Category: Christian Living
Valuable Tools That Carried Me Through My Greatest Trial

Have you ever felt like you just couldn’t win in life? Like you just can’t catch a break? Sometimes you want to stay down when you get hit because it seems like that would be better than getting up, only to get knocked down again.

When the tough times come, what do you do? Who do you depend on? Who do you trust? Today, I want to talk to you about the tools I used to overcome my life’s greatest trial.

tools for trial

I often compare my life to that of a punching bag. The brand is Everlast, because my Father is Everlasting. I’ve taken hits but I know I was designed with quality in mind so no matter what, I will last.

My son Kayshaun was born with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy, which is a disease that causes a lack of protein in the dystrophin gene. Over time, this causes a deterioration of his muscles. There is no cure, and the only treatment available has some really undesirable side effects.

Since the heart is the biggest muscle in the body, we understood that there was a possibility that it too would eventually deteriorate. In October 2013, we had just finished a regular checkup with the heart specialist at Sick Kids hospital. Every year we have the same tests done, to make sure there have been no changes in his heart function. On that day, we celebrated that his heart function was normal and only showed the slightest of changes.

Fast forward to February 2014, when Kayshaun fell ill. We were often in the hospital from severe constipation from his medication but this time seemed different. The doctors in the Emergency department looked at him quickly and sent him home with a new prescription that didn’t seem to solve the problem. By the 3rd time we had gone back to the Emergency Department, I decided that I was not going to leave until the doctors had done a thorough check.

Persistence

The doctor sent us for X-rays and it finally seemed like he had diagnosed the problem. Kayshaun was severely constipated and needed an enema to clear him out. But at the same time, the doctor had found something else. He told me that he needed to admit us to the hospital in order to take a closer look.

Doctors from the cardiac unit were called in and they kept us overnight to run tests. By morning, the doctors had diagnosed the problem. They called me into a separate room and told me that his heart had deteriorated rapidly from healthy to 5% heart function in a matter of 4 months. They had never seen anything like it and only gave him the weekend to live. They uttered a sentence I will never forget.

I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do.

I was shocked. Heartbroken. Unsure of what to do. Talk about being punched in the gut. I lost all ability to breathe, to think, to live.

I felt like I was left hanging in the air. The weight of the news was too much. I got the news on Friday, and some friends came to the hospital on Sunday to pray with me. That day I felt an indescribable peace came over me. Everlasting peace.

I had this understanding that things were going to be ok. I also made the decision to live life and make unforgettable memories with my son in the time we had together.

When You Think It Can’t Get Any Worse…

In the months that passed, many miracles took place. Every time the doctors said he only had a few days left, he out-lived their prediction. Happily. He always kept a smile. However, on the morning of August 16th, 2014 he woke up and took his last breath in my arms.

I never thought he would pass away. He beat the odds every single time. Near the end, it became more challenging for him and he kept pushing. And each time he kept pushing, I did too. We were cut from the same cloth, built to overcome.

But still he left…

After we had laid him to rest, I took a trip with a friend to get away from the noise. When I returned, I found out that a glitch in my income provider reduced my earnings from $1200 to $700. This meant that I didn’t have enough money to cover my rent. I had two weeks to pack up what I could, donate as much as possible, put the rest in storage and leave.

I didn’t get a chance to take my time even to pack and mourn over his stuff. Maybe it was for the best. In an instant the life I spent eight years building was gone.

But life has a way of shaping us by bringing us through the fire.

My “Tools For Trial”.

Here are the specific things that carried me through my greatest trial.

  • Music.
  • Prayer.
  • Community.
  • Love.

These are the tools that God used to transition me into my new beginning. They helped me find the room to breathe when I felt I couldn’t. Through the curves, the punches, when I felt frozen and stuck in one place.

Music

In the moments where words weren’t enough, I would play songs of hope. Songs of that reminded me of the truth. Especially, I played gospel praise songs to remind my soul that God is still good when I was tempted to complain. They helped greatly in uplifting my spirits

Prayer

Most of my prayers were short because I had nothing much to say and nothing much to give. Sometimes my only prayer was “God help me”, or “God, it hurts” or “God, please!”

And I know that He heard me each time.

In times of prayer, I felt God’s comfort more than I had ever felt it before.

God is your comforter in hardships 2 Corinthians 2 tools for trial

It’s interesting. You can read about the God of comfort but until you need Him this way, you don’t really know what it means. Still He always shows up.

Community

I used to isolate myself when things got really bad and I was challenged to reach out and to build and maintain my friendships through this period. To start conversations with others when I feel like shutting down.

Part of my choice to lean on community support was to hire a professional therapist to help me process my emotions. I also applied to be a part of Toyin’s amazing Leadership and Women’s Life Coaching group. There I was surrounded by 11 other women who walked with me and allowed me to walk with them through their processes as well. It helped me get direction in my life, regroup and see that my life didn’t end when his did, as much as it had felt that way for so long.

Love

Love has been a constant throughout this experience. Kayshaun showed me love every single day. God showed me love every step of this journey and finally, I realized that every time I gave away a little bit of love, it actually was a source of healing to me as well. I felt more complete.

New Beginnings

I heard that the number seven represents completion and perfection and eight, new beginnings.

My son passed away at the age of eight.

I believe that I now have the opportunity for a new beginning if I am willing to accept it. I have been branded by my Maker and walk in His everlasting strength, no matter what is thrown my way.

My Words To You

Dear friend, no matter what you are going through, I want to tell you that you also have the opportunity for a new beginning.

Take a breath *in* and *out*, breath the stress, the negative words, the haunting memories out and give them to God. He knows what to do with them and He knows how to mend your heart and give you life more abundantly in return for your brokenness.

Say these words out loud:

Lord, please help me. No matter where I am in life, keep me close and grounded in You.

You will have to choose to move forward and if even if you feel like you are starting from scratch, make sure you are doing so with a solid foundation. I promise you, God is willing and able to hear you, even if all you can do is whisper.

The best part of life is that you are never obligated to give up. Each day you keep pushing, you are inspiring people around you who you may not even know are paying attention. We need you to keep holding on.

Here’s a major tip that helped me a lot.
Besides praying, find a song that pierces your soul.  The kind of song that no matter where your head is at, it breaks through and warms your soul unlike any other. The rhythm is perfect and the words speak life.

Whenever you are having a hard time connecting, dealing with life, staying present, and moving onward, play that song on repeat. Repeat it until you feel a change within yourself and SING!

It doesn’t matter if you can hold a tune or not, sing the song with everything you have in you. There is something so powerful about singing truth out loud. It’s like you sing the problems out of your body. Once you’ve done that, make the decision that no matter what, this day will be positive. Even if everything goes wrong around you, smile, thank God for the good and bad and don’t give up.

So what’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get knocked down? How are you going to react when life throws you a curve that you never saw coming? Trust God that you too can have everlasting strength.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
-Hebrews 12:11

Let’s Talk

  1. What are some of your FAVOURITE songs for moments of hardship? Share so that others can benefit from them as well!
  2. What are some of the tools that have carried you through your greatest trials?

Guest Blog by C.o.l.a. of Up Pur Beauty

Note from Toyin

Thank you so much C.o.l.a for being willing to be vulnerable and open with us on your personal journey through such a difficult trial. We support you and love what God is doing in and through your life. We pray for greater peace, joy, and comfort as you continue to surrender yourself to Him.

I am honoured that you would share your story on this platform and hope that many of my readers are encouraged to use these tools and find others that will help them overcome the trials they face.

Everyone’s process is different, but God is able and willing to restore even the most bruised and broken heart. If you want to practice what Cola said and listen to as well as sing truth over yourself, click here for a recommended youtube playlist.

If you would like to read more about overcoming hardships, read this blog about failure and this blog about excuses.

Bless you Cola and reader,
Toyin C


What Do You Do With Failure?

Everyone wants to be a success.

We talk about it, pray for it and wait for that day when we finally “achieve success” in different areas. Relationships, academics, career, finances, marriage, fitness goals, health goals and other things.

You have these goals and strong desires that push you from the moment you get up until your head hits the pillow at night and there’s nothing wrong with desiring success. But as you push for it in different areas of your life, failure will be inevitable. Today we ask the question, what do you do with failure?

Average people hate failure.
To them, it speaks of the end of a thing.
To an average person, failure shouts their weakness and inability to reach success louder than anything else.

But achievers love this sauce!

what do you do with failure? handling failure

Today we will talk about how you can set yourself up to use failure to your advantage so that you actually thrive when it shows up!

I’ll start by sharing two of my most recent goofs.

My Black Girl Hair FAIL.

So! I have been on a natural hair journey for just over one year (yes I’m a wee baby at this thing) and have learned a lot in my journey so far. A few other -more seasoned – naturalistas have complimented me on the miles and bounds I have made in getting my hair to a healthy state and beginning to see some length on it as well. Guureat!

In my process of continual learning, I recently stumbled on a video that highlighted doing a green tea rinse in order to help my hair stop shedding as much during my wash and detangle process.

(Some of you are thinking – what the heck is all this technical talk). But hey, I don’t judge your blogs/conversations about beards, purses or nails so welcome to a tiny piece of my world. :)

Back to the story. I watch this video. She shows the results of the rinse on her hair. She has way less shed hair after the tea rinse.

I’m impressed.

So I decide to do a tea rinse for myself.

(I can’t be faulted for being slow to take action)

Now to be fair to Youtube Tutorial lady, I didn’t use the actual tea bags she had told us to use.

Instead, I ran to my kitchen full of excitement at finding the cure for my excessive shedding. Once there, I saw that I only had one last bag of Javita Green Tea (which is a powdered form of green tea). And not to be held back by such a simple inconvenience, I proceeded to make my tea rinse.

It’s All In The Details

Keep in mind, she had said that when we used the green tea bags, we were only to let it sit in the hot water for 5 minutes, then take it out so that the water isn’t full of caffeine.

Which (in retrospect) means that when I used the powder, I had unleashed the full weight of caffeine that my little tea pouch could carry in that steaming cup of water.

Isn’t it funny how much insight we have in retrospect?Click To Tweet

In the moment, all this was far from my mind.

After all, I’ve never put caffeine in my hair before and didn’t think of it’s effects. I can see you already smiling and shaking your head like “how can Toyin do something this silly?!” Loll Easy, read on!

And So It Began

Because I was just coming out of 3 months on the road, this week was time I had set aside to give my hair some much, much needed TLC. I took 2 full days to prep my hair for this explosion of moisture, health and refreshment.

I was excited!

I had done the pre-poo treatment with one of my very best deep conditioners. “Pre-poo??” That simply means I put a lot of moisture in it the day before “wash day”.

Specifically, I left it in my hair all through the day and night allowing my hair to soak in as much moisture as possible. Here’s a quick video I did while it was in.

Then came a full detangle, gently teasing the strands apart from each other which took me over 2 hours (Yes. My hair is that thick and it had been that long).

At this point, I could feel the soft moisturized texture restored into my hair and was smiling contentedly as I finished detangling and preparing for the wash.

The Conditioner Recovery

Wash time came and after shampooing my hair in sections, I applied the green tea rinse. I immediately noticed how dry and brittle my hair felt coming out of such a moisturized state. But I figured she had given us a warning not to leave it in too long because caffeine does dry out our hair so this was probably just that.

I applied ample conditioner but didn’t feel a difference. I then put in a ton of deep conditioner and let it sit again for a few hours as my deep conditioner usually does magic in bringing moisture to my hair.

After this, I detangled and washed out the deep conditioner, then I put in some oil to seal in the moisture.

Afterward it was time to style my hair so I applied some leave in conditioner –how many times have I said conditioner? That’s how dry my hair was y’all lol and I put it in it’s style to set.

Why It Mattered.

Keep in mind, during this time, I received an invitation to sing at an event that featured the highest king in Nigeria’s Yorubaland (the Ooni of Ile-Ife, his Queen and four other kings from Osun State) the coming Sunday morning. Y’all I mean this literally.

So what did I do?
I knew I had a good thing cooking, so I simply kept that style setting in my hair right up until Saturday night and just spritzed some extra water, leave in conditioner and a light layer of fat oils on it to preserve all that moisture I had packed in.

Sunday morning came and I was looking forward to finally having a look at the style that I had invested about 2 days of work into.

(Guys, I promise you I don’t usually spend this much time on my hair every week).

La Flop.

I took out the hairstyle and as soon as the first strand was undone, I knew something wasn’t right.

The leave-in conditioner had dried into white flakes concentrated in the front part of my hair (of course). Eventually, I took out the whole thing and my heart sunk. It was U-G-L-Y. This isn’t self-hatred y’all it looked horrible. Lol

I showed the style to my sister and husband who tried to think of positive ways I could move my hair around to accommodate its current “condition”.

Eventually we had to admit that none of us could come up with anything that would look less like a mop of hard crustiness on my head.

I had to think fast because I needed to get to the event by a specific time so I eventually decided to call it a FAIL and wash it out – asap.

So I did.

I rinsed out my hair with pure, clean, zero scent, good feelin’ water.
Stuck 2 hairpins on each side of my head.
Used a towel to dry it out a bit and ran out of the house with my hair still dripping slightly in the back.

YEESH!

By the time I arrived, I was calm, cool, collected and resolved to figure out what went so horribly wrong with my hair (which I now have).

Here was my Sunday morning final look –

toyin crandell singing at Ooni of Ile-Ife Event in Toronto, Canada

(Click on the photo to see a short video I did at the event)

My last minute save aside,

I can honestly say that was the worst hairstyle attempt EVER. Worse than the styles I attempted during my transition season from permed to natural hair.

As if this failure wasn’t enough, that same week, on the Friday, I had another huge fail on the new eating pattern myself and my hubster had begun.
Don’t worry this one is a lot less technical and much shorter!

Failure Numero Deux – My Ketogenic Zucchini Bread Baking Experience

(See what I did there, english, spanish and french?) If I’m welcoming you into the deep crevices of my mind, you’re getting all of me :)

So as some of you know, myself and my hubby have joined the ketogenic lifestyle bandwagon. Yes it’s a bandwagon. *shrug*

While on the road touring, we had both gained a total of 20 pounds because of our limited food options on the road. Previously we had been talking about changing our eating habits drastically in order to live healthier lives (huge shout out to Beni Johnson of Bethel Church, Redding) who wrote Healthy and Free: A Journey to Wellness for Your Body, Soul, and Spirit.

That book helped me finally understand not just the importance of prioritizing my health, but the practical hoooow of doing it.

(Josh was already on that train long before I was). See further comments on this in the “My Boss’ Salads” section of the Adding Value To Yourself blog. 

Anyway, as we had just come off of the road, we felt this was the time to make our big health change. We decided on the ketogenic eating lifestyle as simply as we could’ve picked the paleo, clean eating, vegetarian or something else. Maybe not so much vegetarian… lol

Now, these new eating habits had been going pretty well for us.

I had learned many new recipes that tasted great and it was (and is) actually helping us come back to a healthy weight and FEEL for our age and height.

But that fateful Friday, we had a huge spoonful of Failure.

I had intended to bake a zucchini bread for myself and the sir, because we missed having bread and found that this was low carb enough for our diet.

I followed the recipe perfectly (I think).

We were both so excited about this bread that we had coffee and tea for breakfast and saved our tummies for what was baking in the oven.

When I brought it out, it was the picture of perfection. Just between golden and chocolate brown, soft to the poke, smelled amazing.

We couldn’t wait to dig in.

I cut pretty sizable portions for each of us and my husband was the first to take a bite. It was a big one. As soon as he closed his mouth, he started choking and coughing the bread back out.

I was like “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” He said “It’s SALTY!”

I immediately grabbed my piece, took a big chunk into my mouth and the salt content bulldozed my taste buds with it’s harsh unforgiving presence. The salt was not a figment of his imagination.

Turns out, it wasn’t zucchini bread… it was salt bread.

Guys, this bread tasted so bad that I had planned on showing you the “perfect looking” bread itself and took a photo of it with my hubby’s phone. But my boo saw the photo on his phone and not knowing what I intended to do with it, deleted it.

When I asked him about the photo (because I am now writing the blog), he mentioned that he had deleted it long ago because he didn’t want to be reminded of the day he put a bar of salt into his mouth. 

And imagine, that was only two days before the hair fail occurred.

Reflection.

Needless to say, the next week I had much time to laugh about and reflect on these two major fails in areas that I cared about.

Mind you, these examples are a lot easier to deal with than some other failures I’ve had. Like almost completely failing my 2nd year in University ( I failed more courses that year than ever before in my life). Or handling the failure of business ideas that felt like they had been a waste of time, money and much, much hard work.

“The increase of suicides, alcoholics, and even some forms of nervous breakdowns is evidence that many people are training for success when they should be training for failure.

Failure is far more common than success; poverty is more prevalent than wealth; and disappointment more normal than arrival.”
Wallace Hamilton

We have encountered a lot of failures in our journey but we are so full of joy where we are now, not because we have avoided making more mistakes but because we have learned how to laugh at and learn from them!

In life, the question is not if you will have problems but how you are going to deal with them. John MaxwellClick To Tweet

“In life, the question is not if you will have problems but how  you are going to deal with your problems… You have the potential to overcome all of life’s problems, mistakes, and random misfortunes. All you have to do is change how you think about failure.”
John Maxwell

And as I processed these failures, I decided to share with you my method for dealing with the many failures I and you will encounter in life.

How can YOU handle failure in a way that helps you overcome it.

ONE: Take Responsibility

Ladies and Gentlemen, when you make a mistake and it leads to failure, YOU made the mistake. Own it. I put the full strength of green tea caffeine in my own head and it wasn’t Youtube’s fault or the lady who did the tutorial video. It was all my own.

As much as I want to believe that I followed the keto recipe perfectly, I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have posted a recipe for salt-bread online and have it go anywhere at all. So I have to admit that in my (usual) way of adapting recipes to what I think will fit myself and the hubster, I ended up adding way too much salt than was needed. Either that or Maranatha -my one year old daughter- did it! (I kid)

  • Your investment bombed so you blame your investment company… but you hired them!
  • Adam blamed Eve for the bite he took from the apple.
  • You left the stove on too long and the meal got burned. So you blame your husband for not helping you around the house, which made you multitask and forget the chicken in the pot.
  • You slip on some fallen leaves on the sidewalk, and instead of acknowledging your own clumsiness, you begin a tirade about how people need to sweep the leaves off the ground before they become a hazard to the general public.
  • Blaming your super hard, inflexible, Dracula teacher for bombing a course (that others passed).

Ridiculous? Yes. But we do it everyday. These people probably have some responsibility in the matter, but my friend, let’s admit the part that is all your own.

So today, choose to own your mistakes.

Put your name on them so that you can ensure not to repeat them again. If you are not willing to highlight exactly what you did that caused that failure, you are sure to repeat it again.

Just admit it y’all, you make mistakes and it’s okay.

In fact, sometimes, it’s really funny.

TWO: Learn from Your Mistakes

This. Is. HUUUUGE. I accredit this habit of mine to my dad because of his consistent questions asking us to learn from every. single. experience we had growing up.

Every year, when we would go on summer vacations, my father would have myself and all 4 of my sisters write essays (pages long y’all) about what we saw or experienced, how much fun we had, what we learned and what we want to do differently next time.

Because we knew we would have to write an essay about this Disney trip, or airplane flight to Lagos from Warri, I began to see learning points in every experience of life.

This is greatly helped me to not be hindered by the mistakes I make.

I have accepted that mistakes help me to learn what NOT to do.

Mistakes help you to learn what NOT to do.Click To Tweet

When you can pinpoint your mistake, you are much less likely to repeat it.

When you can apologize for a mistake you’ve made that affects other people that you care about, your relationships flourish!

When you can change your habits because you see the fruit of certain decisions you’ve made, you become a better, stronger, more productive and much happier woman/man.

I challenge you not only to accept the mistakes you make but take the time to think about how you can avoid making the same ones again!

Repeating The Same Mistakes

This doesn’t mean you’ll never make any mistakes, or that you’ll never repeat a mistake.

Sometimes mistakes are undercover transformers. They show up in situation A and just when you learn what not to do there, the same mistake morphs and presents itself in a different situation.

So no, you won’t be the perfect “ever growing” non-mistake-repeating person, but your repitition will be very reduced!

THREE: Accept Failure as a Part of Your Path to Success

Thomas Edison said:

“Failure is really a matter of conceit.
People don’t work hard because, in their conceit, they imagine they’ll succeed without ever making an effort.
Most people believe that they’ll wake up someday and find themselves rich.
Actually, they’ve got it half right, because eventually they do wake up.”

They eventually find out that because they were hiding from failure, they were hiding from their own success as well.

NO SUCCESSFUL PERSON GOT THERE WITHOUT FAILURE Y’ALLL!!!

Click on that link to see a blog where I feature 5 different people who have achieved major success with what many would consider failures, obstacles and life’s disappointments throughout their paths. 

I’ll say it differently.

If you want to succeed, get comfortable with failure.Click To Tweet

It doesn’t mean that you camp out in it and accept failure as your portion for life. It simply means that when it comes knocking, you laugh and celebrate it. Because you have learned one more thing not to do and you are that much closer to getting where you want to go!

Also making mistakes and failing means that you’re MOVING!

You’re moving friend! While others are talking, complaining and sitting back on their behinds watching life happen to them, you are taking life in your hands and making something of it. Celebrate THAT. And don’t stop doing it!

FOUR: Keep A Positive Attitude

You are not a failure!

I’ll say this again for some of you who really need to understand and accept this.

You

         Are

                  Not

                           A

                                    FAILURE!!!

You just aren’t. God didn’t create you that way and you only fail at life when you accept and believe that silly but deadly lie.

The fact that you have failed at that course 3 times doesn’t make you stupid. It doesn’t even mean “that course was never meant for you”. You just may not yet had found the right teacher or simply need to read the material one more time.

Also some of the failures or obstacles you experience will be out of your control. You still can rise above these. It’s a matter of perspective.

Let’s be real, failure can be emotionally heavy.

That’s honest and it’s okay to process the gravity of what just went down, but don’t stop there.

If you choose to give in to the fear of failing the next time, it will lead to paralysis, self-pity, excuses, hopelessness and purposelessness. Once failure or the fear of it can get you stuck in one area of your life, it will try to spread to almost every area of your life.

So choose joy! Choose laughter. Choose hope!

Remember that the failure is not the end of your life. You have much more living to do and the story only ends there if you allow it to.

You WILL come out on the other side. You can succeed. And in order to succeed you need to…

FIVE: Take Risks!

what do you do with failure? take risks

#nuffsaid.

SIX: Understand when something isn’t working and accept it.

Letting go when you have invested much into anything can be devastatingly hard. Especially if it is a relationship (pre-marriage), business venture, career choice etc.

A Business Client’s Dilemma

I remember having to point out to a business coaching client of mine that her original business was simply not working.

She had invested years and tons of money into it and it had not responded kindly to her. At the same time, she had started a different business on the side which was thriving. But because she had poured so much into her first business idea, she kept her focus on making that one work.

She ignored the business that was simply falling into place for her, bringing her clients, and a purpose-filled income.

Even though she had fresh ideas and zeal for the new business, it was always an afterthought to her first idea. It was as though she had an obligation to the first business to stick it out “until death do them part”.

After I mentioned this to her, she finally trusted her instincts. She let go of her fears, released her first business (for now) and focused in on the business that was working and she hasn’t looked back since.

She’s been booking more clients, enjoying her time in it and doing just what she wants to do with her time.

Letting go when you have invested much into anything can be hard. But if it isn't working, you will be better for it!Click To Tweet

It sounds easy and clear cut but sometimes it’s really hard to see when you’re in the middle of it yourself.

Letting Go Ourselves

I remember when we decided to close down our own window washing business.

It was not making enough to sustain our family, was taking a lot of time from the other businesses we were running and our lives in general and just wasn’t as fruitful as we thought it would be.

It was so painful for me to get rid of the expensive equipment we had purchased. Throw out the thousands of flyers we had made. The t-shirts we had printed and worn for just one season. Most of all to say no to the happy customers that had contacted us to come again the next year.

I can’t tell you guys how long it took us to close the contact phone line (the final step) because I kept telling my hubby, “but, we can make it work! How can we turn away clients that are actually calling us?!” Lol

He kept reminding me that yes the business had a bit of success financially. And we were able to hire a few students (a dream of ours) but the earnings weren’t where we needed them to be for the effort it required.

And the style of business didn’t give us the freedom we needed for some major family decisions we had made.

It’s sometimes easier to see when things are just not working for others and ignore where they aren’t working for ourselves.

But this is the work you need to do.

Today, sit down and take an inventory of your life. There are some things that you simply need to persevere in. But sometimes, perseverance, looks like scrapping that paper and starting again with a blank sheet knowing that that will bring you closer to your goal.

SEVEN: Persevere!

Alright y’all I’m about to feed you some Thomas Edison quotes, back to back. Love me, hate me, they were way too good for me to choose just one.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Mm.

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.”  MM.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time.”

-Thomas Edison.

The man who tried to create the lightbulb and failed 10,000 times. But got it right on his 10,001 attempt and absolutely changed the world when he did.

Post Script:

My hair did eventually recover from the dryness of the caffeine. -See proof from just one week after ;)

And I’m happy to say it DID reduce the shedding to like 10% of what it was before- CRAZY RIGHT! Lol

I have never again tried the zucchini bread. Mostly because my husband can’t bring himself to try tasting it again…. yet. I don’t blame him but one day soon, I’ll wear him down.

Let’s Talk – leave a comment in the facebook thread below!

How have you previously felt about the failures in your life?
What good can you see has come out of them? What lessons have you learned?
What are some of the ideas, businesses, relationships that you need to acknowledge aren’t working and “call it a day” on?
Share with the family what recent failures you have encountered and the perspective you are using in order to overcome them!


The Necessity of Sacrifice in Fulfilling Your Destiny – Part 1

Recently we spoke about the reality of Jesus’ sacrifice spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally both when He was alive and in His death.

I believe that God is looking for people who will be willing to press through the pressure and become living sacrifices, just like His Son.

However, making sacrifices can be done well or it can be totally futile (ask Cain) so today we are going to unpack the how, why and what of living your life as a sacrifice to God. Motives, how to make sure your sacrifice counts and finally, the necessity of sacrifice in fulfilling your destiny and purpose!

necessity of sacrifice in fulfilling destiny

THE MOTIVE OF YOUR SACRIFICE

When we speak of making sacrifices for the sake of God’s glory there are some distinctions that need to be made.

First of all, making sacrifices doesn’t earn you salvation. It doesn’t even earn you God’s love.

Why?

Salvation can only come through faith in the sacrifice and work of Jesus Christ. His sacrifice is and was enough.
Also, God loved you completely before you did ever anything for Him. There’s nothing you can do to make God love you more.

So what is the motive for making sacrifices?

Sacrifice is meant to come out of a heart of love. An overwhelming response to all that God did for you through Jesus Christ. A recognition that nothing you do will ever equal His level of sacrificial giving. Just like He so loved the world that He GAVE, you so love Him and others that you GIVE what He asks when He asks it.

I heard this on the radio this week –

necessity of sacrifice

Be sure of this, your obedience matters to Him.

Sacrifice begins with surrender.

Some people think that just because they are working hard and giving things up, they are making a sacrifice that is worthy of great reward. And while they may have temporary success from these sacrifices, they miss out on receiving eternal, lasting and the most fulfilling rewards you can get from making sacrifices.

Why? Because if that sacrifice isn’t being done because of the call or leadership of God in your life, it is essentially done for your own glory.

And guess what?

Hustling for self glory is simply self-promotion. It may produce temporary success but will not have lasting fruit.Click To Tweet

Sure it’s hard work and you’re giving things up, but if it is not in the will of God for your life, all that work will be burned away when you die (1 Cor 3:11-15). The only thing that will matter in eternity are the things you did, according to His will and for His glory.

Necessity of sacrifice, we are God's workmanship

This means there is a work that God has prepared for you to do.

Obedience Looks Like Something

If obedience to God’s directives is what matters it means that making a sacrifice can look different in different seasons.

For example, at one point, He may ask you to sit down to spend time with Him primarily focused on prayer, fasting and worship – I mean investing hours each day. And that can be difficult to do while it seems like everyone else is busy “making moves” in life.

Then there will be other seasons where He desires that you take action. Where He wants to use YOU as the answer to the prayers you’ve been praying. Seasons where He asks you to run with one or a few things that will further His kingdom on the earth.

It could be business, family, ministry, service, career, schooling or any other thing. It is never meant to take the place of seeking God in private prayer, but it is work.

Are there things that you are holding on to for comfort and security. Are there assignments that God has been calling you to do? Or are you currently working in your purpose and ministry but feeling tired and weighed down? You have to remember…

Sacrifice Means Work.

If God has given you something to do and you pray into it, and REALLy want it to happen with all your heart but do not make the sacrifice required, it will not happen!

necessity of sacrifice, jesus took action

Prayer and intercession are crucial to fulfilling your destiny. But if Jesus only prayed at Gethsemane – “Father, let Your will be done” and didn’t take action – carried his physical cross and got killed on it, we would not be saved today.

Remember He had the option to opt-out.

“Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?”…
Jesus.

He had the power to stop everything. With each lash, with each step, He could have said, I’m done. It’s over. But He waited until He had fully drunk from the cup of God’s wrath. Until He was about to die and then He said –

“It is finished”.

Like He said,
“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to complete his work.”

If Jesus did not go through until the end it would have been a God plan, a perfect and good idea that died unfulfilled.

We must be willing to partner with Jesus in the prayer, surrender and finally in the follow through – work.

 

Others Can, You Cannot.

Other people may want to just cruise through life. Take the easy road.
Get saved.
Take care of their family only.
Work a good career.
Die and go to heaven.

But you need to be willing to seek God’s fullness for your life, then figure out how to actually live it out. Take the time to ask questions, sit back, pray hard, listen, then move.

Have you been waiting on a series of miracles to inform you of the work you are called to do?
Sometimes you simply have to sit down , use the amazingly creative brain God has given you and just THINK!

Think about where you have been called to. Who you have been called to impact.
Set short, mid and long term goals for how you want to do it.
Plan the actions you must take to hit the goals you have set.
Don’t just wait for the supernatural to push you where you need to go.

God will do His part. He will direct you, show you what He has put inside of you and confirm that you are on the right track or adjust your sails… while you go.

But He will not do your part.

He will not take control of your calendar and help you schedule your activities.
He will not force your brain to think of the inventions that He has placed inside of you.
He will not write your book for you and drop it on your lap while you sleep.

You need to allow God to challenge you. Ask Him what He expects of you.

Then push! Plan! Get help where you need it, and GET IT DONE!

 

Sacrifice Means Completion.

What work has God asked you to do? Are you completing it or do you just start and stop? When you get started, do you actually finish?

Can you imagine if Jesus dropped the cross as they climbed the hill in Calvary and said,
“Sorry guys, I’ve changed my mind. This is actually way too hard for me. God, please find someone else.”

Can you really imagine that?!!

Yet we do it all the time. We start doing what He says, then when it feels unbearably hard, we give in to our flesh and call it quits. Reread that hypothetical sentence and ask yourself whether you’ve been saying a variation of that in an area of your calling.

Yes, these seasons of work can cause you to feel tired. Overwhelmed. Or like it’s impossible for you to do what He’s saying but guess what?

Remember, if you could do it in your own strength, you wouldn’t NEED God.

Within The Process

The heart behind the action is as important as the action itself.
It’s not enough to simply say “ I did it”.

During that pressing season I spoke of in my last blog, I was thinking to myself ‘God, do you see how hard I’m working?”.

And His response was “Do you think doing the action and checking it off the list is what I’m looking for? I see the heart behind it. Jesus did not go to the cross complaining. He went joyfully. He wasn’t laughing, but he was at peace in the sacrifice. I care about the process not just the result.”

The breakthrough will come but God will ask you how you carried yourself in the process. Were you afraid or did you believe? What did you look like during the pressure? Did you give up or push with the Lord?

Did you take matters into your own hands? Were you consistently stressed or did you choose to have faith and acknowledge your tired state but trust Him to bring you through?

Jesus was willing to endure the cross “for the joy set before Him”. Because He knew what it would do for those He loved.
What is the joy that is set before you?
Why are you doing all you are doing?
What is the bigger picture your life is pushing for?
Why are you making the sacrifices you are making?

When you have a clear picture of your WHY, it will enable you to stay joyful during the pressure moments. It will help keep the bitterness and complaint out. After all, being a living sacrifice is only a reasonable service.

Sacrifice – A Reasonable Service

You may have been feeling as though you are sacrificing so much for the sake of your ________ (church, family, friends etc). Like you are the only one bringing something to the table and wondering where everyone else is and why they aren’t giving as much. Thinking you are the only prophet of God left in the land like Elijah did. Or that you invented sacrifice.

However, when you agree with this perspective, that is when your sacrifice becomes a double burden. The hard work it requires of you as well as the heavy weight of offense and bitterness that builds inside.

necessity of sacrifice reasonable service romans 12:1

Being a sacrifice is a reasonable service. It’s not even something to boast about. It is the only reasonable thing to do when you receive a gift as encompassing as salvation.

It doesn't matter how many others are not pulling their weight. YOU give it 100! It is for God not for men.Click To Tweet

If you’ve ever sung the song “I am a friend of God” by Israel Houghton, you need to live it. And guess what? Jesus said He does call you a friend and that specifically if you do what He commands you to do.

“You are my friends if you do what I command.”
John 15:14

If you are a friend of God, then there is no better way to show Him that you love him than to lay your life down for Him. Yes, it is a sacrifice. Yes it is hard. He understands and He did it too. For you. While you still hated him.

Click here for 3 reasons sacrifice is necessary to fulfill your destiny.

 let’s talk

What are you going to change either about your thought life or actions because you read this blog?
What is the bigger picture your life is pushing for?
Why are you making the sacrifices you are making?


What You Need To Know About Jesus’ Life Of Sacrifice

Pressure.

I have been feeling a lot of pressure for the last few weeks due to organizing our cross country tour and a huge concert as well as working to meet some of my major business deadlines for this year. All of those demands, including the daily pressures of being a wife, mom and coach to many created the perfect storm this month.

Last week especially, I began to complain inwardly about how much I was sacrificing while doing the things God had called me to do. I was careful not to speak about it much, but my mind was having a field day reminding myself of how much was “on my plate” and all the other things I would like to do with my time –

Like sit on the beach, legs crossed, listening to worship music and reading one of my favourite books on the planet although that book would probably have my face in the sand praying and crying out for the city that beach is in ;)

I allowed myself to become overwhelmed, became sluggish about my output and gave in to lies that had been playing themselves over in my mind. Lies about my inability to finish all that was left for me to do, on time.

But God!

I would’ve continued down this path and wasted the entire month working with a sour heart if it wasn’t for God’s graaaace and mercy!

I was in a prayer meeting at church this week where my Pastor spoke on the values of godly leadership and Jesus began to rock and challenge me with the example of His life and leadership.

He reminded me that pressure and sacrifice are necessary parts in fulfilling destiny and also, that He sacrificed more through His life than I could ever try to match. 

Pressure and sacrifice are necessary parts in fulfilling your destiny. Don’t run away from the pressure, embrace it. Learn to thrive!Click To Tweet

What He said during that time was more than one blog can handle so I will share it in three parts.

Today, we are going to talk about what you need to know about Jesus’ life of sacrifice and in parts two and three, I will share with you “The Necessity of Sacrifice In Fulfilling Your Destiny”.

Now I know many of you want to hear about the necessity of sacrifice in fulfilling your destiny (which will explain how this relates to you). However, you will not be able to receive what I will say there without the foundation that is being laid in this blog, so read on, and pay attention.

 

Jesus' sacrifice

God values sacrifice.

How can I make that statement? When God wanted to show us the express image of Himself, what He would do and look like on the earth, He showed us His son Jesus Christ.

One of the distinguishing factors of Jesus’ life was His willingness to sacrifice – over and over and over again. This is exactly where Abba began to deal with me and where we will start today.

Jesus Christ made more sacrifices
than our minds can even understand.
He didn’t just talk the talk, He walked it.

Jesus’ Sacrifice in – Incarnation

It all began when He chose to leave His rights and privileges as Deity. The second part of the Trinity. The son of God, glorious in holiness and fearful in praises.

He became a man and laid aside the fullness of His glory to wear this frail, broken finite skin.

Think about the glory of Jesus when John saw him in the first chapter of Revelation. Or the time when Peter, James and John saw Him transfigured on the mountain.

Both times, they were so overwhelmed by the Jesus they saw, they fell to the ground. That was a tiny glimpse of the glory He chose to lay aside for the sake of the work He had to do on earth.

