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

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

Why just survive, when you were meant to thrive?

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

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

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

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

Jeremiah 17 v 7-8

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

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

Much Love Thrivors!

Xholiwe

Normalizing Hurt: There is liberty

When will it all get better?

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

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

Isaiah 43 v 2 NLT

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 8 v 18-21 NIV

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

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

Much Love,

Xholiwe

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!