Are you robbing yourself?

anger-management

booksnotbombs.org.au

Reality changes perception. No doubt. When you encounter the truth, you let go of your long held erroneous impressions.

I experienced it back at the university. In my class was Ama. I didn’t like her because I didn’t know her. As good as she was; nothing she ever did impressed me. In fact, I cared less. Truth? I never cared at all. Until groups of five had to be formed for a course project. Your guess is as good as mine.

She was the only one who turned up for our first group discussion. Against my decision, she argued we at least discuss the objective, timelines and budget. We ended up discussing more than that. We discussed ourselves. Then came my shame. I was totally wrong about her.

She was a nice person. She still is. I know you’ve had similar experiences. Yet we still hold ill impressions of some people we don’t really know. We don’t think good of them because of what people have said about them. Or what we have even seen them do or heard them say. I know so. I am working on giving everyone a clean sheet. You do same.

But I want to stretch this human tendency to our everyday decisions.

Could it be that the reason you are still stuck in this job isn’t tangible? Could it be the reason you haven’t taken a step is no fear at all? Could it be the reason you haven’t confronted that problem is weak? Could it be that the reason you aren’t even dating anyone is a far-fetched lie? Could it be the reason you are still at this level is insubstantial? Could it?

Yes it could. In fact, it is true. I know for certain, some deep-seated wrong perceptions are hindering our progress. Some lies we bought in years ago is the reason for this bankruptcy. Some wrong prophecy has robbed us of taking bold steps in God. Fear has more people incarcerated than breaking the law. The greatest obstacle for many isn’t physical but psychological with keys held by these two words; what if!

fear

time.com

I have learnt that every decision in life is inspired by either love or fear. Our love for, or of something against our fear of something. Of the two, I know we have given fear more points.

So this is a call to reconsider your reasons. To question your intentions. To put your motives on the stand and cross examine them.

So why haven’t worked on that dream? Why do you hate that person so much? Why don’t you go to church at all or even come early? Why have you stopped hoping? Why have you stopped praying? Why are you home? Why are you taking no action? Why are you still not pushing? Why are you not seizing the opportunities? Why?

And how long have you held on to these reasons? Are they still relevant owing to this time and age? Do they still have meaning taken how everything has evolved?

We are all great at making substantial arguments that should pass as great excuses and fit neatly as shoe fits Cinderella. So don’t quickly disregard the reasons. Or even refuse to question them. Take time to reflect and consider their appropriateness.

When I questioned my intentions. When I queried my excuses. When I put my motives on the stand. I was shocked. Completely taken about by how I had robbed myself. How I have literally sat on my own happiness. Denied myself opportunities. Destroyed some relationships. Never even started relationships with some people that could have blossomed by now. All because of some long held intangible excuses and fears. Never again.

shocked-face

healthylifedaily.org

You will be shocked too. The only reason that won’t shock is the one that led you to Christ. The rest, I know some will shock. But it is good thing. So you become a better person to yourself, your family, this nation and God.

So go on. Reconsider your reasons. Re-examine your motives. Question your inspirations again. Don’t rob yourself with perceptions, excuses, reasons and fears. Don’t. Be Inspired.

 

Kwabena Eddie Mankata © 2016

don’t give up

dont-give-up

actscommunitychurches.com

I have heard it. I have read it. I have seen it. I have said it. So many times, I can’t remember to number.

Don’t give up. Life can punch those words out of your spirit. Make them evaporate under intense heat. So much that you wouldn’t find the D that begins the Don’t but you have to press on.

Here’s what those words mean. Actually.

You would be misunderstood. Not because your vision isn’t clear though you explain with the simplest words. But it won’t make sense to them. They would think you don’t have what it takes. They would think you are crazy but don’t give up. Maybe you need to quit explaining and start doing.

You would be disappointed. Yeah you would. Sometimes, the same people who profess love won’t be available to help. Even those who promise and swear to help wouldn’t, sometimes. They have pressing issues too. They have assignments too. No hard feelings. But don’t give up. Fold your sleeves and get it done.

You would fail. Lose a lot if not everything. To believe in a dream is to channel all your energy and resources there. It can go south. The plan can fail. You might run at loss and be in debt. You will be scared to try again. It will make sense not to. It will but don’t give you. No amount of money lost in pursuing a dream goes waste. Not in the long run. Look for resources elsewhere.

