The Art Of Christian Living

Exploring & Sharing Life | Lessons | Experiences

Who am I?
A question I ask myself everyday
Somedays I think I know
And others I am stumped

But, seriously, who am I?
I screamed for an answer, only without words
Feeling the pounding of my heart eagerly anticipating the moment
Yet, I am left with more questions

I want to know who I am
Perhaps religion will tell me
The Bible says I am a child of God and my Maker is my mirror
I know, and I believe what it says I am
Yet my search for who I am never ceases

Who am I?
Do my personality, gifts, and talents hold the key?
Sometimes, I like to believe that, and other times I am not sure
When moments of incongruence surface
My truth-seeking side and my compassionate side clash more often than not
Leaving me wondering more than ever who I am, and my efforts crushed

How much of me is truly me
And how much of me is what society and culture instill in me
What is my own identity and what can lead me to discover who really I am
I look inside of me to find the one piece that confirms my perception of who I am
But it is like looking at a mirror covered with mud and at one glance I scream at who I see
And at other glace, the picture fades away abruptly

The more I try to figure out who I am
To try to clean the mirror and see clearly
the more of society’s opinions muddy the mirror, concealing my true identity
Now I am back at square one, trying to figure out who I am
The search intensifies, yet my desire to know me never dulls

Some will say, just look within yourself, the answer is there
And others will yield, oh no just follow the light
Meanwhile, I am wondering who is right and who is wrong
Distracting from my own search for my true self. Who I am.
When will I get my answer and debunk all the lies



While you wait to find your true self, know this one truth – you are more than the sum total of yourself. What they see or what you see and know about yourself is only a fraction of who you are. Don’t let anything or one put you down because of your current situation or circumstances in life. Hold your head up and keep moving even when it seems those whose approval you crave are sitting on their applause with mouths shut tight, without a single word of encouragement. Don’t let that hold you down because no one really knows what you have to offer the world or what legacy you will leave when you complete your mission on Earth. Therefore, trust God and keep believing. Your latter days shall be greater than your former days. Even when you are not sure of Who You Are, at least you know Whose You Are

Wellness is a philosophy of living that can help people live a more satisfying, productive, and happy life. Peggy Swarbrick

The beginning of the year brings many goals and resolutions for incorporating Wellness to reduce daily stressors and anxiety. The ancient Greeks understood this concept, and often went to temples to find relief from stress, and paid attention to their diet. The ancient Greeks prioritized relationship and self-examination as forms of wellness improve energy and vitality, and promote wholeness, harmony and balance in life.

Art, philosophy, humor, and spirituality were seen as lifestyle practices to creating wellness. Modern day wellness advocates have added dimensions to round out a holistic concept of an individual’s life. A wellness lifestyle includes a self-defined balance of health habits, such as adequate sleep and rest, productivity, exercise, participation in meaningful activity, nutrition, productivity, social contact, and supportive relationships.(Peggy Swarbrick, 2016)

Below are the eight dimensions of wellness that you can incorporate as part of your goals and resolutions for 2020. Now that the rush or the new year has passed it is actually the perfect time to revisit and reevaluate your plans. (Peggy Swarbrick, 2016)

1 Emotional

Focus on developing effective coping skills and maintaining or creating satisfying interpersonal relationships. To do this you need emotional health, which comes when you recognize conflicts as healthy or normal, not devastating.

Goal: Develop healthy coping skills and improve my emotional health to help me create healthy relationship  

Activities:

  • Stress Management Techniques – Learn to listen to your body to find out what reduces or help you cope with stress
  • Meditation – It has many benefits for your body, mind and spirit (Set time for daily meditating)
  • Seek Help – When feeling overwhelmed, anxious or sad – call a friend or seek professional help

2 Social

This is all about connecting with others and your environment. It varies for everyone due to personalities, different interests, and what restores your energy. Strive to develop a sense of connection, sense of belonging, and a well established support system

Goal: Connect with others and become an active participant of your community

Activities:

  • Intentional Connecting with others – Seek friends or relationships that add value to your life and theirs too. (For example, a co-worker or neighbor you enjoy sharing a meal with)
  • Community involvement – Participate in social events or community engagement

3 Intellectual

Lifelong learning and feeding your intellectual curiosity while sharing gifts or impacting lives through. intellectual pursuits.

Goal: Recognize your creative abilities, gifts and talents, and find ways to expand on your knowledge and skills.

