Growth is Painful
One wonderful morning in February, after having a beautiful time in devotion and talking to the Lord, I had an interesting thought. I said to the Holy Spirit: “wow, Holy Spirit, I wonder how it would be like if you had a university. What would the courses be like? What would the classes be? How would the students look and what would be the school culture?” To crown it all, I said "Holy Spirit, please teach me something." True to God, everytime I've said that prayer, there's been a major event in my life that has caused a huge shift or change.
Most recently, on one of my "Holy Spirit please teach me something days," I asked the Lord to build my capacity and increase my productivity. I told Him I wanted to perform at 3X my current output level, and that I wanted my hours to count for more.
I can’t begin to tell the curveballs that have come my way as a result of that prayer.
I had the most dramatic and strenuous summer, and just when I thought all was over, I have hanging over my head, a huge decision that could potentially determine a lot for me. And at the same time, there are amazing opportunities coming my way, Even with the blog! I have the motivation to write again!
After not hitting my target at work last quarter, I have an entire life plan to get both my work life and my life life back on track. And it hasn’t been the easiest thing. I’ve drawn up large excel spreadsheets to input everything from the time I get into the office/ to my desk, to tracking how I feel over the course of the day. Although it’s only been four days into this quarter, I’m freaking all the way out.
From the outside, here’s how it looks- wow, Alheri (or Miss Nigeria, as my teammates call me) is on fire. She’s ready to kill all her targets at work this quarter. She’s making calls to clients, planning for their next few months, and even planning her trips and pitches for the face-to-face meetings.
But on the inside, I am freaking out. I don’t know where or how I’ll get the sheer determination to make that plan come through. I don’t know how I will execute, and I don’t even know what the journey will look like to getting there. I don’t know how I’ll get into work before 9am hopefully everyday, and actually keep the noise out, and my head down to focus and do my work.
But here’s one thing I know- God loves me, and He will help me. He will hold my hand and strengthen me.
At times when I feel as I have the past few days, I think of Psalm 144:1. “Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:”
There are a few reasons why I love that verse:
1. The Lord is my Strength- This means I don’t need any strength of my own, but the Lord is my strength. Whatever I conceive as strength, the Lord provides. From energy, to rigor, to determination, to resilience, the Lord has in abundance, and He is not only strength unto Himself, He is strength unto me!
2. He teaches- How beautiful is it that the Lord, like a good captain, or a good mentor, shows me the tricks of the trade and is committed to ensuring my success? How is it that the Lord takes His time to help me go from amateur to professional? Isn't that simply amazing?
3. My Hands- Hands represent skill. Hands represent our labor, and hands represent our produce. If we say someone’s hands are blessed, it means that the person is skillful, and that they are productive. The Lord is invested not only in my skill, which is my input, but also in my productivity, which is my output. He cares about the entire journey.
4. To War- It’s actually war out here! From keeping a good attitude at work, when clients are stressful, to maintaining the joyful and peaceful countenance that I strive for as a child of God, I am constantly fighting a battle in my mind and flesh. So how amazing that the Lord actually prepares me for all the hurdles that come with living in our world.
5. Fingers- For some reason, whenever I think about fingers, I think about music- think about the harp, the piano, the guitar, and several other instruments that are played with the fingers. Actually, maybe I'm just thinking about music now because I read about David this morning. Fingers also make me think about typing and writing, maybe because I love to write and I type more than I handwrite. So to me, my fingers are incredibly important for the work I love to do! But I also think about how the Lord is invested in the small parts of us. He is interested in the intimate things that make us who we are. You know, no two finger prints are the same and stuff!
6. To Fight- A fight indicates the presence of an enemy. And isn’t it cool that God prepares us both for war and to fight? While war is an organized and often long drawn-out combat between two or more armies, a fight is a singular confrontation. God prepares you for both the little altercations and the big ones too. He cares about both the small and the big victories. What a mighty God we serve!
Okay, I’m inspired myself. This post has blessed me tremendously, it feels as though the Lord actually wanted me to write it more for myself. How amazing is that?
Have a beautiful evening everyone. Remember that the Lord your God is your strength, He teaches your hands to war, and your fingers to fight.