Realistic Stock Taking


It’s the most wonderful time of the year….
… or so they say.  Smiles all around, Christmas decorations in town and at home, last minute shopping or stocking up, working the extra job to make a little more cash to spend – Yes Christmas can be exciting and exhausting all at once, but it’s the last holiday of the year so we like to go out with a bang. However, as the year ends, it is wise to take a quick trip down memory lane and reflect on the happenings so far.  A lot of people tend to gloss over things or forget the details, but I intend to call a spade a spade and be real about what this year was like for me.  So, I took on the challenge in January about stopping the blame game and what a challenge it was!  I realised it was so much easier to blame people for my shortcomings but once I had no one to blame, things got tougher.  I started the year with vigorous job applications and constantly telling myself that this will be the year for me.  Positive confession was not easy, but I kept at it as much as I could. 
I got a placement offer in February and I questioned God as it was unpaid and quite a distance from home, which implied I would be spending money and not getting paid just to gain experience.  Lord, is this really the answer to my prayer?  Anyway, I took up the placement and God used this experience to teach me the Raven theory.  We know how Elijah had to eat what the Raven brought to him during the famine; but have you ever considered what that did to his pride?  I am a giver and sometimes being on the receiving end when you are used to giving is not very easy.  I literally had to live week by week not knowing how I would get to work the next week, or who would help with baby-sitting, but God made sure that I had just the right people available and the right amount of money to take me there and bring me back.  It was honestly a very humbling experience, which I didn’t enjoy if I am to be honest, but I thank God for taking me through that season.  Just when I was getting used to the whole routine – I found out I was pregnant.  Now don’t laugh too much but I wasn’t expecting this.  I thought that my getting the placement would be the career breakthrough I had been praying for, which would imply that pregnancy would wait a few months, but God had something else in mind.
There was a particular morning when I got to work a bit early. I sat in the car and just started crying.  I told God I was very grateful for this opportunity to have some experience on my CV, but I really needed to get paid and earn money.  I also said I was tired of driving two hours daily, especially in the early stages of pregnancy.  I think I sat there for about 30mins just crying my heart out to God, trying really hard to show my gratitude but request for more at the same time.  I remember that morning because I got a message from someone a few days later, offering me paid work experience pretty much at my door-step.  We had spoken about four months before and it seemed like it was a dead end and then ‘Boom!’ opportunity comes knocking.  It is one of the things I am most thankful for this year.  I gladly handed in my notice to the current placement and moved on to greener pastures.  I had praise on my lips from the moment my eyes were open, and I went to bed with joy in my heart.  This had to be it. Upward ever from here. No going back. And then the battle really started.  If you’ve read ‘The battlefield of the mind’ by Joyce Meyer then you know that the mind is where it all happens, and the devil wasn’t going to spare me at all.  Firstly, I was pregnant.  I kept thinking about how I would progress into an office after this season.  I thought of how long it took me to get into an office after my first child and what a numbing experience that was for me and my family.  It didn’t help that agencies kept chasing me with tasty positions which pregnancy would not allow me take – mainly because they required long travelling and I had no interest in doing that.
Friends advised me to move town but how could I do that with a toddler since my husband is already away due to his job…?  I started feeling bad and thinking about how I could end up being stuck in this job which had given me so much joy only a month ago.  How quickly we can forget to be grateful for the Lord’s provision and yet we blame the Israelites for doing likewise during the exodus, hmmm.  And if that wasn’t enough to upset me, friends around me kept celebrating promotions in their careers.  From starting their own businesses to rising to the top in their current offices.  My prayer changed again; “God when will it be my turn, what do they have that I don’t have, and I’m the one singing in church every week!” God being the perfect, ever loving Father that he is decided to give me a little peak into His view of the situation.  I met up with one of those people who looked like they had the whole package and during our conversation, I couldn’t help noticing the look in this person’s eyes.  There was something I had that they wanted!  That couldn’t be right, could it?  But the message was very clear.  That night when I got home, and for the next couple of weeks, I kept thinking what could I have that anyone would want, when they had everything?  I realised that it actually didn’t matter what this person wanted.  God was showing me that I am more than I think I am, and I need to focus on His plan for me and stop measuring myself against others.  It took a while for the message to sink in if I’m being honest but once God has spoken, and I’ll hear it as many times as I need to.
Now the year is drawing to close.  Last year I had no income.  This year I have a source of little income and I have 10 months of continuous work experience on my CV, plus it gave me great joy to bring my tithes into the Lord’s house (still working on the electronic method) as often as I got paid.  There were many times I doubted my ability to do anything at all, but I thank God for using friends and family to keep me going.  I think it is important to be real in our assessment of our progress.  It is okay to say, “I didn’t quite reach that particular goal this year”.  I’ve only talked about my career but there were quite a few challenges in this year.  For instance, I planned to enter at least one writing competition in 2018, and it didn’t happen.  I know I’ve still got a few days this year, but its not going to happen in those days, so I’ve moved it to next year’s goal list and I’ve started looking out for the type of competition I would like to enter and what the entry requirements are.  I had challenges as a wife, as a mentor, as an Events’ Manager and even as a Mother!  I can’t go into all the details right now, but I have gone over a most of them with God and I am working on setting realistic goals in all these areas for the years to come.  Taking stock can be tedious and there may be times we would rather just sweep the details under the carpet, but if we can truly examine ourselves and be honest about our shortcomings, we may find that it wasn’t as bad as we thought, or as terrible as that unwanted whisper was trying to make us believe.  Just remember that nothing you did took God by surprise this year.  He was prepared for every single day and His love is still constant.  Have a Merry Christmas and a very fulfilling new year ahead.
Stay blessed & Keep the candle burning


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