Love

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.

Love

This Is My Life… And I Love It!

A post about self-acceptance.
This is my life.
This, right here, is my life. And that’s okay.
This place I am in, in this moment, is my life; and I am loving it!
I know. I know it may not be everything I thought it will be.
I know there are things I wish were different; things I hope will change.
But that’s okay. I love my life.
I know that I expected to be married by now.
But it’s okay. I love this life that I have.
I know that I expected that my kids will be married now.
But for now, I get to enjoy life with just them. And that’s good.
It hurts that we aren’t able to have our own babies yet.
But I am elated that I can be the cool aunt to my friends’ children.
I thought I would have been promoted by the end of this month.
But I like this opportunity that allows me to continue to work on something I am an expert at.
Yea, my classmates have all moved into corporate leadership roles.
I am happy for them. But I like that I am working on my Start-up.
I am disappointed that I haven’t yet secured my dream job.
But I am thankful that I have something that puts food on my table.
See, I have something precious, something golden: Contentment.
And when I sprinkle it over what I have,
Everything becomes more than enough, more than average.
So, when I tell you that I love this life that I have in this moment,
You best believe it!

This is my life, and I love it!

Faith

November: With Joy!

With joy, we will draw water from the well of salvation.

Happy new month, everyone!.

As you know, the penultimate month of the year is here! 2022 is almost coming to a wrap.

I trust that you have been working on the action-points you outlined at the beginning of the year, and have been seeing significant progress towards your goals.

I am not sure if it is the same for anyone else, but I have personally gone through quite a number of seasons throughout the year. Earlier today, my eyes landed on the bright purple-coloured vision board I had designed at the beginning of the year. A couple of times, I have had to change/refine my goals as I progressed through the year. On the other hand, there were times when I ran up a mountain as with deer’s feet towards my goals. However, there were also days when I could not care less about any goal or target. And then, some goals I have actioned as much as depends on me and all I am doing now is trusting and waiting for the results to mature.

Today, I would like to share a scripture that is a great encouragement to me in this season.

I believe that this short passage will spark something new for you in your own journey as well. No matter how you feel about your journey right now; whether everything is going according to plan, or if you are doing everything you should but it feels like your goal (the weight-loss target, the job offer, the spiritual reawakening, the parenting goal, the promotion) isn’t coming fast enough.

Here is a prophecy to fuel your faith.

Isaiah 12

In that day you will say:
“I will praise you, Lord.
    Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away
    and you have comforted me.
2 Surely God is my salvation;
    I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defence;
    he has become my salvation.”
3 With joy you will draw water
    from the wells of salvation.
4 In that day you will say:
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done,
    and proclaim that his name is exalted.
5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
    let this be known to all the world.
6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
    for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

Isaiah 12 is a charge for us to stay in the place of praise and joyfulness. And have you noticed that praise, thanksgiving and joy have become overarching themes in most Christian communities this period?

Praise, thanksgiving, joy.

In this scripture, God is saying to you, dear reader, that He is no longer angry with you. He has forgiven your past mistakes. He has put them behind Him. On the contrary, right now, you have His favour and comfort.

God says that He will be your strength and your song. Another translation replaces “song” here with “defence”. It means that God will be your war song, your victory song. It is just like Jehoshaphat, a king of Judah experienced. (II Chronicles 20: 20-22)

See, Jehoshaphat had 5 strong kingdoms coming against his relatively smaller kingdom for a war. He didn’t know how he could survive the attack. It seemed like a sure win against the land of Judah. But instead of giving in to despair, Jehoshaphat prayed and called on God for help. He didn’t stop there. He invited some delegates (the Levites) who led his kingdom in praising God.

Seemed like an illogical strategy, right? How can merely giving praises to God save a kingdom from imminent attack?

Well, one thing is sure: there is nothing mere, mean or average about praises and joy. Praise is a tried, tested and trusted weapon of warfare – as is staying joyful.

In whatever way praise is offered – be it in singing, recounting God’s goodness, declaring His attributes and character to glorify Him, praises to God are potent because they bring us into an atmosphere where we can experience the extraordinary and miraculous.

Just like it happened for King Jehoshaphat, if we will praise God ahead of our battles, when we arrive at the battlefield, we will only see results – a finished battle with victory secured in our favour. God will fight the battle on our behalf.

Finally, in Isaiah 12 above, God also says that with joy, we will draw water (sustenance and flourishing) from Him because He is our salvation. That He, the Holy One of Israel is great among us.