Jesus’ Sacrifice in – How He lived

During his life, He made it very clear that He did nothing for Himself. Instead, He lived in such a way that God would get the maximum glory through His life.

…”My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work”…

And then

…”the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner”…

Let’s look at one day in the life of Christ to understand just how much He gave of Himself.

In Mark 1, He began His ministry in Galilee, and after preaching, He had to choose disciples – think of this as the administrative part of ministry work ;-). Then they went to the synagogue.

There, He immediately entered the task of teaching the scripture to the people who  were present. That alone was so powerful that all the people who were in the house were shocked by His authority.

While teaching, someone who was oppressed by an unclean spirit spoke up. So He did what you would imagine, He set him free from that spirit, and kept on teaching. No biggie.

After that, he visited Peter’s house and before Peter’s mother-in-law could serve them, He healed her of a fever that had her on a sick bed.

“That evening, they brought to Him ALL who were sick and those who were demon possessed. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons.” [Emphasis added]

Hm. Ok, let’s picture this scene guys. This wasn’t a placid crowd of observers casually stopping by to greet a new visitor in their town.

They were hungry, broken, sick, desperate and demanded His time. They needed healing and the more He healed the more they grew in numbers, the hungrier they became and the more they required of Him.

And still He gave.

He poured out everything He had and more. Not one complaint, not one murmur.

He had the most dejected members of the city rammed at his doorstep begging to have an opportunity to see/touch/hear the one who could (and still can) heal any disease.

“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” [Emphasis added]

You would imagine that the crowd at that house kept him up until pretty late in the night, yet he made the sacrifice to wake up early and seek God, speak to His Father and see what He had planned for them for the next day.

But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.” And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.

Now imagine, just as things were getting hot. Just as He was becoming the latest craze, He left.

He wasn’t there for fame. He shunned the honour of men, the flattery “everyone is looking for you” fell on ears that were already in tune with God’s voice over men’s opinions.

He sacrificed the tempting flattery of being needed to obey God’s call and go where He was sending Him.

And this picture of His day wasn’t a one-off occasion. It was what He did. Peter later said this of Him,

what you need to know about jesus sacrifice

Jesus’ Sacrifice in – His Death

And as if all that is not enough, He didn’t just live a sacrificial life because of love, He died a sacrificial death. 

Until today, the death of Jesus Christ is still the most powerful portrayal of an ultimate sacrifice. What a person is willing to do for the sake of those He loves- God the Father and us sinners.

So let’s take a peek into His sacrifice in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Matthew 26:36-41

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.”

And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.

So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting?

Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” [Emphasis added]

You have to understand-

Jesus is fully God, but He is also fully human. Even in His perfect human nature, he struggled with accepting the separation from God, torture and shame that was waiting for Him at the cross.

He was about to drink the cup of God’s wrath for all of humanity and it was not a trivial thing.

When He prayed “Let this cup pass from me,” He was in a battle with His flesh over its desire for self-preservation and comfort. The struggle was real:

Jesus was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”. In Luke’s version he noted that Jesus was sweating blood- which is a sign of extreme agony .

Jesus Christ knew the sacrifice He was about to make. 

And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. Mark 8:31

It was going to be more than physical; it would be spiritual and emotional.

Jesus knew that God’s will was to crush Him, to allow Him to be “pierced for our transgressions” and wounded for our healing (Isaiah 53:5–10).

Yes Jesus loved God enough to want this, He loved YOU enough to do this.

At another time, He said –

“Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.

Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” John 12:27-28 [Emphasis added]

Can you imagine that?!

Jesus knew that dying on the cross was the purpose for His coming to this earth and when it was time, He did it. He fulfilled His purpose.Click To Tweet

When He prayed, He said, “If it is possible.” If there was any other way to redeem mankind, He wanted to take that other way. But we can see that there was no other way;

His death was the only possible sacrifice to redeem the world (John 1:29; Acts 4:12; Hebrews 10:14; Revelation 5:9).

Also He prayed, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Which shows us that in the midst of His sacrifice, once again, it was about the will of God. He was completely committed to God – body, mind, and soul.

In Gethsemane, Jesus conquered His flesh. He made the ultimate sacrifice anyone can ever make. He gave His life for the sake of others. He demonstrated what love really looks like.

He lived and died for the sake of love.
And He calls us to do the same.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.

John 15:12-14

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?

In the midst of such a heart-wrenching time of commitment for Christ. A time where He chose to follow God’s path even when it killed Him. He went back to his closest friends – Peter, James and John and found them unable to stay awake for one hour to pray with him.

They weren’t just lazy. When Luke described that moment, he said that they were “sleeping from sorrow”. That means they had wept themselves tired.

Yet, He could not find them waiting and pressing through the pressure with Him.

And the same thing is happening all over the body of Christ today.

Click here to read the next blog in this series, where we talk about the necessity of sacrifice for you to fulfill your destiny and what Jesus’ example means for us.

 

Let’s Talk

What stood out to you from the first part of this series?
Why does Jesus’ sacrifice mean something to you?
What would you add to this discussion about the sacrifices that Jesus made on our behalf?


Why Excuses Are Your Greatest Enemy of Progress – Are you an Excuse Giver? Take the quiz.

This blog is not for the easily offended. In it, I hold no punches. So if you’re up for some serious self-reflection and improvement, take a deep breath and dive into our discussion on excuses and those who give them.

Excuse giver QUIZ

“Oh sorry, I was late because – ”
“I didn’t practice because – ”
“I haven’t yet finished because – ”
“I wasn’t there because – ”
“I didn’t study because – “

Sound familiar?

There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who achieve success and those who give excuses. Excuses don’t make money, progress or anything else in fact.

Excuses are tools of the incompetent
used to build monuments to nothing.
Those who specialize in them
will never be good at anything else.
–Anonymous

The sad part is that those who give excuses think they are on the road to progress. They simply don’t understand why things haven’t been working for them over the years.

They usually do not see what so many around them painfully cannot ignore, their habit of giving excuses. There is always a reason for their inability to make decisions or follow through on commitments.

Excuse givers are so stuck in their habit that over the years, I (and probably others) can notice them, predict the areas and ways they will always disappoint and see it happen. It is like clockwork. It is almost impossible to help or correct an excuse giver because guess what? They will give you an excuse for whatever flaws you show them.

So I decided to write this blog to give you an opportunity to take a quiz. A character examination if you will, and figure out if you are an excuse giver yourself.

This quiz will help you determine whether you have been passing up opportunities and great personal advancement because of this huge but hidden flaw in your own character. But before you take the quiz, let’s look at some symptoms of excuse givers.

Symptoms of “Excuse Givers”

Blame others/circumstances/childhood

Excuse givers blame everyone and everything else for their lack of progress. They are never wrong, but always correct. They wonder why people cannot just see things from their perspective every time. If they did not follow through on a commitment, it is never their fault. Their dog ate their homework. Their mother did not raise them in the best way. Their father left them when they were young.

Here’s a story my father once shared of two men who were raised by an alcoholic and abusive father. One of the men became a greatly successful career man with a strong family. He loved his wife dearly, and took amazing care of his children.

His brother, became an alcoholic and even more abusive than his father. He mistreated everyone around him and could never seem to get anywhere in life.

One day someone asked this man why he is so destructive to himself and others around him. His response was, “My upbringing. I had a father who abused me, my brother and mother. He was an alcoholic and unprincipled man who did not teach me what it looks like to be a loving father or achieve anything in life. I am who I am because of my father.”

That person also seeing how successful his brother was, went and asked him. How have you been able to achieve so much in the short time you have lived? How do you have a heart to take such care of your family and balance that with such a high level of achievement in your workplace?

His response was,  “My upbringing. I had a father who abused me, my brother and mother. He was an alcoholic and unprincipled man who did not teach me what it looks like to be a loving father or achieve anything in life. So I determined to be a better father to my children and husband to my wife. I determine to love them like Christ and give them what I never had. I am who I am because of my father.”

Same upbringing. Different outcome.

You can use the exact same situation as a crutch for your inability to move forward or develop yourself, or you can use it as a stepping stone. Past hurts can become fuel in your heart to forgive, do better and live your fullest life. Sometimes you do have to take time to recover and heal but too many people choose to spend all, and I mean the entirety of their lives, recovering from the mistakes of the past.

Some people love to be a victim. They embrace it as their identity and do not strive for healing forgiveness and progress. They give excuses constantly of who and what circumstances have restricted them and focus only on those instead of their personal responsibility to rule their decisions, emotions and life.

Lack personal responsibility

Have you ever tried to correct someone who lacks personal responsibility? It can be one of the most frustrating conversations you have. Nothing sticks to them. They may “hear” where they are wrong, but they never accept it. They are always right and the misdoing is deflected to another person or circumstance leaving them free to continue to self-destruct instead of admitting their fault and seeking restoration.

Trying to make good of their words, they give the excuse and expect it to be dropped and left there. Unresolved. So they give excuses like –

“I was late because of my ride or traffic”
“I can’t get out of debt because I don’t have enough money”
“I didn’t study for my exam because I fell sick this week”
“I can’t start a bible study at my workplace or school because I am not ordained”
“I can’t improve myself or find my calling because I don’t have time”
“I can’t share the gospel because I am not an evangelist”
“I don’t pray for healing for people because I haven’t been given the gift of healing”
“I don’t pay tithe because I don’t earn enough”

Lack of improvement

Another way you can determine if you are an excuse giver is if you have not improved on specific issues over the last couple of years. You may have had different people raise up the same topic of correction to you repeatedly, or your workplace, or teachers continue to tell you the same thing.

