Monday, 30 April 2018

Perfect Plan

This weekend I visited a friend of mine I have not seen in a while.  I noticed that she seemed quite preoccupied.  When I asked her what was bothering her she answered that she and her husband were facing a difficult decision.  Neither of them knew what the best choice would be and none of the advice friends had given them made their decision any easier.  What a relief it would be to them if only somebody could wave a magic wand and fix all their problems.
Their situation reminded me about a story I have heard some years ago.

A little boy was walking along and in the veld he found a cocoon, he picked it up and noticed that on the inside there was a butterfly struggling to come out. He immediately took out his pocket knife and cut the cocoon open. Very proud of himself, he helped the butterfly out and placed it on the nearest flower. However, instead of spreading its wings to fly off, it fluttered weakly for a few moments and then fell over and died. Dismayed the little boy ran home and told his father about the incident. The father explained to the little boy that the butterfly needed to struggle its own way out of the cocoon in order to grow its wings strong enough to survive. When the time was right, it would have emerged from the cocoon, delicate yet strong. This story struck a chord with me. So often, when we find ourselves in a difficult situation, we wait for somebody to come along and help us out. Some knight in shining armour to fight our battle for us, some Samaritan to help carry the burden and often we will just give up the fight, but it is in the struggle, in overcoming, that our strength lies. The butterfly is exquisitely and perfectly created by God, and the inborn struggle it has to go through is also part of God's perfect plan, it serves a divine purpose. When the time is right, God's plan will reveal itself to us, and looking back we can see how it all worked together to complete the picture. Without that time spend in the cocoon, the struggle towards freedom, the caterpillar would forever stay just that, a caterpillar. In Jer. 29: 11 the Lord promises that He has plans for us, plans that we may prosper, not plans to harm us, but when the time is right, his perfect time......

Monday, 16 April 2018

Road Trip!

One thing which is a characteristic of most humans is the desire to move from one point in our lives to another.  We all have an inborn need to progress, to achieve more or discover new horizons.  Having goals and aspirations give our lives direction and momentum.  It helps us to feel invigorated and fills us with a sense of hope and anticipation.  
Many people, however, never seem to achieve their goals.  They have dreams and wishes, but eventually their enthusiasm fizzles out till there is nothing left but the mundane and ordinary.  They become depressed and disillusioned.
The reason for this is that they had no clear plan, and no action backing up their dreams.
Life is often compared to a journey.  I absolutely agree with that view.
In order to turn our dreams into reality, we have to approach it as one would when undertaking a journey.
First of all we need to know exactly where we want to go.  We have to know the destination.  We certainly do not just get into our vehicles and aimlessly start driving around hoping we will get somewhere wonderful.  We need to decide where we want to go and why we want to go there.
Without a clear understanding of our destination it will be easy to be sidetracked onto roads meandering nowhere.
Once we know where we are heading it is important to have a map of the road we have to travel to get there.  What is the best way to go about reaching your destination?  Do I have to take a few workshops or enroll for a course in order to better equip myself?  Maybe it is necessary to work for a few years as an apprentice to gain the necessary skills I need before I can venture out on my own.  Whatever it is, do not delay, map your road ahead.
Once we have settled on the route to take it is necessary to gather everything we need for the journey ahead. Just like a car needs oil and fuel for the road ahead, we need the essentials for our journey.  How much money will be needed, what skills are necessary and what resources will be useful along the way.  I also have to plan what pit stops I need to make on my journey.  I have to break my journey up into smaller manageable sections, smaller goals, that will ultimately take me to my destination.
After deciding on the destination, planning the route, gathering all the things needed for the journey and determining where we need to rest along the journey it is time to take action.  This is the stage where many people lose the impetus.  They get caught up in the excitement of the planning, but never go over into action.  We have to get in the car, turn the ignition and step on the accelerator.  Forward is the only way to go, all the time keeping the destination in mind.  However, it is crucial that we enjoy the journey and take in the scenery along the way.  Finally it is advisable that we regularly take a moment to review the journey we have undertaken. We have to take note of what we have learned along the way and what adjustments we have to make.  Were there any detours we had to negotiate?  Are we still on course or do have to recalculate our route?
As we travel along on our journey we have to constantly remind ourselves about the reason we are travelling to our destination and we have to keep our goal in mind.  Although it is important to now and again check our rear-view mirror, we must keep our eyes firmly on the road ahead, because that is the way we have to go.  Above all, enjoy the trip!

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

A Wonderful Legacy

As parents we all know that feeling of wanting to give our children the very best of everything. We would love to give them the moon, the stars and all the world has to offer.  Most of us work hard and often overtime in order to build a nest egg, not merely for our old age, but also to leave our children an inheritance.
However, our true legacy cannot be counted in money or material possessions.  It is found in the things we taught our children, the example of our actions and in the way we loved them.  We leave behind a legacy with every moment we spend with them, gently guide them, listen to them and love them unconditionally.
Every time we encourage somebody instead of criticizing, we invest in them.  The way we make people feel will be engraved on their hearts long after our image has faded from their minds.  Our legacy is every life we have touched with kindness, every person we have inspired and every smile we have sent out into the world.
The greatest inheritance I have received from my parents is the relationship I have with the Lord, their greatest legacy is their words of wisdom which I in turn am passing onto my children.  What will be your legacy?