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Volume 10, Issue 32: We don't "Have to", We "Get to"

One of the chores I do most Sunday mornings before making breakfast is scrub my kitchen counters and polish cabinets. Most Saturday afternoons I do a quick grocery shopping for the following week. I listened to a podcast by a life coach named Valorie Burton the other day that reminded me of how we can take for granted, or worse still allow ourselves to be burdened by the things we do.

Do you find yourself often making statements like, "I have to go to work", or "I have to drop my kids to school" (before COVID), or "I have to go to the market", or "I have to take my car to the car wash," or "I have to call my aunt", or " I have to clean my seats".

The words "have to" carry with them a sense obligation and even stress. If we really think about it, doing the things I listed above and others like them is truly of a privilege, not an obligation. Switching the words "have to" with "get to" helps us regard the things we need to do positively. It brings a sense of energy and enthusiasm to our to do lists.

Last weekend my daughter's class teacher called me to inform me that my daughter didn't attend one of her online classes the day before. I was surprised because she wasn't seated that far from me during the lesson, so I assumed she was in class. During the call, I lamented to the teacher how fed up I am with supervising my kids' online learning. I am tired of constantly having to ask them if they are in class and not watching something on YouTube or playing a game. I am tired of reminding them to go back to class for the next lesson. The teacher reminded me that what I am facing is part of the hustles of parenting in the digital age, and that I don't have the luxury to throw in the towel.

My lesson is that I don't have to supervise kids, I get to supervise kids because I am blessed with children and the opportunity to work from home this season. There is a woman somewhere who would give anything to have this this kind of problem but she hasn't been successful in having children. There are also parents who wish their kids had access to online learning to keep them engaged but don't. Others still wish they could work from home during this season in order to supervise their kids' online learning but they are needed at the office. Therefore I change my disposition from "I have to", to "I get to" supervise my kids' online learning.

I don't have to go to work, I get to go work because I am blessed to have a job. I don't have to do difficult projects at work, I get to do difficult projects because I have grown in my career. I don't have to go to the market, I get to go to the market because I am blessed with the resources to stock my fridge and pantry with supplies for my family. I don't have to go to the grocery store for milk and bread every weekend, I get to go to the grocery store because I am blessed with healthy pre-teens who can't get enough of milk and toasted bread. I don't have to call my relatives, I am blessed with family who I get to catch up with every now and then.

So, what are your "get to,s" that you have been wrongly referring to as your "have to's?" It's time to make the switch and remove the sense of obligation and stress from your privileges. It's time to think of why you are grateful every time you get to go to the market, pick up your kids from school (post COVID), take your car to the garage or car wash, clean your house, or organize your laundry. We don't have do to these stuff, we get to do them because we have been blessed with reasons to do them.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 31: Create Margin

Do your days have margin or do you find yourself moving from one activity to another without breathing room to gather your thoughts and enjoy the moments? I have found that if we are not careful, busyness can become a habit, something we do subconsciously.

It is normal for me to pack my schedule with so much that needs to get done that I struggle to get it done within the time I have allocated for the tasks, leave alone have breathing room to pause and enjoy the activities. Seating behind my desk can often feel like I am running from one event to another, maybe even like getting off the car at every stop sign before it has come to a complete halt.

After work, I have a few relaxation activities lined up. But if I run behind schedule with work, which I often do, I end up rushing through my relaxation activities. Sometimes I just want to sit in my balcony and not care what time it is, or how long I have been there, or what I am running late for. How can we slow down to do that?

It's obvious that we cannot wait for the day when there's no work to be done to slow down, because that day will never come. This s because even on my off days, I find myself moving from one activity to another. We need to learn to slow down now in our current lives, with all our responsibilities and obligations. We must determine to create margin for ourselves to truly enjoy our days and live fulfilled lives.

We must learn to not take ourselves seriously. We should take our work and the people in our lives seriously but ease off on ourselves. Let's spread out our work and activities over a longer span on time to have breathing room. Other people do it, so why can't we? We are not more important than them. And who are we trying to impress anyway?

Let your boss know how much you can sanely accomplish in a day. Don't schedule back to back meetings, and back to back tasks on your calendar such that you are always running from one meeting to another, and from one task to another. Sometimes I get to the end of my day almost out of breath because of how tight my schedule is. This is not right, not at all. In fact it's ridiculous! I am ridiculous to operate like this.

This is applicable to any of us irrespective of occupation. I would probably drive myself just as crazy if I were a stay at home mom or a baker. If you are anything like me, we need to seriously rethink our schedules, create margins for ourselves that go beyond the lunch break which we have also crammed with an activity or two. Even if it's just 10 minutes, we should give ourselves permission to breath between activities. Let's create margin for ourselves and enjoy life more.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 30: Your Work Matters

I have envied bakers, librarians, florists, people in professions that seem less demanding to me compared to mine. This happens in times when I feel overwhelmed or under a lot of pressure. I watched to a video in a YouVersion Bible plan where a florist started and spent her days dejected because she felt unworthy. "I am just a florist," she kept saying. She wished she did something more important.

