MATURITY

When we’re young, we are immature. We are vulnerable. We can easily be led astray. It is not an insult, but rather a natural starting point for growth and maturity.

What defines Maturity? Is it based on how tall or stout we are? To gain an in-depth understanding, I will like to start with a quote from Samuel Ullman

Maturity is the ability to think, speak and act your feelings within the bounds of dignity. The measure of your maturity is how spiritual you become during the midst of your frustrations.

To refer to maturity without being clear about what it means can lead to confusion.  We must therefore grab hold of this concept by its horns, wrestle it to the ground, and yank off its mask.

Under most laws, young people are recognized as adults at age 18. But emerging science about brain development suggests that most people don’t reach full maturity until the age 25. Most of the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood are legally granted by the age of 18. That’s when you can vote, enlist in the military, move out on your own, but is that the true age of maturity? A growing body of science says, no. That critical parts of the brain involved in decision-making are not fully developed until years later at age 25.

In psychology, Maturity is the ability to respond to the environment, aware of the correct time and location to behave, and knowing when to act, according to the circumstances and the culture of the society one lives in.  Adult development and maturity theories include the purpose in life concept, in which maturity emphasizes a clear comprehension of life’s purpose, directedness, and intentionality, which contributes to the feeling that life is meaningful.

People nowadays have been stunted in their maturity. They seem to require more time to actually “grow up” and prepare for the responsibility that comes with adulthood. This is a result of many factors, including well-intentioned parents who hover over kids, not allowing them to experience the pain of maturation. It’s like the child who tries to help a new butterfly break out of the cocoon, and realizes later that they have done it a disservice: That butterfly is not strong enough to fly once it is free.

The status of maturity is distinguished by the shift away from reliance on guardianship and the oversight of an adult in decision-making acts. Maturity has different definitions across legal, social, religious, political, sexual, emotional, and intellectual contexts. The age or qualities assigned for each of these contexts are tied to culturally-significant indicators of independence that often vary as a result of social sentiments.

People studying the body often talk about maturity as it relates to bodily changes.  Thus, as children mature they grow taller, and as they mature more, men oftentimes grow facial hair, their voices deepen, etc.  When I talk about immaturity and maturity, I am not referring to bodily changes but more of emotional maturity.

To have emotional maturity, then, is to have a specific control over one’s emotions. An emotionally mature person has experienced the spectrum of emotions, understands the consequences of each, and knows the benefits of being in control of them. Most importantly, an emotionally mature person knows what kinds of things sets off different emotions in them, and they know how to identify each emotion, clearly. They don’t fall into a panic trying to determine what they feel, and how they should react. They know, and they manage themselves accordingly.

A mature 10-year-old is aware of who can run the fastest in his or her class at school, who is the best at math, and other comparisons. This helps children differentiate their skills and attributes from an early age. By recognizing where they have strengths, and where they may need to focus more attention, kids can feel a sense of self-efficacy—and finding an area of strength can help develop self-esteem.  —Hilary Levey Friedman, professor of American Studies at Brown University.

A mature 18-year-old is able to declare wants, needs, and beliefs. Self-maintenance is also important: In my experience, if there is one predictor of how well a kid will be able to cope with the demands of independence, it is the management of money. Some kids are at the mercy of their own impulses, still caught up in the tyranny of now.  —Carl Pickhardt, psychologist and lecturer in Austin, Texas.

A mature 29-year-old has a well-established identity. This means deciding what kind of life you’re going to live. It’s knowing what direction you’re going in, in terms of work; having a committed relationship, or at least knowing what you want from one; and having confidence that you know what you believe about things—values that you trust and that guide your decisions. —Jeffrey Arnett, professor of psychology at Clark University.

A mature 40-year-old is able to benefit from experience. In relationships, it’s knowing the buttons that get pushed easily and how to control those buttons: You can reflect on something that used to make you fly through the ceiling, and say, “I know why this is bothering me, and I’m not going to respond as I used to.” —Susan Krauss Whitbourne, professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

A mature 55-year-old is selective about relationships and priorities, able to focus his or her social life around people who are rewarding, and gently move away from those who are not. This person begins to focus more on experiences and other people than on things as sources of meaning and pleasure. He or she sees setbacks as opportunities for growth and change. —Karl Pillemer, professor of human development at Cornell University.

