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Volume 13, Issue 08: Extravagant Restoration

Until yesterday, I had been praying for something a certain way. Then I learnt that someone had made an appeal for me, and it led to an immediate shift in my prayer. As I started praying again later that day, the Lord brought to my mind a portion of Scripture from the Old Testament. My heart is so stirred up by the story in the eighth chapter of the second book of Kings.

The story starts a couple of chapters before. There was a Shunnamite woman married to an older man. She had no children. She was very hospitable to a prophet of God whenever he was in town. She even had a room built and furnished for him on her roof for his use whenever he was in town. After some time the prophet prayed for her and the Lord blessed her with a son, who later died but was brought back to life by the prophet.

The portion of the story that influenced the shift in my prayer was a time when years before, the prophet had told the Shunamite woman to leave the country with her family to go live someplace else. God had ordered a famine in the land that was going to last for seven years. She and her family left and lived as aliens in a foreign land for seven years.

When the seven years were up and the famine over, the woman and her family went back to their country. She went to see the king about getting back her home and farm. She happened to arrive before the king just as Gehazi - prophet Elisha 's servant, was telling the king about the time Elisha had brought a boy back to life, who happened to be the Shunamite woman's son.

After hearing the full story from the woman, the king assigned a high official to take care of her, saying, "Make sure she gets everything back that's hers, plus all the profits from the farm from the time she left until now." Another version says "The king directed one of his officials to see that everything she had lost was restored to her, including the value of any crops that had been harvested during her absence."

The Scriptures present this woman as a well-off woman. She probably had the means to purchase a new parcel of land and make a home anywhere in the country. But she wanted what was hers before she left. She wasn't interested in starting over.

Not only did the king direct that her land and home be restored back to her, he also instructed that all the income that had been generated from her farm from the time she left the country until the present time be given to her. What an extravagant restoration!

It wasn't enough that she gets her farm and home back, God wanted her to also have all the income that had been generated from her land while she was gone. Our God is a God of more than enough. He set out to be extravagantly generous with the Shunamite woman's restoration. What a showcase of His glory!

People may restore to you the bare minimum of what belonged to you. But not our God. He is not only a God of restoration, he is an extravagant restorer. In this story, He undertook to restore everything that belonged to the Shunamite woman, and then some.

Wouldn't you want to ask God to assign a high official to see to it that something that was once yours is restored to you, and then some? Make your appeal to Him. May He blow your mind and give you a personal story that mirrors that of the Shunamite woman.

“When the king asked the woman, she told him [everything]. So the king appointed for her a certain high official, saying, “Restore everything that was hers, including all the produce of the field since the day that she left the land until now.”” ‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭8:6‬ ‭AMP‬‬.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 13, Issue 07: Poised Detachment

My most recent experience this month was unnerving. It left me wanting to escape to an attitude of being unbothered - to possess the ability to maintain a calm and unaffected demeanor in the presence of external disturbances. But I soon realized that I needed to do that in the right way.

Having been unsettled and disrupted yet again by someone offloading on me from one of their low moments, I realized that this was happening way too often for my liking. Seeing that I couldn't necessarily get away from them, I needed to once and for all establish boundaries for myself to ensure I don't continue being a victim of their unsettled disposition every now and then.

When I prayerfully considered embracing an unbothered demeanor, given that I was in a state of distress, my approach was selfish. I wanted to not care. But in no time, the Lord enlightened me to a better approach - to embrace an unbothered mindset that leads to compassion and empathy.

I want to no longer dread reading someone's disheartening messages or wondering what terrible things they wrote and sent to me then deleted before I could read them. Instead, I want to approach their disruptive messages in the right perspective of appreciating that it's about them, and their unresolved pain, not me. My head has always known that, but my heart has been having a hard time registering that lately. It's about time my heart got the memo.

With an unbothered mindset in my armor, when someone is fighting with themselves but expressing it to me, I would refuse to get caught up in the fight. It may seem like they are attacking me, but I should not be fooled. The fight has nothing to do with me. Instead, see their fight for what it really is, a plea to be helped with their burden and extend compassion and empathy to them. I can't do that if I get all tangled up in the fight and feeling hurt. I can only do that effectively when I know from deep down in my heart that the fight has nothing to do with me.

Have you ever found yourself in a place of needing to take cover by being unbothered? How should you carry yourself? I suggest you try to completely disengage yourself from the person's tantrums. Treat them well, don't talk behind their back and don't bother them. But most importantly, don't allow yourself to be bothered by them. Under no circumstances should we allow ourselves to be bothered by other people's tantrums.

However, we must appreciate that maintaining a state of equanimity can be challenging to live out consistently, especially in the face of various stressors and challenges. It often requires self-awareness, emotional regulation skills, and sometimes a shift in perspective. It's a gradual process of growth and development that takes time and practice to master.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 13, Issue 06: Harvesting Wisdom

I have learnt three key lessons so far this February. The first is not to take lightly what someone considers serious. The second one is not to sweat the small stuff. And the third one is to embrace the right posture of being unbothered.

When I was reflecting about my January, I had difficulty recollecting what the key lessons were for me in the month. I now realize that was the case because I was trying too hard. The truth is, lessons aren't that hard to be recognized, because most lessons come about from experiences.

One of my experiences in the month of January was being invited to a public religious ceremony. I learnt that as much as I value how I spend my down time, I also value people who extend kindness to me even when it's an invitation to an activity I would never consider being a part of.

Sometimes people invite us to activities and events that are important to them. In some cases they do it in order for them to have company, and sometimes they do it to afford the invitees an opportunity to partake of something special with them. I learnt to admit that I will not always be interested in or excited about all the invitations I receive, but for the sake of the relationship I have with the person extending me the invitation, I would consider going in their honour.

The other experience that stood out for me last month was an invitation I received to have coffee with a colleague and her family. She treated my fellow foreign colleague and I to a hearty meal in the confines of her warm cozy home, by all means my cup of tea. I felt so cared for that afternoon. I felt at home. It felt as if I were back home, visiting with friends and family.

Another experience that warmed my heart last month was when a colleague having noticed that I was returning a large sauce pan to the office kitchen on a Monday morning, she didn't say anything but the next day she brought me two new sauce pans from her house for my use at my hotel apartment for the remainder of my stay. I thought that was very caring and thoughtful of her.

From these two experiences, I learnt the importance of going out of my way to extend kindness and hospitality to people, especially when I don't have to. I learnt that I should make it a habit to every now and then extend hospitality to someone, in the comfort of my home. I also learnt the value of paying attention to the people around me and meeting their needs without their asking.

I endeavor to take these lessons back home with me and act on them. I am also geared up to keep a keen eye on the lessons that my experiences will keep bringing my way this year. I encourage you to do the same.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 13, Issue 05: How Was January?

When I look at my past day or even week and see the messes I make, I am grateful for the opportunity each new day or week brings for me to begin again and do better. We are now at the start of a new month and I don't want to miss the opportunity to reflect on the just ended month of January.

We have come to the end of the first month of the year. It's a good time to pause and reflect on whether we are on course on not before we go far into the year.

I recently read somewhere that every moment is an opportunity to begin again. That taking time for self reflection is an important habit for one's growth and wellbeing. And it doesn't have to be limited to the start of the year.

Reflecting allows you to validate, celebrate, and learn from your experiences, which can inform how you move mindfully into the rest of the year.

Here are some questions to inspire your January reflections:

  • How would you describe your January?
  • What did you learn?
  • What achievement do you need to celebrate?
  • Is there anything you would change if you were to go back to the start of the year?
  • If you could go back to the start of the year, what advice would you give yourself?

And as you get started with the new month of February, here are a few questions to consider:

  • Would you say you are happy with the way you are doing so far?
  • Would you say you are off to a good start?
  • Are there areas you need to correct course?
  • Are there areas you need to double down on?

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 13, Issue 04: Becoming

I recently pondered over a question posed by James Clear. He asked, "Who are you trying to become this year? What actions will reinforce that identity?" This question caught my attention, but I didn't know what to do with it at the time except park it for later. Taking a moment to ponder over it today brought out some of the key things that are important to me this year.

When I asked myself what I want to become this year, here's what came to the fore.

  • I want to be person of respect - a respectful person
  • I want to be a person who loves deeply
  • I want to be a person who extends grace unreservedly
  • I want to be a person who makes people feel valuable

I am yet to come up with one phrase that combines all these. But what's more important is figuring out how I am going to become that person. Here are the actions I reckon will enforce that identity.

  • To be a respectful person, I must speak about others as if they were present, thereby refuse to engage in conversations that I wouldn't engage in if the subject of the conversation were present.
  • To be a person who loves deeply, I must be guided by love and loyalty at all times.
  • To be a person who extends grace unreservedly, I must act and respond with extravagant grace even when it is not deserved.
  • To be a person who makes people feel valuable, I must make an effort to notice and to draw people out and to focus on them when am in their presence. I must make my time with people about them. Affirm them. Encourage them.

I have ways to go to polish this. But I am glad to have got it out of myself to start with. I purpose to polish it then print it out and put it where I can see it everyday to remind me to live it out.

Now it's your turn. Who do you want to become this year? What actions do you need to take to reinforce that identity?

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi