Thursday, August 30, 2012

Counting My Blessings

Whenever we find life dry, we are often recommended to count our blessings. And when I think of blessings I cannot think anything beyond my husband Josh and my daughter Jeru. If not for them, life would not be there for me.Today, as I look back 9 yrs before, it is the day Josh and I were married and I just cannot think what my life would have been without him. If I think of someone (outside my family) who can love me more than themselves, it is none other than him. I am not sure if I had been anyone better to him, but I can be 100% sure that I am blessed by the heavens to get him.

Never had I imagined that I would find a man who would come into my life and would look beyond outward beauty. Until I met Josh, I always saw that it was next to impossible because I know how I look. But I had a small hope and faith that my God in whom I trust would not let me down. He would surely give me a man who would love me for my heart. And surely He did. Josh came into my life when I was 26 and I waited in the  Lord all those years to get my gift. Though the wait was tough, it was worth the wait. Josh is a blessing. Never has been a day in my life where I regretted my marriage. My man and my kid are blessings to me; two gifts of grace. Many times my other disappointments in life dies down when I remember my blessings. I see how good my God has been to me when I count my blessings and so can He be to anyone who trusts Him without wavering.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

In Pursuit of

I was drowning ...I could recollect that I was hit hard and was drowning perhaps into something deep and all the thoughts that were racing in my mind was my teen years. Everything seemed like a reel of memories rolled behind. I was seeing myself as a teen in search of meaning for life, a heavy disappointment hidden within me, a life without a purpose. I have found Lord Jesus. Now I am in the quest of what the Lord would want me do for Him. I am looking for a life with purpose. I am searching for my life's work. I meet a lot of people. I grow in the Lord. But day after day, month after month, and year after year, I only find disappointments. I don't find a single person who could direct me in the path of my quest.

I dream to do so many things- a counselor, youth worker, social worker etc. But I see that I am heading no where. I don't get any openings and the opportunities I get I am not satisfied. I find myself unable to work with people with different purpose and motives. I always look forward for selfless service and its hard to find like-minded folks. People have their own agendas and plans and I find it hard to gel with them. If we are to serve others selflessly, we need to do all that it requires to serve them even if it is going to take the extra mile. And I see that it is hard for others to do that as each one are too busy with their own agendas.

Years have gone by and life phases change. Marriage, kid, responsibilities change... so with the roles. Amid all these I still try to pursue my life's purpose working on some natural traits and burden only to eventually witness that these are short-lived like that of quick passing clouds. I still go straight with 2 attempts only to face continued failures. To forget all the series of disappointments and the heavy hidden remorse, I consciously choose to quit my pursuit for life's purpose.

Now having come to my mid years, I only try to build my career. Suddenly  I remember the hard blow I have had recently. A big disappointment in another sphere of life (my passion) seemed like a last blow to all the hope I had been holding to. Yeah, the picture comes vividly to my mind and as I open my eyes I realize that I am drowning and I cry out to my God like the psalmist does...doubting if help would come. I only recollect a verse from the Bible which is from Psalm 138:8

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O Lord, endures forever —
do not abandon the works of your hands. (NIV 1984)

I just repeat this verse again and again. I am not sure if I have the courage to believe this. 16 yrs has already passed, and to think that this verse is going to come true seems little skeptical. Not knowing what to do... I just say "I wish I could believe this, Lord help my unbelief", and then I close my eyes.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Machine Gun Preacher

I know that many who may watch this movie "Machine Gun Preacher" may take a skeptical view because the first question they may ask is how can a preacher take a machine gun and call himself a preacher? However, you need really get into the man's shoes to see all that he went through to save the lives of children in East Africa (Sudan). This is not just a movie. It is a real story of a man named Sam Childers, once a drug addict and a gangster whose life changes after accepting Jesus. This man's life changes so drastically that he  comes out of a life of sin, drug addiction and illegal activities and works as a construction worker to keep his family. He does not steal or beg or manipulate others to get money to run his family (something which I believe is a trait of a changed man who has met with Jesus), but goes to the extent of donating his blood for $20 to provide for his family needs.

The story doesn't end there, seeing this man's dedication at work, Sam Childers grows in his profession to the extent of having his own construction business. During this phase of his life, Sam goes to Africa to do a construction project where he comes to witness horrible heart pounding series of events where African children are killed and kidnapped by the African rebels. Many African parents are also killed in the process. Fearing that their children would be kidnapped or killed, parents send children out in the fields to take shelter for the night. Because homes are much more a dangerous place for the children to live as the rebels kidnap them. The intention of these kidnapping and killing is to make children as terrorists, indulge them in flesh trade and also sell them. Witnessing all this Sam's heart breaks; and he comes down to Africa to save these children. In order to save children from the rebels he joins the freedom fighters in Africa and fights the rebels with the gun. Sam often goes back home in Pennsylvania to get funds to buy the necessities to save the children. One should watch the movie to see his struggle.

Prayer, good intentions and good plans cannot just save lives. And God is not interested in them. Somebody has to take action. Sam Childers took that action. He sells everything that he has, builds an orphanage which at first attempt the rebels burn it down killing so many people involved in the project. Sam builds the orphanage again not wanting to give up on the mission he had taken up in his hands. Sam sees children burnt and killed by bombs and guns right in front of his eyes. Do you think any parent or a person with a human heart would just see a child being killed and burnt and still keep quite saying that God will save? Faith should be accompanied by actions. Without actions faith will be void.

Sam Childers may not be considered as a preacher by many because he takes a "Gun" in his hands to save children. As I said not many can understand what Sam Childers is doing. You need to get into his shoes to see his perspective. Even to this day Sam Childers lives in East Africa serving children. What you think about Sam Childers is your personal opinion. If somebody says that he cannot be called a preacher but just a humanitarian, it is like finding fault with believer (whose faith is in Christ or Christian) soldiers who fight in the borders to protect the country because they too indulge in killing others for the sake of the country.As for me being in the comfort zone and preach gospel is a very easy task than getting into the battle field to save lives both for God and for the human race.

If somebody is still not convinced about Sam Childers as preacher see the movie and answer the only one question the real Sam Childers asks after the movie and see if you can answer it honestly...

Watch the movie "Machine Gun Preacher" and to know more about Sam Childers here is the site

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A non-conformist?

How many of us do things just because we would like to be seen as a part of the crowd and not different? Conforming for the sake of social acceptance is something natural since we live in our own social circles. To do things out of the social norm will be perceived not only as different but as weird. We sometimes do a lot of things just because we need to feel accepted in our social circles. These things which we do can be religious/spiritual beliefs, cultural traits, family habits, etc.

Being a non-conformist is a difficult task and to be one without hurting somebody's feelings is all the more challenging. Over the years I have met people who would prefer to be a conformist and doesn't want to raise a voice, because they are afraid to be devoid of social acceptance. As a Tamil Christian writer my dad gains much attention and appreciation for the good writing pieces he gives through his self-publishing magazine. His intention of writing the magazine is to clarify some of the interpretations people give to the Bible scriptures and Christian living. He often says people choose to interpret Bible scriptures for their own selfish benefit. They do not wish to shape or align their lives to Biblical teaching, but just want to take those scriptures and interpret them which will suit or benefit them. Once two pastors and a brother had come to meet him after having read his magazine. A discussion began on how some preachers live their  private lives lavishly with Church offerings and not a simple life like Christ did. My dad's only argument was that though men and women of God can live their lives on tithes and offerings, they cannot live in luxury but be good stewards of the Church's money. One pastor agreed to my dad's statement and affirmed  that there are preachers who live lavishly though they should not be doing so and said that we can do nothing about it meaning we cannot oppose them or criticize them. I was totally taken back by such statement.