A mature 70-year-old has the ability to take stock of what has happened so far and to think about what it means for what’s yet to come. Such people can consider what kind of legacy they want to leave behind and the value of their lives to the broader society. They are able to focus on the more positive aspects of everyday life. —Dawn C. Carr, research associate at the Stanford Center on Longevity.

I believe psychological maturity is reached when persons choose to be responsible for themselves and holds themselves accountable for their own attitudes and actions. A person who hasn’t reached that point in themselves blames others for their own actions, acts out of a space of vengeance and uses their own emotional reactions as a threat to control others.

What happens in emotional maturity is that the brain prunes itself, going through changes that will allow a young person to move into adult life effectively. “Ineffective or weak brain connections are pruned in much the same way a gardener would prune a tree or bush, giving the plant a desired shape,” says Alison Gopnik, professor of child development at UC Berkley.

As evidenced by neuroscience, the frontal cortex—the seat of judgment, self-control, and sensible planning—matures very gradually into early adulthood. It is out of sync with the early development of the emotional brain, and as a result there is a gap between early sensation seeking and later self-discipline.

Adolescents experiencing these brain changes can react emotionally, according to Ian Campbell, a neurologist at the U.C. Davis Sleep Research Laboratory. Mood swings and uncooperative and irresponsible attitudes can all be the result of these changes. Sometimes, students can’t explain why they feel the way they do. Their brain is changing from a child brain to an adult brain.

Sexual maturity is the capability of an organism to reproduce. It may be considered synonymous with adulthood, but, in humans, puberty encompasses the process of sexual maturation and adulthood is based on cultural definitions. Sexual maturity is brought about by a maturing of the reproductive organs and the production of gametes. It may also be accompanied by a growth spurt or other physical changes which distinguish the immature organism from its adult form. These are termed secondary sex characteristics, and often represent an increase in sexual dimorphism. For example, before puberty, human children have flat chests, but adult females have generally larger breasts than adult males. However, there are exceptions such as obesity and hormone imbalances such as gynecomastia.

Spiritual maturity is achieved through becoming more like Jesus Christ. After salvation, every Christian begins the process of spiritual growth, with the intent to become spiritually mature. Christian maturity requires a radical reordering of one’s priorities, changing over from pleasing self to pleasing God and learning to obey God. The keys to maturity are consistency and perseverance in doing those things we know will bring us closer to God. These practices are referred to as the spiritual disciplines and include things such as Bible reading/study, prayer, fellowship, service, and stewardship. No matter how hard we might work on those things, however, none of this is possible without the enabling of the Holy Spirit within us.

The ultimate aim of effective social development in status-hood is the attainment of social maturity. A social mature adult shows a few important characteristics. He is able to adapt himself successfully to his fellowmen and to adapt his fellowmen to himself. It includes such behavioural forms as group compatibility, kindness and sympathy, fair play emotional adjustability, courtesy and politeness, dependability, self-confidence, co-operation, leadership and cheerfulness…

What are the marks of maturity? We all love it when we see a young person who carries themselves well and shows signs of being mature. They interact with adults in an adult manner. Those people are downright refreshing and make major strides in every aspect of their lives.

  1. A mature person is able to keep long-term commitments. One key signal of maturity is the ability to delay gratification. Part of this means the person is able to keep commitments even when they are no longer new or novel. They can commit to continue doing what is right even when they don’t feel like it.
  2. A mature person is unshaken by flattery or criticism. As people mature, they sooner or later understand that nothing is as good as it seems, and nothing is as bad as it seems. Mature people can receive compliments or criticism without letting it ruin them or sway them into a distorted view of themselves. They are secure in their identity.
  3. A mature person possesses a spirit of humility. Humility parallels maturity. Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Mature people aren’t consumed with drawing attention to themselves. They see how others have contributed to their success and can honor them. This is the opposite of arrogance.
  4. A mature person’s decisions are based on character, not feelings. Mature people—students and adults—live by values. They have principles that guide their decisions. They are able to progress beyond merely reacting to life’s options, and be proactive as they live their life. Their character is master over their emotions.
  5. A mature person seeks wisdom before acting. Finally, a mature person is teachable. They don’t presume they have all the answers. The wiser they get, the more they realize they need more wisdom. They’re not ashamed of seeking counsel from adults (teachers, parents, coaches) or other sources. Only the wise seek wisdom.

