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Choose to love

Reading daily devotionals positively influence my outlook. They always seems so apt. As if personally written for me.

The theme that has inspired me recently is love. The word is, to me, one of the most powerful in the universe. Love can build up or break down a person in a split second.

I believe the power of the word, lies not in the word itself. It is the actions used in demonstrating the word. That impacts so deeply.

I recently experienced a relationship breakdown with a family member. It was hurtful. I thought ‘that’s it! I’ll love, but not like. I am no longer invested. I will help if needed, but I am done!’

But is it that simple not to love? And in responding in this way, am demonstrating love as my faith encourages? No, and no I am not!

I am dictating the terms on which I will love. And that is not love in its truest form. Love should not be a reaction to the behaviour of others.

How can I change my attitude and love despite another’s action? By simply continuing to love them. Without prejudice.

The Bible does say love your enemies. And pray for those who do not wish you well. So in changing my attitude, the outcome of that relationship can change.

Not to mention if I simply choose to love, I set myself free from hate.

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The glue gun saga and the power of motivation

As a mum of a creative and free spirited 9 year old, I have long learnt that nothing is safe in my house. Old dresses can be transformed into three piece outfits overnight, beautiful cards reserved for little notes to inspire others, become papier-mâché’ and even my sanitary napkin once became a shoe. I kid you not! As proof below you will find one transformed into a unicorn/person.

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Having illustrated the essence of my daughter’s character, I must say, I wouldn’t wish her any different. She is motivated by her creativity, which in turn makes her resourceful and witty.

Not only is my daughter motivated by her creativity, she is also massively motivated by money. I recently shared a video via Facebook, relaying my excitement at having bought a Selfie Stick. It was purchased on a Sunday for £9.99, and used to film my excitement and left in my room to recover.

As I got ready for work Monday morning I noticed my selfie stick had a shine to it. On closer inspection, I found it had been loving wrapped in gold tape. As I started to unravel the tape, I realised the selfie stick was broken. The little clever clogs!

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I promptly rushed into my daughters room, voiced my unhappiness and told her she would need to buy it back from her Christmas money. That was the worst news ever! She chanted the whole morning “I am not using my money to buy it back” and I was adamant, she would.

I have to confess, she did not. Miss little clever clogs, on return from school used the glue gun she received for Christmas to glue the selfie stick back to together! Her response “told you I wouldn’t buy it back”. Forget the cheekiness, in that moment I was so proud!

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Motivated by her creativity and a desire not to spend her money, she resolved to find a resolution to the predicament she found herself in.

It reminded me that at times we can find ourselves in unintended circumstances, where we are presented with limited options or no options at all; effectively stuck between a rock and a hard place.

In sharing this story I want to remind you, that you do not have to be trapped. Let your motivation be your light, your guide, your resolve to finding the right solution for your situation, and not to the detriment of your money, your creativity, your values, your relationship or any other factor. But staying true to who you are

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I encourage you as always to find your “why”, and hold on to it in challenging times. Persevere and find creative resolutions. Be confident in your goals, in your actions and keep striving.

If you find this a struggle, here are some helpful tips:

Reflect on what motivates you and put steps in place to keep yourself motivated, this may include:

  1. Writing down 1-2 sentences that affirm your “why”
  2. Repeating it to yourself everyday
  3. Taking 5 mins out of every day to visualise your vision
  4. Buddying up with a like-minded person
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Your path is yours alone

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I had driven nearly an hour in a muddle of road works and traffic, to satisfy an innate need. At the point I mentally committed myself to undertake the one hour journey, logistics was not at the forefront of my mind. I simply envisaged the reward awaiting me. A classic cheese burger from Bryon burgers washed down with an Oreo milkshake from heaven. Creamy, indulgent, thick, flavoursome milkshake sipped from a frozen metal cup. Pure indulgence!

Whenever I go to Byron I spend quite sometime staring at the menu, only to order the same dish. The cheese burger, with no onion. I then through nosy glances admire the tower of a burger being delivered to nearby tables, wishing mine would arrive looking just like that.

As the waiter approaches my table, I’m a little disappointed. “Oh, its so small” I think; and then I get stuck in, already convinced I’m going to need something else to eat as this will not quench my hunger. It simply will not do.

Then as I take my last bite of the burger, having drank half my milkshake. I get super happy that I did indeed chose the right meal, because my stomach is about to explode! I couldn’t eat another thing. I take comfort in my Oreo milkshake from heaven.

This story is a great analogy of the need to stay on our own path in life and make decisions aligned with our values, vision and what you can handle. Not decisions or actions based on what we see those around us doing.

It’s easy to steal glances or outright follow another’s path because it’s looks bigger and better, and you think it may bring satisfaction. In reality it does not and will not. Because that journey belongs to someone else and not you.

I encourage you, choose your own path, run your own race. Make life decisions based the outcome you want for your life. That way should challenges come you will be able to face and fight them based on your belief and vision.

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Forget shame and be Courageous

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Courage is a big word!

As I encourage you to be more courageous, I’ll share with you something from the best selling book of all times, the bible. Through his word, God has given us his promise that we can be courageous because we will never be put to shame or be disgraced. whether; young, old or because of things lost, we should be confident in marching forward

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“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. (Issiah 54:4)

As courage is about being bold and confident. Know that God has got your back in this area and you can fully own the platform as you run your race.

Temptation is a one man show

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Recently my 9 year old and I were travelling in the car to a family member’s house. I honestly don’t remember what started the heated debate that ensued but I do remember the end of that battle, third party intervention and all, and the lesson learnt. Temptation is a one man show

At some point in our debate, my daughter advocated that were it not for Lucifer (yes the devil), there would be no sin in the world, as Eve would not have sinned. I promptly responded that is a lie! It was so Eve’s fault. She made the ultimate decision to eat the forbidden apple.

So my daughter says, no; If Lucifer had not dangled the option in front of Eve, she would not have made the decision to eat the apple. And in this moment I realised that this is the reality for some of us, at different points in our lives.  We readily give into temptation based on someone or something else dangling an apparent opportunity before us.

This has led us to believe that the decisions we make or the temptations we give into is influenced by people, the situation we find ourselves in, and at times our own emotion. And honestly I have been there! Putting my daughter into private school when I couldn’t afford it, because I was trying to be an overachieving mum. Going on a spontaneous shopping spree after work because my day was stressful, thereby spending money I did not have and buying clothes I would never wear. Or more recently “indulging” my appetite for McDonalds after making a pledge to eat no more junk food.

The visit to that junk food counter is a prime example of my daughter believing that Lucifer dangling the option of eating the forbidden apple is what caused Eve to give in to her temptation. I went to the supermarket to shop for groceries, it just so happens that the store has a McDonalds. I could have done my shopping and promptly left. But oh no! I and only I, like Eve, made the ultimate decision to eat the burger!

Resisting temptation can be hard, especially if we have a particular weakness in that area, but it is NOT impossible! And that is the truth we need to hold onto. I am not perfect and I still get tempted and give into temptations, but for the most part I have learnt how to better manage my weaknesses. This has in turn, helped me make better decisions.

If temptation is a struggle for you, ask yourself:

  • What causes you me to give into temptation?
  • What are my weak points?
  • And what measures can I put in place to limit giving into those temptations?