Final thoughts for 2020

May the grace of God, His love and perfect will continue to take root in your life.

We have made it through 2020 and I pray that God may continue to give us the grace to finish this year strong and to enter 2021 on a positive note knowing that He still has a good plan for our lives. We have lived through one of the toughest years but I hope that despite the difficulties and confusion, we have found meaning and purpose on why we are still alive.

To those who have lost loved ones, may the Greatest Comforter give you peace and comfort. To those who experienced depression/ anxiety/ loneliness or any other mental health problem or condition, I pray you may find the counsel you require to ease your burdens. To those who lost jobs, may God open double doors of increase and provision. To anyone who encountered painful and difficult circumstances you cannot even talk about, may His joy flow into all those broken areas. We don’t have all the answers, but we can be confident that through it all, the love of our perfect God stays constant and absolutely no situation will ever change that. The human mind often wants an explanation as to why certain things happen but unfortunately, we might not have all the answers we desire. May God quieten you with His love, may He sing over you (Zephaniah 3: 17).

May you be reminded that you are God’s special and unique child. He is madly in love with you. It’s not so much in “feeling” it but in knowing and receiving it into your heart. May this love transform you; may it bring you into constant fellowship with a loving God. May it cleanse you, give you peace and new identity.

Happy holidays, wishing you a restful time. Let’s connect again in 2021.

With love,

Unathi

What is Grace-By Ndileka Mbina

I was lost and found by grace. What I mean is that God met me right where I was in my brokenness and shame and I still couldn’t be bothered. I wanted God to love and accept me for who I was then; because in my own right I thought I could fix myself and then hand over my life to God.

At some point in my life before sanctification took its course I had a religious mind-set. I worked extra hard to please people, and by all means to earn God’s approval and validation. So I was into works rather than receiving the grace of God and any other promises for that matter. I wanted God to be proud of me. I didn’t want to ask for much or be of any trouble if anything, I needed to prove I could be a good daughter but it was never my truth because deep down I wanted to be like other Christians who testify about the stuff God was doing in their lives. I stumbled upon grace and I now understand there is absolutely nothing that I could ever do that would separate me from the love of God, I can’t earn His promises by works, they are attained by faith.

The Holy Bible is filled with stories where Jesus met lepers, demon-possessed, and the sick hiding in their sicknesses and restored them to wholeness and that’s exactly what He is still in the business of doing today. He comes where we are to restore us to wholeness by grace. Grace is not a license to keep on sinning or to remain in our weaknesses and it is not a quick fix to our weaknesses either, “We plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain” – 2 Corinthians 6:1

The grace you had yesterday is obsolete today, grace is the overflowing favour of God and we can always draw upon it as needed. Many a times we tend to endure certain things in life and forget that we have access to this grace in our moment of need. Let us make a habit of drawing on grace now, rather than later.

By grace, we are saved!

Meet my Friend, Grace

I found Grace in the darkest places of my life. These are the times that forced me to be still, to go slower, and to recognize the hand of Almighty Father over my life.

I like how Grace has identified things in my life that I never saw. I love how when I found myself at my lowest points, a Special Presence would always surround me and lead me to scripture that painted a completely different picture of who I am. It’s the very Presence that says I am victorious although all I see and feel is a failure. That Presence has a set of eyes that are so big, they see beyond my constant mistakes & bad decision making. Grace gives hope in hopeless situations. This Grace is consistent and does not seem to change its perspective on how it sees me. I simply found myself without a choice- I had to give this Grace an opportunity and listen to what It had to say.

Over and over, consistently, constantly Grace would repeat the message of love and mercy on my errors. Grace saw me through seasons of discouragement and insecurities. Grace said, “I see you, you are unique & special to me, made in My image for Kingdom purpose”. I took a chance because the words Grace spoke to me gave me life and hope in those difficult situations.

Grace is here for both you and I. It will pursue you, it reaches to the very depths of our souls, we simply cannot hide or be too far gone for Grace to find us. Grace says, “I love you and I will never let you go”. I found that this Grace is not a thing but a Person. A Person known by different names. Depending on how you have encountered this Person, you could call Him Friend, Heavenly Father, Healer, Miracle worker, Deliverer, Almighty God, or El Shaddai, etc. I found He is also called Love, He is called Gracious God- Grace, that’s who God is.

Beloved of the LORD, He wants to extend all grace and mercy to your tired bodies, to your disappointed hearts, and your immovable mountains.

Let me introduce you to my Faithful Friend and Lover. Grace, here is your child reading this article. Child of God (insert your name), meet Grace, also known as God, Alpha, and Omega, or Yahweh. Grace is here to meet you at your point of need, come as you are.

You are blessed, with love

Unathi

Double portions of grace

Grace, this is one of the popular terms you will hear in the charismatic churches, we use it so much that I wonder if we all understand it, but maybe we do. Perhaps the reason we use this word as much is that each of us has encountered the underserved love of a perfect God. This experience can change something internally- to know you are loved in your imperfection.

Grace is a form of God’s love, representing His favor and mercy on us. It helps us gain a better understanding of how Heavenly Father feels about us. Grace will find you in your worst state and deliver you to be a better individual. God loves us so dearly and doesn’t wait for us to be perfect and clean before He can extend His grace. He pursues us while we are drowning in our pits or failing dismally in self-righteousness. Through this, it becomes clear that without Jesus, we don’t deserve much. Thank God for His grace because it helps us recognize that our lives were paid for, at a high price and we have citizenship in heavenly places.

The LORD wants to show us double portions of His grace. The world has suffered and seen a lot of disappointment this year, but God was not surprised with what happened, neither was He blinded to it. We may not be able to explain what happened and why it had to happen, but God knows it all. The Almighty God is not done with us, He will have the last say. Sometimes we already have predefined ways of how grace, favor, and mercy must be packaged. We decide that it must look like financial increase, health, stability, etc. that could be part of it but what if God wants it to look like heart transformation, forgiveness, and restoration? Would that be less of a blessing? It is good to regularly inspect and clean up the condition of our hearts. We must align ourselves to the Holy Spirit and what He is wanting to do in our lives this season. He knows what we need more than we do.

God wants to extend His grace, love, and mercy this month, grace in His way. Be still and you will see what grace should look like in this time and season; you may be pleasantly surprised at how much you will enjoy God’s version than yours.

I pray you may have an open heart this month and allow God to take His rightful place, remember His plans for your life are good- His plans, not yours. Grace, grace, and more grace be upon you in December 2020, may you end this year strong. May you testify of the LORD’s goodness in the land of the living.

Isaiah 30: 18 “Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you. And therefore, He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him”

You are blessed, with love

Unathi

Growth: Take your seat at the table

You belong.

We have all gone through difficult situations that make us question who we are. Just when we thought we had it all figured out, or when we thought we had finally made it to the places we desired to be, life comes along and brings challenges that make us question the core of who we are. Depending on how you perceive your challenges, they will either make you completely doubt yourself or they can serve as confirmation of what your purpose in life is.

Who does God say you are? Do you know how the LORD perceives you or are you living uncertain of your purpose and calling in life? The calling we have over lives is not only limited to a religious setting but to every place that we set the soles of our feet. Your workspace, your family, and friendships can be a place of calling where you can minister the gospel of the LORD Jesus Christ in how you live your life. Let me give you an example of my life, my name is Unathi- a South African Xhosa name which means “with us”, this is referring to God’s presence. I have discovered that God has given me a responsibility to carry His presence wherever I go, not because of my worthiness or greatness but because it is a mandate and task that Heavenly Father has given me. He gave me a scripture which serves as a foundation for my life- Psalm 91:1 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty”. The responsibility that comes with this is spending a lot of time with God, I therefore cannot afford to compromise on spending quality time with Him. In that special time, God pours Himself out and instructs me on what to do next. When I don’t spend as much time, I operate from an empty place and do not minister from a place of overflow. To operate in purpose, I must do my part and He shows up and provides me with all the tools I need to do life. So, I ask again, who does God say you are? If you do know, are you operating in alignment with that revelation? If yes, then good- may God expand your territory and bless you even more. If you do not know, perhaps it is time to get into the presence of God, pursue Him so that you are fully aware of who you are, following His will and purposes. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much is waiting for you.

