Living with your decisions: The good, the bad and the ugly

Hello Crowned Royals! It has been a very long minute, but I hope all is well with you. I am doing well and just like you, I continue to work towards trading my thorns for crowns. I have been wanting to write on this topic for quite a while now, so hopefully my thoughts are still as fresh as I need them to be. Decisions, we all have to make them and eventually we all have to live with them. I am assuming that all my readers are adults and at some point in your lives had to make some major decisions, however big or small, the decisions were made and whether good, bad, or ugly, you lived with your decisions. So let us talk about talk about them!

Not so recently, I went to a restaurant with some friends, I was quite familiar with the menu and knew what was good there and decided on my order easily. My friends on the other hand were visiting the place for the first time and just like most first timers, they did ask what was good, I shared my suggestions, but allowed them to make their own decision. Despite my suggestions, they decided to go for something different and that was okay by me because they were first timers. Our meals were brought to the table and everyone dug into their meals, and immediately you could tell that not everyone was happy with their choice. I was quite happy with my chicken parmesan dish, but it may have been too late for the others to change their order so they ate their food regrettably. They envied by chicken parmesan and some even asked to have a taste of my good meal choice . You might be wondering, what does this meal story have to do with living with our decisions, well, all that is just a simple example with no major consequences of how our decisions eventually live with us. While you are not dealing with eating bland food that could not be saved by any amount of salt and pepper, you are dealing with major life decisions that come with major consequences and you would want to make the right decision with those ones. Throughout this blog I want you to think about your major life decisions and how you live or have lived with them.

Major Life Decisions and living with the them

What are major life decisions? These are decisions that can literally change your life for the good or for the bad. These type of decision impact our lives in major ways, for example, what state should I move to? must I make a career change at this age? is this the right person to marry? etc. Major life decisions are what you live with and unlike deciding on what meal at the restaurant, they are far more complex to be taken lightly. Major life decision require more thought and discernment. Unfortunately, we have more people making major decisions without understanding the complexity of their choices. Whether the decision is good, bad, or ugly the lack of understanding the complexity is what we end up missing overall. If you have ever had to make a major life decision, then you should know by now that not every decision is fun to make and if you are like me, you would rather make the fun decisions and skip those though ones. But unfortunately life does not work that way and so we also have to make sound decisions for even the tough ones because we eventually live with them too. For every major life decision you make, remember that it manifests in your life and how it manifests is what lives with you. How are you living with those decisions?

If you have ever had to live the consequences of your decisions, then you know what it is like to either be glad you made that decision or regret making that decision. We want to think making decisions is the hard part, but have you ever lived through the bad decision you made? Such torture, right? and even though there might be someone to blame, you still made that choice too. Once we get to experience this type of regret with our choices, we then use to to make wiser choices and live with better consequences. Easier said than done for sure, but what would you rather live with? the good? the bad? or the ugly?

Decisions, Decisions and More decisions…. does it ever end?

Just when you thought you made the right decision, here comes another decision causing you sleepless nights as you try to rationally figure out what to do next…been there? there right now? I think we all have been there or are there right now and the question is when does it end? I personally think it does not end, as long as we are alive, we will have decisions to make. It is quite easy to despise major decision making, but do you realize that so much power lies in you making your decisions. I think God gave us the ability to decide so that we are able to see the power our decisions have over us. If you are like me and have made some good, bad and ugly decisions, then you know the power of your decisions really impact your life. With the many decisions we have to make in our lifetime, we quickly learn that our decisions have consequences and those consequences are what we live with. Because decision making will not end anytime soon for you, how best can you make sound decisions and live with them in harmony?

Making Sound Decisions

There are several ways to go about making wiser decisions that you will not have to hating living with the bad choices. I know this because I have made my share of bad decisions and if I just applied some of these listed below things could have been different. I hope these help you too;

  1. Seek counsel- with God, trusted family/friend, church counsellors (pastors etc)
  2. Realize there is power in your decision
  3. Don’t allow fear to decide for you
  4. Learn from your bad decisions and don’t repeat them
  5. Never make decisions under pressure
  6. Evaluate your decisions

God and Decisions

Here is the exciting part of the blog, some assurance that all of us can appreciate as we make decisions. God wants to be part of our decision making, he actually delights in us seeking his counsel regarding our major life decisions, even the ones we consider small. God wants us to make good and sound decisions that allow us to realize the power our decisions have over our lives. He gives us freedom with our choices and that speaks of a lot of his love for us. As complex as decision making is, it is comforting to know that God is willing to help us decide, our job is just to seek his Godly counsel. Living with your decisions under God’s counsel is the ultimate goal. Allow him to guide and help you on which way to go and most importantly what decision to make. Making decision is already hard and can oftentimes leave you frustrated, angry, overwhelmed, confused, restless just to mention a few. So why then complicate your decision making by trying to decide on major life decisions on your own? Check in with God and see what he has to say about your choices. His word in Proverbs sums this all up beautifully;

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and never lean on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your path.

