Aligning your Academic Year Goals

After catching up on holiday gists and school resumption, Bimbo asked Nancy her friend if she could write out her target results for the new session.

Nancy smiled with a lot of enthusiasm and wrote out all her courses, attaching an “A+” to each of them.

Bimbo picked up the paper, scanned through it and asked her how she wished to accomplish it, and Nancy’s response was; “Well, I’ll just read my books really well. 🤷”

Nancy’s previous session’s performance was below average, and it got Bimbo really concerned. She knew Nancy was smart and so couldn’t understand why she kept performing poorly. 

“Didn’t you read all through last session?” Bimbo asked.

Nancy nodded in affirmation.

“You can’t get a better result with the exact same effort you put in previously.” Bimbo told her simply.

They both sat down and drew a more precise plan, writing out her areas of weaknesses and drawing an improved reading timetable with daily and weekly tasks and drills to assess her.

It is no doubt that most students want to be the best in their classes. it’s pretty much a popular wish. However, as the saying goes, “If wishes were horses, … “😅.

We can’t produce good results by merely writing out our long-term targets. Writing is a first step but, we must also set up daily and weekly goals and plans; and back them up with action.

For example, if one of your goals for the year is to secure 3 scholarships, you might need set up a weekly task of searching out new scholarships and consistently applying for them in order to secure the goal.

We should also consider how the goals we set in other areas of our lives could affect our academics. For instance, I might want to become a professional basketball player or pianist this year and the activities associated with such activities would require a lot of time investment. That would in turn affect my study time and it will then be a matter of setting our priorities right and giving what is important more time and attention per time.

In conclusion, ensure your long-term yearly goals align with your short-term goals and learn to set daily and weekly targets to achieve these goals.

– Janey A

*Featured Photo Credit: Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels


Back to School Necessities

Dear Exceller,

Growing up, back-to-school routine for my siblings and I revolved around THE LIST. Our parents usually required each of us to make a list of our necessities for the term which typically comprised of one’s preferred food items, toiletries, stationery, etc. along with their costs.

After we had turned in our lists, my dad would review, screen out the items he considered as nonessentials (unless you are able to convince them otherwise 🤣) and give us the money for the updated list. Each of us would then proceed to purchase what we needed for school.

School resumption prep complete. ✅

School fees and textbooks were considered “higher priority necessities” 😬 by our parents and handled directly by them. God bless all thoughtful parents and guardians around the world.

Now that I think of THE LIST, the only thing that confuses me is why the older siblings usually got more allocation than the rest. I mean, do they have more weeks in one semester?! 😅 One “injustice” that I will NEVER complain about though, is the fact that we the females usually had more items on our lists than my brothers, and as such, are more likely to get more funds. 🤣🤣 For one, there are toiletries that we need, that the boys will never need. So, technically, no injustice in that.

Do you or does your family have a back-to-school routine? What do you typically have on your list? These are the things that need to be put in check and provided before or during resumption.

A need is something that is required to accomplish a goal (something that is important for your survival), while a want is not totally necessary but would make life comfortable or enjoyable. Basic needs include resources that are required for the session such as tuition fees, textbooks, handouts, technical materials as well as edibles.

For some, the necessities may go beyond physical needs to emotional, social needs and otherwise. It may include considerations such as; “How well has my communication skills, academic performance, leadership skills or self-esteem improved, and how do I plan on working on them in the new session?

Whatever you consider necessities for the school year, I pray that God will supply all your needs and also include some of your wants, so that you have enough to enjoy.

If I would recommend two additional items for your list, they will be:

  1. A work planner for your semester’s / term’s deliverables. Highly recommend, especially for students who want to stay on top of all their weekly assignments and other tasks.
  1. A word of promise for your semester’s success. Just as individuals or business executives do establish a theme for their year, christian excellers can ask God for a bible verse that will govern and drive their semester.

If you do not know how to go about this, I am happy to lend you one of my favourites which you can personalize. 💕

“…There is a spirit in man, the inspiration of the Almighty gives him understanding.” (Job 32:8)

Customize this verse with your name, stick it to your bed corner or your computer screen, and say it to yourself as many times as you need to – while praying, when anxious, when bored, every time!

“There is a Spirit in Jane/John. The inspiration of the Almighty gives her/him understanding.”

I pray that you will have a deep and wholesome understanding of all your subjects in the coming school year; and as a result, stand out among your peers. ❤️

“There is a Spirit in me; the inspiration of the Almighty gives me understanding.

iConfess. theBible

Thankful for Year 2022 – 7 Reasons Why (7)

Thankful in Obedience

Today, I am thankful because I know that it is the best way to live life.
Thankfulness unlocks stuck doors and brings the impossible.
Thankfulness settles troubled minds and opens eyes to overlooked blessings.
And above all, “thankfulness in every circumstance” is the instruction in the Maker’s manual.
2022 has been one of a kind; and staying thankful was the secret ingredient that made it so.

Thankful for Year 2022 – 7 Reasons Why (6)

Thankful in my World

Today, I am thankful because of everyone who was a part of my year.
My friends offered me listening ears and shoulders to lean on; the gift of companionship.
Family loved me in spite of my flaws and encouraged my progress.
Colleagues kept it cordial and enabling in that environment where I spent 1/3 of most days this year.
The acquaintance, stranger, the service provider and my readers – everyone was a gift!
2022 was one of a kind; and I have so many people to thank for it.

Thankful for Year 2022 – 7 Reasons Why (5)

Thankful in my Considerations

Today, I am thankful because I have considered the year 2022 and all it brought.
I reviewed each month of the year; I checked my goals, plans and targets.
With every reflection, I am wowed; in every thought, I judge God kind.
The accomplishments, the gifts, the company, the unexpected, the twists.
2022 has been one of a kind; and I am thrilled to have been a part.

Thankful for Year 2022 – 7 Reasons Why (4)

Thankful in Anticipation

Today, I am thankful because there's so much more that's coming in the near future!
I smell it; the fragrance of my profits, the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed.
I hear it; the honking and the sounds of my shipment as from a distant country.
I rejoice in anticipation; I have prepared and made room for all my goodies.
2022 has been one of a kind; but I can hardly wait for all that is to come!

Thankful for Year 2022 – 7 Reasons Why (3)

Thankful in Retrospect

Today, I am thankful because as I look back, the journey suddenly makes sense.
I am thankful for what seemed like a waiting period because I now realize how it built my strength and finesse.
I am thankful for the unanswered prayers because I see now that God was only choosing a better option for me.
I am thankful for every milestone, every month, and every ordinary or unique day.
2022 was one of a kind; but in retrospect, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thankful for Year 2022 – 7 Reasons Why (2)

Thankful in the Pandemic

Today, I am thankful because my friends, my loved ones, you and I survived the pandemic!
We did! With all the waves, stats and rapidly changing variants, we pulled through.
I do not count any of us better than those who passed because of COVID related issues.
I only acknowledge what a miracle it is to be alive and breathing.
2022 has been one of a kind; but I thank God because by His grace, we are survivors.

Thankful for Year 2022 – 7 Reasons Why (1)

Thankful for the Present

Today, I am thankful for where I am physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and otherwise.
I recognize that the things I take for granted are someone else’s goal and pursuit.
I acknowledge that I am indeed blessed.
I refuse to be in a rat-race, chasing after the next item on my list.
I choose to realize how deeply blessed I am; and to take a moment to appreciate it all.
2022 has been one of a kind; and I thank God - the source of all blessings.

Living in the Knowledge of the Love of God

If I understand that God loves me very much, what should that knowledge achieve in me?

When we loudly and emotionally croon songs like “Jesus loves me, this I know” or “Oh the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God…,” what does that really mean to us? What should a revelation of the love of Christ accomplish in us?

These are the questions that this post will address.

However, before we get into it, let’s attempt to describe the nature and vastness of the love that God has for us.

The Volume and Quality of God’s Love

“…I also pray that love may be the ground into which you sink your roots and on which you have your foundation. This way, with all of God’s people you will be able to understand how wide, long, high, and deep his love is. You will know Christ’s love, which goes far beyond any knowledge. I am praying this so that you may be completely filled with God.” ‬

Ephesians‬ ‭3‬:‭17‬B-19‬ ‭God’s Word Translation*

“Look with wonder at the depth of the Father’s marvelous love that he has lavished on us! He has called us and made us his very own beloved children…” ‬‬

1 John‬ ‭3‬:‭1‬A The Passion Translation*

“See what an incredible quality of love the Father has shown to us, that we would [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are!”

1 John‬ ‭3‬:‭1‬A Amplified Bible*

“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” ‬‬

Jeremiah‬ ‭31‬:‭3‬ ‭New International Version*

If you wish to think about the kind of love God that God has for you, I would like you to think about it in these terms:

  • very much love, love of great magnitude 
  • Incredible love, extravagant love 
  • Deep love, vast love, high love
  • Everlasting love, endless love
  • Constant love, unfailing love
  • Astonishing love
  • Deeply intimate love, 
  • Far-reaching love
  • Enduring love
  • Inclusive love 
  • A love that is beyond measure 
  • A love that transcends understanding

Think for a minute about each of these descriptions. Understand that I didn’t coin any of these. They are all from different translations of the Bible. They are all there. So, this isn’t me trying to make you feel good about yourself. This is simply showing you the truth about God’s disposition towards you.

He loves you.

God loves you incredibly, extravagantly and beyond human understanding.

If you accept his love, then you can experience its value.

If you will like to accepting God’s love today, you can start by saying this prayer: “Dear God, thank you for sending Jesus to die for my wrongs so that I can be forgiven, changed and be brought into close relationship with you. Today, I accept your love. Please be the Lord of my life from today henceforth in Jesus’ name, Amen!”

The Value of God’s Love 

I was reading about how money currencies as well as gold are valued based on a number of factors that bounce off the dynamics of demand and supply. Gold, for example, is seen to be highly valuable because of investors’ need across the globe to hedge their currencies against inflation, and the amount of gold that is available mostly in central bank reserves; coupled with the fact that we are all pretty fascinated by the metal’s beauty and durability. Perceived worth.

Similarly, God demonstrated his love for us by sending his son Jesus to die in our stead, so that Jesus would take the punishment for our wrongdoings.

God paid a high price for our freedom, for the freedom of everyone who accepts His love. The cost of our redemption was the life of another – the life of Jesus. A great price indeed. The good news is that Jesus rose from the dead; and now, he is alive forever so that we can be friends with him and God.

Everyone who accepts God’s love, just like gold, is a person of great worth, a precious and treasured person.

To accept the love of Christ means to see yourself through the lens of the value that God places on you.

  1. Free from Guilt: If you have confessed your wrongs to Jesus, you need to let go of the feelings of guilt and self-condemnation. If God has forgiven you, you must consider yourself forgiven. You must forgive yourself also. 1 Jn 1:9 reads, “God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong.” To live in the knowledge of God’s love is to see yourself as forgiven and to get rid of any feeling of guilt and shame. God and his Holy Spirit draws you to repentance and a change of lifestyle. The devil and his lying spirit calls you to a life of continually beating yourself up about your sins, seeing yourself as irredeemable and hopeless. Know the difference, and choose to only listen to God’s voice in your head/mind.
  2. Free from Self-Pity: The knowledge of God’s love reveals hope to you. It makes you understand that your tomorrow will be much better and far more enjoyable than your present. It shows you a future of possibilities. It restores the spring to your steps and a vitality to your efforts. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says that “Eyes have not seen, ears have not heart, minds have not imagined what things the Lord has prepared for those who love him.” (paraphrased). The devil makes you to feel despair, misery and self-pity. But now you know better. Do not yield to self-pity. Choose hope and joy!
  3. Free from Self-Hate: One day I was scrolling through Instagram and I stumbled on this influencer who had millions of followers. I scrolled through her page – her followers loved her for reasons I couldn’t fathom. Their engagement and fascination with her were palpable. And in that moment, I didn’t care much about the brands and products that she represents. I too hit the Follow button. I gave in to the perceived value. I was probably drawn in by her sunshine personality and community. Think about it for a minute. God loves you incredibly, overwhelmingly and everlastingly. Evidently, there is something to love about you! And yet, you hate yourself? You detest your personality, your body, your achievements? Seriously? One major thing that the knowledge of God’s love will do for you is that it will open your eyes to your worth which is a perceived worth on the basis of God’s love for you. In other words, God’s glory beautifies your life. God loves you, therefore you are lovable. Don’t get me wrong, it is okay not to like one thing or another about oneself. For example, you may not like your job and therefore can be working to change it. Or you may not like the acne on your face and can be working to get rid of it. But this point is referring to a fundamental and deep-seated loathing of oneself. I can tell you that self-hate is definitely of the devil. I pray that you will accept the love of God today and stop listening to the lies of the devil. The thought that makes you to cut yourself and purposely inflict self injury, even if as a penance for wrongdoing, is not from God. Do not listen to it. The voice that tells you to throw in the towel and choose suicide is the lying voice of the devil; do not listen to it. Instead, choose to love the life you have and everything that you have been blessed with. Choose the future that God has designed for you – a brilliant and enjoyable tomorrow. No matter how bleak the future seems right now, I want to assure you that the dawn will break.
  4. Free from Settling: You are priceless, you are valuable, a person of great worth. An understanding of God’s love will empower you to choose things of worth for yourself. For example, some people settle in an abusive relationship simply because they are afraid of being alone; and that is settling. Choosing to indulge unhealthily in junk food, shopping spree, recreational drugs or other habits simply to numb a feeling is settling. Cutting corners rather than facing one’s career/relationship/social goals is settling. Staying complacently in an undeserving job while passion/skill calls you to something more is settling. A knowledge of God’s love empowers us to drive around the corner from settling into the estate of settlement and enlargement. God’s love says, “Come on hither. Come on girl, come on boy, there’s more! Keep climbing, keep reaching. There’s treasure after this point. It’s all you’ve ever dreamed of. Come on. Come on!”

Likewise, we have been freed from fears (as perfect love casts away fears); self-righteousness (as we are made right with God only on the basis of his grace). The list goes on and on. It is such a blessing to live in the love of God!

Today, I pray that our eyes will become open to the deep, wide, vast and high love of Christ for us; that he will give each of us a revelational knowledge of God’s love so that we can be completely filled with God! 🙂

I pray that instead of guilt, we will see ourselves as forgiven and loved. Instead of hate, we will love ourselves and others deeply and wholly. Instead of self-pity, we will be filled with joy and hope. And instead of settling, we would dare to become all that He has destined us to be.

Cheers, my friend, to love and freedom.

Question: Apart from the points listed above, what else do you consider yourself freed from, as a beloved of God?

* Emphasis are mine.