God invites you today to partake of His table of righteousness, He has prepared the most delightful nourishment that will bring you fulfillment and purpose. Whenever we receive an invitation, we have the option of either accepting or rejecting it. The same applies to the invitation given to us by Heavenly Father, we must decide.

“Take your seat at the table!” A quote I learned from my former boss. When God reveals who you are and what He has called you to do, do it. Be active through obedience. Partner with God and continue to refer to Him as you operate in your place of purpose. The Holy Spirit is very practical and can teach you how to do your job more effectively- He knows all things. Taking your seat at the table means you choose yourself, not from a place of selfishness but from a place of knowing that you are accountable for your life. No one else has been ordained to do what God has called you to do, yes the work of God must continue and God can allocate that task to someone else if you are not willing but chances are you will do it in a very unique manner that will minister in great ways. Be who you are, take your seat at God’s table and eat of His word. Wrap yourself in His identity for you. You are who God says you are, show up like that.

I pray that today you will choose to accept the invitation to dine with Him and allow Him to serve you a different menu than what you are used to, He is God that knows your beginning and your end, He wants to be present in your daily life and walk with you in intimacy. That takes deciding friend. God is awaiting your response; He is excited to sit and fellowship with you, so you can get to know Him better and know all He has called for you to do in this life.

Psalm 23: 5 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows”

You are blessed, with love

Unathi

Growth: for the heavily pregnant people

Growth- ah, one of my favourite words. The thought of growth brings hope that I don’t have to stay stuck in the same rut for many years. I get excited because sometimes I can visualize what I want in life and how I want it. The concept of growth says to me, “you’re a step closer to achieving what’s in your heart”. I can finally have the family, ministry, house, and lifestyle I have always dreamt of. It’s a place where I can get carried away with the visions of how my life should turn out. This is where I can tap into my long-lost desires, dreams I had since I was a teenager, dreams that were stolen by life’s difficulties and disappointments. Don’t we all just love dreaming, allowing possibilities to fill our minds and give us a feeling of hope that the future is bright and that the sky is our limit?

I am not always encouraged to dream or believe that life will become better, many times I have such a busy schedule with life, work, and ministry that there is no time for the little pleasures of life such as dreaming of running projects that will bring healing and impact many lives that have seen brokenness. So, when the opportunity to dream comes, it is always welcome. It leaves me refreshed and hopeful that the same God who was able to answer prayers before can answer the current requests.

How many of us realize that a lot of the dreams and desires on the inside are seeds planted by God? Do we know that He has every intention of manifesting even the dreams we have forgotten? We tend to think that some dreams were for a certain season and should be pushed aside- lost or buried forever. As much as there can be truth to this, especially with ungodly desires that can lead to our destruction but there are a lot of dreams that God has strategically placed within us- awaiting delivery for the right time, season, and environment. He continues to build those dreams and purifies us in our season of waiting, He shapes those desires and makes them healthy and fit for Kingdom purpose. I think sometimes our dreams might be dangerous if they are not implemented with the proper manual from heaven. So yes, many times we must wait and continue to live with these desires that seem to not want to disappear. I’ve found myself praying away a lot of things, asking God to take away the desires if He doesn’t want to give them to me- and He doesn’t, those dreams just continue to grow. He has already deposited so much within that will help us prosper at the right time. He is also ensuring that in the process of waiting, we release the obsessions of how life must turn out, and we get left with His design and leading.

When a woman receives news of her pregnancy, she must carry their unborn child for 9 months, the responsibility starts when she receives confirmation of the news. She has a responsibility of eating well and nurturing the bond between her and the unborn baby. It’s a wonder and an act of faith. She hasn’t seen the baby but is able to feel and fully experience the process of their growth. She goes through the first trimester uncertain of what’s to come but when the last trimester arrives, she already has a better understanding of her seed although they may not be officially introduced. God has designed the process in such a way that a woman gets connected with their children whilst they are still carrying them in their wombs. When the delivery comes, it simply becomes an official introduction of the two human beings. Pregnancy can feel like a long time, women experience this differently. Different pregnancies from the same woman can even vary- in terms of their experience but they must all go through the different months and allow the growth of the baby to take place. Unfortunately, women cannot give birth at 3 months, they must endure and partake in the full journey of pregnancy. Eventually, they will meet their unborn children and be blessed with the new and wonderful responsibility of motherhood. When their water breaks as an indication of the time of giving birth, they have an active role of pushing to help the baby be delivered safely. It’s all a wonderful process that requires them to be fully present.

For all the “heavily pregnant” people. God will bring you to a place of safe delivery. Hang in there!

Let us liken this pregnancy process to the growth and manifestation of our dreams. God has already planted so many things on the inside of us. We have a responsibility to nurture our relationship with the Holy Spirit because through this, the bond and trust grows. Through that relationship we learn that our dreams are not just crazy ideas that should be prayed away, these are the Heavenly Master’s unique purposes for our lives- roles that will further His Kingdom. What we should do, especially if our dreams are simply not going away, is to enquire with Heavenly Father, find out from Him if your dreams are valid. We must also be willing to allow the process to develop in the way that it should so that the final product can be delivered in a healthy and safe way. God will continue to walk with us in “our pregnant state”.  He will ensure that all that is on the inside of us, is released. This will happen in His good time, not ours. Like pregnant women, we must learn to trust the process, allow God to take us through the necessary stages that will lead to our water breaking in preparation for delivery.

A lot of us are heavily pregnant with the promises of God, which He gave us many years ago. We have been waiting for such a long time to deliver our “Kingdom babies”. We have gotten discouraged and asked Him to take away the desires, we have repented and started to believe again. To all the “pregnant people”- pregnant with dreams, visions, and godly desires, be encouraged today! Rest in the faithfulness of God, He is not a man that He should lie. He is not denying you, at the right time, your dreams will be realized, and you will testify of the LORD’s goodness in the land of the living. Rest in faith, not in doubt.

Genesis 18: 14 “Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”

You are blessed, with love

Unathi

Training ground that produces growth

My revised definition of growth is “the ability to not shrink when life calls you to shrink but to continually decide to take your seat at the table, so to speak, -despite humiliation, fear, or uncertainty”

Battling through a dark place of training, a place that is uncomfortable and often leaves you in confusion is hard. You will find yourself wanting to get out of that place because you feel contained and limited. The fight can get out of hand and end up affecting your mental health because when we want to change, we tend to get consumed with our future destinations- where we believe will be a better and flourishing space in our lives.

At the end of the day, if you want to see any progress you must surrender to your place of training, where God prepares you for future endeavors. No matter how many times you cry and scream out of frustration and feel you must get out immediately – you don’t have control over the process. What do you do in those situations that occur more often than you would like? Do you choose to surrender, or do you keep nagging and fighting hoping for a solution to speedily come your way? As with many other things, all processes are accompanied by choice. You may not always have the liberty to choose whether you want to be there or not, but you certainly have a choice as to how you will react to the uncomfortable places where you find yourself today. To have some sort of peace, you must surrender and allow things to be, to take shape as they ought to.

I often find myself battling with Monday mornings, wondering when a change will come. Constant challenges of not wanting to be in the same space and desiring change tend to overpower me. I have constant battles of how much better I would be if I was operating in different settings, I can even picture the change. But still, those desires do not twist the hand of God, neither do they make things go away. So, with every moment of this fight, I learn little by little to choose surrender. If God is still allowing it that means He isn’t finished refining me.

When we don’t yet see the final product, we tend to think that nothing is happening but behind the scenes, the Holy Spirit is working and shifting our mindsets, giving us the strength to endure. We have been given graces to do life although we are blinded by our frustrations. Holy Spirit walks with us but many times we aren’t interested in the daily walk, we want the destination. I write about this because I know it well, through many episodes of kicking and screaming.

The times when I choose to partner with God through surrender and allow Him to lend me His vision, I can see that I am growing, amid the struggle and lack of understanding of my “jammed” circumstance. Like a flower that must be buried and will eventually bud, I too must go through the various steps in the growth process, none of us is an exception. Many times, we struggle to understand that God is a Father and a loving one who will not simply dish out blessings for the sake of it. Blessings come with a form of responsibility, and we must be fully prepared for the tasks that come with those blessings. As we are being trained, let us not be discouraged when processes seem to be slow or when the manifestation of our dreams seems to delay- when God has promised it, He will surely see it come to pass (Isaiah 55: 11).

May we grow into the beautiful flowers in the Garden of the Most High God, may the fragrance of our testimonies bring the gospel of our LORD Jesus Christ to those who are broken, lonely and discouraged, those who have never experienced the love of a faithful God. I encourage you today, allow God to be God. If you have prayed about change and you sense that He has heard your prayer, move to a new level of trusting Him, and thanking Him for the requests you have already made, that decision often results in growth.

“Israel shall blossom & bud and fill the face of the world with fruit”- Isaiah 27: 6

You are blessed, with love

Unathi.

Forgiveness of self is a form of cleansing

Forgive, be cleansed, be healed.

I generally struggled with forgiveness in my life. It wasn’t always obvious though. I carried around a smile, which convinced me that I forgave easily after being hurt and disappointed. 

It wasn’t until I was faced with a situation of having to forgive someone that really wounded me that I realized how much of a struggle it was. I resisted going through the process because I felt justified in remaining angry- I was the victim after all. When God encouraged me to forgive I questioned His loyalty and love, assuming that He was supposed to fight for me and I felt entitled to seeing the person who offended me suffer. Little did I know that forgiveness is not a “tit for tat” kind of situation. 

With the LORD on my side, I have come a long way with the journey of forgiveness. I have learned to forgive even when people have not asked for forgiveness. It cleanses my heart and breaks off stagnancy- it isn’t easy but it is necessary because people are sometimes blinded to their actions. It is not yet a natural reaction but I choose to give it as a gift because I know it honours God and blesses me and others- whether they are aware or not. I am truly grateful to God for allowing me to partake in a principle that brings life to dead situations, it is hard but certainly worth it.

In all the forgiving I did, I missed the most critical part of it all: my role in the situation! I totally separated myself and focused more on the wounds that were caused by other people. I camped in that painful and miserable place until the LORD helped me move. As forgiveness of others started to become a regular habit, I got to realize just how much I have wounded myself and others by allowing the wrong situations and people to be part of my life. I operated from a place of brokenness for a long time and would attract situations that fed this unhealthy monster within. There were alot of cycles I couldn’t understand or remove. I had to come to the realization that a lot of things start and end with me. Sometimes as an individual you must get really exhausted with the cycles in order to stop entertaining them. That’s where I got to. I desired a different lifestyle and wanted to experience healthy relationships, especially with myself. With the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, I realized just how much I lacked in focusing on myself. I could tick all the boxes of what I had done for other people but barely matched what I was supposed to do for myself. The bible tells us to love others as we love ourselves- both are equally important. I neglected myself and watched my life pass by as I gave other people more access than I should have. I had to repent and change my ways recognizing that I also matter and I am accountable for the quality of life that I live. Facing myself in the mirror revealed the level of internal conflict within me, I had to make prompt changes if I truly wanted a healthy mental space. 

That process started with forgiving myself. If you thought forgiving others was tough, this was even harder. It almost felt like I was starting afresh with the journey of forgiveness. I think I had failed myself so much in the past that I escaped my life and did not want to take accountability or make decisions as I should have, this was toxic. When all was said and done, I was still left to deal with the baggage I carried for years.

Thank God for the gift of forgiveness!

As I learned to forgive others, I learned to forgive myself too. I can now admit my weaknesses and not take them in the most critical way but allow myself to accept the situation and assess how I can improve myself and behaviour. Making mistakes is part of life, I had to constantly remind myself that it is totally okay not to be perfect. There were and still are a lot of goals I have not achieved in life, I am not where I thought I would be. The dreams I had as a child slowly faded away as I realized that I am far from achieving them. This brought a lot of resentment and judgement within myself. Being harsh with oneself doesn’t amount to anything good, instead it can lead to a place of depression and constant anxiety. It becomes easier to live in a “dream-like” state so that you avoid being present in uncomfortable situations. As you can imagine, this robs you of the present and you never enjoy your life. I just could not deal with this type of life anymore, I became hungry for change and a quality life. 

This process helped me to discover that I am a work in progress. That brought freedom because I removed the unrealistic expectations of who I should be as an individual and rather focused on enhancing my current strengths. I had to forgive myself over and over again. I forgave myself for the past decisions or lack of, I forgive myself regularly even for the little things that I do to compromise who I am. I no longer bend my back unnecessarily- I am in a healthy mindset that either says “you can help this person, be a blessing or you don’t have the capacity to do this, respect them and yourself enough to say no”. When you operate from this place, you are constantly cleansed from unnecessary bitterness that is caused by stretching yourself too thin. We are not called to be saviours to people but to introduce them to a Saviour that loves them and can carry all their problems, we just play a small part in being a blessing when we have the capacity to do so.

Forgiveness of self is a form of cleansing, when you are cleansed, you have a fresh perspective and a sweet fragrance that allows you to be a blessing to your family and community. The ability to forgive yourself accelerates your healing and brings growth. It is necessary to allow this to be part of your daily walk. Set boundaries and allow the Holy Spirit to guide your relationships, He will advise when you are to go an extra mile and when you should allow people to discover things for themselves. It is so vital to live in harmony with ourselves, we produce better results when we do.

“Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ” -2 Corinthians 2: 10

You are blessed, with love

Unathi

All crooked labels removed

Have you looked at the mirror recently? Sure, you have, right? just before you stepped out of the house. That’s not what I’m talking about though. I mean really study the image that is presented in front of you to get the emotions and thoughts you feel as you see yourself. I had to do that, and I realized I was in so much conflict with myself. The reflection I did on that morning broke my heart because it made me realize the issues that reside within. There is a lot of conflict happening in the world, but I think each person should secure their internal gates, know what to allow in and know what to keep out of your space to protect your mental health and heart.

This self-assessment helped me start a journey of self-forgiveness, acceptance and discovery.  I realized if I am to do any of the work that God has called me to do, I would have to change how I see and treat myself. This revelation made me want to rectify what I didn’t like in that image and to find out what I must do to change and begin nurturing my talents.

Life presents a lot of challenges that we sometimes cannot avoid, if you do not learn how to resolve internal conflict you suffer much more than you should. I am recovering from being a person who internalizes everything. When you do this, everything is about you, even when it shouldn’t be. A friend of mine once said “when you internalize everything you die a thousand deaths”. I found that to be true. I reflect a lot, especially after conversations with people. I am quite aware of my emotions and thoughts about others’ opinions and actions but at times I misinterpret what they are thinking or saying and end up with incorrect conclusions. When I internalize situations especially without double checking with others, I end up feeling frustrated about their thoughts and actions. It can be a heavy burden to carry and my eyes have now been opened to how unnecessary this is. I don’t think we are expected to always manage external factors, a lot of times we don’t even have enough evidence about what is happening outside of our minds and hearts. I am really learning how to find the balance between dealing with other people’s “stuff” and handling my internal “stuff”.

With that said, I live in my body and cannot escape that. I must learn to manage well what goes on internally. The conflict that I saw when I investigated myself in the mirror that morning saddened me because I realized how stuck I was between liking myself and being harsh towards myself. The insecurities and weaknesses seemed to scream louder than the love and care for myself, this was a hard pillow to swallow but I had to cross that bridge to get to where I am currently.

I suffered from rejection, humiliation, loneliness, depression, insecurity and being a people pleaser. This is what stood out when I did an assessment of how I see myself. As you can imagine, all these conditions are extremely detrimental. I realized I simply cannot live a meaningful life while carrying these burdens, one side of the story had to go. I made up my mind to believe that God is allowing me to live on this earth for a reason. Although I am not certain why I suffer in the way I sometimes do but such is life, and I have survived and have not died from all these conditions. I have an option to reject these and to stop them from dominating my life.

We are presented with choices daily. We must choose ourselves amid the hot messes we end up in. I saw a broken woman in the mirror and had to forgive myself for allowing those negative labels to continue describing who I am. I forgave myself for not dealing with the situations that were thrown at me or the ones I entered knowingly and unknowingly. I had to acknowledge that I had a huge role to play in being insecure. Sure, a lot of the burden I carried was caused by external factors I often had no control over but how I responded was completely under my control. If someone tells me that I am too stupid to do something, should I just be offended and believe them although I know I have the potential to do almost anything I set my mind to? That isn’t fair, someone else’s negative analysis of who I am should not govern the talents God has placed inside of me. A lot has been wasted in my years of silence and insecurity because I often believed negative words. I lived life feeling empty inside because I had little validation on the truth of who I am or who God calls me.

I am aware of my weaknesses and understand that I cannot do it all, and that is okay. However, my primary role in life is to steward the gifts that God has given me and to nourish them so I may grow into who I am called to be. It is vital to focus on our strengths and draw life’s experiences from that page. While others live out their talents, I realized that I too must also focus on what mine are. So, after forgiving myself, I accepted who I am. I listed my strengths and how I contribute to my family, friends and colleagues. This helped me recognize how much I was already operating in a place of purpose. I realized that I belong in this life, I must take my seat at the table and remove the labels that do not clearly define who I am. As I continue to choose myself and to be stubborn in advocating for myself, I now know how amazing I am. I became friendlier to myself and started listening to what I wanted and needed in life. When my love tank is full, I have better relationships with others, I become a blessing rather than a burden.

Through self-acceptance I started discovering wonderful things about my character and allowing these to become part of my daily life. This process helped me understand that I am God’s creation, made in His image for His glory. He approves of who I am, I am a creation that introduces a different side of God to the world. This revelation brought me closer to God, I started acknowledging what He has placed inside of me and how much He continues to direct my path.

This should be everyone’s story, the path to self-forgiveness, acceptance and discovery must be a road we all travel. This is a rich and fulfilling path that helps us to connect the dots and admire our Heavenly Father on the great job He has done in creating us. Today, as you are, spend a few minutes in silence looking at yourself in the mirror. If you find faults rather than appreciation, forgive yourself for those negative labels. Identify what you don’t like and note down what can be done to improve or change that, allow yourself to go through all the emotions that come with this exercise. Go back to the mirror after a week and look for the beauty and strength that lies within you. Be determined to find the gold in yourself because it’s in there somewhere, although you may not see it. Again, note down the new labels you have found and ask Holy Spirit to provide more wisdom and knowledge. It takes times and intentionality but it’s possible. I encourage you to dedicate time in finding out who you really are. May you find the precious, raw and beautiful side that God located deep inside of your core. You are lovely and wonderful, label yourself that way and show up as that person.

Psalm 62:3

“You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God”

You are blessed, with love

Unathi

A small trick to dumping loneliness

Being quiet and a private person has always been my way of life.

I often have the greatest of times alone and find these times of solitary provide perspective and clear direction on steps to take. It’s exciting when plans seem to come together or when prophetic words the LORD gave me in my private time with Him become manifested- this is one of the reasons that keeps me happy being a loner. I like to drive to quiet places, sit in the car and journal with God or just spend time reading the bible. This allows a lot of time for God to minister to my spirit, I love and enjoy it. In this space, I am comforted, encouraged and blessed. I am alone and don’t have to justify my character or why I don’t feel like saying much. This is a peaceful safe space and I can just be. Sometimes I play music and allow my thoughts to drift away, other times I sit in silence and deal with whatever issues I may have on my heart.

I have always had a very small circle of close people, that’s how I prefer doing life. I often enjoy one on one conversations that are mutually beneficial. I sometimes like to listen to other people’s challenges and find that God gives me the wisdom for human behaviour- through that gift I can help some people with their puzzled thoughts on life. Other times, I just listen without giving advice and I am simply used as a vessel of spiritual listening- listening with my heart.

When I am around people, I do get some satisfaction and fulfilment. It’s important to find the balance between being a loner and allowing people in your life, we are certainly not designed to be islands. I must be honest though; I spend more time by myself than I do with others or in groups.

In my “aloneness”, I am often happy, but I have also noticed that sometimes it can get lonely…

As I write this, I am parked outside a park. I needed inspiration and knew this space would assist. A few minutes before noting my thoughts here, I saw a couple with an infant. They came out of a red old car. The man carried the baby while the woman carried some snacks. They looked like the “serious type” of people and seemed committed to their cause. They were obviously on a mission to spend quality time together hence they made the effort of driving to the botanical gardens. Based on that, I concluded they must enjoy each other’s company. After seeing this, my mind started wondering. I pondered on how my life would look like when I get married and have a child. I am currently 34 years old and hope that someday I would also have a family, however I am also learning to trust the process and no longer want to rush it.

