Tag Archives: value

What if I lose everything?!

I almost lost this blog a few weekends ago, and I was terrified. If you’re reading this then you know that it’s back up (like, obviously) but more than anything, what the experience showed me was my own vanity and things that I need to work on in myself. I mean, it’s just a blog! I should get a life 😁

It all started when I saw an advertisement for a task that would require storytelling and I was so excited to get on it. One of the requirements on the application form was for a link to some of my past work. Now I’m ashamed to admit this, but in that moment I felt really proud to put in the links to my recent stories-turned-books (Have you read Portal and The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy? Please do!There’s a behind-the-scenes series on writing I’m planning to put up here, so follow the page too so you’d be the first to know when it’s up. Gracias! 😁 🙏🏼). And when I say that I was proud, I don’t mean that in a good sense.

So I came over here to do a little touching up on the pages so that any visitor would see excellent and quality work … or something. I made a couple of edits here and revisions there when, all of a sudden, I found that I couldn’t save changes anymore. After trying a few more times I assumed it was just a fluke so I stayed off the ‘Net for a while. It wasn’t until I tried logging in again when I saw the message in a red block on my dashboard.

This blog had been suspended 😳.

I tried to access the URL on different browsers, but it said the same thing.
Now I’m usually generally chill, and I deliberately take myself away from undue tension, so I wasn’t anxious at first. I just figured there was something I needed to do to change this and that I’d figure it out soon enough. Maybe there was one of those Terms and Conditions I usually don’t read that I’d violated, I thought, so I scanned through them. As far as I could tell everything was in order.
As the hours turned to a day and nothing had changed I gradually realised that this was a serious problem. I came face-to-face with the possibility that I could actually lose this catalog of articles, stories and writings dating back to 2013.
The thought of it all shook me to my core.

What if I actually did lose everything?

Before I get to how we got it back up, I should point something out. This period and looking at it all showed me a bit about problematic perspectives I held.

What do I really have?

I realised that I had considered the blog as a possession of mine, something I worked to build, and an extension of myself. Sometimes I look back at the archives and feel that “started from-the-bottom-now-we-here!” feeling. This blog has been an experience all on its own. Many life experiences have occurred in its day. I’ve had days with so much traffic and dry spells stretching for months, but it’s all been part of the experience that’s been building up gradually. I’ve been learning what works and what doesn’t. I’m learning not to judge based on responses, but to also write in reader-friendly ways. I had every right to see this as my own.

Or did I?

Perhaps it’s valuable, and it is. But if the loss of something ‘valuable’ to me was going to affect me, then that says more about me than about the thing itself.P.S.: Someone reading this is wondering, “Dude, It’s just a blog! Get a life!” And writing this out now, I see that you’re absolutely right! I feel like an idiot now, but I hope you can learn from my idiocy.

My Value

Seeing how the thought of losing this made me feel less of myself made me realise that I had, somehow, tied my value and esteem to this blog and, by extension, to my accomplishments even offline. And that’s definitely not a good thing.
I find that many times I feel down when I’ve not got something new going on, or when I’m not being praised for something. And that’s completely unhealthy and destructive.I apologise if I’m being too open about my flaws here. I find that this year I’ve been doing that a lot.It’s subtle, but if my perspective of my value is defined by my accomplishments, then that means that I have also been determining the value of others based on their accomplishments. And as the cycle goes, I would also judge my value based on the applause, rejection or indifference of others.

This is the core of an inferiority complex. It’s something I was sure I had dealt with, but I was now seeing signs of it peeking out again.

Who Owns it, anyway?

In recent times, I’ve been encouraged towards, and am considering and planning the conversion of this blog to a full-fledged website. The thought process of it all has made me go back to the beginnings of this platform and to be reminded why it exists.
This is not really my own. It’s never really been mine!
Many things on this page have changed over the years, but the tagline has not.
Life, Hope, Faith … with some humor.
It’s my playground to show my works, but it’s really a channel for the Real Owner to reach others through me with the creative tools He gave me. It was an extension of myself because that’s how I’ve learnt to see myself: I am God’s Instrument to reach the world, and every of my platforms will do the same.
But what’s at the core is my life.
It’s my heart.

Jesus told the story of the rich fool, the guy who defined his security based on what he had. He described the man as “…he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:21) I certainly don’t want that to be me. I want my life to be one that blesses and lifts others, yes, but it’s nothing if my life is not a delight to the Lord.

Like Jesus also said, “…where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34). If the Lord is my treasure, then that’s where my heart will be. That’s Who would define my desires and life’s purpose and esteem.

What does it say about me?

I am learning to remind myself where true value lies. I am valuable, not because of anything I’ve done or can do or will do, no. I was valuable long before I could do anything! I am valuable because of the One that made me, that knows me, that loves me. That owns me.

