MEANINGLESS! MEANINGLESS!

One day suddenly, I felt, life is meaningless and whatever I have achieved or doing have no meaning. Maybe, you feel the same as I am, at times. This can happen out of nowhere, for no apparent reason. But it is necessary to understand why and when it happens.

Meaninglessness in life or anything we do or in any situation we are in comes when we are unable to find value in our life or the things we do. It comes when we insignificant in this huge wide world. It comes when failure lives in our house as a permanent member.

I find, lack of THREE very important factors within us bring in the sense of meaninglessness. They are the short form of the word IMPORTANT – IMP.

Let’s get into IMP in details for clear understanding of the matter.

Lack of INTEREST: I find it funny when I hear everything a person says yet I fail to remember anything he said. The reading of the text or hearing the speech or the message directed towards me becomes meaningless when I don’t conceive it because of my lack of interest. When I don’t have the curiosity of knowing or understanding something, I lose to understand the very meaning of it as well.

Lack of MOTIVATION: I usually avoid leadership training or conferences these days. The reason why I avoid to attend those seminars is very simple… I find them meaningless when I don’t have the scope to implement what I learn theoretically in those seminars. The scope to apply what you learn gives you a motivation to do it. And I don’t have that motivation so I find it meaningless for me. I really love it, I have interest in those speeches and training modules. I understand the purpose behind, yet I don’t have the motivation behind it.

Sometimes, in life, when we lack motivation, we fail to understand how to lead it.

Lack of PURPOSE: Just imagine, if your children are going to schools or colleges with the sole purpose of  finding a good life partner then the whole concept of education becomes meaningless. When the purpose of what we are doing or for why we are living is not known or understood to us then we run errands meaninglessly and a time comes when we lose motivation and interest to do anything or find life meaningless to live out. The purpose of life is the foundation of living it meaningfully and without it, we perish. 

All the above THREE words or factors seem very similar to each other but they have different connotations if we study them carefully. Interest gives us the feeling to attempt something, Motivation helps us to move forward with the same that interests us and Purpose directs us to move forward in the right path to accomplish what we were motivated about. There is no ranking or order of these three factors, called IMP. They are all part of the same system which makes our life beautiful and meaningful whether it is something that we do in our day to day lives or we do something to cater to the needs of our mental faculties or it is about our spiritual matters.

There is one Bible verse which I always love to quote when to explain the topics concerning life. It reads,

The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.”

At times, when we struggle to find the meaning of our life, we need to sit down and meditate on God’s goodness and His ways of dealing with people. He works amazingly and mysteriously. The more we go deeper diving down into the matters of our soul and eternity, the more we will draw out, that are beautiful, mysterious and meaningful for us. That happens when we are wise enough to do.

But the question is who’s then wise or man of understanding? The Bible again says,

“The reverent fear of the Lord that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence];”  

When we acknowledge God in our life, we gain knowledge and become wise. And when we become wise and man of understanding we get to go deep down to comprehend the purpose of life, ultimately we find the meaning of life and living it to the fullest.

Stay Blessed!

REEVALUATING WHILE LOCKED-DOWN

I have heard from my elders how they went into a situation like this, ‘Lockdown’ during the war against Pakistan and during the World Wars. But this time, it’s bit different. We don’t have to switch off the lights, stay hiding inside our rooms, stop looking outside popping our heads out through the window, wonder if the bombs fall on us and so on… But sometimes, we so underestimate the gravity and severity of a situation that we behave so funny and childish. When deaths are constantly rising every moment and  there are 100% chances of financial crash-down worldwide we are worrying about just a lockdown

It was so funny to see how people so quickly reacted when the announcement was made by our PM about a complete lockdown situation:

  • “How boring it will be staying at home for so long?”
  • “We can’t go out to meet our friends…”
  • “We have to do all the household works as maids won’t be available…”
  • “How will we spend our times all day?”
  • “I have planned to watch Netflix all day long…”
  • “It’s nothing more than imprisonment…”
  • “What will we eat? Same food again and again?”

