The Jonah in Me

Standard

I haven’t written in so long and, to be honest, part of me wasn’t sure if I was going to pen anything new anytime soon. When I started this blog it was simply to share my “Of a Woman” series (hence the name of webpage)- collection of fascinating findings of different characteristics of women and what the bible says about them. An easy enough task. But God obviously had other plans. As the weeks progressed I found myself opening my “Journey to me” series where I found myself led to open up to you my readers about some very personal feelings and thoughts I harbored.  I won’t lie and pretend that it was easy- it is probably the most difficult thing I had to do in the last 3-5 years. Some people closest to me actually learnt about these feelings from reading the articles because I had never shared them before. Opening up like that left me feeling drained, vulnerable and highly exposed. For one I didn’t know how you, the readers, would take it- as a cry for attention or, as I was praying, as lesson and encouragement for some other young lady out there who was dealing with the same challenges. I also did not enjoy digging up the pain and bad memories because part of me knew that I had not completely dealt with them but had simply decided to ignore and bury them, hoping they would eventually disappear on their own.

So faced with the realization that should I continue to write, that hiding myself was no longer an option I did what I am good at- I ran. I packed all my notebooks, logged out of this blog, it’s associated social media, and stopped writing all together. Then in order to find an excuse NOT to do what God was telling me to do I started putting my efforts towards other things that, yes I had been feeling I  should do but, I knew it wasn’t my “main agenda”. Like Jonah, I went to Tarshish instead of Ninevah. And like Jonah, I stepped out from under the protective covering of God as I walked away from my mission and went AWOL. Again I learnt, the hard way, that is always easier to give advice than to take your own advice. I have learnt that while the process of obedience may not always be the most comfortable, the fruits are always so much more beneficial, and pleasurable than the fruits of disobedience- which is short term “feel good” and bears really bad fruit.

I had become so used to everything becoming a fight that it’s almost reflex for me to put up a struggle with EVERYTHING and to fight off EVERYONE. Jonah may have run from his instructions because he thought THEY didn’t deserve the love of God  but I run because I feel that I don’t deserve it. The love of God surrounds and overwhelms me so much that I just wanna run from Him. It’s amazing I wrote Tangled in Guilt, convinced that I was done with it only to realize that I have been entertaining her older brother Condemnation. Sure my heart knew and knows the popular scripture Romans 8:1 (There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit KJV) but my mind was struggling to process it, to accept it so I decided to bolt from the very person I was meant to run to.

But the grace and patience of God is amazing. He followed me wherever I went and continued to give me routes to return back to MY path but some of us are more stubborn than is necessary. I hardened my heart, closed my eyes and tried to shut out His voice, determined to retreat into the cocoon of lies and deceit that the enemy had talked me into because it felt “more like me” than what God is calling me to. I have learnt that there is a big difference between just having some bible verses stored in your memory that you can recite when it seems “appropriate” (RELIGIOUSNESS) and allowing the Holy Spirit to minister these words to your inner most parts so your mind is renewed and your life is changed (CHRISTIANITY). Of course to know what the bible says is important but what’s more important is for us to allow the Word to search our hearts, our thoughts and to change them where they are not right (Psalms 139:23-24).

And so this year my goal has been set before me- To subdue this Jonah in me, to conquer condemnation and to kill the spirit of religiousness that seems to be plaguing me. I pray some of you will join me on this journey to becoming the person God intends each one of us to be. I am not expecting it to be easy but I know that it is worth it because true and complete freedom awaits at the end of this journey- not only freedom for myself but the freedom of those that will hear my testimonies.

