Saturday, 21 November 2015

Our world needs our prayers

Our World requires our prayers.

On 13th of November there was a mutual feeling of disgust, frustration, anger, intolerance, grief, pain, consolation and prayers for the terror attack in Paris. 

Unfortunately, this was an addition to other such catastrophes happening across the entire world; the most recent hostage situation in Mali, refugee children drowning to death, women being raped, inflation, corruption and the list never ends. 

Everyone is asking one common question: What-is-the-world-becoming-into? 

I turned to God and asked him, “what should I do that can possibly make a difference?’ 

The Lord replied, “Pray!” 

Quite often our idea of the least-we-can-do turns out to be the most-we-can-do!

It took two incidents to change my entire outlook towards perceiving problems. 

The first one took place during my recent stay at Evergreen Villa. (Maiden home)

One morning, over breakfast; Mom was angry on the maid who took off unexpectedly and I was cursing the poor internet service. (Not so welcoming topics to begin a day) 

Big brother was silent, smiling sarcastically. 

On asking what makes him laugh at our problems, he turned to me and said, “People are losing their lives every day because of poverty, starvation, terror attacks, wars, persecution. Have you ever thought of doing something towards solving the global problems?” 

I, as always, in a denial replied, “But how can I think of helping others until I have dealt with my own problems? I can’t function. I’ve too much to worry about.” 

A little agitated now, he stated, “When you’ll stop concentrating at your own problems and focus on the global problems you’ll realise how bigger they are than yours”

There was long pause of silence! (The one expected after the moral of the story is revealed)

The second incident was a Eureka moment in itself.  

I wanted something and was inquisitively praying for a miracle. 

My impatience led me to drop a word on an online portal that calls for prayer requests. 

As I was hunting for some fancy words to convey the sincerity of the request, my eyes fell on other people’s posts. 

On reading, one request after the other, I felt compassionate. The agony and pain of others took over my blown-out-of-proportion problems. 

A lady was expecting reconciliation with her husband.

A family was about to get on the streets. 

A man under debt was fighting back suicidal thoughts.
A mother had lost her only son to accident. 

A sister was hoping her brother to get healed of cancer. 

After a few minutes I found myself on the knees and instead of putting up my request I ended up praying for others. 

Some verses from the Scripture that talk about the Power of Prayer: 

“Do not worry about anything. Instead pray about everything.” Philippians 4:6 

 Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” Ephesians 6:18

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” Romans 12:12

“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.” 1 Peter 4:7

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrew 4:16

Let’s continue in faith through our prayers.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Talents part-1 Believe in the talents you possess. They have a purpose.

Talents Part – I 

Believe in the talents you possess. They have a purpose

When this topic was suggested to me I thought to myself, “A lot has already been written and spoken about ‘Talents’ so how do I make it sound different/interesting/helpful?” 

So instead of researching in the outer space I decided to look within; how I discovered my first real talent. 

Being a kid my favourite pass-time included playing teacher-student. I loved sitting down younger kids, scribbling with a chalk on the an old building wall and pretending to be a teacher. (I detested studies though!) 

When I opted for Arts stream I remember being told, “If you are going for this stream (a-looked-down-upon-one) you must excel in it or else it’s of no use.” The advice fell on deaf ears. (Because excelling involved studying!) 

My graph as a successful student went from low to high. Much later, while pursuing Masters in literature I saw the possibility of turning my passion into profession. 

While pursuing a course in creative writing, I discovered I-can-write (Not so exceedingly well, but getting there) and ended up writing blogs!  

God had it all planned even before I could see or imagine it. 

[In all humility, just testifying the miracle of God in my life] 

“Just as a body, though one has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” The Bible

Identical to a jigsaw puzzle; it cannot be completed if any of the part is missing. Looking at the completed picture as a whole will help us understand that each part though different in shape, size or colour is equally important.

For a change, let’s imagine our body parts sharing a conversation wherein they are jealous of each other. 

Helpful hands: You know? I do it all; picking, throwing, washing, writing, clapping… oh what not!! But how I wish I could simply sit on the face like eyes and just look around.

Expressive eyes: You think that’s easy? We don’t just look around; we scrutinize everything we see, we observe, we provide a vision to the body. Phew! It’s a lot of work. Wish we were you; just do what is commanded and not have to be alert all the time. 

Mischievous mouth: Woah… woah woah!!! Some sympathy over here please. Wish I was a nose; smell and go back to sleep. But instead, I’ve to speak, eat, yawn and these days pout for the selfies as well. Too much on my plate! 

Nose: Oh, hello! Don’t forget I am the one who keeps breathing round the clock. While every one of you gets rest, I don’t. Period! 

Reality check: One-size-does-not-fit-all. God does not give us what we are not capable of managing.
It’s easy to feel less important than others whose talents are perhaps different and more visible than ours. But if God gets into it, it is going to work to the shock and amazement of everybody. 

Therefore, our duty is to utilize our talents and faithfully play our part to complete the puzzle. 

God has not bestowed us with a talent for our enjoyment alone. It causes us to work; work hard to enhance it. And what a pity it would be if we keep it to ourselves and not use if for benefit of each other. 

Talents: Part II coming next week. Stay tuned!!!

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Becoming your most attractive self

Becoming Your Most Attractive Self

“Loneliness may be a curse to many but for a believer it’s a blessing.”