You would be discouraged. One insensitive slur thrown. One piercing look cast. And your steam might go off. Your fire extinguished. Depending on whose words and looks, recovery can be near impossible. But don’t give up. We are here to glorify God. He neither slurs nor sniggers at our loss. Press on.

And everything that can go wrong; can go wrong. Even what you think mustn’t, can go wrong. You would feel trapped in a cell with the walls closing in. Light and darkness would mean same; darkness. But don’t give up. Fight back. Create a hole in the tumbling walls for light. Keep the light in your imagination on. Don’t give up.

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shutterstock.com

Death is the only accepted reason to give up. Fear isn’t. Failure isn’t. Disappointment isn’t. Loss isn’t. Needless to say every dream cost. But idleness cost more. Giving up cost more. Keep trying. Don’t give up. Be inspired.

Kwabena Eddie Mankata (c) 2016

Celebrating Boke – The fish that swallowed Jonah

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worldwildlife.org

Ignored? You bet. Boke has been ignored for long. Today, I dedicate a page to Boke. Jonah disobeyed, he obeyed. Jonah reasoned, he didn’t. Jonah slept, he stayed awake. As simple as his job was, it wasn’t easy.

His instruction that day went something like this. Stay with the storm. Close to that ship. The one painted brown. Headed for Tarshish. With the inscription, “No matter the storm, we ride on top.”

Today, I will stir the waters with a broom stick. I will cause a great storm. I will shock that inscription. I will shock the experiences of these mariners. They will try their natural tactics but this isn’t a usual storm. They will call on their toothless and blind gods but like I said, this isn’t a usual storm. Not as if they are potent. Needless to say, every tactic will fail.

Only one will work. How would they know? They would. One runaway prophet would soon realize, I collect the waters in the hollow of my palm. I see everything. More importantly, every word I send needs to accomplish its purpose without failing.

By the way, not that you need to know, but his name is Jonah. He would ask to be thrown into the sea. Better he dies alone than with these innocent people. I have automated the storm, the more they hesitate, the angrier it grows. Of course they don’t know. But they would found out soon, and without any more hesitation, throw the prophet into the sea.

Jonah would think death awaits him since swimming is out of the question. That’s when you come in. You open your mouth and swallow him.

Mind you, he is no fish food. Don’t eat him. I know I allowed your great-great-great ancestors to throw the biggest pool party ever in history with Pharaoh and his soldiers in the Red Sea years ago. But this is no enemy. He isn’t pursuing anyone. He is running because I am the compassionate and forgiving God. That’s all you need to know. So don’t eat him. You are to keep him inside your belly. Wait for my cue as to what to do next. Off you go.

Off Boke went. Like play, like play everything happened. What did Boke eat whiles Jonah rested in his belly? How did this ever hungry blood thirsty fish feel? How did his body function? Day one could have been bearable but how did day two go? And the thought of not knowing how long he would have to carry Jonah? I wonder. Jonah too didn’t keep quiet. He worshipped. He praised. He sought God. Jonah held a retreat in there. Herh! Boke has patience.

This I know. Boke’s natural order of body function was suspended. His free movement suspended. No hunting adventure. It didn’t mean the urge wasn’t there. It was. But Boke obeyed. This fish was made uncomfortable in his comfortable zone for a number of days. Three days and three nights. Imagine! Until God spoke and ask Jonah to be vomited out. Boke obeyed.

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christianity.about.com

Like I said, this is a celebratory piece. I am fighting the urge not to draw lessons. I won’t. Boke, I doff my hat to you. Obedience doesn’t come easy. Our flesh always war with our spirit. Too many of us rationalise our call. Too many of us can’t hold on longer than a day. We hate not to be in control. We don’t want what, we want when and how! We want assurances before we move. Walking by faith is rare, seeing is believing. That’s the deal. We don’t like accommodating even relatives not knowing when they would leave let alone strangers. So, I salute you, Boke. As long as fishes go, you are my hero.

Now to my beautiful friends hiding in corners around the world, running away from God’s work. You know yourself. Well, a “Boke” is coming your way. I run. Bye. Be Inspired.
Kwabena Eddie Mankata ©2016

Your Job? Come and Eat

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playen8.bloguez.com

By the way, God sets the table, before you, in the presence of your enemies. You don’t bring the table. You don’t bring the food. You don’t select the food. You don’t serve. You don’t even invite your enemies. God ensures they are present. Present to watch. Your job? Follow His lead to the table. You will be guided by His staff and protected by His rod. Then you sit and enjoy (engw33).

