Tuesday, 26 June 2018

THE DANGER OF SETTLING

You and I, dear reader would both agree that a lot has happened in our lives already this year and we're just about getting done with the first half of it. I for one haven't been exactly reaching the marks I set for myself this year and it gets so frustrating when I look at how much is yet to be done that I want to just throw 'it' all away and just settle for whatever happens. The case might be the same for some of y'all.
If you do not happen to belong to this category, well, congratulations! But I'd also have you know that there is always a better way to doing stuff and living life, just so you don't settle for whatever wonderful position you might find yourself in at the moment.
So, first things first, what does it actually mean to 'Settle'?
The meaning of the word varies over a wide range of definitions but in the context of this article it means, "To become fixed or permanent; to become stationary; to establish one's self or itself; to assume a lasting form, condition, direction, or the like, in place of a temporary or changing state.", just so we're clear of the kind of 'settle' we're actually talking about.
At the beginning of the year, a lot of us probably made resolutions, plans, set goals and did a whole lot of restructuring so that we could make the most of the year. For some of us, our plans have yielded good and satisfiable results, for some of us also on the other hand, things haven't as much as turned out as we planned. Most of us are then out of frustration throwing in the towel seeing it's already mid year and settling for whatever the rest of the year has to offer. While also considering those for whom the sun has been shining ever so brightly that have decided to bask in the rays while forgetting that there's a rainy season ahead. We might have chosen to settle for less and this decision whether taken unconsciously or deliberately is exactly what sets apart the champions from the winners and the winners from the quitters.
What most of us don't know is that settling is as good as giving up because a person who thinks he or she has reached his peak starts to retrogress. Life is progressive, change is the only constant thing, we must keep moving against all odds!
Settling just because you feel you've achieved quite a lot or next to nothing is like canceling a journey just because you've run out of fuel.
We are in a constant state of facing one challenge or the other, this is what life is all about. And as we overcome those challenges we improve ourselves and our standards of living and the cycle goes on and on. Its puzzling to know that some of the time, we're almost already at the peak of our breakthrough when we decide to call it quits, pack our bags, hold our horses and settle, for less usually.
Just because everything you planned out has not happened in your timing doesn't mean they're not going to happen after all. "But Kiki it's midyear already!" I know but a lot can happen in one day you know...Joseph the biblical character had his life transformed overnight. One night he was sleeping in a prison next night he was in the palace!
Our christian life was also designed to be progressive, moving from one degree to another, growing in depth of the knowledge of God. The moment you start to think you know all you need to know about God, you enter a state of familiarity and complacency. This gradually gives room for lukewarmness as your fire begins to fizzle out.
One prayer that struck me while reading a book was, "Lord, don't take me to where you can't reach me!", before like some of my friends would say "He'll just close your heaven!"
See, in all ramifications of life, settling on past achievements and dwelling on past failures will truncate God's original purpose for our lives. Just like He said in his word in the 18th and 19th verse of the 43rd chapter of the Prophet Isaiah, "Remember he not the former things, neither consider the things of the old. Behold I do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it...?"
God is always doing a new thing but we're always so caught up in either our past victories or defeats that we do not see Him breaking boundaries and moving mountains for our sakes. It's time to open our eyes to new possibilities, to what the rest of the year has to offer us.
It's not the time to SETTLE DOWN but the time to MOVE FORWARD.


Thursday, 4 January 2018

2018 ESSENTIALS

In my previous article, I mentioned quite a number of steps one could take towards the coming year in order to make it a successful and rewarding one. And there are other things I'd also want to share with you in that aspect. They might be things you already know but didn't think were important but I tell you they'd go a long way in making your year worth it.
  1. BE POSITIVE
Positivity is just like a vibe. It emanates from people unconsciously. And this is one of our major goals in the lair, to exude positive vibes to those around us and on this platform. Everyone wants to be around optimistic people. Those with a pessimistic view always have a gloomy outlook on life. Being positive draws people to you and increases your chances of meeting strategic people. Networking is very essential as no man is an island.
So then, how can you be positive?
  • Positive confessions. 