#2018theyearof #breakingdownwalls #diggingdeeperfoundations and #growingdeeperroots so we will finally #beholdhisglory

Advertisements

Beauty Of a Woman

Standard

1 Peter 3:3-4; Prov 11:22; Prov 31:30; Romans 9:20-21; Gen 29:17: Luke 12:48, Psalms 139:14; John 7:24; John 8:15

“Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, just as your life is in the hands of Jehovah.”
When these words first surfaced in my heart I was just beginning a long journey to self-love and self-acceptance. I must have been about 19 at that time. (I realize for some this may seem like that was a bit late but better late than never, right?). I was learning to see myself as beautiful, and not through the eyes of someone’s eyes but through my own. A few months prior to this ‘epiphany’ I’d come to realize that having someone else see me as beautiful was not enough. You see same way you can neither remove nor add a life from the hands of God, so is this thing of beauty- you could never convince someone of something’s beauty, they either see it or they don’t. In my case I simply didn’t see my beauty. It didn’t matter how many boys chased me, or that I had a boyfriend who looked at me, and treated me, as if I was the most breathtaking thing to grace the face of this earth. In fact I thought there was something wrong with them, especially this particular guy who had decided to stick around for all those years. I was this experience and these feelings towards myself that had me find these words as I was searching for the true meaning of beauty.
As a teenager my idea of beauty was flawed on so many levels, the two main ones being:
It was based strictly on my outward appearance
It was measured against other girls, I would constantly compare myself to them.
Of course with time I have learnt the error of my ways but the journey has been neither easy, nor cheap. For something so seemingly shallow beauty appears to consume a lot of our minds, hearts and spirits as women. So today I will see what the Word has to say about it, as opposed to what the world says it is.

First things first. Let us be open and honest with each other- BEAUTY MATTERS TO US women, on so many different levels and for so many reasons. For some it is enough to just be pretty but for others they feel the need to be breathtaking. If beauty wasn’t important the make up industry wouldn’t be a multi-billion dollar industry, and this is just cosmetics before we include hair, shoes, clothes, jewelry and diets. If you want to lie to yourself that it does’t matter then check again, as a woman it’s just in you to care. My theory is because the first thing that Eve experienced when Adam saw her was admiration and appreciation FOR HER LOOKS and it just became a part of women to want that. How do I know it was for her looks and not for her heart or mind? Simple, in my bible Adam spoke before she did so he had no way of knowing how she thinks and if one does out speak how else will you know their heart? (for out of the abundance if the heart the mouth speaks). So there is nothing wrong with wanting to be seen as a beautiful woman, the problem comes when that is all that matters to you and your inside does not match the outside.

When Apostle Paul writes to Peter in 1 Peter 3:3-4 he reminds women that their beauty must not just be outward but it must come from the inner being because that’s what God puts value in. When I first read this portion of scripture I thought it meant that looks don’t matter at all. How wrong I was! This scripture is saying that the Godly beauty is mire than skin-deep. It is telling us that it is more important to God that you spend more time perfecting your spirit than you do perfecting your baking techniques. I suppose the women Paul was referring to is a lot like the women of my generation that will spend hours trying to make sure that their hair, make up and closet is “on fleek” yet our spirits look like malnourished toddlers because we adorn the temple so well yet we forget to care for the interior. May God forgive us for this, and may we, in true, repentance seek to make the two match.

You see no matter how gorgeous your physical body is there will always be someone more attractive, younger or with a better technique/closet than you so you will continue to feel inadequate the more you obsess over it. Yet if you obsess over your spiritual beauty the standard is already set- this standard is Jesus Christ. There is no one more beautiful, perfect or flawless in spirit than him. So instead of chasing ever changing, very frustrating worldly standards of beauty why not go for the never changing, ever-so perfect standard of Christ. Think of it this way the word never said Jesus was handsome but no one has ever imagined him not handsome (well at least I do not think so)  and as he grew so did his favor with people, as well as God. It just goes to show that a beautiful spirit will always translate into the physical.

Physical beauty is a gift and like every other gift given to us by the creator it’s use will be accounted for. In Luke 12:48 Jesus says, “Of whom much is given, much is expected.”, so the more beautiful you are the more you owe God. Why are other women more beautiful than others? I HAVE NO IDEA, and to be honest it’s not for us to ask (Romans 9:20- Who are you to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’). Our place is to accept that grace that was give in this department and ask “How may I use what I have to serve my Father?”. Like any other gift it can be used for the greater good (eg Ester) or for wickedness (eg Jezebel)- the choice is in the hands of the one that has been give the beauty. Today we have beautiful young women that :”sell” their bodies to “blessers”, they have taken God’s gift and corrupted it. Ruining their lives, wrecking marriages and have become as nasty as “gold rings on a pig’s snout” (Proverbs 11:22)

Two other common misconceptions some ladies have is that we often assume that the more attractive you are the easier life is and that every attractive girl enjoys such attention. I’ll start with the latter, I have a sister of mine Tabitha from my church and she is one of those ladies that when you see her you’ll immediately think, “She’s really pretty.” To my surprise 2 weeks ago in cell group she complained. At first I was taken aback, I mean in a generation that outs so much into how we look here is someone saying it sometimes irritates her. Why? She said that people treat her as if she weren’t very smart or responsible sometimes. She related of how everyone else gets responsibilities in church that are demanding (eg cell group leader, sharing in church) and she’s usually called to MC events because it is more to do with looks than anything else. She also mentioned how everyone else is praised and recognized for their ABILITIES and for her it seems to just center around her looks. Here is one of the many gorgeous ladies that just want to be seen as more than just a pretty face, or great body. Consider Queen Vashti whose husband forgot that before she was beautiful, she was his queen and worthy of respect that would mean calling her out to be paraded like he did would never have been an option. I’ve also noticed that the guys in the world aren’t particularly kind either- these women have to develop a 7th sense to help them navigate through the sea to find the genuine suitor from those that are just there for a quick tour. (When you do not quite so obviously turn heads this seems to be less of a problem because you are seen as less of a collectable and more of a person with depth)

As for beauty making life easier it’s not necessarily true either. Compare Leah and Rachael, Jacob’s wives- Rachael was beautiful but Leah, not so much (Gen 29:17). Yet when it came to popping out babies Leah was on fire and Rachael was in big trouble. From the story I would guess that Jacob preferred Rachael’s bed to, her sister, Leah’s and yet God gave Leah more children than Rachael. In a situation like that of what value was beauty to Rachael? Nothing. It just shows that physical beauty is not a substitute for anything else that life has to offer so let us not get so caught up in it. At the end of the day it is just measured by human eyes and standards that are ever so fickle. Today size 0 is in but tomorrow thicker girls are the ‘it thing’- who can be both at the same time? Think of all the stories we read about of how models eat cotton wool dipped in lemon juice to feel filled without taking in a lot, if any, calories. Yet so many want to be them, or be like them. Or girls that constantly go under the knife, get injections, slather creams and take pills to “enhance” their beauty. They may look good today but sometimes when the side effects catch up with them the stories are gruesome to say the least.

The most important thing to remember is that ”EVERYTHING GOD CREATES IS PERFECT” ie you are perfect. God made you the way you look to fit his plan. You many not know why you are your-kind-of-beautiful today but remember that God’s ways are beyond our understanding. If you were not breathtaking would a beautiful God have you inscribed on the palm his hands? Do not be so quick to change who you are to meet worldly standards. Imagine you bleach yourself but the man God had planned for you prefers dark skinned women? If you truly believe that you are made i the image of a perfect God then you should know that you too are perfect. Do not worry about what people say about how you look. As human beings they will always use their flawed scales ( John 8:15) but God is never wrong so what his word says is final and he says that YOU ARE FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE. At the end of the day BEAUTY IS VAIN, meaning that it fades away, but a woman who fears the Lord will FOREVER BE PRAISED. So why not focus on perfecting that which will last forever? Let us focus on our inner selves and learning to fear our Lord ( working out our salvation with fear and trembling lest we lose it).trembling).