Embarked Journey: Road to Damascus

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

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

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

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

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

Judges 18 v 5-6

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

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

Much Love

Xholiwe

Ready.Set.Go!

Positioning yourself before and during the race matter
-Xholiwe

If anyone knows a thing or two about track racing, you know that it requires more of you to actually put in the work in order to get the results you desire. I ran track in middle school and I was a sprinter that enjoyed running short distances really fast. Not to brag, I was one of the fast girls in the school and was part of the school track team. If you have ever been a racer, you know that the actual race is nothing compared to the time before you start. As a racer, I remember all the nerves that flared up before the race began. Getting into position and waiting for the whistle that signals us to go was nerve wrecking, even as I write right now it brings back those feelings I would get before the race. You know those feelings right? the eagerness, the uncertainty, the excitement and the determination to win this race all rushing through your mind and only for a second you focus your gaze on your track. The questions that I had in those few seconds were; am I ready? can I win? what if I lose? who am I disappointing? and my last thoughts before the signal were that my team was counting on me and my mother is in the stands, I have to make her proud! Wait, what about me? and by then, it is too late.

Goooo! The whistle blows and there I go! Uncertain, but believing in my own abilities even though before the race I heard that the girl in the third lane after me is a very fast sprinter and is most likely to win first place. Well, that should not bother me because I am here to run my race. Before you know it I was pushing myself to win the race, all my effort was projected towards being first and just when I was close to taking first place, I stumbled and fell. How did that happen? I was so close, this was supposed to be an easy win. However, my mother never raised a quitter, so I stood up and picked up my pace again because I had to finish the race. I may have not finished the race first, but I heard applause in the stands and from my team, and at that moment I was glad that I did not give up! I ran my race!

Do you realize that our journey in life almost sounds similar to that of the a track racer. We are sometimes put in positions that require our patience to wait before we are signaled to go. Those positions can easily flare up our nerves and have us asking all kinds of questions. Unlike the ready, set, go signal that only takes a couple of seconds for a racer, we sometimes face longer waits in life, it could be weeks, months, years before we are signaled to go. However, how we respond to this wait will determine our outcome. If our response is channeled from our fears, guilt, shame, hurt, anger and all other heavy burdens, we are in for long tedious race. Do you know why track racers wear light clothing and shoes? It is to be able to run the race as light as possible. A track racer will not be advised to wear a heavy winter coat while they race because it slows them down, the same way your negative responses keep you in undesired situations. What if you decide to respond differently? Allowing hope, love,faith, peace, excitement, eagerness would be like you wearing light weight clothing and shoes that help you run your race easily. The key here is to be able to recognize that your response to every situation you face in life can either move you forward or keep you where you are and the choice is entirely up to you.

After we are signaled to go, it is not a guarantee that we will not face opposition, obstacles and set back. The word of God says that we will go through trials, but we should be of good cheer. If anyone knows trial, I know you are saying what is there to be cheerful about? I thought that too, until God made it clear to me what he meant about being of “good cheer “even though life has me down. It means realizing that whatever trial you maybe going through will pass and God is fighting your battle. When God gets involved there is no doubt that the battle will be won in your favor. I know we all wish life was roses and waterfalls, but there times when we stumble and fall and some falls are mighty. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean we stay down, you know why? because people depend on you finishing your race. What you endure and overcome will help others learn from you and grow.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:7

We also need to realize the importance of focusing our goals, dreams, desires on what God has called us to do. If we spend most of our time looking at others tracks, we miss a whole lot of our own race. Rather than focusing on who is better or who is not, I would say let us believe in our own abilities and channel our effort to be better than we were before. Remember that every race is different, sometimes it may require more effort from you than others. Every racer can tell you that not every race is the same. With that said, not every life journey is the same and the sooner you realize that the better for you and those counting on you.

My last thoughts about life and racing is that it doesn’t matter whether you come first or last. If you can just finish strong and at the pace God has you on. There is no need to rush things that God already knows you need. Patience! Patience! Patience! Wait on the Lord and he will renew your strength. You have to keep the faith and always remember that all things will work together for your good! Let’s keep running!