Stop Gossipping!

Let’s be real: you’ve gossipped before right? You won’t readily admit it, but it’s probably true.

In fact, I’ve gossipped before – and I’m not proud of it. Quite frankly, it’s a shame. It’s nasty. It’s hurtful.

It may not be murder or robbery, but it’s still sin. It’s wrong. The reality is we can “murder” or “kill” someone’s reputation with gossip. We can “rob” someone of their peace when we disturb their spirit because of what is being said. Proverbs 26 verse 20 says, “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.” Whether the information is true or false, why be the wood that enables the fire? If the person were present, would you still share that information?

Look, you have probably heard what someone has said about you right? Didn’t it hurt or disappoint you? Have you not done the same at some point over WhatsApp or while meeting up with your friend at Starbucks or on the phone? Even Christians sometimes get caught up in gossip while sharing and asking another Christian to pray about a matter. Beware believers!

We preface the gossip with:

“I understand that…”
“I heard that…”
“My friend (name), is going through the same thing. The only difference with her is…”

If someone has shared something personal with us or we are aware of a matter – whether a married man has children with other women, a woman wears the pants in the relationship, a couple has been trying for years to conceive, your colleague’s nephew died of AIDS or the next door neighbour’s godson got caught stealing from his workplace – is that our business? Does it concern you? How is the information being shared helping the situation?

Think: Is what you’re saying edifying or fueling the rumour mill? What if it were you or your family member being discussed? How would you feel? Proverbs 25 verse 9 encourages us to, “…discover not a secret to another.” And remember, he who gossips with you, will gossip about you! Why not choose to uninstall your internal gossip app?!

Here are FOUR practical tips to stop gossip in its track:

1) Switch on the gossiper and find something positive about the person or situation to say. Turn the tables.

2) Be bold and say, “Honestly, that’s her/his business. Let’s leave it alone.”

3) If you are in a group and gossipping is occurring, literally remove yourself with an “Excuse me. I have to leave.” And if for some reason, it’s impractical, simply do not join in the conversation. If someone pushes you by asking a question, simply say, “I’m staying out of it” or “It aine my business.”

4) Turn the gossip into an opportunity to pray. Encourage the person gossipping to pray about it and remind them that God is able to turn the situation around.

Today, let us pledge to do better regarding gossiping:

I pledge to mind my own business.

Simple.

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

Let it Go!

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I really admire determined people and if you know some scenarios in my life, you would know that I have stayed the course and persevered. I’ve tasted the sweetness of victory after struggles. However, I recently had a situation where I recognized the need to not go to the finish line. And guess what? I’m okay with that.

For work, a particular department was mandated to have all of its employees take two one-month online courses, free of charge to them. I found out about it and decided to sign up, although it wasn’t mandatory for me. I figured I’d upskill.

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I decided to challenge myself and take an Excel course, knowing full well that a course I did in college which only had Excel as a topic had me lost! Yet, I decided to not do a course with Excel as a subject – but take a WHOLE EXCEL COURSE. Go figure! Well, today – during week three – I dropped the class. Yes, I was near the finish line, but I can tell you that the struggle was real! It was so awful that I felt stressed, my head was light, my body felt heavy, I felt pressured, I worked an inordinate amount of time on one question, I allowed myself to become cranky and I just wasn’t getting it. It just wasn’t clicking for me. This wasn’t working.

Yes, as a Christian, I am quite aware that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13), but I also realize my interest wasn’t really there. I was going against the grain from the get go and before the course, I had preconceived perceptions (not the best way to approach anything!) I experienced trepidation from before it started. Additionally, I had work and personal commitments; for example, during one class, I had to attend an important work-related Zoom meeting. Then, another day, I had an unexpected interruption which took me away from class for about an hour (that really threw me off). And yes, I know life happens, and I know what it is to juggle things, but missing half an hour or an hour of a 14-week class, condensed into four weeks – which I was already struggling with – was like missing several lessons! It was rough!

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So what did I do? I dropped that class. It wasn’t even mandatory for me to do anyhow! Yes. There you have it. I dropped the class. But in doing so, I learned that it’s okay to sometimes not continue pursuing something. It might be a particular major, a relationship…a career.

There was a small sense of failure, which overshadowed me, but only for a few moments. I quickly rebounded and just faced it: Excel is not my cup of tea. Further, I just wasn’t that interested. Excel is like a foreign language to me. Honestly. It’s like a friend of mine who went to college and initially started out with a science focus. That friend struggled, until an advisor reviewed her grades and pointed out how well she was doing in English classes. She switched her major and came into her own as an English major, eventually going on to teach English. And she absolutely loves it! Is she a failure because she didn’t finish that science degree? No. In fact, she is an excellent teacher, a hard worker and truly loves her students and wants to see them succeed. She recognized her strength and channeled her energy in a different direction.

So yeah, as I sit here typing, I feel lighter. I feel free, quite frankly. I just think in life, there are some things worth pursuing, but there are some things we just need to know when to let go. Some people consider it giving up. In this case, I say I let go. This was a ‘Do you boo’ situation.’ It was in my best interest, particularly as I was being affected mentally to the point of it manifesting physically. I’ve been working since I was 19 and I am now in my 40s. I have never had to use Excel. I truly believe it is useful to know, but it’s not absolutely necessary in my line of work. My instructor tried to convince me to stay, but Why should I stress myself out to prove a point to anyone – including myself?

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Maybe someone else needs this too. Perhaps it’s speaking to you. We all have certain talents, passions…strengths. For example, I’ve read of a banker who left banking to become a makeup artist. Not only does she love it, but she’s thriving and quite popular! I know of another person who left a job as a veteran accountant to make way less money teaching Accounts in the high school system, but that person loves it! Do what you love and stick with it. It doesn’t mean it will be all smooth sailing, but when you have challenges along the way, at least know, ‘I’m in this for the long haul.’ Nothing wrong with challenging ourselves – that’s healthy – and I know some things in life don’t come easy. But this was just one of those situations that just wasn’t worth it for me.

I’m linguistically inclined. I’m a writer. I’m a blogger. I’m a speaker…a journalist at heart…I’m a communicator. That is who I am and I’mma stay in my lane!

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

Behind the Mask

IMG-20200613-WA0020Photo: Getty Images

 

Honestly, there is a part of me which likes being behind the masks we have to wear these days – unfortunately due to COVID-19. I honestly feel incognito.

In fact, one day, I had on my mask, shades and a wig (the latter because my natural hair is a mess!). I rarely use the shades, but the mask helps to shield my identity – to some extent. Between that wig with bangs over my forehead AND a mask, I go about often without revealing who I am.

Yesterday, I thought of how spiritually, many people are hiding behind masks. Their true identities are not known. A person can be in the choir, an usher, a deacon, pastor, the praying old lady who sits in the same spot every week, a stalwart member of the church or a babe in Christ who sits in the back pew – it does not matter. God has called us to be honest people. We shouldn’t be “holy-art-thou” when we walk into the church building with the loudest praise and the scripture-laced prayers, but cheating on our spouses, lying to a Customs Officer when it’s time to declare what we are bringing into the country or calling in sick when we are not.

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“For God shall bring every work into judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. ” ~ Ecclesiastes 12:14.

God is not impressed with the outward appearance. We can only hide or fake our ways through for so long. He looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). We are expected to be the same person outside the church service or prayer meeting as we are when we go to those walls. After all, the church is not the building – it’s the people. Our lives are sermons everyday.

“…walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” ~ Ephesians 4:1

Growing in Christ,                                   

Hadassah

Lessons from the Rain

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To hear the rumble of thunder in the sky above and the drumming of rain against the windows was so refreshing! I looked through windows around me and the skies were dreary this morning. As I chilled on the couch, I felt a calming coolness in the air. It was definitely an overcast morning, but even in that moment when it was wet and dark, I found beauty.

It’s really been hot lately. The humidity drenching this island nation has been stifling! I remember about a year ago, my one goddaughter said, “This heat is disrespectful!” In fact, for a few years, I’ve noticed it has been feeling like summer from about April.

But despite the darkness which enveloped what may otherwise have been a bright morning, I took it all in with pleasure. The rain drops falling from the roof and splashing onto the grass and porch were music to my ears. Once the downpour had come to a crawl, I heard the beautiful singing of birds. Meantime overhead, a softer rumble of thunder, as a cool whiff of breeze flowed through the window, fanning my skin.

Then it happened. Suddenly. Just as I thought it was coming to an end, there was another steady downpour. I honestly welcomed it for the sake of the brittle, brown grass which seemingly has no life, but also because I needed this natural air conditioning system.

I was certain that at some point in the day, the sun would raise its head and its rays would return to scorching this part of the earth and its inhabitants. There is always sun after the rain.

I began to think of the people of Grand Bahama and Abaco who have literally just weathered the storm. Hurricane Dorian was torrential in every sense of the word. It was a downpour like none other. It rummaged through the islands like a drunken sailor.

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Photo:Reuters

 

Now here comes COVID-19 with its slippery, slick self – spreading its infected wings among our people, resulting in sickness, death, joblessness and throwing us into the economic doldrums.

It’s raining my people. For some, the rain is heavier than for others. So many people are struggling, hurting…wondering how bills will be paid and how food will get on the table. You see how easy it is to have a job today and lose that job today? You see how bills can be paid in full month after month and now there be a struggle to even give a down payment?

This is the time to trust God to provide ALL of your needs (Philippians 4:19). This is the same God who provided manna from heaven in the desert (Exodus 16:12-15). This is the same God who instructed the birds to feed Elijah during a famine (1 Kings 17:1-6). During this rain, let us draw closer to God, recognizing our dependence upon Him. He is the same God yesterday, today and forever. He is not like man. He cannot lie.

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Growing in Christ,

Hadassah