Ready, Set, Pause.

Nobody ever sets out to quit or fail at something. When we have the momentum, enthusiasm and energy we soar ahead, excited about what the end will look like when we accomplish the goal. But then what happens half-way through the course, the dieting? the exercise? that new book? We pause.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

Pausing is no good for momentum because it diminishes energy required to keep us going. Just imagine our favourite olympic skier pausing on a slope. He/She will certainly not be taking home any medal! Recently, I went skiing at Hockley Valley Ski Resort with some friends. None of us were by any means great, or even good, at this sport, but we got better the longer we stayed out there. So much better that we decided to try the beginner hill. While I had done this before- 10 years ago, my friend hadn’t. He was better than any beginner I knew. I went down the first slope smoothly…too smooth actually. But my friend didn’t. He had a fall. I stopped at the end of the slope to wait for him. But during this time, the momentum that was built up on the first slope diminished, and I was a little scared to take the second slope. By then, I watched my friend ski ahead of me and I found motivation from him. If he could do it, so could I. I saw him fall again but this time I didn’t stop. Was I mean? Well, that’s the thing about momentum. I didn’t want to pause because I feared that I would be the one to fall or worse, let fear prevent me from making it to the end.

READ MORE: Let’s do a new thing in 2022

I love the way sports teaches us so many realistic lessons. It lets us mentally see where we are in our minds. At the beginning of skiing, I wasn’t that smooth coming down any hill. I told myself two things: (1) I didn’t come skiing to not enjoy myself and actually make it down the hill. (2) I did not intend to fall. Now, this is a lot of positivity for someone who is totally new (because not skiing for a decade still makes me new). I didn’t know it at the time, but I think my mind was at the top of the baby hill rectifying those two beliefs while I stood there. I was trying to figure out the how. How would I go down the hill without falling?

Photo by Volker Meyer on Pexels.com

For 10 minutes I examined the hill, observing the other skiers fall and going again. Until I got too close to the edge and gravity had its way with me. I screamed all the way down and somehow my feet situated themselves correctly. I watched my friends jumped out of my way as I was coming at full speed, and a miracle happened. My feet turned so that I didn’t fall and I kept on going. I slowed down by myself startled and in shock. How did I do that? I looked up the hill and followed the route I had taken. How did I not fall? I can’t believe it.

Lisa Nichols defines mindset as “the knowing.”

The knowing enables you to push past limiting beliefs, take on new opportunities with confidence and succeed in getting what you want. This knowing precedes your ability to succeed and paves the way for you to enjoy abundance in every area of your life. And its this knowing that I want to help you develop now. 

Lisa Nichols & Janet Switzer

What I am saying is that having a positive mindset about skiing took me down the first baby hill. It gave me the courage to get on the ski lift and then try the beginner hill. The more I skied was the more I felt confident and the more I wanted to take bigger risk. Why? Because of momentum. Pausing makes us loose that momentum and it prevents us from sailing ahead with our plans, goals and desires.

**May you continue to build momentum in February as you press forward into your goal. You started it, just don’t stop. Don’t let your pause become a full stop.

Let’s do a new thing in 2022!

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:18-19

It’s exciting to start new things. New hobbies, new love, new jobs. It’s the feeling that I have no history, no perceptions or knowledge about the thing I am doing and I get to have a clean slate. Plus, there is no judgements from other people about me. Starting at day one, I am free to be anything I want to be, or even better, the best version of me. The Lord told Isaiah (43:18-19) to “forget the former things.” That is, forget the past because He is doing a new thing. Can you not perceive that it is already beginning to happen for you? What an exciting place to be on the first day of the year 2022!

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

Awareness is the gift I give myself this year. Today, I went out walking on a trail nearby my house. I usually do that, but today was the first time for 2022. I wanted to be present and to feel alive and to experience the joy of something so simple. I spent time giving thanks to God as I reflect on his goodness and mercies. Each time a future plan came to mind, I committed it to God. With each step, I found joy and peace. I am excited about the fact that God promises to do a new thing and it will be better than the former. I don’t have to worry about whether God is going to come through this year like He did last year. I also don’t have to go looking for my blessings at the same places where He blessed me last year, because this year it is going to be different. Doesn’t that fill you with anticipation about what God is going to do this year?

