All posts by ayanfeoluwaseun

YOUR WEALTH IS IN YOUR TRIALS!

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A lot of us don’t like going through tough times.  I don’t! And am sure  you don’t either. Challenges have a way of draining us. It even becomes worse when you have to deal with the same thing for a long time. I don’t know if you feel me. I have been through that and trust me it’s not funny. However, I have also found out that our trials and challenges carry such great wealth in them.

In 2 Chronicles 20, we see the account of how about three different kings came against Judah. Scary! Talk of a real challenge. Jehoshaphat who was the king went to ask for God’s help and God told them not to worry because He would help them.  He however told them they would need to step out to confront the enemies. Anyway Judah and Jerusalem went out against the invading army and the rest as they say is history.  They didn’t need to fight.  Rather God set ambushes against the enemy and made them destroy themselves. All good.

The part that however got to me is verse 25 which says “Jehoshaphat and his army came to take things from the bodies. They found many animals, riches, clothes, and other valuable things. It was more than Jehoshaphat and his men could carry away. There was so much that they spent three days taking everything from the dead bodies.  2 Chronicles 20:25 ERV”

Whaooo! The understanding I got from this is that God decided to bless Jehoshaphat and his people and he chose the enemies who came to invade them as conveyors and carriers of the blessings. The Amonites, Moabites and Meunites thought they were coming to invade Judah and Jerusalem. They didn’t realise they were being sent on errand by God to carry and deliver blessings to Jehoshaphat and his people!  Can you imagine! The spoils and goods on the enemies were so much, it took three days to pack it all.

Can you see why your current trials and challenges are the conveyors of  riches? There is untold wealth in your current challenges if only you can partner with God and ask for His help in confronting the enemies.

There are books to be written as a result of your present situation,  there is a Talk show being birthed out of that marital crisis that will not only bless others but also make you a sought out and sought after. The experiences you are ganering now from dealing with that debt situation is preparing you for appearances in great places. That health challenge will make many flock to you by the time God sorts you out. There is wealth in your trials. There are riches in your challenges.  Don’t quit. Rather, buckle up and like Jehoshaphat, receive strenght to confront them because for every enemy you conquer, you will strip him of all valuables and riches!

God bless you!

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WHEN THE CONTAINER DOES NOT MATCH THE CONTENT

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I teach and lecture on branding, both corporate and personal. In fact,  I have been doing so for some year now and absolutely enjoy it.  Now, one of the things we emphasise in branding is PACKAGING. Whether for a corporate brand or personal brand,  I always make it a point of duty to stress the need for the product to be well packaged. Yes, agreed you have a fantastic product on your hands, you must ensure that it is packaged in a way that will attract people. Same with your personal brand,  you must package and project yourself in a way that will make people take interest in you.  In other words, THE CONTAINER MUST MATCH THE CONTENT. This is imperative because a shoddy container will trap a good content such that no one wants to go near it. Now, that’s in branding!
Looking at Isaiah 53 from verses 1 to 5, I am seeing something different. The first few verses say “Who believes what we’ve heard and seen? Who would have thought God ’s saving power would look like this? The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a
second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum.”

I am looking at this verses and wondering why a saviour had to look this weak, ugly and uncomely. Hmmm, from the few action movies I have watched, the ‘saviour’ or actor  is usually someone with rippled muscles, a  broad chest and intimidating stature. But not Christ. In fact the Bible says He was “a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field.” There was nothing attractive about him.” And because He wasn’t attractive, people treated Him badly. They rejected and despised Him. He wasn’t their favourite person,  not at all. Why? Because His beautiful and powerful  CONTENT(His ability to save, deliver, heal,  restore etc) was trapped in an in ugly CONTAINER ( His scrawny and ugly look). Whao! Why would God package beauty inside ugliness? How does He expect people to identify and locate Him?

What struck me however and which I want to encourage you with is that Christ’s scrawny and ugly looking container couldn’t deplete the potency of His Content. Yes, there was no comeliness or beauty in Him, yet it didn’t stop His ability to save and deliver from sin. Agreed, He didn’t have the type of swag that they were expecting of a saviour,  yet His name and blood still works wonders today.  In order words, His content is still as sure as ever. An ugly container couldn’t trap His Content within! Glory.

It’s on my heart to tell someone that the fact that people are despising you because of how your ‘container’ looks shouldn’t discourage you from releasing your content. Your content which is the anointing,  the unction, the talents, the abilities and gifts God poured into you is still as potent as ever, regardless of how uncomely your container looks today.

