The real meaning of Love

Love according to how the the word of God puts it is one of the most powerful force in the universe. To love is to truly live. The Bible says: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and to love your neighbour as you love yourself. There are different forms of love but the purest form of love is God centred. This kind of love does not need a reason to love. This is the reason why the word of God tells us to love even our enemies (Matthew 5:44) Really? How can you love your enemies? How can you do good to people who hate you? People who don’t even like you? How is that even possible? It’s easy to love those who love us, those who are nice and kind to us, those who are like us. It is easy to talk well of people who treat us right. What about the opposite?

Real love according to the word of God is when we show kindness even to the unkind, when we don’t repay evil for evil. When we treat others the way we want to be treated. The Bible says love covers a multitude of sins (1Peter4:7). When we love others we don’t go around exposing or gossiping about their weaknesses. We are only told to rebuke openly but with love. What do we do when somebody offends us, do we try to resolve the matter amicably or we go around telling others what they did to us? Well some matters may be serious and may need to be dealt with by the law, but that is an exception not the rule.

Love is much more than what we think or say. Our actions speaks alot more than our words. How many times do we tell people we love them and we don’t even mean it? It’s easy to say “I love you” when we are happy and excited, when people are nice and kind to us isn’t it? Do we still continue to say’ I love you ‘even when our expectations are not met? Most of the times peope will say I love you out of emotions, because when life changes or when things don’t go the way we wanted we change our attitude. Why? because we acted impetuously, it was just our emotions that ran high. That is why there are so many heartbreaks because of believing ‘I love you’ only to realise later there was no love, it was just out of emotions that the words came out. Do our actions go hand in hand with our words?. Your actions will always say more than your words. The way we treat people speaks volumes about us than the multitude of words we could ever speak. The Bible states it very clearly that without love we are nothing. We can do so much, we can even give to the poor or give out our bodies to be burnt, but without Love we suffer in vain. We can even speak in tongues but without love the Bible states we are like noisy gong. (1st Corinthians 13:1) What a pity to think we can have so much to show but without love?

Jesus demonstrated the real meaning of love to others in the book of Luke 10:25-37, where he gave the parable of the good samaritan. When he saw the man who had been attacked by robbers, he had compassion on him. He bandaged his wounds and took him to a hospital and also offered to pay all his bills. Mind you he didn’t know this man but he was moved with compassion. Two others before him, the priest and the Levite saw him lying helpless but they decided to move to the other side of the street, they couldn’t just be bothered. They went about their other businesses leaving a man who was suffering injuries lying on the side of the road. How many times do we ignore people who genuinely need our help? We can see that they really need our help but we ignore them and go to help people who are not as needy or who we think will also help us back. This samaritan did not expect anything in return from the wounded man, he did it out of pure love. Can you say that what you do for others is out of pure love, no strings attached? Do you do it without expecting anything in return? If you want to know whether your love is pure, check your motives. What are you expecting in return from that person? If they didn’t treat you the same way, will you be angry? Will you continue showing them love? If you love people, you will treat them right regardless of whether you know them or not. The Bible states clearly what love is: love is patient, love is kind….( Ist corinthians 13:4-8).

Whatever you do in this life, you need to make sure it is founded on love. Why will Jesus say to somebody who was busy serving God and doing great things, and performing miracles in his name depart from me? this really baffles me. But the answer is right in the word. Absence of love, ill or ulterior motives. There is no other way to explain this. So, in whatever you do, are you doing it out of love or it’s out of compulsion? Are your motives pure before God? When you can boldly answer this question, then you know where you stand. The greatest commandment is, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbour as you love yourself. The bottom line is this, love without a reason and be kind to everyone you meet.

what motivates you?

Whatever we do in life, we are always motivated by something. There is always a motive behind what we do or say whether we like to admit it or not. For example, if you show an act of kindness there is always something that motivates you to show that act of kindness. If you happen to meet a beggar in the street, and you give him your money, there is that something on the inside of you that made you to reach out and help. You were probably moved by his poor state and decided to help wherever you can, or you just wanted to display your acts of kindness for others to see. It is either for one reason or the other. If no one saw you putting your money in the beggar’s bowl would you still have done it, or would you still have done the much that you did?

Your motivation in life matters a lot, why do you do what you do? What’s the main reason behind whatever it is that you are doing if you can be honest with yourself? If there was nothing in it for you, would you still have done it? If you were not getting any attention would you still continue to do whatever it is you were doing? If nobody saw you helping the poor children would you still have gone ahead and done it?

