Sometimes I get ideas in the most random places, when I don’t have my phone or anything I could write on, like in the shower. And with my busy life, I often end up forgetting to table down these ideas after I get out… Then I end up spending the next 3 days trying to recall what I had intended to write about.

Like when I had the original idea for this post, a day before my 33rd birthday (Oct 18th). It’s definitely hilarious now because all the ideas (& more) did come back to me eventually.

In honor of my 33rd birthday, I would like to share 33 “cheat codes”. These are a few things that I have learned and/or better implemented in the past year. In this past seasons, these points finally made sense to me.

Some of these you may say, “well, I knew that,” but in fact we all know that it’s not enough to “know” what to do, because being able to “apply” it is what counts the most.

A few of them I have been able to completely integrate into my life and some I am still actively working through right now.

 

My Top 33 “cheat codes”

1. Grace has been freely given to us.

We don’t have to strive to ask for forgiveness of sins, once we accept Jesus Christ as our LORD and Savior we all receive His Grace.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Ephesians 1:7

What we do need to ensure is that we aren’t continuing in a life of sin and thereby misusing the grace that has been given to us.

“What shall we say [to this]? Are we to remain in sin in order that God’s grace (favor and mercy) may multiply {and} overflow? Certainly not! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer?” Romans 6: 1-2

2. Always choose love.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Let me tell you, it was so hard to stop keeping track of all the hurt that I have encountered through the years. God really did a clean up of my heart and mind and I am grateful for it all. I have always been one to let things go easily, but that didn’t mean there weren’t festering resentments that would linger.

Now I am intentional about always choosing to love like Jesus, forgetting all the past hurts and disappoints. I asked God to help me love His children like He does. I am in awe of His awesome Power, Goodness and Love.

3. Have faith in God.

Faith in my Heavenly Father grounds me. It gives me the confidence to live each day to the fullest.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3

To live a life that strives to emulate all that Jesus was while He was on earth.

Not accepting the human limitations that exist, but understanding that I have Grace even if I should fall short. But I believe I can do greater things than He who called me because He is living in me and He directs my path. My life is dedicated to serving Him in faith and truth.

“for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (AMP)
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. ” John 14:12

4. Prayer works!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It does!

Now when I don’t know what to do I pray and/or praise. When someone is being sketchy towards me, I pray and/or praise.

I am grateful for my sisters in Christ who have been my prayer anchors for the past few months. Especially my younger sister, she stood right there with me in the fire as I fought to get out.

In line with #3, Jesus has made it clear to us that we ought to have faith in God for our lives to thrive and prosper.

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” Mark 11: 22-23

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” John 14:13-14

5. Meet others where they are and not where you would want them to be

Do not judge others by your own capabilities. Note that not everyone has your talents and gifts, but each of us have been called with unique gifts and talents that we ought to understand and learn how to best apply them in our lives.

“”So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”” Matt 7:12

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Matt 7:1

6. Stop taking things personally

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11

Now I constantly remind myself  that everyone is fighting a battle that I know nothing about. For that reason, I focus on extending the same grace that Christ has given to me, onto others, no matter what.

7. Stop fighting battles that are not yours

Just stop it. This one finally made sense to me a couple months ago. I had spent so much time in the past trying to convince people of different things. Getting into unnecessary arguments and disagreements. I finally realized that all I can do is the best that I know aligns with the Word of God and then I have to leave each person to be met with by God Himself.

This applies for me also in times of opposition. I commit it all completely to God and let Him fight on my behalf.

“…’Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15 (NIV)

8. Be intentional about living courageously

Be bold. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from living in the fullness that God has called you to.

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place… And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”” Esther 4:14 (NIV)

9. Set boundaries

Be firm and clear on this. Do not compromise to please anyone. This includes not engaging in gossip and haughty conversations – always the most difficult thing in some environments, but something I am being intentional not to feed into.