Always make positive confessions even in the face of negative circumstances. It might not be easy but remember, discipline is key. 
  • Self talk
Learn to talk to yourself but of course in the confines of your room or under your breath in the midst of people so they don't think you're crazy. Sometimes, you will have to be your only encouragement. Congratulate yourself when you've done well, its not a vice. It is not wrong to say good things about yourself.

2.  SMILE OFTEN

Research has shown that it takes about 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile. The more you smile, the better you feel. As Joyce Meyer accurately puts it, "You're not fully dressed until you put on a smile. A smile is a facelift that is in everyone's price range"
Don't try to please everyone, don't fall into the trap of trying to please everyone. It would weigh you down and stress you up. Don't live under the tyranny of their expectations. Learn to cope with criticism, every great man or woman has had to learn that.

3.  EAT HEALTHY 
You have to be healthy to be able to actively pursue your dreams and goals. Cut down on junk eating and save your money. Eat right, eat healthy. Fruits and vegetables are essential. Drink lots of water to keep your system free of toxic substances.
4.  REST 
I'm still trying to figure out whee we Africans picked up the notion that resting is equivalent to laziness. There is a line between the two please. You have to rest your body so it can be up and active to pursue the next goals in line.

5. ALWAYS PUT GOD FIRST
Ironically, this is the last point in this post but it was done on purpose so it'd be the last thing you read and first thing on your mind when you think of this post. God already knows what the end of your 2018 looks like, follow his directions and you'll get there in one piece. His word, the bible is like the ultimate guide. Find time to study and meditate on it. It would refresh and renew your mind.

So, this is me officially welcoming you into  the year. I hope and pray that 2018 turns out to be the best year ever for you and for me.
Let's roar together!
Kikioma

Friday, 29 December 2017

PREPPING FOR 2018

The year is gradually drawing to a close and soon a new year will come knocking at your door again. It would make sense to prepare for its coming so you won't be caught unawares. If 2017 didn't go well for you, now is the time to count your losses and move on. Don't wait for the new year to do that, it could lower your morale by 80%. 
If it went just as you planned, kudos! But remember, there's always more, there's always higher ground to climb and there's always a better wayway to doing things so don't rest on your oars. 
The purpose of this article is to prepare you for 2018, so much that the year itself will meet you ready and waiting at the door to welcome it.
Firstly,
REFOCUS YOUR VISION.

This will help you set the proper goals. Sometimes, disappointments can hit you so hard you begin to wonder if your dreams are actually not too big for you. Maybe they are, but then isn't that why its called a 'dream'? And your vision is to make those dreams become a reality. So just in case the hustles and bustles of 2017 knocked your vision out of sight, you have to consciously kick it back into place. It may have become blurred with distractions buy you have got to stick with it. How? 
  • Rewrite it
  • Rehearse it 
  • Target it
  • Understand it
  • Make it plain.
  • Go after it.
And this leads you to the next step.

GOAL SETTING.

I noticed something peculiar happen to me this year. For all the months I set goals for myself, I achieved to a considerable extent. But for the months I didn't, I just moved with the tides, wasn't focused and by the end of the month, I didn't achieve much.
Goal setting is a must if you're serious about getting results and closer to making your dreams a reality. Goals can be divided into three segments, long term goals(years), mid term goals(6months) and short term goals(a month, a week, daily).
Set goals in every area of your life. For instance,
Physically➡Exercising every day or three times a week.
Mentally/Psychologically➡Having a certain number of books you would read in a month,this has been made easier with the introduction of audio books), types of seminars you would want to attend, audio messages you'd listen to.
Spiritually➡How much closer you want to get to your God. Prayer times, bible study plan, engage in active service by joining a department.
Financially➡Having a budget and sticking to it, if you've not already, please open a savings account. If possible don't get ATM card for it. Create strategies for generating multiple streams of income. This is where the need to get advice from experts through seminars could come in.
All these goals have to be written down for reference purposes cause as the saying goes, "the faintest ink is better than the brightest brain"
Thirdly,
PLAN.

