Friday, August 29, 2014

A Good Listener

You know why therapists are in such a high demand? They are really good listeners! They can spend an entire hour just listening to you talk with an occasional "That's very interesting" or "How did that make you feel?" and open you up to keep talking more. Many people go to see a therapist because they just need someone to listen to them.

Have you ever started to share something personal that was on your heart with someone, you are totally pouring out your heart to them and suddenly they interrupt you and say something like "Guess what happened to me today! My co-worker came in today so late, she always comes late and guess what? She is getting that promotion I was telling you about!" It is almost as if they did not even hear you. Or maybe you are talking with your childhood friend and finally decide to tell them something that was heavy on your heart and she periodically looking at her phone and occasionally nodding, but really and truly not even listening...Or here is another one: you are hanging out with your significant other and you are sharing something that is really important to you and you are getting into the best part, when all of a sudden they get up and go get something and tell you from another room "Keep talking, I am listening!" Um...really?

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I realised today how much it matters to listen. I don't think it's just me, because if it were just me, therapists would not be making so much money. The older I get the more I begin to appreciate the people God put in my life who are able to be present in that moment, really listening and actually caring about what I have to say. These are the people who do not feel the need to provide a solution or give advice to what is being said, but the fact that they are attentively listening without interruptions and avoiding the urge to redirect the conversation to themselves. The success of effective communication largely lies in good listening skills.

Today I woke up and it was one of those days when I just wanted to stay home and relax. Thankfully it was my day off, but I still had a lond list of things to do. Nothing was really wrong, but deep down inside I felt this heavy feeling. Fridays are usually the days when I get to spend at least an hour with one of my favourite people, Miss Alice. Talking with Alice and just having someone to listen was very helpful. By the time we were done talking over some coffee I realised that the feeling from earlier sort of lifted up. For the rest of the day I thought about how helpful it can be to just listen to someone. It is so true that time is the most valuable thing you can give to someone...

This led me to think how busy we all really are and how little time we have to give to just sit and listen to someone. The best friendships and relationships are those where we invest our time and where we are able to be good listeners. As I mentally went through the names and faces of all the people in my life who really take the time to listen I realised that those are the rare quality people and relationships in my life that I am so very thankful for! However, what I discovered, the one Listener that really matters and Who really cares and listens, the One who knows my heart and who is always available is none other than my Heavenly Father.

Today The Lord was speaking to me, calling me to Himself and letting me know that He is missing our time together. We often get tempted to seek people to meet the expectations that only God can meet. He is the Greatest Listener who is always there always excited when we run into His presence. He is also the One who is more than able to guide and comfort us in the time of need...

...and for that I am thankful!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


One of the most rewarding human experiences is making that meaningful connection with someone. I find that fascinating when I can truly say I've made a connection with someone! It's like two pieces of one puzzle that just fit together - it's beautiful!

There are times when you can be talking to someone and trying to communicate a thought, an idea or share your heart with them and they can totally miss it, miss you if they do not operate on the same wavelength. It is especially frustrating if this happens with family members and people who are the closest to us. We normally refer this phenomena as two people 'growing apart'. It's interesting how that works, doesn't it?

One of the ways we can connect is to be present in the moment when we are talking to someone. I mean COMPLETELY present! One of my friends pointed that out to me recently and I have not been able to fully shake it off, constantly evaluating whether I am actually practicing being 'present'. I realised that one of my weakness (on that long list of things that I need to work on) is the fact that when I am talking, instead of being completely in the 'listening mode' I am already preparing what I will say next even before the person completed their thought. To be present means to be a good listener, and to be a good listener means to actually care about and try to grasp everything that the other person is saying without judgement, without preconceived personal agendas...just listen and be present. It also means getting off that phone, turing the thing off and not allowing it to interrupt the moment of that face-to-face connection. So close, yet so far...

There are many levels at which we can connect even through one simple conversation. Sometimes you can meet someone and within moments the two of you pick up the same frequency that is only detected by the two of you. This does not even have to be a romantic connection, just a meaningful human connection of two persons who connect on the same levelled ground of understanding mentally and spiritually. Connectedness means oneness and something in us compels us to seek it out and desire it more than anything else. No matter how many connections we make, if they are not meaningful we will not stay connected and move on.

