Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Vantage Point

Despite the fact that I squeal over the possibilities of an engagement announcement and get a little 'mushy' perusing wedding and other related photos, bridal showers weren't events I used to be at in the past. Probably because it was not really in vogue where I grew up and even in my time. So being at my lil sister's bridal shower was a rare one for me and memorable too.

Now I also don't know what actually goes down at most showers, but the planners of this one made sure there was good time devoted to talking. During this session, questions were asked and lots of counsel shared, mostly from the experiences of those who have been married years before. All to better prepare the new bride for the new phase.

I felt privileged being able to contribute my own bit, having been on this journey for some years too. It seemed natural to look back at the many lessons I'd garnered over the years and to bring it to such a forum to share.

In reality, we all stand in what I'll call 'Points of Advantage'. We've been there, we've seen that, we've done that. We have had successes that brought us gladness. We have had falls, stirred ourselves up, brushed off the dusts and resumed the runs. In all, we have grown and gathered such wealth of knowledge that only experience doles to those it has had direct contact with.

On another hand, life gives us opportunities to leave footprints for those coming after, such that they would run even better. It allows us from the strength we have gained to provide a helping hand or a supporting shoulder to that one who has become weary.

However, at other times, it challenges us to seek out those opportunities to share our wisdom because of the Vantage Point where we now stand. It is easy to look down on certain moments of our lives and assume no one needs to hear that story, but you'll be amazed at how desperately some need them.  

I remember the movie – Vantage Point, which I watched years back. It showed clearly how the spots where people have stood in life have better positioned them for specific views of life's happenings. Eventually our vantage points when better perceived helps connect those dots when we've stepped out of it all.

So then, as we live and learn, let us maximise our many Vantage Points so someone else may see better, understand deeper, or just simply be reminded that that impossible is possible.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...

I was about stepping out of the house a couple of weeks back and like most of us do, decided to check myself out. Truly a mirror check of one's self is not all about vanity.

It's easy to smile now, especially because the 'disaster' did not happen. It was one of those bad-hair days and I’d chosen to use a scarf. A convenient bail out on days like that, but must also be well done to avoid 'stories that touch' I probably felt it wasn't my first time and could tie it without looking into a mirror. But that last look, that last minute of saying, “...mirror, mirror on the wall, am I as fair as I should be today?” was my saving moment. I'd tied it all wrong, with parts that shouldn't be revealed peeping out. Laughing at myself, I touched it up here and there, and dashed out.

I'm sure many of us have had similar experiences too, from wearing our shirts inside out, buttoning them all wrong, mismatching accessories or discovering food stuck on our teeth. This one left me with deeper thoughts on how important mirrors are. If we'll only be true to what we see and make appropriate touch ups, many disastrous images or wrong representations of who we are would be corrected just at the right time. For physical looks, I’m sure many ladies reading this, would be like....come on, I carry a mirror around, and take a quick peep at every reflecting metal I pass. However, this goes beyond the physical.

God has been kind enough to bless us with people around us, who could serve as mirrors. To help us with feedback on how we look, how we do, how we talk, how we treat others, and how we treat ourselves. Yes I know, some give these feedback in discouraging ways, at the wrong time and some even without being asked. The issue really is what we do with the reflections from these people-mirrors. Do we ignore? Are we humble enough to receive them and eventually make attempts to touch up? Or are we surrounded by people who tell us what we want to hear, not what we need to?

Bible readers are familiar with the scripture that talks about a man looking at himself in the mirror, and forgetting what he looks like afterwards. This verse not only helps us see our need to have the Word of God also as mirror for our lives, but encourages us to do something about what we see. It's either you're confident after looking into it to continue in the good graces. Or you are clearer on the gaps in certain life areas that need to be worked on - health, finance or relationships.

Let me  include the need for us to strike a balance with this. Some feedback or counsel will not be true, or in our best interest. Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, Les Brown and many others became success stories despite the negative things they had been told. They were not deterred from their personal convictions on who they were or what they could do. For this I’ll say don't gaze too long into bad mirrors.

As I conclude, it is good to open up more to feedback, be more sincere with ourselves, and make efforts to improve. I also leave us with the challenge to be true mirrors for others. Not like those funny mirrors at fairs that give distorted images of a fatter, shorter, thinner version of the object but those giving accurate reflections. Our feedback should propel change, boost morale... as we speak the truth, even in love.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014... What Will You Sow?

I was in a discussion with some close friends over the holidays. And we looked at the different encouragements and themes many people, groups, organisations and ministries/churches start the year with. Then one of us asked a question. Is there anywhere people are challenged to look out for what to give in a new year? Or in another way, are we being inspired to make a difference in life or community as against, what we would get?
This got me thinking beyond that day. Personally I'm a believer in having a positive outlook to a new beginning (like a year) by having a theme to focus on. I even recommend it. That way, as much as possible the mind is stayed on what is right. And more often than not, it help brings about the right results too.

However, this year, I've been compelled to reconsider an addition to this perspective. It's like a farmer, who commences a season with a great harvest in mind. The big question to ask him would be "what seed are you planning to sow?" This would lead to other deliberations like what kind of field/soil must he have, when must he plant, how must he plant, what other people or things must he have for this great harvest to be a reality.

My thought is many get to hear these encouragements, sometimes even quote them often but don't go beyond believing. However, if a farmer sows no seed, no matter how big his harvest dream is, he'll get nothing.

So here's the simple challenge, we need to ask ourselves over and over again this question. What am I going to sow to achieve this year's favour, supernatural turnaround, upgrade, increase et al. Like I learnt from my hubby recently, your seed could be in 3 forms - Time, Talent or Treasure. Do you know what seed you must sow for that harvest?

Do you have to believe more, spend more time with God, wake earlier, sleep later?  Do you need to learn something new, revisit the drawing board on a forgotten project? Are you going to be more committed in your relationship, communicate better, talk less, meet new people? Would you let go of some mindsets, give to a charity or someone really in need... When this has been identified, then look into the best way to sow it. Try to learn from others, and also ensure you maximise all opportunities that come up.

I'm assured this additional approach to starting a new phase, would help a great deal. Even the Great Book says - He gives seed to the have a seed, do you know it, will you sow it? For surely, we can't take 2014 like 2013 and expect anything different.