Monday, 28 October 2013

The Gratitude Challenge.

As we ALL know, it's Thanksgiving month/season. God has been SO SO SO good to us whether we realize it or not. He has remained faithful even when we threw Him under the bus consciously or unconsciously. Personally, I am beyond excited because truth be told, I started this blog with little to no expectations of anyone seriously reading it because I've had 3-4 blogs in the past that ended up with maybe just me as the writer and the reader. God just placed this blog on my heart and although skeptical I was, I said well I'll obey You and see where this goes. Anyway, within the past year, I've had over 5,000+ views on this blog and whether it's the same old people clicking on it, I'm grateful that someone cares enough to see what I have to say about anything (grammatical errors and no punctuation manners whatsoever). The fact that God believes I matter enough to have so many views, while I try to make Him famous, God truly sits up there. #WontHeDoIt? I've come to understand God a bit more through the past year, and even through reading some of the posts I've written. So this blog is therapy for you and even me. Without much further ado, I decided that since it's thanksgiving month (November) and my blog turning ONE YEAR OLD (In October! WOOP WOOP!!) I should put up a befitting challenge with a grande giveaway to whoever does the most, and takes the challenge serious with a sincere heart.

Retrieved from The Benefits of Gratitude (Psychology Today):

"Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for  what one has—as opposed to, say, a consumer-oriented emphasis  on what one wants or needs—and is currently receiving a great deal of attention  as a facet of positive psychology. Gratitude is what gets poured into the glass to make it half full. Studies show that gratitude not only can be deliberately cultivated but can increase levels of well-being and happiness among those who  do cultivate it.  In addition, grateful thinking—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased levels of energy, optimism, and empathy."

PS: Credit to my sister for her unfailing gratitude tweets every November. She planted this thought in my heart.

So the challenge is simple: For every day in November, tweet out 10 things you're grateful for with the hashtag #GratitudeChallenge so I can keep track of who's tweeting. I will be tweeting as well too. It's so simple right? Now you can't miss a day, let's try and put out 300 tweets by November 30th. Now don't tweet out "Thank God for my shoe" and "Thank God for my shoelace" because while you're happy about that, I can assure you that God did bigger and better things. No cheating! Tell a friend, to tell a friend. Let's put out heavily positive vibes around this month will you? For you Instagram lovers, you can also post pictures of "Random acts of Kindness" where you go out of your way to do something nice for a total stranger or someone that can't give you back anything in return. Use the hashtag #GratitudeChallenge and tag me as well so I see every post. My Instagram name is: @favor_elizabeth. So the most tweets and posts on Instagram will win.

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

1 Thessalonians 5:18
"In EVERYTHING give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

I will announce the prize at the end of the month (Just so no one is fueled to participate out of greed). The winner will be announced as well. PS: #iVow to put out a new blog post every week or max every two weeks, so help me God. I love you and believe in you. LET'S GO!!!!
So my beautiful ladies, and my handsome gentlemen let's gear up to spread good vibes in November while keeping our characters in check. Stay CLASSY and BEAUTY-FULL! You're the only Bible someone may get to read, be careful of what your pages are saying.

Favor O.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Get Filtering.

NB: This is going to be a far from organized post because I currently feel scatter-brained and I used up my last bit of organization on my dissertation. Bear with me.

I just successfully completed and submitted my Postgraduate Thesis (reason why blogging was shelved). As I reflected on the past year, I decided to drop a few lessons I learnt along the way. I rarely ask for advice/opinions and such. Not because I know it all; in fact, I know not enough. I have chosen this route because I have come to realize the heart and mind is a very sensitive place. I cannot afford to run to every outlet available and drag in views and opinions from just everywhere. I also don't allow just anybody speak to my heart. You know those random people you haven't seen before or haven't spoken to in years that call you and say "The Lord told me to tell you..." No boo! Bye. When you open up your heart to Tom, Rick & Harry, they will fill you up with their experiences, their views, their I-know-it-all attitudes that may cloud the voices in your own heart. You may begin to doubt the very own voice of God in you, and replace it with the lies that they feed you with. There were days during the past year when I felt I just could not go on. Days when I doubted my abilities and strengths. Days when throwing in the towel was more convenient, but I had to remember the voices inside of me that reminded me of who I am. Three simple lessons that I learnt this past year:

1. People can only relate to you based on their experiences: Ever tried talking to someone on something you may be facing, and you start getting upset when their views don't align with yours? I am very guilty of this. I shut down conversations so fast when my ideas don't line up with the next persons. I have had to understand that I cannot expect someone from a broken home to believe in love and commitment as firmly as I do. I cannot expect someone that has been taught to put their trust in money to trust in God as much as I do. This is no flaw in their character; experiences have just shaped their minds to view the world through different lenses than I. My family is my biggest cheerleader in the world. When I don't believe in me, they do. It makes no sense to me sometimes because I just want to feel what I'm feeling, and understand me a little more, but they see the giant in me and help me understand the more I try to understand my sorrow, the more it will overshadow the victory in me. Days when I tried to encourage my classmates that we will get through the program without losing our minds, and they didn't believe me because they never understood positivity in the midst of negativity. I made no sense to them. What was second nature to me was foreign to them. Our backgrounds were not one. Ever heard the saying "you can only give what you have?" Exactly. 

2. Filter the voices that enter your ears. When you are down, never compare yourself to someone worse than you are. This is called "downward social comparison" (Your Psychology lesson for the day. There you go) LOL. You know it's always easier to take your issues to someone who lives that route, after all they won't judge you or look down on you. This is the worst mistake you can make. Instead of pulling you up from where you are, they will speak into your heart words that will permit you to remain as you are, and even "advice" you to follow them on dangerous journeys you aren't prepared for. Sis, when you don't understand what is going on inside of you, instead of picking up the phone to call Sophie, pick up your bible to see what God says. I admit, there are times when I can't think of the bible verse I should be reading, but thank God for technology and the internet...Google is your friend. Search for bible verses on sadness, trusting God, friendships etc. There is a word for everything in life. Whoever said life didn't come with a manual surely never discovered a Bible. After consulting the bible, you can then call on a trustworthy friend that you are sure will point you  towards Christ at the end of the day, and not soothe your negativity and promote it.

3. Do your part. Yes! All is not wrong with the world because John and Sue and Nancy did such and such. When they were doing what they were doing, what were YOU doing? Exactly. When we don't understand what is happening, we find it very easy to blame everyone around us but ourselves. Let me tell you, if you ever start your day without setting the tone before you get up from the bed, life and the devil will help you set it and you will not like the outcome. Learn the Bible for yourself. You cannot please the world and please God at the same time. Discover what matters for your life, and work towards it. Stop fighting battles that don't mean anything. Your sanity is key. Positive self-talk is always good. There are enough people in the world who don't like you, believe in you or don't care about you, care about yourself. VOTE FOR YOU. Let go of what happened to you yesterday and push for today. Your past did not define you, it just prepared you for today. "You can't expect to have beauty when you keep holding on to ashes." You must see yourself the way you want to be, and not by what is happening now. Be able to counter every voice that negates the word of God inside you. Cultivate your mind and your happiness. 

*Proverbs 4:23: Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
*Luke 21:34But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.
*Psalm 19:14: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.


“Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.” 
― Augustine of Hippo

Run to God, and watch your cares run away. God wants your whole heart. Until you understand that, you will never know peace. iPromise.

Don't stop running. Don't stop flying. You can do it. I believe in you. I mean well.
(Most Importantly: I LOVE YOU). You are BEAUTY-FULL! 

Favor O.