Some people may not accept you and your message because the designer suit is not in place yet. They may be looking down at you because you don’t have all the paraphernalia of success. It’s ok. If they are rejecting you, don’t reject yourself by keeping your content, gifts, talents locked inside of you. There are people who need you.  Just as Christ released His content even in the midst of rejection, so also you must persevere and preach anyhow, sing anyhow, write the book, just do whatever God will have you do. Because tell you what? The designer suit is coming! The car is coming! The polished  look will come for as long as you don’t allow the rejection of men to stop and hinder you. So, go and prosper.

God bless you!

GOD IS NOT DONE!

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I found myself studying the book of beginning – Genesis 1. I kept pondering and looking at the various words, waiting for the Holy Spirit to give me my word for that moment from that passage. Then the word  ‘beginning’ lept at me.

Here’s is the understanding I got. God had just started His creation project. As at verse 1, all He had done was to create heaven and earth. While we weren’t told what heaven looked like then,  the state of the earth – which God created was vividly described. We were told that ‘the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep’. Another translation say ‘the earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters’. Yet another says ‘the earth was without shape or form, it was dark over the deep sea. The Message translation says ‘First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness.’

Don’t know about you, but I find all the descriptions above very discouraging. One would think that if God, Almighty God is creating, there should be a lot of excitement around what He’s creating. How can God create something that would be so shapeless and empty. Is He not God? Why didn’t He just make it all beautiful from the beginning?

Wait! I have a feeling these are some of the questions in the heart of some people. If truly God is involved in my life, why is everything so tangled and messed up? If God actually loves me, why is my life so formless? If I am His child as He says, why does everything feel like a soup of nothingness? Why is there so much darkness around and I can’t find my way through? Isn’t God a God of  beauty and order? Hmmm….many questions all at once.

BUT, are we not all judging God by the beginning? Yes, the earth was without form and void and there was darkness, but that was only at the initial stage. The earth didn’t remain like that forever, BECAUSE GOD WASN’T DONE! He had just started! He later went ahead to create light, water, birds, animals and all sort of beautiful and good things that you and l see today.

If God were to be assessed or awarded marks based on the initial state of the earth,  I am certain He would have been scored very low based on its appearance. But if the marker would wait a while,  He would see that God wasn’t done.

Hey!  STOP JUDGING GOD BY THE BEGINNING IN YOUR LIFE! He says some of you are judging me by the beginning and it is not fair.  He is not done. Don’t write Him off because what He has done so far carries no beauty in it. Don’t crucify Him because of the inky blackness and formless state of your life. Don’t conclude that that is how far He plans to go. GOD IS NOT DONE!

Whatever the level you are right now and no matter for how long you’ve been there, for as long as it does not align with or look like what God told you, then it’s the beginning. God is not done. He’s  still creating your life. He’s  still forming and shaping things. He’s calling forth and bringing forth things you never knew existed. Don’t give up because your life is empty.  The contents will be added.  Wait for the next phase. Wait for the next word. Beauty is coming. Light is coming. Just hang in there because GOD IS NOT DONE SO DON’T JUDGE HIM BY THE BEGINNING!

Stay blessed!

UNTIE YOUR BOAT!

Once when he was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, the crowd was pushing in on him to better hear the Word of God. He noticed two boats tied up. The fishermen had just left them and were out scrubbing their nets. He climbed into the boat that was Simon’s and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Sitting there, using the boat for a pulpit, he taught the crowd. Luke 5:1‭-‬3 MSG

 

As seen in the passage,  Jesus had to attend to the multitude who had come to hear the word of God from Him. He decided to teach from a boat. He saw two that were tied and got into one. However, He had to tell the owner, Simon Peter to push the boat out from the shore a little which he did.

While some translations say the boats were ‘pulled up’ on the shore, some others say the boats were ‘standing’ on the shore. But I like the Message version that says the boats were ‘tied up’. Probably they were tied up to prevent them from drifting around. Whatever the reason, they were tied up, or pulled up. They were on one spot. Now for Peter to obey Christ’s instruction of pushing or rowing the boat out of the land or shore a little,  he must first untie the boat. Trying to row the boat or push it out of the position where it was without first untying it would be difficult.  He might find himself pushing and pushing yet not being able to get the boat to move. He could try to row all he could,  the ropes will keep the boat stuck. The boat won’t move beyond the length of the rope. There will be limitations and ultimately frustration.  But really, the solution is as simple as untying the boat from where it was before.