Activites:

  • Reading – find books on topics you are interested in and not school related
  • Learning a skill – For example, learning how to paint or make illustrations
  • New Hobby – Similar to learning a new skill (Watching a movie in another language with English subtitles)
  • Course or Workshops – For non-academic purposes but purely intellectual curiosity and interest (Skillshare and other platforms offer a variety of courses or check your community centers for workshops)

4. Occupational

A wellness lifestyle incorporates fulfilling activities that and add meaning and purpose to your life and others around you. This dimension takes into consideration your personal goals, beliefs and interests as you are pursuing an occupation

Goal: Find personal satisfaction and enrichment from your work life

Activities:

  • Create a vision board for your career, business, or entrepreneur goals – For example, the trajectory of your career or business for 2020
  • Career Services or Career Coaches – Seek help for your career vision or visit placement sites for better opportunities

5. Environmental

The environmental dimension is about the different spaces or places in your life such as your living space, learning space, working spaces, and the community at large where you mingle with others. All these spaces should promote relaxation, learning, curiosity, contemplation etc.

Goal: Occupy a pleasant, stimulating environment that fosters your well-being.

Activities:

  • Ensure you have an environment where you feel physically safe, have clean surroundings, clean air, healthy food, and clean water
  • Recycling – Become more in tune with your recycling habits or start now
  • Awareness Of Global Warming – Be aware of natural resources and how to make small contribution toward its conservation
  • Maintain A clean environment or surroundings

6. Financial

This dimension has two parts depending on the individual perception of what constitutes financial well-being. The objective perception of your financial status may incorporate your income, debt, savings, your knowledge of financial services and products, and budgeting discipline. The subjective perceptions involve how satisfied you are with your current and future financial situation.

Goal: Understanding of and satisfaction with both your current and future financial siruations

Activities:

  • Create A Budget – A flexible or fluid budget that you can adjust when necessary
  • Take A Free Online Financial Course – Learn about financial matters
  • Learn New Financial Habits – For example, how to stick to a budget
  • Assess Contentment vs. Financial security

7. Physical

This dimension has many aspects, and requires routine. You must pay attention to what your body needs in terms of food, sleep, and exercise and what your body does not really need, such as excessive alcohol consumption, drugs, tobacco.

Goal: Learn to recognize and balance the need for physical activity, healthy diet, water and sleep.

Activities: Create a daily routine physical activities,

  • Sleep – Sleep as your body need every night
  • Rest – find time to rest your body from physical and mental exhaustion
  • Exercise – Let it be your ritual for 2020. There are different forms of exercises, practice what works for you and your body
  • Maintain appropriate level of productivity daily
  • Use your creative outlets daily, even if just for 15 or 30 minutes, to help fight stress
  • Meal Planning – Control how much you eat per meal or learn to eat in moderation

8. Spiritual

The Spiritual dimension involves expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life through a sets of beliefs, principles, or values that shed light for your pathway in life.

Goal: The willingness to seek meaning and purpose in human existence and a sense of gratitude for the unexplainable in life or the universe at large.

Activities: Contemplate or explore your spirituality

  • Seeking and experiencing freedom for yourself and others around you
  • Worship or connection to a higher power

Overview

Wellness is about empowering yourself and others around you to live a healthy, meaningful, purposeful life. There is no one style fits all. Everyone has different needs, ways of coping with stress, and activities for restoring their energy and vitality.

“Wellness involves a sense of empowerment. Each day we wake up we can make choices. Empowerment goes hand-in-hand with taking personal responsibility for our day to day choices and our lives. Wellness and balance are defined by you, based on what you think is important and needed, as well as on yourpersonal goals and values”. – (Swarbrick & Yudof, 2009)

References

Swarbrick, M., & Yudof, J. (2009). Words of Wellness. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health25(3–4), 367–412. https://doi.org/10.1080/01642120903084158

Swarbrick, M. (2016). Wellness Activity Lessons: A Guide for Group Facilitators.

Freehold, NJ: Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey Inc., Wellness Institute.

“I am not absentminded. It is the presence of mind that makes me unaware of everything else.”
― G.K. Chesterton

Excessive Thinking

It is almost a norm to live in your head and engage in the activities of the mind while escaping or avoiding emotions, especially ‘Negative Emotions’. Excessive thinking tends to lead nowhere and makes you live in your head rather than living your life. Therefore, getting out of your head and connecting with friends or doing some activities such as exercise can help encourage mindfulness. The mind-body connection is powerful and you can break unhealthy patterns by doing something physical.

Hugo Alberts and Seph Fontane Pennock dig deeper into why human beings tend to avoid negative emotions in their discussion on the importance and meaning of (negative) emotions, awareness, and mindfulness. This led to an interesting description of what happiness is.

Happiness

Happiness is not what makes life beautiful. What makes life beautiful is overcoming obstacles such as obstacles and negative emotions. It is more effective to create a meaningful life rather than a “happy” life because the negative side of life is inevitable. Strive for growth and developing yourself and having a heart of gratitude.

That is why the Second wave Positive Psychology incorporates both the dark and bright side of life rather than focusing solely on the bright side of life

The Necessity Of Negativity In Life

Negativity in our lives can be a warning that something is going on in your life or body that needs your attention. It is not bad to experience negativity in your life once in a while.

Negativity can also be a form of ‘time out’ or an opportunity to reset your values in life. Sometimes you need that break to reset your priorities too. You can be lost in your head by focusing on some issues and neglecting more important issues in your life.

That brings us to another important mental stage – being depressed. As humans, once in a while we find ourselves depressed (non-clinical depression) and all we want to do is to quickly shake it off and move past it. But that feeling could be a wake-up call stop and reevaluate the things we do because our feelings and emotions are telling us we need to do something right now. Whenever you can, take a moment and asked yourself this question, ‘How are you doing’. We often ask people how they are doing but rarely, if ever, take the time to ask ourselves.

Emotions As A Feedback Mechanism

Humans are one of the most complex beings on earth, and life is no less complex. Recognizing emotions as a feedback mechanism can help you pay attention to your emotions when you are feeling different. It is okay to embrace your emotions and know that it is part of life. For example, when you are angry take time to ask yourself ‘What boundaries have been violated here?” Do not just push the anger away.

A Life Of Solitude

Spending time alone is one of the most difficult things for many of us. It can almost seem impossible to avoid thinking of things we have been pushing from our mind. It is hard to be alone with yourself even though you will spend most of your life by yourself. The urge to do something constantly knocks on the doors of our but there is tremendous value when you learn to enjoy spending time alone.

It leads to the ability to accept yourself. To be okay with who you are “Is a life well lived”. It is amazing when you take the responsibility and look at solitude from a curiosity or gratitude perspective.

A famous writer once said, “So I tell myself my life”. Learn to catch up with yourself and give updates about your life occasionally. It may sound awkward, but who can best tell you your life story but you. It is more empowering than reading or hearing someone else narrate it to you.

The Power of Thoughts

The mind creates stories, words, and symbols constantly, which is why it is important to learn to get out of ‘thinking’ and be present in the moment. Pay attention to what is happening right now in your immediate surroundings. “Becoming and living with yourself as a friend” Neitzche

Connecting With The Present

Learn to stop simply breathing and deliberately take a breath in and out as often as possible. Reserve time for a mindful activity you enjoy doing. Mindfulness comes when you get out of ‘thinking’ mode and focus on one thing at a time. Sometimes major decisions in life do not require full-blown analysis. Learn to listen to your intuition because everything in life does not have to be rational (involve rational ways of thinking). For example, when you are buying a house you do not only use rational thinking. Instead you listen to your intuition and ask yourself “Does this house feel like home?” Do you want to come to this house after a long tiring day?

Enjoy your creative nature and get into a creative process as often as possible. Write for the sake of writing or draw for the sake of drawing. Do something simply for the sake of doing it. The most beautiful way to connect with life is a state of non-thinking and allowing creativity to flow through you.

Thank you for reading, I enjoyed listening to the podcast by Hugo Alberts and Seph Fontane Pennock, who give a new meaning to real happiness. Learn to embrace negativity and not run away from the negative emotions when they do visit

Out Of Your Mind Into Your Life by Hugo Alberts and Seph Fontane Pennock

I thought I would make it by now
A new day come and gone by
Yet, I am standing still like a cloud
Motionless and in need of a breeze

I thought I would make it by now
Spring came with bright colors and sweet water
Yet, my life seemed as dull as  dish water
Gloominess and going down south

I thought I would make it by now
Summer came and warmed our bodies and plants sprout
Yet, my body crouched down like a plant in need of light
Stagnant and fighting to rise

I thought I would make it by now
Fall came, serenaded us with beautiful colors and took away the summer heat
Yet, dimness seemed to fill my whole surroundings
Brightness fights to pierce through

Then came winter dressed in white like a bride
And the winterwhite of early morning covering dead brown weeds
Offering us beauty and innocence
Yet, my body look forward to the squishy earthmelt of April
Bright colors, radiant hope to reenergize my body
Ready to keep pushing till my breakthrough comes

Even though you are not yet where you supposed you would be by now, or have goals yet to be accomplished, all your toil is not wasted. A gardener does not stop watering and tending his plants even when growth is delayed. The gardener still waters them and pulls the weeds. Keep sowing and watering.  Harvest time will come soon.

