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The 3 Cs of the Christmas Season I

All too soon, we will be celebrating Christmas soon! I can see the excitement in some faces as they trim their Christmas trees with decor. Some houses are already in the festive mood and it shows in their decorations. They create a nice view when driving around.

Glad to come your way with another post and today, we want to look at the emotional reactions the Yuletide Season can sometimes evoke out of people. It is quite unfortunate that not all share in the enthusiasm and excitement of this season.

The first C is Condemned.

Believe it or not, some feel condemned because as Christmas approaches, it suddenly dawns on them that less than ten days, the year will be over. It forces them to look at all the enthusiastic resolutions they made at the beginning of the year, believing they were going to be ticked. They realize that their unticked goals are a far reality away from home. This can be a wet blanket on the festivities; they are in no mood to celebrate or gather with friends and family. This can cause acute depression if not taken care.

People who feel condemned isolate themselves from every social gathering this season and will refuse to answer calls. Sometimes, they are also reminded of some past severed relationships and broken homes (maybe, was in a previous marriage). The height of loneliness reaches its peak during that season. They end up moping and blaming themselves for the disintegration of some relationships. Anybody who plays pity party is normally a victim of condemnation. The funny thing is, that feeling of condemnation only happens during Christmas! Every other day, they are their preppy self.

My advice is don’t let your achievement of goals weigh you down. It is probably better to leave it for now, and focus on the most important thing during this season: relationships. After the festivities, look at your goals and apply critical thinking on what next to do. Secondly, if you have an opportunity to reconcile certain relationships. Why not? Do it, than living a belly full of regret every Christmas.

Take care of your emotional health and have a good week.

Please comment, share and subscribe to this blog.

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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Ministering to the grieved

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians‬ ‭6:2‬ ‭

Hello, it is good to come your way again. Hope you had a restful weekend? Today, we want to wrap up our series of posts on grief and focus on us ministering to the aggrieved.

When I talk of the word, ministering? What do I actually mean? The word that jumps off the bat to me is serving. As a society, how can one be of service to one another, especially the unfortunate, the disadvantaged, the disenfranchised, and the list goes on? One of the many benefits of a community is being there for one another.

The good book, the Bible, adds its voice that bearing one another’s burden means you have fulfilled the law of Christ.

“A problem shared is a problem halved. A joy shared is a joy doubled”- Katie M. John

This proverbial saying expreses the idea that, when in difficulty or in a happy instance, it is useful to talk to someone. All of us can help in our own small way when it comes to serving a grieved person. Some express that desire, but don’t know how to go about it. I hope this sparks a flame in your thoughts as you read.

1. Show up physically if possible- if you happen to be in close proximity, make time and visit the person. Your physical presence is a message already conveyed when the grieved person sees you. You don’t have to say anything per se. Just sitting with the person and empathizing alleviates the pain of loss a bit.

2. Write handwritten notes or send texts- if you can’t be physically present, write a handwritten note or you could send a text. I think a handwritten note is more personal than a text. When someone is in grief, no amount of talking will make sense to the person at that moment. But with a note, when the pain subsides and they are able to get their head around, they will read the note and make sense of what you would have possibly said at the time of mourning.

3. Be sensitive- when someone is in grief, mind your language, body posture and if I may say, your appearance. All these speak loudly than you can imagine. I remember once I went to see a lady who had lost her husband, and a group of guys were there shamelessly and seriously arguing about their favorite soccer team and player. That was an anti climax, considering the event at hand- a wife was inconsolable trying to make sense of what had happened and perhaps how she will survive through all these and the aftermath. Also mind what you may call “advice”- some advice will only be necessary after the burial, but not in the period of mourning.

4. Pray for them- I use this method a lot when dealing with the aggrieved. I normally don’t say anything and try not to sound like a sage who can answer all of life’s mysterious questions. I just show up and offer a word of prayer. It tends to go a very long way. I believe in the power of prayer.

May I leave with this word of comfort for anybody currently in grief:

He suffered and endured great pain for us, but we thought his suffering was punishment from God.” Isaiah‬ ‭53:4‬

Jesus Christ suffered great pains for us. He bore our griefs and sorrows, so that we don’t have to carry the burden alone. He is a friend who is willing to help us off load the burden of grief. Make room and invite Him into your life. Receive help, comfort and healing that comes from Jesus. He is as real as the person sitting next to you.