Ha! Friend, before you can successfully push your boat out of the shore, for you to rightly  position your boat for Christ to find it useful, you must first untie it from where it was. Could it be that the reason why some of us are expending so much energy,  trying to push out our boat without any success is because the boat is still tied to the shore. The boat could be likened to our minds. Could it be that some nasty experiences from the past have tied and locked down your mind, making it difficult for you to push forward and be maximally available for the Saviour’s use? Are there scars of failure that keep resurfacing and pulling you back though you are trying so hard to get your boat out of the shore where it has always been?

What is that rope?  A rape incidence that you never told anyone about? An abuse from your  childhood?  A marriage that ended in a messy divorce?  A professional exam that you keep failing?  Rejection from the people you looked up to for love? Christ is on the scene now and you have to trust Him for grace to untie the boat of your mind. You have to remove the many chords from the past that have wrapped themselves around you, choking and limiting you. It’s possible. It’s achievable. He did it for me. For years, I was tied by the rope called FEAR! It was terrible,  it was limiting.  But then as I held on to God, to Christ and to the Holy Sprit, the Tritinity brought me into a season where I opened the prison door by myself and I walked away! I figured out that my captor wouldn’t let me go, but I could decide to walk away. And I did. That didn’t mean I stopped feeling fear. But it gave me the liberty to start moving forward, sometimes still afraid. But as I kept moving, I became freer, the foundation of that fear got weaker and today, it’s got no more hold on me. If God hadn’t helped me, I would have missed out on several major opportunities.

Don’t let the enemy keep pulling you back. Untie thr rope so you can be free to row your boat out of that shore and be fully and rightly positioned for Christ to do great things in, with, by and for you.

Did you notice that Christ was already in the boat though it was tied and on the shore. That’s because He doesn’t judge or condemn us. He is also in your boat. All He’s saying is untie this boat, push it out from this shore and let’s make things happen together! Receive the grace, boldness and confidence to untie every rope that has limited you. Receive grace to push your boat out for Christ to use you to affect your generation. Amen.

 

God bless you!

 

 

 

 

 

SEEING THE BIGGER PICTURE

​Some months back,  I was privileged  to be a guest speaker at a business conference alongside some other great women. The event had  women from various industries in attendance and held in 3 different parts of the nation. I must say it was both a scary and beautiful experience for me. Scary because it was a big event with a large attendance and though I prepared  I just wasn’t sure if I prepared  enough!  Then it was a beautiful event because it gave me the opportunity to really share my life and story with so many people at the same time. 
However what was more beautiful about being part of this huge event was the impact it had on the people. Each session was followed by awesome feedbacks and testimonies. A lot of people saw themselves in my story and got inspired. Hope was rekindled in so many concerning whatever they were  going through. I still run into people  I don’t know who stop me to tell they were at one of the sessions and were  thoroughly  blessed.

The feedbacks really got  me thinking. I reminisced  on the tough path I have had to tread in life and the many obstacles I have had to overcome. And it all began to make more sense. There was a reason bigger than me and my comfort for all those troubles. I had to go through  all I did so that other people can receive hope and encouragement from my story and journey. 

Personally, I love my comfort and I don’t like my boat being rocked. I have however realised that life doesn’t need to seek for my permission before my boat is rocked. It is so easy to become get discouraged when this happens. However, this is the time to develop a bigger picture perspective.  This will not only help you get through the storms and turbulence,  but you will  draw a lot of joy from knowing that several other people will receive hope from your victory.  

Whatever you might be going through  right now,  don’t despair. Rather,  fast forward to the days ahead when you will have the opportunity  to tell people what you have been through and where you are coming from and in the process birth hope in them. 
Pearl… helping you see the gains in your pain

TAKE IT!

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Whao! To think I haven’t been here for over one year! Anyway, thank God for life. Hmmm… Between then and now, a lot has happened. Changes, transformation, unfolding, growing up, embracing, discarding. Generally, life has been happening.

Now, once in a while, I fall into the trap of comparing myself with other people. I guess that’s what makes me human. And most times, what I have found out is that someone is always richer, smarter, more beautiful and all. If care is not taken, you are likely to find yourself wishing you had what others have, totally blinded to what you possess. I must admit I have found myself on this path a number of times.

I however got an opportunity to see things in a fresh light this some days ago . I was studying my Bible with a focus on John 6. The few verses narrate how thousands of people came looking for Jesus. He thought it good to feed them. Problem was, there wasn’t any food vendor or restaurant that could cater for that large number. Nothing in sight save a little boy who came with his meal pack comprising of 5 loaves of bread and 2 little fish. Of course, that wouldn’t do much. So why bother?