All these we could update on our Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram statuses, expressing our irritation and worries because we are still not hit by Covid19 directly. We are still on listening and reading the news mode. God forbid, once one of our family members gets infected, we will surely forget how to express or react. 

Am I out of these lot? No way… I am part of the same crowd who tends to get bored and irritated. Although my answer was different when someone asked me seeing me loitering outside my room, “Bored???”

I shook my head and said, “NO!! I am quite habituated with this lockdown situation from the very beginning of life.”

The person who asked me, understood what I meant and walked away acknowledging my response.

YET!!!

I was wondering – ‘What lockdown means to me?’

1. Retrieving what I have lost: Suddenly when I have a lot of time at my disposal, I was happily scrolling away the pages of Pinterest on my phone and I came across an image of a beautiful paper-art. I felt an urge rekindled to let my fingers create something similar to what I saw. I cursed myself for not foreseeing this situation and buy colours, brushes and marble papers for paper-arts and paintings. I remember, how much I used to paint and draw pictures when I was a student. I had lost everything with an excuse of being busy in life.

I have made up my mind, that I am going to retrieve everything that I have lost and this lockdown will help me to give a kick start till I live on this earth.

2. Recreating what I have left unfinished and undone: I am known as a motivator and a person who initiates. But sadly, I want to confess that I am not good at continuing things or finishing it. I started to write a book, I started to plan for studying a Biblical Counseling Course, paid for it as well… I started to plan for a music album… Urgh! I have kept everything pending, unfinished and undone.

I just pray, “God, give me that enthusiasm to recreate all that I have left unfinished and undone utilizing these period of lockdown”.

3. Reinstating what I have kept detached: Yesterday, my cousin sister requested me to give her time so that she can connect with four of our families to see, talk and pray with each other considering the situation we have been facing now. The time was fixed and we had little problem with network but finally we could gather to have a video chat with each other, laugh, smile and ultimately pray for all the people suffering around the globe. And in the night while on my bed, resting my head on the pillow I was thinking, “Why I am so detached with all? I am not a person like this… why I stay away from people for a year or so?”

Everyone knows how I build relationships. And that’s what I love to do – investing my time in people’s life. Even I was feeling so uncomfortable when I was passive about this favourite thing that I love to do… But I did start connecting with people again, building new relationships and restoring the older ones during this lockdown period.

Trust me, I am going to reinstate every friendship, relationship that I have kept myself detached from.

4. Rearranging what I have left messy: Indiscipline, distractions and waywardness bring down someone into utter chaos and mess. I allowed it somehow to be in a mess for last two or three years.

Reasons? I can’t explain.

I might justify my life being not as bad as others, not as much in the mess as others but my heart knows it should not be like this anyway.

Okay! So, I have a lot of time to repair, rearrange, reorganize my mess and bring it back on the track by re-surrendering myself in His divine care. Surrendering life to God doesn’t mean resting peacefully…but to rework all the more and strive for making my mess, mesmerizing.

5. Reprioritizing what I have ignored: God and the purpose He has in and through my life is my priority. I confess, I have kind of ignored it for last couple of years. I don’t want to give excuses by blaming my illness or life situations. I understand, I might be faltering yet God does and will pull me back every time I go astray but I am desperately seeking His strength to help me reprioritize and stay focus on Him and the purpose that He has for me while I am alive in this world.

This lockdown gives me enough time to pray and gain strength from Him to see the people and their needs through His eyes, His perspective. My heart moves with compassion when I look at those people suffering and dying without fulfilling life’s eternal purpose. My heart cries. This lockdown made me kneel down on my knees and pray for them and feel for them which I could not have done it if I would have been in a Covid19-less normal situation.    

Lockdown means, a lot of time for me to work on all the above 5 RE’s along with whatever emergency work that I could do from home or by going to the office as I live in the same campus where my office is located. You might think these points are not relatable to you, especially the last RE, but I know they are. You never know, how devastating the post Covid19 period will be than the present state of affairs due to Corona-virus.

So, let this Lockdown Period’ be the most important period of your life apart from all the enjoyment and entertainment that you have planned, assuming you and I would survive and beat Covid19… Uhhmmm 😛  

Stay at home and keep pondering on 5 RE’s

Stay Blessed!

GO GUILT-FREE

Have you ever seen a child or a person stammering when he or she lied or done something wrong? When they walk, they look here and there… They speak with their eyes looking at the ground… They avoid other’s questions or interrogation…

It is our conscience that makes us feel like that. Our conscience is the only thing that speaks to us when we are all alone. It is a gift from God. A clear CONSCIENCE is a true friend which always speaks the truth and shows the things that are good and bad. When we are at fault, our guilt conscience makes us struggle to face people. As our guilt consciousness creates a barrier between us with the people around us. Guilt doesn’t allow us to live or walk or speak freely or at liberty. It binds us with a guilty feeling. It takes away our independence. It captivates our mind and soul.

But it is important for all of us to understand our guilt, because it can build us as well as can ruin us completely.

True guilt always leads us to true repentance. True repentance leads us to confessing of our misdeeds or sin and which ultimately leads to forgiveness and restoration… Restoration from being guilty, from a strained relationship and restored to have a clean conscience.

But there is something called false guilt according to June Hunt, one of my favourite personalities among all, who is an author, counsellor and the founder of ‘Hope for the Heart’ organisation that has been helping numerous people in desperation.

She warns about a few false guilt feelings which should not be within our hearts troubling us till the end…

She warns –

  • False Guilt is based on self-condemning feelings that you have not lived up to your own expectations or those of someone else.
  • False Guilt arises when you blame yourself, even though you’ve committed no wrong, or even though you’ve confessed and turned from your sin.
  • False Guilt keeps you in bondage to three destructive weapons – shame, fear, and anger.
  • False Guilt, ironically, is not resolved by confession. (The past keeps coming up again and again) 

False guilt can lead a person to depression and spiritual paralysis. False guilt tends to be very “me-centered,” rather than God-centered. And it makes the person feel that God has left him or her.

Now, this is alarming and false guilt consciousness can be fatal. But in my opinion whether is true or false guilt it should be dealt carefully and needed to be given up at once or else it will literally torment the person day and night and ruin his or her life.

It is not very easy to get rid of guilts. It stays like, forever…

Usually, when I struggle with guilt, a true guilt and I have the realisation that I have wronged a person, I search for opportunity to ask forgiveness from him and restore my relationship with him or her and go guilt free. Trust me, you need guts to ask forgiveness. It is good that we have plenty of options to say sorry these days. Previously, we had only two options – face the person or write a note. But these days, we have Whatsapp, email, messenger and many more options to ask forgiveness genuinely. But nothing can replace the joy of restoration when we are in persons.

Many a times, I have struggled with false guilt, feeling responsible of something which was not in my control. There was a sister like friend who committed suicide and I felt guilty of not paying attention to her when she wanted to share her heart. For quite a long time, I was troubled but later I shifted that guilt into a responsibility or task in hand to train myself well to be sensitive to the needs of people. And I succeeded in my endeavour by God’s grace.

You heard it right, God’s grace is the best cure to our guilt. Once our vertical relationship is smooth and free flowing, our horizontal relationships become alright automatically.

Lastly, if we really want to go guilt-free or lead a guilt free life then we should follow the instruction given as under:

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things; center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart.”

Let’s take responsibility of living with a renewed mind and conscience by focussing on things of higher values, following which are good and live a transformed and guilt-free life.

Stay Blessed!

IS THE SEED OF REBELLION GERMINATING DEEP WITHIN ME?

