All posts tagged: #joy

FEAR IS NOT ON THE MENU

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The phone rang that Monday morning, I was at work, trying to send out an email at that point in time. I was quite busy but seeing that it was my sister on the line, I answered the call, held the phone to my ears with my shoulder and continued working on my laptop.
“Hello!!!” I said as cheerfully as my work environment would permit me at that time.
“Do you have a few minutes to talk please? I have a few questions to ask”, she said. There was a sense of urgency with which she spoke; this conversation was clearly not going to be that flowery, just-for-laughs type of phone call, she sounded quite bothered.
“Ehhhhrrrmmm! If you will just give me a few minutes, I am trying to send out an email. I can talk for a bit once I am done.” I answered.
She stayed on the line while I proof read the mail I had already typed and clicked send. I waited for a while to see that the mail had gone and there were no issues before I stood up from my seat to resume the phone call.
I stepped into a private space and then the conversation resumed. At this point of course, my heart was throbbing wildly, majorly from not knowing what to expect from the other end of the phone. She reeled out the first question and it was a direct one; that type that comes straight at you, leaving no room to hide in corners or be ‘politically correct’. It required an in-depth explanation and I wasn’t ready for it.
My first attempt at answering was a shoddy response wrapped up in big English. I prayed she would find it satisfactory and just move on to the next. Nope! Not my big Sister. She was not having it, she probed deeper and forced me to go through the painful mental journey of reliving an experience I didn’t want to, until she got all the information she required.
The first question progressed to the second and then on to many more that came in quick succession. Each question that was asked seemed like a knife was passing through me; personal, family related issues that I had to look in the face and dissect, against my consent. I hung up, but clearly, the telephone conversation left me all pensive and gloomy; it introduced doubts, fears, questions and uncertainties into my heart.
This is us a lot of times as we go through life; we are having a jolly good day, enjoying a significant measure of joy in our hearts, and then, boom! Someone, an event, a phone call, a situation, a thought or some other random stuff comes in and introduces fear into our hearts and then we lose our joy. Sometimes, we cannot discern so quickly that our joy is the target, and by the time we realise it, it’s too late, we are already victims, held captive in a joyless estate. We struggle and try to pull ourselves out of this frequency we have been ushered into; sometimes we succeed and get back into our joy-groove, other times we remain down, unable to find a way of escape.
In the simplest terms, fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain or harm while joy on the other hand is simply described as a feeling of great pleasure and happiness; both fear and joy are feelings and they can be managed and regulated, depending on which you feed based on the diet you are on.
The Bible says that “God has NOT given you a Spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind.” This means that any fear you ever feel, beyond a reverential fear of God is not from God. Of the huge bounty that God has given you freely to enjoy, fear is NOT Listed. So, why take it when it is not an option? It is not part of your salvation package and should not be welcomed into your life for any reason at all. We often feel afraid when we have unanswered questions, feel pressured, have doubts, experience lack etc. and then our joy reserves are depleted. Regardless of what feeds our fear, we must recognize that God does not give fear. If God does not give fear, then we really have no business being afraid.
For every situation that you are currently dealing with that makes you afraid, take some time to go back to God’s Word and see the provisions that God has made for you in that regard and watch how joy will well up on your inside when you swap perspectives. For instance, you are always afraid of death, thinking something spooky will happen to you and you will be cut off in your prime. How about you internalizing and accepting the fact that God has promised to satisfy you with long life and show you his salvation? Doing this deliberately and consistently will up your joy reserves.
Whenever fear is being served you through the television, newspapers/blogs, family and friends etc., please pass on it, it’s not yours to receive.
Guard your heart and your joy fiercely this weekend.

Writer – Funmi Owo

DIWPRTEAMFEAR IS NOT ON THE MENU
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BUILDING A NAKED MARRIAGE

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“You must ensure you go to bed naked every night.”
Those were the words my marriage counsellor spoke to my fiancé (now husband) and I a few weeks before we got married. Of course, we giggled because we were sure she was talking about sex, and “holy” people like us did not want to talk about it. She then proceeded to explain further, as the deep woman she is, that it is more than being physically naked but being able to always bare it all with each other.
Marriage should be a safe place for a man and his wife to be naked and unashamed emotionally, spiritually, financially and physically.

The Man said, “Finally! Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh! Name her Woman for she was made from Man.” Therefore, a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh. The two of them, the Man and his Wife, were naked, but they felt no shame. – Genesis 2:23-25 (MSG)

The physical aspect of “nakedness” in marriage is quite easy but the other ones not so much. In fact, there can be a high level of sexual intimacy in marriage, while the level of openness is very low. I understand why people would not want to “expose themselves” to this man they’ve promised their lives to; because when you become naked in front of another, shame is the result when that person chooses to mock you based on what you just said.
How then can we let go of the fear and shame and embrace this deep vulnerability with our spouses?

Accept that God is good and that He loves you.

This should be like the easiest thing for a Christian but it isn’t. We believe God is good but sometimes we don’t believe He is good to us because something is “wrong” with us right now. Never accept the lie that God is not good; He is working out the issues of your life. The seasons of life cannot change the character of God.

Know the source of your strength.

It takes strength to be vulnerable as a woman especially emotionally and financially; well, it was for me. But please realize that you have a High Priest (that is, Jesus) who is in touch with you and knows how you feel. We know from the Bible that Jesus exposed Himself to humanity, because of our salvation, He chose to walk among us and be human. The source of your strength is the Holy Spirit and He is your ultimate covering; just as He was with Christ on earth, so He is with you always. Rest in Him.

Pray to receive God’s strategy for your marriage.

I was going to give you 5 ways to develop intimacy in marriage but you see, every marriage is unique and with its own purpose. What works for me might be disastrous for you.
As we have been repeatedly told in Deborah’s Initiative for Women (DIW), press into God and let Him give you His own strategy for your marriage. As you receive, act on it immediately – intimacy is not something that can be achieved overnight; it is a lifelong process of being increasingly at ease with each other without fear or shame.

Be kind to yourself and take responsibility.

So, you messed up last week and shame has its claws in you already; you hid the money that just dropped into your account or you’ve been having it good at work but you still need to guilt your husband into doing some things, so you refused to share. Do the needful – forgive yourself and then open up. Remember that your ultimate covering is God.

Reject the lies!!!

Immediately the two of them did “see what’s really going on”—saw themselves naked! They sewed fig leaves together as makeshift clothes for themselves. – Genesis 3:7(MSG)

Fear brings torment, it robs us of peace and pushes us into living an illusion. Adam and Eve believed a lie, they acted on the lie and saw that they did not need to be naked with each other anymore. These days we hear all sorts of crazy things and social media has exposed us to some of the most horrible marriages ever and some of us have started believing the lies, and we are hiding ourselves from our spouses.

The Word of God remains the standard for every aspect of our lives including our marriages.

Article Written by Olamide Adeyemi

DIWPRTEAMBUILDING A NAKED MARRIAGE
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