In the video, I saw her skill with handling flowers, arranging them attractively, enjoying how they bring a smile to people's faces. She eventually realized that she has a gift, and that her gift is important. She does her best to make flowers look beautiful for people.

I resonated with what the provider of the plan had to say on the matter. He wrote that though she never saw it, the florist's gift brightened the office, brought comfort to the grieving, enhanced a joyful occasion, and brought a smile to the lonely. Her gift also softened her hurting neighbor's heart, opening the door to a new friendship.

This florist's first mistake was comparing herself to others. Sounds familiar? The provider of the plan reiterated how God has gifted each one of us specifically for His purposes. That no gift is more important than the other. She is not "just" a florist. And you are not "just" a stay at home mom, or receptionist or mechanic. Your work matters, even if you can't see it's impact directly. God has gifted you to do it, and it pleases Him to see you flourish in it.

"Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:25-26‬ ‭MSG‬‬.

Doesn't that exhortation from the Word of God to us say it all? None of our occupations is better or worse than the other. Each of us is an original, and the work we do is important in fulfilling God's purposes for ourselves and others. All work is important. Whatever your work is, it is important and it matters.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 27: Second Half

Every new day, every new week, and every new month of the year is an opportunity for a new beginning. But there's a special allure to the beginning of the second half of the year when it comes to finishing the year strong. This is because the beginning of the second half of the year gives us a wake up call that connotes that it's now or never if we are going to achieve the goals we set for ourselves.

I consider the beginning of the second half of the year just as crucial as the beginning of the year. It's an opportunity to reset the clock, to get things back on track and pick up the pace. If you are anything like me, by now you have a few things that you had a good handle on at the beginning of the year that you are not doing so well at any more. You have dropped a few balls and gotten sluggish in a few areas.

One of the things I have struggled with for a good part of the first half of this year since COVID happened is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Before I started working from home, I left the office by 5pm and didn't handle any work related stuff until when I got back to the office the next morning. But working from home has made that quite a challenge to get right on a daily basis for the workaholic that I am.

The problem with blurring the lines of work life and home life is that by working longer, we wind up with less of ourselves available to give to our home lives. Thereby dropping the ball in our personal goals categories. Something always loses when another gets more than it should, or more than is truly available for it.

As I sit at the precipe of the second half of 2020, I am enthused with the desire to finish strong. I don't want to come to the end of the year and think I could have done better, or I could have nailed that. You and I have the opportunity to reset the clock right now and finish the year strong, having done all that we set out to do, and having accomplished all that we know we can.

So, which of your goals for this year are you failing at thus far? Which balls have you dropped along the way? What have you gotten sluggish at? Do you need to reset the clock, pick up the pace, get some stray balls back in the game? Be honest with yourself. Admit your struggles and become intentional about winning your game for 2020.

Just like in a football match, it's half time. Far from the end of the match. I have watched many matches where the losing team gets their act together, turns on the heat in the second half and wins the game. It's not too late to turn the tables and come out at the top when the curtains for 2020 draw to a close. Let's not let this grand opportunity to reset the clock slip through our fingers.

Related article: Second Half with a Bang!

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 28: Fearless

I have to tried to write from the twenty seventh chapter of the book of Psalms before but I couldn't go through with it because it is quite personal to me. This is one of my favorites portions of Scripture that I declare and lift my praises from most mornings. Going back to my Bible study moments after writing "You've Got This," a portion of Psalms 27 popped up and I knew now was a good time to write from it.

David writes, “Light, space, zest— that’s GOD! So, with him on my side I’m fearless, afraid of no one and nothing. When vandal hordes ride down ready to eat me alive, those bullies and toughs fall flat on their faces. When besieged, I’m calm as a baby. When all hell breaks loose, I’m collected and cool.” Psalm‬ ‭27:1-3‬ ‭MSG‬‬

The intensity of David's troubles was probably ten thousand times the intensity of the troubles I have faced. But I think some of the stories in our journeys bear resemblance to some of David's stories. What differentiates us is the attention we pay to God's workings in our troubles. When you recognize that God rescued you from fierce attacks, you are left in awe, and you face your next troubles fearless, collected and cool.

After writing of his disposition in the face of trouble, David goes on to express his intended worship. “God holds me head and shoulders above all who try to pull me down. I’m headed for his place to offer anthems that will raise the roof! Already I’m singing God-songs; I’m making music to GOD.” Psalm‬ ‭27:6‬ ‭MSG‬‬

There will always be people who try to pull us down. But when we have experienced God's charge and seen how he holds us head and shoulders above our opposition, giving them a run for their money, we are lost in adoration of our King and Defender, with praises that words cannot express.

We join David in saying, "Point me down your highway, GOD; direct me along a well-lighted street; show my enemies whose side you’re on. Don’t throw me to the dogs, those liars who are out to get me, filling the air with their threats. I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness in the exuberant earth. Stay with GOD! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with GOD.” Psalm‬ ‭27:11-14‬ ‭MSG‬‬. Because we don't stand a chance without Him.

God reiterates the point for us in the ninety first chapter of the book of Psalm. He says, ““If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says GOD, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!”” Psalm‬ ‭91:14-16‬ ‭MSG‬‬

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi