Week 57 – If it matters to you, it matters to God

How many times have you heard people saying things like this to you when you are facing a problem: ‘Don’t be like this,’ or ‘don’t feel like this,’ ‘look around you, you are always going to find someone living in a worse situation than you!’ True?! Probably this is true, however we cannot judge anyone’s suffering. We are all humans and we all have different ways that we face difficult moments in life. Sometimes we see people crying because they chipped their nails, and at the same time we see people losing a finger or any part of their body saying “thank God it was just a finger, and I am still alive!” How extremely different people’s perception and understanding of situations can be.

When I was studying counselling, I learned that everyone has different ways of seeing and feeling the difficult times that life brings us sometimes. And I also learned that no matter how small the problem of any person might appear to me, for them it can be a big issue and I have to respect their suffering. As someone who has spent many years experiencing God’s mercy and blessings in my life, I ask you, if we can learn to understand other people’s suffering and respect it, can you imagine how much more capable of this God is? If it matters to you, it matters to God, full stop. I don’t know how you are feeling right now, but whatever your situation is; remember that God cares for you and He is ready to listen to you. Try to acknowledge your feelings, emotions and thoughts; do not ignore them, but learn how to deal with them. I can guarantee that you will learn to refine the way you see your problems. Remember these words “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6).

Week 48 – Motivation

Have you heard it said that: “motivation is what makes us get out of bed every day”? I believe that this is true; however we can have the wrong motivations. We can get up every day with different motivations: for example, if we are having an exam at school, we can get up in the morning very anxious, worrying about our performance, while at the same time the motivation to pass this exam is what puts together all the emotions and actions under our control. We can get up thinking about our job that we don’t enjoy like we used to. In this case our motivation can either be focussed on finding a new job, or even starting our own business, or we can accept the fact that this job is not really what we want, but we have lots of opportunities by being part of it (also the financial side helps).

We can have a wrong motivation by simply getting up every day and having a lot to do. In our minds we are super busy, and we need to do as much as possible. Our motivation is to see all the items on the list ticked off by the end of the day. This can be a wrong motivation, because it puts you under pressure by being busy all the time, while in reality you might not be being really productive. We need to have a time to reflect and discover what motivates us. We can live our lives fully if we understand what is behind our desires and dreams. What motivates you every day?  Family? Work? Friends? Love? We can often feel demotivated, but we need to remember that our great motivation is God. He is the main reason for our existence; he knows what goes on in our hearts and minds. Be motivated by God and you will see everything around you being transformed by his power. “Being motivated by God inspires me to be more like him” (Lia Prado)

Week 46 – Learning from Experience

“Experience is the teacher of all things” (Julius Caesar). Since I was a child, I’ve been listening to different people saying the same things. Things like: “you need to study hard in order to find a good job in the future”. “You need to have your degree or your certification from a good college or university, otherwise you will not be successful”. “Be wise and don’t get pregnant before finishing your studies!” I remember when I was 13 years old, my teacher used to say that by the age 25 I would be a graduate and probably ready to start a family. People around us will always share their thoughts and experiences about something related to our lives.

As life is perfect with its unpredictable touch, not everything we learn as a child will be put into practice when we reach adult life. Everything I heard from other people, when I was young, was absorbed and well-kept in my mind. However, my experience was and is unique, because I chose my own ways. Even though my ways were often wrong, I am here today with all the experience that life has provided me.  Observing people’s lives and learning from their experiences is fundamental. Reading good books and learning about great people from history is, without doubt, a lesson to discern. But nothing can compare with your own experience in life. You are unique; therefore there is no other person like you: how amazing this is! Of course, along the way you will meet people with similar experiences to you, but your experience is still exclusive, having been built by you! It is always good to look back and see how many things we’ve been through in life. All these things are part of the construction of our experiences, some good, some not so good. The beauty of life is to make the most from the opportunities that God gives us every day, and knowing how to make the most of them will bring great experiences to our life. “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways” (Proverbs 20:30)

Week 39 – Walking in circles

Have you ever had a moment in your life when you got the impression that you were walking in circles? Feeling that nothing was changing around you? The same negatives- things like problems, stress, and worries were meeting you around every corner. Have you experienced times like this? I am sure all of us at one point in our lives have felt this way- that everything we were doing was taking us back to the same place without great results. It is easy to get caught in the trap of sameness. And the worst thing is to get used to these negative things, because after a while we can accept these things as being part of our lives; and walking in circles can become our lifestyle.

Our life is a gift from God, and he gave us the freedom to walk to the places we want. It is up to you if you want to walk in circles, but I can guarantee that you will miss out on the beauty of the different places you could see. Also, you will miss out on opportunities that you could meet if you left this circle and began to walk down a straight road. One day my friend and I drove from London to Amsterdam, and after a good few hours on the Road, enjoying the beautiful landscape, we reached the A10 in Amsterdam. If you look on the map you will see that this road encircles the city of Amsterdam. When we got to this road, we simply went around it a few times without realising that we were driving in circles. It took us a few turns to notice that if we would not turn right onto any side road, we would stay there, driving around in circles and not getting to our destination. You see, we had a destination, but driving in circles would never take us to the place we wanted to go. Where do you want to go? Do you know your destination? If you can, stop for a moment and think about where you want to go, and check to see if you are walking in circles by letting all of life’s trammels keep you on this road. If so, try to explore different roads; do not be afraid to trade your tiny circle road for a long highway road.

Week 35 – Living in the present

Many times we can find ourselves lost in our thoughts, being worried about the things that are to come, or lamenting the mistakes from our past. We regret the chances we did not take, the moments we did not enjoy, the people we did not help. We move our minds to the distant future, which does not exist yet, and we imagine things we could be doing there. We see ourselves achieving our dreams. We see ourselves having those things that we always wanted. However, sometimes our mind takes us to a worrying future, where we ask what if something bad happens to us or our family? If we lose our jobs, how will we pay our bills? Our minds can become full of these thoughts, which will make us feel bad.

We need to appreciate the present moment in which we are living. I know that our past brought us here and has made a huge contribution to the things we are facing now. Nevertheless, we cannot change our past and we cannot blame it either. Our future belongs to God and we need to trust that He is in control and He will help us. Our future will be the result of our present actions. Therefore, we need to live in the present! The present is where actions are happening and right now, we are building our future. So be more aware of your present days, the things you are doing and the people you are spending time with. Try to acknowledge the things that are happening right beside you, the simple things, like stopping and listening to the birds, or pausing to look to the sky and appreciate how the clouds move around. Walk more, laugh more, help more, live more! Live in your present the best way you can.

Week 32 – Today is your bonus day

How many times in our lives do we wish to have an extra hour or an extra day?! For me it sometimes seems that 24 hours in a day is not enough. I have mentioned in a previous post the ways we try to control our time, wishing to have more time and sometimes wishing it to pass more quickly. With such busy lives, the majority of people don’t have enough time to do what is really important in their lives and for this reason they end up wishing for an extra hour or an extra day to do whatever they need to do.

Therefore, make the most of today!!! Today is the bonus day that God is giving you. This year is a leap year, which occurs every four years to help synchronize the calendar year with the solar year, or the length of time it takes the earth to complete its orbit around the sun, which is about 365¼ days. What are you going to do today? Think about how many opportunities you can have in one extra day?! How many people you can help?! How many decisions you can make?! It is an extra day that you can be grateful for and use to realise that the time God gives you every day is very precious, so you should use it wisely.

Week 30 – When things need to be said

Sometimes in life, we need to say things to some people that will probably not make them happy. We need to tell them the truth! We need to tell them how we feel about things. We need to share with them our dreams and thoughts, our fears and strengths. We need to tell them to leave, or sometimes to stay. We need to tell them that what they are doing is hurting others; we need to tell them to change for their own sake. However, no one is capable of changing if they don’t want to!

This week I had to say things to someone, and this hurt me deep inside. Just to think about it made me feel uncomfortable and sad, very sad. But I will tell you what I did: before opening my mouth, I prayed!! I asked God to guide me throughout my conversation, so that I could say wise things to lift up this person instead of putting her down. So that I could explain how I was feeling about everything without hurting her. I was crying inside because I would love it if this person could see things the way they are. I felt good after the conversation, I felt relieved, but this person is still lost! She does not know what she wants, and this is sad! Nevertheless, I have learned that sometimes things need to be said, no matter what, but that we need to ask God to help us in order not to hurt the other person with our words. We can sometimes forget things in life, but words that have hurt us stay in our mind! Be wise; think before you say anything to anyone, because your words have power to help people, and at the same time have the power to destroy them.