Practice joyfulness. Joy is a weapon that will work in your favour.

To conclude, I invite you to join me in this personalized version of Isaiah 12 as an affirmation of victory.

Today, I declare:
“I praise you, dear Lord.
    Because you are not angry with me, 
rather you have comforted and favoured me.
Lord, you are my salvation;
    I trust in you, and I will not be afraid.
You are my strength, my song and my defence;
    You have become my salvation.”

With joy, I draw water
    from the wells of salvation.
Praise be to the Lord, I see all that You have done,
    I exalt your name.
Lord, you have done glorious things;
    that I will declare to all the world.
I sing and shout aloud for joy,
    because you Lord are great among us!”
Faith

Held Fast

One character of God that always leaves me in awe is His firm and unswerving commitment. It is the way that He is dedicated, committed to, and invested in each of our spiritual flourishing.

Have you noticed how God consistently introduces people, resources, thoughts and opportunities to you, to draw you closer to Him, or to answer a personal question that’s been bothering you?

Christ will hold you fast.

God ensures that our belief system is right and healthy for us. He works hard to get our attention, even when He is the last thing on our minds. And when He eventually secures our hearts, He holds it fast. He makes sure He doesn’t lose us.

When we somehow slip away, He chases. He pursues us hard, and holds again. Fast.

Most people are familiar with the story of a young son who ran off from home to squander his share of his inheritance in foreign lands. He made poor decisions with what he was entrusted. He lost everything and could barely survive. Embarrassed, he dragged his feet and traced his steps back home and was pleasantly surprised when his father received him with joy, and reinstated him. (Luke 15:11-32)

This story of the Prodigal Son is your story, my story, each one of us. Sometime in the past, perhaps even now, you may have made choices that you are not proud of. But I can assure you that once you retrace your steps to God, He will welcome you with open arms and extravagant grace.

Embrace the Father’s love.

Another less popular story is found in Luke 22. Jesus saw the tough season that was coming ahead of Peter, and Satan’s intended scheme to bring Peter down. True to Jesus’ character of relentless love, he warned Peter and prayed for him. Thankfully, Peter successfully sailed through that storm and came out a stronger person.

If you are in Christ right now, but somehow are nursing fears of falling away, I hope that Peter’s story assures you that you are safe and secure in the love of Christ. He holds you fast. Your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)

Jesus, whom you believe in, is able to keep you who has been committed to Him until the Day of His return. (2 Tim. 1:12)

I am well aware that we have a part to play in ensuring that we thrive and are successful spiritually, but today, in this moment, I will like us to bask in the love of Christ and His unshakeable commitment.

Bask in the love of Christ.

Relentless pursuit, relentless love, until we are drawn close and held fast, forever.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

Additional Resources:

  1. Desiring God; “To the Uttermost. How Jesus Keeps us Day by Day.” (Article)
  2. Keith and Kristyn Getty; “He Will Hold Me Fast” (Lyrical Video).
Bible Studies, Faith

21 Truths from Hebrews Chapters 3, 4, 5.

Hi friends,

Let’s go pick up some choice gems!

We want to learn specifically about Jesus from Hebrews Chapters 3, 4 & 5. If you missed the post on Hebrews 1 & 2, here it is!

I would like to take a minute to congratulate you and I for being deliberate about learning more about Jesus Christ who is the author and the finisher of the Christian faith; as well as the doctrines and foundational truths of the faith. The insights gleaned from these studies will profit our minds, and help us to become more developed and accurate in the things we believe.

  1. Jesus is faithful to God who appointed him as an apostle and high priest, just as Moses was faithful when he served in God’s house.
  2. Jesus is worthy of more praise and honour than Moses because while Moses was a faithful servant in God’s household, Jesus is a faithful son in charge of God’s household.

It was established in John 1:1 that Jesus is the word of God.

As the word of God,

  1. Jesus is alive.
  2. Jesus is active (working in the present).
  3. Jesus as the word of God penetrates our hearts (i.e. he convicts us), to judge our thoughts AND intentions, and attitude.
  4. Nothing is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is laid bare before His eyes and we have to give account to Him.
  1. Jesus is our apostle.
  2. Jesus is our high priest. Jesus is our great high priest.

To become a high priest:

  • You had to be selected and appointed. (No one takes the honour upon themselves)
  • You had to be selected from among the people (You had to be one of the people).
  • You had to represent the people in matters related to God – to offer gifts and sacrifices for their sins.
  • You had to be able to deal gently with anyone who errs, having experienced temptation yourself.

Jesus met all these requirements.

  1. Jesus was appointed by God Himself to be our high priest.
  2. Jesus came to the world and became a human, like us, before he was selected to be our high priest. This is truth, this is a history-validated fact.
  3. Jesus represents us before God – having offered Himself once for all times as the sacrifice for our sins.
  4. Jesus ascended into heaven after He died and resurrected.
  5. Jesus is a priest forever.
  6. Jesus our High Priest had been tempted in every way, just like we are now.
  7. Jesus, when He was tempted, did not sin.
  8. Jesus, because He was also tempted as we are, can empathize with our weaknesses.
  9. He gently deals with anyone who errs, having been tempted himself.
  10. While on earth, Jesus earnestly prayed to God and he was heard because of His reverent submission.
  11. Although Jesus was God, he learned obedience from what he suffered (self-denial).
  12. Once made perfect, Jesus has become a source of eternal salvation to everyone who obeys him.
  13. Jesus was designated by God as a high priest in the order of Melchizedek.*

* We will learn more about this individual named Melchizedek in the coming chapters. Until then, stay well and happy. ❤

Faith

Clear The Stage

1. Clear the stage 
and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that's the measure you must take 
to crush the idols.

Jerk the pews 
and all the decorations, too
Until the congregation’s few, 
then have revival.
2. Tell your friends 
that this is where the party ends
Until you're broken for your sins, 
you can't be social.

Then seek the Lord
and wait for what He has in store
And know that great is your reward
so just be hopeful
.

Chorus:
‘Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong;
worship is more than a song.
3. Take a break 
from all the plans that you have made
And sit at home alone and wait 
for God to whisper.

Beg Him please 
to open up His mouth and speak
And pray for real upon your knees 
until they blister.
4. Shine the light 
on every corner of your life
Until the pride and lust and lies 
are in the open.

Then read the Word 
and put to test the things you've heard
Until your heart and soul are stirred 
and rocked and broken.
Chorus: 
‘Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong; 
worship is more than a song.

Bridge 1:
We must not worship 
something that's not even worth it.
Clear the stage, 
make some space 
for the One who deserves it.
Bridge 2:
Anything I put before my God, is an idol
Anything I want with all my heart, is an idol
Anything that I can’t stop thinking of, is an idol.
Anything that I give all my love, is an idol.
Chorus: 
'Cause I can sing all I want to
Yes, I can sing all I want to
I can sing all I want to
And still get it wrong.

And you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong; 
worship is more than a song
Worship is more than a song.
Clear the stage 
and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that's the measure you must take 
to crush the idols.
Lyrics Credit: Ross King. Beautiful rendition of song by Jimmy Needham here.
Hope

Weekly Nuggets #31 – Keep Moving Forward

Ever felt like giving up? Walking away from all the effort already put in? Quitting? You are not alone, and this is a reminder to keep moving forward.

“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

Martin Luther King Jnr.

“If you are not moving forward, you are falling back.”

Sam Waterston

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, …press on toward the goal.”

The Bible (Phil. 3: 13-14). Adaptations are mine.

Life is like a bestseller. By the time you get to the end, you will be glad you turned the pages.

Yours truly, ExcellerBlog 😉

Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

Unknown

Keep moving forward. The light is just around the corner.

🙂
Guest Writer, Hope

History – The Perfect Teacher

Written by Ms. Funmi M.
History - The Perfect Teacher

The Exceller Blog

My younger self was always intrigued by the stories of childbirth from mothers – the pain, discomfort, lasting ‘deformation’ to the woman’s body and many more serious concerns and experiences. It however left me confused when I see women with their second, third, fourth etc. pregnancy. I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘Has she forgotten all that she went through? Is this woman okay? Hasn’t she learnt from the past pain she described to me?’ As time went by, I began to see that perhaps the joy of holding that precious one in one’s arm is greater than the pain and discomfort of the past months. Most women seem to treasure the calling to be a helper in bringing up an image barrier of the Creator over the discomfort of a swollen nose and looking weird in family pictures. The pain and struggle of childbirth and rearing is real, but the joy ahead is greater – most women will agree..

I say this as I think about the many lessons that history is meant to teach us and how often we forget the lessons. I am quickly reminded of the journey of the Israelites from slavery of 430 years in Egypt to freedom in the Promise Land. I often wonder how anyone could forget seeing the hand of God as the sea parted ways. I am quick to caution myself not to be too quick to call the Israelites out on this one. Our 21st century world just went through an incredible pandemic, one that our century has never witnessed before, yet, as our cities open up and the mask begins to fade away and turn into waste nuance, we are beginning to leave the painful history behind us and forge ahead. The question remains, what should we do with history?