This was not one such incident. We once met a good man of God who did his profession as a painter so sincerely, that being surprised by his dedication at work we rewarded him with gifts and an award. However, even this person who showed so much simplicity, humility, dedication and good faith in Christ did not want to   comment against ministers of God who lived a life opposing the gospel. The question that lingers in my heart is..."Why should people of good faith be a conformist?" Is being a non-conformist such a difficult task? Or do people think why should I be bothered about how others are? As long as I am on the right side that is fine..? Or do people choose to be a conformist fearing that they will be looked upon as weird or different or even a opposer of faith and be devoid of their social circle? I don't know the reason. But I don't want to be a conformist.

The perplexing thought that often comes to my mind should we just ignore such things happening in Christian circles saying this is the common trend and we better not talk about it but rather ignore it? If this is what a majority of opinion would be... My next thought is had Raja Ram Mohan Roy been a conformist during his time, Sati would not have been abolished in India. Had Gandhiji been a conformist, the British rule would have continued this day in India. So if I am suggested that I should just go along with my social group and not be bothered about who is wrong and who is right is it fine? No, but I don't want to be a conformist and I am not afraid to be a non-conformist...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wishful Thinking?

How many of us invest our time on wishful thinking? I guess most of us do that. I many times regret for having spent days on wishful thinking...Perhaps there has been not just days but also months and years gone in just wishful thinking. What is this wishful thing? Well sometimes it can be as simple as wishing badly that  Monday morning would be a holiday for work or school/college. Hoping that somebody did the dishes for us or perhaps even cooked?! Didn't have to bother to take bath and carry on with our daily routine. Wished on a good rainy day to have tea and snacks (like South Indian bondas and pakoras), watch movies and spend time with family, so on and so forth.

The best part of these wishful thinking is that most of them doesn't happen. Sometimes it may turn out to happen as if God answered our heart's small longing. As long as these wishful thinking are small ones i.e simple aspects of life, I guess it won't be a problem to us and it won't really affect our quality of life (QOL). However, if we get into the habit of making our wishful thinking for big plans and decisions of life, we may end up having major disappointments. For instance, many single folks wish that they may find their prince charming or miss world accidentally, just like the way it happens in movies. Oops! They may later hope during their mid-lives that it was just a wishful thought and not a reality...(just kidding)

Wishful thoughts are usually slightly out of practical thinking. Sometimes it shows our childish way of thought process. I am not saying by indulging in wishful thinking we are being childish. Perhaps it reveals a child in us. It is okay to have a wishful thinking as along as their a minor things and not serious stuff in life. For instance, what if I develop a wishful thinking that I become an ace shooter just because I discovered a new passion in rifle shooting. It seems slightly impractical isn't it? However, not all wishful thinking are unrealistic and unpractical. Some wishful thoughts suddenly work for people by things falling in place. However, we need to go with what works in life and what doesn't. What suits our lifestyle and what doesn't.

Having said all this, many of us can waste time in wishful thinking. We just need to evaluate ourselves how far we are going in this track and if at all it is helping us or not...And next time you indulge in wishful thing, take heed and Happy thinking...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thinking Positively Different

Have you ever wondered what is the first thing that comes to our mind when something negative happens? Negative thoughts, negative emotions and even negative reactions which comes to us naturally. To think positively takes a lot of mental energy. For instance, let us say somebody hurt us either by their words, behavior or actions. It is very difficult for us to think something like..."Perhaps she had a bad day and was not her own self." or even "Perhaps they are having a tough time themselves". Sometimes we may get irrationally angry with somebody just because they did not do, act or behave according to our expectations. If we take a moment to analyze our emotions, we will see that many of those are baseless. We actually can choose to deal with them more positively by being rational.

To deal with our emotions positively we need to be consciously aware of what we are going to choose. We can either fall prey to our emotions and let our thought process run non-stop and even go to the extent of making decisions based on our emotions. Or we can first choose to calm down our emotions by rationalizing i.e diverting our thought process to a different perspective, a positive perspective. The more we think positively or differently than our natural way of thinking, the more our emotions are kept at bay. Keeping emotions at bay does not mean that we are ignoring our negative emotions or push them down to our sub-consciousness. However, it means that we first acknowledge that we feel hurt and are feeling awful with the whole thing and then stop with that. We take the next step, the most important step by rationalizing our thoughts. Instead of saying "What a snub she is to have ignored me?" We can choose to say "Perhaps she didn't do that intentionally". This kind of thinking is good for us as it will help us calm down. First we are being non-judgmental and giving the other person or scenario a benefit of doubt. Second, we are not falling prey to our negative emotions and negative thought process.