May we be one another’s keeper… indeed!

Till I come your way again

Peace & Love

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Dealing with grief

Last week, we looked at the subject on grief. We defined it and look at how grief becomes complicated when you are not healing. This led us to look at a few of the negative implications that can arise.

Today, we want to turn our attention on dealing with grief. I use the word dealing and not dealt. I believe grief is not a won battle, but a winning one. Why say so? Because from time to time, we will experience losses and deaths of loved ones, sometimes unexpected which will bring us back to the stage of grief, so we have to develop a winning edge over that.

The recent grief I can think of was when my father passed. It was a time of sorrow, stress and mourning for me personally, and my family too. As I write today, I have had closure and inner healing. Want to share a few steps on what I did. Honestly, I don’t think I truly sat down and thought of those things at the time of mourning, till I recounted some of them a few weeks ago. Hope this speaks to you, my fellow reader.

1. Music- the day after I received the news, I just played & listened to music which was a great stress reliever. Certain songs I knew by the heart started to have a greater depth and meaning to me like, What A Friend We Have In Jesus. Singing some of the songs to myself put me in an upbeat mood & positive attitude. You feel there is light at the end of the tunnel.

2. Going on a spiritual journey– I am a Christian by faith. So for me going on that journey included prayer, bible reading, meditation and worship. One of the books I studied from the Bible during that period was Joshua. There were a lot of life lessons I noted and applied. Prayer was of paramount importance because it made me serene and gave me some strength to soldier on, whilst consoling myself and my family.

3. A great support system- I had that from my family, especially the extended unit of cousins, aunties and uncles. Some friends were very God-sent in that hour. As I write, I remember each one of them. My pastor in particular came over to spend some few days with me; prayed with me and encouraged me. He did that at the expense of changing his flight itinerary, rearranging his busy schedule and unexpected cost. Flying at the last minute is costly! That spoke loudly to me. Relationships are very vital and important!

Bear in mind, I am not telling you to do the exact things I did to deal with grief. Rather, I am just sharing how I dealt with grief at a point in my life and hope it can give you some pointers and also encourage you there is a way out of the inconsolable pain you might be going through.

I dedicate today’s post to my dear mother. She handles adversity with a quiet strength and grace. This wasn’t easy, but anytime I talk to her, I am grateful to God for keeping her sane and well. God bless her!

Know that this season you are in shall surely pass. It may not seem like it. Trust me, I know!

Before I sign off, let me thank this community for promoting this blog and forwarding the articles. Last week, we had a lot of traffic on this site because of this topic. Thanks for your encouraging emails too. I have read all and responded.

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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Grief

I haven’t come your way in a while; after my two week break, the last three weeks were difficult to post due to a technical glitch with the site which has been resolved.

I hope you are enjoying November thus far? About some weeks ago, it was my father’s commemoration, which really got me thinking. It led me to write today’s topic which might be a bit morbid for some, but still needs to be addressed.

I am talking about grief. What is it? Allow me the liberty of quoting Webster’s 1828 dictionary on this one:

GRIEF ,noun [Latin gravis.]

1. The pain of mind produced by loss, misfortune, injury or evils of any kind; sorrow; regret. We experience grief when we lose a friend, when we incur loss, when we consider ourselves injured, and by sympathy, we feel grief at the misfortunes of others.

2. The pain of mind occasioned by our own misconduct; sorrow or regret that we have done wrong; pain accompanying repentance. We feel grief when we have offended or injured a friend, and the consciousness of having offended the Supreme Being, fills the penitent heart with the most poignant grief

3. Cause of sorrow; that which afflicts.

I want to focus on the first definition as pertaining to loosing a loved one. I think we all have experienced that. Some are more personal like a spouse, child, sibling or parents…

It is a very tough situation one can find him or herself in. The toughest part about grief is almost 90 to 95% of the time, it comes unexpected which can be tasking and very weary to your soul. Who wakes up expecting the news of a dead loved one?!

No matter how much pain and emotional torture you are in, a time comes you will have to give yourself the gift of closure which can bring inner healing. Recovering from grief is like a scar from an injury- the scar will bring painful memories, but the hurt attached will be gone, or in this case, minimized. Because with the death of a loved one, that feeling is never gone, but the pain can be minimized anytime there is a memoriam.

My heart really goes out to anybody at this present moment experiencing some kind of pain due to the loss of a dear one. I pray for you that the sweet memories of that person can light some warm flames in your heart during this time.

For some that are still reeling after years of this, my heart also goes out to you. You are suffering and I totally get it. I am praying for you that you will have closure at a point and experience inner healing. How tough it is?! It is an upward hill to climb, but it is possible.

When grieving, allow yourself to go through the process- don’t rush it and don’t suppress your emotions either. It is okay to mourn and not be the strongest person you are known to be. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and don’t stop the comfort you will receive from a support system of some family members and some friends. Trust me! It won’t come always, so take it when given.

However, if you aren’t feeling better over time, or your grief is getting worse, it maybe a sign that your grief has developed into a more serious problem which can be a major depression or what therapists term as “complicated grief”. Please speak to a counselor and seek help if you are at this stage. The implications can be far reaching, negatively speaking and let me outline a few.

1. You become bitter

But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara [bitter], for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.” Ruth‬ ‭1:20‬ ‭

If you look at this story in the Bible, it was about a widow who was also grieving the loss of her two sons. Her emotions got the better of her, that she admitted she was bitter. Becoming bitter and living bitterly is a very dangerous way to live. You develop a critical attitude and will hate everybody that comes your way. If that is not enough, you will become pessimistic of the future. Bitterness also makes you lonely. Nobody wants to hang out with a bitter person.

2. Grief makes you stand still

The harsh reality of time is it keeps on ticking regardless. Time is not a respecter of anything including emotions. Time won’t stop for you because you are sad. It reminds me of one my favorite story books as a child, The Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. One of the popular characters in the story was Miss Havisham, a reclusive wealthy spinster who wore her wedding dress for the rest of her life because she was jilted at the altar. She stopped living and time passed her by. Never went out, so her long life away from the sunlight aged her. She had the clocks in her house stopped at twenty minutes to nine. Yes, the clocks in her house had stopped, but life’s clock was still ticking. There are many “Miss Havishams” today who have stopped living. It is a sad reality.

3. Grief kills!

According to this article, people who are not recovering are more prone to cardiovascular illnesses and deaths. During that state, your health doesn’t matter to you but playing along to the tune of your emotion which can be deadly. Emotion is a good thing to have, but when it starts governing your life, you are just an accident away from happening.

Please, if you know someone grieving, put a loving arm around the person and comfort that person with a word of hope and prayer.

God bless all those who survived a loss. You are true heroes in my book. You are limping but walking. You are scarred, but have learned to live with it.

Father, I pray your peace on all who are mourning presently. Show yourself strong to them like you did to me personally. Let them be assured of your love, your warmth and embrace. I have experienced that and pray that may be their story too. Amen

Have a blessed week and thanks for reading.

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The perseverance of Job

“Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” James‬ ‭5:11‬ ‭

Last week, we looked at Job, a biblical account of a Jewish man who faced hard and trying circumstances. We looked at how he dealt with inferiority.

Job is a book in the Bible with 42 chapters. Great wealth of wisdom we can glean from that book. The beautiful thing about Job’s story was he had a better ending.

“Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days.” ‭‭Job‬ ‭42:12-17‬ ‭

So the question is, why didn’t Job commit suicide? Why didn’t he just give up? The answer is in the first quote which spoke of his perseverance.

What is it? Words associated with are steadfastness, constancy and endurance. It is the ability to endure pain and unfair circumstances, like Job. The notes on James 5:11 in the Thayer’s Greek Lexicon reads like this, “the characteristic of a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty [to faith] and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings”.

Perseverance is needed in times of trouble to stand, else you could end up a casualty. Troubles don’t develop perseverance but brings out that quality.

