This exact Latitude and Longitude


I came across this statement while listening to Margaret Feinberg  a lady who God has used to encourage me severally. The question she asked God was this: “has anyone praised you at this very latitude and longitude?”. At that moment she was under an MRI machine getting a scan. This was right in the middle of her battle with cancer.

How do you even get to thanking or praising God in the midst of your darkest moments? I’ve always been amazed by Job when I read about his reaction immediately after he lost everything. I imagined I’d also be inspired to do the same. Well, let’s just say that when you’re the one on the spot, that’s easier said than done.

This past week wasn’t easy at all. I had been busy trying to come to terms with a diagnosis the doctor gave me. There were numerous changes to be made and that alone was overwhelming me. Then the drugs came with their own side effects until I got to a point where taking them would almost depress me.

Speaking of which, as the week started, anxiety and depression kept threatening. Spent almost two days locked up in the house and mostly in bed. I cried enough during that time. The symptoms of whatever I was diagnosed with were taking a toll on me. It was all too much to bear. Now to add salt to the injury, I had exams to prepare for! How on earth would I even study in the midst of all this?

Well, one day at a time, that’s what I decided to do. Then I made it for midweek bible study and I came back all fired up and having my faith revived. I was determined to trust God no matter how things looked. I had just learnt how faith is a journey to God not a journey to results. I was going to believe in God whether I saw results or not.

That was until I got back only to discover some other health complication had arisen. The next morning I woke up feeling like I couldn’t take it anymore. How is one person supposed to handle all that? After plenty of conversations with God, I somehow got the strength to even go for a meeting across town. Things were finally looking up and I had such a great time.

The next day, I was back to square one. Feeling quite dejected, I figured I might as well defer my exams and do them next year. I didn’t have the energy or grace to handle health issues and their drama as well as manage to study for the Bar exams. Thankfully, by the end of that day, I’d gotten enough encouragement to change my mind.

So today, my main question to God as the day started was, how does faith look like in this current situation? How would He want my faith to look like? Secondly, how do I genuinely praise you when no part of me feels like it? I wanted to know how I could practically do that.

I realised that sometimes, all it takes is getting out of bed. Other times, it’s that feeble ‘thank you’ to God because you are down but not out. Sometimes it’s a tearful prayer accompanied by sobs or even flowing tears when words won’t come. It could be listening to that playlist that explains best how you feel or the one that God uses to get you out of despair. Maybe even dragging yourself around and doing what needs to be done in spite of everything. Most of all, it means taking your eyes off the circumstances threatening you and fixing your gaze on He who has power over everything.

Therefore, in this latitude where I can’t even eat onions or garlic (goodness, how’s food to taste without those!), I’m grateful I can still use tomatoes and carrots. In this longitude where the future seems bleak, I’m glad I still have this present moment and an assurance that He’ll never leave me nor forsake me. In this exact place, I thank God that inasmuch as I don’t comprehend (or like) any of this; He promises that it will work out for my good. 

A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor. So when storms rise up, be happy. This pain, loss, sickness, heartache or whatever hurt; not only will it pass eventually, but you’ll be stronger because of it.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

(2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT)

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GUEST POST: UNLEARN

Scenesanaa

While some people like to hide behind fictional characters, others are so open it breaks your heart. It breaks your heart because to be like them is your seemingly unattainable dream for when you grow up, or when you die and come back recast as ratatouille. Okay, maybe not the second part because lol, this is not a Charles Dickens book. They break your heart with the familiar truths said with an unfamiliar boldness. Or more accurately, they melt your heart. No kidding, such people exist. I had the privilege of meeting one such person who blogs (more like journals) here, and she was kind enough to write me a blog post because here, we love guests. Don’t we? Well, my people, meet Jackie Naserian. (Exotic name, right?)

*****

Unlearn. Just one simple word. A heavy word.