It is amazing the way two people can communicate and find themselves on one wavelength. One of my friends recently drew a comparison of one person sending a specific vibration and another one picking up that vibration, like a frequency of one station. Somehow these moments of deep and meaningful connections are so rare. We can communicate with the same people over and over, we can spend time with them and still be completely disconnected. So many people are disconnected and when we feel disconnected we feel alone, neglected and misunderstood. However, when we experience that meaningful connection to another, we feel fulfilled and more complete. That is not to say that we must depend on human connections alone in order to be fulfilled, but it is true that when we have that type of friendship or relationship where we truly connect it really adds to our lives.

We all seek meaningful connections, one way or another. Many times we do not know what we are looking for and that is because we do not understand our own frequency on which we communicate. It is much easier to tune into 100Jamz when we know to turn to 100.3 on the dial. Same goes for connecting with people - we need to first understand our own frequency.

What make a connection meaningful is when we ourselves first come undone to our most authentic self, knowing who that 'True Me' is. Then, when we encounter another authentic 'True Self' we find that we are able to connect in an authentic way, creating a meaningful connection without the static of false pretences nor fear. A connection like that creates a feeling of safety and freedom. Sadly, in our world and the culture of today this is a very counter-intuitive occurrence. We really do not know how to be fully present because we do not spend time with ourselves alone, without our gadgets...

I can hear the passion in Jesus' voice as He lifts up His prayer to the Father in John 17:21: "I pray that they will all be one, just as You and I are One - as You are in Me, Father, and I am in You..."

Jesus, knowing what it really feels like to have that kind of connection, really desired that we too would experience that kind of connection, with our Father and with one another. He really wanted us to know that connection, the same connection for which He died to restore between us and the Father. The kind of connection He made available to Himself and the Father, that we get to share in His glory! It is only through our connection with Him that we would be able to truly connect with one another:

"I have given them the glory You gave Me, so they may be one as We are One. I am in them and you are in Me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent Me and that  You love them as much as You love Me. Father, I want these whom You have given Me to be with Me where I Am. Then they can see all the glory You gave Me because You loved Me even before the world began." (John 17:22-24)

It is in our spiritual DNA to desire that connection and it is impossible to experience it unless we have Christ in us. That is why the kind of connections that two people experience when they are truly in Christ is that of pure Oneness! No other connection will suffice. It is also the reason why it may seem like we are not of this world because it is hard to connect to anything this world has to offer. Yet, when we do experience these types of connections we understand how deep and how wide love really goes...

...and for that I am thankful.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Consistency is Key.

I think we really fool ourselves a lot into believing that something can remain the same. Those of you who are wise would know that the only thing that's constant is CHANGE! However, at the core of our hearts we tend to desire consistency, and if any change shall come - then we only want it if it's for the better. However, the best gift you can give to yourself and others is - consistency.

Lately I have not been seeing consistency in the areas of my life where I wished for it the most, no matter how much I believed in it or desired it. It made me think about what affects us when it comes to being consistent in any given area. I realised that the biggest hurdles when it comes to being consistent are our perceptions of ourselves, our capabilities, our limitations, our self control, our self discipline and our ability to set boundaries. What I mean by that is - say you set a goal before you (it can be in your personal life, career or relationship) and you begin moving towards that goal, but if you do not have the proper mindset to encourage and motivate yourself, you have not set boundaries and lack self discipline. Are you motivations internal or external? It's time to reevaluate yourself.

Let's say you set a goal and initially you are going strong and things are going great - you are pumped and excited because it is new, your motivation is almost natural. If your goal is to be fit and healthy, you are going to the gym 5 days a week, you get all the healthy food at the grocery store, you take vitamins and all stocked up on all that good protein powder and stuff - YEAH! You even make that awesome workout playlist to get you going...then week 4 rolls around and you are getting tired of keeping it up, you are extra tired from those extra hours from work, your friend just had a birthday party and you had some true true Bahamian food with some cake, your workout playlist is too overplayed and you are bored. So, you decide to take a day to sleep in, then you skip again...and before you know it, your life takes over and you lost that rhythm...bad idea - you probably lack self discipline and of course, consistency...The first thing to ask - why did you begin working out to start with? Was it to impress someone or maybe because you are comparing yourself to someone and you just want to prove something to them? External stimuli never sustains progress...

Perhaps you set an ultimate career goal towards accomplishing a degree or acquiring a skill. Are you the person who started going in that direction but it has been years and things are still on hold. Are you only one year into it and have not gone back? Has the dream of becoming a doctor or a lawyer been pushed aside and you are discouraged or simply don't bother pursuing it because you lost the rhythm? You lack consistency. The question to ask is: are you really passionate in that career choice or you are living someone else's dream? Maybe you are just discouraged or distracted...or lazy?

Maybe you have set some goals in the area of a relationship or friendship and decided that this time, if you shall have a serious relationship, you are going to apply everything that you've learned and will not repeat those old mistakes. You really wanted to do thing the 'right way', whatever that right way is for you...but then suddenly things started to go south - you lost your temper, acted without thinking and did things you afterwards burnt bridges. What happened was that you probably had weak boundaries and possibly lacked self control and all those idealistic goals went out of the window. Good questions to ask are - did you go into the relationship prepared, did you do your homework, did you heal from the previous relationship, do you know who you are without unwavering...or are you trying to be someone you think that person wants so you can be with them? That will never last. Work on yourself and know who you are before you decide to get involved in a serious relationship. Know where you are in life, where you stand on those 'non-negotiable' issues and what you want. Also, know what you bring to the table and what your intentions are. That is when consistency will not be an issue because you will be what you say you are and no one will ever have to guess or question that.

Consistency is more powerful than we realise. Consistency means that you are not going to give up on your goals. Consistency is that glue that keeps us stuck to going forward towards our goals and dreams. Consistency is what's going to produce results in every area as we apply ourselves until we experience progress. Consistency does not necessarily mean we are going to get there fast, but it does mean that if we keep at it - we will get there!

So, just because you failed or just because you dropped the ball it does not mean things stop here. You can still make it happen! You can still pick up where you left off in your journey toward meeting those goals. You can start today and still be successful, just remember to be CONSISTENT. Don't give up! Even if you fall off, remember that you are still on that road and you can get back up and keep going!

God has been showing me where I am in my journey and He encouraged me greatly, so I wanted to share that with you guys. I have been discouraged about not keeping up with the blog. So much traveling and time was just not on my side and I felt like I failed because I was not consistent, but I refuse to let this stop me from writing! This commitment to writing this blog is definitely teaching me a lot. Even when I don't post, I am constantly writing with the blog in mind, I just have to be more disciplined with my time management so I can ensure it is posted in time. It is motivating me to keep going forward, sticking to my goals and to keep thinking of the little things that I am thankful for that I want to share. I really believe that if we choose to be consistent in the areas that we already started and overcome those hurdles it builds us up and prepares us for even greater things in the future!

...and for that I am thankful

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Imagine that!

With all the traveling lately, especially being here in Jamaica just chilling, relaxing and doing the fun stuff really gave me some time to think and meditate on a few things. It is a wonderful thing to get away and just think, reflect and process life. Our busy lives hardly make it possible to do that. This is why Sabbath is so import to God and we should find ways to just stop and rest and in those resting moments - reflect and meditate. I love being in nature! Jamaica is so beautiful!

Driving to Ocho Rios through the hills and the curvy roads was really beautiful! The waterfalls and the scenery made me realise how much I actually love being in nature. Our planet has so many gorgeous places to offer us for our enjoyment :) God really wanted us to enjoy the beauty of His creation and the images that we see as travel long distances to enjoy - are proof of that.

