Facing Disappointment

For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
— Habakkuk 2:3

Disappointment is a hard thing to deal with, we always want to believe we can immediately move on from a disappointment. As Christians we want to be able to say 'if all things work for the good of those who love Him, and this didn't work then it wasn't His will.' but that is easier said than done. Emotions aren't so easy to circumvent.

When you have already begun to picture something it’s hard not to be hurt when it doesn’t come to fruition.

When that happens where do we turn.

It's important to point out that I am searching for answers as I'm writing this, not saying I have them. Disappointment and I are well acquainted.

As soon as it came to me to write on 'Facing Disappointment', Habakkuk 2:3 came to mind, "...Although the vision tarries, be patient it will not tarry."

The verse seems to contradict itself, which, the Word of God, I’m told, does not do. So I read the two preceding verses.

I will stand my watch
And set myself on the rampart,
And watch to see what He will say to me,
And what I will answer when I am corrected.
Then the Lord answered me and said:

“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
— Habakkuk 2:1-2

Theres are a few things clear from reading these verses.

1.     Have you had a vision?

a.     You need to have a clear vision, often we get disappointed because we put all our hopes in something on a whim, or based on what should be good according to the worlds standards.

2.     Where did you get your vision?

a.     We need clarity on the source of our vision.

b.     Have you confirmed your vision with God? Have you prayed and spent time meditating on that vision?

c.      Is it from God or is it from man?

d.     If your vision is from man, or you don’t have a vision, seek God face and ask Him to give you a vision.

3.     Have you written down your vision?

a.     We are scared of sometimes writing down our vision because it creates accountability, we like to play things down in fear of disappointment or failure.

b.     When you write your vision down it is an action and statement of determination. Action is how vision becomes manifest!

c.      Writing your vision is a reference point, when ever you go astray it will refocus you.

d.     Writing down your vision helps you remember what you are seeking, it’s easy to get lost otherwise.

 

 

4.     Are your goals in line with your vision?

a.     Are you disappointed in a goal that isn’t actually in line with your vision?

b.     Or are you trying to make something fit that never did?

- We also need to get our goals from God. It's natural as humans to try and set goals we believe will lead us to our God given vision, but God works in ways we cannot fathom, don;t limit God by your thinking.

5.     There are people attached to your vision

a.     "...Write down your visions people that see it can run with it." If you proclaim your vision the helpers God has for you will hear the call and come.

b.     You can’t do it alone.

6.     You can always show it back to God.

a.     If God said it He MUST do it.

b.     Gives you reassurance that just because it didn’t happen this time, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

Disappointment will come but it is only a matter of when, not a matter of if. God is not man that He should lie, so whenever you're disappointed lean on that truth. God’s Word will surely come to pass, so once we realise something is not happening the way we wanted it to, or when we wanted it to, doesn’t mean it's not happening.

This verse that seemed like a contradiction isn’t one, its just God talking about two different locations, the earthly realm and the Spiritual one.

Something may seem to tarry on the earthly realm, because we live in time, so we are always waiting for something to happen NOW. Joseph waited 13 years for the dream to become manifest, we need to learn patience, just because you had the vision today doesn't mean it's meant to happen today.

But it will never tarry because God’s word has already come to fruition on the Spiritual and when it manifests on the earthly realm it’ll be just as God purposed.

Always bring yourself back to your written down vision and take solace in God's sovereignty.

Together In Christ

I've written this blog post before, and when I first wrote it, it was titled 'From Babylon to Pentecost'. I wrote the post and then lost it all. At the time I took as a sign not to write it at all, but today God reprimanded me so here I am writing about what I learned about togetherness in Christ.

God is quickly teaching me that we can't do things alone. I am learning to not be ashamed to ask for help. As Christians, often we try to do things alone and this can often happen for two very opposite reasons,

  • The first reason is an inferiority complex, at times we don't want to share our ideas or our visions because we are scared we are not good enough for them and we don't want to be laughed out of the room.

 

Then the LORD answered me and said, ‘Write the vision and engrave it plain on clay tablets so that the one who reads it will run.’
— Habakkuk 2:2

But in the book of Habakkuk, God tells Habakkuk to write down his vision clearly. When you have a vision you should not be afraid to proclaim it, so that those who see it run with it, this taught me that there are people attached to your vision. Accomplishing your vision requires other like minded people. 

Don't miss the people God has sent to help you because you were scared to reveal what God has put in you.

  • The Second reason we often try to do things alone is pride. This is one of the biggest pitfalls we can enter as Christians, pride, wanting the glory for something all to ourselves. We don't want to share it with others ,when in reality ALL glory belongs to God.

Now for me to explain how God used 'Babylon to Pentecost' to teach me these two things.

In the time of the Babylonians, the whole earth spoke one tongue, and this gave them all the ability to work together asthey could all communicate with one another.

The first thing to point out here is the worlds willingness to work together.

So the people of Babel all came together and said;

 

...’Now let’s build a city with a tower that reaches the sky, so that we can make a name for ourselves and not be scattered all over the earth.’
— Genesis 11:4

There's something we can be ignorant to as Christians and that is the power of working together to effect change. The Babylonians were not ignorant to that, and neither is the world. The Babylonians realised to achieve something great it could not be done alone but their pitfall was pride. They wanted to build a tower so high it would reach heaven, because;

  1. They wanted to make a name for themselves, they wanted the glory for themselves and not for God.
  2. They wanted to evade God. God had already planned to spread the people over the face of the earth.

When your motive is for self, and contrary to the Kingdom of God, it cannot succeed, God saw what the Babylonians were doing and the heart with which they did it, so He came down and took away their ability to speak in the same tongue and therefore their ability to work together.

Flash forward to 'The Day of Pentecost' we see the language differences reversed by the Holy Spirit.

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there was a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
— NKJV Acts 2:1-2

I love how the NKJV puts it, '...They were all with one accord in one place.' That speaks to the fact they were not just in the same location but of the same heart, they all had a heart for God and the Kingdom and that gave them all access to the Holy Spirit.

Powerful things happens when you or more are gathered with a heart for God!

The Holy Spirit did two things for them. Firstly He gave them the ability to communicate in the tongue of heaven, communicate in the heavenly realm, and secondly the ability to understand one another though they all spoke different tongues.

When you are operating in your God given purpose, working with a sense of togetherness, giving all glory to God you will receive supernatural access.

Being A Working Vessel For Christ

One of the first thing we have to come to realize is that everything we have is a gift from God and it all has a purpose; to build His Kingdom.

We must learn to use all Christ has put in us to serve Him and others.

It is important not to get caught up in things of this world, not to use our gift for vanity.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in it’s various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power forever and ever.
— 1 Peter 4:10-11

One of the first things is to realize, we have done nothing to deserve the gifts we have given to us, they are just that gifts that God has chosen in His wisdom to bestow on us. Steer away from vanity and believing you have earned what you have been given.

Something I love about Elevation Church in the US is their motto ‘See what God can do through you.’

We have become to self-centred, we spend so much time worrying about what God can do for us and not what we can use what He has given us to do for others.

There is a difference between having the Holy Spirit and filled with the Holy Spirit.

When we give our lives to the Christ we receive the Holy Spirit, but we pray to God to fill us with the Holy Spirit and when we are filled we are called to spend of the Spirit.

The Manifestation conference by Ignite was one of the times where I really felt myself spending of the Spirit, where I came to this deep realization that ‘this is not about you’, it’s all about God and about being a vessel for His Kingdom. It is not easy, it is uncomfortable at time, draining and exhausting, but the faith requires sacrifice. Sacrifice increases your capacity to be filled up.

When I think of a vessel, i think of a blood vessel, blood vessels are open on both ends because blood isn’t meant to flow to it, but through it.

With people that have sickle cell, what happens to cause a sickle crisis it that because the blood cells are shaped almost like a banana, the cells can get caught on what another, stopping them from flowing through, causing a blood clot which leads to a crisis.

Like this if you receive but are so caught up on holding on to the gift, be it money, talents or anything else as opposed to using it for good, it can lead to a crisis in your life. Holding onto the things you’ve been blessed with takes your focus from the giver to the gift and that will always damage your relationship with Christ.

When you begin to focus on the gift you make that thing an idol and put it over God.

The Israelite's did the same thing in Exodus 32 when Aaron told them all to gather all the gold they had gathered and they turned away from God.

Lessons In The Silence

This has been a very weird period for me. Since I begun this Faith Blog. I have been determined to post once a week and had managed to do that consistently. For someone lacking certain structural disciplines I can tell you I was proud of that.

My immediate concern when I said I would post weekly, was that I want this to be Spirit-led and not me writing for the sake of putting something up. I do believe that can also slip into being an excuse for laziness, so I went ahead with that commitment. I was consistent and God always left me with something in mind to say...then came silence.

The funny thing about the quiet period for the last month is it happened when I felt I should have more to say and not less. So recently the Ignite fellowship of my church, Guiding Light Assembly started a show on InspirationFM, IgniteGLA on the Radio, which I co-host along with two other members of the Ignite team. After one of our shows we sat down together for hours in fellowship and light was shed on a lot of things for me. It felt like God had really been dealing with things for me that I was blissfully unaware of and I had this certainty of 'I know exactly what I'm speaking on next', swiftly followed by an inability to write about it or anything else.

I felt like I had this huge thing God wanted to use me as a vessel to talk about in the open but God gave me nothing to say. It was perplexing.

There are things to learn from the silence. I may not have a word just yet, but I know when God gives it to me it will be a force for His Kingdom. You have to learn to trust God's timing and process.

Lessons in the Silence

1. Dealing with arrogance - For me one thing I've learned is not to get proud and believe God's doing is actually your own doing. Time and time again in the Bible we see God use people in their weakness, it makes it so evident that it couldn't be, if not for God. There is a danger when you see God use you again and again that it is because you are somehow worthy, or more deserving than others. When the silence comes and you find yourself devoid of answers you will fall on your knees at the feet of the King, knowing it could only be Him.

2. Leaning on the Word - It can feel at times like God has gone silent and we struggle to hear His voice, but there is always His Word. Spend time with the Master, reading and studying His Word, praying according to His Word and being obedient to it. Too often we want God's step by step directions on the intricacies of our daily lives, but are we even being obedient to His directions in the Word. The Word is the foundation for relationship with God for a reason. Start with what is in the Bible, the rest will come.

3. Determining your Relationships - There is always a reason for silence. Between the Old and New Testament there was a period of silence, where the Jews did not hear from God for about 450-500 years and this period was prophesied in Amos 8:11, "The time is coming when I will send famine on the land. People will be hungry, but not for bread; they will be thirsty, but not for water. They will hunger and thirst for a message from the LORD. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken." It is important to in that period look at your relationships, the people around you, the things you surround yourself with and what could be deafening you to the voice of God, look at your actions, lifestyle, habits, test them against the Word, against the foundation.

Based On Logistics

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
— Matthew 6:24

Money...

This thing can drive a wedge between you and God if you're not careful.

When serving God leaves you standing with no idea where the paycheck is coming from, will you do it? I was having this conversation with a friend, serving money over God isn't about wanting more than you need, sometimes it's just about wanting enough to survive. Then God in all His wisdom will call you to do work for which there is NO monetary gain, to step in boldness into no salary.

It's one thing when God is asking you to foresake the money that'll get you that 3rd G wagon, but when He is asking you to foresake the money that'll pay your rent!

Yes I am in the world but not of it, but Baba-J as long as I'm in the world some things cost money? no?

Often obeying God defies all logic.

I am a man, yes I am single, but you have to live thinking towards the future. Based on logistics, you have to be ready to provide for someone, and then a family, take care of a home, be prepared for emergencies. These things require finance. If i say no be money wey I go take do am, wetin I go take?

But this Mighty God we serve says He is our Provider, provision is not necessarily finances! It is easy to get wrapped up in the money, but we are using money to pay for something. If God can give us the things without giving us the money, is there still a problem?

The problem is we are stuck, thinking the way the world thinks, believing money is the key to the resources, but God is. God is the ultimate source!

I am currently in that stalemate with God, we are looking each other eye to eye. He's just waiting for me to step confidently into purpose, See God knows when your obedience is dressed in fear, "God I'll do what you're asking, but let's take it slow, not dive too deep into anything.."

I am excited about where God is taking me, what He has planned for me, what He is doing and will do through me, I want to be obedient and live in that purpose, but to let go of salary...? "Slow down G, how about we find a way to negotiate some finances into all this?"

I am scared, not so sure I'm ready, but I will be obedient, I will be bold and courageous, I will step unashamedly into the purpose God has for me, I will do this incredibly stupid act of faith. I have decided to follow Jesus.

I'll tell you what motivates me to be obedient at this point. My fear comes from the thought of needing finances to provide for the future, whoever and wherever she is, but that future is nothing in comparison to THE future, eternity! And if the decisions I make out of fear or logic lead me to miss out on that eternity, then who was the stupid one? There is a bigger picture than this worldly existence, this is just the waiting room.

Don't lose sight of the most important thing, because this life will trick you into thinking this is it.

Fighting Fear With Humility

Making decisions can be a painful process. There are people for whom decision making is a skill, faced with an issue or even an opportunity and instinct kicks in and it's done. I do not fall into that category, the decision process is a long and winding road.

Fact is, more often than not, we may know what the right decision is, but there are always those little deterrents that make it hard to take the necessary steps. In short, the dilemma is fear, but many things can lead to fear.

Fear to me is the absence of faith, you can't do the two things at the same time, it's like trying to serve two masters, they live on the opposite end of the spectrum; to act by one is to evade the other.

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other...
— Matthew 6:24

Truth is, in life things are rarely ever that black and white, they exist in the grey. It is a battle everyday to choose one or the other and fear is a very powerful and intimidating foe, who knows just how to push on the right buttons.

Sometimes reading the bible is a big 'wowuu'. The men of faith were truly tried and tested and it is so hard to imagine taking the leaps of faith they did.

Abraham was so faithful and obedient, that after the impossibly long wait for a son, he was trusting enough in God that he could carry Isaac and bound him up ready to make that sacrifice to God.

It's impossible to talk about faith and not talk about Job. Job was living a good, honorable life, obedient and in service of God and simply because Satan challenges God, that Job isn't in fact good but only obedient for sake of reward, God takes everything and everyone from him. The same God that Job had learned was a fair God, took it all away when Job did nothing to deserve it and yet Job still praised God in spite of it all.

Job-like faith.

But it's like, let's get serious, how real could these people be, if I were Abraham I would quickly doubt that it was this good God asking me to sacrifice my son, I mean why would God ask that of me. The same way we get confronted with situations and if we don't see the profit in it, it's like well, will God want this for me. The world has programmed us to see the cost of things and let that overwhelm our vision.

It's hard to leave something that you are comfortable in to challenge yourself where the reward is unsure. Risks are scary, when it comes to crunch time, how can you leave a 9-5 where there is a sure income to chase something unsure, you have responsibilities. I spent time in prayer lately on going forward with certain things in my life I believe God has purposed me to, but taking the risks that come with it is not easy.

Look at the birds in the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
— Matthew 6:26-27

It's easy to read the bible and see these words of guidance and encouragement, but action is a lot harder. The Bible will tell you to trust in God and not worry about where your next meal is coming from, but the world will tell you it is irresponsible. Faith by the world's standards is foolishness and its hard to kick that feeling sometimes. How do we get to the point where obedience comes to us like it did to Abraham, Moses, Job and Joseph?

I want to take another look at Job, because we talk so much of 'Job like faith' and his trust in the Lord in spite of his circumstance, but it is deeper than that. And as long as we talk about that, with talking about his moments of doubt and His questioning God we make it seem like fear means we are failing.

Job was good, obedient, diligent, yes after he lost everything he continued to praise God but that wasn't all. The grey existed for Job too. Job doubted God, went through a season of resentment towards God, he questioned God, 'What did I do to deserve this? God can't be Just!' His friends accused him of all sorts of sins, that God is just so you must have done something and Job denied it all, Job was innocent yet he was suffering. Job ultimately challenged God to explain himself, accusing Him of being unfair and corrupt, he was tired. And when God came to answer Job, there was no direct answer but in fact this elaborate long story, where God showed Job the vastness of the world, and asks Job if he could run or understand it for just one day, showing him how detailed the universe is, so much so we could never understand, but God does. God then shows Job two beasts, beasts that would kill without a thought, and says these aren't evil they are part of my design.

See, from Job's perspective, God is not just - but God works from a grand perspective we could never understand. The wisdom of God is beyond anything we could understand and this is what Job comes to understand. The good things he had were not reward for his obedience and the things he lost were not punishment either. So when Job gets double of everything back, he knows that this is not reward or anything I am deserving of.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
In all ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
— Proverbs 3:5-6

So this is what Job-like faith is, it is humility, accepting that no matter what comes, good or bad, we can trust in the wisdom of God. It is not chasing reward or expecting it. So obedience to God has to come from a place of service, not expecting anything. It means putting aside worldly expectations, financial gain or reputation. If we can accept this and put these worldly expectations aside, taking the leaps of faith will become easier.

To Break Or To BreakTHROUGH?

