My Thoughts During This Season

So last week on my Instagram stories I shared how up and down my emotions have been the past few weeks. We are really living through an epidemic! Seriously, just let that sink in for a second. Not only that, but there has also been an uproar on the police brutality and racism in America and the UK as with other countries are taking a stand for it! And so honestly, I am just PRAYING for a change. I just know a change is truly coming…

There are so many different aspects and angles to how my mind is grasping this whole situation. There is a positive outlook and then there is, of course, the negative thoughts that can sometimes cloud my brain. In Deuteronomy 7:9 it reminds us that we should know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations and that is what I am going to lean on always.

Positives

  1. This is definitely a great time to refocus on me physically, mentally and spiritually. We may be going through so much but I truly believe God would not put us through anything we can not handle & with it is important to make the best of this season!
  1. Spending more time in the word. Reading the Bible more, turning to the bible for inspiration and motivation is super enriching and prayer journaling as I always feel like my mind is in a better place when I am focusing on building my relationship with God.
  1. Staying connected with the outside world. To be honest, it will always be a work in progress. I have always spoken highly about keeping a good balance of social media and the real world. Your girl is really trying. I have made sure that I am not staying isolated from my friends and family and trying to stay active as I can on social media.
  2. Having time to work on things behind the scenes. I know it probably is not great me not giving too much away but I can not wait to sure what I have been working on and all will be revealed soon enough!

I have been able to grow in spiritual maturity, lose a few pounds and spend more time focusing on my health and goals. So that is all good!

Negatives

Alright, so then there is obviously the negative side of my brain that brings all the bad and unwanted thoughts in at the worst times. I will keep it all the way real… I can be an overthinker and more than ever during this season I have the opportunity to be alone with my thoughts. It is so easy to stay in a negative space and it is important to be intentional. A lot of times when I feel like this, I turn to the Bible or my circle. It always helps!

I came across the scripture that talks about how if we are even upon epidemic, we must repent our sins and He will return our land to us. In the end, we really just have to do our part but that seems so far out of reach when people, instead of spreading love and kindness, are spreading hate and cruelty!

My oh my have I yoyo’d with my diet! Yes, my streak of being healthy normally lasts for a number of weeks, where I may have a cheat day or two. But when I break that streak, boy do I BREAK that streak. It could be a week of me eating pounded yam, lots of rice and sweets. Especially my guilty pleasure chocolate. Which does nothing good for my skin! I honestly feel like boredom mixed with eating my emotions is the cause of this. But we thank God, self-control is key and I constantly pray that God will bless me with this.

Let me be honest. I do always feel better in my quiet time and my conversations with God. I know that He is completely in control of this season. I know God does not cause us any harm but it sometimes feels weird to be in this. So many things happening in our world right now point to what the Bible describes as the end of time. Am I wrong? The virus, all the deaths, the hate among our own people. I do sometimes get overwhelmed but I am reminded in Isaiah 43:19 – Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Let me know what your thoughts are, I would love to hear them!

Love Always,

Liz Fashanu

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Fuel For Thought: PRAYER

How Distractions Can Actually Fuel Your Prayer Life

Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Imagine this… You sit down to pray. Then you close your eyes to all distractions and begin to speak to God. Start pouring your heart out to Him and then…

You remember you forgot to get milk at the supermarket earlier that day.

GREAT. Okay, you begin again. You are on a roll now, praying for a friend’s recent health concerns…

When a picture of the unpaid electric bill you have been meaning to take care of flashes through your mind!

Does any of this sound familiar? It has happened to me too many times to count! Maybe not the exact details, but do you ever find when you are trying your best to clear your mind and focus on God, the distractions come flooding in one by one, like little relentless attackers?

If so, then I have good news: it is actually okay for your mind to wander when you pray. It happens and honestly, I promise you are not a failure at prayer if you are easily distracted.

Let me say it again because you really need to know this:

You are not a failure at prayer if you are easily distracted!

This is so important because the feeling that we are a prayer-failure is one of the biggest blocks to becoming the prayer warrior God is calling us to be!

Satan would really love for us to begin to pray, encounter distractions, and give up.

But that is not our portion! Did you know that you can actually use distractions to our advantage?

I thought of three steps we can take in order to use our distractions as the momentum to fuel our prayers. Let me tell you how it works:

Step 1: Expect the Distractions

Let us face it, we live in a fast-paced world. Words and images flash past our phone screens more quickly than our brains were probably designed to handle. We have been trained to multi-task as a way of life. Is there any question why it is so hard to quiet our minds to connect with God, or to create white space for meditation and reflection?

So be realistic when you decide to begin your quiet time. Stop expecting that sitting still is going to come easily right away…because it is not!

Expect the distractions to come because they will.

Anticipate the attack.

Step 2: Embrace the Distractions

So now you know the attack is coming. What are you going to do about it? Now that you are fully aware distractions may come. You are going to embrace them as they come at you! Embrace your distractions…by writing them down, then continuing to pray. They may be something weighing heavily on your heart and what better time than now during your quiet prayer time to focus on it. Or it could be something important you need to do at a later point in time. You will need to be armed with a journal/notebook or even just paper and a pen, and so when you think about the milk you forgot at the supermarket…

Write it down.

As the picture of the unpaid bill flashes through your mind…

Write it down.

The mere act of writing your distractions on paper captures them, robbing them of any power they might have over the rest of your prayer time. They are captives on your list, to be dealt with only when you decide to deal with them – on your OWN terms.

Step 3: Utilize the Distractions

Okay, now we this is where we use the distractions to actually fuel our prayers.

Here is how it might look:

You are praising God and remember the forgotten milk. You write a note down so you remember to put milk on your shopping list for next time, and shift into praising God for providing the means to buy the shopping for your family. This might remind you of the homeless shelter you volunteered at, and the woman with three young children who was interviewing for a job the following week. You go with it and pray for God’s provision and for the interview to go well.

Then you move on to praying for your friend’s health, and get distracted when you realize you have not paid the electric bill. You write down a reminder to remember to pay it later, and then shift into asking God to provide for the physical and financial needs of your friend and her family, like utilities and housing.

By doing this, not only are all of your distractions dealt with immediately, but they are actually FUEL for your prayers! And an added bonus is that it actually trains your mind to shift your thinking to prayer in many different, seemingly non-spiritual circumstances.

By God’s grace, these three tips will help you leverage distractions to fuel your prayer life? Try it, and let me know!

Love Always,

Liz Fashanu

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In The Name Of Correction…

DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO

You see, us human beings do not seem to like being told what to do very much. We do not mind being given advice that agrees with what we already think, but if it does not, forget about it! 

I think about my relationship with my mister – if anyone feels free to offer me good advice, he does, and he does it on a fairly regular basis! Now, he is the person closest to me and I know that he loves me very much and wants the best for me. And yet, when he tells me (effectively) that I am doing something wrong and gives me some “good advice”, I sometimes struggle to respond positively at first (even when I know he is right!). I get offended that he could think he knows better than me and I tend to react in a fairly hostile, defensive way, which (more often than not) will then lead to a disagreement (we do not like to use the word fight in our relationship). Eventually, I may (or may not) come around to his point of view and I calm down again. But this is something I am still working on. I always said I want us to keep it real in our relationship, but am I always ready to hear the truth?

THE WAY OF WISDOM

Is that how it should be though? Should true friends/relationships tiptoe around each other about “blind spots” that they may see in the other? Should we respond with indignation when we are lovingly corrected? What is the way of wisdom here?

Well, I believe that wisdom comes from God since He is the one who created all things and “In Him, all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). His ways are high above ours and beyond understanding (Isaiah 55:8-9), yet he does deign to reveal some of His wisdom to us. He has even told us what wisdom is in this regard – how we are to view and receive instruction from others. In fact, there are so many Bible verses linking wisdom with accepting good advice that when I started to write them all out, I gave up because there were too many!

The essence of it is this: a wise person receives instruction. They do not ignore it. They do not get offended by it. They do not laugh at it. Instead, they view it as a kindness to them. With humility, they listen, they consider and they act upon good advice. Here are a few verses about this:

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15 “A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.” Proverbs 13:1 “Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise.” Proverbs 15:31 “Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it.” Psalm 141:5 “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17.

THE EXAMPLE OF DAVID

There is a story in 1 Samuel 25 that gives us an example of what it looks like to heed “life-giving correction” and the blessing that comes from it. The story occurs during the time in which David has been anointed as the next king but is running for his life from the current king of Israel, Saul, who is jealous of him and wants him dead. David has a company of men that live with him in the wilderness and in this chapter they come across a wealthy man who also lives there called Nabal. They ask him for some food and resources since David’s men helped to protect wild beasts from tampering with Nabal’s 3 000 sheep and 1 000 goats.

Nabal is described as “surly and mean” and certainly acts this way in response to David’s reasonable request. Not only does he deny him any food, but he also insults him. David is angry when he learns of this and in response, takes 400 men with him to slaughter Nabal and every one of his household.

Fortunately, Nabal has an “intelligent and beautiful” wife called Abigail who intervenes. She meets David on his way to kill Nabal’s family and offers him food and other provisions while pleading with him not to proceed with his mission. She is wise and gentle in the way she goes about it and David not only listens to her but praises both her and God for coming to correct him:

“David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.” 1 Samuel 25:22-24

In the end, God himself ends up striking Nabal dead 10 days later in judgement for the evil he committed against David. David’s response to this is interesting also:

When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Praise be to the Lord, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt. He has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal’s wrongdoing down on his own head.”

David was truly grateful to the Lord for sending Abigail to intervene and prevent him from taking revenge on Nabal himself, a thing that would have been sin and that he would have lived to regret. He receives the correction she gives him as a great kindness and seems to be so impressed with her that he even asks her to become his wife after Nabal’s death!

THE KINDNESS OF GOD IN CORRECTING ME

I am not saying that the best response to a friend who gives some good advice is to propose marriage to them (lol!) but I think we (or at least I) can learn something from David here. When someone points out to me an error (or planned error) in my ways, it would be wise for me to stop and listen, as painful or embarrassing as that may be. How humble David was to listen to a woman’s advice (not the done thing back then) and thank her for it! I want to follow his example and not react in immediate hostility and defensiveness towards my corrector. After all, what if they are right? Let me stop and consider. It could be that God is using their advice to prevent me from making a mistake and suffering all the consequences that would follow it – and what a kindness that is to me.

Overall, my prayer is that I will follow the example of the wise and take the correction/good advice of a righteous man (or woman) as a kindness, rather than a strain on the friendship that can not be tolerated. And how much deeper and truer would a friendship that operates in that way be?

Love Always,

Liz Fashanu

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