Living takes time.

Isn’t it interesting that every one of us is growing past something, pressing through, striving, making small but mighty progresses every single day of our lives?

Most times our hopes, fears, dreams, failures and successes are so much deeper than the surface and deeper than the expressions on our faces. But everyone of us has a story of growing and overcoming that actually deserves an applause.

Living takes time.

Just like our limiting beliefs don’t come overnight, positive change also doesn’t come overnight. No matter the mighty tree that is hidden in the seed the plant still needs time to be nourished and to grow.

It will take choosing everyday to move forward and also a good amount of time which can be quite frustrating.

Think about how we get caught up in a bad habit.

You start with the mental image, then thanks to your imagination you build a house on your head with it and before you know it, it becomes your own reality.

Same thing with positive change, we think of it, we take little steps everyday that move us consistently toward what is true and healthy and then over time we find that we have actually made a lot of progress.

Sometimes we may choose positive change and are taking the steps toward it but it will still take time for it to work its way out from our habits to our reality. In that in-between it is so easy to wonder- is this worth it? Who do I think I am aiming this high? Do I have what it takes? Am I okay? Am I normal?

Its so tempting to give up when we start doubting our ability to come out on the other end being who we want to be.

Here’s a life changing fact- change takes time; but if we invest everyday in the right habits, we are laying a solid foundation to build something massive in the future.

How much easier would we be on our selves if someone reinforced into us that change takes time though?

Change also takes us learning to dance to the rhythm of mercy.

No matter how much of the truth we know, being human we have the wonderful habit of self inflicting. Today I choose life. Tomorrow I choose every possible thought and thing that has nothing to do with life. There has to be a way we can come back and start afresh. Mercy gives us limitless opportunities. It is only through mercy, not through what we could do or what we cannot do that we could actually choose life forever. Mercy has found you and chosen you.

So everyday you attempt to live life courageously, don’t question yourself and wonder if you do deserve those dreams of yours. We couldn’t deserve anything we have. We couldn’t wish ourselves to life. Everything we could ever be and have is a gift. Mercy has given us life, new beginnings and infinite opportunities to make something of so we can give them away to others as well.

Here’s a challenge for us- to choose life no matter how many times we fail at it, to keep choosing those habits that bring us the most life, to take more generous helpings of grace and mercy and to know that we have it in us to live the life we have imagined.

Living takes time.

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Little graces

Today I was about stepping out of the taxi and it had started snowing a lot, when this guy opened the door to get in while I was still getting ready to step out. I stepped out and said a ‘thank you’. My thank you was playfully ironic, because yes he opened the door for me but the polite thing to do would have been to wait for me to get out of the cab before almost shooing me out so he could get in.

I started walking really fast to get into the train station because it was snowing so much and I heard him calling after me. I looked back and realized that as I was rushing out of the cab, my iPhone had slid out of my jacket pocket. He gave it to me.

If he wasn’t there to open the door while I was still trying to get out of the cab, I would be looking for my iPod everywhere right now and wouldn’t have a clue that it had fallen out of my pocket.

This is interesting because throughout the weekend, I had been thinking about  my experience of the word ‘grace’ and the perfect analogy for it.  I finally found it. Today’s incident captures grace best for me.

Grace to me is this unexpected interruption of the status quo in my life that is surprising yet mostly underestimated and often ends up saving the day. Because it happens in a sliver of a moment I can easily forget it even though it has made a big difference in my life.

Most often in life, we see all those things that are yet to happen or didn’t happen the way we wanted them to happen in our lives. We see our failings and our failures. They seem so obvious to us, but we fail to see those little graces that save the day. Those people we almost didn’t meet but got to meet and led us to the next level. Those things we almost didn’t do but ended up doing and were glad we did. Those places we almost didn’t go but found out we were there in perfect timing. Those improvements we have made over time. Those little serendipitous moments that changed our whole lives yet we easily overlook.

I remember reading this guy make a risqué analogy of God’s grace in his life. He called it divine manipulation. I know manipulation is not a very comfortable word to use, but I relate to that divine manipulation in my life. Yet because it is backed by powerful love, and the best intentions for me, I look back and am grateful for it even though you can bet I kicked and protested initially.

I am so grateful for little graces. They are small but mighty in my life. Like that guy that was there in the nick of time to pick my iPod right as it fell off my pocket, grace is there to pick up the ball when we have just recently dropped it. To pick up faith when we have just dropped it. To pick up hope when we can’t seem to muster it. To pick up love when we have run dry of our own reserves.

The most painful failure might not be when others fail us but when we have failed ourselves. Grace allows us to know there is still another chance to rise up to our true self- not that self that our vices taunt us into believing we are, but that self is divine and reflects the essence of God.