I sure do. And what I love is that I am reminded by Matthew (6:30-31), “God will certainly take care of you, much more than he takes care of the grass. You should trust him more than you do! Do not have trouble in your mind about these things.” I am committed to lean on God’s promises so that I am not anxious, worried, or afraid. If 2022 is going to be an exciting year for us we must set our hearts with great expectations. Will you join me in doing so?

Since I left some advice in 2021 I decided to do it again this year.

READ MORE: Let go of the past and say hello to 2021!

Here are some tips for my 2022:

Set boundaries: In the past I have often felt that this is a rejection word (And I suffered from this painful feeling for years). Now, I am embracing boundaries because I realize that I need the space from people (including family members) to become my best self for them.

Pray about everything: The bible tells us to do this, but when the bad things come around we are so anxious that we can’t even sit for a minute to say a sensible word to God. But, this is when we need to pray, so that we won’t do something stupid that we may regret.

Avoid unnecessary conflicts/Contentions/Arguing: No I am not saying to be passive and to ignore the need to address certain difficult situations. What I realize is that I have always been ready to address the conflicts when others are shunning them. And because I don’t get my resolve, this might set me off to ruminate and not think good thoughts towards the person. Plus, I become the one causing more conflict (including for myself). This year, I will use wisdom to know when to not respond and walk away and offer grace to people who irritate my skin.

Trust God to fight all my battles: I witness God fighting for me last year, over and over again, at work and in my family. It was like watching miracle after miracle. And the best part was, I didn’t have to be bent out of shape in the end. I experienced peace and I gave God is praises that is due. So I am committed to doing the same thing again.

Wait: Yes, I know this is a tough one. This is where the anxious thoughts come in. But, let’s be honest we do not control the times and we do not control people. So, I am going to be doing a lot of waiting and while I wait, you best believe I am going to be praying and worshipping.

As I set out on this first day with great expectations I know that every journey has its bumps in the road, but I will use my tips above to get through them, one at a time. I am committed to believing God for every promise He ever made to me. I hope to come back after a year to share my testimonies (and that you might do the same).

May you move ahead seeing and perceiving the new things the Lord will do in your life this year. He will do it.

Have an extraordinary year my friends!

First time Travelling by Train to Edmonton

Leaving Vancouver on Via Rail was something else. I was passing through Vancouver to visit Edmonton for the first time. Everything was new. The Bridges, the buildings, and even the buses. I read once that the brain thrives on new experiences: “Novelty.” I may not know the neurological process, but I know that what I was experiencing felt good. Travelling makes me come alive fully.

READ MORE: 10 things to know while travelling

My train ticket from Vancouver to Edmonton costed me just under $200, which covered one economy seat. It was spacious enough and no one was sitting next to me. There were two bathrooms per railcar and I had access to the other railcars as well. Once we were settled in our seats, the conductors introduced themselves and laid down the rules and expectations for us. As soon as they were done, I made my way to see what the other cars looked like and where the dining car and the skydome were located. Basically, just to get a lay of the land. Familiarize myself with my surroundings since I would be travelling for 26 hours. I learnt that the bathroom in the other car next to mine was more spacious. And since there were fewer passengers, hardly anyone used it. Next, I grab my laptop, books, and note books and sat in the dining car to begin my writing. Too bad there was no wifi access. It is a feature benefit in the business car though, which was further from where we were. In a way, I felt an invisible label “lower class” placed on me. Not that the service was bad, it’s just that I felt the division. Maybe it was the way the server barked at me when I ventured down a hallway pass the kitchen were I shouldn’t have crossed. It was just a feeling…

On Via Rail in the dining car

Still, travelling across the country by train was a bucket list item. When I woke up the next morning, I could see snow covered pine trees. I didn’t order breakfast because I was still full from dinner the night before, salmon with rice and veggies. I planned to get breakfast in Jasper once the train stopped. I sat in the dome car with others, looking through the transparent ceiling at the mountains all covered with snow, the aqua coloured water below, and the pine trees lining the mountains. “Gorgeous” were the words just rolling off the tongues of passengers, and “Aw” and “Wow” “Unbelievable” “Breathtaking.” The best word that described this experience though was “Divine.” It wasn’t made by man, but by God. And it was perfect and flawless.

Inside the dome car

The train sped under tunnels that went through the mountains. The mountains were on both sides of the train. Our eyes swung from side to side, ahead and behind…just trying to capture every moment with our eyes, with our mind. I think I had. I can still see the experience vividly. But, not the same way as what it looks like on the many photos I took or the videos taken. No. The one captured in my mind cannot be replicated. It is as I saw it, and it will remain that way forever.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Yes, I made conversations with a few passengers, listening to travel tales, and strange meditation practices or grounding practices. I often find that passengers who travel for fun are the retirees, which puts me as an anomaly. I was the only black person, except for the French conductor. Half the passengers were in my age group. One family was travelling with two infants, which must have been difficult. There wasn’t a bed for them to sleep on, or a place to play. The boy occupied the aisle with his toys. The baby was spread out on the large size seats. Very uncomfortable.

Stopping in Jasper for breakfast for the hour broke things up a bit. I was able to get fresh air, walk around, buy touristy things and grab breakfast before re-boarding. I went straight to the dome car to eat. I wanted a good view as I enjoyed my meal, with matcha tea that had messed up my white gloves, and left blotches of green on my black coat. After not bathing for over 24 hours or changed my clothes, I started to feel, dirty. Maybe I belonged in the lower class car at this point. It didn’t matter in the moment.

READ MORE: The Halifax Citadel: Lest we Forget.

I used my afternoon to read and journal about my experience. As it started to get dark again, I made my way back to my own seat. And sat there to enjoy what was left of the train ride. It would be arriving in Edmonton in 2 hours. Approximately 6:30 pm, I said my good -byes. The conductor was kind to take down my luggage and had it ready at the door for me. As I waited for my ride with an elderly woman beside me talking my ears off, she whispered, “we call it Dead-min-ton.” And then disappeared in her taxi.

10 things to know while Travelling

“Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.”

Actor, Alan Alda

I find travelling to be the most creative of things I can do, specifically when I do it alone. I am connecting the dots through every decision I make. I am connected to people I’m never going to see again, at restaurants, while walking, or standing in line. Each person I meet has no idea whether I am a local or a tourist, not unless I actually tell them. When I was in the west of Canada, there is no distinct marker between me and the people I meet. Saying, “I’m from Ontario” doesn’t create any surprise reactions. Except, the people are curious about how my experience is going. Sometimes I would share my next venture with them, that I am on my way to Alberta.

Granville Station, Vancouver

When I got off the ferry, I took a bus to Vancouver’s skytrain. It wasn’t hard, just frustrating to figure out where I am going while on a strict schedule. I wanted to be at the Via Rail train station at 2pm. I sat on the bus between two asian young women, one white man at the back of the bus, and another white woman joined him with her suitcases. Once I got off the bus, I followed one of the asian woman. She agreed she would show me where to get the skytrain since she was going on the train too. While we arrive in the elevator, a black man (which I had seen in the ferry terminal in Victoria) was already in it, and an elderly white woman joined us. Most of us didn’t really know where we were going. We were figuring it out together. We lost the man who ended up taking the escalator, while the rest of us women walked to another elevator that took us to the platform. On the train, we started talking about Canada. I shared that I was on my way to Alberta, the Asian girl shared that she went to visit her parents on one of the island and she is returning. The elderly woman shared how she has watched Vancouver transformed into the big city it is now. There was another young white woman behind me who got my attention, and shared that she used to live in Alberta, but she is happy to live in BC now. She is in graduate school but doesn’t think she’ll be going back to Alberta. “Don’t go to the Edmonton Mall” she said, “Everyone goes there. Go to the Art Gallery or the Museum instead.” Well, I took her advice.

Art Gallery of Alberta

The elderly woman had told me to get off at the City Centre. Even though my GPS wanted me to continue on the train. I decided to take the elderly woman’s suggestions. When I got out of the train, I asked a number of people for directions. What I noticed was, no one was from Vancouver! The strangest thing… Two young girls directed me down an escalator, and from there I followed the signs to the platform. Nothing was completely difficult, it’s just that with the added stress of not wanting to miss my train, created anxiety. Anxiety and travelling is an uncomfortable mix. That’s probably why most people won’t do it. But, what calms me down is the confidence that, no matter what choice I make or not make, everything will work out just fine.

READ MORE: Ferry to Vancouver.

Travelling opens up my curiosity and puts all my assumptions and expectations behind closed doors. I wish that I could live like that in my ordinary life. Each moment is an opportunity to create a memory and to not take anything for granted. When travelling, I am fully aware of how to live in the moment, because I am certain that I won’t get another opportunity to come back to that very spot. Sitting in the train with strangers talking like ole friends hardly happen for me at home. We connected over our transitory journey.

So to end this post, I want to say that I have learnt a lot while travelling, I just have to use those same lessons in my regular life. Let me share 10 of them with you:

  1. Always ASK questions, don’t assume nothing.
  2. LIVE in the moment and don’t take anything for granted.
  3. Set aside plans, and go with the FLOW (this is the one that I use as my mantra).
  4. Be CURIOUS and try new things (this is a staple of travelling)
  5. Always go with your HEART and set aside every limitation.
  6. Create MEMORIES not nightmares.
  7. Be OPEN minded.
  8. Be anxious for NOTHING.
  9. Make MISTAKES. They can turn out to be best memories.
  10. Be completely FREE to be yourself (no one is judging!)

Adventuring the outdoors at Thetis Lake

Do you like the outdoors? There are so many conservation parks around Victoria. But, the one I went to was called Thetis Lake Regional Park. I really loved it. I have visited so many conservation parks around Ontario which has there own charm. There was something different about Thetis Lake. I loved that it had a mixture of everything. The best part is that as you walk through the park, the lake was in eyesight. I loved that the sun peered through the massive oak and maple trees, amongst other typical Canadian trees. I loved that there were areas where I felt hidden from the world, surrounded only by the trees. And still parts of the hike, where I could step off the trail and unto a hill overlooking the lake. I took in the beauty from up high; the sun glistening on the water with the colourful trees everywhere. There were other areas that I could stand at the edge of the lake and embraced the stillness. At one point, I began noticing these massive maple leaves laying on the ground. The size of the leaves were bigger than the palm of my hand. I picked one up and carried it with me as I continued.

Many others were hiking as well, some with children, some couples, and some loners like myself. I often find hikers are pleasant. Maybe we each have more in common than we are able to appreciate. And maybe it’s that we subconsciously know what the other really want, that is, time to be left to our own thoughts and imaginations. There is a subconscious respect, that a smile or a simple “hello” is enough. I was filled with a mixture of thoughts; that I was in BC for the first time, that I had never been to this lake before, inspired about what the future holdings, and how deeply content I was at that moment. People say to me all the time, “you are so brave” and “I could never travel alone.” But when I am hiking, I think about how this place could be anywhere. What is brave about flying to another part of the world and doing something new or in my case, doing the same thing I would do at home?

READ MORE: Never Alone

The hike carried me all around the lake. It took me over an hour to get to the middle point. But, that’s because of all the stops I made to enjoy the scenery before the sunset. Instead of walking around the entire lake, I turned around and walk back in the same direction. I think I wanted to see the same views going back (and felt a little uncertain about where I was going if I continued). My favourite way of hiking is when I have no sense of time or schedule. When I arrived at my car, it was already dusk. Hardly anyone was around. To me, there is nothing like coming back to a hotel room after a long, hike on a cold day. The ambiance spells utter relaxation.

Victoria’s Chinatown and other charming heritage sites

As with every architecture in the city of Victoria, the stones used to construct the entrance of Chinatown is pristine. It was like, it was designed yesterday. I walked through the entire Chinatown in five minutes. Well, until I figured out the hidden alleyways that are so narrow, it’s easy to miss. It makes the experience more interesting. Since the only chinatown I’m familiar with is the one in Toronto, I really was expecting more shops, more places to eat, street vendors, and the chaos that often comes with the place, which of course makes for great bargaining. This China town could be packaged in a museum, the way it was so perfect. Across the street was a Chinese school that children go to learn about their Chinese culture. I observed two mothers speaking in there own tongue outside the school, as they held their little ones’ hands. I didn’t stop for food, but I bet that’s why later that night, I was craving Chinese food.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

I eventually saw the same city tour bus passed by me, but I felt that taking my time to experience more of the city on foot was best. After I left Chinatown, I went to Market Square. None of these places are by any means extravagant in size. I managed to walk through the square in a short time. Maybe, the experience would be lovelier in the summer months as I saw there was a performance stage in the centre. There were cute shops and patios on the second story to have lunch. It makes for a cute hang out spot (if it wasn’t so cold and windy).  On my way back, I saw the Eaton Mall. You can bet this mall was not your ordinary modern mall. The designs are Victorian in nature as well. The mall had all the stores you would expect to find in any shopping mall. But, the architecture was stunning, much like the entire city.

READ MORE: I have come home.  

What I love about the experience of walking through the downtown is that, every building has kept its original architecture. The following day, while on the City Bus (…I almost missed it again!), I learnt that all the hotels, stores, and any building was preserved as a historical site. So for decades to come, every owner of these buildings will not be able to completely change the look and feel of this beautiful city. The tour guide told us the history of one famous hotel. The hotel has kept its original design, with with many changes of owner, no one has stayed in there for 75 years, and no profit. The recent owner added to it, but is not allowed to change the original bricks. From the Chinatown, to native landmarks, to Victorian built, they have all been preserved as part of the historical look and feel of this charming city.

Photo by Rishabh Parange on Pexels.com

I felt safe and comfortable to walk around as a single woman of colour. The city had a little bit of diversity creeping in ever so slowly, it’s easy to miss it. I saw a biracial young girl working at the Rexall pharmacy and the following day when I went back to the pharmacy, there was an Asian woman. When I was walking through China town, I saw many Asian people. I didn’t see many other races, outside of Caucasian.  Like I said, it was easy to miss the diversity. I chatted up a few strangers, one was an ex-police officer working at the legislative assembly. I shared with him what I do for a living, and he was encouraging me to apply for jobs in British Columbia. I would say that the people are just as charming as the city. Also, the city seems to care a great deal about its retirees. I learnt on the tour bus that special care in height of buildings have been taken into consideration for accessibility reasons. With the fact that the city has a mild winter, it’s surrounded by the pacific ocean, and everyone has a green thumb, all makes for a beautiful place to live or vacation or even retire! I honestly must say that this city is a must see for anyone who loves the sun and sea!

Travelling post Covid-19

There is nothing like putting your job on hold, in order to make time for travelling. Travelling for me is more like a calling. When I go to a new place, I don’t merely go so that I can “have fun.” I immerse myself in the new city or country by going for long hikes, strolling through museums, and reading every plaque I see. Overall, I try to gain understanding of the history of the place, and I use my senses to get a feel of the people and their culture. Whether the people are nice, laid back, busy urbaners or homogeneous in nature. As a black woman walking into an all white location, I am curious how I am perceived. Are eyes darting in my direction, or are the people oblivious of my presence?

Fisherman’s Wharf, Victoria, BC

In the City of Victoria, my very first interaction (well outside of the airport and the rental car company) was with the hoteliers. There were two receptionist at the front. One lady with dark eye liner circled all around her eyes stared right through me. It’s like she was caught like a deer in the headlights. Was she nervous in my presence? Or was she new at her job? I stopped looking at her because she was making me nervous. The other receptionist tended to me hastily. My questions were answered abruptly, but not disrespectful. There was something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Plus, I was going with my new mantra “let it go, let it go….” It must have been the elephant or more appropriately, “the deer” in the room. My room was just as I expected; two beds, a clean spacious bathroom, and a large enough window with a view of the public library. That was more of a personal taunt for me, “More room to write in case the desk with the office chair and the dining table with two chairs wasn’t enough.”