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;” Psalm 1:1

10. Learn to delegate

There was a time when I thought I could do it all. I realized later that it was my insecurities talking. God started to show me how to apply #19 and I realized that I needed to allow others grow into their best selves. I am still working through this actively especially in what I do as I get to work with junior staff. It is an honor and a privilege to help others understand that they are capable of anything they set their minds to. You don’t want to be that person that dims anyone’s light. I definitely cannot allow myself do that. I am grateful for constant lessons and growth.

11. Spend time in God’s word, fellowship with other believers, & plant yourself in a faith based house of worship.

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man [or woman] sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

12. Be a diligent worker

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom” Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NIV)

13. Be careful what you feed your eyes, mind and heart

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12: 2 (ESV)

14. Speak life to yourself and others around you, no matter how hard it could be.

15. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. 

Just don’t do it. You have been uniquely called and your path is not meant to resemble any other.

Note that each persons seasons are different, regardless of what the weather channel tells us. For me keeping my eyes focused on Jesus is the best choice. His is the only life I care to emulate.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for [each of] us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

16. Stop concerning yourself with what anyone thinks or says about you.

17. Choose to live at peace with everyone, as long as it is within your power to do so.

I have taken this one personally. There’s a freedom that comes with giving an honest apology for whatever wrong you have done and letting it all go. That leaves everything else in the court of the other person. I am free!

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12:18 (ESV)

“So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.” Acts 24:16

18. Be patient.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

Actually for me this became a prayer request to God so that I could bear all the fruits of the spirit including love, peace, joy, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I can see some of these fruits have already blossomed to His Glory and others are still in budding stages. But like all things in this world we ought to put in the time to nurture and tend our gardens by spending time with God.

19. It’s not about you

For me this goes in line with #5#6 ,#7, #15. I have to always stay focused on my walk with God. Remembering to be His hands and feet wherever you go. I remind myself to make sure that others can see the Love of God reflected in how I live each moment. I pray I can only emulate Jesus even more as time passes. 

20. Effectively apply your talents and gifts. Be intentional about doing all that you know to do.

This is in line with #12, we ought to always do our very best in each season of our lives.

“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” Romans 12:11

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” Colossians 3:23

21. Be a good steward of your blessings – Time

I have spent the last 10 years just running toward all my career goals. I realized this year that I needed to do a better job managing my time. I had to take stock of all the thing that were most valuable to me and how I would like to dedicate time for each of them. I feel that time is an important resource and I no longer wanted to continue mismanaging it. There’ll always be more work to do.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV)

22. Be a good steward of your blessings – Finances. 

“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” Proverbs 21:5 (NLT) 

I am grateful for the husband I married because I am not sure how I would have managed on my own. He has been mostly our financial backbone, but I want to be a better support for us. I had very poor understanding of how to manage my finances. I definitely did everything that needed to be done and then I always want to take care of others, but I became an extremely bad steward of all the finances that God continually placed in my care throughout the years. This was not an easy road to start on, the life of living on a budget and having clear financial goals, that required a complete rewiring of my brain. Definitely thankful for the transform groups at Church Alive NJ (churchalive.tv) which called me to attention and now completing Dave Ramseys Financial University, I know better and I want better.

23. Be a good steward of your blessings – Family & friends

This required me to look within and make sure that I was spending adequate quality time with the people I loved most. It’s not enough to say we love someone, but we need to show it in our actions. I pray that I can continue to do better in this regard.

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:18 (NLT)

24. Be a good steward of your blessings – Health

There was a time when I couldn’t stand that my husband was extremely into his health. I may have been envious or maybe just irritated because I was lacking the motivation that I needed to emulate him. Today however I know better. I found running about 2 years ago and have not stopped caring about my health since then.

I believe that breaking the limits of our minds is the most important first step. It occurred to me that my body was the temple of the Living God and I was angry at myself for choosing a mediocre existence when I had a Father who was King. This made me decide to commit to living better than I ever have in all areas of my life, especially in my health.