I love grace and I love how Jesus is described as full of grace and truth by one of his followers, John. Grace is the only lens for finding the truth in this world and attempting to be aligned with it, at least for me. As a Christian, I am called to paint a picture with my life. A picture that gives a gift to everyone that sees it- God, others, even myself, now and in the future. I am to receive the gift of unconditional love and then keep receiving it as it transforms my own life into a gift. Without grace, I would probably kick too hard and run off in the opposite direction or I would feel too incapable of attempting to create something beautiful with my life and then give up.Grace enables me to rise above and up to every challenge.

The beautiful thing about grace is that although grace brings out the best in you, grace with wait on you too. Grace will let you cry, grace will dry your tears, grace will watch you acting up and wait for you to be ready to come back to your senses, then grace will love you back to your senses.

Grace allows me freedom to make mistakes and know I can still return home. Grace allows me to try to find myself without fear of being lost. Grace allows me to know the best is yet to come. Grace also lets me know that even when I feel like it, it is never over. If need be, grace lets me retrace my steps without fear of rejection. Grace is a gift that asks me to receive it and then grace is a gift that changes my mundane life into a gift.

In relating to others, I hope grace can be my prejudice.

How about you? What are those little coincidences and graces in your life? Those moments you almost let go and your figurative ‘iPod’ was picked up for you and placed back into your hands? Its so easy to forget these things… these small but mighty graces.

Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules … which don’t help those who follow them – Hebrews 13:9

Happy international women’s day

Psst: I’ve moved. Visit me here http://streetsideconvos.com. Maybe the new blog will be for you. Maybe not.

Hi friends,

Happy international women’s day.

Below I share with you a poem I wrote that was published for a poetry festival in celebration of International women’s day last year. It is titled ‘Grace’.

Later on today I will upload the last two videos I have yet to upload. Enjoy.

Grace

Once again she sat at the house’s entrance
Watching with fascination
As the dutiful sun
completed its course
From our homeland in the east
Where it rose
To our compatriots
In the west where it set
Watching the little boys
Play soccer with the orange fruit
kicking about the red sand
and turning their shirts dirty
Watching the girls play games
And laugh around
while carrying their little siblings
On their backs
I took the locally made stool
And sat down in front of her
She noticed and looked at me
And I began, non-hesitantly
Tell me how you smile graceful woman
Tell me how you laugh from your heart
How did you sustain your hope?
How come the joy in your eyes remains
How could you be so easygoing as to joke?
And where do you find the sincerity
with which to sing a song?
We both know your story
Your life has been filled
With more than its fair share
of uncountable heartaches,
the unforgettable pain of loss,
the stab of betrayal
and will-breaking struggles
Where do you find the strength to live?
How come you watch this sunset
with a priceless wonder?
You have seen more than you remember
She smiled, accentuating her wrinkles
And in them I saw resilience
In the gleam of her eyes
I saw a glimpse of heaven
In her scarcely toothed smile
I saw a rare genuineness
I wondered what she was thinking about
Could it be my youth and ignorance?
Or my passion in asking
Was it nostalgia?
Or fascination
Or admiration
in those eyes?
She took a deep breath
“I realized it was a choice my dear” she said
“And my longevity must owe,
even if in part
to that single realization”.
She wasn’t a woman of many words
Then she motioned at me
A fruit had dropped from the udala tree
“Pick it before the others see it”, she said
I made for it
and we shared it,
grinning like mischievous children

Don’t we all live for ourselves?

Up next, Nadege pointed at the store where Zee and Grace worked and we went there and interviewed them. Zee and Grace are both originally from Congo where Nadege currently lives so it was a cool coincidence.

Zee is a really funny person. Very happy girl, always smiling and obviously in love with her boyfriend haha. We kept seeing her around the mall after the interview.

One of the parts that made me really crack up was Zee’s description of how the world will end. “It will be one of those pretty days…and then we get judged”.

Grace had some cool answers too. She was very thoughtful and honest. Very gorgeous too.When she said she thinks about her relationship with God and how it applies to every aspect of her life I thought it was cool because I do think about that a lot too. Sometimes its easier in retrospect to see how everything falls together serendipitously but the challenge and the gift is actually to see it while it happens even though it may not be so obvious. Its also a challenge and a gift to go on that journey of living a life that’s coherent with that most intimate part of who you are, which is where God lives for me.

I also thought about Zee’s answer to the question of what she lives for because if you look at it honestly, don’t we all live for ourselves? It does come back to getting/giving/doing what we think we are here to get/give/do, doesn’t it?

So I thought that was a really honest way to approach that question.

Thank you so much guys!