READ MORE: Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

The first thing I did after settling in was to go for a stroll. It was too nice a day not to go out. Plus, I had just been given three hours extra because of the time zone difference. Only 1pm in the afternoon and a full day ahead of me. I didn’t really know where I was headed. From the Quality Inn Hotel where I was staying, I turned on to Blanchard and then Yates which took me down to Wharf street, where the harbour was located. Out on the horizon was the lake. I saw signs pointing to the Songhees walkway. This is what I love about exploring new places. The brain is working overtime trying to piece its surroundings together. With no previous point of reference, each new observation becomes just that. The sun disappeared, and the rain came down in a quick drizzle. The sky was covered with grey clouds. Hard to tell whether this is what normal is for Victoria. I was at least glad that my long black rain coat kept me dry and warm. When the rain poured on, I covered my head with my hood and carried on…30 mins, 45 mins, another 1 hour, who knows. I hadn’t the slightest idea where I was headed. I finally stopped to ask these strangers how long the Songhees walkway went for. “Another 10-15 minutes” the blonde woman said, “There are riveotters at the end, they are so cute.” “I’m sorry, what?” “They are like big rats.” She responded. “Oh, River Otters.” After we said our good byes, I carried on…crossing a bridge, the sea on both sides. I was looking for those Otters now. Even though I didn’t see them, I saw a lot of logs in the water. I wondered if the Otters were responsible for bringing them there.

Photo by Finn Whelen on Pexels.com

I finally arrived at the end, “Fisherman’s Wharf.” I saw boats galore. Did people live in them? I decided to head back because it would be another 45 minutes walk for me. But halfway on my journey I stopped at Spinnakers for lunch. The restaurant sat on the lake/sea. I asked the greeter to place me by the window. The restaurant had a rustic and idyllic charm. Wait was that a moose walking through the grass? Did any one else saw it? It disappeared in the bushes and no sooner it returned, I saw it disappear again around the corner of the trail. No one else seem the least bit perturbed by this animal. And I was too stunned to get my camera fast enough to take a photo. Maybe that’s normal around here…

I did the wise thing and ordered dinner to go. Only an Ontarian would ask for the LCBO apparently! The locals corrected me, that there were no LCBOs in BC. I have now been schooled. I grabbed a bottle of Moscato and cocoa truffles for dessert. Before dinner, I went for a swim in the pool.

READ MORE: Adventures on Prince Edward Island

My Friday night was complete. Dinner and movie in bed in a new Province and City. What more can I ask for? Another dream has come true. For a few years now, I’ve been talking about going to see the many different Provinces of Canada. In 2018, I began that journey when I went to the east coast. Three years later, with several months of Covid-19 restrictions, I made it happen again. I am in beautiful British Columbia!

Stay tuned for more on this journey to the West Coast!

Never Alone

Loneliness is the painful experience when you look around and there is no one that you know. For me, it was the moment when I was sitting in the airplane, after being escorted to my seat in a rush by the flight attendant. I was thirteen. That was the moment I realized what my dream costed me. 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For a long time I wanted to travel on an airplane, to come to Canada. I dreamt about it for so long, but I didn’t know it would happen. And I couldn’t imagine how I would feel. That I would have to be peeled from the grips of my mother’s love, and pulled through the airport to be seated next to this woman with red lip stick with Jamaican accent. My eyes fixated on the tiny window across her lap, staring one last time, wishing for one last glimpse of my mother. The dark-skinned woman pulled down the window cap and I looked at her red mouth saying something but I could not hear her. My bawling drowned her out and my thoughts and my dreams turned to fear. 

Read More: The Land I Love

Fear that I may never see my mother and brothers again. Fear that this pain that I was experiencing for the first time would last forever. I was faced with feelings of loneliness for the first time in my life and I was scared. I was stuck between my first love; of country, of family, and of home, and my dreaming of living in another country. I was stuck in uncertainty. Up until that moment, my life had never been uncertain. 

Photo by Any Lane on Pexels.com

It was my mother who woke me up every morning and helped prepare me for school. It was my mother I had slept with at nights that comforted me and shielded me from the pain of the outside world. It was my mother who made sure I had lunch money, uniforms, and even a good school to attend. I knew everything wasn’t perfect, but surrounded by the protection of my mother’s love, I never had anything to fear. Not until now when I couldn’t see her. The part that scared me most was I didn’t know when I was going to see her again.  

The strange thing I learnt in that day was how feelings totally change. I wasn’t thinking of my mother as much. I was looking to a future with my father. As I walked side by side, I believed I was protected again from the world. I was safe. I was too young to know that this was my season of growth. Not mature enough yet to see that I was developing strength, resilience, and my own identity. I would find a new home here. 

Photo by Kamaji Ogino on Pexels.com

This pandemic has given me time to pause and reflect on my long journey through all the seasons of my own life. That’s why tonight, as I look out at the midnight sky in the comfort of my own home, the countless stars flickering makes me cry. All along, all these years, God had been walking in tandem with me, watching over me, carrying me through the most difficult parts of my life. Guiding me through my transformation, letting my roots grow deeper, mixing the colourful experiences with the ugly. All of it, for Him, for His glory, for me to know that I was never alone.

Do you want to live happy and free from the law?

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:18

I recently had one of many interviews in the last month. One interview was followed by a second component, a written test. One of the questions asked me to write a brief explanation about the Criminal Code of Canada. In Canada we are all bound under the Criminal Code, which codifies all of the criminal laws of Canada. Whether you read the Code or not, a citizen or not, as long as you live in Canada and break one of these laws, you will be punished. In essence, we are all bound by the Criminal Code. Yet, Galatians 5:18 tell us something else. What did Paul mean when he says we are not under the law, if we are led by the Spirit?

READ MORE: Do you ever feel powerless?

In last week’s article, I wrote about feeling powerless over temptations. We become so powerless that we do things that hurt ourselves and we hurt each other. What possesses a sexual predator to act so ghastly towards another human being? Is it a crave for control? a desire for pleasure? or are they also victims of their own circumstances? Regardless, the Criminal Code says bestiality, sexual abuse, child pornography, and many others, are all wrong. And when persons are caught breaking the law, they will go before the court of law and be punished for it. The accused might have many excuses: drunkenness, mental health concerns, etc, and even if some excuses were taken into consideration during sentencing, the accused is still going to be judged as guilty of breaking the law.

Do you want to live happy and free from the law?
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There are some temptations, though, that are not in the criminal code. For example, fornication (having sex with someone when you are not married), or adultery (a married person having sex with another person). According to the Criminal Code consensual sex at the age of consent is not a crime. But morally they are still wrong because these sins are hurting you or someone else. Although we might not feel the pain it is causing us during the act, we all can attest to the pain that a broken heart leaves behind. It feels like a dagger in the soul. But, the one who hurts the most is God. The One who purified us and called us chosen, holy, and dearly loved. He hurts when we act like pigs in mud. So, while some laws are not in the Criminal Code, they are in another code, the bible.

Therefore Paul is saying something so profound in those few lines that the naked eye cannot fathom it. It is this: We do not need the Criminal Code to govern us when we are being led by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will never lead us into temptations, much less cause us to commit a crime. Therefore, it is when we are walking in the flesh that we need a law to govern us because the flesh is literally uncontrollable.

READ MORE: How to overcome temptations

Since we insist on living in the flesh, we need laws to govern our bodies. Like little children, we need an authority to tell us what we can and cannot do. But, when we become mature in the Holy Spirit and have no need for milk (Hebrews 5:12), we will agree with Paul, “if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” When we are in Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit, our instructions come from the Spirit. The Spirit needs no law. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

So, do you want to live a life that is pleasurable and happy? Like Paul, I say, choose to be led by the Holy Spirit.