However, something struck me as I meditated. In verse 11, the Bible records that JESUS TOOK THE BREAD… Hmmm… In order words, He accepted the meal not minding the size. He took what was available and decided to make the best of it. He knew 5 loaves and 5,000 people didn’t really add up, but He took it all the same. Moreso, that was all that was available. That was all He had to work with. So He took, accepted and embraced it. He wasn’t going to waste His time wishing for something better or food from the next town. What was available was good enough. Of course, as He gave thanks and distributed, the meal increased.

As I studied, it became apparent that I also need to TAKE WHAT IS AVAILABLE. I NEED TO TAKE WHAT I HAVE. I decided to take stock and discovered that I actually have a lot for my taking. My skills, talents, strengths, experiences, relationships. These are all treasures waiting to be ‘taken’ by me. And the beautiful thing is as I do, I become a better person, a person of influence, an asset, a source of inspiration to many. Just as thousands left Jesus fully fed, so also will people leave me thoroughly satisfied, emotionally, spiritually, and in other ways. This way, I will be so busy impacting lives that I have little time to wish I was someone else or had what they have.

 

So, whatever your 5 loaves and 2 pieces of fish may be:your talents, skills, experiences or even your pain, as insignificant as it may seem to, as insufficient as it may appear, I challenge you to simply TAKE IT! Take it, embrace it, give it out then watch it grow and multiply!
Pearl
…helping you to find the gain in your pain!

 

 

WHY NOT YOU?

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I recently went through a situation that got me really sapped. The situation was compounded by that fact that I couldn’t place my hands on what the issue was until much later. I sought counsel with some people and they rose to help. To God’s glory, I overcame.

However, I couldn’t understand why I had to go through what I went through. More so, it wasn’t palatable in any way. Of course God saw my heart and heard my question, though not uttered.

Some weeks after, a lady walked up to me to seek audience with me over an issue she had been battling with. Because I couldn’t make out time to see her immediately due to other pre-scheduled appointments,  we both agreed to meet on a particular day. You can imagine my surprise when we eventually met and she began to narrate what she was dealing with. It was the same issues I had gone through. I couldn’t believe my ears. So this was part of the reasons why I went through all that I did? I counselled her and shared my experience with her. I told her how God helped me and brought me out stronger. Today, she is a lot more joyful than she was when we spoke.

As if that wasn’t enough, I was at a meeting with another lady just some days back. I had prepared what I wanted to discuss. But the lady, almost at the point of tears, suddenly blurted out and began to narrate what she had been going through for some weeks. Guess what? It was exactly what I had gone through. Whao! By God’s grace, I counselled and encouraged her to stay strong.

These two different episodes got me thinking. God knew these ladies would one day face this mountain and so had prepared a source of comfort and solution for them in me-by first taking me through the same. I began to see the purpose behind my pain and discomfort.

As humans, we don’t like challenges. We love our peace and don’t want to be ruffled. Unfortunately, life is not designed to work like that. Regardless of your lack of preparedness, challenges are going to crop up. We will have mountains to climb and rivers to cross. There will be issues to deal with and trials to overcome. Some of life’s situations can really grate your nerves or even leave you overwhelmed and ready to quit. We are sometimes pushed to the point where we find ourselves asking ‘But why me?’, ‘So, what have I done wrong?’

My purpose for this post is to help us see things from a changed perspective. Rather than feeling sad and pitiful, let us brace up and ask ‘Why not me?’ Rather than having a victim’s mentality, ask for the purpose behind your pain. Could it be that the liberation of millions of other people is tied to the problem you are currently facing and their hope hinged on the fact that if you could survive, then they will. You know it is not impossible that your story which is being woven with the fabric of that ugly situation you are presently fighting to overcome is the only reason why some guy somewhere will refuse to commit suicide. That is how life works, so don’t waste your pain or develop a sour attitude because of your troubles.

As I have discovered first hand, going through a tough time is demanding enough, but when you lace it with a negative attitude, it becomes unbearable. Aside from that, you become so blinded by the situation that you are in no shape or frame of mind to help others which is a major purpose of life.

So, the next time life throws one of its heavyweight problems at you, brace up and ask, WHY NOT ME? Let the joy of the many others who will be set free through your experience fuel your desire to overcome and stand tall at the end of it all.
Pearl

…helping you find the gains in your pain!

 

HOW DID I GET HERE?

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Just like everything else in life, marital crisis don’t just happen. Nobody wakes up to find himself or herself divorced. Whether the parties involved paid attention or not, the signs and symptoms that eventually culminate into total breakdown in a relationship were there all along.

Now, I know that as humans, we find it very convenient to blame others for the uncomely events in our lives. However, in my few years on earth, I  have discovered that the truth you speak to yourself is powerful and liberating. So, if you are in the middle of marital crisis or are already separated or divorced, one of the most empowering steps you can take is to ask yourself ‘how did I get here’? This has got nothing to do with unnecessary fault finding. Rather, it has a lot to do with uncovering  attitudes, mindset, words and maybe actions that aided your present marital state. It has to do with owning up to your faults albeit to yourself and making a firm commitment to make necessary amends. This is necessary if you truly want to make progress.

Looking back, I saw that lack of self awareness was a major reason for some of the issues I had in marriage. I was clueless about who I was. The problem with not knowing who you are is that you might end up suffering from low self esteem and looking for validation in all the wrong sources.

Aside from not knowing myself, I was also rather naive and trusted people too easily. This of course back fired as I had to learn through some painful events that we can’t take people on face value. When it comes to who to open your bosom and home to, discernment and  discretion are highly required.

Why take the pain to deal with my weaknesses and faults? Because I don’t want to end up where I  found myself years ago. I don’t want to keep stumbling on the same spot or live life going round in circles. Neither do I want to keep empowering my weaknesses such that they keep me from truly moving forward or being happy in life. Life is too beautiful to be lived that way. By taking this cursory look at myself, I have learnt how to and how not to deal with people. I have embarked on the journey of self discovery. I have learnt to celebrate and validate myself. I am not perfect yet but I am making progress.

You and I may not have control over other people and their actions. They may or may not accept your counsel. But I know I have control over myself. Whatever truth I speak to myself is never wasted.

Starting from today, ask yourself how you got to where you are? Could it be your background? Unrealistic expectations? Inability to tell your spouse the truth due to fear of rejection? Low self esteem and insecurity due to lack of approval while you were growing up? Don’t be afraid to confront your discoveries. You are not appearing before any judge. So be free to speak the truth to yourself because this truth will liberate you. Make a definite commitment to get past whatever errors you uncover. This doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. Rather it validates the fact that you are human,  desirous of a truly happy life and are ready to pull out every weed that might be on your way to making it happen.

Pearl

…helping you find the gains in your pain!

PROTECT YOURSELF

Protect Yourself

About 9 months after my husband moved out of the house, he had a meeting with my family members. At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that two other meetings be fixed with me in attendance. One would be at my sister’s while the second would hold at his brother’s. The one at my sister’s place held and my husband was asked again why he thought separation/divorce was the way out. He gave his reasons and I must say I was shocked. His words were so hurtful and so painful that for two days I couldn’t sleep. Worse still, the elderly people in attendance at the meeting did not give me the opportunity to say anything!

By the time I assessed my emotional state, I knew I was in no state to hold another meeting and so when he called some days after to discuss the meeting at his brother’s I had to decline. I knew I didn’t have any inner strength to either sit and listen to those hurtful words again or defend myself, even if I was given the opportunity. I just wasn’t interested anymore. My sanity was all that was paramount on my mind. There was a lot of pressure mounted on me so as to get me to attend the meeting but I politely declined and stood my ground.

Now I did this not because I was being obstinate or opposed to reconciliation. Rather I did it because I knew I had to protect my peace and sanity. I had to take responsibility for my emotional state. My emotions had been badgered over a period of time and I just couldn’t take it anymore. It was my duty to take care of myself whether people understood or not.

In the part of the world where I come from,  whenever issues arise in a relationship especially marriage, many moves are made by family members and well wishers towards reconciliation. There would be meetings and deliberation sessions. The simple truth is these meetings take their toll on the emotions. So, while I am in support of attending  please also pay attention to your emotional well-being. It is your responsibility. Going through separation or divorce is bad enough. When you add the burden of showing up at different meetings, it can become a bit unbearable.

I know an average person desires reconciliation,  but don’t expose yourself to any situation that is toxic to your emotional or mental state. Don’t sit through meetings where your self-worth would further be questioned. Don’t spend the rest of your life holding conversations that will leave you emotionally drained. Remember that whether you succeed at reconciliation or not, you still have a life to live. With the days ahead, you need to be strong emotionally and mentally.
Also, don’t forget that it is your life and no one will protect you if you don’t. Know what you can cope with mentally.  If you don’t feel up to a meeting or discussion,  politely decline and ask for a reschedule where possible. If you stay peaceful and maintain your peace, there is nothing God cannot do.

Pearl

…helping you find the gains in your pain!