I've learned lately that perception accounts for most of the battle. There's an interesting thing about prayer when done right;

 

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭100:4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

 

When we start praying if we do so first by thanking God for what He has done it gives us perspective on all the things we have worried about before that God has seen us through, from there we praise Him not for what He has done but for who He is, and this is where the shift in perspective really kicks in. Our human nature is to go straight to God with all our requests, and the problem with that is, we enter His presence with our focus on our problem and not on God. We've made our problems bigger than God. By praising God for who He is we switch perspective. We start to see that not just has God done great things for us, He Himself is bigger than any issue. That by the time we are laying our requests at His feet we don't have the doubt and desperation we had when we first got on our knees.

 

I see now more than ever that when the challenges seem more unending or the pressure feels insurmountable it is because the breakthrough is closer than you can imagine. The Bible never tells you it is easy to be a Christian, the challenges are greater in fact, you get attacked more when the devil sees the light you carry. 

 

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:6-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

 

It's good to take your trial as an opportunity to grow in relationship with God and be strengthened in faith. Nothing advances when things are easy. Ease is the greatest enemy to progress. There are two options in trial, to break, or to breakTHROUGH. Your perspective dictates the option you choose, is it too much for me? Or is it just enough for me to withstand? We often want God to change our situation when we really just need Him to change our perspective. 

 

Prayer is the greatest catalyst for a shift in perspective. We need to shift our focus to the I Am that I Am, the One who is whatever we need Him to be and take it off the mountain we've let convince us is immovable when through Christ nothing is impossible. See your breakthrough not your breakdown!

When It Feels Like You're Falling Away

There is a real danger when self satisfaction comes into play and I have noticed this in all walks of life.

We are always trying to avoid feeling pressure, feeling like where we are is not enough, but the funny thing is when you feel that, you have a motivation to work your way out of something,

We all want to feel like we are where we want to be but this, I have learned is a trap. Self satisfaction breeds comfort and comfort is the root of all inaction.

I was recently going through a period where I was really struggling in my faith, but the thing about that is when you know you're struggling you're very intentional about getting out of the struggle, so yes, it wasn't easy but it gave me focus.

Low and behold, with focus and consistency the hard time surpassed. Surprisingly, in the season of comfort came the real test. You know, when you feel like you are now on track is when you run the most risk of running off it. I became so confident in how I was doing faith wise, I became so comfortable that the day to day things, the prayer, the time in the Word, they became more and more irregular.

This is the down side to getting comfortable in your accomplishments, you run the risk of stopping chasing growth. There is always more to learn, always further to go, life isn't the kind of race you can finish on this side of eternity, relationship with God is nothing you can master in totality on this side of eternity.

God is an unending God, you can never learn all of Him while here on earth, so to get comfortable where you are is always the beginning of backsliding.

I have had to continuously remind myself to go back the Source. It is so easy to think you're doing well enough and before you know it things you took your eye off have started to fall away.

There is never enough, we have to keep being intentional, keep seeking more, keep coming back to the Source.

Finding Lasting Confidence

So you guys are going to get some unreserved honest Adeolu today. I mean I try to be honest normally but human nature is to protect self.

So I have always been that guy that has this idea of something great he is trying to do, but almost never passes the thought hurdle. Among a group of friends there always seems to be that one guy just slacking, and if I am honest with you as well as myself, that guy was probably always me.

It's easy to boil it down to pure laziness, but deeper than that I think it came down to self-worth. Confidence is a new trait I'm learning and embracing. I got so used to thinking myself incapable I'd trip every time the first hurdle would even enter my line of sight. Half of the battle is mental, confidence will make or break you before you even get started.

The first lesson I learned in the last year, is that confidence can't be attached to your achievements. That is a worldly precept. In football, sometimes they say a team won before they even got onto the pitch, because if you're waiting to win the battle before you have your confidence, what is driving you through the battle?

If we then know that you can't base your confidence on your achievements, where should we turn for our confidence? Simple...

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Philippians 4:13

CHRIST!

One thing I have learned in the last year is trusting if it is God's word it will work. It has taught me the difference between a God breathed idea and an Adeolu breathed one.

Discernment is a key attribute and one you can't acquire by your own hand, and once you know something is good, something has value to it, hold on to that, because there will always be a point you want to quit and that is when you need to remember most to 'Be bold and courageous.'