Rebellion according to Wikipedia is – “A rebellion originates from a sentiment of indignation and disapproval of a situation and then manifests itself by the refusal to submit or to obey the authority responsible for this situation.”

Rebellion can be individual or collective, peaceful or violent, for a good cause or bad as well. But usually, the word rebellion termed as negative and bad which we are going to discuss about this week.

When God created this world and created human being, He taught the world either directly or through the nature that this universe has a chain of command which we human can’t just breach it or go against it. The consequence of which is deadly when we go against it. We humans may be the crown of His creation, but we are not the gods of it even though we try to play ‘god’ like the kids play teacher-teacher or mommy-mommy game. When we go against God’s direct instruction and try to substitute it with our own ideas then we rebel.

Let me give you an example to make things clear…

In our office, our boss called for a meeting and delegated the responsibilities to all for an upcoming one-day event. The event was on a Sunday and one of the colleagues said, “Sir, I won’t be coming as I have some other work”. We all laughed as we knew how my boss will react. He replied, “Have I given you any option to decide? It is an official event and if you won’t be partaking it then you may leave the work”. And we all agreed to him when he said that. The hesitating colleague had nothing to say afterwards but to take up responsibility which was assigned to him.

Was he happy with the boss? Yes, definitely, because he understood his fault of rebelling against his boss’s decision.

Did he enjoy the event on that Sunday? Yes, wholeheartedly, because he acknowledged the chain of command laid down in an office set up, instead of opposing it any further.

Rebellion always begins in the heart. And in the beginning, it is never violent or active that can be seen, but it remains unexpressed. When the fire smolders, it spreads everywhere to create havoc.

Children and teenagers’ rebel against their parents and teachers which has smaller effects on everyone’s life connected to them. Sometimes, this small sparks of rebellion of college students were flared by the politicians to cause devastation.

“This is my life; I want to live it as I want”

“I can marry anyone as I wish”

“I don’t care what others think”

“It is about my rights”

“I want it this way”

“Why should I listen to him”

All the above are the statements which depict nothing but pride and rebellion in a human heart which is the first sin we commit in our hearts against our parents, teachers, elders, superiors, authorities and against the author of this life, GOD. Our sinful natures do not allow us to bend down and bow to the authority of another or God. We want to be our own bosses, and that rebellion in the human heart is the root of all sin.

It is true that we have freedom to choose according to our own wishes. But can we allow full liberty to someone who has bad temper, who is on the verge of destroying self and all around him? No, right? Then how can we cry about certain prohibitions as curbing our rights? Isn’t that cry, a cry of rebellion or trespassing?

“Rebellion is trespassing”
(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

Every human heart has the seed of rebellion germinating deep within. So I can’t justify that by saying, “I am not revolting“. My heart knows, I am already revolting against something deep within myself. But remember, whenever it happens, we need to let it pass through a scanner before working on it or trying to fan it further. A scanner might be your best friend who is wiser than you, an elder who is more experienced than you, your teacher who understands the right and wrong better than you… Or look to God by just saying a few words of prayer like this – “Oh true God! Help me to understand whether my desire is right or wrong… Give me the right direction and let me know how to go about it”. Trust me, I have been doing this for last 44 years in my life and was never disappointed even though sometimes things are bleak and dark for me. Though I refer, ‘the Bible’ for the clarity of my mind and conscience.

So, friends! I know it is a preachy article, but not a lie. Do not flare up the flames of rebellion in your heart. Pray for guidance.

Stay Blessed!

HOW NOT TO DWELL IN YOUR MESS

Getting bogged down by life’s problems and situations and remaining inattentive towards the people around us is not a new thing for us. I won’t shy away to confess that I was too bogged down with my own problems last year and was finding it very difficult to think out of the box, trying to get out of the mess with many silly attempts.