One of the best times to fall in love with ‘self’ and begin building a great relationship with yourself is when you're alone.

There came a time in my life after marriage where I wasn’t forced to or chose to but just happened to have a lot of time on hand. Since I was not working I treated myself with a long, much-awaited, desperately-required vacation.

This is the time when I discovered myself all over again.

We all need a time-off from the mundane lives we live to reconnect to ourselves. Not necessarily, going on a vacation, or quitting the job but just putting that extra time, we often label as ‘loneliness’, to productive use.

You can ask and answer the internal questions that will help you choose your relationship goals.

What do I need in a relationship?
What do I have to give to another person?
Where are my greatest strengths and biggest challenges?

Here are some most important tips to keep your sanity and self-esteem in check when you desperately require it.

Prevent criticizing. Begin Appreciating

All of us have an inner critic. It’s that nagging voice that focuses on the negative. That voice tells us we aren’t enough and focuses on our weaknesses. If you want to effectively resist external pressures, it’s crucial to start silencing this internal voice. You need to develop more positive “self-talk.”
So how do you turn your worst critic into your biggest cheerleader?

We all feel self-conscious about some part of ourselves. It’s natural. But keep in mind, how you handle these inevitable insecurities determine how others perceive you. A safe way to fight anxieties is to identify and actively affirm your personal strengths.

Start by taking stock of all the aspects of your physical and inner self that make you unique and remarkable.

With your list in hand, start letting go of the fact that you don’t look like a movie star or have that six figure salary. Find beauty in your individuality. Own who you are and what you are. Don’t apologize for your intelligence. Remember that what makes you who you are is ultimately what makes you stand out from the crowd. 
Keep proclaiming this loud and clear every day,

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalms 139:14

Stop making comparisons. Start Civilizing.  

There is nothing more toxic than negative comparisons.

Remember you will never truly know the intimate realities of another person’s life. No other person shares your genetics, experiences, opportunities, tragedies, etc. Thus, measuring yourself by someone else’s standard is always a dangerous proposition.

There is only one ‘You’ in the entire world and that is what makes you stand out from others.
We are all created unique and special. God is the potter and we are the clay. He made us all perfect having our own uniqueness.

Instead of focusing outward, focus inward. You’ve looked at your strengths and started appreciating yourself more. Now honestly assess what you can improve about yourself.

I love trying this exercise as a positive way to begin approaching my personal growth. Hope it will help you as well.

Create three columns.

  1.         Capture the things you do extraordinarily well 
  2.           List the things you feel are run of the mill or average in your life.  
  3.          In the third column, write down the things you think you aren’t good at.

Choose one thing from each column to devote more time to. This can be a simple approachable way to begin some healthy development.  

At the end of the day, self-esteem is the key to win the game.

Above all, God loves you and believes in you so you can too.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Mom's Magical Garden

Mom’s Magical Garden

Whenever I change a house (by the way dear husband and I have changed four in four years) my Mom’s expert-interior-designing-tips prove very helpful. 

Our standard conversation,

Mom:  Beta, now just get some plants and you’ll be ready to flaunt your house. (Totally expected)

Me: I want to, Maa but alike you I’ll get attached to the plants as well. What if we have to move into another house? I can’t leave behind my plants to die. (I play the emotional card)

Mom: You can donate them to someone who likes plants, right? (She is always ready with solutions)

A mother to Mother Nature, She is! 

And I strongly believe God was of the same opinion which is why, “The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground--trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.” (Genesis 2: 9, The Bible)

She finds it difficult to relate to people that don’t grow plants. She often questions, “How can they not see how therapeutic it is; to sow a seed, witness the wonder of the fresh new sapling, water it, and nurture it, to experience it grow into a tree?” 

No wonder, whenever, she feels overwhelmed with home chores or depressed she steps out into her little garden, feels the plants, talks to them and becomes rejuvenated. 

You heard me right; she talks to her plants. So every year when Christmas is at hand she talks to the floral plants and requests them to blossom flowers on Christmas day. And, I am yet to understand how, but they do; miraculously. 

My brother and I always mock her addressing, haphazardly grown trees in our backyard, as jungle. But a recent incident left us dumbfounded. 

In the busy crowded area that we stay, it is so rare to see our national bird but there it was; a peahen, roaming around freely. It is a recreational stop for a group of monkeys too. They pay a ritual once-in-a-week visit and get to feed on vegetables from our fridge. Undoubtedly, we have to admit that what mom proudly calls her jungle is in a true sense one. 

In the front yard stands a Karen-tree (don’t know its botanical name). This tree has grown out of an unwanted branch thrown away in the colony, rescued by Mom and planted in an empty space. 

I always admired its fallen flowers giving an image of a bright yellow carpet spread on the floor. But during my recent stay at “Evergreen Villa” (My maiden house) I noticed how this done-away-with, once-useless branch is now a home to so many different species of birds and animals; crows, cuckoos, humming birds, hawks, sparrows, doves, seven sisters, nineteen gale, woodpeckers, chameleons, squirrels, honey bees to name a few. 

This led me to research about importance of trees in the Bible and the following are the findings: 

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:3 

“For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease.” Job 14:7

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

“The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the plane, and the pine, to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious.” Isaiah 60:13

“The trees once went out to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.” Judges 9:8