Plan how you intend to achieve those goals you've set. For example, a student who has 9 courses to study in a semester  has to draw a plan, a timetable sort of else he might not be able to cover much. One of my principal's favorite slogan in secondary school days then was "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!" So make plans, also having in mind that we can plan just about 60% of the day just so we wouldn't get so uptight if things don't go just as planned. Most times they won't and this is why there's always need for plans b,c,d and to z if need be.
Finally,
DISCIPLINE
If you've been disciplined enough to go through this mentally tasking processes aforementioned, then you're good to go. But then you need even a higher dose of discipline to follow through with what you've set out to do.
If you're desperate enough for change, you would do whatever it takes. Its only an insane man that keeps doing the same thing over and over again while expecting to get different results.


Monday, 25 December 2017

My Christmas Story

I had always heard of Santa Claus and the image I had of Him was a stout fat man dressed in red carrying a sack of gifts and entering through the chimney. Well, since we didn't have any chimney, I always wondered where he'd come in through if he ever visited my house. A day before Christmas when I was quite younger, mom said to get ready, we'd be going to see Santa. In my little mind, the image I had was the one I expected we were going to see. I was so excited, I told everyone who cared to listen, everyone literally, I mean even the mallam on my street that I was going to see Santa. Whether they understood what I was saying or not, I was just too excited to care. Finally morning came, after a long night, longer than usual or not probably cause I was too excited to sleep well. It was actually a Christmas party and other kids were there as well. Eventually, we stood on the line waiting our turn to see Santa. From afar, he looked slimmer than usual, did he lose weight? I wondered. As I got closer, I found out he looked darker, was it cause of going down through different chimneys? I pondered. And when it was two kids away from my turn, I screamed. This was definitely not the real Santa, his beard had just fallen off! I was mortified. Mom kept asking what was wrong, I couldn't explain all I could do was point at him. I refused to go meet him, he was just too black to be true. But that didn't stop me from reaching out to collect the bagpack he stretched out to give me. I went home totally disappointed and more disappointed when I found out the next term that Santa was our maths teacher Uncle Segun. I didn't like maths so that made it all the worse. But at least I was grateful for the bag pack, I had shared its contents with my friend Bolu who didn't get anything for Christmas. It was a season for sharing right?

Sunday, 17 December 2017

3 Things Jesus wants for Christmas.

We are almost that time of the year when we celebrate the birth of our saviour, Jesus Christ. It's usually a season of love and sharing that just seems to bring out the good and loving side of everyone.
But one striking fact is that sometimes we get carried away with planning and celebrations that we forget the actual celebrant, the main reason for the season. Everyone of us has a birthday and on that day we get gifts, wishes, calls and text messages from loved ones. That day just seems to be basically about us. When it comes to Christmas, I believe the same should apply. If the celebrant is having his party in church, well, what are you doing at home?
If you're exchanging gifts with everyone else, what about the celebrant? Imagine you hosted a birthday party in your house and everyone came with gifts for each other except you, the celebrant...how would you feel? Over the years, this has been the case for Jesus. Of course, no material thing could be used to quantify the value of the gift we should give to him but it'd surprise you to know that Jesus has needs too! And meeting those needs would be the perfect birthday gift for Him.
I learnt this in church today and was immensely blessed by it. I hope it does the same for you too.
There are 3 things Jesus wants from you for Christmas.
1. He wants you to give him first place in your life.
Jesus wants to be the center of attraction of your life. He needs you. Why? Well, due to Adam's selling out to the devil, Jesus cannot just intrude here on earth. He needs vessels in which he can work through to intervene on earth, vessels totally yielded to him and in which he is their Lord and number one.
2. He wants you to give Him your absolute trust.
He needs people who can trust him long enough, people who will not compromise at the slightest provocation. Faithful men, he can hand over cities and territories to. People who he can confidently bless, knowing they'd be a blessing to others and not hoard it. People who will maintain God given standards if placed in positions of authority. He is more than willing to bless you, the question is, Are you ready for it?
3. He wants you to give him your time in active service for him.
The harvest is ripe but the labourers are few. He is in dire need of men and women who are ready to give their lives, time, money to see that the kingdoms of this world becomes the kingdoms of our God. He needs people who are willing to serve him with all their heart, mind, strength and might. People who are ready to be fishers of men, who like the apostles would turn their world upside down and saturated with the good news.
Hmmmmm.....maybe this wasn't what you were expecting. But this sure is what he wants. And the best part is he gives grace to us to be able to give Him such gifts. Imagine someone giving you money to buy a gift for them as if it were coming from your own pocket.
Let this Christmas be one like no other, one where we actually acknowledge our saviour and surrender our lives to him. It'd be so precious to him because that is what He came to die for.
Merry Christmas in advance!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The 'ISAAC'