I am valuable to God.

My favourite verse, and more like a lifeverse for me over the past couple of years, has been Isaiah 43:1:

“…Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.”

You are Mine.
I am His.My value is not tied to my accomplishments or possessions. Like Jesus said,
“…Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.” (Luke 12:15)

For a child of God, you never really lose. If we lose anything good, by God’s grace it can be restored and we can get back up again. That’s the promise of God’s Word. Remember Job? Everything he lost was restored by the end of the book, in doubles!
Proverbs 24:16 tells us that a just man may fall seven times, but he rises up again.

But you know what?

Even if what was lost is not restored, even if our hopes and dreams don’t materialise the way we would have desired, God’s promise is that His own can still be secure and at rest, stable and unshaken. Hebrews 11 tells us about the wonders and exploits done by many by their faith in God, but it also tells us of many who through their faith in God were able to go through trials and mockings, imprisonment, stoning, temptation, torment and even death.

They lost so much, but their true treasure was never taken away. Their true Treasure could never be taken away.
I want to be that strong and stable on the inside.Like Psalm 46 shows us, God is our home and refuge, and He is the One alive in us, like a river flowing through a city, bringing springs of gladness. Even if the things that have defined our stability are ever moved out of place, we will not be shaken. We can always be glad.

It would hurt, and real loss should hurt. But with God, that’s not where the story ends.

We can always be at rest.

What am I learning?

I’m learning to understand true value. When I underestimate anyone or anything, I devalue them in my eyes and lose out on some of God’s greatest gifts, treasure in “jars of clay” (2 Corinthians 4:7). When I overestimate them, I make them idols and I project my expectations on them, thus missing out on what God would have used them to be or do, and unable to see the bigger and much more that God has for me beyond that thing/person. Idols keep us from seeing what’s really important. I do the same to myself when i underestimate or overestimate myself. I’m learning to know what God sees, and esteem as He does.

I’m learning to enjoy every moment. The Bible lets us know that while “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” (Matthew 6:34) God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22,23). Every single day has an allotment of God’s supply for me and for you. We can actually enjoy His peace and rest, our own God-given Garden of Eden experience where I never feel the need for validation or affirmation because we’re constantly reminded of His validation and affirmation of us.

I’m learning to Live. Jesus said that He came so that we can have an abundant life, life to the full (John 10:10). I can face life trying to meet targets and deadlines and expectations, or I could actually live, and in so doing meet those targets without being shaken by the strain. To breathe in all that He’s got for me so that I can breathe out all that the world needs. And all of this both deliberately and ‘subconsciously’, I’m able to relate well with people, see myself and see them through God’s eyes, and without judgment.

I’m learning to be Free. Free from the allure of accomplishments, from the limitations I’ve known about myself, from the fear of failure or judgment, from the shame of my past mistakes, and free to lay hold on the ‘something better’ that God has for me.I’m learning to receive what He’s got for me freely, so that I can freely give. And, yes, even if it means I’ll never get it back. I’ve got Him, and He’s got me. And in the final analysis, that’s enough.

The blog will continue. I will keep doing things for the Lord by His strength and ability. I will keep creating things. But we can, and I will also have times where I’m not producing anything per se, and I will still be secure and joyful through it all.

That being said, Lord willing, you can look forward to a major release toward the end of the year 😉

And I’m also learning to clear the clutter. But that’s a post for another day. I think I’ve bared my heart beyond comfort enough here 😅.

Oh yeah, I sent a message to WordPress and the community personnel reached me to explain that my browser had was generating spam from my serial saving, and it was automatically suspended. So they got it fixed. Thanks, WordPress. 😁

So what are you learning, or what have you learnt, about loss and value? How do you handle it? Please share.
And thanks for reading!!!

Accepting Identity

Accepting Identity_2

Hi there!

In my previous blog post I wrote about how humans like to conform to certain laid down labels and stereotypes for a subconscious sense of belonging. I wrote about my own journey into figuring out which one I fit into, and I must say, putting it all down there was quite … releasing. I didn’t put in everything I had wanted to, but it was okay.

This one is about moving on from there.

You see, in trying to pick an appropriate label, we can sometimes be like the girl who walks around a room, looking at pictures of flowers on the table and trying to figure out which one is the most beautiful. She would learn something, of course, and may find out which of the flowers is the prettiest.

But then, someone opens the day and calls to her. “Hey, girl!”

She replies with a reserved but cute smile. “Hey.”

“What you doing?”

“Looking at pictures of flowers.” She holds up one picture. “I think this one’s quite pretty.”

The person smiles. “Come on outside. You’ve been looking at pictures all this time. I want to show you real flowers. Flowers you can touch, you can smell, you can see in … well, in 3D! You think you’ve seen ‘pretty’? Wait ‘til you see the real thing.”

 

__________

We have lived our whole lives in the room full of pictures.

We’ve lived our lives searching for identity in the options laid out by those that have gone ahead of us. We tack on labels popularized by the media in movies and music and novels and the news, picking those that seem to describe us best. We consider ourselves based on our nationality, our background, our race.

But God comes from outside the room and says, “I’ve got something better for y’all. A New and Better Identity.”

Come out. Let me let you in on this Identity a little bit.

Coming to Christ is like stepping out of the room. We receive a new life with this new identity; a new history, a new future, a new background.

With His blood, Jesus “…purchased men unto God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Revelation 5:9) When you buy something from a store it belongs to you, not to that store anymore. It’s no longer called “that shirt on the Top Shelf, Aisle 5, Megabuy Stores”. No, now it’s your shirt. It’s called “my shirt.”

You are God’s own.

He makes you His child with the full identity and rights of a son, an heir of God. Imagine being the heir to Bill Gates estate! Pretty tight, huh? Now imagine being the heir of the Creator of all things. Now THAT’S bigger. MUCH bigger than we can or could ever imagine.

He remains with you forever, and He produces from within you a nature of love, of joy, of peace and serenity, of patience and perseverance. He makes you kind, good, faithful, to not find the need to insist on your own way, and to be self-controlled.

Sounds like the perfect human being. Actually, it’s so much more than that: He’s making you like Himself. That’s much more awesome than being the perfect human being.

The earth and all that is in it is your inheritance, to take care of and to prosper in.

As a child of God, He gives you the ability to heal the sick, to cast out devils, to live supernaturally, and to be an all-round blessing.

That’s what He promises. That’s the new identity He gives.

 

__________

But the girl in our story has grown used to the room. It’s not her fault, though, ‘cause she’s been in there all her life. But now she’s been invited to come out.

“But I’ve never been outside before,” she says.

“I have,” he says.

“What does it look like?”

“It’s … beautiful. There are flowers, lots and lots of flowers. And not just flowers, my dear. Grass, trees, animals! The blue sky, the amazing clouds taking different forms, the water flowing, the breeze in your face … and you can feel it all.”

“I’ve never seen these things you’re talking about,” she says. “I don’t even know if they really exist.”

“They all do! My dear, they are! And it’s all just outside, waiting for you.”

“But…” she crosses her legs as she takes a step backwards. “I’ve been doing pretty well in here. I don’t need to go out there. I’m fine where I am.”

 

__________

We like to hold on to the reality we are familiar with, to the life we are used to, to the things we have seen and experienced. Even the bad memories and painful experiences that we’ve gone through. We want to hold on to it all because, good or bad, they have all contributed in building us into the people we are. In a sense, we see them as a part of us. And as much as we want to let go, we really don’t want to. We are comfortable with them.

We want to stay in the room, while God has a whole world that He’s prepared for us – OUT THERE.

The world we know pales in comparison to the awesome life he offers. We think we are comfortable where we are … but we haven’t even a clue what ‘comfort’ really is.

True comfort can only be found in the one that made us, God.

You know the hardest part? Accepting.

Accepting the new identity that God offers would require giving in. It would require admitting that we were ignorant and wrong in staying in the room of pictures, and that He’s been right all along. It punctures our pride, the shield we’ve given ourselves to building all this time. It shames what bliss we thought we had to think that there is greater bliss beyond, bigger and better, just a door away.

And that’s how we miss out on God’s greatest gifts.

But when we do accept, we realize that we’ve been wrong all along.

When we do accept this Identity that He gives us, we come to know that we’re already accepted. That we’re affirmed and accepted by the Ultimate Dad, who defines fatherhood for all.

There is no more fear of rejection. There is no need to prove anything ever again.

We’ll come out of the room into an awesome new world that makes the room of pictures look like nothing but a mud shack.

It’s a new identity.

And it’s for us all.

For you.

 

__________

“What if I get hurt?” she asks. “Every new picture I’ve seen in here promises something better, but … it never lasts. I’m tired of getting my hopes up.”

“It’s OK. I know. What’s waiting for you outside this room is much bigger and better than you can imagine.”

“I’ve never been outside before.”

“All the more reason to come. It’ll be OK.”

“What if it’s not? What if it’s not everything I’ve hoped it’d be?”

“You can trust me.”

“Why?”

And, with a smile he responds, “Because I made it all.” He stretched a hand out to her. “I made it all for you. You can trust me.”

 

(TO BE CONTINUED)

 

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Special thanks to my friend and brother, Joshua Babarinde (author of DONUT) for his suggestions and review on this article. You can read his inspiring writing on his site, HeirWalk.