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The necessity of being part of a community

Growing up I was an introvert. I enjoyed playing on my own, working on my own and pretty much figuring out life on my own. I had what I would like to say my own advice or my own motto that I lived by and that was: If I can’t do something I try to figure it out on my own and if I still can’t do it I seek advice and counsel from others so that I can eventually do it on my own.

The reasoning for that was: What if something goes wrong and I’m left to survive on my own? I would think of the worst case scenarios that I could possibly fathom and see if I was somewhat capable of living on my own. It was something I stuck by until I came across a new chapter of life that taught me something different.

At the start of last year I joined a gap year curriculum that showed me the value of being part of a community. There were countless times where we had fellowship with each other that was in a very healthy way. Sometimes it was just a time of fun and laughter while other times it was more personal and profound, times that made us open up from the things that affected us in a positive or negative way.

Being part of a community gave us that opportunity to seek help from others. It never felt like a burden to ask someone but actually a privilege for both parties. What I also noticed was that when I became part of the community did I not only seek counsel from others but people came to me for they realised what I could offer that they had less or no experience in.

Being part of a community in my eyes makes life simpler, makes it more convenient. Yes in some ways doing things on your own will make you a much more streamlined person and you will have lots of time to work on your craft or
whatever it is you would like to but if you get stuck then what? If you are in need of desperate help then what?

So I guess there is a balance (just like everything in life). There are pros and cons to either direction but we are made for fellowship and we are made to help others. You will notice certain times where you will have such great love for those around you and other times where you can’t stand them, but that’s how life goes for everyone sorry to say.

Be inspired by the goodness of people and not their flaws.

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

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Can recurring signs and symbols you see have a distinct message for you?

Have you ever had one of those days or weeks that you see a certain object or you hear a certain sound and it happens over and over and over again? Does it then feel that the world is speaking to you? That the world is crying out to you? Or do you believe that it is just coincidence?

There was a day this week that I saw a spider web over and over again. It was in the weirdest places, the places in which one should not see a spider web, but it was there. When I went to do my usual checks in the morning I opened up the canopy of the car and immediately I saw the first spider web of the day.

That’s strange I thought. It didn’t phase me though so I carried on with my daily duties.

After checking the car I went upstairs to my desk and on my monitor I saw the end of a spider web which I again thought was strange but did not take too much notice.

But then it happened again, and a few hours later again, it was probably about 5 spider web’s that I saw that day and by the 5th one I got the message. Something was up and I really wanted to know.

Yes it may have all been coincidental but the places I saw the web’s were very significant because it was technically on the things that belong to me. I didn’t see a web on another vehicle and it was only my screen with a little web on it, so there must be more to what meets the eye.

So the following day on my free time I decide to search biblical meaning of a spider and I found an article that I could really relate to. It was in Proverbs 30:28. “The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in king’s palaces!”

It(the article) then further elaborates on the verse stating that a spider was outside the kings palace and wanted to go inside but it seemed impossible for the palace seemed too big and intimidating to reach. Eventually though, the spider gave it a chance and started weaving and each day it got a little bit closer to reaching its target till one day it reached the top of the palace.

Yes it is a short summary of the story but what I learned from the story is that sometimes a task looks daunting and impossible till you give it a try, and it doesn’t take a short while but sometimes very long. But you get there. You may toil for very long but the outcome will be completely worth it. Hard work and perseverance always results in a good outcome.

It does sound obvious but the story for me was a good reminder especially because I feel like that spider in my current situation. I feel like there is a very high wall I need to climb and all I need to do is keep climbing and never give up.

One day I will reach the top and be able to look back to where I once was and smile knowing that the hard work paid off.

So I personally believe we can know more about ourselves and our situation through signs and symbols and I believe God put it there for us to see. He wants us to suceed and He wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him. He is so incredible that He can speak to us through things that can seem so small.

Here are a few tips to know if God is perhaps talking to you through signs and symbols:

  1. The sign occurs regularly out of the blue meaning that it wasn’t a recurring happening a day or two ago but suddenly it won’t stop happening.
  2. The meaning of the sign has a relevance to your life or perhaps someone around you.
  3. You feel that others are not aware of it but you constantly see it and it seems to be very obvious for you.
  4. You feel a certain sensation in your body that does not happen regularly.

If you look closely and observe nature you might see something truly amazing that may give you the perfect encouragement in whatever situation you are in life.

A link to the article of the spider: https://www.onlythebible.com/Bible-Gems/Wisdom-of-the-Spider.html

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How to work fast and efficiently

Sparking a fast intensity in everything that you do

It’s almost been half a year that I have been working at my first job and it has been a great learning curve. I have been blessed in countless ways through my work, I have learned countless things about the work that I do, how a business is run, how to deal with clients and employees (which I’m not good at yet but definitely learning from it) and even lessons I can use on a daily basis regardless of where I am.

However there is one lesson that I have learned that I have applied to my everyday situation and it has honestly changed my life. My life is not completely revolutionized these last 5 months but it will have a huge impact on
the years to come.

This skill is swiftness.

You might be confused so let me explain:

I work as an assistant wireless technician, meaning that I ensure that the clients of the company are satisfied with the service that we offer, which is Internet or WiFi. If there is an issue, either my team or another would go out and
sort the problem. We also do installations and set up networks for schools or large businesses. There is honestly a lot more that I do that is not part of my job title and a lot more that is but I’d rather not bore you, otherwise I would have no followers and that would make me cry.

Because WiFi is something that should be working 24/7 the issue needs to be sorted out ASAP. So when we arrive at a client we need to make haste, obviously we do not work too fast that we make mistakes or make a mess but rather operate at a higher level of intensity. It is definitely a learning curve but once you get there it
is actually quite beautiful. I wouldn’t say that I am there yet but I have made great breakthroughs.

What has been so amazing is that I have noticed that certain things I do at home or outside of work simply has become so much quicker to do and it has saved me so much time. I really feel that I have now a longer day
because I just get so much done.

It is important also to have a relaxed day which I do have and certainly refreshes ones mind but on the days that you work or do house chores it is beneficial to work at such a quick and efficient pace.

And working at a fast pace is not something one can attain only through my field of work but in anything you do including what you do at home.

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Waiting on God

Waiting for something whether it is something big or small is common for all of us no matter the circumstances. It is even common in the bible. Jacob waited 14 years before he could marry the woman he loved. Joseph waited in prison roughly 2 years and 13 years total in the house of the eyptions before he was delivered and Moses was in the desert for 40 years in hiding. Then another 40 years spent with the Israelites in the desert.

One of the questions you need to ask yourself however is this: Is it a time for action or a time of patience?

If it is a time for action then go for it. Sometimes God is waiting for you rather than you waiting for Him. Not everything in life falls onto our lap just by waiting. It may be a big fear of yours but that’s what it’s going to take: Courage.

But that may also be a foolish thing to do because God is in fact testing your patience, growing your patience. You may be in a situation where you are being treated badly at work etc.

It’s difficult but God could want you there to make a difference, to wait for the right time, to wait for His time. If you stay patient and do what you can with what you have you may realise it isn’t that bad. A lot depends on your attitude.

Maybe a few months extra of waiting won’t seem that bad if you compare it to Moses in the desert.

You gave your life to Jesus so you might as well give Him your time.

Giving your last breath

For many people there comes a period where the workload becomes a lot more strenuous than the rest of the year. You really have to graft in those times, sacrifice a lot of other things just to hang on and still you are exhausted, still you feel that you are on your last breath.

But the project is not done, you still have work to do, but you simply can’t. So how do you carry on? How can you replenish that must needed energy of yours?

Recently I felt that I needed to read Samson, in the book of Judges, maybe it’s because I’m growing out my hair so I can now relate to all the problems he would have. Anyways, reading Samson has given me a revelation of how to get that extra energy, and it doesn’t revolve around growing out your hair.

Now to those of you who may be a little rusty on the history of Samson, or have just never heard of him: Samson was an Israelite who was born to rule over Israel and be the protector against the Philistines. He was not just a regular man but rather someone with superhuman strength.

But there was a catch.

No razor may ever touch Samson’s hair or he would lose his strength. Long story short the Philistines found out his strength through Delilah, a woman from the Philistines that Samson loved. The Philistines cut his hair off and captured him, mocked him and made a fool out of him.

Samson had nothing left, his power was gone. He was sorrounded by Philistines and there was nothing he could do. He was hopeless. He was supposed to be the shining light amongst the Philistines but was instead the fool.

Samson knew what his duty was and he never gave up. It was then that he cried out to the Lord for strength. The Lord responded to Him by giving him the strength back. Samson broke through his chains and then pushed the two central pillars holding the building they were in and it let the whole building collapse with all the Philistines that were in it including Samson. That day he killed more people than all the other times over the years combined.

Last week I was exhausted from everything going on and the weekend that was ahead would include a lot more hardwork. I had nothing to give but there was still so much to do. When Samson’s story came up I realised that I too can have that renewed strength to push through and endure what lies ahead. It sounds silly to mention but I think often we don’t do it or we feel that it’s not going to work, but it does!

That week with the little sleep I had I was able to stay awake and sometimes feel full of energy. It wasn’t a very sustainable thing to do but for the time being it was enough.

I hope that none of us have to be in that situation of Samson that you give your life to a cause but you will be faced with times where it is guns blazing. Then you will need that inner strength. That extra boost that only God can give you.

Just cry out to the Lord and see how He can renew you.

Race day: Part 2- The race

If you haven’t read part one of this story then I would advise you to go back and read it before you start this one…

3…2…1….Go!

And the first few cyclists were off. I was at the back though, so it was a good 20 seconds before I was actually off.

It was a cagey affair at first, we were all respectful of each others bicycles so it took a while before we could really showcase our talents on the big stage.

After about 2 minutes I decide to take matters into my own hands. I started to squeeze into small gaps, accelerate through the downhills and keep a high intensity through the uphill. I must have pased around 50 people in that early stage.

The next stage featured an uphill that I think took most of us off guard. It looked simple enough but the hill would just not end. Many cyclists actually stopped, got off their bicycles and started walking uphill. It was rather scary because this was just the beginning!

It was quite discouraing to see so many cyclists pushing their bike uphill and I started to think I wouldn’t make it. Honestly I started to think I wouldn’t even finish the race.

Towards the end of the hill however, I changed to the lowest gear and pushed myself to the top. I made it! And I didn’t have to walk, which was great for my ego.

After lowering my intensity and keeping a steady pace I felt as if I couldn’t breathe. I wasn’t sure how much energy I would have after that hill climb.

For the next few minutes I kept a relaxed pace, trying to get some oxygen back. It was then where I actually got to see some of the wind turbines.

I was proably about 10 metres away from one at some point. Don’t think I have ever been so close to one as I was then. I was so surprised that I didn’t even hear a single noise from one of them(or maybe I was just too focused on the race).

By this time my energy came back and I was ready to push on. I had an intensity of about 90% and I felt good, I didn’t feel that I was pushing myself to the point of exhaustion, I just felt I was at the perfect speed. I also passed quite a few more cyclists which is what I strive for, just kidding.

By now most of the hard climbs were over and the rest was, pun-intended, downhill. I started to pick up ridiculous speeds. I passed a lot more cyclists but now came a big problem.

The track narrowed down to just one lane. This was a problen because a cyclist in front of me was not as fast as I was but I couldn’t overtake him. I didn’t know his name but it said “you’re future begins here” so I’m assuming that was his name.

So for about 30% of the race I was behind you’re future begins here. Don’t get me wrong we were still going fast and I enjoyed the twists and turns while marvelling at the beautiful scenery before me. I just wish I could pass him.

Eventually after the lane returned to a road I found my gap and I overtook him. I let him know he did a great job and sped onwards. By then I knew exactly where I was and I knew exactly where the race goes from here…or did I?

I did not.

I thought it was straght ahead till we get to the gravel road, turn left, go up that hill and the finish line should be there in about a km.

In fact we were still quite a way from the finish and there were more uphills to come.

That was actually a time where I was able to pass a lot more cyclists and I was also surprised to see how much energy I had left.

The hills kept coming but I kept pushing. It was getting frustrated because I could see the finish but there was still lots of curves before getting there.

I reached the end to my relief and just before the last turn I saw an old man overtake me, how cheeky. We both then turned for the last corner and finished in style with a decent time of 65 minutes.

I was honestly very happy and surprised with how well I did. I finished the race and I also had a great time, I never felt that I was getting tired (except when I could barely breathe after the very first uphill). I kept pushing to the pace I wanted to and it never felt too much.

I spoke to the old man after the race and he told me I needed to raise my seat a bit higher because I would get a lot more speed and it would’ve made a huge difference.

So taking that into account and starting a lot closer to the front my time could have been totally different, but I am nonetheless glad with my position of finishing 16th and I feel so confident that I would not only come again next year but actually go for the 85km because then I will really be tested.

Thanks for reading and I hope you go and join an event such as this, whether it is running, cycling, swimming or all of them or whatever it may be…go and push yourself to do it. If you don’t want to go alone invite a friend but go and do it!

Race day: Part 1-Build up

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…

Part 2 of the race coming tomorrow!