It is important to make sure we do everything with the right motive, a pure motive. This is the reason why you need to be asking yourself, why am I doing this? what is the real motive behind it? If I don’t get applauded, will I still carry on doing this? If I don’t get anything in return, will I still continue to be kind regardless? Asking yourself these questions will help you judge your motives in whatever you do. The truth is, you can never lie to yourself, deep within, you know the reason why you do things. Sometimes I hear people say, oh, I did so much for so and so but they didn’t reciprocate. Well, you were doing it expecting something in return and that’s the reason why you were disappointed. If you knew that you won’t get anything in return, then you probably wouldn’t have offered a helping hand to your friend or to whoever you helped out. We need to be careful when doing acts of kindness to others. It must not be about what we expect to receive from the people we show kindness to. We must make sure our motivation is always pure.

In my life, I have offered help to people some of whom I’ve never met and will probably never meet. I have also helped people who were never there for me when I needed help and I have also received support from people I have never helped or never expected to receive help from. If you understand that when you do good to others it will always come back to you in unexpected ways, then, it doesn’t really bother you whether the person will pay you back or not. You just do it because you are convinced that it’s the right thing to do. It is also very important to listen to your heart. Sometimes you will hear a voice telling you to do something for somebody and when you obey that voice, you find that you can never go wrong. You will have peace of mind as a result. You are not doing things out of emotions which sometimes you come to regret later. Do the right thing even when no one is watching, one day you will be rewarded for it. In the Bible, we are told not to display our acts of kindness before men to be seen by them. (Matthew 6:1) This does not mean we shouldn’t perform random acts of kindness before men, it simply means that our motives should be pure with or without anyone watching us. In all that you do, especially when it comes to helping or serving others, always ask yourself these questions to determine your real motive:

Why am I doing this ?

Will I still do this even if am getting nothing out of it?

Will I still continue doing this even if nobody applauds me?

What really matters?

Life is good, when all is going well, when we are all happy, having fun, eating and drinking, and making merry. After all, isn’t that what we all want? To be happy and contented in life, to have everything under our control. We all want and wish things will always go our way. We all hope and pray that everything will work according to plan. We plan for our future, our ideal future, how we want our lives to be. We invest and invest more to secure a better future. This is in anticipation that our future will be better and brighter than the present time. We are not doing anything wrong, in fact, we are doing what is absolutely right, we care about our and our children’s future. We are doing what normal human beings do, planning for our future, otherwise, that is what life is all about, eat drink and make merry, live a comfortable life, and be happy. But, what will really matter in the end?

This is a question we ought to be asking ourselves on a regular basis. As we do all we know how to do, rejoice, eat, drink and make merry, what will really matter in the end? Do we ever pause and ask ourselves this important question? Suppose you did all your heart desired in this life, you got all the things you ever wanted to have in this life. Now what? You educated yourself and your children, you bought yourself a home or homes, you gave your heart all that it desired. Was that really ever enough for you? Did you ever reach a point and say now that is it, I am satisfied, I don’t want anymore? Did you ever stop wanting more for yourself? Did you ever stop desiring more? Did you ever feel like what you already had was enough? Do you remember the story of the rich old fool in the Bible? (Luke 12:16-21)

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God. What does this parable teach you? what lessons can you draw from it?

What will really matter in the end? What will really matter after all is said and done is, did you live the life that God ordained for you? Did you serve the purpose that God had for you? Did you use your gifts and talents to glorify God? Did you serve the purpose of God in your generation? Did you touch others with your life in any way? What will matter is, how did you live your life? what impact did you make in your world? All that you did to satisfy your heart’s desires will not really matter. All your wisdom and intellect will not matter, all your wealth and riches will not matter, what will really matter is that you lived a life of purpose, a life that honoured God and that touched humanity. A selfless life, as opposed to a selfish life. That’s what will really matter. So now, how are you living your life? what amendments do you think you need to make? How are you living your life now and how will you ensure you focus more on what really matters? Make your life count by focusing more on the things that really matter.

How to stay focused on your goals

At the beginning of every new year, most people will usually make new year resolutions. I want to lose wait, I want to take up a new course, I need to stop smoking/or drinking, I want to start a business, and the list is endless. We are all filled with enthusiasm while setting these goals such that nobody can talk us out of them. For the first few days in the year, we are kind of motivated and focused, only for us to start losing focus before the end of the first week in the year. We then veer of the track and start focusing on other things, sometimes subtle and unnecessary. How do we then prevent ourselves from getting side-tracked, when life gets overwhelming, and when we have so much going on and to deal with on a daily basis?

