TODAY I read something that inspired this post, it was an article entitled ‘What I Would Tell My 5-Year Old Self’.. It got me in one of those deeply reflective moods pondering what I would say to my younger self with the knowledge, understanding and life experiences that I have now. Then it dawned on me that whatever I would tell my younger self is what I hold as a deeply entrenched belief. That was a good soul searching exercise, as it not only revealed to me those principles that I hold dear, but also those that I value in other people.
So here goes, these are three of some of the most important principles I value and try to live by, and look for in people who may become closely associated with me:
Worrying is an act that your faith in God has waned, which is a bad sign since we are admonished by the Word to Walk By Faith And Not By Sight! 2 Corinthians 5:7. Worry indicates that either I am trying to do things in my own strength, or that I do not trust God’s providential sovereignty to handle whatever situation I am facing – pure and utter lack of faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God, so I am keen on remaining conscious about times when I catch myself caught up in worry. Now I’m going to keep it 100% real. Sometimes when you’re facing a colossal trial of your faith it is normal to have a wobbly moment, whether it be at the beginning or at various internals in between, or even quite frankly at both times. Either way I think that can be pardoned for that, we are after all flesh and blood imperfect beings right?
However worry becomes a problem when we become consumed with it. That overwhelming feeling of consumption is a sign that we have not surrendered the issue to God trusting that whatever the outcome, is whatever it is meant to be. Let’s be clear, I am not saying that we are suppose to go through life situations sitting back and letting things happen to us. For even the Bible says ‘having done all, to stand‘ (Ephesians 6:13) which indicates that there’s some action required in the process. What is the action? Putting on the armour of God in the situation; Walking in your identity of Salvation (know who you are because you know Whose you are), Ensuring You Walk In Righteousness To Protect Your Heart, Ensuring Truth & Honesty Are The Foundation Of Your Lifestyle, Walking Only In The Paths Of Peace Being Guided By The Holy Spirit, Handling Every Thought and Situation In Accordance With the Word of God, and No Matter What You See To Hold Fast To God’s Word in Faith (because the enemy will fire situations at you to try and make you disbelieve what God has already said).
As for the people in my inner circle, I am keen and committed to support them in their faith walk. They are important to me because subconsciously their lifestyle and choices influence me…. We become like those we surround ourselves with. I want my friends to excel greatly and fulfill their God-given destiny, and so I stand in faith with them supporting them and holding them up in prayer.
This is a (((( HUGE )))) one for me! I believe in honesty and that it should be the foundation of my lifestyle and those with whom I’m in relationship. Honesty is simply living in truth. Sounds simple right? Simple yes, living no. It actually takes a substantial amount of courage to live in truth especially in this world.
On a basic level, as people of God we are suppose to live our lives according to the Word of Truth which is the Bible. (John 17:17) Whatever decisions we make, they have got to line up with the Word, because that’s truth. Then there’s truth about our conduct. Our lifestyles should be free from lies and deception. Where it is necessary and appropriate to speak, we should speak the truth IN LOVE – lies should not come out of our mouths and if they do, we should be so uncomfortable we genuinely undertake a heartfelt repentance before God quickly.
Furthermore our lives should not be deceptive. We should not mislead people to believe things about us that are not true. Well this is something rampant in this social media self-obsessed, narcissistic society that we live in. Pretty much everybody wants to put across an image of perfection – perfectly upstanding people, with perfectly happy lives (actual and spiritual), with perfectly great bodies and perfectly happy relationships/marriages, with perfectly great children and zero challenges or just very minor imperfections. Well this is a lie if there ever was one. The greatest lie we can ever tell is the one which we convince ourselves of. That’s the problem with lies, if you get so comfortable telling or portraying them you will eventually begin to believe them yourself, and then YOU won’t even be able to see your own imperfections.
As a child of God, that is a dangerous place to be. If you have deceived yourself so long, how can you face and accept the unction of the Holy Spirit to help you to change into better if you can’t face and be honest with your own imperfections? It takes great humility and a mammoth amount of courage, driven by an even greater desire to please God. I call it living with AUTHENTICITY. Living in a way where I am honest with myself about my life and I am honest with the people around me about it. I try very hard every single day to live to that standard. I know my imperfections, I am very honest about them and hold myself accountable to certain people in my inner circle. Why? Because I don’t want to become so comfortable with a false view of myself that I begin to live in bondage to a false image that stops me from growing into all that God has called me to be. My destiny is far more important to me than people pleasing and appearing perfect. Accountability is important in that regard – it is the measure by which honest and open change is evidenced.
God even said in His Word that we are to become as little children otherwise we cannot even enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:2-4) What does that mean? Children are humble (they are under someone’s authority usually their parents), they teachable (they are not know-it-alls are not offended when corrected), they can submit (they do not think they are above people, they are comfortable learning do not relish over positions of authority). Unless we can comfortably sit in the learning seat of life and be willing to learn something from anyone and everyone, we have a way to go in becoming as a child and humble & teachable.
Personally, I think God wants us to live with Authenticity because it takes true humility to live it. It means that you can openly admit your flaws without accepting condemnation because your heart’s desire is seeking and striving to perfect your walk before God. That kind of humility is the truest testimony some people will ever witness that there is a God.
Again this is something I try to practice in my lifestyle every single day. Contentment is that place where you are thankful for what you have; Being emotionally and mentally satisfied and have a peace of mind with things as they are right now, even if you have ambitions to have somethings in life different. For me contentment is central to my trust and faith in God.
How I see it is this – If I am living authentically in submission to God with a pure and honest heart, then I trust that He is a Good Father with good plans for my life (Jeremiah 29:11) and whatever I need I will have at the right time, but whatever I need right now I already have. If there is something that I desire so greatly that it causes imbalance in my peace, I am clearly not ready for it at all because IT has become my focus instead of God, and it risks becoming my idol in my life. God does not want us to have anything that will cause our downfall or destruction or separation in relationship with Him. If there are storms in my life, I can be confident that they could only have arrived because God allowed it, and if He allowed it then it He has given me the grace to bear it – The storms will not crush me and has lessons to teach me.
GODLINESS WITH CONTENTMENT IS OF GREAT GAIN – 1 TIMOTHY 6:6
When you’re content you accept yourself and your place in life. You’re don’t allow yourself to be come jealous or envious of other people or what’s going on in their lives. Contentment allows you to be secure within yourself, because yourself is rooted in God. It allows you to be genuinely happy for their celebrations. You’re not anxious to have what other people have or do what they’re doing.
Contentment is that peace that comes when you can be honest with yourself and with God and be honest with your shortcomings, going boldly to the throne of God’s grace to obtain mercy when you need it.
Those are three amongst many others of my most important life principles. If I could in some way condense and simplify that information into kiddie-sized bites, then that’s the information I would tell my 5-Year Old Self!