Generally, you want to examine yourself whenever corrected once, but if you get corrected about the same thing from two or more different people, you need to admit that they may be seeing something inside of you that you simply are not seeing but is there. Then you need to fight to change it.

Stuck in mediocrity

This lack of improvement almost always results in being “stuck” and feeling like they are not doing anything with their lives. They never seem to “get ahead”. They get passed up for opportunities and even when they receive opportunities, things never seem to work out.

They get jobs and lose them – consistently. They get accepted into programs but it just never seems to work. They have a huge list of unfinished projects, and unresolved issues. Which leads to the saddest part of the life of an excuse giver.

They die with regret

This is the saddest part of being an excuse giver. They die with regrets. Not of what they did, but what they didn’t do. Dreams they never fulfilled. Friendships they lost.

They die blaming others for the final product of their lives and waste this short period of time they had, the same time everyone else had not doing anything to impact their generation and make history.

Alright, it’s time for some soul searching. Remember to be totally honest with yourself. Take the quiz below, share your results (if you dare). There’s much more to the story so I’ll see you at the end of the blog *exits the room to give you some privacy*

Take the quiz!

When you're running late you-


How did you do? Did you find your Achilles heel, breath a sign of relief or get charged up to keep making history? Here’s the truth –

Life is hard. For everyone.

If you think that those who are achieving success have it easier or better than you, you are greatly deceived. It is easy to see the moments of glory in another person’s life, but you need to know they had to fight through something to get there. NO ONE HAS A PERFECT LIFE!

I grew up in great circumstances, the daughter of a loving father, a pastor, and a hardworking and caring mother. Yet I ended up in a 4 year long destructive relationship, with 2 abortions and $23,000 debt to show for it.

During that season of my life, I failed 5 out of 7 University courses in one year though I had entered University at 16 with a grade average of 92% and had never before then failed one course all my life. And this was just the tip of the iceberg.

I hit rock bottom but that was the exact season and set of circumstances God used to show me His ridiculous love through His son Jesus Christ, save me and give me a passion that drives me every day. Someone may see me today- married to the best husband on the planet, thriving in ministry and career, 4 albums under my belt, countless awards and accomplishments, and say – she doesn’t know what struggle is.

And true, your situation may be different and much more difficult than mine. But I refused to remain a victim. I forgave my ex, forgave myself, became debt free, got my Bachelor of Science and am so much more since then.

And I’m not the only one,

Joyce Meyer was abused mentally, verbally, emotionally, sexually from when she could remember until she was 18 years old. She was raped by her father over 200 times. Yet she overcame that experience and commenced a television ministry that has today become one of the largest Christian ministries of the world.

Its programme ‘Enjoying Everyday Life’ is viewed by more than 4.5 billion viewers and is broadcast in 40 languages on 900 TV and radio stations.

 

Oprah Winfrey was born to an unmarried teenage mother, raised in abject poverty, received her first pair of shoes at the age of 6 and learned to read at age 2½.

She was repeatedly molested by her cousin, uncle and a family friend, eventually ran away from home and unrelated to these, gave birth to a baby boy when she was 14. The baby died after 2 weeks, from complications of being born 2 months premature.

Yet despite all this, she has since become the most successful woman on TV, with a net worth of $2.9 billion and described by Time Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century”.

Albert Einstein didn’t speak for the first three years of his life, and throughout elementary school, many of his teachers thought he was lazy and wouldn’t make anything of himself.

He went on to contribute significantly in the development of our world. His four Annus Mirabilis (‘miracle year’) papers, released in 1905, laid the foundation of modern physics and changed the way we think about space, time, mass, and energy forever.

When Jim Carrey was 15, he had to drop out of school to support his family. His father was an unemployed musician and at a point the entire family lived in a van. But he didn’t let this stop him from achieving his dream of becoming a comedian.

He went from working 8 hours shifts after school at a factory, to performing at a local Yuk Yuk’s in Toronto, to starring in mega-blockbusters and becoming one of the best comedic actors in our time.

Enough proof that your past doesn’t have to determine where you go?
That successful people had a past to overcome themselves?
I think so.

“It doesn't matter if you come from the inner city. People who fail in life are those who find lots of excuses.” Ben CarsonClick To Tweet
Ben Carson – Medical history maker
2008 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – America’s highest civilian award.

Back to the Excuse Giver Quiz

If you have noticed that you display at least 2 of these symptoms described above or you got the “Achilles Heel” or “PHEW!” response, you have to decide immediately what you will do with this information. You can shove the conviction away and you will be very successful at that.

The busyness of life will allow you to hide it sure enough, but you may well remember this blog on your dying day, as you look back with regret. Or you can choose to change.

If you want change, here is the one way you can stop being an excuse giver.

It’s simple. Pray for God to change you. Then decide never to give another excuse. Break the habit. The next time you flop, say “I’m sorry” and leave it at that. Despite how unfair it feels not to highlight that it took place because your ride was late. Or you fell sick. Or you didn’t know. Or anything else.

Simply apologize and make it right.

Tell your friends to check you on this and keep you accountable. If your friends can’t correct you because they’re excuse givers too, change your friends. (I mean that). You are who you surround yourself with.

Then whenever next you are corrected, receive it without defending yourself. Go back to your quiet place and ask yourself if that person was right. Really examine yourself without allowing excuses even inside yourself.

When you’ve done that over and over, you will begin to see the areas where your life has been slipping through your fingers. You will become frustrated with the output you have been producing and begin the process of change. You will stop blaming others, take personal responsibility for your life, begin to improve and get yourself out of mediocrity.

You will notice that things begin to shift around you, you begin to receive more opportunities and seem to find more favour than normal.

I’ll let you in on a secret, It’s not just favour. It is reliability. You have become reliable and trustworthy. Someone others can depend on to do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it. Your yes has become your yes. You have stopped being an excuse giver and become a history maker.

If you enjoyed this blog, check out my Get Wisdom courses and subscribe to my email list for more content that will push you to be the best “you” there is!

Your sis,

Toyin

Real moment.

I could not sleep because of this blog. Though I planned on writing about a completely different topic this week, it burned in my mind for hours until I finally gave in, woke up out of bed and typed the whole thing up at an ungodly hour of the morning. I know it is for a specific person and if that person is you, I pray that you are set free from a life of mediocrity and excuses and released into becoming the best “you” there is. Doing what God has called you to, when He calls you to it. Without any regrets when you die.

 

Let’s Talk –

Leave a comment, let us know what stood out to you. Have you previously been an excuse giver? What are you going to change? If you already changed, how did you do it? What do you think of excuses?


Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail (and what you can do to come out smiling!)

I just got back from my week long End of Year Retreat and since my return to the real world, I’ve been asked this a couple of times – What are your resolutions for 2017? It makes perfect sense to set these resolutions, after all, it’s the beginning of a new year. Perfect time to turn a new page, start a new chapter, be a new you! Yes? Not quite.

The guys at Statistic Brain Research Institute state that over 40% of people who start New Year’s Resolutions, fail. While only 9% feel they are actually successful in achieving their resolution each year. NINE PERCENT>> Yikes!

I’m about to share with you the four (and a half) biggest mistakes people make when setting their New Year’s Resolutions – which causes them to fail. As well as exactly what you need to do to one-up these mistakes and ensure you are living your highest potential with each new year.

After all, we’ve only got a few years on this planet. Let’s live them well. Read on!

Why most new year's resolutions fail, and what you can do to come out smiling!

1. Resolution Overload!

I’ll start with one of the biggest mistakes people make when setting new year’s resolutions. Making too many of them! It’s as though we sometimes think we have become super human or worse- god-like and can do absolutely everything at the same time. You cannot! You have to be aware of your finite nature, your finite brain, body and energy and let yourself off that hook.

God is omnipresent (everywhere at once). You’re not. He is omniscient (all-knowing). Once again, you aren’t. He can and is doing more each second than you can even imagine, but you can only do a certain number of focused tasks -successfully- at a time.

Yet we want to have our cake, plus 5 other ones in hand and eat them all too. So we make a New Years resolution list that looks like this –

  1. Grow business by 50%
  2. Start healthy lifestyle- exercise 3x a week
  3. Come out of $20,000 debt
  4. Apply for a Master’s Program
  5. Get a promotion at work
  6. Spend more time with family

AND

7. Learn how to drive stick

It feels great to have a list like this. Feels like you’re about to conquer the world. Like you are going to KILL this year and finally start living the perfect life you have envisioned from way too long ago.

Yet 3 weeks in, you feel completely overwhelmed, unsure of where to start, what to focus on and are completely stressed out and tired from trying to do it all. As they say you’re burning the rope from EVERY end.

new year's resolutions fail

Wisdom Key

Instead of making a list with an undetermined number of goals for the year, limit yourself to 3 top things you want to see changed this year. You can have a side wish list with absolutely everything you want.

After you have accomplished one of the three, then include the next one from your wish list, but do not add to your plate until you have fleshed out each new habit or completed one task. Until you have begun to live out one of your lifestyle changes effortlessly. Capishe? Capishe.