I understand that life can get the better of us, we can sometimes feel confused, develop lethargy and even demotivated. I bet you can all resonate with this, but how does this just happen? In my honest opinion, it happens because we lack a solid plan. We fail to plan our daily routine, we kind of let things control themselves, its more like a driver losing control on the road. We veer of the track and we are unable to grab that steering wheel firmly with both hands, and as you can possibly imagine, this can be ridiculously dangerous. So how then do you stay focused on our goals?

Set yourself some goals

Assuming you haven’t already done so, this should be your first step. Setting goals may look easy at first but you need to make sure you are setting yourself realistic goals. You can start with simple goals at first like for example if your goal is to write a novel, you can start just by practising writing every day. You can aim to write at least a hundred or two hundred words daily. This may not seem much but the goal is to make sure you do it on a daily basis. If you can for example stay focused on this goal for example for a month, then it will eventually become a habit. You are now ready to start writing your novel. You have shown consistency in writing on a daily basis without fail, you can now move to writing your first draft. Now you can increase your writing by another hundred words a day or whatever you feel comfortable with. You see, you started by setting yourself small goals and gradually increase as you feel comfortable.

Remove every form of distraction

I personally find it hard to concentrate when there are other activities going on in the same room, like maybe somebody banging the door, tv is on, other people talking loudly in the room, I cannot just concentrate with my writing when all these things are going on, that’s why I prefer when the room is quiet and everybody is out of the room, Tv off and even sometimes phone on mute. I discover I get more done when the room is quiet but I also prefer a bit of cool music playing in the background to make the moment feel lighter.

Distraction usually comes in many forms and shapes, some as I mentioned above, others are our own creation. We want to keep checking our messages on the phone, we want to keep checking on what’s happening on Facebook or Instagram. We are in the middle of our schedule, and we remember that friend we haven’t spoken to for ages, and so on and so forth. If we are not aware of all these form of distractions, then we may not be able to achieve much, we will always do things halfway. We find that we deviate from the original plan. Unless it’s an emergency or something that requires your urgent attention, make sure you ignore any other form of distraction if you want to accomplish your goals.

Plan your day

There is a saying that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Do you plan your day or you are one of those people who say; well, let’s see what the day has in store for us? This is a very poor reasoning and those people who reason this way find that they have nothing much accomplished at the end of the day. I always find that everyday I wake up with a plan the day goes well and I get a lot accomplished as a result. I like having a rough idea of what I want to do each day, even though sometimes things may not work according to the plan, at least I had a plan. I can assure you most the the times than not, things usually go smoothly when you have a solid plan. Whether you put it at the back of your mind or write it down make sure you have a plan for each day and you will find that this will help keep you focused on your goals.

Avoid multitasking

I sometimes find myself multitasking when I feel I have a lot to get done, like if for example I need to cook and at the same time I need to help the children with homework, because I am trying to save time. So, I will start the cooking, make sure all the ingredients are prepared, put them in the fire and reduce the fire and then leave the room to focus on the children’s homework. This might seem proper but it is not the best way to deal with things. Your attention is dividend and this means you may not do things perfectly. You find yourself rushing things due to this divided attention. If you want to stay focused and get the most out of your goals, focus on the most important or prioritise your tasks/ goals. Like in my example above, instead of trying to cook and deal with children’s homework at the same time. I can just focus on cooking first and then afterwards deal with the children’s homework and vice-versa. Multi-tasking may look good but it also means things may not be done as effectively as they should be.

Look for an accountability partner

Accountability partner is someone who checks up on you to make sure you are still on the right track. More like a mentor or a coach if you may. You may mutually agree to work together and be accountable to each other but the goal is to keep you motivated. This is mostly important for people who lack self-motivation, as it’s not everybody who is self-motivated to stick to their goals. If you feel that you keep setting goals and then deviating from them on a regular basis, then in addition to the above, you might need to ask a friend to check on you on a regular basis. You can even ask them to join you, if for example you want to keep fit or lose weight to help keep you motivated. If it’s a project or activity where they are unable to join you, you can ask them to call you or text you to remind you to keep up with your goals or to find out whether you are still on the right track.

Don’t be afraid of failure

The reason why most people fail to follow their dreams is fear of failure. Well, none of us ever want to fail. No one starts something with an intention of failing. We all aspire to succeed in all our endeavours. From the little children who are trying to reach certain milestones, like taking that first step, to the inventors who try so many times before succeeding at inventing something, everyone want to succeed.

Photo by Liza Summer

The difference between those who succeed in their endeavours and those who don’t is, those who succeed never give up even if they fail. They know what they want to accomplish and they focus all their energies there. For many, the thought of failing at something alone is what deters them from even trying. Failure is part and parcel of out journey as human beings, yes, it is part of the process. We will probably fail many times before we get it right. We always want to get it right the first time, we fear we are not good enough if we don’t get it right straightaway. The expectations of our families, friends or peers also play a big role in development of this fear. Everyone expects us to succeed and the thought of disappointing them when we fail often intensifies this fear. This fear makes us give up at first or second try. Well guess the reason why? because we were not convinced enough about our abilities. If we have the conviction that we are capable of getting it right eventually, then we will not relent until we get there.

Are you convinced that you can do it? Do you believe you can do it? Do you believe that you got what it takes to reach for the stars? Without this conviction, your dreams and visions will never materialize. You will keep starting projects and stopping them halfway through. Only those who are convinced and believe they can will get things done. The rest will be like, start and stop. Don’t allow the fear of others stop you. Some people will be scared for you, yes. They will be afraid of you failing, and they will sell that fear to you. If you buy into this fear, then you will never get to your destiny. It is better to do it afraid than to let that fear stop you.

Five years from now, the things you are afraid will go wrong will probably not matter. You will be surprised that you did what you did and wonder what would have happened if you allowed the fear to stop you. You don’t want to look back and say, “I wish I followed my dreams”. Follow your dreams now, and you will look back and say, “am glad I didn’t allow my fears to stop me”. Remember even if you fail in the process, you are still on the way to accomplishing your dreams. At least you are failing and also learning from your failures. These failures are sharpening you up. You are becoming a better person than you were before. These failures are teaching you a lesson if you are keen to learn. They are preparing you for the success ahead of you. So don’t be afraid to fail, rather be afraid of not trying for fear of failure.

Stop being a people pleaser

People pleasing is a disease of wanting to make sure everyone is happy even when you yourself are not happy. It is characterized by excessiveness in anything , more like trying to buy love or likeability. People pleasing is putting everyone else needs before your own, this may seem ok to some extent but for people pleasers, they do it to a point whereby they are suffering on the inside even though they may not admit it. They feel the more they give their time, money, or by just being excessively good not wanting to offend anyone, the more they are loved or liked. They aim to make sure everyone is happy and well taken care of. For this reason, they end up been taken advantage of or even taken for granted.

People pleasers find it hard to say no, they believe in saying yes to anything and being there all the time for everyone. All this for fear of “what will they say if I say no”. They fear offending people who are most likely to be using them to achieve their own agendas. This fear makes them do things they sometimes come to regret later. They also make emotional decisions, still trying to please people only to regret later. People pleasers mostly struggle with self esteem issues. All the niceness is usually to mask this and also trying to prove themselves.

People pleasing should not be mistaken for kindness. Being kind is being kind, to everyone you meet, out of your own free will, without being coerced into it. People pleasers may be nice and kind but they always blow this out of proportion by their excessiveness. Their kindness is aimed at, “may be they will like or love me more if I do this”. Their kindness is not a true act of kindness, it is done expecting something in return.

We all have been people pleasers at some point lets admit it! I admit I have been there myself, especially in my younger years, but I know better now. Do you remember that time you did something hoping that people will love you back or talk good of you? this is people pleasing whichever way we want to look at it. We try to please people because we are trying to build our reputation. It’s more like trying to buy love. We want people to sing our praises, how great we are. While this may be the case, some people overdo things even to the expense of their own happiness. These are the real people pleasers. We can all be nice and kind to others without trying to overdo it or without expecting anything in return.

The problem we have today in the society is, love is based on what we do and as long as we do it. When we fail to do what is expected, love is withdrawn. True love is constant and not based on what we do or don’t, anything else is not love. People pleasers feel the need to always do something, always be there, always give their money or time to get this love. They feel they may not be loved if they fail to always be there for others. This is the reason why I believe people pleasing is a disease that we need to try and recover from.

People pleasing is such a terrible disease that can leave you drained physically and emotionally. You don’t have to always carry everyone’s burden on your shoulders, you will burn out if you try to do so. Yes, the Bible says we should carry each other’s burdens, but you have to know which burden to carry, not every burden. Some burdens are not actually burdens, a burden is something that is weighing someone down and you can also see when there is a real burden. Sometimes you have to learn to say no without feeling guilty or the need to explain yourself to anyone. You need to be kind to yourself too, because you matter too. Be nice and kind to people, but stop being a people pleaser.

Could this be you?

“Majority of people are doing everything else apart from living their God given purpose.”

This is sad but true that majority of people are so busy doing other things or chasing after things and not living true to their purpose. Most people and out of researching are likely to be unsure of whether they are living a life of purpose or not. They try everything they can in this life thinking it will give them the happiness and satisfaction they so much desire. They wake up early in the morning to go to work, to a job they hate with people they don’t even like just to earn a living. They derive no pleasure whatsoever in what they do. Their lives are full of misery and they are never truly happy. Could this be you? If that is you, then you might need to re-evaluate your life now.

Your life should be full of joy if at all you are doing what you are meant to be doing, if at all you are living and fulfilling your purpose. How many people find themselves working in high end paying jobs not because they are happy working there but because of the money alone. They even say if it is not the money they are earning, they couldn’t ever want to work there. Well, their argument to support this is, “You know, I have bills to pay, I want a better life, I have mortgage to pay off”, and so on and so forth. While all these may be valid reasons to justify their argument, this is not the will of God for you and me. The will of God is for you to be happy doing whatever it is that you are doing whether you are getting paid for it or not. Your job should not make you miserable, it is supposed to give you not only pay check at the end of the month but also satisfaction and fulfilment.

Majority of people find themselves in this situation. If you are one of them you need to have some quiet time with yourself, and ask yourself the following questions:

1.Why am I not happy?

2. What job could I possibly enjoy doing even if it is paying me less?

3. What makes me feel enriched and fulfilled or what do I enjoy doing?

We always want more in life and we feel the more we have the happier we become, but more is not always the solution to our problems. The solution to our problem is understanding the reason why we are here and discovering our true purpose in life. True happiness can only be found when we are living and fulfilling our divine purpose, otherwise we will keep chasing the wind to no avail. Let us desire to do what makes us shine in life instead of just wanting to accumulate more and more and we end up miserable and frustrated.

Stop living other people’s life

Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are”.Malcolm Forbes

Successful people have dreams and are always working to fulfill those dreams. They understand they were created not live other people’s life but to live their own life and to do what they feel they are called to do. They don’t live their lives trying to please or to impress others. Everybody in this planet is unique, and you cannot fully walk in your purpose if you are the kind of person who is always trying to steal other people’s identity. When you do so, you are merely existing not living. You have lost your sense of purpose, and are now trying to live up to other people’s expectations as you dont have your own expectations to meet in life. The truth is, you cannot succeed at being somebody else, this is short lived life. This is the reason why you need to understand your purpose in life.

Discovering your life purpose allows you to live your own life and meet your own expectations. You stop following other people’s rules for life, you make your own, and live by them. You develop your own standards and themes. You focus on accomplishing your goals without worrying so much what others may think of you. You simply understand yourself. While you may get ideas and inspiration from others, you are not so interested at mimicking them every step of the way. You understand the path you are meant to be travelling and you always stick to your lane.

In the absence of strong sense of purpose, it becomes easy to lose your path, and desire to run somebody else’s race. Sadly many people are like this in life, they would rather mimic others in life than be their authentic self. They shy away from being themselves as they do not consider themselves good enough. You are good enough and you must believe that. “Nobody will ever be as good as you in your God given purpose“. This is the more reason why you should concentrate on what you were created to do. It may not earn you a million dollars but one thing is sure, it will give you satisfaction and fulfment in life.

Be careful who you pretend to be, you might forget who you are” (Anonymous)

People who try to live other people’s life or to steal other people’s identity struggle so hard, even though they may not show it, deep within they know they are struggling. What you need to understand is, your life purpose is tied to your strengths not limitations. When you are doing what you were created to do, there is that sense of joy and satisfaction that you feel and you know it. You feel motivated to do what you are doing and you give it your all because this is where you shine. You have no time for cheap imitation, you are connected to your life purpose and this is evidenced by how passionate you are about it.

“Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable” (Anon)

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