Posters, Sacrifices, and Revelations

What would you say if someone you barely knew gave you a present, for no reason whatsoever?

Would you smile at them with unconcealed joy and gratitude, truly grateful for the thoughtful act? Politely say thank you and find a place for the gift amongst your large collection of material possessions? Would you stare at them in bewilderment, and then ask if they had previously suffered a head injury?

Would your response be different depending on the gift given?

What if you got a pack of staples?  What about a new television? A car? What about a brand new life?

What would you do if someone asked you to give someone else, that you barely knew, a gift; A brand new, shiny, material possession that you full well intended to keep for yourself? How long would it take you to decide whether or not the person was worth the effort, whether or not they were worth you being inconvenienced? What if you hated the person, and couldn’t stand being in the same room as them. What it they were your best friend?

I was faced with a test of character today; I had just finished my chemistry class, and was walking to the Student Union Building on campus to withdraw money from my bank account (money sure goes fast when you’re in university!), when I saw a set of displays lined up with posters on them. I decided I might as well take a look at a few; even though my walls were already adorned, a dorm room can never have too many posters. After sifting through hundreds of posters, for both myself and some close friends of mine (please note the emphasis on close here), I returned to my room, and realized that I had not purchased one for a girl that I met in class. “Now this is a strange”, I thought to myself, “I don’t even know this girl”. I thought of turning back to get her something, but I decided against it because I had other plans with a friend, and the walk back to the Student Union Building was a good distance away. Then I had another thought, why not give her one of my own. Which one might you ask?

The nicest, largest, most thoughtful one.

My response to this thought was as followed: “Hmm, I must not have had enough sleep last night, I sound delusional; I really don’t know this girl. What if she doesn’t even appreciate it? This is so strange. Maybe I’m just hungry? I should go eat, I’m sure I’ll think better of it once I have some food in my stomach.”

So I went to eat, returned to my dorm room and realized that this was not a delusion, it was a commandment from God. I then proceeded to question God inside my head for a few minutes, in complete perplexity. “What do you mean I should give her my poster? I just bought that poster with the money I was suppose to withdraw from the ATM machine. This is ridiculous! She might not even like it!”

After much deliberation, and hesitation, I finally decided to give this girl the poster before class.  I ceremoniously hit her on the head with it (partially to get her attention, and partially as a way to express my bewildered frustration), and then announced, quite frankly that I had bought her the poster because her “walls may be bare.”

I then sat beside her, and listened to her remarks, in an oh-so-casual, ‘I don’t really care, I just bought it for you.  Excuse me, while I eat this muffin, and stare indifferently at the wall opposite to us.’

But I did care, a lot.

I really liked that poster. And that’s when it hit me. How horrible was it that I couldn’t even give up one lousy poster for someone else, regardless of whether or not they appreciated it? If I couldn’t even bare to part with something so trivial, imagine all the other things I would refuse to sacrifice in order to help or bless someone else.

I thought about the gift I had been given, that my roommate didn’t know about, the love of God. I thought of the sacrifice that she could never understand, the cost that she couldn’t grasp, and I realized that Jesus didn’t come to Earth just for the people who embraced Him with open arms, and who jumped for joy when they heard that He had come with the gift of salvation, He came for the people who stared at him in bewilderment, with a look of confusion on their face, the ones who weren’t exactly sure what to say, and the ones who said nothing at all, who just chucked the gift into a pile of other “worthless” things.

It didn’t matter that this girl didn’t know that that poster cost me all of ten dollars (about equivalent to thirty dollars for a university student), that I was on a strict budget, or that I had grand plans of adorning my bedroom wall at home with that poster. It didn’t matter because she could never comprehend its worth; like a sinner, a normal person, who had never been to church before in their life, and only knew Jesus as ‘that cool hippie’, could never understand the price Jesus paid on the cross.

It’s because true understanding comes with revelation, and revelation comes from God.

So now, you may ask if I decided to pray and ask God to provide her with revelation of how important that gesture was, but I didn’t. Instead I sat down, and I wrote this. And in my heart, I’m praying that instead of a revelation of the beauty of a poster, she’ll have the revelation of the beauty of an unrelenting, all-consuming love, and a true understanding of its worth.

Michee Hamilton, VBD Contributor

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5 Empowering Steps Toward Fulfilling Your Purpose

 

“Why am I here?” 

At some time or the other, we have all asked that question.

Purpose brings significance, value and stability to our lives. Without purpose, we simply drift through life.

Believe it or not!

No one is like you.  You are unique, one of a kind.  No one has your potential, experience, talents and abilities.  You were born to fulfill a specific purpose.  Your purpose is the calling on your life.

Discovering your God-given purpose will empower you and fill you with excitement.  There is nothing like walking in your purpose.  It will literally set you free.

Here we go!  Empowering steps toward fulfilling your purpose:

1. Go to the Source

You have a creator who knows your purpose.  Go to God in prayer and ask Him to help you discover your purpose.  Your purpose has always been a part of you.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)

As you seek God, make a list of the things that you do naturally…your gifts.  When you have a natural interest in something, your productivity increases.  Note the things that you do for fun and the things that you are passionate about.  Some things might be big and some small, but they are all important.  Knowing what you do best is fundamental to fulfilling your purpose.

