So what do Mother Teresa, George Bush, Chris Brown, Katie Price, Martin Luther King and Kate Middleton have in common? They are all leaving, or have left, a legacy of some kind amongst millions of people. The things they do, the things they say… it’s all leaving a lasting impression on those around them and those around the world. For some they have left a good mark on people’s lives. For others, the mar they have left isn’t so great.
It’s easy to think that those in high positions like government or banking, or those who are famous are the ones that leave the greatest impact on us. But actually… when I think about it, none of those people are directly in my life and so the question comes up:
Who is having an impact on me? Who am I having an impact on?
What is a legacy? The word legacy or legend may conjure up images of King Arthur and the Round Table, or Robin Hood, or some tale of old that’s been passed down the centuries… But a legacy is literally the story and the impact one person leaves with another person when they go their separate ways. Maybe these people are friends going their separate ways to university, maybe one of these friends has moved away, maybe a friend has died. The bottom line is people are forever coming in and out of our lives and so I come back to the question:
What impact am I having on those around me? What impact are they having on me?
Eveything about us: our decisions; our passions; our attitudes; our beliefs; our discipline (or lack of); our selfishness; our sin; our mistakes; our way of handling conflict, anger, patience, stress; our faith (or lack of); our realness (or lack of); our acts and words of kindness towards others… Whether we recognise it or not, we are shaping the people around us. The examples I just mentioned, along with many more I haven’t mentioned, all influence the impact we have on people and the legacy we leave with them. Our legacy.
Daniel 12:3 tells us, “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”
If we really think about it… having a positive impact on someone and leaving behind a good legacy of ourselves it’s a huge responsibility. Somehow we have to make our stories count. No longer are we just trying to get through the day, complete our chores, succeed in education or in our career, and help our families… Now we have to make sure we’re leaving a good legacy too?! Awesome! Talk about overwhelming! I mean, where do you even start with that?! But there’s another way to look at it. We can either try to create a legacy of our own… or we can be apart of God’s legacy.
Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
The truth is, God loves us and has a purpose for me and you here on Earth; which is to demonstrate His love to others around us. But here’s the thing, God not only created us with a purpose for our lives before we were even born, He’s created us uniquely and gave each of us a unique plan on how to show others His love for them. He gave us all unique skills, dreams, passions, strengths… and He knows those qualities more so than what we do ourselves. What that effectively means is you and I are not mistakes; and we all have a unique way of leaving a positive impact on others. He knows our qualities, He knows how we can use them to leave this positive impact on others, and He has complete confidence is our ability to do that well!
But it’s down to us whether we trust Him with our lives; whether we allow Him to speak to us about our lives; and whether we allow Him to guide us on the decisions we make. It’s only when we allow God into our lives like this can we maximise the greatness of the impact we have on each other. Let me give you an example:
A couple years ago it was on my heart to wash someone’s feet. I have no idea why, especially because I’m not a big fan of feet. I was at camp and all week I was praying for God to show me whose feet I should wash. One night the girls had “Girl Talk” and the subject had been on self image. It had been a very intense and powerful time for many of the girls and as I sat listening to them pray amongst each other I felt God saying to me, “These are the people whose feet I want you to wash.” And so I did. For many of the girls, the impact of God using me to wash their feet has stuck with them years later.
God created me with a passion to love people, a dream to see healing, a skill in serving, and a love of being apart of a greater purpose. God aligned my heart and the qualities I have with His heart and He enabled me to be apart of His legacy. Not only that, by me choosing to help Him create His legacy, He blessed me with having a legacy of my own within His legacy.
God gave us 5 senses; sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. But you know what, He gave us a sixth sense too, our spirit. Sometimes we can speak into each others lives by chance, by guessing… We see someone having a bad day so we do something nice for them. But if we walk with the Holy Spirit then the Holy Spirit can actually reveal to us the things we can do or say to others on a supernatural level. What do I mean? God knows the lives of those around us, He knows the things you need and the words you need to hear. If I’m walking closely with Him then He can directly and specifically say to me “Hey Akila, I want you to give this to Carla” or “I want you to say the following words to Arthur.”