There comes a time in our walk with God when we all eventually have to drop our Isaac. Our 'Isaac' in reference to the biblical perspective is something very precious to us, so precious that we feel we cannot do without. Mine was a relationship, with a person from whom I'd tried to derive my personality from and idolize unknowingly.
The time had come and I tried to evade it just as always. But then again, knowing fully well that I'd get stuck at that level of my life if I couldn't let go, the battle in my mind started. With every wall of resistance I built, his word came like a bulldozer knocking it down. Until finally, I let go. I was so afraid, afraid of loneliness, of the unknown, of the future, that I wouldn't and couldn't make it on my own.
Looking back now, we're both glad I did and here I am blazing my own trail, gradually learning to enjoy my own company, embracing wholeness, understanding my role in a bigger picture, impacting my world even if its a tiny little bit of it and walking away with a true friend and a lesser number of exs'.
At that moment of breaking up, it seemed like my heart would rip itself apart. I had finally come to the end of myself with no one else to turn to but God. In my diary, I penned down this words,
"Lord, I never would have thought that I could walk away from this, this ship that so lovingly tried to sink me. Thank you Lord, help me Holy spirit to maintain my stand. The beautiful thing about this walk is, though I long to see an immediate overnight change, You tease me with new heights and points, bit by bit as it comes but so cumulative over time it takes me by surprise. I used to worry about so many things but now I know you've got it all under control and my path is just to follow your lead till I become that woman you want me to be. Help me to stay on this path Holy spirit, I really want to see its outcome. Help me."
Since then, it has been like a new level of knowing God opened up for me. It has not been easy though but it has been totally worth it. 
As you read this, I sincerely hope that this helps you take that decision you've been stalling for so long. It just might be the gateway to
another season of your life. And no one else can do it for you but yourself. Abraham had to kill his son by himself, how painful! But only when Abraham gave up Isaac did God unleash the full package of the covenant on him. For him it was a child he waited 25years for, whats yours? A relationship, an addiction, a job, a lifestyle, a property? Whatever it is that's standing in God's way of getting to you, give it up. It will be hard, but it is worth it. His grace is available, if only you can just open up your heart and receive the help that only Him can give. Let go of 'the Isaac".

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Enemy Love

Whenever I remember the first day I came across the bible verse that said, "Pray for your enemy", I smile sheepishly. I had shook my head with a "no-no" screaming in my it. How could I pray for those who hurt me? As in for what nah?! The thoughts in my head screamed. And the Spirit with a voice always calm as ever, answered, "Cause sometimes you would be the one that has hurt another. Would you love for them to pray for you?" Well,that did it for me, I argued till I knew I had lost the battle. I just said in my mind, "God I don't know how you expect me to do this but help me anyways". I still had some atom of doubt in my mind, I strongly believed all my enemies had to die by fire!
Fast forward, two years after, I hurt a loved one and I sincerely and desperately wanted reconciliation but all my efforts were futile. I eventually went to God in prayer, I still wonder why we find it hard to seek God first when situations arise. And just as I raised the issue, the memory of that which I mentioned earlier came flooding in. A wave of guilt washed over me for some seconds as I realized my folly. I had never really given much importance to that command from the bible until that moment. I didn't know what to say again in prayer that day but God in his infinite mercy made that reconciliation possible. I learned my lesson and ever since, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me cause I know it cannot be done by mere human will. And the tests started coming in even till this very moment. I have had people I hold very dear hurt me and I have hurt people dear to me too, maybe intentional, maybe not but I've just had this amazing urge to be the one seeking for reconciliation and praying for them too no matter who's at fault. I know it is the Holy Spirit that has made this possible and I hope he perfects this work in me because it's beautiful, peaceful and liberating. Reaching out first for reconciliation first even when you're the one who has been offended is not easy but is possible through the help of the Holy Spirit. You can ask him to help you today so you can get on with the incredible business not living cause last I checked, you cannot hold a man without staying down with him.