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

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

Accepting your truth; letting go of denial

Just like Peter, we too have denied the truth in fear of being condemned
-Xholiwe

Can we take a moment to address the elephant in the room? Can we talk about living in denial and how it has some of us disillusioned to not accepting our truth. We all know that one person who denies having an anger issue, everyone confirms that the person has an anger issue, except the person with the anger issues. Another way of looking at denial is when everyone at the restaurant tells you that you got food between your teeth and you choose to deny it until you go to the bathroom and take a look in the mirror.

Denial by definition is the action of declaring something to be untrue. Before you come at me with your theologies and defense tatics, I want to let you know that denial has a two way approach. First, you can deny bad experiences that were spoken in falsehood about you and defend yourself because those bad experiences are indeed untrue. Secondly, you can also deny bad experiences that actually happened and you were part of it either voluntary or involuntary and defend yourself because those bad experiences were/are your reality. Lets get the cat out of the bag, I will spend my time talking about the second approach of denial because it has had many of us fearful to face our truth.

I am not a psychologist so I don’t have big psychological terminology that will convince you that you are living in denial when you should be facing your truth. However, what I do have is experience, I have had a couple of bad experiences that happened in my own life that were true, but it was hard for me to face my truth. I tried to sweep it under the rag like most of us do and pretend that I have it all together. I can go all day telling you about my bad events that I chose to deny, but there is no experience in my life that is compared to the lose of my mother. My mother passed away in 2012, and let me tell you that her death changed almost everything that I thought my life should have been. I was in total denial about her death for a very long time. I could not accept the reality I was facing, but I was good at putting up a brave face because everyone expected me to be strong. I often could not face the fact that I was orphaned of both my parents and being an only child didn’t help me much. If you know a thing or two about only children you will understand what I mean. My reality was that my mother was no more and that I had to figure out life without her, move to a different country without her, graduate college without her, get married without her, have children without her and that was not easy to accept. So I fought with my thoughts at night and wished everything that just happened was just a dream, but it was reality that I could not face at the time. So your question would be, how did you accept this truth and face it? I had a crazy man I call my brother William that made me speak my truth and call me out on my denial. This was not an easy process because I was in full denial mode. Despite of the constant defense of my actions, I got to a place that led me to accepting my truth. All truth, not just my mother’s death, but a whole lot of my other mistakes and regrets. I can’t stress enough the importance of having truth tellers in your life, people that will tell you the truth no matter how it hurts because they want to see you walk free (read my blog on freedom).

I can tell you that ever since I started to accept my truth, it is so much easier to live my life without denying my reality. I don’t know what you are struggling to accept right now and it is your reality, all I can tell you is that the quicker you face it, the quicker your peace of mind. Do not feel like you have it bad because if we look back to the bible, Peter denied Jesus, not once, but three times. Peter denied ever being with Jesus (the truth) because of fear of being killed too. We too have denied our truth because we fear being judged, judgment feels like death because people are constantly judging others like it is a competition. Truth is that we should be talking about what we are struggling to face because the more we talk about it, the freer we get from it and hence we start to accept our reality.

It all starts in the mind, our thoughts can ran our lives for us if we do not take charge of them. It is very easy to make an illusion that fools people into thinking your life is sunshine and rainbows, meanwhile you still carry around pain that happened to you as a little girl or boy. You are still pondering on the mistakes you made as a teenager and beating yourself about it. You lose sleep over regrets that happened when your not mature enough to tell who was genuine in your life. I know this because I have been there, but I am not allowing myself to stay in denial! I am accepting my truth and learning my lessons. (read my blog: L’s are for Lessons). I would hope the since you are on my blog, you are looking to accept your truth too.

There is no shame what so ever that comes with accepting your truth, it is actually a blessing to speak your truth and be free!