The table isn’t for you to appear fortunate in the eyes of your enemies. It is not an “ntoms” or lucky gesture. You don’t walk in on God eating leaving Him with no option than to invite you. God prepares it for you. He has a habit of choosing foolish things to shame the wise. He uses the weak things to confound the strong. It is for His glory. He shines it on you at the table for your enemies to know, He dey! He watches over His own.

Yours is to follow His lead. So stop visiting other tables. Yeah. Too many of us are frequenting man-made tables. Satisfying our desires as and when we please. And we know. We aren’t following God’s lead. I admit, to be led by God is no easy task. He gives everything but how. You have to be attentive to His daily directions and calls. You have to walk by faith and not sight. This means passing through dark tunnels when you haven’t seen the light. Jumping off cliffs when you don’t know what you are landing on. This isn’t pretty. So why not settle for a nearby table? Nearby tables trap souls than satisfy them. They blur sights. Distort hearing and condemned souls to perpetual thirst and hunger. Settle for God’s table.

Next, stop selecting the food. I have been amazed by menus at dinners. There are restaurants for specific food. I am taming my love for coconut cake at Barcelos, Accra Mall. How did we come to have a favourite food? By tasting them. We took a chance. We liked. We added to our favourites. Then we give ratings to them. But we haven’t and can’t taste all food. So why ask God for food based on the only ones we have tasted? Sometimes we even ask for the best from chefs because we believe in them. And this is God; the Chef of chefs who even created our taste buds. I rest my case. “God, do me the honours, where should I sit?”

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Stop building your own tables. Lately, I have realized God’s timings are a few minutes after the deadline I give Him. There is always the temptation to get ahead of God. Venture a trade and tow a line that leads to quick riches and fame. We can’t run away from our urge to seek God’s work last. To worry and wonder in desperation to fulfil a desire that brings temporal satisfaction. Cover our shame or save face. Deep down, we know our tables lack longevity and stamina. We do but still build them. They break down and we build another. Till we get tired and give up. Worst, eat on the floor as if we have no father. But we do! A loving one! Whose guidance we have to follow. Who has placed in our lives, His Holy Spirit to comfort and help us go through our daily struggles. Why waste time on temporal structures? Why not save the energy for the walk?

Stop dragging your enemies to watch. Just the look on an enemy’s face when you succeed is priceless. I know. Sometimes we go the whole length to make sure they hear about our success. We text them. Mention them in tweets. Send them photos. Update status with indirect messages. We work hard to prove them wrong. Our inspiration is for that day we get to look them square in the eyes and say, “you were wrong about me. Here is my proof.” But be so concern about an enemy and your decision will be informed by them. Be so fixed on proving yourself to an enemy and they might not care at the end of the day. Be so scared of an enemy and you can’t step into daring places God directs you. So leave them. As much as you want to prove them wrong, look at the best picture. They get front seat watching God serve you. Let God arrange the meeting. Let God bring them to the table. You keep following God’s lead. Get to the table and eat.

After, you will be anointed with oil. Ask them for your pictures later. They will take pictures. I’m sure. Be Inspired.

Ref Psalm 23

Kwabena Eddie Mankata (c)2016

31st December, 2016

31

I should have posted this in January. It isn’t late anyways.

In 2015, I took some audacious steps. However, there were some steps, had it not been for my doubts, the gossips, and the fear of failure, I would have earned a page in the 2015 Faith Hall of Fame in Heaven.

Truth be told, I have been taking safe moves. Safe moves with checks and balances. Safe moves that leave little room for miracles. Safe moves that are hardly shaken whether Jesus appears or not.

I haven’t placed much demand on heaven. I am talking about demands that leave even angels in shock. Demands that can cause Heaven’s eyes to pop. Demands Heaven will grant anyway.

So in 2016, I want to see the pages of the bible in my life. I want to really trust Jesus with my very life. I want to hold for long things with my faith. I want a demonstration of Jesus in my life. I want to believe and not deny the power of God. I want to see Jesus clearly. Love Him dearly. Follow him nearly. So far, so good!

And I have a list. A list dependent on faith. To be carried by grace. Fuelled by mercy. Undertaken by hard work.

