It’s race day! The annual Jbay wind farm mountain bike race is here. Cyclists from all over South Africa have come to participate. Fierce competition was to be expected and prizes that would match the talent of the racers.
It’s my first ever mountain bike race. I have nothing to compare this to. It is all so mysterious, but packed with excitement. Am I fit enough? Will my bike survive on this terrain? And who am I even racing?
These were all the questions racing through my mind.
But how did I get here? How did it all start?
Let’s rewind a few months…
I was having breakfast one morning, or was it lunch I can’t remember, and the local newspaper was in front of me. So I do the obvious thing and not read the newspaper to keep up to date with politics and the nature of the town, but rather flip to the back and read whatever sport is going on.
After turning over the newspaper the first thing I notice is the mountain bike event is happening 10km away from my house!
Just to give a little info on what the race entails:
There are 3 distances one can race: The 25km, 50km and the ultimate challenge of 85km.
The event has been running for the past 7 years and this year it has become a lot more family friendly which now incorporated a 5km and 10km run for those who aren’t that crazy over cycling.
I was so glad that not only was there a bike race I could enter but also one that I can cycle to without needing to find a ride to get there.
I’ve been cycling to work and back every day and whatever errand I had for the day so I felt I had a lot of pre-fitness. So all that’s left is to go for longer cycles and fine-tune my technique.
It was tricky to go for long cycles because work being very time-consuming and having very little time for anything else in the day, and then to top it off the shortened sunlight due to it being winter.
I would go for one long cycle a week and each time I would add a few km to the tally. I was certainly getting fit and also getting some time for myself in an isolated place.
With places like this you get that sense of refreshment and peace with your situation.
One week prior to the race I was confident that I would at least finish the race but whether or not it was going to be a good time I had my doubts.
Now back to the present…
The 50km racers just set off and it was time for the 25km racers to go, I chose 25km because it was my first time racing with no real grasp of what would happen.
I was catching up with a friend so I ended up right at the back of over 150 racers not realising that they were going to start. I had no intention of winning but the intention of riding as fast as I could and leaving nothing behind. So starting at the back was not the end of the world but I would’ve preferred to be a lot closer to the front.
The countdown had begun. Less than 30 seconds to go. The excitement became evident amongst the racers including myself and once the countdown ended we rode off and the 25km race began…
What word would you describe the season that you are in? Has it been a challenging one? Has it been a time of growth? A time of acceleration? A time of stagnation? A time of reflection? A time of meeting new people? A time of lonesomeness?
It may be difficult to say that you have only felt one way in a season but I’m sure you can agree that there was definitely a theme during your current season.
Also note that a time of hardship does not necessarily mean you had a bad time, it just means that you went through a lot but you learned from your experience and in that way grew from it.
We all go through times where we struggle to keep our head above water but also times where you float effortlessly. Crazy how that works. Like the famous saying from Winston Churchill:
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it’s the courage to continue that counts.”
Right now in my life I feel that I’m lacking certain things and certain traits but I was reminded of these few verses in the bible:
There is a time for everything, and a season for everything under the heavens.
A time to be born, a time to die.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh.
A time to mourn, a time to dance.
A time to search and a time to give up.
A time for war and a time for peace.
There are loads more verses in between but these are my favourites from ecclesiastes 3.
You may feel alone but instead of realising how you are missing out in your relationship realise the freedom that you have with ‘no strings attached’. If you feel that you are struggling in some way remember that it is not going to last forever, you will get out and you will learn from your hardships, and grow from it.
Just remain hopeful in the fact that things can and will change for the better. If you have a dream that you are pursuing don’t give it up, because you won’t lose if you said you tried, but you will never win if you don’t try.
Have you ever felt like you have something to say? Do you feel that if you had the opportunity to speak to a crowd you would change many hearts to give them the determination to not give up and live life to the fullest? How can I convince an organisation to let me speak to their students/employees or whoever you feel you could have an impact on their lives?
To have that opportunity is not as simple as what you may think and I am pretty sure those who would want to do what I just said may sigh because they don’t know how to get there.
If you still have that desire in your heart for public speaking then read on for I have 2 ways that could potentially get you your first gig.
You want to speak to a thousand people, but have you spoken in front of just a few? We all have these huge dreams of going to the Olympics, becoming a lawyer, a successful businessman or whatever it may be but I’m sure you can agree that to get there one needs to put in the hard work, start small and do whatever needs to be done. Public speaking is the exact same. One needs to find an audience or a place to publish your skills.
How can I do that you ask?
Just find a website or even websites to showcase your talents. This will not only give you a platform for what you would like to do one day but it strengthens your skills and gives you a few more. A great place to advertise yourself is You-tube. Almost 5 billion views are watched everyday on You-tube. You are not only getting better at spreading a message but your video skills, photography skills and even your marketing skills could be enhanced.
Another obvious place is WordPress. It may not be a place for all public speakers because now you rely on your writing to get you on the internet but nonetheless a great place to advertise your skills. It is in fact the most used blogging website in the world (this is not a sponsored post by the way :).
I am also one of those people who would like to share my voice and inspire others but that type of opportunity will not always fall on my lap, I need to do something about it. I decided to use WordPress for I enjoy writing as well as public speaking, which is quite funny because it was the complete opposite a few years ago.
But any dream starts with a vision on how to get there and applying it and then your dream becomes a reality.
Honestly if you have something you want to say and you have a place in mind just ask! Email them, give them a call or walk up to the front desk and just ask them if you could go on stage and speak to an audience. You may be surprised as to what they say.
There is this one You-tube channel called YesTheory and they live off the premise of seeking discomfort by doing uncomfortable things in order to challenge themselves. They go outside their comfort zone so often I don’t even think they can have an uncomfortable zone(if that is even a word lol). One crazy thing they did which is just a speck of the crazy things they have done which was to ask the Mayor of Venice in California if I am not mistaken to meet up and they actually did.
If you don’t have a desire for public speaking that is also fine but hopefully I have encouraged you to chase whatever dream you would like to achieve.
You will get your opportunity as long as you are willing to put in the hard work.
Also figure out why you would like to share your voice to others, because if it is just to praise yourself or to become famous people will sense that and may not help you get to where you would like to be.
Loving someone is difficult because there is a high-risk high-reward to it.
You can share the things most people will never know about you, have memories
that can never be compared to anything else, you could share your life to that
But what if one day that person does something that will change the whole spectrum of your bond with that person, it will never be the same, and you will be left heartbroken and thinking why did I ever open up and should I ever be that person who puts their heart out there for one day to be broken again?
I lost a dear friend once and got my heart torn apart.
I met this person when I was only 5 years-old, or 5 years-young should I say.
We were in the same school for 7 years. Honestly we were not always the greatest
of friends, I always struggled to talk to girls due to my insecurities and shyness
until only our last year in the same school did we really have a bond. And it was strong.
From then on I truly loved her and the next two years after that I never saw her. I had the cheapest of phones that could only do phone calls and SMS while I don’t think she had a phone for quite some time.
Those two years were tough and I could never find that same friendship with anyone else and I was left yearning to see her once again.
The year after that I moved schools which originally was about a 30 minute drive from her to just up the road from her!
Must be destiny I thought.
Eventually I did see her again and as time went by our friendship started to rekindle. Seeing her again after two years was almost like seeing a flash of heaven. I was thrilled.
Our friendship grew stronger than ever before and I was content with life.
But there came a time where our friendship took a wild turn.
Our last year in school we planned a great adventure for the 2 of us and another 2 friends as well to come and pretty much from there it all went haywire.
There were many instances where I felt betrayed and left in the dark till one day it just became the last straw. I was devastated but I felt I had to let her go.
I was left heartbroken and a lot of hurt, wanting to never trust any woman again. The things that we shared now became difficult to even look at. At the time I was so glad that our paths took such a wild turn that we weren’t even on the same continent.
After a few months I started dealing with the pain. a large thanks goes to some of my friends that I met that year, showing such kindness and love. It gave me a fresh perspective of woman and just people in general. I also had to deal with all my emotions spiritually though. Breaking soul-ties with her, praying for forgiveness and forgiving myself and ultimately forgiving her.
So eventually I did forgive her. I still wouldn’t know if I would talk to her properly but I had no more resentment to her, no more pain.
It was only till about a month ago that I saw her again and got to deal with the past. The real truth came out and I was finally taken out of the dark as to what actually happened. I was not only completely okay with what she put me through but I even wanted to become friends again. And so did she.
After all the hardship and pain we both went through we were still able to deal with the past, forgive each other and actually move on.
Someone once told me when I still had a lot of resentment to her that if we could somehow push aside our differences we could build a stronger bond than ever before.
I feel that if I could forgive her after all that she has done then I can forgive anyone.
“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself from God’s part.” – Matthew 6:14.
It is only the start of this brand new friendship but if we could go through so much pain
and still be friends surely there is more at stake for us. Surely there is a future.
This past week was rather crazy for me and one day in particular was rather special. (And in a way not so special)
It was the middle of the afternoon. I was in the yard at work grinding some metal with gloves, safety goggles and all (actually my first time so I felt real badass).
Seeing that I was using such a loud tool I could barely hear anything other than the blade of the grinder spinning. I turn and look to see my colleague rushing back inside.
‘This is weird’, I thought.
He was running faster than I have ever seen him run, and he is pretty old so that is saying much( we even call him oupa, meaning grandpa). Another one of the guys working, (let’s call him Mark) saw him run and decided to follow so I saw the two of them run in a straight line formation. Honestly I thought Mark was impersonating the old man, so I started to laugh, but their faces remained focused so I assumed they weren’t fooling around. They rush outside the shop and then I finally see what was going on.
Two men nonchalantly walked past our rubbish bins (which mind you are extremely expensive), took one and walked off.
In the middle of the day!
The two men stopped hauling the bin and took off. Yay, so we saved the bins!
But it was not over. Not even close.
The old man stayed behind walked back to the shop but Mark kept running, he wanted to get at least one of them. Honestly I was still in the giggles, this was all still funny for me.
‘But what about Mark though?’, I asked. ‘He could run into a bunch of people that could be accomplices of the thief and gang up on him. We have to help him.’
Now the old man and I start running around in a straight line formation.
I grab the keys for the bakkie, the old man opens the gate and we rush to get in the bakkie.
‘What’s going on?’ Asked another colleague. There was no time to spare so we took off without saying a word.
We reverse out the gate and the chase continued, now it wasn’t a chase but a game of hide and seek. Seeing that it was a bakkie it was able to go straight over
the pavement and onto the gravel, a very nice shortcut. I look around trying to find Mark while the old man is making sure we get there as fast as possible.
We took a right turn in the hopes that they went the same way. Thankfully a man on the side of the road pointed in the direction the two were going.
We were going the right way, but will we get there in time and is Mark okay? We seriously went far to find them and I was amazed as to how far the chase carried on for.
Eventually we see Mark talking to a man in his car most likely about the thieves. But the thieves were nowhere to be found. Mark points to where the men ran but there was no way the car
could get through with the gate in the way.
So the chase was over.
Not on my watch I thought to myself. I have the element of surprise seeing that the thieves believe the chase is over. I walk around the gate and through some bushes to some open land where I see 5 men in the distance, one of them being a thief.
There were a line of bushes on my left so I wanted to use that to my advantage to get a closer distance to the man. I walk about 50 meters till the man turns around and unfortunately sees me. He then took off again with his friends and the chase was on again.
At that moment I started to have lots of questions.
‘Where is my team?’
‘Are those guys the thief’s friends?’
‘Does he have a weapon?’
But the worst of all:’What should I do if I actually catch this guy?’
That freaked me out. I also laughed at the same time because this is not what you would expect someone like me to be doing. If I do catch this guy I would not know what to do next. I’m not really a person of violence in any sorts, I’ve been in fights before but never thrown a punch, only defended myself. I think teasing someone is the closest to violence I have resorted to.
It’s the same question a dog needs to ask him/herself if they actually catch a car, because honestly if they do, I don’t believe they would know what to do.
But anyways, back to the chase.
It was quite a long chase and we probably sprinted for a good few hundred metres. We ran through an open piece of land, through a cemetary and up until a school.
When I reached the cemetery the thief stopped running and started to walk, I also slowed down not because I had no more energy but rather because I didn’t actually want to catch the guy, and if those guys were his friends they could’ve ganged up on me. So I was happy just to keep a safe distance.
I did walk a lot faster than the thief and when he noticed how close I got he ran again and the rest split up.
It was only him and me right now.
When the thief got close to the corner of the school’s fence our bakkie showed up.
I was shocked and pretty sure the thief wet his pants, I don’t blame him though. He did have quick reflexes though and he turned to the fence and climbed over.
Half way over Mark lunges to grab him but wasn’t quick enough, it was actually good though because the man could have lost a limb seeing that the fence was topped with spikes.
He is now in the school and this is where it got really interesting.
Mark finds an easier place to clamber the fence where there were no spikes while I get back in the bakkie and drive around to the entrance.
A security company comes with two guys in a hatchback. They get out and run into the school as well.
The old man and myself follow closely behind the security squad and we all start searching for the man in the desolate school.
It really felt like a Call of Duty mission, just there were no guns and everyone only has one life so we were also a lot more careful.
Now it was time to put my clandestine mental brain on and move as silently as possible. I kept my breathing at a slow pace with as little sound as possible. I’m now alone in the one section and it is dead quiet. No sound, I make my way past a building into the open and I finally see the thief being dragged out the school with Mark walking closely behind.
Well now I don’t have to worry about what I will do if I catch him.
So the chase was over and one of the culprits were caught.
That was what I thought. We just have to wait for the police to show up and we will be on our way, but what I heard next broke my heart.
Mark and I sat down and chatted over what just happened and he told me when they caught him the man gave him a few hits and said a few words
I want to never repeat. The thief did not resist one bit but he received what no person deserves, no matter the crime.
At that moment I realised one thing.
This man did not fail the city, the city failed him.
But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. – Matthew 5:39.
Yes, the man stole. We also found some jewelry in his pocket that he stole, but to steal a bin and jewelry and get any form of beating is not justice. The thief’s wrongdoing revealed the true character of the security man.
If the thief went to prison for a day or a year or just a warning that is justice, but to hurt a man for someone’s own joy is sickening.
To build a greater world we need to turn the other cheek and show others that the battle can be won through love and not war.
Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my own friends. – Abraham Lincoln.
The thief was poor, probably had no job and could be in dire straights (which is no reason to steal). But if we showed him love through a
young age and built a strong community around him he would have a better chance of bringing good to our world. If I was in his shoes who knows
what I would have done.
The start of a better tomorrow starts with someone standing up to the wicked in the world and replying with love and the belief that all of us can have joy in our hearts that is everlasting, no matter the situation.
It’s been a few days now where I am without a phone and it’s tough. It’s also quite scary to think how reliant I am on my phone. Being on your phone takes away loads of your time and to put it simply, it’s just not good for you. I could write a whole blog post just about why you shouldn’t be on your phone for too long but there is sufficient material over the web so I’m good with just skipping that part.
The part I’m going to go over is actually how I broke my phone and why it is totally my fault.
Something that I read a while back from the Bible says: ‘ The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.’ – Proverbs 16:33.
If you are a bit clueless of what lots here let me explain: So lots have been used for a very long time, since biblical times. It can be literally a bunch of rocks with each item representing an outcome. The primary reason for casting lots was to render an impartial, unbiased decision on important matters. The ancient practice of casting lots would be the same as throwing dice or flipping a coin we commonly use today. In ancient times, they used varying means to cast lots, depending on the place and local customs, such as coins, polished sticks, cards, dice, and so on. The interesting thing about lots are that a wide variety of people use lots, it’s not as if only one culture uses it but it seems a lot of us use it, back then and now.
You might remember the story with Jonah where he was on a boat with a few fisherman who did not believe in God. When Jonah got onto the boat the sea changed from peaceful to a giant storm. The men were doing everything they could just to hang on. One of them decided to cast lots to see who the culprit was. When they casted the lots they discovered it was in fact Jonah. This was true, seeing that Jonah was intended to go to Nineveh but didn’t listen Jonah was being directed to Nineveh but Jonah’s plan was to go into the opposite direction.
So if we look at the men who casted lots: They don’t believe in God but their lots still showed that Jonah was causing them grief. So was it just by chance? Or is there some other sort of spirit in play determining the outcome of lots?
No, I don’t think so. I believe that it was God who showed the men that it was Jonah through the lots, even though they don’t believe in God.
This goes back to the verse that even though we can plan our future, ultimately God will determine the outcome.
This revolutionized the way I think about life. It was a mind-blowing statement for me because the way I now see things is totally different. the reason why I say this is because what if every decision in anything is up to God? What if God decides who wins the toss of a cricket match between 8 year olds? Well there is one thing for sure: He does have the power to.
You might be thinking then, ‘Well if everything is up to God then anything I do will have no meaning.’
I had a similar mentality, believing that if God is for me then I shouldn’t have to worry because God will get me out of any difficult situation. And that is true, but what I realised is you will face the consequences from a bad decision.
I started to live a care-free life. Enjoying what life throws at me. But things started to go wrong. That’s okay though right? God will get me through. I started to break things at work and at clients homes, but every time I told myself it is going to be okay. I did start to worry when I actually got warned that I need to get my act straight or I might get a written warning. That was really intense but for some reason I brushed over it and I eventually paid the price.
After a day at the beach I was walking home with a few things in my hand, one of them being my phone. Moments later my phone falls, my first instinct was that it’s okay, I mean I have dropped my phone countless times and each time it was fine. Also it landed on my cover so no worries. But then I thought to myself that the sound it made when hitting the ground was ridiculously loud. When I picked it up I started to worry, Usually I don’t even check to see if it’s broken but this time I checked and it didn’t look good. The screen would barely light up and as time went the screen became more and more obsolete.
Then it became real to me. I was so confused as to why everything was going wrong in my life. I started to think of all the times it happened, am I cursed now? I was not(thankfully). Looking back at each incident I was not careful enough, doing silly things. Each time God could have saved me from breaking each thing, but then I wouldn’t have learned.
I was living a care-free life, but I wasn’t careful.
I have now finally learned my lesson. It doesn’t mean I won’t break anything anymore, because unfortunately things happen which we do not have control over. But I will be more careful.
I hope that you are careful in what you do. Take risks because most of us don’t think that you could reap great rewards, but it also means you could lose greatly. But that is the gamble when it comes to taking risks, but eventually you will get rather good at it and surely reap a great reward.
It seems that more and more diseases are being formed and spread. The amount of allergies people have are growing. Long-term injuries are the norm. It seems we are all suffering, some more than others.It’s hard to wrap my head around all of this. Why is the darkness spreading so rapidly?If the evil is flourishing, where is the good?This is a year that God’s promises will be fulfilled. Your harvest will be many this year; but there is an enemy standing in front of that door, that door of prosperity.In this sprititual warfare that we deal with on a daily basis we need to call upon the light, the good, the Messiah. The only way evil can flourish is if the good does nothing.So call upon the name of Jesus.There is a silver lining in all of this darkness however: seeing the power of evil is so strong at this point of time, shouldn’t the power of good be even stronger? I would say so because God has already won the battle, and nothing is greater than He.So be expectant for the impossible, for the radical moments. You will witness the blind eyes open. The deaf who will now hear. The helpless helped. The impure transformed to pure.There is nothing God can’t do. So whenever you have desperation in your heart remember that He is coming to get you and turn your life around.Also, remember that you have the power to heal, restore and bring hope. Not because of your works but because of what is inside of you.With all of the negativity around, there is going to be some radical miracles.