It is time to turn that mess into a message, you have a lot of people waiting on you to face your truth so that they can learn for you and live a life free from the fear of being judged.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free

John 8:32

There are some of the approaches that I use to help me deal with denial that I think can help you too;

  • Revisit all the bad experiences in your life that you know for sure that you continue to deny till this day; some of you might have to revisit your childhood, teenage years and most recent events in your adult life.
  • There may be some tears as you revisit some of these events, but that’s okay, tears heal the soul.
  • Talk to someone you trust; a family member, a friend, a pastor, a counselor about this because you don’t have to go through this alone
  • Write down the feelings that come with those bad events and ask yourself why those feelings are there
  • Forgive yourself and others that were involved
  • Spend time in prayer; fast if you can!
  • Remind yourself that you an overcome despite all that happened you are still alive and strong!
  • Face your truth because there is no need to be in denial when you have a whole life to live!

With that said, My prayer for you all is that God who is the truth steps into our lives and helps us realize soon enough that there is no profit that comes from denying our truth. To all that read this, let us accept our truth and let go of denial!

L’s are for Lessons

“Lessons are blessings in disguise”
-Xholiwe

“Wait, what? I know I did not take another L!” just when life felt like it was getting better, those words have come out of my mouth. L’s by definition from the urban dictionary are loses. We usually find ourselves talking about taking L’s when in conversation with our peers and it has been common to laugh about it and go home still trying to understand why are we are taking another L. L’s being loses sometimes come from a places of regret, shame, guilt, fear and denial. Sometimes it may not be as serious because we may have lost a bet and took an L. However, when life gets real for some of you, you take huge L’s that could literally change your life if you don’t look at it differently. There are some huge L’s that if we do not have a different perspective would take you down and out;

  • Lose of a loved one through death
  • Heartbreak; break up, separation, divorce
  • Lose of a job
  • Financial loses
  • Lose of business
  • Failing in school

The L’s that are listed are a few of many, but I believe at least a handful of people have experienced one of those L’s at some stage in their lives. There also are people that have experienced all the listed L’s and some. There are also people that have not experienced these major L’s, for you I say my prayers go out to you and when the L’s do come, be strong in the Lord.

I have taken some L’s too and sometimes ask myself, did this just happen again? I have lost loved ones, I have gone through heartbreak and often times that came with pain, regret, shame, guilt and fear etc. I missed that part that most of us miss, and recently have been trying to turn my thinking around my L’s and how I handle them. I am now asking myself, what is the lesson here Lord, what should I learn? This is a tough question for me, I am guessing it would be for you too because it can be hard to see lessons in the midst of your pain. How do I take the lesson as I deal with the lose of a loved one or a major heartbreak? Well, stop for a second and put the pain aside and spend sometime in prayer asking God what you need to learn from your L. When you do this, you discover more of your character and who you are in the midst of lose. If you communicate with God enough he will reveal to you all these questions you may have regarding your L’s. When he does, please do not ignore it and turn to your own conclusion.

Lessons are a blessing in disguise! We may not see it most of the time, but they are! I believe when we learn our lessons from our loses we are less likely to make the same mistakes. Another thing we do is be mad at God for losing a loved one and I thank God I quickly realized it was pointless and foolish of me to be mad. I was mad at God because I lost a loved one and it is not fun. Being mad at God for your loses does not change the fact that he is still God, but for you on the other hand, you are continue to struggle instead of going to God and seeking comfort in his presence.

Some of the lessons we learn have put us back in alignment with God’s will. There are certain L’s we took because of our own disobedience and God had to correct us. Just like any loving parent would to his/her child, God corrects us so that we are not lead to think our L’s are the end of us. When he corrects us sometimes it is can be unpleasant, but later on we are grateful because we changed for the better. Through the process, we got to improve our characters, understand more of God and his works and understand that L’s are for lessons.


No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[a so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Hebrews 12:11-13

As a student, the thing you don’t want to be doing while the teacher is giving a lesson is being distracted, skipping class or asleep. Once you miss a fundamental step or concept, you will find it very difficult to pass the test. Same thing with God, as he is teaching us our lessons from major loses, let us not be distracted or asleep. When we do so, we set ourselves up for yet another L that may cost us more than the L we took before because we did not learn from the lesson. Learn your lesson, the future you will be grateful that you did!