It’s like Clark Kent who is also known as Superman. Troubles don’t make Clark Superman. He was already Superman because of where he was born and who his father was. But when troubles come and the need for emergency arises, Superman is brought out of Clark Kent. Did you catch my drift?

So before we face troubles, afflictions and trying days, we should be storing ourselves up with “perseverance pills”, so that when the need arises, you can fight through and endure to the end. We will live in a fool’s paradise if we think for one moment, we are exempted from all the ills of life.

This is my most important part. How do we develop perseverance? Look closely at this Bible passage:

“strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;” Colossians‬ ‭1:11‬ ‭

The key to perseverance is being strengthened with all might. Not your own might, but that of God’s. I just quoted an except of an Apostle’s prayer for his congregants. Take note that when you are filled with God’s might, it helps you to be patient [persevere] and develop long suffering with joy. You have joy in a problem not because you enjoy pain, but you have hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel and you will end up a victor when all is said and done.

Before you sign off today, say a prayer to God to strengthen with you with His might. When you have that, the offshoots are perseverance, longsuffering and joy. We are having too many casualties especially among the youth. They check out when they are faced with trying times because all hope is gone.

Let us do this now and say this prayer together, “God, I come to you this day and ask you to strengthen me with all might according to your glorious power. I thank you for answered prayers. Amen”.

Just like Job, you will be an encouragement to someone watching how you handle pressure and keep your head above water.

Have a good week and look forward to reading your comments as well. Let me know what you think, any ideas or suggestions are also welcome. Please don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to this blog.

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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Inferiority complex

“But I have intelligence as well as you; I am not inferior to you. And who does not know such things as these?” Job‬ ‭12:3‬ ‭‬‬

In life, there is nothing more painful than been doubted by people who you call your friends and believe the worst for you, when you are going through a rough patch. That was Job’s story.

This is a biblical account of a wealthy man who lost his wealth, his business, his health and his ten kids, save his wife. This was really a trying time. At a point, his wife told him to abandon his faith and curse his God in whom he trust for their unfortunate plight; he didn’t. Everybody had abandoned him except three of his friends who came to console him. They were Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar.

You never know your loved ones and friends till “you are going through it”. Sometimes problems can be a blessing in disguise because it sifts the genuine from the fake real quick like our friends. These three initially did well to respond when their friend was in insufferable pain, but when you read the story, it would have been better if they didn’t come. They started to diagnose his problems and assume why he was going through such hardships. That is a kick in the gut.

Eliphaz accused Job of sinning that was why he was suffering, which wasn’t the case. His two other friends didn’t help matters either and urged him to repent to God if he had truly sinned, so that this unfortunate episode in his life could end sooner. This is what brings us to today’s topic: inferiority complex.

What is it? It is the feeling of being inferior. Such a state produces one to be either reticent or overly aggressive. Job was a wealthy man and an important man in society with an elevated status. People who come from such backgrounds tend to be very confident, most of the time. So I am very sure he was. But as time went on, the hardships in life and the miserable comfort he received from his friends started to make him feel inferior about himself.

Most times, it is said people with certain temperaments like a phlegmatic can easily suffer from inferiority complex. However, there are external factors that can trigger that like having people who don’t believe in you and always talk down at you. Most people who feel inferior about themselves, largely has to do with their company. Either, they had unsupportive parents who abused them, or the wrong company of friends who clowned them and made them the butt of every cruel joke. People like that tend to doubt themselves greatly, doubt their abilities and capabilities, and expect the worst out of themselves and for themselves.

Job was feeling inferior and it made him blurt out the words which is our quote for today. Sometimes, the best way to deal with inferiority complex is to speak out for yourself, and then change your circle of association. Your circle of association will form your environment and atmosphere.

As we enter a new month, take a good look at people you call “friends”. Are they really one? Do they support your dreams? Are they genuinely happy for you? Do they seek your welfare? Do they talk down at you in order to feel good about themselves? How do they affect your mood when you see them? Look at yourself: are you docile or overly aggressive? It could be a sign to end those friendships. Until then, you will walk in self pity and self doubt for the rest of your life. How long do you think you can do that?