I see a very self-centered and self-submerged ME, when I looked back into 2019, trying to introspect about myself. It is not at all a great state or condition for a human to stay within his or her shell after being created to have a multi-dimensional relationships with the people around him or her and with the God, Almighty.

Eventually, I lost skills in many things. I became monotonous. My messages and encouragements didn’t have much sparks as I usually have. My motivations seem ordinary and were not well conveyed ones. My decisions were not very concrete and shaky. I struggled with my time and deadlines. I failed to keep in touch with my own relatives and friends. Even I struggled to write meaningful articles and manage Candles Online.

In Cuttack, during my last vacation when I was reflecting on everything that I went through the year, I found where I went wrong.

I DWELT IN THE MESS!

Dwelling in the mess or negative situations around us instead of getting over it becomes a problem when we don’t handle it wisely and that tend to make us depressed, sad…letting us be blind towards the people around us and their needs.

We will come back to this part later… Let me divert your focus to something else…

Have a look at this image below:

This is how we were created by God – to have relationship with our fellow human beings as well as with our creator God.

I find it funny when some try to live all by themselves. I know, there are some who were the victims in the hands of situations and life. That’s a different matter. I have seen such people who keep a better connection with their fellow human beings than those who are crowded by people around them, strangely!

The best way to connect with the people and understand their needs is to get out of our shell first and the best way to get out of our shell is to focus on the needs of others. These two actions are interlinked and have to be carried out together.

I have experienced a fact about my mind. When I look into the problems of others I tend to forget my own for a moment. And the more, I make a habit of looking into the problems of people around me, the more it becomes a habit of thinking about others than dwelling in my own mess.

If I have to list out a few ways how I can be a help for others then I would list what I really do and want to do more often considering my physical limitations:

  1. I do pray but I will pray more strategically by listing down the names of people and their needs.
  2. I will ping people more often instead of expecting them to ping me first. Who knows, someone might need a warm ping from me desperately.
  3. I will visit people more often those who need a little company, especially old people. They are the most neglected and most loneliest people on this globe.
  4. I will try to listen more than talk. That way I might be helping more people. 🙂
  5. I will be more funny and humorous to bring that smile which people crave to display on their faces.

There are many other things that I really want to do though I am still unable to fulfill them in my life. I can only list them when I really make them happen in my life. And I pray to let it happen by His grace so that I don’t dwell in my mess but walk out of it.

I will tell you one thing, all these actions can be easily and genuinely executed only when we are well connected vertically – human to God. This is the base, if you are forgetting it. And it is tried and tested, if you think I am just blabbering weird theories in front of you.

Friends! The Bible says, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” This is a fresh year. We still are in a very festive and celebration mood, let’s try out and give it kick-start and divert our minds from our own selves to the people who are in desperate need of our care and support.

Stay Blessed!

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE WILD FLOWERS AND THE FLOWERS IN A GARDEN

A few years back, one of my very close friends revealed that she used to like me a lot and even have feelings for me presently (the time she revealed her feelings). But it was also true that she was happily married to her husband for years together. She could reveal her heart because she was clean in her heart and confirmed her dedication and love for her husband. But she went on to ask me a question that made me ponder on it, seeking an answer to that question.

“Why God gives that feeling of love in our hearts for someone very special but doesn’t give the scope to culminate it?”

And I quite relate to that question as I have come across many beautiful relationships where I’ve felt to be drifting away though I have managed myself to get back to be on the track. But this question still slithers in my mind and heart even today without having a proper answer to it. In fact, whenever I try to search a proper answer to that question it lets my mind raises more questions in my mind:

 Are connections bad? Probably, I will outnumber everyone in having connections with so many…

Is it better to avoid making friends? I have never learnt avoiding or ignoring any human who interests me or who extends a hand towards me.

Are emotions supposed to be suppressed? I am so outright honest with my feelings that I haven’t learnt the skills to suppress my feelings at all.

Is it good, pretending everything to be alright? Not at all, I really can’t pretend and be alright.

