Sunday, 29 December 2013

This Time Last Year

This time last year I was lying down on my bed trying to figure out what went wrong and what next. I was at the end of my first year for the third time in three years at my second University studying the same program, Architecture. I told myself “If you don’t make it through this time your are going to have to do something you don’t like for the rest of your life, like accounts or something businessy”. To say the least it was not one of the highest points of my life.


So there I was seated approximately 5655km away from home in a four man room at my University, the only other person in the room was one Mizyao Nyirongo, a fellow Zambian, and it occurred to me that while I was there tormented on the inside he was in his own world oblivious to what was going on with me. Not that I was crying out for help or anything but the thought that hit me was that I might try to explain my issues to someone  around but the true burden of it all would only be carried by me. In the words of some cynical guy I know, “Don’t tell people your problems, half of them don’t know what to say and the other half don’t care”. I tend to have such conversations in my head by the way, it’s quite chaotic up there.
As you may imagine such lines of thinking are really depressing and it was really getting to me. So I turned on my computer, I was reading a book at the time, possibly one of the Redwall books by Brian Jacques, turned on the browser and started listening to music that did not help my mood, I was listening to Keane which is not a good idea if you are potentially depressed. I kept sinking and sinking in this despair, it was a lonely place. Suddenly in my mind’s eye a light begun to shine at the end of the tunnel, I remembered that I am never truly alone, God is with me. It’s quite weird talking about it but the thought was followed by a realization of all that had happened alongside all the downs. I begun to realize that there were blessings associated with my situation and I begun to count. I had friends and family who were somewhere far away but believed in me even though I did not believe in myself.  I had a God who was looking after me even though I deserved none of his grace. I was in a University that allowed me levels of practice in my field of study that I had been longing for my entire time back home. I was somehow placed in a room with two really decent blokes and a potentially troublesome guy who never spent a single moment in the room, kind of bad for me to be happy about the last part but I was on a roll. It was a good feeling, I turned off the Keane music immediately.


So there I was and it dawned on me that I was given a chance, not just a second but a third. I was given an opportunity and I was to make the most of it. Yeah, I did not know whether I would pass or fail at the end of the semester but who knows for sure so my part was to work hard and do me best. Yeah I had failed before but now was my chance to pass, the past is the past and its purpose is only for reflecting and not dwelling. Yeah, I was in a foreign country and there was no one on the entire island who I had known a month prior to arrival and yet I had somehow found myself in a room with decent guys, I had found myself at a decent bible believing and preaching church in a Muslim country. It was not half bad, not bad at all.
This time last year I was in my room on my bed unsure of the way forward but I was ready to trust God with my future because he did a real standup job getting me to where I was. This time last year I made the decision to do my best in all that I was given and make God and those who believed in me proud. And though at times I have dropped the ball, I will pick myself up each time, dust meself and keep moving forward. This time last year I was ready to take the blind leap not just into the New Year but into the rest of my life and this time this year I find myself on another cliff a little further ahead of the one I was on last year and I’m ready to jump, again

Things are looking pretty good from here

Thursday, 26 December 2013

The Awesome Fact with the Terrible Derivative

There are a lot of things that have shocked me in my twenty odd years on planet earth, there are a number still that have appalled me and yet the number that have done both are not so many. The topic of this “speech” is one of the few. It is something that is religious in nature so if you are not religious, I highly recommend you keep on reading and if you are religious I highly recommend you keep on reading. Basically just keep on reading. Back to topic, this awesome fact is one that has been taken to unreasonable extremes by the Charismatic denomination. A lot of you are familiar with it, it goes kind of like this: Some man or woman starts speaking about some topic that no one knows, a lot of the time not even the person who is speaking then they get to a point were in order to justify wanting the unreasonable, unrealistic and often things that would do them no good they talk about how their father, God, is the richest there ever was and will be and how he will give them stuff because they are his children. I do not doubt there is truth in the statement, however I would like to point out the folly in an unnecessarily large amount of thinking on that.

God is the father of all Christians, not Christians by religion but those who are Christians by faith, that is those who have come to understand that they are sinful and that their only hope of any sensible life both in this life and the one after is to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, who came to die on the cross for their sins and is now in heaven interceding on their behalf. That is the core of the Christian faith and if you notice we, as humans, are only involved at one level and that is the believing and putting our faith part, for those who zoned out. My point is that the Christian life is God centered and not man centered and this is seen even in the core of it. Now back to him being our Father, it has to be noted that he was not always our father for we are sinful and he cannot stand sin. So something had to be done in order to bring us who were utterly sinful and filthy to him who is holy and precious. When it was done we were then adopted. Now to look at from the point of view of the adopted, which we all should. Why would the king of glory and he who has it all even want us/you/me as his children/child? Its borderline ridiculous. Having been in a family that has had a number of people brought in I know that it takes a while to settle and a frequent question that is asked is “will I ever be loved as much as the true children?” or even “what am I really doing here, I don’t belong” Such questions come because of a realization of unworthiness and yet there we are in the position of favor. One question that comes up in the mind of the ungrateful and the foolish is “how can I milk this of all its got?” and statements like “now that this man is my father I can get anything that I want”. I do know that some of those thoughts come up every once in a while and it is expected but the main thought should not be that of milking the rich man of all his got but an appreciation that though I come from the lowest of the low he still calls me child.
Where God found us is a lot worse than this. Try this to the power infinity, that's still not close enough

The reason why I am appalled by such a reaction to the awesome fact is that not only does it lead a number of people down the wrong route in terms of their thinking pattern, which has the potential to damage a lifetime of service, but it leads to a man centered view of Christianity which is the downfall of so great a thing. The moment we make ourselves the center of our relationship with God we damage and taint it. Everything that has man at its center is dying, everything. If we always think of life as a what can I get from this all or how does this benefit me, or God will give me this much money or this many friends or whatever it is that you most desire apart from him you use God as the means to an end and not the end in himself which is one of the biggest insults you can ever throw at him. You tell him that Yes, you are my father, and yes, you picked me up when I was nothing and deserved nothing but I want you to get me this and that because you can do it and that will make me happy. How selfish of you to displease he who gave so much for you. And there you are talking about how you want a big car and you deserve it because God is your father. Or how you deserve to be the top of your class because God is your father or how you deserve a certain job and will get it because God is your father. You selfish, ungrateful child. I bet if you heard a child talking like that you would smack him/her so hard they would have their facial structure changed, I think I would.
Such thinking is folly and folly is the biggest characteristic of a what?? You guessed right

I have said a lot and at times have digressed but I will end with this. We spend so much time looking at what will get from God when God does not promise us everything first he promises us himself and says he is enough, why can’t we take that? I am not saying do not reach to be the best and have the best but what I am saying is all that is secondary because the time will come when tittle and riches will be no more and all that will remain is you naked before a holy God, then What? Where will your life’s ambitions that were aside from him be? If we look through the bible at a number of people who God used in a mighty way, there are more who did great things for him  who relied and saw in him all that they wanted and needed than those who served him and where painfully rich or popular. There are more petitions of the “more of you God” than the “more of the stuff you can give me God” in the entire bible. Lastly I will say this, God is not his stuff, God is God. The sooner you learn that the better and if you want to learn that to its fullest or get as close as you possible can here are two ways for you to do it. One pick your bible up from wherever you leave it when you are busy doing unnecessary things and read it, you won’t believe how much it can speak. Secondly and equally as important talk to God in prayer, who else better to tell you how awesome he is than God himself. And if you don’t know how to pray look at the first point, you will find great tips on how to get started there.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Anger Is Not The Answer, Its Not Even The Question

In my younger days I was known to have quite the fiery temper, I’m still quite young but you get the picture. My temper would rise faster than steam from a kettle of recently boiled water and my anger would last for quite a while. My older brother, Mwindula, had this trick where he would call me red eyes whenever I was angry and run around just out of arms reach. I would be so exhausted after all the running that I would sleep it off. Not sure if that was his idea but it worked nonetheless.  A day or two ago I had a confrontation that had me really angry and I remember thinking I have not felt this worked up in a very long time. This is not an ode to my temper or a eulogy to it, it is a God please help me deal with it and others can listen in on my thoughts.
Before I would get angry for all sorts of reasons, most of them I don’t remember completely but for those I do I remember they were petty and I am now ashamed of them. That is one trait associated with anger, we are usually ashamed of our actions the following day. If not for the reason we got angry then for our actions because of the anger. The incident that sparked me writing this had me raising my fists for the first time in a long time, I am not proud of myself for the actions of that night and I think when most people who are easily angered look back, they feel some form of shame for either the reason or result of the anger.
Anger makes us destroy things we will need later, sometimes even sooner
The feeling after it is not so good both because you have all this excess energy and have nowhere to take it. Your adrenaline levels are up and they don’t go down in a heartbeat. This state is usually the state that has a lot of us make a number of mistakes we later on regret. These include but are not limited to saying things we should not and should never say and doing things we should not do. It has us make decisions which satisfy us now and yet in the long run are really damaging. A number of people are currently occupying prisons because of a failure to handle this part of their anger. Now I am no expert at handling it, never have been but I am hoping if I can keep me anger in check I will not have to be but I do know this decisions made at this time are usually rash and stupid. So there you are with all this excess energy. What do you? How do you spend it? My father, a smart man, once told me this, granted it is hard to apply but it is solid advice, “energy is energy”, not a direct quote by the way, me memory doesn’t work like that. Anyway he talked about how energy provided by the excess adrenaline rush of anger can be just as productive as all other energy boosts. A number of the greatest pieces of art, whether in painting, poetry, written word, architecture, arts and crafts, you name it, were fueled by a passionate energy such as anger or love. Energy is energy.
Anger is a fire and fire burns. The object that suffers more from the effect of the fire is not the big lump of wood that you want to set alight but the match itself. The match tends to be consumed before the log catches fire and usually a number of matches not just the one. In short holding on to the anger consumes you more than you know it consumes the other. I did say more than you “know” it consumes the other, in short you do not know it is effecting or even affecting the other person. Whether it is or not is not relevant because you holding onto the anger is consuming you and that is not a good thing. Letting go is not easy but it is in your best interest to do so.
Lastly letting go is technically impossible in the same way that we do not just release energy into the air, we work it into something. Think of your anger as actual energy, the energy will not just leave you but has to be put into something or given to someone. Firstly putting it into something. I like to think of it as you having this huge piece of limestone in front of you, with all the energy you have you can produce a beautiful piece that will bring you endless delight in years to come or you can create monstrosity that will injure you countless times in the making and countless times after that. I cant break it down any more than that, sorry. Secondly given to someone. This one is less obvious but is definitely the better choice. You cannot give people energy, its just not possible, not even in Harry Potter, but you can give it to God. There is not scientific explanation for it but he is the only one who can take the pain and hurt that you feel. How he does it beats me but he does a brilliant job of it, trust me it works. All you have to do is surrender, admit you don’t have the answers and look to him for them. The result will shock even you. Me describing the experience will not do it justice. It’s something so phenomenal you have to try it to see the beauty, go ahead try it. Go on…
Seriously, try it sometime. It works

Monday, 9 December 2013

How to say thank you? I cant so I will say Happy Birthday

Mama's boy
Over the years there have been a number of people to whom I would like to express gratitude but very few people, to be precise only one, can be ranked alongside my mother. I am the way I am today as a product of a lot of peoples input but the majority of the good is because of the woman known to the world as Felistas Mbewe but I call her Mum. You must be wondering why all this here and why now, well I’m glad you asked.
1st December was her birthday and as much as I had plans to create the perfect gift possible by a son who is over a thousand miles away I could not because the university decided to have my midterms at the same time, I don’t think they like me much over here. Studying architecture you tend to have more sleepless nights than the people studying business and to say the least I did not enjoy my sleep during that period. I wanted to touch up a picture of my mum in Photoshop, something like my previous work for that is somewhere on Facebook but I had no time. Since I could not use a picture to tell a thousand words I chose the next best thing, a thousand words.
By the grace of God, I was first introduced to Felistas Mbewe on the 14th of October 1991 and though I wanted to laugh and smile, the doctor had to slap me to get me to cry and breathe, I still think I did not need the slap. She cradled me till I fell asleep for the first time, I slept like a baby, granted I was a baby but that’s beside the point. My father was also there, still is, but he will get his five minutes another time, this is about Mum.
Since then I have learnt a lot from my mother, sometimes through positive reinforcement and other times she just had to beat the lesson into me, I thank her for both. But the single greatest thing she ever did for me since birthing me is that she is the one who triggered the most significant change in my life. She had the words that through the power of the Holy Spirit led me to a personal knowledge of God. I thank her for that even more than I thank her for the first birth. 
 The rest will get their moment later, for now, Mum and I

I have always been able to talk to her about anything and everything, granted almost everyone likes to say that but for me it was and is true. She has set me back on the right path more times than I care to admit. She has seen me fall and has not given up on me. Yes, yes it could be said that its her job but I subscribe to the pattern of thought that parenting is a dying art, and yet my parents show me that there even though the world of parenting is dark there is light. It gives hope.
There is so much that I would like to say but in all honesty it would mean more to her than it would to you, so I will end my rant on my awesome mother with this. Those who have met her walk around seeing her as Felistas Mbewe and know that he is truly a great woman, not just for who she was but who she is. I’m telling you that you don’t know the half of it and though we don’t always see eye to eye and I let her down on occasions I want you to know that it is one of my main aims in life to make her proud. There is a certain privilege in knowing her as Felistas Mbewe but the greatest privilege is mine and my siblings, we get to call her Mum
It's a couple days late butt I'll still say it. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM!