Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sunday Seven

Some weeks are busier than others. I decided to find out the secret to a good week. I want to stay that without a doubt, these seven things are helpful.

  1. Focus on the things that are controllable. There are a lot of things I can’t control. There are things I can. I learned to control how many hours I sleep. I control the nutrition of what I eat. I control the atmosphere of my home. Oh, I also control how close I get to God when I’m busy. When I focus on what I can control, God takes care of the rest. 
  2. Prepare to succeed. The better I prepare for my week, the easier it is to succeed. A simple thing I do is prepare my exercise clothes and shoes the night before. Preparation eliminates the guesswork and accelerates execution. If I don’t prepare to succeed I’m basically preparing to fail.
  3. Rest. I’ve been measuring how much rest I get at night for the past few months. I know how many hours I need to sleep in order to have a productive day. The discipline of rest has helped to have a sharp mind during the day. It has allowed me to be ready to tackle whatever unexpected task comes my way. Rest is powerful. You can’t put it in a pill. You just have to do it to benefit from it. 
  4. Write down what you want to see. Before going to sleep during busy weeks, I often write down what I need to do the next day. It is a conscious way to prepare myself. I write down 2 big professional tasks. I write down the things I need to do for the kids such as packing their lunch. I find it easier to do multiple tasks if I write them down on a notebook the night before. 
  5. Be the Boss of your Busy Week. Busy can be a powerful yet oppressive word. When I'm the boss of my week, I direct it towards my goals. It's not a matter of how much time I have, it is a matter of priorities. What I prioritize gets done. Ask yourself, "what is my priority this week?" Be the boss and make it happen. 
  6. Create wonder. Allow me to take a step outside of the productivity realm and let me tell you about something counter-productive: the creation of wonder. This past week, we decorated our home for Fall. It was counter-productive because I had to get in the attic, I had to toss some things and buy others. But I created wonder. My family loves Fall. We love the sights, smells, taste, and we love the holidays. When I create wonder, tough counter-productive, I allow joy to fill my everyday life. I could have stayed the course and moved on to laundry. Taking the time to decorate for Fall created a sense of joy, wonder, and even hope. These feelings help any busy week come alive.
  7. Ask for help. I'm not sure why I'm often scared to ask help. For example, for some reason, I started buying my own groceries. I enjoy grocery shopping. I justified it until this past week. I was too busy. I still needed groceries, I just didn't have time to go buy them. I asked Instacart to help me. Asking for help allows me to enforce my priorities. Asking for help helps me remember that I'm not an island. Asking for help also gives someone else the opportunity to bless me. I can't do everything. I need help. I need to learn how to ask for help on a regular basis.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Sunday Seven

Today I want to share seven lessons I learned in seven places. 

1. Home • I am in complete control of how peaceful (or not) my home is. I am 100% in control of the atmosphere because I set it. I do it from the inside out. If my heart is not a peace, chances are, those pretty decorations are not going to make my home peaceful. The work starts in the heart. 

2. Church • I always appreciate praising God with others. The psalmist says 'oh magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together' (Ps. 34:3). He also gives some brilliant examples of what God did for him. I like that. We praise together and we tell about all the good God has done for us. 

3. Work • God is not responsible for what I do with the potential He gave me. It takes hard work from my part. It takes relying on others for wisdom but the hustle is 100% up to me. I want to be a good steward of the talents God gave me. 

4. Running Club • Running Club is my happy hour for more reasons than one. This week, we welcomed several new members. Seeing their smiles was so good. We are a welcoming bunch. We are friendly and positive. I learned that when you find something good, it is great to share it with others. 

5. Gym • I work at increasing my strength in the gym. When I muscles get sore, I learn that getting stronger is not easy but it pays off. I think about that in other areas of life. It is tough getting stronger but you know what's worse? The opposite. 

6. African store • I found a store in my community that sells African products. A lot of the items reminded me of my African friends. I love the continent. I want to see it again and again. The store gave me a little piece of Africa. I pray that I will go back in person.