2. You Put Matter Over Mind (Get it? Mind over matter? lolol)

Instead of focusing on how to change the way you think, you focus on changing external habits alone. Forgetting that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. So you grit your teeth, squeeze your eyes, wrinkle your forehead, cross your fingers – toes – eyes – trying to become someone you are not inside.

Trying to change the externals, when you haven’t dealt with the necessary mind patterns that dictate the daily decisions you are making.

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7 #livewell #wisdomClick To Tweet

This can actually prove to be very detrimental to you. If you push your body to adjust to a reality that your mind has not accepted, you end up sabotaging yourself in that endeavour. Then, your past or present failure within that task becomes a greater burden to overcome as you try the next time to accomplish it (or other tasks).

For example, you can make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight or start going to the gym, but  ignore targeting your mind. Changing the way you view your body, the way you understand healthy living, the way you view food (comfort, stress relief etc)… starting to get my point?

Your resolution is much bigger than the final product. It’s about what thought patterns have led you to where you are now, and what you are changing about it, to ensure your entire being is headed in the direction you think it is or want it to.

2b. There is no Carrot on the Stick!

When you address the mind behind your new year’s resolution, you must also address the why. You have to know the deep, root reason you have that item on your list.

WHAT IS YO’ CARROT?!

Too many people think their minds will be satisfied with simply losing weight. Uhhh, no. Your inner being needs to begin to understand what losing weight will do for your entire life. The inner you is crying out to know why you have been subjecting yourself to these past 2 weeks of grueling gym time.

Is it to have more energy to run around with your nieces and nephews?
Or because your family has had a history of diabetes and that is the last thing you need in life?
Is it because you love your hubby and want to look your best for him?

Why do you want to lose weight?

If you do not know why, you will, not might, will fail at it. Because once the first challenge smacks you on the behind, it will become too inconvenient to continue.

Wisdom Key

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Philippians 4:8

As you make your top 3 resolutions (or goals as I call them), begin to ask yourself these questions-

What brought me to this point (financially, health wise, in my relationships etc)?
What do I have to change internally to make sure that if I hit this goal, I do not default back to where I am now or worse?
Why do I want to change this?
Where do I envision myself related to this matter?
Why?
Is this matter holding me back in other areas of my life?
What thought patterns can I begin to implement to change the way I think about this entire topic?

When you have limited the number of resolutions or goals you are focusing on, answered these questions, you can then move forward to the third reason most New Year’s Resolutions.

3. They make wishes and not goals.

Ooooh this one is a kicker. It deserves to be numero UNO because so.many.people.DO IT! They treat New Year’s Resolutions like wishes! Like letters to the tooth fairy that you can simply write, place under your pillow (or on the altar at church with your offering stuffed in it), do absolutely nothing and still see a magical turnaround by the end of the year. 

Half way through, they realize they haven’t gotten as far as they had hoped, figure the wish simply wasn’t granted and “move on” carrying the baggage of despondency, discouragement and hope deferred.

Wisdom Key

Make for gosh-darn sure your New Year’s goals are actionable. Please.

There is so much to say on this, but that is a blog post all it’s own. Until that blog post is created, click here to get on the waiting list for my FREE goal setting (and accomplishing) email course or schedule a one-on-one Purpose Call where we can see whether I am the right fit to help coach you into living at your life’s highest potential.

The last reason I believe many people fail at their New Year’s Resolutions is
*Drum roll please*

4. Because they take themselves WAY too seriously.

I’ve seen way way WAY :) too many people give up and beat themselves up when things don’t work out they way they envisioned. Instead of getting back up, dusting themselves off and getting back in the race. Nike said “Just Do It”, I say “Keep on doing it”. Keep on doing it even after you’ve “failed” in men’s eyes or by your own standards.

For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,
But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.
Proverbs 24:16

That’s so good I’ll say it again-

For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,
But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.
Proverbs 24:16

You choose what camp you’re in. Get back up after you’ve fallen. Laugh at your own mistakes. Myself and my husband say the exact same thing after tiny inconsequential mistakes and huge “it’s gonna take us a few months to recover from this one” mistakes – “You live and you learn”. We laugh, encourage each other and keep it moving.

If you’ve made the mistake today, at least you are much less likely to make that mistake again tomorrow. So laugh it off, forgive yourself and move on!

Ya hurd?

Alright! Now ask yourself the following questions as you set (or reset) your New Year’s Resolution for 2017.

  1. Is it concise. Limited. Finite. Like I am?
  2. What part of my thinking led me here and how can I change it?
  3. WHAT IS MY CARROT?
  4. What is my goal? Is it actionable? Is it SMART?
  5. Have I allowed me past failures to sap my joy and drive? How can I begin to forgive myself and enjoy life – mistakes included?

new year's resolutions fail

Your friends and family also have goals, resolutions and want to achieve their BEST this year so make sure to share this blog with them and give them tools to getting ’em done! 

If you have been battling with the same New Year’s Resolutions for years and have yet to see yours (or God’s) dreams come to life, you might need a life coach! Click here to book a Purpose Call, and see whether I am the right fit to help you begin to live at your life’s highest potential. 

Until next time, live well, live wisely
Toyin


Let’s Talk!

What are YOUR New Year’s Resolutions (or goals as I call mine)?
A few of mine are learn to cook 3 more Nigerian dishes -one of my highlights from last year,
Be a LOT more flexible about everything around me -I’m expecting TONS of change this year,
And fearlessly do what God is telling me to do- nothing more, nothing less. (this is a much more specific list I’m just pleading the 5th on the deets ;)


The Most Powerful Way To End Your Year

Alright folks, 2016 is coming to a close and you need to make sure that you are ending this year in the most powerful way possible.

We’ve all experienced 2016 differently. For some of you, this year was full of surprises. Joy, breakthrough and the miraculous taking place. While for others you made it to the end by the skin of your teeth. You faced many disappointments from others and even yourself. It felt like life only dealt tough hands and rough punches. And for the rest, this year was a mixture of both.

most powerful way to end year

As we transition into the new year, there’s one place we must all meet. One way by which we can bring our year to a strong close despite the good, bad and ugly.

This is the way of solitude and godly reflection.

Take 3 days away from the noise of friends, holidays, people and social media. Take time to reflect with God on your year.

end of year solitude retreat guide

Then reflect on these questions:

What was the biggest thing I saw God do?

You need to be able to see where the hand of God moved in your year. You may have many answers to this question, and that’s fine. Boast on God. Thank Him. Be grateful.

What am I most grateful for (if different)?

What specific things do you want to take time to thank Him for this year? If you cannot think of anything at all, remember, He has given you a gift beyond anything else you may be asking Him for. The gift of Himself. His son, Jesus Christ who loved you enough to die on the cross for you. The gift of love. Undeserved, abounding love and mercy. Remember He did not have to preserve your life to see today.

Remember His goodness, they are more than I can write in a blog. Tell yourself to find the good in our God. It’s overwhelming when you choose to do it.

What was the hardest part of this year?

Be real. Cry if you must. Bring your pain to Him and allow Him to heal and speak over it. Admit how it broke you.

As you reflect on 2016, be real with God about any pain. He isn't afraid of it and will not allow it to overwhelm youClick To Tweet

In this time, note that you must be willing to allow Him to bring healing and comfort to your pains and disappointment. This is not the time to fall into a self-pity, woe is me pit. Be sensitive to His spirit. Cry it out, but allow His healing to bring you to life and do not give in to a worldly sorrow which leads to death and depression. Remember His goodness even in remembering the hardships.

What did I learn from it?

Every single difficulty has a lesson if you are willing to hear it. If you are willing to look at it through His eyes and learn. So ask Holy Spirit to reveal to you what lessons He wanted to teach you out of your toughest season this year. Thank Him for His love and correction.

Where or when did I have the most fun this year?

What adventures did you take? Any trips? Any sweet moments of laughter with family? Friends? Catch up on some TV shows? Fell in love with a new song?

No matter how hard your year may have been, there were moments of laughter. Smile, remember, and write them down.

How has God used my church family as well as other blogs, FB live videos, Youtube Videos etc. to encourage me this year?

Be grateful for those who have poured into you this year. Reflect on the biggest lessons you learned from your mentors and leaders. Take time to send them a thank you message. You wouldn’t be who you are today without the input of certain leaders (close and distant) who have poured into you.

most powerful way to end your year questions

What -if anything- do I feel He is saying for 2017?

Take some time to ask Him what He wants to do in 2017. Ask Him for words of encouragement. Any warnings? Don’t simply wait to hear what your Pastor is going to share from God on January 1st. To do that would be like the people of Israel motioning Moses to go ahead and meet God on the mountain without desiring to meet with Him themselves.

Instead, be like Joshua and go with your leaders into His presence to hear His voice over your life and your family. This does not discount what your Pastor will hear. Use it all. Write it all down and watch what God does in 2017.

What am I asking Him to do in 2017?

If you don’t ask, you won’t receive. If you don’t ask, you won’t even know what you really want. Write down a few things you would like to see God help you do in 2017. You can ask for a specific friend or family member who does not yet know Christ to receive His love and truth. It could be related to your spiritual growth, finances, academics, workplace, relationships. Nothing is off limits for Abba.

What am I going to change in 2017?

This is more than a new year’s resolution. Ask yourself, what attitudes have held you back this year? Resolve and pray for grace to leave them behind in this year. What do you want to begin to do in 2017 which would bring you closer to His purpose and dream for your life? What structures of accountability are you setting up to make sure you follow through?