Ready? Publish two books. Write two major drama scripts. Stage three major productions. Organise a poetry event (done!). Finish the two barely started manuscript for film. Premier a short film. I didn’t think I should mention the number of poems and short articles to write.

These are besides owing at least ten lapel pins for my production. An office space for work and rehearsals. Lights, cameras and a truck. And marry that beautiful daughter of Zion. The gentle and terribly kind, lovely damsel. Yep!

And I have family in South Africa, I would love to visit. I have heard a lot about Botswana but I want my own judgement. Kenya just entered the list. Because of the Masai Mara. I will love to visit Lamu and catch a glimpse of beaches surrounding Malini. Crazy abi?

Yeah on the first day of 2016, I prayed for grace to move in God’s direction. I prayed that I please Him more than anything. I prayed that my crazy steps of faith please Him. I prayed that I hear Him clearly. I prayed for His approval.

Whiles I stretch my faith, I also have to stretch myself. Place a demand on my potentials. Step outside my comforts. Shape my character. Control the things I can. Become better at everything I do. Learn. Read. Help more people. Work harder and build sustainable supports. All these I need grace o! ei! I know it is possible. I believe!

philippians-4_13

So come 31st December 2016 as GOD’s grace wills and mercy permits, I will pull this piece out. And we shall tell the goodness of the Lord. What about you? There is no point walking with an in-built aircraft engine. There is no need crawling with wings. We all have what it takes to make it big. Don’t play small. Make a faith list. Hold on and watch God provide. Be Inspired.

Kwabena Eddie Mankata ©2016

here’s a better reason

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wallpaperscraft.com

An aunt called you good for nothing. A father was ashamed of you. It was gang of siblings against you every time. A teacher used you for bad examples. You became the recipient of many cruel jokes both at home and school.

Perhaps you were slow. Maybe it took you more time than usual to grasp concepts. You didn’t have a good retentive memory. You could not understand algebra or the logic behind logical reasoning. Sketched a hen and a cow and there wasn’t any difference. If the plural of tooth is teeth, why is booth, booths and not beeth. It didn’t make sense. You didn’t meet expectations. Neither could you reason as wanted.

Or you were hated for getting it right most times. You were orphaned and unfortunately disadvantaged. You were punished for the sins of your parent.

But the problem wasn’t you. It was them. It was how they treated you. Cruel and unfair. They lacked patience. They were blinded to your uniqueness. They didn’t understand you. They lied about treating you as their own.

No one felt your pain. No one. People may have been through worse but you are different. The effect couldn’t have been the same. No! Spank two random kids and one might not flinch. The other might tear till sun down. Only you knew the pain, shame and regret.

So it is common for them to become the inspirations for your hard work. You want to make a bold statement to overturn that unfair verdict. So they delete and replace that ill picture of you with a better one in their head. Or to see the look on their faces, when you honk and wave from your four wheel drive. You just want to “show” them. It is common.

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dreamstime.com

Someone reading this maybe working hard in order to be forgiven, accepted or approved. You were told, get me this or that. Go here or there. Be this or that. Else this relationship won’t work. Else you can’t be one of us. Else you won’t be forgiven. You are trapped to prove a point! It is common.

It is common because we see in the movies. We hear in acceptance speeches and inaugural addresses. How a nobody defied odds to become relevant to the shame of his enemies. How a maltreated child becomes the bread winner to the shock of the family. It is common.

But does it matter what inspires hard work? Does it matter what pushes us out? Does it matter what disturbs our comfort? Does it? So long as it gets us doing great, why should it matter?

It should. An inspiration has to take seat in your heart to be effective daily. Why allow such heart-breaking comments in your heart? Why imprison yourself with a thought you can never be fulfilled until they see your success.

Whiles proving a point, it’s likely to hate these people. It is difficult to forgive them. It is like a wound you wouldn’t allow to heal because you scratch it often. You keep it alive to prove a point.

And why prove a point to anyone? They didn’t create you. Neither are you accountable to them. It would surprise you some won’t even care about your success. Being mortal, some will be long dead before you get to the chance to show your success. It is common but not a good reason. I have a better one to share.

But before, you are specific. God didn’t make a mistake with you. You aren’t an afterthought but an original idea. You aren’t a fool. You aren’t stupid. Your actions don’t define you. No part of your body defines you. You aren’t what you think or what others think. You are what God says you are. You are the most splendid being God ever created. I really want to say, God thought of your nose before He painted the sky blue. I thought you should know. (by the way, YOU ARE SPECIFIC is my new book coming up – watch out).

Now to my better reason. My utmost inspiration. Do it for God. Work hard. Stretch. Disturb your comfort for God. For the only ONE who can reward you here and in heaven. For the ONE to whom you are actually accountable. The ONE who won’t despise you. Do it for God.

Become successful to glorify God. If there’s anything to prove, let it be that anyone can be a beneficiary of God’s grace when they reach out to Him.

But first you would have to forgive them. You would have to forgive yourself. You would have to stop blaming yourself. Let that wound heal. Free that thought. Let it go. Now make God your reason. Stay blessed. Be Inspired.

Kwabena Eddie Mankata © 2016

arrest MARCH

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Handcuffs

“Monday, February 29th – Check in. Hey, it’s leap day – Sweet! One extra day to write” was posted by Julie Eason on our Writing Accountability Group on Facebook yesterday. When I read it, one question came to mind. “What I have written in the last 59 days?” Followed by a boarder one, “what have I achieved in general in the first two months of 2016?”

I didn’t hate myself for my answers. I’ve achieved almost half of my expectations. How about you? Ask yourself these two questions. Pause and answer. Don’t continue reading until you have answered. Do you feel happy or otherwise? Of course if you hadn’t set any targets with timelines you wouldn’t know for certain. Whether you achieved something or not, I know there is room for improvement. We can do more and better.

So let’s arrest MARCH! Usually there should be a committed offense before an arrest is made but this is by different rules. My own rules and I mean,

Put the 31 days to work – PLAN

Instead of asking where MARCH went by its end, tell it where to go! Plan for it now. The plan can be daily, every other day or on weekends. So you get to judge effectively at the end when grace finds you. It doesn’t have to be a huge ridiculous task that comes with unnecessary pressure. Neither should it be otherwise. It should be something that disturbs your comfort. Something you need to stretch to achieve. Surely something more than what you did in February. By all means plan for MARCH but don’t use MARCH to cover for the losses of January and February.

Form a new habit or improve an old one

My recommendations are these. Read at least two books. Wake up early. Reduce time spent on social media. Improve your knowledge of scripture. Pray more. Spend less. Invest more. Exercise. Take a free tailored online course. Write an average 1500 words a day (this is for me). Expand your network. Or add yours. Everyone knows the new habit imperative to form or which one needs improving.

Notice, I wrote habit and not habits. Don’t fall for the temptation of building a lot of habits. It sure looks easy on paper not so in reality. It will drain your passion and kill it embers. It won’t work! I know so. This isn’t a competition. So take your time and select one just for MARCH. Whatever it is, write it out and paste it in your room. If it is really one thing, it should be in font size 72 on an A4 sheet readable at any distance.

Habits thrive on their importance. Give them a reason and your mind will work your body to perform. Habits grow faster with accountability. Get your spouse, co-worker, roommate or good friend to check up on you. Work that habit and reward yourself. Fulfilling your urge to watch a movie or football match should be a reward after working that habit. Finish at least a chapter before getting on social media. What habit are you going to build?

Try old stuff – new timelines

There are some changes that come to disrupt daily routines. New baby, new sleeping pattern for mothers. International job, a glorified wanderer (Joke wai). However, in MARCH, disrupt some routines on your own. New timelines for laundry, cooking and ironing. Free some weekend time by working some of its activities on a week day. Keyword is try! No pressure.

Watch it closely

Monitor the days closely. Cross out days with the habit as you go by. Be conscious of your efforts in putting MARCH to a great use. Don’t let Mondays sneak up on you. Neither should Fridays be wasted. Pray with the Psalmist, “teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 92:12 NJV).” Watch MARCH carefully.

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Runner crossing finish line (blog.powerlung.com)

Do these and at the end of MARCH, you are assured to approach APRIL with a more relaxed attitude and boldness. Continue like that and 2016 won’t elude you. You will look back not to wonder but smile. One reason, you have made a great use of God’s working power and grace.

Anyway my response to Julie’s post was, “2000 words target today! Do or die for me on this bonus day.” and she wrote back, “You can do it! I believe in you.” You guess is good as mine. I hit 2106 words yesterday. My MARCH is already in custody. How about yours? Be Inspired.

Kwabena Eddie Mankata ©2016