Proverbs 3 v 5-6

All in all, we can all admit decision making can be hard at times and can even be worse when we have to live with the bad choices we make. My final thoughts on this is that we do not always have to make the bad choices and learn from them later if we just start by making the right ones from now on. How do we do so? By not making these decisions alone! We seek counsel, we learn from past mistakes, we don’t take major life decision making lightly, we don’t allow fear to decide for us and we eventually decide on the right choice. It is time for us to make the right decisions and live with them. It is time for us to take our rightful place! It is time to trade thorns for crowns.

Much Love,

Xholiwe

Always a winner: What happens when you fail

To win again you need to critically look at your failure and handle it well. -Xholiwe-

Hello Crowned Royals! Greeting from the winter wonderland land of Illinois. I hope you are doing wonderful and not quitting for nothing until you take your crowns. I thought of writing this week because I had many thoughts regarding failure and how most of us don’t take it so well. I totally understand us because let’s be honest failure is not not as exciting as winning. We all want to win, I mean who wouldn’t want to always be the winner? But what happens when you fail?

If you have ever played a good game of Monopoly with either friends or family, then you know not everyone takes failure very well. Remember when your competitive family member or friend lost all their money and property on Monopoly? How did they take that failure? I am guessing not so well and that was just in a game of Monopoly. Unfortunately, failure goes beyond the a fictional board game, even for the people that have always been winning in real life. Unexpectedly for some failure comes as a surprise and their inability to handle failure can be quite devastating. For people that are used to always winning, I want to tell you right now that failure is okay. Failure is not the end of your winning streak, and will not ruin your life. I hope after this blog the “f” word will be a comfortable thing for you to say without panicking.

What happens when we fail?

When we fail there are two ways we can go and the choose is usually up to us and how we handle our failures. You could either take the route that tells you are not enough because you failed in something or the route that says use our failure as a learning point to grow and mature. It is hard to take the second route if you have always been the winner, losing for someone who has always been a winner is so scary. But I don’t think many people are impressed by a story of someone who has always been winning. In fact, people don’t buy tickets to motivational speakers who have always been winning, what sales those tickets is that failure was involved. We have heard the stories of the winners and champions we admire and they have something in common and that is failure. They share on their failures and just for a second we look at their humanness and that they too are not exempt from it. But if these people took the route that told them they were not enough and should quit, then we would have lost champions because of their inability to handle failure well.

I get it failure does not feel good, starting over does not make any sense at all, but once you decide to take the route of growth and maturity from your failures then you are going to see failure much differently than you did before.

Changing your perspective on failure

A lot of us have looked at failure negatively because we live in a society that does not celebrate failure, if anything we would rather failure did not exist. We all want to win, winning is appealing and well celebrated. Think about how a winning sports team brings celebration to its fans compared to the losing team that leaves it’s fans devastated. For the team that lost, their failure allows them to look critically at their mistakes and how they could improve for the next game or season. Rather than allowing failure to devastate and overwhelm you, look at failure as a place to learn and improve yourself and not beat yourself up about it. Starting off from this perspective of failure will help you realize that your failure is your learning point and not the end of your perfect world of winning. To win again you need to critically look at your failure and handle it well. Some of us could admit that we have not handles our failures well, and that later even lead to our own destruction.

Your inability to look at failure positively will easily frustrate, anger, overwhelm, guilt, shame and discourage you when you do experience it. I totally understand the feeling and emotions that come with failure because I too have failed miserably in some areas of my life and if I allowed that failure to devastate me, then I would be telling a different story. The feelings that come with failure are valid, but you can’t not allow them to guide you through your failures. You are allowed to feel all the feels, but dwelling on them and letting them lead you is an absolute no. Allow yourself the time to mourn your failure, but quickly remind yourself that failure is a learning point and learn what you have to learn from it.