Speaking of images and the beauty. I find it extraordinary that God chose to give us imagination and visions! They are like the flavour that God added to our spiritual experience. As I study the Word it becomes evident that The Lord uses images, visions and dreams to communicate with His people. Jesus told parables to communicate the message of God through images in those parables, so that we can picture the stories and understand what He meant through those images, opening up our insight. The burning bush - an image God used to communicate to Moses. David, as he prayed in psalms, used imagery (Psalm 23). It is actually pretty fascinating that God chose to communicate His Word to us through stories that require us to use our imagination to envision them. So many uses of metaphors, similes and parables in the Bible - all using imagery and pictures that some to life through imagination. If you look at this picture, you don't need any words - you will know exactly what it symbolises and the meaning of that image - that is your imagination at work...

God gave us a powerful ability to imagine so that He can communicate with us through visions and dreams. Imagination, therefore, is a powerful tool. Like any tool it can be used for the good or it can be used for evil. Our thoughts can produce powerful images on the screen of our minds and can come from our own hearts, can be fed to us by satan or if we give our imagination to God He can project His images and communicate with us by giving us visions, and He can use virtually anything to speak to us.

Today I was studying and really pondered my own ability to imagine. If we really think about it, everything stems from our ability to envision and imagine somethings. If we imagine that something is negative then we begin to feel resentment towards that thing. We can change how we feel about something or someone simply by shifting our imagination and perception about that person...powerful! Try it out. Our ability to imagine is used everywhere, especially by marketing schemes. As we watch commercials our brains imagine how great it would be to have whatever it is being advertised. Our brains fill in the blanks using imagination to make sense of missing information. People are able to manipulate others by using the ability to temper with their imagination.

There is a purpose and a reason why we have this powerful tool and if properly developed and used, if we are aware of how powerful a tool it is which can be used by God to give us visions, it can transform the way we commune with God and how we experience life altogether! It can enrich our prayer life, our worship experience and our walk with God on the whole. I encourage everyone to explore this and pray about it, asking God to speak through divine imagination and to develop this awesome tool! I am loving the way God speaks to me through dreams and visions by using divine imagination...

...and for that I am thankful.

 And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:18Amplified Bible (AMP)

 Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathlessand everlasting.

2 Corinthians 4:18Amplified Bible (AMP)

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Wow, how long has it been since I was actually able to sit down and do one of my favourite things - write this blog! Oh how I missed it.

The last 20 days were so hectic and so many things happened, so many amazing and not so amazing things gone down in the book of my life...but I digress. There were many moments in each day that I was thankful for. There were also a few moments when I found it hard to find something to be thankful for. In any event, I feel like I should sum up a few moments that I am so very thankful for in the past couple of weeks, specifically the one week that we spent in the Dominican Republic serving and learning a lot, here is just a few things:

  • One of the things that brought me unbelievable joy was to reconnect with our friends in Dominican Republic! It was such a mixture of emotions, but there is nothing that can compare to the unbreakable relationships between brothers and sisters in Christ and the way that the Lord was able to use each interaction to minister to the hearts and to uplift and build up one another in a very special way! This is by far the most rewarding part of being on a short mission revisiting communities where relationships and integration is the primary focus. 

  • Another amazing thing that I am so thankful for is that one evening when a few of us were just chilling on the steps after a days work at out hostel. It was about 7 of us and we got to unwind and chat on any subject, laugh and eventually our out our hearts on some things that were really troubling some of us. I will never forget that night - we sat there for good 3 hours till about 2:00 am just talking and being super real. I love moments when we can just be real with each other even about our darkest struggles, and yet be there and accept one another without judgement, knowing that at some point or another we ourselves struggled with the same issue. I am thankful for that night in DR!


  • Aside from many ups and downs during that trip, I am thankful for the opportunity to have the learning experience and being able to go deeper into my own journey, dig deeper into my own heart on things like giving, generosity, humility and being able to stand for what is right, boldly stepping out when it is necessary even if that is the least popular thing to do. This trip definitely provided those kinds of opportunities and for that I am thankful.
Now I am in Jamaica, spending some quality time with my wonderful friend Paula!!! She is the one encompassing thing that I am thankful for right now, but I will leave that for my next blog :)