Thank you for reading, please feel free to comment or share.

Use 2020 as your excuse to start again or do something different. Do not let fear, doubts or insecurities hold you down.

Only when we are no longer afraid, do we begin to live. Dorothy Thompson

Not Good Enough

Many a time, the feeling of “not good enough” finds a way of crippling our minds, some of us more often than others. We never feel like we are good enough by our own standards. There is always some sort of shortcoming. Perhaps that feeling may be hard to get rid of completely, but you can challenge it at least.

We suffer more in imagination than in reality. Seneca

For example, I’m my case whenever I think of doing something I tell myself, “You need someone to do this with you. Are you sure you can do this alone? Find someone to work with. This idea cannot be done by you alone”. This particular thought has been there well before I got married. When I got married, I was like ‘Yes, I got you now. I have a partner and we’ll always work together.

Little did I know that reality is far from expectation. The same thought kept haunting me, which made me realize that this is a battle to fight and not necessarily to agonize about.

2020 will only be a different year if you reflect on your past (2019) experiences and be honest with yourself about what you could have done differently. Sometimes mishaps or omissions are obvious, but other times our mindful attention is needed to grasp or dig deeper into matters.

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. Suzy Kassem

As for me, there is one thing that I know I have wanted to do for a long time. I used too many excuses for why I was not able to do it, but 2020 is my year of ‘Just Do It.’ If it will turn out to be a success or not matters less than whether I have gathered the courage to do it.

Likewise, what is it that you have wanted to do but just haven’t been able to tackle for one reason or another. It is time to let go of fear or doubt and ‘Just Do It’. There is always a lesson to learn, even in failure. At least you figured out one way that does not work.

Do not be afraid; our fate cannot be taken from us; it is a gift. Dante Alighieri

Whether you believe in predestination or not there is greatness in you given to by your Creator. And He has not given you a Spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Fear comes to distract us from discovering the greatness that God put in you.

Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom. Marilyn Ferguson 

You have the right to be free
For you were born with the freedom to fulfill your purpose in life
For Freedom is your right
You’re free even to reject your Creator (God) for he gave you the freedom to do so
Therefore, don’t let anything or anyone oppress your soul and spirit

Freedom is your God-given right and He never wants you to be held hostage by any circumstances in life; whether poverty, shame and rejection, or partner, parents, friends and employers. Let nothing hold you down, you may be down for a moment but let your Spirit be free. Therefore, walk like a free man, talk like a free man, and act like a free man even if you are physically trapped in prison or in an unhealthy relationship. Because you have the right to be free no matter what. Let you Spirit be free like a bird in the air for Christ paid it all.

Faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to.

Without faith, a man can do nothing; with it, all things are possible. – Sir William Osler

Whether you are a religious/spiritual person or not, faith is an ingredient needed for a life triumphing despite fear, doubt, and insecurity.

Faith is like taking a step without knowing the outcome. Because faith can be or is risky. Faith is doing something risky without seeing any possible outcome but believing in the endless possibilities that can happen.

Is there anyone out there still waiting. I give you a challenge to start right now. Do not wait any longer.

 ‘Just Do It’ 


Please, tell us what that one thing is that you know is holding you back from doing want you always wanted to do?

Happy 2020 and stay tuned for many blessings.

I just wanted to take this moment and wish every one a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in advance.

“Christmas is like candy; it slowly melts in your mouth sweetening every taste bud, making you wish it could last forever.” Richelle E. Goodrich

Take this day off and enjoy what is around you or reflect on your innocent childhood Christmas memories and savor them. Say no to stress or any emotional derailment. Look deep within your soul and recreate any peaceful and joyful moments that you have stored if this isn’t one of the best Christmases for whatever reason. Whatever it takes just, allow peace and joy to be your guide.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. Norman Vincent Peale

Let the magic of Christmas touch you in whatever state of mind you may be in. Put on the mindset of Christmas and let the Prince of Peace saturate your heart with endless peace that surpasses all understanding.

Once again Merry Christmas to you all. Stay tuned for 2020 with a lot of blessings, empowerment, inspiration, creativity, prosperity, Wellness and good health.