For my personal responses to these questions, check my Fireside Chat Facebook Live youtube playlist.

As we transition into 2017, make sure you are ending this year in a powerful way. Take time away from everyone to reflect on the year.

Glean all you can from your highlights and mistakes.
Grow.
Listen to Jesus’ heart for your city, nation and family.
Drop the baggage of the previous year and go in with faith. Believing that He will do more in 2017 than you have ever yet seen.

God will respond to your faith. He will meet you there.

Click here for our “End Of Year Solitude (Retreat) Guide” PDF.

Let’s Talk!

How do you transition into the new year? Where do you go on New Year’s Eve? What do you make sure to do at the end of each year?


How To Get The Most Out Of Life Changing Sermons!

You’ve been here before, heard a sermon that was absolutely life changing! Compelling! Convicting! Impacting! Unforgettable even!
Two days later you mention this sermon to a friend excited about all that it did for you.
You friend asks “Cool, what was it about? What did you learn?”
You “uhh… ummm… God is good? Lol I can’t really remember the details but I promise you it was SO GOOD! You need to listen to it!”

You’re probably laughing right now because you’ve had this conversation at least once.

You’ve forgotten most of what was said and only remember how great it felt and what an AHA! moment it was when you first heard it.

You’ve already lost the seed that was planted into your heart.  (Matthew 13:19-23)
Now, it’s not entirely your fault,

Your mind is bombarded with SO much information on a daily basis, it’s impossible to hold on to the things that matter the most unless you are purposeful about doing so.

Like it or not, we have become accustomed to listening for entertainment. We want to be moved and yes sometimes, your spirit man is affected, but there is also a listening to be CHANGED. This is what you want to fight for.

Get my free Practical Sermon Note Taking Guide that’ll help you put this post into action the information you are hearing- especially when you want to make it “flesh” in you. (See John 1:14).

practical-sermon-note-taking-guide-2

So here is how to up the ante and get the most from any life-changing sermon you hear!

  1. Repetition Repetition Repetition.

“Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.” Norman Vincent Peale

If this is a sermon teaching you a specific way of thinking that you want to become an automatic reflex, for example – you knew you have long needed to step out in faith in something God is calling you to do. You have been charged by this sermon to take hold of that faith and begin to run.

Then you need to listen to the sermon many times over in order to get your mind to really begin to believe what you have heard. Your mind has acknowledged that this is good information, but it hasn’t yet created the fruit. The material.

You haven’t yet STARTED, and stayed there until your task was complete. So here’s how you make sure you have heard that word or sermon enough.

If you heard the sermon at a live event, get the MP3.

Trust me, that pastor isn’t going to get wealthy off your $2 purchase of what he just taught. So many people act like spending money on resources that can change your own life is a conspiracy cooked up by the speaker. It’s not. Getting the mp3 will help you to grow and apply that word much more than just hearing it once.

If you cannot afford the cost of the recording, many teachers and sound departments are willing to allow you to have it for free or with whatever you can give. Just get over yourself and ask.

OR you can simply begin recording with your phone if you can sense they are going somewhere you need to really take in. If you want to change, you have to get desperate enough to have truth getting in your system.

Which ones?!

It’s not every single sermon you need to get the audio version of and re-listen to, but I’m talking about moments where you know what you’re hearing can impact your life greatly if applied. Those are the words you need to replay!

Put it in your car, or your phone. Listen to it while on the bus. While washing dishes, going for a walk, listen to it with a friend. Just continue to listen to it until you really -get it. Until it bears fruit in you.

Tip – You can do this with the Bible itself. In fact, you should be. You’ll be surprised how much your way of thinking will change!

For more on the principles of remembering, check out this article by Psychotactics.

  1. Talk About It!

When you’re trying to actually benefit from the massive amount of sermons you hear, the solution is often right before you! Begin to share what you are learning. Be purposeful about talking about the sermon (or whatever God spoke to you through) right after the event, on your way home, the next day.

The art of teaching or sharing information actually solidifies the information in yourself. It capitalizes on the power of repetition, and actually takes it up a notch because it forces your brain to reprocess the teaching in a way that your friend can receive it. So when you do this, it isn’t coming at your brain once, but you get to reconstruct that teaching and apply it to your friend’s situation, which increases your understanding of it.

In other words, you “sow to grow!” Feel free to Pin the image below as a daily reminder!

This applies to all principles God teaches you.

Keep in mind, if it was a really strong, encouraging teaching, it will probably help someone else as well. So go and share. Try to highlight at least two statements that stood out to you from the sermon. When you commit to doing this you will actually pay closer attention while listening, because you know you want to share a part of it and you get the added benefit of enriching someone else’s life!

What if there’s no one to share it with?

Then post it on one of the social media platforms you’re on. Someone may see it and be encouraged by it. This would still force you to rephrase what you heard and apply it to your friends online so it still has the benefits of sharing. However, even if you’re surrounded by tons of people who don’t know Jesus, you can share with them what points in the teaching impacted you and why. You’d be surprised how your testimony moves them, even if they don’t understand the full picture yet.

It’s ok if you don’t say everything exactly as it was said before, it’s also fine if you make some mistakes, it’s part of the learning process and still helps your brain!

  1. Take Notes!

This one goes without saying. If you are serious about maximizing your church/conference/youtube sermon experience, you need to be taking notes. To simply sit and listen is to be entertained. You cannot afford to be in that category of people any longer. If you take notes in school, you should be taking notes in church. If you take notes at work, how much less the place where you are being equipped not simply to file papers or do tasks but to change the world for the glory of God.

Some people feel their pastor’s sermons are not “worth” note-taking. He only tells stories, or —–. Guess what? If you go in with that expectation, that’s exactly what you’ll get. Listen with ears to hear.

“The shortest pencil is better than the longest memory.” Dr Amos DadaClick To Tweet

You aren’t just taking notes of what the teacher/preacher/pastor is saying. You are also taking note of what God is saying to you during that time. Write down any other ideas, points of connection He is making to you. Highlight specific phrases that you want to chew on later.

Pen and Paper!

Whenever I tell my ladies to use pen and paper in taking notes, I sometimes catch flak for it. We’re so used to our memo pad, ipads, and eletronic note taking devices that it has become a huge inconveniece to carry a pen and notebook around.

However, “brain scans have shown that when learning, handwriting activates more areas of the brain than typing.” (Longcamp et al. 2008)

Also handwriting may play a role in better synthesis and retention of complex ideas. In three studies, Mueller and Oppenheimer (2014) found that typed note taking of lectures resulted in “shallower processing” than by longhand note taking of lectures (p. 1159).

Something happens when your hand holds the pencil or pen, touches paper and you have to reconstruct what you are hearing  in order to put it down on the paper. It actually helps you retain the information better.

When taking notes, put down the date and location of what you heard. It helps you to track your growth timeline and put an exact face to the lesson. Years later, you may read those notes, see how much it has impacted you since and be able to actually imagine yourself right where you were when you took those notes down.

If you’re wondering how to take proper notes during the sermon, you will love our Practical Sermon Note Taking Guide, available to you for FREE.  practical-sermon-note-taking-guide-2

  1. Ask Questions.

Ask God, ask the teacher. Wrestle with any part of it that doesn’t make sense to you. If it makes sense and you’ve been practicing it, but don’t see the fruit, ask God what is missing.

Questions help you to clarify the meaning of terms, words or ideologies that aren’t clear to your brain. They strengthen relationships between different teachings and help you build on what you have learned previously. They establish continuity and help you build your memory on the subject.

Some questions you can ask yourself or the speaker is –

  • What does this mean?
  • If I apply what is being taught, how will my life be affected by it?
  • Has God been highlighting this to me previously?
  • How does it fit in?
  • What does this change about the way I think?

For other non-negotiable questions you need to be asking yourself, download our Practical Sermon Note Taking Guide here.

5. Avoid Distraction

Concentration greatly multiplies the impact of what you’re hearing. Allowing yourself to actively listen as opposed to a shallow “hearing” of what is being said.

Writing with a pen and paper helps curb digital temptations as you can put your phone aside for that time and focus. If you want to take sermons seriously, you also have to steer clear of the chatty sections in every church more concerned with side jokes, weekly updates, and fashion comparison.

Discussion on what is being taught and response to the speaker is fine. But you don’t want to be getting caught up in conversations that have absolutely nothing to do with what is taking place – at that time! Remind them that you can speak to them right after the sermon. Self control.

  1. Arrive on time! (If it’s a physical meeting)

Arrive on time.

Please.

Don’t be that girl, sauntering in at the end of the service like – Jesus, I’ve come to meet with you. Sermon finished, altar call done.  

Just don’t.

So the next time you hear a sermon that is absolutely rocking you to the core, make sure it goes beyond emotional highs and bears fruit in your life by applying these tips. Get the mp3 or record it on your phone and re-listen to it throughout your week, talk to your friends or spouse about it, write a blog or small encouraging status update. Take great notes. Remember, even the simplest concepts aren’t just learned. They need to be discussed, talked, and written about!

“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word”

Download the Sermon Note Taking Guide for a step by step fillable guide helping you to maximize and apply the next life-changing sermon you hear, to your life!

practical-sermon-note-taking-guide-2

If you found this blog useful to you, share it with your friends using any of the tabs below. :-*

Live well,
Toyin C.

Let’s Talk!

What other tips do you use to remember and apply a really good sermon?