And the last question is a deadly one…

Is drawing a line necessary? Absolutely!

Relationships are so beautiful that we build with people irrespective of their genders. But ironically, it is absolutely necessary for us to draw a line when we are supposed to. I would like to confess, sometimes I hate to draw a line with someone I love so much. But I just force myself to do so… 😦

Why is it necessary? Why I do not have the scope or freedom to express my love for just anyone irrespective of their statuses (of whatever kind)? WHY???

I will give you a mental picture which might help you to understand why is it necessary to draw a line in relationships…

When we take a walk in the woods, or roads, or a field we find many beautiful flowers across the path blooming and smiling at us. They grow erratically with freedom. They look good, no doubt about it but they succumb to their end without proper care and attention because they are stray, far from a caretaker. Usually, those who walk across them, pluck them or uproot them from the source of their life and nourishment.

Whereas, if we look at the flowers in a garden, they bloom with pride and were well taken care of by someone who is attentive to them, not necessarily an able gardener or farmer.

Relationships that we make are like those beautiful flowers blooming with different colours and beauty. But they all look beautiful, protected and safe within a boundary drawn with godly standards.

The Bible says,

Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.”

And a person with self-control draws a line and creates a beautiful garden.

How about bringing those wild flowers into the garden within a boundary? They will look beautiful within those lines as well.

Actually, our fallen nature makes things complicated. And God, probably doesn’t allow us to be disorderly and stray because He knows, the more we are allowed, the more perverse we will be in our behaviour and life. Why can’t we be of a clean mind, and keep beautiful friendships all around?

Friends! Let’s enjoy the relationships that we make within a permissive line drawn for the safety and lasting of those relationships.

  Stay Blessed!

ARE YOU UTILIZING OR WASTING YOUR TALENTS TODAY?

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

This Bible verse that I mentioned above has been my force to explore myself as much as possible and I have been successful in doing so.

I have heard people saying, “I have no talents or skills that I can use for others“.

I mock them saying, “If I would have strength like you physically then I would have done so much more than what I am doing without having it, embracing my physical inability“.

Now, when does someone waste his or her talents? 

  1. When someone is given a wrong responsibility: This happens when a singer is given the assignment to teach how to dance or vice versa. I have always longed for music and I went ahead doing other things… I kind of allowed my talents wasted. Right now, even if I want to develop myself as a musician, I don’t find situation favouring me to go ahead. So my talent for music is wasted. There are thousands of people who found themselves away from their talents as they are appointed in  wrong jobs or responsibilities. It is necessary for the parents, teachers, bosses to recognise the talents of their children, students and subordinates respectively. 
  2. When someone doesn’t recognise his/her talents or skills: I always question myself and God, ‘Why I am in accounts job when I am good at motivating people‘… But in the long run, I find myself better placed in regards to accounting assignments. It was me, who was trying to make things dull because of my disinterest in the talent that I have. So when I was given interesting assignments or to give presentations on accounts I found myself in tune with it. Be sincere to your call, your vision, you will explore more of you while you keep working.
  3. When someone is lazy or selfish or given in to addictions: These section of people can be found wasting away their skills, talents and ultimately disowning God and His purpose behind creating them. Sometimes, I found myself in this category by blaming my health conditions for it. I start many things yet find it difficult to continue it or creating more using my God given talents. My recent addiction is Netflix, and I glue to my mobile screen doing nothing abandoning what I can really do by utilizing my talents. No, I am not sharing my secrets for fun… but I wanted the readers to learn from the mistakes I do and people do… 

When do we really feel satisfied? When we achieve something. We achieve something when we use our talents to their full potentials. God has given all of us certain talents and skills. He never expects us to do things without equipping us with tools and skills that we need. It is our inability to recognise our true worth through His eyes. It is possible only when we know Him, we will know how equipped we are with various talents within us to do the do the work we are supposed to do and feel happy about it.

Stay happy and stay Blessed!