I wondered about this mostly because I have experienced loneliness when I am in the company of others and would want to escape and be alone. Is this normal I’ve asked myself, are there issues that I must deal with? I am certainly a believer of healing and I have seen the benefits of what this does to human beings- it allows them to become better versions of themselves. With that said, I know there are areas in my own life that still need to be dealt with where I must receive healing. So, I wondered if this was one of them. I continued with my thoughts questioning if I would still need to escape and be alone when I am married, or will marital life be fulfilling. I understand that having a baby can be a responsibility that demands you to be fully present especially in the early years of the baby’s life. Would I have that capacity?  I guess I won’t have answers to these questions right now, perhaps in a few years I can write a follow up with some fresh revelation.

Thoughts aside, loneliness is a real thing that can be experienced with or without people around. Being alone is social isolation whereas feeling alone describes loneliness, that explains why it happens with or without people around you. It feels like a void in your heart that cannot be easily filled up. At times, you yourself are unable to explain what is missing. As mentioned, I have felt this numerous times, and I couldn’t even identify what it was but through maturing, experience and revelation from God I understand it better.

I read an article that describes what can happen when a person is isolated too long, what grabbed my attention was a statement that read “going without human contact for too long can literally break your heart”, below is the link, for your reading pleasure

https://www.businessinsider.com/why-loneliness-bad-brain-body-what-to-do-2018-5?IR=T

When I discovered that I struggled with loneliness, I decided to turn to God for His help. I realized that this was affecting my mental health. This void can only be filled by the love of God and it’s important that we look to Him and not human beings to fill us up. When we look solely to humans, we may end up having unrealistic expectations of what people should be and do for us and get disappointed when we get less than expected. Only the good LORD would be able to help us fill this void.

God made me realize that we are designed for companionship and that hit me like a ton of bricks. “Healthy companionship” is what I needed to help me with my loneliness. Does this mean I have never experienced companionship in my life? I certainly have. I am blessed with incredible friendships and relationships. However, the problem is not so much in others, but it is with me. I had never experienced “healthy companionship” with myself. I hardly ever took time to build a relationship with myself, often too focused on what’s expected of me by the external factors. That is why even when I was around people, I would sometimes experience loneliness. I tried to start believing God’s word and what He says about me. I also decided to be more intentional in nurturing a relationship with myself. Through those efforts, I started liking myself and feeling more comfortable with being by myself. This led me to discovering many things I didn’t know existed on the inside of me. I would go out alone, do activities I enjoy, spoil myself, compliment and encourage myself. These little actions have impacted the relationship with me in such a powerful way. I see myself as a valuable person. I laugh at and with myself! This is helping build a solid foundation not just for myself and how I treat myself but also for others and the relationships I have with them. I am realizing that I am quite a unique individual and that is okay, that’s exactly how God designed me. I am no longer boring and fearful of my weaknesses. I can spend time by myself and expect to learn more, I now no longer feel that intense loneliness even when I spend time with others because there is fulfilment in who I am as an individual. This has changed my perspective of who I am.

A wise friend recently said to me “Unathi, you are not normal, you are unique. Be true to yourself” (not in those exact words but that’s close enough). I often think of this as I continue to spend time with my “un-normal but amazing self”, there is certainly no abnormal loneliness lurking around anymore. Am I saying I never get lonely anymore? No, I still do get lonely, especially when I miss people in my life but now it is healthier and no longer feels like a void.

I have come to accept, love, like and appreciate myself. I am learning, I am healing, I am growing and open to improving myself so I may continue to bless myself and others. If you find yourself in cycles of loneliness that cause pain, try building a relationship with yourself. It takes small, consistent and intentional steps to get there, you will find it extremely rewarding and healing. Please also try to reach out to others who may have experienced the same difficulties. You may be pleasantly surprised at the flourishing relationships you end up in.

Psalms 68: 6

“God sets the solitary in families…”

You are blessed, with love

Unathi