Next, understand that you have to ensure that your input (foods) have to be balanced and healthy portions.

Then, find an activity that allows you to burn enough calories, that you at least enjoy doing. When I first started working out, I would go for walks with my daughter in her carrier. At the time she was only a few months old. Then we graduated to using a running stroller, with me jogging, then running. Like everything in life it is a slow process.

Don’t believe the hype of anything that occurs overnight. It’s never lasting and that’s why I used to “yo-yo” for years – those binge diets never did me any good.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

25. Don’t believe in the lie that there’s never enough time.

I serve a God who created time and space.

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Peter 3:8

When I look through my life, I can see that I have always found the time for all my random interests. Which means that we all need to learn how best to prioritize how we spend time in our lives. We ought to spend more time doing the things that build us up, rather than the things that steal our time and sometimes our joy.

Now during my free time, I choose reading a faith building book, listen to a podcast, spend time in worship, go for a run/workout, spend time with my daughter and/or husband, get some work done, praying (this is a given).

26. Make time for rest.

This one has always been a struggle for me. I am such a doer that sometimes I don’t know when to stop and just sit still. But these days I am doing much better with making sure that I don’t allocate my time for rest doing things that are not essential.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Genesis 2: 2-3

27. Be kind to yourself and to others.

This is especially important because in today’s world there are so many standards of living that people try to hold themselves to. Just don’t do it. Everyone has an opinion about this and that. The only opinion that matters to me is that of my Heavenly Father. Of course I won’t be disrespectful to anyone’s opinions if they decide to share it with me, but I use the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to find out if they are trying to encourage me or discourage me. If it’s to discourage then I shut it out of my mind and heart.

In the same way, this goes back to #14 because in the past I would criticize myself out loud and in my head. Through prayer and time in the word I’ve found restoration to this part of my life. Whenever those thoughts try to creep up, I simply say a prayer and/or turn on my worship music or connect with the Holy Spirit.

“As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

28. Be humble.

This was a big lesson for me 3 years ago. I received a lesson in humility and I must say it was something that I really needed.

Also know that God can speak to you through anyone and anything. Even the most inexperienced person may have a word that you need. For this reason I will never let someone’s “inexperience” stop me from learning or receiving valuable information.

“But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”” James 4:6

29. Be honest

I used to find myself doing and saying things to make others feel comfortable to be around me. Now I no longer have to diminish myself. For me this goes with #28, there’s a stark difference between being humble and decreasing yourself so no one thinks “this” or “that” about you.

“But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” Matt 5:37 (NKJV)

30.  There are many different seasons in life. 

Realize that there are different life seasons and adjust accordingly. Don’t expect to recreate the exact same things that you did 1 or 2 seasons ago because that will only lead to frustration and stagnancy. Instead do the best you can in each season. This is also in line with #15.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)

In the same way as in #, do not compare your current season with anyone else’s (whether good or bad). Unless you mean to encourage that person.

31. Have a grateful heart. 

Always choose gratitude. I remind myself daily that I have something to be grateful for. I always have something to give thanks for. My life wouldn’t be where it is without the Hand of God leading me all this way. I will always give thanks and praise to Him. He is faithful and true.

Having a heart of gratitude for me also translates into being content with all that I have at this time, but knowing that I’ll never lack anything I need because I serve a faithful God.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Eph 5:1-5

32. He provides all that we need.

I have this confidence because I serve a Mighty King who is my Heavenly Father. He protects me. He restores me. He heals me. He provides for me. He is my life’s source.

“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” Psalm 24:1 (NIV)

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 (ESV)

33. Christ empowers us.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

He is ours if we would only believe and come in complete surrender to the throne of Grace.

This is not a life of perfection by human standards, but a life of total commitment to honor God in each moment of our lives. He gives us the guidance and strength we need in each moment.

 

Lots of love,

-Uju

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