7. Zeke's arms. My favorite part of the day is being with my husband. I find comfort and all the love I always wanted in him. I treasure the husband God gave me. I am thankful for Zeke and I pray God's blessings over his life. Christian marriage is a gift. I pray for a long, healthy marriage for myself and everyone I know. 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Praying without ceasing

My earliest memory of prayer is praying on my knees with my family. I was probably in preschool. My mom was there. My older sister too. I was part of a family prayed without ceasing. Our prayer life was not religious because we needed to pray. Our prayer was out of an incessant need to open our lives to the Maker of the Universe. We had needs only He could satisfy. Answers only He could give. So we prayed. 

Some answers came quick. Others came 4 decades after the eldest member in the family started praying. The good thing was that I learned that prayer is not about twisting God's arm. It is about presenting our petitions to a Father who hears and cares. He also wisely answers. Our response is to trust and keep living. 

These days, I am taking action toward my prayer life. How so? I'm praying with more intention. I pray daily. These days, I am searching the Scriptures and I am doing what it says. This is a command I am following:

"And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thes. 5:14-18(ESV)

Pray without ceasing. I am thinking about that. Have you ever done something without ceasing? We practice a few things without ceasing. Our heart beats without ceasing (thank God). We can't cease to drink water. We can't cease to sleep. We develop other habits that we do without ceasing. I want my prayer life to follow suit. 

Every now I focus on the discipline part of spiritual discipline. Prayer is in that category. I pray during meals. I pray in the morning. I pray for others. Still, these days, God is calling me to take a deeper approach to my prayer life. 

I want to be obedient. So I do. I listen. I pray for my family. I intercede on their behalf to a God who is completely faithful and reliable. The more I learn about God, the more I am encouraged to pray. 

Prayer is 100% about relationship. The more I spend time with God, the more I want to spend time with Him. Ending prayer time is actually a little sad. I want to linger. One day, when we see Him face-to-face, we will be able to do that. For now, we pray without ceasing. 

Practically, I have as much time to pray as I want to have. If I am serious about this discipline, I will abandon the hours I browse the internet and its addictive social media platforms and I will give myself to prayer.

God in His infinite wisdom gave every human being in the planet 24 hours. We get to use it however we want to. If I really want to pray, there's time. 

I look up to real people who decided to take God seriously. I admire people who decided to seek Him first and with all their strength. Their spirit is peaceful as a result. Their resemblance is of a person who has a great treasure now but also in the life to come. Their knowledge of the Holy One does not come from books but from spending hours in prayer. They look like their Heavenly Father. They are pleasant to be around. 

I'm not sure how your prayer life is. I am here to encourage you to pray without ceasing. Do it to get closer to God. Do it to know Him and His life-transforming power. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

What I learned this Summer 2020

What shall I say about the summer of 2020? Here it is:


I had quite a few unpredictable moments. As I think about them, the word that came to me was resilience. I'll take that.  

More in this series:
• Spring 2018
• Summer 2018
• Fall 2018
• Winter 2019
• Spring 2019
• Summer 2019
• Fall 2019
• Winter 2020
Spring 2020

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Sunday 7

Here are seven things I learned this week.

1. Difficult weeks breed determined actions. Some weeks are so tough. I learned that my actions need to have determination behind them. Determination is like gas to an engine: it will make you go the distance you need to travel.

2. When faced with difficulty, ask yourself: will my disposition be courageous or cowardly? How I see myself really matters. 

3. Sleep is worth more than gold. When I sleep well at night, I can face any difficulty that comes my way with a clear mind. 

4. Sometimes, you do everything right but things don't improve. In that case, we count on God's genius and excellence. 

5. You can't go where you are not invited. This applies to people's hearts. In this instance, I respect people's boundaries. I also make myself remember the number of friends who love me and who invited me into their lives. 

6. We listen with our ears and with our hearts. I tried to listen with my heart this week. It was pretty awesome. I was able to learn and empathize with people in a different level.

7. Keep it simple. I had a conversation with a good friend about that a few weeks ago. Keeping things simple brings a lot of peace.