Thinking differently and positively does not come naturally for most of us are not made that way. Our brains are wired in a way where we react quickly to our emotions. However, with practice we can change our natural ways of thinking and become more positive differently...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Why Look Outside?

As a Bible believing individual I understand the work of spiritual forces and their interference in human's life. But I am not too bothered about the devil. I have come across many Bible believing believers who show more interest in talking about the devil rather than God as if the demonic forces are always at work in their lives.

As for me, my life is centered around the Lord and I believe He is in sovereign control of me and my life. Nothing will touch me, my family and our lives as long as we stand in the Lord leaving a life with God-conscious mind and heart. I believe that we are covered by the blood of Christ and nothing can harm us or no weapon formed against us can prosper. This is my faith based on His word (the Bible). Hence I don't see the need to be too bothered about the devil and his strategies against me or my family, because the eternal God is our refuge and underneath are His everlasting arms (Deu 33:27). Simple as that isn't it?

I am not too comfortable with people who keep blaming the devil for everything that happens in their lives. Years before, once I had my right wrist fractured when I slipped and fell off my bike. I was at home for close to two weeks taking off from work. When my Church friend visited me she said that it was the work of the devil. I was totally taken aback. I tried to tell her that the incident happened because I was trying to adjust my dress when about to sit on my two wheeler and missed to hold the handle bar due to which I fell off along with my bike to my right side. I am well aware that it was because of my carelessness that I fell and fractured my wrist for I had missed to concentrate my posture and the handle bar. However, my friend ignored my explanation and she tried to convince that it was the devil's doing. I was not convinced by her perception and not wanting to offend her, I remained silent.

This is not one incident where I have met people who are all the time devil-blamers meaning for everything that happens in their lives (and other lives) they would like to either blame others or the devil which is a typical Christian mentality these days. I am tired of listening to people who try to give an explanation for everything in the spiritual realm as if they have the answers for every single problem on earth. Believe me even though I am a Bible believing Christ follower, I don't have answers for many perplexing questions in life and I don't need to know because I know who knows the reason.

Coming back to where I left,  I am not buying in for the thought process of devil is the reason for this and that. However, I am not totally ignoring the forces of darkness at work. I have heard of and seen people who are really demon possessed and who have been delivered through prayer. On the other hand, I have also met people who are devil-blamers all the time whose talk is always like- This is the act of the devil. That person has got the spirit of greed or the lady has the spirit of jealousy, etc.

People are too good to blame others of having different kind of spirits. Why not look inside? A truly matured individual is one who will indulge in self-reflection often rather than being like the first Adam and Eve who were typical blamers (put the blame on the other). When God confronted Adam and Eve for their disobedience, Adam put the blame on Eve saying that Eve asked him to do so and likewise Eve put the blame on the devil for having deceived her. Come on!!! When will we grow up and stop being like Adam and Eve and learn to take responsibility for our actions???

I like what Stephen Charnock, a Presbyterian preacher of the 17th century from England says, "Self is the great antichrist and anti-God in the world, that sets up itself above all else". We actually don't need to search for the devil outside, but can honestly afford to take an inside look or introspect to see if there is any trace of conceit, manipulation, selfishness, self-righteousness, pride, arrogance and above all attitude or smug. This is all we need to do to grow up and stop worrying about what the devil can to us or who has got a spirit like that of a devil?! If we are really mature, we will stop blaming others and stop saying whose has got which spirit ...We are all bad enough on the inside that we specifically don't have the need to search for the devil outside or in others...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Why Bother?

Being non-judgmental is a good virtue and not many of us posses this trait. We all know that it is not right to find fault with others while being blind on our own. I practice my best to be non-judgmental. However I become quite judgmental when I encounter people's actions or speech filled with hypocrisy. I try my best to push off this attitude emphasizing myself saying, "Why should I be bothered if he/she is a hypocrite?" It is their life and they will easily be identified of their hypocrisy. So why bother and be worked up?

Though I believe in being non-judgmental it does not mean I support people who do wrong or is hypocrite. I still hate when people give a justification for the wrong done. For me this is heights. If everybody starts giving justification for doing wrong, why do we have laws and moral standards which govern the life of man. Our lives are governed by universal moral laws just like the way we are governed by physical laws. 

Many of my well wishers tell me why should be so worked up by people who are hypocrites, haughty or self-righteous? True, why should I ? Can't I just ignore them and keep my cool? Yes, I can. And the best way to deal with such people would be to withdraw from them rather than being judgmental.

My only attitude (not justification) to why I can't stand to some of the negative traits such as hypocrisy, haughtiness and self-righteousness is...None of us are perfect and all of us unintentionally or intentionally behave negative or do the unaccepted. However, we have the choice to admit and learn from our mistakes. And to  admit our mistakes requires self-reflection and courage...killing our inner pride. Though I don't preach this...I do my best to practice it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Living to the Fullest...

How many of us are living our lives to the fullest? I guess not many can reply in affirmation. Some of our deepest longings, deepest desires and deepest needs are unmet and it seems we are just living on the surface...I am not talking here about material things. Because luxuries, pleasures and comforts can never satisfy our deepest longings and needs of our lives.

There is a real person deep inside us and not many with who we may live is aware of. Have you ever desired to do something noble which could give you the life's deep satisfaction and have regretted for not doing that? Yeah, this is the real you. We may not be aware of our real self if we are living on the surface. Our loved ones with whom we live (spouse, children, parents, siblings, etc) would have never had the chance to know the real us...Because nobody would have asked us: "What the deepest longing or desire of yours which you would like to do?" We cannot blame others for it, for even we wouldn't have taken the effort to know the real others.

We can either continue to live on the surface or can pursue to fulfill our longings or desires which will give us the satisfaction of our being. However, the pursuit is never easy. The road is full of challenges, difficulties and disappointments.But the best part is our deepest longings and desires is attainable. And it is totally in our hands to make the choice...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Oh! I want to be "Me"...

Oh! How many times I have wished I was able to be me?...But either my loved ones or situations did not allow me to be what I really wanted to. I shouldn't be blaming situations here. It was more like the people around me (my loved ones ) whom I was conscious about whether I would be accepted if I do something what I intend to. For instance, once when we came out of a restaurant, I saw a mentally challenged women with torn clothes begging. I impulsively wanted to buy her clothes from a nearby store and give it to her. I neither had that much cash at hand nor I was sure if I could do that (fearing what reactions I would get), I eventually I kept quiet. But unable to ignore her and just walk away I asked my husband to buy her some food.

This is not just one such situation. There have been 'n' number of situations of this kind where I intend to do something and I was not able to do so. The other day when I heard of a mother and daughter living in a deprived situation of their lives, I wanted to visit their house (in another town) and show them my care, concern and empathy. How I wished I had the freedom to be just the way I wanted to? Should there be a restriction even to be good or do good? But there is a restriction to be what I want to... and I live within the boundaries of what I am expected...

I sometimes think weird. What if I could voice my thoughts aloud and claim that I have the right to be and live my desire? I am not intending to do something immoral or unethical. I am only intending to be good and do good for others. I know I can't do that...I know the reactions I may get and know the extent it can affect the significant others. So I am continuing to live up to their expectations.

However, many weird things come to my mind like...What if I just go out of the way and do things without being concerned about others reactions. What stops me most of the time is the outcome of my action. I confine to my own feelings and thoughts and try to deal with my regrets and ill feelings of what I couldn't be by doing things which I passionately do...writing. The only part where I am myself is through my writings. As I often say, writing is an expression of myself. Here I can be what I want to be without limiting my true self...