God’s view on failure

There many Bible stories that tell me that God was okay with failure. He worked with many flawed people that experienced major failure. I think of the many failures of David and how God still used him and lifted him up above all the failures. I think of the failures of Peter and how God still used Peter to build the church. God may have realized it before we did, that we would fail at some point in our lives and he hoped we would see it much differently and handle it much differently than we do. God views failure as a teachable moment for you and also a place that helps you grow into knowing who you are in him. God is not looking at your failure and thinking you are defeated because of it. He is hoping you are taking failure well and not allowing it to overwhelm you and take you away from trying again. He is hoping you are realizing that failure is inevitable and not a death sentence. Rather than looking at failure as a limitation as we look at it, God looks at it as a place of possibility. A place where we can mature and take a more accurate look at our failure and how it can help us grow and build resilience. With failure God would want us to see our humanness and that even we are flawed, but have a perfect God that is able use us despite our failures and shortcomings. Think about it, if God only used people that were always winners, how would the flawed related to their own failures? For example if God only used the perfect, how would the world we live in look at failure? much worse than it is today. We would think perfect is the only way to be used by God, but on the contrary, God is wanting to help and work with the person who embraces failure and handle it well. The word of God says this:

Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
    I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
    and I know I will not be put to shame.

Isaiah 50:7

Let us face it, failure is usually much louder than winning especially in the world that magnifies the failures of others, so this verse should be comforting to all of us. Even in failure God will help us and we shall not be disgraced! Glory to God who shows us grace even in our failure.

With that said, I hope you look at your failure much differently than you did before. I hope you are able to change your perspective on your failures and how well you can handle them. Don’t hate me for saying it, but failure is good for you. Failure will help you grow, humble and mature you. Failure is a perfect teachable moment for you and God is most likely to be part of that moment. Realize that if you have not experienced failure or are like me and have had your share of failures, then your failure does not mean your defeat. There is still a lot of room to win! Before we jump into the winning court, learn from the previous failures and grow. It is time for you to take your rightful place! It is time for you to trade thorns for crowns.

Much Love,

Xholiwe

The Fight of your Life: How can you win?

Hello Crowned Royals, I hope all is well with you and that you are doing your best to stay above ground as we wrap up this year. I know for some 2020 has been a long and hard year and for others it has been a year that allowed you to reflect on your life on a much deeper level. Looking back to this year might just show you at how much you had to fight off to stay above ground. While some had to fight a little harder than others, I think is safe to say that we were all fighting. We had to fight to stay sane, healthy, present, just to mention a few, nevertheless, life was still going on. I decided to write on the fight for your life because fighting for your life is not a one and done thing, but a continual fight that requires your resilience and will to stay standing in every battle ground you are thrown into. If you have ever been thrown into a fighting ring without any knowledge on how to fight your opponent then you might already be fighting a losing battle, but if you come in ready to fight with knowledge of who you are up against, then chances are that you are likely to win. Winning is the result we all should aim for, and if we have to win we need a whole lot more than only acknowledging that we are in a fight for our lives.

Story time: Before I became the girly girl I am today, I was mostly hanging out with my guy cousins and like very young boy back in the early 2000s, the boys loved to watch WWE (wrestling) and later play it on their video games. Because I was outnumbered by the boys, I too eventually got to love WWE and playing video games with them that involved fighting. Now that I think of WWE and playing fighting video games, there was one thing that was common, it was intimidation. How wrestlers in the ring would intimidate their opponents or how my bigger boy cousins will intimidate me was a common trend. In the fight of your life, you will also notice that even before you decide to throw any punches, your opponent will use intimidation to lower your chances of winning and most of us will flee without a fight. Once we give in into intimidation, we let go of our chance to fight and give the opponent the upper hand. One fighting story that just came to my mind is the historic biblical fight of David and Goliath. Goliath was David’s opponent and he did use intimidation to scare away David from attempting to fight, but little did he know that David was ready and had knowledge of his opponent and was training for this epic fight way before it happened. If you want to win the fight for your life then maybe you can start off my realizing that every fight requires your attention. If David was dismissive of this prior fights, how would he then have known how to fight Goliath? Pay attention, every fight is preparation for the next.

Know your own fight

The fight of your life may look nothing like another person’s fight because we all have our own circumstances that we are to overcome. One’s strategy to win may or may not work for you, but yours is to fight anyway. While others have to fight a little harder, others have less to fight for, but yours is to fight. I consider myself a fighter and in the amount of time I have been alive, I would like to think my fights were much more than others and at first I did not receive this revelation well. I thought why can’t I fight a little less like my friends do and just chill, but God knew best that I needed strength for the several other fights that will come my way. God has to build me to not be intimidated by my enemy, but to stay standing confidently knowing that God has my back. Maybe you are like me and you feel like you are in a constant battle that you want to win, I would encourage you to keep fighting. Will you like it at first? absolutely not! But nothing is more rewarding than the victory over a fight for your life.

Who are you fighting against?

Understand that the fight of your life is more spiritual than it is physical. Yes, your physically body does respond the your spiritual battle in some way. I remember when I was depressed, my body was just losing weight, even though I ate food normally. My body was responding in stress when things and people were constantly frustrating me. My physical body was extremely tired and beat down even though I was not in a physical fight. The fight of your life will require more of you and your spiritual attention. The bible says we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places [Ephesians 6:12]. Who have you been fighting? Have you been fighting the wrong person all this while and have been unable to win? The Bible let’s you know who you are up against and in order to win your battle the first step would be knowing who you are up against. When you are constantly fighting people and not what is backing their fight towards you then winning will be a far reach for you. So how can you win?

6 ways that can help you win your fight

  1. Know your opponent: you have to know who you are up against, you have to study their ways and build your strategy in order to win. You can’t come to a fighting ring without knowledge of who you are up against. So who are you up against for the fight of your life? Your answer is in Ephesians 6:12. So where is the fight ring? in the spirit, how do you fight in the spirit since it is not physical? answer is #2
  2. Prayer: Because you can not fight darkness, principalities, wickedness physically, you fight them in prayer grounds. Prayer is your weapon, use your words to win the fight of your life. Pray unceasingly because the fight for your life is a continual battle.
  3. Faith over fear: Some battles we have never experienced can be scary at first glance, but build you faith from it. Place your faith in God’s ability to help you win. Remember that this is not the first battle God helped you through.
  4. Don’t be intimidated: If you know your opponent, you know that they use intimidation to stop you from fighting, but you will make the choice to be bold and brave knowing that God is backing you up and that yours is the victory.
  5. Remember your training: If this is not the very first fight of your life, then you are to remember how you overcame and won your other fights. Even those small fights you consider irrelevant, there is something that could be used for your next battle.
  6. Apply your training: No, you will not just allow intimidation scare you away, but you will apply what you have learned over the years. Your will pray precisely and physically identify the wickedness, power, darkness that showed up in the people around you before taking your win in the spirit.

Once you begin to fight the right opponent and do it unceasingly for every battle ground you are thrown into, I tell you from experience that you will win. I will leave you with this encouraging verse as you pick up your weapons and fight for your life.

Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6 v 12

Much Love,

Xholiwe

The Missing Link: How to own your story

Hello Crowned Royals, I hope you are all doing well and keeping healthy. While some of you enjoy warm summers, winter is on its way up North. I am not opposed to all the holiday fuzzy feels that come with it, so winter 2020 please be kind to us. I have been so out of touch with my writing to you and that is not an excuse for someone that wants you trading those thorns for crowns, even in 2020 we are still in the business of trading thorns. And boy! aren’t there many thorns to trade in this one year alone.

I write to you with such openness because what I write does step on some people’s toes. It might step on your toes, so if it does I apologize in advance. So ownership of your story was heavy on my heart for the many weeks I did not write and now I am ready to unpack. Imagine with me, we are in court as observers following a court case that involves two people, it could be about anything, but in this case we will say this is a bad divorce case. The two parties involved present their stories before the judge and each brings out the many good points about themselves and very few selected bad points only to wait on the verdict of the judge. When telling their stories each may or may not own up to their full story and eliminate the bad side of the story, but at the end of it all the judge has the final verdict. I hope you know where I am going with this, no more sitting as an observer in court, you too have some telling to do in front of the judge. I don’t know at what point you are at in your life, but given the opportunity to tell your story, would you fully own up to your story? Funny thing about not owning up to your story is that the little piece of information you decided to leave out always has a way of showing right back up in your life and then begins your endless battle of self defense in your own court (your mind).

As I mature more, because give or take 3-4 years ago I obviously wasn’t as mature, I was the one that bought into (not always) one sided stories until I realized that everyone experiences a situation and life in general differently and how they choose to tell their story is totally up to them. The problem with this is that like the husband and wife defending their divorce in court, our stories may have many missing links. Here is my definition of missing links, missing links are deliberate eliminations to the full story used to protect us or the image we paint and want people to believe about us. There is a question, are you that person that has left out certain parts of your story to protect yourself or the image others believe about you? Well, it is understandable because a lot of us have done that including myself and we all had or (still have for others) our valid reasons. Because our lives are not Disney fairytales, we actually deal with real life tragedies. The type of tragedies that we find hard to speak of because we don’t know how well others will receive us, sound familiar? The Truth is the part of the story that carries pain, shame, guilt, regret, anger, embarrassment is not desirable to own up to, but can I tell you that you can’t be you without your full story. Leaving out parts of your story and not owning up to all of it takes away from who you are, and hence the many masked people we interact with daily. Owning up to certain things in your life can leave such a bad taste in your mouth even before you decide to talk to someone about it, but can I tell how liberating it is to finally tell your story.

Side note, people that don’t own up to their stories can be self defensive when someone approaches them about their story. Trust me because I was there a couple of times, we might have to talk in depth about self defense in these coming blogs . The problem with self defense is that it takes you further away from being your true self because you are spending more defending yourself. It can be exhausting, not just mentally, but even physically, so why burden yourself this much?

The big question is how do you own up to your story? How do you add the missing link that you have ever so often left out?

5 ways to own up to your story

  1. Own up to yourself: Might sound silly to some, but mirror talk back to yourself your story. Tell it back to yourself and you will be surprised how many tears you might cry by just talking to yourself about your story and also discover how much you bottled inside.
  2. Take it to God in prayer: If you are not ready to fully own your story to family or friends then good news is that our God who is ever so listening would want to hear from you. Tell him your story, all the good, bad and the ugly. Yes, he knows, but you being able to say it is for your healing.
  3. Share your story with a trusted family or friend: Baby steps, just because you are owning up to your story, it doesn’t mean you stand in a church or go live on social channel to just speak on things that could use some wise words, warmth, encouragement and direction. Speak to your close knit and leave nothing out.
  4. Stop with the self-defense: Because it is exhausting, you need to stop it. If parts of your true story are out their being told by others then stop with the self defense. I know no one wants a bad name out there, trust me I know. Sadly, even in the case of false stories about you, you may need to stop with the self defense because people will also make up their side of their story too and all your defenses will mean nothing to them. Is it unfortunate? Yes, but you are working on your healing and not on a marathon of she said and he said. Find your peace.
  5. Identify your missing links: List all your missing links, the parts you left our in your story and associate the emotion that accompanied them. Are they in the past? or are the missing links still part of your story? If they are then, you got work to do to change that narrative.

Owning up to your story can not be so easy and I totally understand, but the beauty of doing so even while scared is the freedom and peace that comes from it. It is a very vulnerable act and if you ever do it, I applaud you! Here is some scripture affirmation that will push you towards owning up to your story;

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8 vs 1

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Revelations 12 vs 11

How amazing is that? your story matters to God and others need your story. You might not believe me, but there maybe someone out there that needs to hear your story and how you overcame. There is no condemnation! Your story is powerful, so own it. Owning up to it will never take away from you, it does the total opposite! It helps you walk in liberty and peace. Soon in enough you will be able to tell others how you overcame! Tell your story! It is time for you to take your rightful place. It is time to trade thorns for crowns.

Much love,

Xholiwe

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

Never settle: Escaping Dysfunction

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

Never settle in dysfunction

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

Escaping dysfunction

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

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

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

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

2 Chronicles 20 v 17

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

Much love,

Xholiwe

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

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

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

Focus like an eagle

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

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

Soaring like an eagle

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

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

Isaiah 40 v 31

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

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

Lots of love,

Xholiwe

Single mindedness: The power of a single mind

Photo by Jakari Ward on Unsplash
Unlike a double-minded person, you are not in a constant battle with your mind, but are settled in knowing exactly who you are and your God given purpose.
-Xholiwe

Hello crowned and quarantined royals! I hope this blog finds you well during these unprecedented times. It has been a while and it is apparent we talk about being single minded and the power it gives you. Often times we have found ourselves battling with double mindedness and because of the constant wavering in our minds, we are unable to fully come to a oneness in our minds. In a world full of many options, I could see why having a single mind is not easy. We are constantly presented with options, information, people, and places that making having a single mind almost impossible. However, we are called to be single minded, at least that is what my bible tells me. The bible says in James 1:8 that the ways of a double-minded person are unstable. If the ways of a double-minded person are unstable, what are the ways of a single-minded person? This is not rocket science, the ways of a single-minded person are stable. Stability is where the power of single mindedness plays a vital role in our lives. Before we go any further, this will be a good time to ask yourself if you are double-minded or single-minded.

No shades of gray

A couple weeks ago I was listening to the song by Jonathan McReynold called ‘No Gray’ basically the message from the song is hitting on double mindedness. In his song he says you have to either be white or black and avoid those gray areas in your life. We are not talking about literal colors, but our decisions, our convictions, our standards and our beliefs need to be distinct (black or white). The dangers of leaving all these in a gray area can easily lead to a wavering mind. Let us be honest, we have all been there (the gray areas), some of us more than others. We have flirted with different ideologies, made the wrong decisions, been with the wrong people, and at some point even lowered our standards all because our mind lacked stability. A result of doing so brought instability in many of our lives and for some right now it may only be the beginning. Understand that the gray areas lack structure and leave vital things that require stability in limbo. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to purposefully make distinct decisions because if not, you will be constantly falling into the unstable gray zones. You have to decide whether you want to sin or not (black or white) or whether you want to obey or disobey (black or white) and the list goes on. Avoid the gray zones by all means necessary because the gray can very easily result in a seed of doubt and with doubt comes wavering and with wavering comes instability. With that, take some time to think about the gray areas in your life that you can shift and stabilize.

Training the mind to be single-minded

Newsflash! Having a single-mind does require training. Remember I told you earlier that it is not easy. Even the great women and men of God had to train their minds. We need to understand that the mind most of the time takes most of the information it is presented, and it is almost like we communicate with it on what we keep and what we don’t keep. For example, I was not a fan of math in high school and still not a fan now, do I remember all the math information presented to me? absolutely not! But you know what I remember from high school more vividly is the moments spent with my high school friends. I am not an expert on minds, but a simple step to train your mind is filtering information presented to you. Not all information needs to be absorbed, especially not math formulas for me lol. Training the mind does take time, so allow yourself some time because you can not wish yourself into being single-minded. Single-mindedness can be built by self-discipline and commitment. Can we be real though, self-discipline and commitment is surely not a walk in the park too. But we have to constantly work on them if we hope to be single-minded. Do something that will build self-discipline and commitment; it can be a small task like working out three times a week or a big project like redecorating your home. Do anything that will require for your to complete it. Make the simple strides first and keep at it. You got this!

The power of being single minded

Once you are constantly in the habit of training your brain to aim for one thing, you are way on your way to realizing the power of single-mindedness. Like I mentioned the power of single mindedness is in the stability of a person. While the world competes for power through money and authority, a single-minded person is already one step ahead because of their stability. With stability you are able to quickly identify what to do and what not to do. Stability also allows you to be in the right state of mind and hence make right decisions. Unlike a double-minded person, you are not in a constant battle with your mind, but are settled in knowing exactly who you are and your God given purpose. Therefore, if you want to move forward in purpose begin with a single mind. Here is some scripture for you;

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Matthew 6 v 24

The scripture speaks of the inability for one to serve two masters and uses the perfect example that some, not all continue to battle with. But when given the power of a single mind picking between money and God shouldn’t be complicated. Let us take it further, it is just not money and God that people have a wavering mind. It can be honor or dishonor and other times it can also be toxic relationships versus healthy relationships and the list goes on. See why you can not afford to be in the gray zone? It is time to tap into the power of single mindedness and embrace the power it gives you.

My last words regarding single mindedness are that, there are no shortcuts to getting there. If you have always been single-minded cheers to you, but for the rest we have to put in the work and realize the power we get from it. From now on be distinct (What is your black or white). Avoid those gray areas because they often times lead you into deep trouble. I am confident that you will begin to work towards developing a single mind. It is worth it! It is time to take your rightful place. It is time to trade thorns for crowns!

Much love,

Xholiwe

Find your rest: Rest beyond sleep

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

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

Race and Pace

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

Finding your rest beyond sleep

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

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

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

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

Mark 6:31 (NIV)

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

Much Love,

Xholiwe