People with an inferiority complex always put a ceiling on themselves. It is painful to watch when you see a brilliant person who believes he is so stupid and dumb, or to see a beautiful lady who believes she is ugly. May our external factors like our company create the right vibe for us to fully express ourselves to the best of our abilities. Job spoke out! What will you do?

Blessed to come your way again with another blog post. Let me know if this ministered to you. Looking forward to reading your comments as always.

Have a blessed upcoming month!

Till, I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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Part 2: When we fail, what next?


Hope you had a great weekend? Over here, we have moved from one season to another. Last week, we talked on failure. This topic struck a nerve with a lot of people and thank you to our community for sharing and promoting this blog. Just last week Monday alone, the traffic on this site increased by 313%!

We can all relate to this common phenomenon. It is okay and permissible to fail, but not to stay at the place of failure and wallow with a belly full of regret. A larger percentage never shake the dust of failure off them. Please, may we all do this assignment this week- find someone who has failed and be an encouragement. Become a reason for someone’s uprising this week. You may ask, “what about me, I failed?!”. Sometimes, the best way to heal is to forget about your problems and reach out to one who has the same need as yours and probably greater. 

There is a scripture in the Bible I love so much and always want to model that kind of life. 

“And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace God gave the churches in Macedonia. They have been tested by great troubles, and they are very poor. But they gave much because of their great joy.” ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭8:1-2‬ 

Truly, I have helped and reached out in my direst of straits to others, and it was so rewarding and fulfilling. It made me forget about what I was going through and also had the inspiration to heal alongside the others who were being helped.

So with that in mind, let us look at what to do when all falls down.

Pick yourself up- I recently saw a tweet and it goes like this, “Emotional pain lasts for 10 to 20 minutes, anything longer is actually self inflicted by overthinking, making things worse.” Do you agree? Personally, I think emotional pain is temporary, but I don’t know its duration. Will like to pick your brain on that! When we fail, we are in an emotional trauma and shock, the pain is temporal but make choices that won’t prolong the pain and make it a permanent fixture in your life. You pick yourself up by encouraging yourself. Sometimes, your most trusted allies might not be in the mood to pick up your call. Well, I know a friend who sticks closer than a brother and his name is Jesus. He is there by your side, at all times- 24/7. I have a very real and personal relationship with Jesus and will invite you to make room in your life for Him. God is needed in tough times like that. There comes a period when life won’t make sense and this is where God comes in. I don’t know about your religious beliefs or inclinations, but this is my reality.

Look at it from another angle- I heard the great John Maxwell quipped, “…when you fail, use the opportunity to count your lessons and not your losses. You miss the bigger picture if you focus on just the loss”. Sometimes failure is good, because it gives you an opportunity to sit down and look at it again, apply critical thinking and try again. I remember our church organized a community outreach event for its residents. No body and I mean none showed up, except our church members. I felt very discouraged and like a failure, but had to put on a brave face and go ahead with the planned programme. After the event was over, I had the chance to sit down and give it another look. I didn’t just count my losses that day, but numerous lessons which are jotted down for the future. Someone once asked me, “how are you able to give good advice and wise counsel?” I told him, “I have failed some and won some, no secrets really!”

It might be time for closure- this can be a tough pill to swallow, but the writing is clear on the wall: you have lost enthusiasm, the perpetual failures, “the square peg in the round hole situation”, you are always gassed out with little or no energy, always in fear and trepidation, too much effort with very little or nothing in return… the list is endless. There comes a time you have to face the reality it is over and have closure. It doesn’t mean you are a failure. The truth is you failed but it is just an event and don’t let that define you. Move on to what is in line with your strengths, talents and passion, then surround yourself with the right company and the requisite knowledge needed. The fact that you closed a venture doesn’t mean your life is over! No experience is a wasted experience. Be very encouraged!

Rise from the ashes of failure, take off the sackcloth of mourning, self pity and complaints. Be the phoenix that rises out of the ashes- impossible situations! I speak to the champion in you! Win! 

Looking forward to reading your comments, which means a lot to me. Thanks again for your support and words of encouragement which has spurred me on to keep writing. Blessings!

Please don’t also forget to like, share and subscribe to this blog.

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

NB: send me an email at icharismaticchurch@gmail.com on questions about religion, faith, and any matter for that reason.