Friday, 22 May 2015

The Beauty Inside

There's something about clichés that I don't quite like sometimes. I find that they tend to be conversation fillers, especially when you're explaining your problem  to someone, only to hear something like "God is in control" or "Everything happens for a reason". That being said, there's a level of significance in them and I must say it hit me very well this week. Let's take a trip.

One of my brothers asked me to attend an evening mid week service in church which was the next day and I told him I would think about it (which was my way of saying "Nahhh Bruh"). Needless to say the next day I received some conviction in my heart that basically allowed me to realise that if I didn't go I would miss out (I'm sure he did too). So as I set out to go and get the train I contemplated wearing my bag to church. Instead I went out, carrying nothing but my bible (which is something that I never do). I kind of had one of them days that I should carry it with pride, and so I did.

On the way to the train station I was strolling and it started raining (God's way of saying "Hurry up"). As I got on the train I placed the bible on the table. Out of nowhere I started examining the cover and how "beat up it looked" The sides and edges were peeling off. I noticed that it looked bigger than when I first got it because it had soaked up some water when my water bottle decided to gush out in my bag. I recall that it had also undergone some rain in the past, suffice to say I haven't been taking care of it much either. Yet, I found that the word in it was still intact. No words were watered down and the message was still clear. Another thing was made clear for me; This same "beat up" book still contained the word of God. In it, there was still salvation, conviction and life changing words within this very word. This brought about "the beauty inside". Dare I say the cliché, "don't judge a book by its cover".

I know you know where I'm going with this but I'm going to say it anyway. There is beauty inside of every single being, yet things are starting to turn around for the worse. You know, much like the bible, its true that many people out there are starting to feel unwanted. It goes way deeper than that. Not a week goes by where I don't read quotes like "If people mean anything to you, they will make the effort to text or talk to you". The sad truth is that's how people feel out there, that people aren't available for them or that they aren't among the main priority. Some people out there can't even get into strong friendships, meaningful relationships or even engage in conversations because of the pain they've been through in the past. They've allowed their experience to create scars in their lives that diminish their value. Frankly I understand. But I am being constantly reminded that, that is exactly how I've been treating the bible; barely reading it but always placing it in my bag, only for it to be ruined by various things. sometimes I'd even lose it from time to time. As I speak right now it's not even anywhere near me. My point is, even though I've done so much to it, it still changes my life every time I read it. It yet remains intact and despite the physical and spiritual pain I have caused, it continues to heal me. Which brings me to my favourite verse (Isaiah 40:8, "the grass wither and flowers fade, but the word of God remains forever"). The reason I decided to carry my bible alone was because I received some kind of conviction as if to say "you know you don't need this bag and yet you would carry it because you want to place your bible in it, what are you hiding from people? Are you ashamed that people will ask about it if they see you, isn't that kind of the point? Wow!!! How could to word of God speak so loud and clear even when it's closed. When I don't read it, it speaks out to me.... surely you can do the same to people who treat you less than expected.

So what's the point?
Did you know that so much is expected of you despite your struggles?  Truth is we have all gone through some ugly situations in our lives that may lead us to believe that we ourselves are ugly and filthy both in and out. The real truth is you can use those situations as testimonies to edify so many people in similar situations. Oppression will always come to taint you but how many times are you willing to show oppression your inner beauty?  I recently heard a song where a guy said that he lives in possibly the worst neighbourhood ever but he refuses to leave because he's the only source of bible that the people in that neighbourhood know. This is probably the same guy that faces danger and physical pain nearly every single day... how is he able to do it ? Bible says " To whom much is given, much is expected" (Luke 12:48). So since we have been given the eternal word, how long will you refuse to see the beauty inside, which is, the beauty that gives eternity?

To conclude, we all carry beauty inside of us. The pains and scars are a part of us but they are responsible for the beautiful testimonies that come out of them. Much like the bible, we are often "Beat up", torn, gone through rain or even weighed down. Yet, the beauty inside is the word we contain, the stories we have and the ability to rise above and not give up. Embrace that beauty.

P.s everything does happen for a reason... I could have missed out on this revelation.

“The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express.” ― P.C. Cast

And that's not #Omni
God bless you for reading

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Photo Identity

Hello all trust you are well? I'm fantastic. Let's get to business. First of all I'd like to open with a confession that I haven't been doing much of the reading of the word recently which might explain my inconsistency from time to time (please stay rooted). However, God being God, still manages to use me and trust me I don't take that for granted one bit. For that reason alone I will not do much of the "bible bashing", so as not to lead anyone astray. May this message serve its purpose as you read. Amen.

A couple of months back I went to this youth ball that I never considered I'd learn anything from. Needless to say my initial reason for going there was mainly for the food, but God had other plans I guess. Through the music, food, smiles and dancing, came a time where one of the youth leaders was given a few minutes to talk on the theme of being part of the "Royal priesthood". He figured that as children of God it was good that we should know where we stand in this world. He spoke in length about us getting to know who we were and our true identity, most of which I can't really remember (sigh). There's one thing that he said that remains embedded in my brain till today and it was this: "Don't struggle trying to be someone else because no one else can be you, better than you". This was enough for me to be honest. If you're going to strive to be like someone else, who is going to live your own life with your own identity. This might sound so cliché but we do this all the time and it might sound so common now but the reason why it is so is because the problem is still there. Many of us follow the lifestyle of our role models and yet in that process we lose ourselves. That alone can explain the mass depression in our society. I have so much to say about that.

What I study centres around behaviour and the two common terms are conformity (complying with others for social acceptance) and social norms (socially accepted behaviour in our community). I bet my two cents (just in case I'm wrong) that we are all victims of this. Have you done something extreme for someone for the sake of belonging, even to the point that it hurts you ? To what end bro (and sis).
Let me be real with you real quick. Do you know it's possible that you've lost part of your identity so much that you've become really partial even with your race, let alone your identity in Christ (I'll focus on my race if that's cool) ? Have you been told that black people are too loud so much that you've even stopped even sitting at the back of the bus? Have you even found yourself saying "ahhh black people"?  Have you started praying and worshipping a certain way because you were told black people pray too loud, dance way too wreck-less and shout when they sing? Who told you that God doesn't love that part about you? I know I'm strange but I believe Heaven is a very big place and since it is so big surely it can contain so many personalities. That means it is quite possible that in one area of heaven, will lie men and women who will kneel and worship in silence. Some will speak very few words. Some will sing heart felt slow songs and by God's grace some will express themselves in the stereotypes you see in "sister act" and "Big Momma". Part of your identity means embracing who you are, even the craziest or loud nature that is in you. Your identity in Christ is about giving Him your all, in your own way. Why give Him what somebody else's is giving Him?

Now let me get personal. There was a time when my friends prevented me from drinking alcohol. They knew that wasn't me. I didn't understand how they could drink but didn't allow me to conform. Truth is God will work so hard to preserve your identity so much that He will use your friends against you. Haha I remember one of them said "your dad is a pastor, you want to send us straight to hell?" What I couldn't see then was that sometimes the world will reject you before you have to reject it, and that's because you're not a part of it.

I'll end at this. Just be yourself, and enjoy it. If you're old, be old, if you're young, embrace your youth and don't grow up too fast. Finally remember this, You might get away with a fake ID in this world. Heaven is a different club.

“Jesus came to announce to us that an identity based on success, popularity and power is a false identity- an illusion! Loudly and clearly he says: 'You are not what the world makes you; but you are children of God.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen,

And that's not #Omni
God bless you all for reading.