Sacrifice For The Love Of God

One of the first questions I get asked pretty often is, 'How do you manage your career and your relationship with God in the entertainment industry?'

First things first this article is not going to have the answer, 'cause I'm still working on it, and even if it had my answer it may not work for you.

Even if I were to put my faith to the side for a minute, and just talk about moral values, we all have them, but there is nowhere like the entertainment industry to make you second guess the worth of your values. Because image and perception is such a huge part of success in this industry, things will always look picture perfect to the outsider. The industry is slow, it takes a long haul to breakout the way we all dream of or hope for. When you're in that slow, seemingly never ending season you will definitely wonder if it will be a little faster if you compromised on your values here and there.

When I first graduated Uni and was entering this industry I drew up a list, that I still have to this day of things I am and am not willing to do and I stick to it. It's important to keep going back to why you don't do those things because compromise is a very slippery slope. You may start with one thing on your 'don't' list that seems small and like a minor sacrifice for great growth but that will often lead to bigger compromises and down a darker path.

When it comes to God, trust is key, will my compromises take me further from His path? Yes, if the answer is yes and you trust that God plan and purpose for your life is the greatest thing, can it be worth making that compromise to temporary worldly gain? No!

Another thing to ask yourself when making these compromises is, 'Is it worth it to be seen in doing something I don't believe in just because it'll mean being seen at all?'

Granted there will be things on my list of things I am willing to do that other Christians may not agree with and things on my list of donts that other people will say is no big deal, you have to be comfortable with your agreement with God and your set values, no mans race is the same.

I've learned more than anything to try not to judge what other people are willing to do that I am not. Someones walk with God could be in a different place from mine, so where they are what I consider a compromise they may not and what I consider sacrifice they may not.

Maybe I have yet to be tested to the extent that those lines may blur just enough, but I believe in always coming back to the centre and knowing what is guiding the decisions I make.

When You Realise God Named You Not Your Parents

I'm human, and it is normal for us to feel the weight of pressure. I'd even go as far as to say I feel pressure more than many. We put ourselves under a lot of pressure and society puts us under even more. The weight of expectation.

It's easy for us to compare ourselves continuously to the people around us, compare our achievements to others, compare our race. I am the king of letting other peoples success weigh on my mind. Questioning the rate of my career growth, or where I am in relation to getting married, future security, all sorts of things. Not being happy with where I am in relation to where I hoped I would be at this time.

Last weekend we had a program at my church called 'The Manifestation' where guest speaker Heather Lindsey preached a message entitled, "From The Pit to The Palace". She spoke about the 13 year wait Joseph had between his dream that his brothers would bow to him and his dream coming to fruition.

"The dream may be great but the path ugly" - Heather Lindsey

She spoke on being steadfast in the journey, it is being faithful in the trial that brings about the coming to fruition of the dream. Are you able, like Joseph, to trust God in the process? Or will you be like his brothers, so distracted and caught up in jealousy and envy of others?

Joseph was steadfast in the pit, in slavery, when he was thrown in prison, through the entire process he trusted God and didn't lose sight or faith in the dream. I find it so easy to let the process get in my head, to think it isn't happening for me just because it hasn't happened yet. I'm not living up to the societies expectations or even my own, I haven't garnered the status or the wealth or the esteem that I had hoped for and I'm seeing people around get so much. it's so easy to get lost in the irrelevant.

"There's something about continuing in the process and not giving up on God." - Heather Lindsey

The funny thing is this didn't hit me during the message but days after. I had an interview and knew they'd ask me about future projects and the truth is as of now I have none, so that had me worrying, what am I doing? Am I where i should me? Is all this work paying off? ...And that is when it hit me that my Christian name is Joseph. The crazy thing about this is that my name isn't meant to be Joseph. Family tradition is that the oldest so gets named Joseph, my dad is named Joseph cause he is the first born as was my grandfather, but I am the 2nd son and last born, but I was the one named Joseph.

In that moment it hit me like a train, that God was telling me, 'You're the one I need to be patient in this process, you're the one I need to remind that it may not be quick, or easy but My hand is on you.'

Fear or God

We have a tendency as human beings to focus so much more on bad news. And the way the world we live in runs, you’d be led to think that only bad things happen. You never turn on the news and hear about the great things that happened in the world, because that’s ‘boring’. Instead, we’re spoon-fed natural disasters, financial crises, terrorism. So we’ve become believers in bad news as opposed to believers in The Good News.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6(NKJV)

“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. – 1 Peter 5:7(AMP)

“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.” – Psalm 55:22

I read something in John Bevere’s ‘The Holy Spirit’ that really caught my attention. He said, “Fear is faith in the devil.” As Christians, we’ve alienated faith, put it on this pedestal as something hard to achieve, ‘Job-like’ faith. But the truth is, we put faith in something everyday. The question is: where do you put it?

It’s easy to desire ‘Job-like’ faith and to quote the scriptures above, but there’s more to faith than just reciting verses.

Here are two things I’ve learnt about faith:

  1. Faith is an active thing. What you DO is what you believe. Faith is action in spite of circumstance; once you let fear determine your action, you’ve put faith in the devil.
  2. Faith comes from God. The Greek word translated to faith in the Bible is ‘Pistis’, which literally means “divine persuasion”. This divine persuasion (faith) in God can only come from God.

We have to intentionally seek God’s face in order to receive the assurances of His Word.

In Philippians 1 Paul shows us decisive faith:

“This is in keeping with my own eager desire and persistent expectation and hope…” – Philippians 1:20

The words, “eager desire and persistent expectation and hope” come from one Greek word, ‘apokaradokia’.

  • The Greek word apo means “to intentionally turn”,
  • Kara means “head”,
  • And dokia means “to stretch forward”.

So, apokaradokia means, “to intentionally turn your head and stretch forward.”

Paul decided in his spirit that it didn’t matter what his situation looked like: even though he was in prison, he would lean forward, believing in God.

This is where the importance of leaning on the Word, meditating on the Word and praying by the Word comes in.

It’s not easy to look past our circumstances, but Jesus died so that the Holy Spirit – our helper – would come to live in us. But in order for The Holy Spirit to manifest in us we have to know Him, and that is only found in relationship and in knowledge of who He is in the Word:

“So the faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” – Romans 10:17(NKJV)

For faith to come, we have to lean into God, we have to chase Him and persevere, no matter our circumstance.

One thing about the great men in the Bible is they found pleasure in their trial. It was – and is! – an opportunity to learn more about the goodness of God.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face a trial of many kinds, because you know that testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4(NIV)

Putting fear over God is putting faith in your circumstance and in what we can see. But no matter how we’re feeling, we have to decide to turn to God and to know that God works all things for the good of those who love Him. Smile and rejoice because your trial is the beginning of your testimony.

Can't Deny Your Struggle

Passion and purpose come at a price, they come with a burden. Though the two things are perfectly intertwined, they are two very different sides to the same coin. Purpose is permanent, you can deny it but you can't run away from it. Passion is fleeting. It comes and goes, passion comes in bursts, it is gratifying, but it at times is a weight, heavy and definitive of your struggle. The problem with the struggle is the indefinite nature of it. More often than not you might enter the struggle witha world of optimism, youthful energy and drive. But those things like all human natures are temporary.

 

I believe the reason purpose is coupled with passion is that passion is our God given source of sustenance in the struggle.

 

When I found my passion it caught me unawares. The memory of that discovery in itself is a fuel for my desire and reason for my ambition. For me there is a responsibility for the arts to inspire as well as entertain. From poetry, to theater and film, the arts require depth and a sense of self. Art like life requires connection, and connection requires giving. Art must effect change, more change in my opinion than schools or politics. Not all art is effective and if it was there would be no need for new art. But when art does effect you, even fleetingly, it comes from something real and honest. Be it art that makes you laugh till you cry, or art that makes you cry that solitary tear that you couldn't hold back because a moment gripped you, art that compels thought and provokes action. To be an artist is to be self sacrificial, to offer a part of you to a stranger, be you 10 feet from them or on the other side of the world.

 

I am an artist and I demand that of myself, that is my mission statement, to effect change! That is my desire, my passion and I believe my purpose. All purpose and all passion comes with struggle and the only way to fail is to deny your struggle, to try and put your struggle to the side. Struggle gives you a story, and your story is your art, your truth and the only way to actually feel your success. Success is when you look back and say this is where and this is where I am.  It is in your perception and acknowledgement of growth and the attitude with which you approach your opportunities to grow further.

 

The struggle is guaranteed, and the struggle is painful, because the result is not guaranteed, so your attitude is everything. The struggle is where you learn, where you grow and where your memories will be made and if you embrace you'll likely reach your purpose sooner than you imagine.