On gloomy days when you’ve lost your way
And confusion becomes your companion
Let Grace like an Umbrella cover you from haze

On sad days when the devil opened his canyon
And dark memories fly through
Let Grace like an umbrella shield you with compassion

On weighty days when the load of life is more than enough
And you struggle to take a step forward
Let Grace and faith step in and see you through

Grace may not stop the circumstance or the unforeseeable situations. Just like an Umbrella does not stop the rain.
But Grace will cover you and protect you. Grace may be that extra push you need to get through to the finish line or the power to start all over again in 2020 without losing heart. Therefore, lean on grace and grace will see you through.

May Grace abide in you this season and always

When despair tries to tear you down and cripple your life with angst and gloominess
And darkness offers you comfort
I saw the hands of hope mending piece by piece and holding everything together

When darkness fights to depose hope and enthrone itself in your life
And the prince of darkness manifested himself as the most grand
I saw the heart of hope like a bulldozer demolishing darkness and you shinning through like a star

When your mind breeds distortion and says no one cares about you 
And you isolate yourself and vow to end it all
I saw the fiercest spirit of hope pushing against and clearing the distorted cognitions of your mind like a propeller

Let hope be your eyes, hands and feet this season. See hope in every situation and circumstance. Let your eyes be the magnet that draws hope closer to you. Let your hands carry hope and extend it to every life it comes across. In this season, whatever your hands touches let hope be felt. Let your feet spread out the message of hope wherever you go. In this season your feet shall bring good tidings to every worn out soul searching for hope. Above all hold on to faith and let your light shine brighter this season. 

I got inspired while interning at a rehab facility

Narrow is the gate I am walking in
Tight, long and isolated is the way that leads to it
I am running out of time, and energy and I have excess baggage with me
Teach me how to surrender and make my burden light as the wind

The narrow gate, exhibits dullness and suffering that make many wince
But there, the seekers shall find the prince of life
In the narrow gate Christ awaits
To imprint your name on the roster of heaven
In the narrow gate the exchange takes place; Beauty for Ashes, Oil for mourning and a garment of Praise for your heavy Spirit. To strengthen you for the battle within

Don’t be afraid to go through the narrow gate because it holds your healing and your victories inside. Life is a Battlefield, and you must put on your full armor of God or put on Christ in order to withstand and stand firm when the battle becomes intense. “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” Ephesians 6:11. The wide gate may promise a faster way to escape but does not lead to victory. The narrow gate may look dull and difficult but in it awaits your Prince of Peace. Stand firm in all you do and do not be afraid, for He promises to be with you until the every end.

Let’s Stand Firm and finish 2019 with a great Victory in Christ Jesus. Amen.


Thanksgiving reminds us that no matter what befalls us in life, we can take the charred remnants and we can reconstruct a life unimaginably richer than that from which the shards and pieces fell.” Craig D. Lounsbrough

I’m glad that we have set aside a day in the year to give thanks for everything, but giving thanks ought to be a daily routine. Each morning we open our eyes is enough to make us thankful to be alive. As long as we are alive, we have achieved something we can never earn on our own. No amount of success, wealth, fame, education, beauty, or creativity can buy us life.

What we all have in common as human beings with different statuses in life, and even with animals, is death. Like the wise king started “Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless” Ecclesiastes 3:19

Therefore, let’s all be thankful that we are alive and our lives are a gift we can never earn or buy. Life is full of bittersweet moments; sometimes it is very sweet, sometimes it is very bitter, and other times life is both sweet and bitter at the same time.

I like this quote “When asked if my cup is half-full or half-empty my only response is that I am thankful I have a cup.” Sam Lefkowitz. It is not about what we do not have but it is about what we do have and how we see it. Having a healthy perspective about life can help you through the most difficult moments because how we interpret our circumstances and situations in life can determine how we endure and persevere through it.

Gratitude is a virtue that we all need, not just on Thanksgiving but every day of our lives. Gratitude makes us content even though it may not necessarily remove all the obstacles or low moods and emotions of life, but yet it gives us the strength to hang in there. Or rather a sense of hope for the future.

“Let me encourage you to get up every day and focus on what you do have in life. Be thankful for the blessings of the little things, even when you don’t get what you expect.” Victoria Osteen

I am thankful for each and every one of you in WordPress, especially to my followers. May the year-end with great victories, and may the good Lord remember all your efforts and hard work through the year. Stay thankful always as God releases his blessings upon your life