Here’s the catch though. We all must individually know God before we can show Him to others.
Who is God?
A couple weeks ago I had a weekend away with our youth and we looked at God’s character… But since then I’ve had several conversations with many of them and it seems to be that we often question God’s love for us. Even to the point of questioning if He is to some degree punishing us in some situations. In order to show others the love God has for them, we really need to know God’s love for ourselves.
Who is God? Does He love me?
Let me ask you a question: What makes you feel loved by God?
For me, I feel loved by God when He gives me what I need without me asking for it. Or when He notices the small things in my life and cares about the details that no on else seems to care about. There was one time I was really struggling with loneliness and I was sitting in church thinking “God do you even see me?” And all of a sudden pastor says from the front, “Akila, God wants you to know He loves you.”
Let me ask it again: What makes you feel loved by God?
Spend some time thinking about this! What legacy are you leaving? Do you know God loves you? How do you know that? How are you going to show others God loves them? But just to summarise, we’re all leaving a legacy. We can have our own legacy or have a legacy within God’s legacy. In order to have a great legacy we have to walk with God and be in tune with His heart. The more we get to know God and His heart, and the more we get to know ourselves, our skills/passions/strengths, the easier it is for us to align our hearts with His.
Following on from my previous installment of “Akila’s Diary” …
Tuesday 1st of May – Today I got my hair done. That’s it. That’s all I have to say. That and “Gosh am I a beach babe or what!” 😛 Nah but seriously, it’s funny getting my hair done now. It’s only costing me a 1/3 of what I usually pay as I’m getting it done at the hair/beauty college. And Kelly does it for me. So it’s always a good excuse to chat away for 3 hours 😛
Wednesday 2nd of May – Carla and I went for lunch during her break. I never really knew Carla very well until I started working with the youth at CYFA. She was friends with my sister and so she came to a couple of events Laura had on… hence the reason for knowing her. But the more time I spend with her the more of a laugh we seem to have. Anyways, this particular time we changed tables about 3 times because each time we sat down an even better one became available haha. There were two guys sitting to the right of the room and I’m pretty sure they thought we were fairly odd 😛
Thursday 3rd of May – I hate it when an adventure starts around midnight… I never know whether it falls under the date of the day before or the current day. It was about 11.59pm on Wednesday that Mile and I decided to go on a midnight adventure. It’s been two months since this actually happened and I have no idea why I was awake… but it’s me. I apparently never sleep 😛 Anyways… I’m guessing we spent a good part of the evening talking on the 2nd which led us to going off on our adventure in the early hours of the 3rd.
We didn’t have a destination in mind so this is what it looked like: our first stop was to the petrol station to fill up on fuel. Second stop was the castle which we got out… roamed around a little, Miles broke something… and we ran away. Third stop, which wasn’t really a stop, drive around for ages. We even drove to the airport at one stage. Fourth stop, Tescos for food. By which point it was 3.30am and we called it a night.
At some point I woke up and met Tessa for lunch. We just chilled and talked by the cathedral. It was a bit odd though… it was super warm but the wind was blasting cold air. Thanks England 😛
Friday 4th of May – For some reason Dad decided to take Laura and I out for supper. Mum and dad were house sitting a couple of miles away and Dad decided to come back to the city. No idea why mum didn’t. But we went for a drink and a nibble at the Thin White Duke. I love it in there. Dad’s been driving around this massive gangster car too. It’s quality! But Laura and I have been noticing a lot lately that people are generally quite pleasant. It’s so nice! Like we went to TWD and it was super busy, but this one couple gave up their table and chairs when we came and they sat else where. So cool 🙂
And then low and behold, I get home and within an hour another adventure has come up. Alex and I decided to go for a walk around 10pm so off we went for a stroll. Only he tells me, once we reach the parameter of town, that we’re going to watch his dad’s band play a one of the bars. Great, thanks Alex. Here I am with greasy hair, no makeup, clothes that were weeks old and just thrown on… He talked me into going in and the bouncer gave me a voucher for a free shot. Lol! Insult? I’ll take what I can get haha.
