crown of thorns, but Jesus had another plan for me and so does he for you!

Healing from pain is not an overnight phenomenon. It is a process that requires you to trust God more than anything. You want the healing bad enough to trust God who knows your heart and every part that hurts. God knows every thorn that is embedded in the crown that has kept you hurtful, bitter, angry and unforgiving, depressed, prideful, and any other things that haunt you because of the pain you have had to deal with in your life.

Would you believe me when I say that you shouldn’t have to feel that way the rest of your life. Would you believe me if I say that peace is possible! Would you believe when I say that healing of pain from every thorn is possible! I never for a second thought it was possible because the pain that I allowed to sit on my head started to feel normal. Yes, we can normalize pain and act out of our pain and see nothing wrong with it. One wise woman once said that when you sit in stinky places for too long, you no longer have a sense of the bad smell because you have normalized it. Same way with pain, we sit in it for too long and normalize it. I was once so bitter and would say that is just the way it is, ummm no! I needed some healing from my pain and if God did not step in, I would still be acting out of my pain.

Here is the thing, we think that when we hold on to pain we are doing ourselves a favor, that is so wrong on 20 different levels that we could talk about in another blog. I want us to realize the power of letting go and allowing God to heal us and make us whole. Can God take us from wearing a crowns of thorns to wearing crowns of life? Yes! Because Jesus was his example for us. What does wearing a crown of life look like? When someone tells you that you dont look like or act like what you have been through. I take that as confirmation that I am healing from my pain when some stranger that I tell my testimony is amazed by all that I had to endure. Crowns of life are filled with peace, hope, faith, love and believing that all the pain you have to face in life will pass. The verse of promise in James 1:12 comforts me and hope it does for you too.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12 ESV

There are so many verses in the bible that talk of crowns and that should confirm something in your spirit right now. God gave us this promise and hope that we will receive crowns of life. A crown of life just like Jesus receive on the third day he resurrected from the grave. We too will have it! How exciting is it to know that we too can wear crowns of life.

Let us continue celebrating our resurrected king, let us also be reminded that he is resurrecting us from all the pain that we have normalized for too long. We are trading our crown of thorns for crowns of life.