History is a teacher that we should learn from. A wise woman will study the past and not fall into the same mistake others have fallen into. She will leverage the failure of others and her own mistakes – not dwell on them, but rather, learn from them. I have often wondered how the children of Israel were to survive the aftermath of slavery – 430 years of slavery is a long time: longer than the Chattel slavery. Studying history, Israel was commanded by their King to celebrate their freedom year after year as opposed to nesting over their slavery!

Being a woman in this age seems challenging. The expectations and demands for our time, attention, intellect, looks etc. are countless. How did we get here? As I look into history, I see clearly that there is nothing new under the sun. Talk about the French women of the 17th century that had to spend hours in making their 3ft tall hairstyles and leave it untouched for weeks allowing their head become a home for lice and fleas. Or the 18th century ladies that had their crinoline catch fire multiple times all to follow the appearance expectations set on them. History shows us clearly that the problem is not with our generation or a certain era. As a wise man once said, every generation has its own blind spots. The problem is in the inherent sinful nature of all human beings.

The same history presents the solution clearly to us, it shows us that life is fleeting; we are here today and gone tomorrow. The solution to the inherent problem of human nature is Jesus Christ. We obviously cannot help ourselves. I am a believer that the Bible is the infallible, inspired word of God that clearly presents to us who God is, the world He created, who we are and how to live in this world. It is really that simple. It is a lack of wisdom that makes a man/woman go against the manufacturer’s instruction and again, history has shown us over and over again that it is not in man to direct his path.

Life comes with challenges of different shapes and sizes. As our faces are and our fingerprints are unique, so are our challenges. At times, language does a poor job at expressing our innermost thoughts, struggles and hurt, but we can come to our creator and groan before Him through Jesus Christ. We can sit at His feet in silence yet every word in our hearts is heard.

I pray that you receive grace to learn from history and lay ALL your burdens at His feet.

Shalom!

CareerGrowth, Guest Writer, The Experience Series

How I Employed Faith and Other Tools in Tackling Underemployment as an Immigrant and Secured my Dream Job

Friends, in this post, I have the immense pleasure of bringing on a fellow Christian and a blogger-friend to share her story with us! Mrs. Juliet is an environmentalist. After migrating to Canada with her family a few years ago, she faced the oh-so-familiar challenge of under-employment. In this post, I have invited her to talking to us about some of the principles and tools that she engaged in scaling that hurdle to secure a dream job in her choice career. I have also included some bonus tools and resources at the end, so don’t rush off until you check those out as well. 😉

Exceller: Hellooo Mrs. Juliet, it’s so exciting to have you providing content on The Exceller Blog. You’ve been an inspiration to me, being a blogger yourself, and always actively engaging with our posts. How do you feel about sharing your journey with us?

Mrs. Juliet: It has not been easy sharing my journey because it requires being vulnerable, exposing your shortcomings and all that. I am an open book, but I married a very private man which means, I need wisdom in my writing… I trust God that my journey and process as a Christian will bless fellow Christians like me. As the scripture says, Iron sharpens iron. (Proverb 27:17)

Exceller: Before moving to Canada, you were already well-educated and set up for a promising career. Yet, on relocating, there were a few tools and programs that you explored in order to adapt to the Canadian labour market. Could you tell us about some of those?

Mrs. Juliet: I couldn’t afford paid programs at the time, so I went to immigrant training sessions by some not-for-profit organizations to understand how interviews are conducted. I attended the resume clinics. I also utilized LinkedIn to build relationships and I kept applying to jobs related to my field. I also learned how to write a good cover letter which is very important in my field – the ability to tell your story to align with the organization’s need and how you are the solution they are looking for.

Exceller: For the first several months, you were underemployed and in a field outside your area of expertise. I imagine how discouraging that must have been. What top 2 principles kept you persistent in your job search?

Mrs. Juliet: First principle is in Matthew 7:9-11, I know my “now” is not an accident so that scripture is an assurance that the job suitable and custom-made for me will come. Secondly, I stayed connected to the right people who kept encouraging me.

9“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Matthew 7:9-11

Exceller: One of the things you kept engaged with before settling into your original career was volunteering. I know that you still serve some of those NGOs. Is this something you would recommend to others in your shoes? If so, why?

Mrs. Juliet: Yes, volunteering is very important. Although, back in Nigeria, it was not something we were taught but I learned from studying in Finland the importance of volunteering. I got my first job with EU for Africa through volunteering at my university back in Finland. All the references I got for my current job were connections made from volunteering and I have met some wonderful people through volunteering.

Exceller: Let’s zone in on one of your principles. What role did your faith in God play in pulling you through that phase?

Mrs. Juliet: My faith in God made me realized that God never fails and even in dark moments, He comes through, and it is always obvious.  I will tell you a little story. I have always been a very impatient person especially when I can get something done myself. I was doing a night job that required us to work as a team and my supervisor was a very stressful one. I was always angry with her. One day we got into serious arguments, and I warned her seriously to the extent that she was so afraid. That night, I remember the Holy Spirit asking me to go and beg her before I can even think of praying but it took me days to obey because I felt cheated.

God takes us through processes to make us better and prepare us for a bigger blessing!

I apologized to her, and she cried, she ended up becoming my friend and over time I was able to talk to her about Christ. Few days later we both changed jobs. Immediately, I felt my assignment on that undervalued job was over. Sometimes, God takes us through some processes to make us better and prepare us for a bigger blessing.

When I felt discouraged, I cried and sang praise, I let myself be expressive, but I did not lose hope. I kept the faith.

Additionally, the community of Christian friends around me has been a tremendous blessing… I was always connecting with friends who prayed with me and encouraged me and spoke positive words over me especially when I had doubts about myself when I got rejections on jobs that I felt I was qualified for.

Exceller: What are some myths/popular opinions that were sold to you, but which your personal experience helped to debunk?

Mrs. Juliet: I had been told that as a black person, getting a job in my field (Climate Change) will be difficult and also, I did not have any prior Canadian experience, neither did I attend a Canadian school, so I was told to forget about searching for jobs in the climate change space in Canada. However, I stopped listening to them and allowed God to lead me. I got a job in my field and also my role is multi-faceted which has empowered me in less than a year! It can only be God. One advantage we have as Christians, is the help of the Holy Spirit to help us make right decisions even at crossroads in our career and not just in the spiritual things.

Exceller: Wow! Thank you so much Mrs. Juliet for sharing your story with us so openly and authentically. Your journey inspired me, and I am sure it’s the same for all the wonderful Exceller_Readers. God bless you immensely, and I am confident that your path will continually shine brighter and more radiantly.

About Mrs. Juliet:

When she is not working at her formal employment, Mrs. Juliet enjoys spending time with family, serving young people and blogging at My Christian Journey. Do well to check out her blog for other inspiring writings.

Editor’s Note:

Tell me, which of the above-mentioned tools or principles resonated most with you? 😊 Was it persistence in faith, resume, cover-letter and interview clinics, professional networking (LinkedIn), volunteering, a supportive Christian community, partnering with the Holy Spirit, or a mix of everything?!

Did you know that there are over 1250 free newcomer services scattered all over the provinces and territories of Canada? You can find the entire list here, as well as narrow your search to career-related services that are closest to your location .

Other “tools” that you may find effective for aiding your transition into the Canadian workforce include:

  • Obtaining the Canadian equivalence of your overseas education,
  • Acquiring internationally recognized professional qualifications that are specific or related to your area of expertise.
  • Learning relevant technical skills that are competitive in your field of endeavour.
  • Developing soft skills that are required in the Canadian work environment. I will suggest that you do not downplay the relevance of soft skills, especially if you are relocating from a culture that has strong language and mannerism. It is necessary to learn to communicate in a way that your colleagues will find familiar, or at the very least, non-revolting. No pressure, though. 😊 We all keep getting better. Last year, I bought a nice, little book from Amazon titled “Canadian Workplace Culture – Mastering the Unspoken Rules.” I haven’t finished reading it yet, but the parts I read were definitely refreshing. 😊

Note that although these tools seem to be specific to the Canadian work environment, readers in other parts of the world will find usefulness in them.

It is interesting how much can be found from a simple internet search with just the right keywords. E.g., “most in-demand IT skills in Sydney.”

Most importantly, I pray that the grace of God will continue to amplify our efforts and open amazing doors for us.

Cheers to breaking glass ceilings, debunking myths, staying the course, and winning together! 🥂

Hope, Love

“They Must Make Me Happy”… Or Not.

Could we love our loved ones enough to relieve them of the impossible task of always keeping us happy?