We hung around for a while in Casa and then headed over to hang out with Ericson. 3 hours later, a belly full of food and a few too many incriminating photos of the boys… Alex and I headed home. It was one of those nights where at 3.30am the night is so still and deathly cold. I think we ended up clinging to each other the whole walk home, we could see our own breath it was that cold?! And I made him walk me to my doorstep hahah. Sorry Alex, I didn’t feel like dying that night 😛 I couldn’t believe it… I’m pretty sure that was around the same time as one of the weekends we had snow! In May! Argh!
Saturday 5th of May – It was one of those evenings where Laura and I were in the mood to watch the sunset and take photos. The weather had been pretty cold for May but we were still getting decent evenings in terms of sunsets. We ended up calling Dan and us three headed over to Caldbeck. I think we spent a good two hours up there… it took a little while to remember how to get to the masts. But I’m so glad we did it because the view was ace! Dad had been down to London that week and pre-recorded a radio show. So we were gonna listen to it whilst we were up there but the station wasn’t local. Somehow in the course of the evening Dan decided to come back to ours and hang out. So once the sun went down we made the 10 mile trip home, stopping at his alone the way to pick up some stuff.
Laura and I decided to go on a mini adventure with Dan so we dropped his stuff off at ours and kidnapped him. We went to McDonald’s for ice cream lol!! SCORE! Hahah. Why not hey? Haha. The rest of the night was taken up with 4 hours of poker, rum and coke, and reading Songs of Solomon to Dan as a bedtime story. HAHAHAHA. We out grew the immaturity side quite quickly and ended up having a serious chat together about the whole deal with that book. 6am came and went, we said goodnight to Dan and I tucked Laura in. So I guess the later part of our adventures really came under date “Sunday 6th“.
Sunday 6th of May – I love it when the parents are away. It’s just so cool to be able to do whatever, like playing poker and talking all night and not being fearful of waking them up. At some point we said goodbye to Dan… I think. He didn’t have a car. Maybe I drove him home. That would make sence. I don’t recall him coming to church with us that evening. But having said that I don’t remember church at all that evening… I need more sleep. Too many sunrise bedtimes 😛
Monday 7th of May – Why oh why does the adventure start at stupid-o-clock? I don’t get it?! I love it and wouldn’t wanna change it but… why does it only happen late at night? Miles came over tonight, we sat at the kitchen table drinking and talking. We discovered the wine glasses the parents bought hold almost a full bottle of wine in each of them. I’m not gonna lie… I like these wine glasses 😛 I got to bed around 4am… Which was actually quite impressive as I managed to beat the sun and get to bed before it rose 😛
A beautiful girl has nothing if she has an ugly heart.
No matter how busy a person’s day might be, if they really care, they’ll always find time for you.
She’s my sister. Break her and I’ll break your face. (Akila to Josiah :P)
The best gift a guy can give his lady: his time, his attention and his love.
One of the best feelings ever in the world is when you hug someone you love really tight and they hug you back even tighter.
You create beauty with your attitude, your behaviour and your actions. It’s all up to you.
All it takes is 1 song to bring back 1000 memories.
Did you know: The first man to survive going over the Niagara Falls later died slipping on an orange peel.
It’s better to find someone who will change your life rather than just your relationship status.
Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.
I often wonder if more girls were willing to be ladies, more guys would feel challenged to be gentlemen.
You are my sunshine.
When I was little, I used to sing in the shower. Now? I make life decisions in there.
You are beautiful. I know, because I made you – God.
I’d really like a relationship where we can act like idiots, talk about the most random stuff, share music and when we get tired of each other, still have respect.
I don’t wanna grow up. That’s why I’m fat – Unknown.
The best type of pain is in our stomachs when a friend makes us laugh too hard.
Tears are how our heart speaks when our lips cannot describe how much we’ve been hurt.
When a girl is acting like she doesn’t care about you anymore, 99% of the time that’s when she needs you the most.
When a woman tells you her problems it doesn’t mean she’s complaining. It means she trusts you.
If you still carry her bags, open the door for her, tell her that she’s beautiful and show her respect… You’re a real man.
Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
The ones who give the best advice are usually the ones with the most problems.
There’s no reason to rush. If something is meant to be, it will happen. In the right time, with the right person, for the best reason.
If you care. Say it. Hearts are broken by words left unspoken.
I admit it, I get jealous when people flirt with you.
Dad: A son’s first Hero. A daughter’s first Love.
The worst thing you can do to a girl is compare her to another girl.
Sometimes we keep our feelings to ourselves because it’s hard for someone else to understand.
If a girl/guy understands your BS, sticks through your mistakes, smiles even when you’ve done nothing for her/him, it’s obvious she/he is a keeper. But it’s also obvious you don’t deserve her/him.
So it’s one of those nights I’m trying to avoids sleep. I don’t know about you but when things are on my mind I actually do the opposite to what people normally do… Which is to escape by sleeping. Me, I use every possible excuse and distraction to avoid bed and instead numb my brain. So here I am… Lying in bed. But this time I’m going to face the issue head on so I can go to sleep.
I’m afraid people don’t actually need or want me. I’m afraid of not being valued. I’m afraid of being alone. I’m afraid of being taken advantage of. I’m afraid of not being heard. I’m afraid of being invisible. I’m afraid of people not caring so I think I try to always make sure I so them I care but fill up my diary so that if they don’t demonstrate they care then it won’t hurt so much. I’m afraid of myself. I’m afraid of my emotions. I’m afraid people talk behind my back. I’m afraid of what people really think of me. I’m afraid of being misunderstood. I’m afraid of losing friends. I’m afraid of failing Mike. I’m afraid of Laura being taken from me. I’m afraid of staying in Carlisle long term. I’m afraid of not foreseeing the future. I’m afraid of talking to people I don’t know. I’m afraid of who I became as a result of mike’s death. I’m afraid of not being good enough. I’m afraid of living a simple life. I’m afraid of not leaving a positive impact on others. I’m afraid of looking at pictures of myself. I’m afraid of being open. I’m afraid of being thought of as a depressive basket case. I’m afraid of anger, bitterness, confusion, jealousy. I’m afraid of my lack of hearing. I’m afraid of the inconvenience my hearing has for others. I’m afraid of drowning. I’m afraid of singing. I’m afraid of not being in control….
Do you see why it’s so much easier to run?
What I do know is only God can help me. Only He can give me comfort, security, identity, peace, wisdom, understanding, revelation, truth, love, relationship, care, intimacy, joy, happiness, direction, conviction, legacy, realness, strength…
So for that reason… I’m gonna risk looking like a tool before you all in listing my fears… The only way God can help me is if I lay it all out. And since my blog has been a place where I can just share… Then why not just write it on here and say it how it is.
I was recently having a conversation with a friend regarding relationships, and he said to me, “If you don’t fight for it then you’ll be single forever.” To which I replied, “But if the other party doesn’t want you to fight for them, then how can you fight for the relationship?” It’s an interesting concept… fighting for someone. Someone you have an interest in, like, love, or use to care for but don’t really anymore… When is it ok to fight for them and when is it not ok?
Sometimes it’s really clear-cut, other times it just isn’t. Am I suppose to fight for him? Is he suppose to fight for me? I think to some degree it’s easier when someone is trying to fight for you… because on some level you’ll know whether you want them to fight for you or not. But what about when you’re the one fighting?
Let’s throw in the age-old proverb of love. Love is patient, kind, forgiving… Love never fails. Sometimes, for some of us that throws a massive spanner in the works. I was one of those people. For a long time I felt so bound by those words. I felt like it was wrong for me to walk away from things in the past. But it’s only later in life when I grew in understanding, knowledge and maturity did I begin to really understand the meaning of those words.
I don’t actually know the answer to whether it’s ok to fight for someone or not. But this is what I personally know about me. I have fought for people in the past. Massively so. And it didn’t work out. Maybe it was me, maybe it was them. Maybe, before God, it was never supposed to end up in that kind of relationship. But what I did realise was, I can’t be the only one fighting in the relationship. I think before marriage there is no duty before God, to yourself, or to your other half to keep fighting. Especially if it’s one-sided. If the other half wants to walk away or feels it’s right to walk away, or doesn’t feel it’s right to be more than friends… I don’t think we’re to fight or push for otherwise. True, I have pride and yes, part of my answer to why I won’t fight does come down to pride. Also, I do think it’s the guy’s role before God to lead a relationship. What do I mean? Well, true a girl can initiate the whole “hey I like you” part… but if a guy also has an interest in her then it’s his role to take on the leadership. I’m not saying for one minute you have to change your status from friendship to dating ASAP. But I am saying my belief is that God appointed men to that role and so I don’t think that should be taken away from them.
But even then I’m not so sure as to what I believe when it comes to fighting for someone. To be completely honest I have nothing that is absolutely concrete. What do have that is my only solid answer is this: pray and continue to invest in a friendship. At the end of the day, you can never go wrong with praying and by investing in a friendship you allow God and time to move you into revelation. You’ll know whether you see each other as more or as friends. Songs of Solomon is so strong on advising us to not allow love to be woken before its time, and Proverbs advises us to guard our hearts… By focusing on investing in a friendship… it certainly helps you keep your heart protected and to keep emotions at bay. Of course emotions will progress in a friendship! But you’re allowing yourself and others a chance to really get to know you and you them.
Painfully… there comes a time where all the signs are pointing towards the ending of a relationship. True you can fight… But unless your married. You are not bound before God to do so. And sometimes it ends because it was never meant to happen in the first place. With Fitz and I, I think God did bring him int my life as a best friend, a rock, a strong man to help me… But we chose, in our hearts, to take our relationship to very high levels. And I’m not so sure that’s what God intended. I think it’s so easy and dangerous to think that just because God bought someone into our lives and is our best friend then it must mean he or she is our life partner. By prolonging the ending… we do ourselves no favours and far more damage. Easier said than done when we can be so stubborn and proud.
As for me, for now I think I am in a place in life where I can only fight for someone if they demonstrate to me that they want me to fight for them. Until then… I can only pray, seek God’s wisdom, and invest in friendships with as many people as I can 🙂
So it’s that time of the year where I’m counting down the clock. In 5 days time… or maybe 6 days… it will have been 3 years since I last saw Mike alive. On one hand the 12th of July… or the 13th of July… is no different to any other day, but then again, it IS a different day as it represents something in my life that has meaning. I say the 12th or the 13th because I don’t actually know which of those days was the last time I saw Mike. I tend to say the 12th because I know I saw him that day… but I may have seen him on the morning of the 13th.
I would be happy to not do anything in particular on the day and to be alone… but there’s a part of me that would just like to spend it doing something with at least one other person. I was thinking about it… about what I’d like to do. And interestingly what stood out to me wasn’t so much what I’d like to do… but more, I would love to not organise it.
I was think of thinking… and maybe I’m totally wrong for thinking like this… but, I plan so many events and I SO enjoy it. I could do it all day long. But… it’s really lovely when someone else comes along side us and says “Don’t worry, I’ll take charge today.” Sometimes it’s so nice to feel like you’re being cared for by others. That they love you, just want you to have a good day, and just arrange something for you to do. It doesn’t have to be anything exciting… and I don’t think it’s a bad thing or weak to say, “Hey, today, I could just do with some loving.”
I would like to chanllenge everyone. In our lives there is at LEAST one person who you could very easily make feel a little bit special. Whether they have lost a job, finished education, having a birthday, getting married, lost someone, had a bad day… there is ALWAYS a reason to bless someone. To just do something that may make their lives just 1% better. I could give you a million ideas on what you could do with them… but get creative and have a think about it. If you do decide to follow through on my challenge… then I’d love to hear from you about how it went 🙂
And if anyone would like to do something with me on the 12th and/or 13th of July… I would LOVE to hang out with you… just as long as you’re paying 😛 Jokes 😛
A friend sat in my kitchen yesterday and asked me, “What have you been learning lately?”
When came back from Australia 7 months ago I was left with big questions… “What now? What next?” And quite unexpectedly I found myself involved in a youth group. Since I didn’t really have anything else in life to do I decided to throw myself into this group of people; and over these past 7 months we have done all sorts together. Birthdays, socials, sleepovers, church activities; you name it, we’ve probably done it. But along with all of that… the more I get to know them as individuals, the more I get to know their stories. Their lives, their hurts, their questions and their dreams… Walking life with one is such a beautiful and intimate privilege for me. And I find myself burrowing down into their heart, into their mind and into their souls. Just to find out who they are, where have they been, where are they going, and where or how can I be a friend. I sometimes think to myself, there is no greater privilege or intimacy than for one to be vulnerable in front of you.
Loneliness, bitterness, confusion, frustration, reality, relationships, education, overwhelmed, direction, hopelessness, under valued, unwanted, fear, rejection, God, theology, shattered dreams… I sit and I look at the common threads, the common themes, the common facets of this diamond we call life… and it’s so easy to think, “God, how on earth can I even begin to help someone? How can I even begin to be apart of making someone’s life feel just that 1% better?” What it eventually came down to was a different question, “If that was me in that situation, what would make me feel a little bit better?”
The answers to that question has led me to do some random things… acts of service, gifts, words of affirmation… nice things for others that I’d actually prefer not to share publicly. But from the conversations I’ve continually had with others… the biggest theme for me that keeps reoccurring is… “You can only understand your life backwards… but living it you must do forwards.”
It’s so easy to look at the situations in our lives and ask, “What happened?”, or, “Where were you God?” It’s easy to be so hurt and bitter when we look at our dreams and hopes shatter to a million pieces before our eyes. It’s easy to question God and why he allows things to happen, or not to happen. Those are real emotions, real questions… And we should never feel guilty for questioning God, or for having these feelings.
Dad pointed out something to me today. I went to the ship and during my time on the ship God sent me back home for two weeks. After two weeks I went back to the ship and less than 3 weeks later Mike died. I went to Australia, it didn’t work out, and God bought me back to England. God knows my heart. Just like bringing me home to spend last moments with Mike, He may have brought me home so that I was able to share wonderful memories with Laura. The time has come for her where one chapter closes and another begins… and I got to be apart of making the ending of that chapter a memorable one. Since being back I have also had the privilege of walking along side others in their journeys… something I could never have done for them from afar.
Why me? Why them? I don’t know. But God may seem to think it’s a good idea that He bought me into their lives and them into mine. But what I do know for certain is that they have been a wonderful encouragement to me; and I know how much I have valued playing a big sister role to some of them. Something I have missed so much between Mike and I. Also, when I was 14 years old, God told me he made me for people and that if I was to walk with him then he would give me the world. I also know that when we say “Here I am God, send me…” He takes us seriously. My blog is read by people in over 90 countries around the world. I have been all over the world since I was 14 years old making friends with people and walking life them. Is it possible that God sent me to Australia to walk life with someone and then bought me back to walk life with someone else? Yes. It is.
This blog isn’t trying to give a clear-cut answer to life’s questions but it is trying to show you the puzzle pieces. I was never angry with God for the whole Australia situation but I was frustrated. Nothing made real sense. I just know that God reveals things to us and allows us to go through situations that don’t always make sense at the time… but He does have a purpose for it and He will clarify His revelations at the right time. I don’t believe for one minute that our lives are random.
Does knowing that God has a purpose and a plan take away the pain and bitterness? Maybe not. But knowing He has others walking with you help? Possibly so. We have a duty to show our love and care for one another. We all have a unique way of doing that and that’s what my encouragement to others would be. Find your way of loving someone and act on it. Be real… I can’t stress it enough. If everyone walked around not sharing their heart then we’d all possibly commit suicide. Sometimes we feel guilty for being bitter. But do you know how much of a relief it is to discover you’re not the only one? That there is someone out there who understands and can help you make sense of your heart and mind? That you can move forward because they are proof that it’s possible to move forward? That they can show you the ropes on how to do that? That you can be vulnerable and not fear rejection. I chose bitterness but you can use anything and the same still applies… loneliness, anger, addiction, guilt…
Thank you to all those who have walked life with me. And thank you to this amazing group of people in my life that I can call friends.