Easier said than done you say, and I couldn’t agree more. This…

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Daring to be Me

I am that round peg in a world full of square holes. I rarely fit in; no scrap that, I never fit in!
It’s not an easy thing because I’m frequently nudged by the need to belong. All around are people who have their flocks or kindred spirits and they’re quite happy together. It’s a world where most people seem to have a community of sorts; there’s always something that binds them to one or two others.

Growing up, I still didn’t fully fit in but somehow I was too excited about life and unknowingly secure in who I was. Which means I barely noticed how different I was. I loved the world and believed the world loved me too. Though I never matched the status quo, somehow I got by.

Oh I remember the time I’d transferred to a new school and was still trying to figure how I’d been chosen as the class prefect in a new stream, less than a week after I joined. So one morning during the assembly, I was standing at the back of the crowd simply being me. I was busy picking tiny stones and throwing them at people mischievously. Then the headmaster announced that the new headgirl wasn’t 100% perfect, she was more like 76%. Imagine the shock when I and the rest of the school discovered that I’d been chosen. I always remember the 76% because that’s how I feel about myself; I’m never perfect.

Fast forward to high school and things blew up! I had enough people who hated me simply because of who I was. It wrecked me when I discovered that. I shrank and my esteem plummeted. From then on, I’ve been recovering.

This round peg misses the young girl who was completely oblivious to what the world thought about her. Now I’m on a path of accepting who I am and realising that I’ll always have people who don’t like me. Getting to the place where I am okay with never fitting in. It hasn’t been easy but I’m loving it.

As long as my best (or my 76%, Lol) has been given, then I’m not worried if other people can’t appreciate. In this circle, the only opinion that matters most is God’s. I have learnt how He’s my biggest cheerleader and fan in this life. Mainly because He actually created everything that I am and the obvious fact that I belong to Him. He’s invested heavily in me and therefore, is determined to ensure I become all that He made me to be.

So this loved round peg will keep living and eating life with a big spoon. Friends will be appreciated, advise will be listened to and wisdom accepted. However, no more wondering why I don’t fit in anywhere. I am unique and that’s great. My new motto remains:

Be bold; Be you!

Leaving you with some more lyrics:

Break out them blue skies,
I can feel my heart beating inside,
Yeah, it’s like a new day,
Woke up to hear You say,
I came to give you life,
So spread your wings and fly,
Now go and show no fear,
You are enough to change the atmosphere,
So go and do life big,

(Jamie Grace- Do life big)

Unmasked and Bare… still care?

This is what I want you to do:
Sit down slowly, take a nice deep breath and close your eyes. Now carefully take off your glasses then open your eyes and see. Take a look, a far closer look, get to really see. I want you to see that person for what they truly are and not through the lenses you picked.

Say hello to the real them, not the fantasy version you created. Can you see the imperfect smile? The laughter that ends in a snort? The blemishes on that skin? Have you noticed they’re wearing the same outfit for the umpteenth time?

Yes, welcome to reality. Ragged edges that cut, flaws that repeal, selfishness that’s unbelievable and a person that honestly annoys the hell out of you every so often.

Well, what do you think now? Anticipointment, right? How do you like them now without all the layers of expectations you’d placed? No longer seeing who you thought they were; potential, and finally seeing what exists; reality.

Are you willing to still stay? When Cinderella turns to ashes, would the adoration cease? Prince charming apparently was just the stables boy, do you still like him? Nothing fancy, just simply the unveiled mystery.

They say love isn’t the beautiful flames that burn passionately but the ashes left behind. So the question isn’t about how much you like them or what they do but, would you see all their flaws and believe you can handle them? Or at least try…

Sunset

​Curtains fall. Well, there goes each of my expectations.

Yes, curtains fall, it was lovely while it lasted.

The bittersweet divorce is happening.

I should be heartbroken and probably devastated.

It hurts, that much I can say but a different kind of pain.

This isn’t tearing me apart, maybe because I’m getting closure.

Yeah, closure, that’s exactly what this is.

I’m kissing my expectations goodbye.
I’m not sure I’ll miss them. Let me simply be honest.

Sure, they carried me to places I’d never dreamed and made me experience emotions that are hard to explain.

I still won’t miss them; maybe because of how wounded they left me.
I dared to dream, dared to reach and the stars were close within. Came so close that I could touch, smell and see so well. However, that was just that; a dream.
Reality hit, oh it struck quite hard! Reality sucks. Now my castle in the air is merely air; nothing. I feel like I woke from deep slumber. The anticipointment is something I can’t describe. 
Letting go wasn’t easy, it still isn’t. Feels so close yet so far. Out of sight, out of mind they say. My panacea therein lies. So curtains drop, curtains drawn, here’s my new dawn.

Shark Tales

It occurred to me how I have a thing for broken people; they capture my attention very quickly. Most probably because I love fixing things… and people. I’d make it my business to help them heal, to mend them and to love on them. Then it dawned on me recently that maybe I like broken people because we’d focus so much on fixing them that they wouldn’t realise all my shortcomings. I’ve been aware of those and they sure are plenty! So I’d try to highlight my best aspects hoping people wouldn’t get past them and see the girl hiding with insecurities galore.

Why am I saying all this? Might be because sometime back, someone I’d been trying to figure if I had a crush on or not, opened up about a few things. It reminded me of how broken he is and got me thinking of how I was probably getting drawn to him because I am like a shark that can detect blood from afar. You see, wounded people attract equally wounded people or the kind that would wound them further.

Today, I’m learning that I no longer have to do this. I’ll leave broken people in God’s hands; He’s their healer, not me. Trying to get someone like him might eventually lead to me causing greater damage than what already existed.

I’m also learning that I’m healing better than I thought if I’ve gotten to this point where God could speak to me about this and I agree to let go. Normally, I’d throw a tantrum and insist on my way. I’d do a whole session of negotiation with God then eventually go ahead and do what I’d wanted initially. Maybe it was the pain that awaited, which drew me subconsciously. Yes, I unknowingly was attracted to pain. Could be because I was eager to feel something, anything; whatever emotion that would get me carried away, even if it would lead to pain.

So now, I’m sincerely done with all that hullabaloo. I have grown more patient (thankfully) and I refuse to chase after temporary highs provided by fascinating people who happen to be broken. I’ll interact with broken people with compassion because I acknowledge that I might just be as equally broken. I refuse to try to be their saviour while trying to satisfy my own selfish desires. The need to be needed and to be indispensable in their lives, is something I refuse to keep as my motivation. I will love them to the best of my ability but I no longer desire to heal them because I can’t do that.

Most of all, I have come to appreciate that my brokenness is worth addressing first. As Stasi Eldredge says, I am worth grieving! No more trying to mask this brokenness behind other people’s.

I’ll leave you with these words:

Bring your brokenness, and I’ll bring mine
‘Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy’s waiting on the other side
If we’re honest…

(Francesca Battistelli- If we’re honest)

Sole Searching

You know how a man in love looks at the woman who takes his breath away? Well, that’s not something I can make you do. Nothing I try to do or say to make you look at me with pure adoration will work. Trust me, I fully comprehend the folly and futility of it all.

There are things that if you can’t see, you simply cannot see! So I will not keep pitching an entire presentation hoping you’ll see.
That’s the kind of thing that you should notice first; where I barely do anything except be myself, but it blows you away. If who I am hasn’t captivated you this far, then brother, it’s time for me to wake up. I am not it for you, which means you’re equally not it for me and I’m starting to accept that. It’s okay, I may not be what you’re looking for but that takes nothing away from my value. It simply allows me to bid adieu any unrealistic expectations I’d placed on you and makes me available to the one searching for me.

So my soles will hit the ground and move on as I go down the path where I’ll meet the soles wanting to meet me.