Only two persons have the collective ability to ensure our consistent happiness in life and those two person are God and you.

No one else. Not your spouse, parent, child, friend, boss, no one else. Just you and God working together.

Why are our loved ones, even with all their good intentions unable to ensure our sustained happiness?

Because they are humans

  • Humans are characteristically limited in their access to resources. (We don’t have everything we want!) 
  • Humans have limited skills. (We just cannot do everything we wish we could.)
  • Humans have limited ability to focus. (We cannot pay equal attention to EVERYthing we need to, at the same time hence the need to delegate.)
  • Humans have limited access to location. (We just cannot be everywhere we wish we could, at the same time.)
  • Sometimes, humans may have limited interest in meeting a person’s happiness-need. 😒

See? Limited. [I am making a case for your loved ones here. 😁] It is my hope that this understanding will make us less entitled and more thankful whenever our relatives or friends do their best to show us love/kindness.

Why is God capable of ensuring our continuous happiness?

  • God has unlimited access to resources. Why, he created the whole world! The cattle on a thousand hills, the gold in a thousand mines belong to him. Think about it.
  • God is limitlessly skillful and completely capable. Think about the science and art He employed in designing the human body, the yearly seasons, the solar system, the earth, sky and seas. Think about the balance in them all. God can make the seemingly impossible possible.
  • God can be everywhere at the same time. He is omnipresent.
  • God absolutely has your interest at heart. For more on this, check out my previous post.

Is it possible for someone to remain unhappy even though God is actively working to make them happy?

Yes, it is!

This is because God does not impose his will on people.

We have to intentionally open our eyes to the beauty around us and the million little miracles we experience regularly. We have to close our minds to the schemes of the devil to magnify the ugly and to make us think that a corner on our path is the destination. We may also need to let go of the offences from our loved ones and acquaintances.

We have to choose to be happy.

It is like Cody’s father in one of Cocomelon’s episodes sang to him, “You can make your own happiness.”

You can make your own happiness.

We all need to intentionally partner with God to ensure that we are constantly in a state of bliss.

Moreover, this is a command to us Christians. We are charged to walk in the Spirit, and one of the fruit of the Spirit is Joy. Galatians 5: 16-26

It is interesting that the Bible calls it “Joy” and not merely happiness. Joy is deeper than happiness.

Happiness is reactive, it tends to depend on our circumstances and experiences.

Joy is inherent, we can be joyful no matter where we are. Joy is sourced and sustained by the power of God’s spirit working in us. He comforts us when trouble comes. He opens our eyes to the miracles. He steers the people in our lives to take actions that would brighten our day. He gives us hope when things are not quite where we want it. He makes us happy!

The two persons who can ensure our continuous happiness – our joy – are God and we ourselves.

Periodt!

On the flip side of that coin. ☺️

Most of us have, at one time or another, met people who are simply impossible to please; people who you may go out of your way to do all you can to make them happy, but all to no avail.

Here is my word of encouragement, if you ever face such situation:

It is not you. 

“It is not you, it is them.”

See, people are at different stages in their lives. Some are dealing with depression, some are intrinsically negative, some are facing a hard time. They need to heal. They need to get the help they need from God and maybe professionals. And may take some time for the healing and deliverance to be completed. Please remember these and be kind to yourself.

Do we have any responsibility to those in our lives?

Yes, we have a role to play in the lives of our relations, friends, community and even strangers – everyone we are privileged to have in our lives. 1 John 3:18

  • The Bible exhorts us to gently lift those who are down, while paying attention not to get dragged down ourselves in the process. Galatians 6:1
  • We are enjoined to carry others’ burden, to lend a helping hand. Gal 6:2
  • We are encouraged to continually do good to others. But it also says we will reap the result at the proper time. Galatians 6:9 

While we play our part of doing good, there are two things we must do in order to preserve ourselves.

1. Keep in mind that you are human and God is… God: As explained earlier, we as humans are limited. Only God is sovereign. We should do our best to help others, and remember to leave the rest to God. This in itself is an act of faith.

Do your best and leave the rest.

2. Get rid of feelings of guilt: If you are doing all you can, please do not accommodate feelings of guilt if the person is not yet where you want them to be. From personal experience, I can tell how tempting it is to wonder. “Oh, is this my fault in any little way?” I have also learnt to squash that thought. 🧡

Do all the good you can, recommend any help they require and leave them in God’s capable hands in the hope that they will cooperate with Him to secure their joy.

Cheers to joyful living! 🥂