Once you have made your list, reflect on how you can use your talents and abilities to serve others.

2.  It is okay to ask for help 

Do research to obtain information on how you can best leverage your talents and abilities to fulfill your purpose.  The internet is filled with information of all sorts.  In addition, do not be afraid to ask for help from people who you trust and who are thriving in an area that you are trying to break into.  Further, talk with people who you believe are walking in alignment with their purpose.

(Read more – Great article! It is okay to ask for help http://victoriousbydesign.com/?p=7277)

3.  Step out in faith

Now that you are more aware of your purpose, step out in faith.  Action is required.  “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” James 2 v 17 (KJV) You are equipped with everything that you need to fulfill your purpose.  Walk with that understanding and assurance as you consciously work towards your goals each day.  Remember that God multiplies what we surrender to Him.

Have courage and tenacity!

Fulfilling your God-given purpose will cost you something… time, money, friends and the list goes on.  Of course, the positives of walking in your purpose far outweigh the negatives.  It’s all worth it.  Be strong!  Keep focus and stay on the path!  Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverb 3:5-6 (KJV) 

4.  Shut the door

Shut the door on the doubters and the naysayers who will tell you that this has never been done.  Yes, shut the door on all those who will convince you that God did not say so and it will not work out.  Sometimes people don’t understand the vision that God has given you.  Consequently, many dreams are crushed in casual conversations.  Keep your purpose close to your heart until it is time for it to be revealed.

Next, JUST DO IT… step by step, brick by brick! Evaluate your progress all the way!

5.  Celebrate your victories

Celebrating your victories is just as important as evaluating your progress.  As you take steps toward fulfilling your purpose, celebrate your victories whether they are big or small.  Celebrating creates momentum and usually translates to more successes as you press towards your goal.

Important:  Keep, obtain or create a tangible picture of your purpose.  Visualizing your purpose will help you achieve results more quickly.

Word of caution: Place no confidence in the flesh… even in your long list of credentials.  Keep grounded.  Only God can open doors for you that no man can shut.  “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” Psalm 32:8 (NKJV)

Don’t put limits on God!  No limits! No boundaries! See increase all around you… everywhere!

Okay!  Time to roll!  Just do it!

I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

Ann Marie Bryan

CEO & Founder of Victorious By Design

Author of Unforgettable, My Love Has Come Along

abryan@victoriousbydesign.com

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It is okay to ask for help

We all need help at times in our lives.  It’s okay to ask for help.

I need you and you need me.  We are all blessed with unique gifts, talents and abilities. It is that way for a reason so that we will reach out and help each other.  This giving and receiving create great relationships.

It takes great courage to ask for help.

For one reason or another, many of us do not like to ask for help.  Requesting support can often make us feel very vulnerable. We may have been taught that it is a sign of weakness to ask for help or we may think that we are self-sufficient.

Sometimes, we stand in the way of receiving the help that we need.  Certain beliefs or ways of thinking that we carry makes it hard for us to ask for help.

Perhaps, we are afraid to hear no. 

Back in the day, a lot of fear would descend upon me when I required help.  The biggest fear – What if this individual say “no” to my request?

Who wants to hear “no” when they are in a spot and needs help? 

Of course, some people have said no to my requests.  That’s okay too.  I had to learn to get pass those “crazy” feelings and emotions.  Indeed, that too shall pass.

Keep focus.

I am just a positive person because I believe that no one would genuinely refuse to help, if it is in his/her power to do so.  After all, we have all been helped at one time or another in our lives.  Still, be of the mindset that whenever you make a request, it is okay for that individual to say no … even without giving an explanation.  It is a request and a request can be accepted or declined.  Don’t take it personally, this person may have a lot going on and cannot help at this time.

There is hope.

I have learned that there are people who genuinely want to help you.  No strings attached.  They simply want to help you get ahead.

So, position yourself to ask for help… not just any help, specific help, good help, to take you to your next level of unprecedented opportunities and success.

Here is how to ask for help.

1.  Decide what you need help with

2.  Select a person to approach – someone you believe has the knowledge or ability to help you with this task

3.  Contact this person – make an appointment where necessary

4.  Be prepared to share what you need help with.  Record your thoughts about the matter for clarity and brevity.

5.  Be clear on the results that you desire to achieve

6.  Listen and ask relevant questions

7.  Thank this person for their support

8.  Assess the advice and determine whether or not you need to proceed with it or you need a second opinion.

Final thoughts

If you ask and you receive “no” for the answer, try again with another person.

I have discovered a beautiful thing about asking for help, it is truly liberating.  So, congratulate yourself on having the courage to ask for help.  Let us not only ask for help but be willing helpers.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Ann Marie Bryan

CEO & Founder of Victorious By Design

Author of Unforgettable, My Love Has Come Along

abryan@victoriousbydesign.com

https://twitter.com/victoriousbydes

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victorious-By-Design/240086216046505

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