Becoming more mature positively impacts every area of your life. People respond better to maturity than immaturity, and in return, life becomes easier for you.

The first step in gaining maturity as an adult is to understand you need wisdom. In all thy getting, get wisdom and understanding; because the world operates under these principles. The Bible states emphatically that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. So surrender in complete reverence to the fear of the Lord and in due time, you shall gain the Wisdom of Solomon.

Next, develop your interests. Lacking dynamic or developed interests or hobbies might contribute to your seeming immature. Finding something that you enjoy doing and becoming an “expert” at it can make you seem more experienced and mature. It will also give you something to talk about with others, whether or not they also participate in your hobby.

In addition, set goals and work towards them. Part of maturity is being able to assess your current strengths, determine areas that you need to improve, and set goals for the future. Keep the future in mind and let it inform the choices you are making about your life right. Once you have set goals that are clear, actionable, and measurable, take action to work towards them.

Know when it is okay to be silly. You do not have to be serious all of the time in order to be mature. Real maturity is to know your audience and figuring out when it’s appropriate to be silly and when it’s important to be serious. It’s good to have different levels of silly so you can scale your actions appropriately.

Finally, be respectful of others. We all have to live in the world together. If you do things to intentionally annoy others, or if you do whatever you want without keeping the feelings of others in mind, people may view you as immature. Trying to remember the needs and wants of other people around you will help you cultivate a reputation as a mature and respectful individual.

In ending, shall we revisit this quote from Gordon B. Hinckley

The willingness to forgive is a sign of spiritual and emotional maturity. It is one of the great virtues to which we all should aspire. Imagine a world filled with individuals willing both to apologize and to accept an apology. Is there any problem that could not be solved among people who possessed the humility and largeness of spirit and soul to do either — or both — when needed?

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful day!

Eliezer

DATING, THE GODLY WAY

Dating… does the word strike anxiety or anticipation in your heart? With all the tech connectivity, it seems that it’s just made dating more complicated, confusing and frustrating than ever before. What measures can we employ to date the Godly way? That is the essence of this post.

I have started a 7-day plan by Ben Stuart on dating in the Modern Age; a plan I am totally enjoying. I am determining through God’s eyes his purpose this year in my life, and how he offers guiding principles to help me determine who and how to date.

What is dating? I am not talking about the numerical dating that strings your mind to a series of numbers. I am talking about the dating that strikes you as an interaction between a man and a woman. Dating as defined by the dictionary means to go out with (someone in whom one is romantically or sexually interested). Dating offers the opportunity to comprehend what the other’s wants, needs and desires are and aligns individual purposes which include shared dreams, beliefs, ideals and values.

Dating, followed by courtship, is supposed to lead to a happy marriage. But marriage cannot be happy if it is not built on the right foundation. Most couples have no idea that the foundation of a successful marriage begins long before the wedding day. In addition, a direct by-product of the wrong foundation is that most people have no idea how to select the right mate.

Just what is dating? A sampling of opinions reveals a variety of definitions, with seemingly no two alike. In the simplest form, a date is merely a set time agreed upon by two people to engage in an activity. The most commonly recognized definition is “an appointment for a specified time; especially a social engagement between two persons of opposite sex” (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary).

Romance is cool. God designed it. It is a huge desire of most people’s hearts to have a wonderful marriage, but it seems that few attain it. God made male & female, and said it was very good. He designed romantic desires with their fulfillment in marriage.

Countless millions of shattered families began with wrong dating habits. These habits made proper courtship impossible. And the results have been tragic. The almost universal effects of modern dating demonstrate widespread ignorance, even on the most basic points of right dating. Almost no one understands the real purpose of dating or of the courtship that can ensue. The next step, achieving a happy marriage, then also becomes impossible. There is a right way to date! What is it? And there are right and wrong people to date. How can you know the difference? It is time to unlearn the wrong principles, acquired from society—and to learn and apply God’s true principles, leading to happy marriages and families!

Most people dream of having an amazing marriage, but few realize that dream. Clearly, it is not easy. How many people do you know with marriages you would wish for yourself? It’s a serious business, yet too few people do much to prepare themselves to have a successful marriage. People typically do all the things that hurt their chances of that happening, i.e., have sex, rush into things, etc. Dating can help prepare you for marriage and help you get better at choosing someone right for you. It can help you before you’re ready to get married in learning to deal responsibly with romantic feelings.

Today marked the fourth day of the seven day plan which questioned “Who to Date?” A multi-million dollar question which I seek to expound in this post…

When people are asked the kind of people they would like to date, they begin to list a set of characteristics. “Tall, but not too tall. Sensitive, but strong. Confident, but also caring. Handsome but funny. And a good job with solid income.” Some people even go to the extent of asking interview questions such as “What are you bringing to the table in this relationship?” even on their first date.

The problem with starting with a list of characteristics is that it creates an expectation no one can possibly meet. We try to customize our orders to get not what God thinks is best for us but what we think is best for ourselves. We endanger ourselves by adopting a consumer mentality rather than a companion mentality.

Why do young people date? Who started this custom anyway? Should they date or not? Who should decide? At what age should young people date? Questions, questions, and more questions can be asked. What does the Bible say about dating, if anything? To whom can young people turn for answers than can be depended upon? These are questions parents should help their children decide about; and, or, people of wisdom, experience, and a good knowledge of Scripture teaching.

The Bible has very little to say about “dating” because people in ancient times didn’t really date. Marriages were usually contracted by the fathers of the parties involved or representatives of the fathers. The servant of Abraham went to the people of the city of Haran and brought back a wife for Isaac. Isaac did not see her until the night he married her. Marriages were typically arranged for the parties involved. This made them no less binding. God still commanded husbands and wives to love one another and submit to one another’s needs and interests.

Though people in Bible times didn’t really date, there are some biblical principles that should govern our dating activities today. First of all, people who date should not have sex until they marry. While it is normal and natural to be attracted to someone of the opposite sex, we are called by God to keep those urges under control until we commit to someone in marriage. The New Testament clearly teaches that sex outside of marriage is sinful. Dating, then, for Christians, is not about sex. Since that is true, Christians who date will want to choose activities in public places where conversations and healthy activities can be carried on without becoming involved in too much intimacy. Keep the lust in check and the touching to a minimum. Going out in groups is a good thing to consider. Since dating may eventually lead to marriage, we probably should not begin dating too early or date one person too long, unless we are ready to commit to a lifetime relationship.

Next, since the Scriptures teach us that it is important to form our primary relationships with people who will help us spiritually, we should date people who want to do the will of God. Since we eventually marry someone we date, we should not date those who lack Christian values. When we go out with someone, we should engage in lots of conversation and get to know what kind of person our date is. It would be good to observe this person in church, in various acts of service, at work, and in various social situations to see how this person conducts himself/herself and how this person treats other people. Having done these things over a period of time, we are in a better position to decide whether this person would make a suitable companion for life. We should ask, “Will this person help me walk with God?” “Will this person be the kind of parent I want for my children?”

Since the whole of Christian life is governed by God’s will, we should choose the right kind of activities for our dating. We should avoid the kinds of places where ungodly things are the norm. We need not be in seedy nightclubs or in bars or in decidedly vulgar movies. Instead, good dates might be to sporting events, high quality movies, a nice dinner, a good concert, a church activity, a museum, or a service activity. Do the kinds of things that you, as a Christian, feel good about doing.

It is also good to be friends with lots of different people. When Christian singles date, however, they do so with several basic principles in mind. They know that dating is not about sex. They work to maintain their purity, saving sex for marriage. They seek relationships with people who will support them in their walk with God. They seek activities through which they can both get to know their date and act in a way that is pleasing to God. So, happy dating! Just remember to take Jesus along with you everywhere you go!

There is a temptation to be impatient and feel a great urgency for relationships that we must fight against. The purpose of dating is to make an informed decision on marriage, so before you date you must be sure that you are within a realistic time frame for the relationship to move towards marriage. Waiting in faith is one of the greatest acts of worship, and we must fight the urge to take control by trusting God with patience.

Dating is certainly an avenue of getting better acquainted with the opposite sex. It also provides opportunity to have enjoyable occasions together. In a sense, dating is not only a way of growing up, but an indication that one is growing up. A good purpose for dating is that it helps to adjust to a man-woman world and helps to prepare for marriage itself.

Most often in relationships, we try to customize our order to get what we think is best for ourselves. In dating, we are looking for a person to love, not a product to consume. So our selection process can’t be rooted in transient characteristics like looks, charm, or wealth because these characteristics fade over time. If your marriage is built on surface characteristics, you have no hope together of a lasting future.

In dating, you are not constructing a robot from human parts to fit your needs. Rather, you are leveraging your life to build up the other person for the glory of God. The person you choose to marry should thus have an anchor point of love and morality outside of what you offer so your marriage can stay strong even when you are at your weakest. You want someone whose faithfulness to you is not anchored in the shifting sands of circumstance.

Now, are you going to find all this out about a person on date one? Of course not! Anybody can bluff their way through a one-hour interview. But what you want to see is someone who is striving to do beautiful things for beautiful reasons.

You want someone who is actively pursuing the Lord with a level of intensity compatible to yours. You want to stand at the altar together and promise to be faithful to each other without wondering if both of you are sincere.

You want to live out your years with someone who is not only faithful to God but also a good fit for you. Your personal convictions and beliefs about God matter in your relationship.

Being socially compatible matters. The majority of your marriage will not be spent having sex but hanging out together. You should find your mate interesting. You should have life and career goal that point in compatible directions. Some compromise is essential. But too much, and you may both end up frustrated because you are unable to fulfill your mission in life.

The Bible recognizes value in physical attraction. It is a factor in building a relationship- but it does not determine if you should be with someone. Obviously this is because we all age and external beauty or health fades. So be smart! It is much easier to contemplate these issues before the wedding.

Considering all these points will help you discern whether or not God has ordained a relationship for you.

 

Thanks for reading and enjoy your Thursday!

Eliezer

 

WORSHIP

What comes to your mind when you think of Worship? A group of people singing hymns and praise songs? Prayers that declare God’s Nature and Attributes?

Do you ever get tired of this world? Do you get tired of the monotony of life and seek a higher, more exciting plane? Do you ever long to leave all the filth and degradation behind, for just a little while? Would you like a break sometime—to just get away from it all, and go to a place where you can just leave it all behind? That is what worship does

Anything you do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship. Bringing pleasure to God is called worship. The Bible says “The Lord is pleased only with those who worship him and trust his love”. Like a diamond, worship is multifaceted. It would take volumes to cover all there is to understand about worship.

Worship means different things to different people. From Catholicism to Protestantism, all denominations define worship in terms of their traditional thinking and cultural conditioning. For some it is nothing more than a pitiful excuse for a pathetic display of painstaking spirituality. For others it is a means of attaining eccentric esoteric experiences – a spiritual state supposedly superior to others.

Both the Old Testament and the New Testament word combine not only physical posture and expression in worship, but also the words we pray or sing as we interact with the Scriptures. We do this activity solely to honor the Lord. Regardless of whether I worship by myself, or with my family or roommates, in a home fellowship group, a Bible study, a Sunday School class, or an all-church service of worship, we do it to focus on the Lord.

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary defines worship in two views

  1. The practice of showing respect to God, by singing with others, saying prayers.
  2. A strong feeling of love and respect for someone or something

However, it is well known that dictionary definitions are insufficient to fully determine the meaning of a word or idea but only a Christian, one who sees through the eyes of faith, can appreciate the eternal value and the absolute spiritual necessity of learning to bow down before our Lord God in adoring veneration.

Worship is hard To Define. It is not really defined in Scripture—it is shown, but not explained. The primary Old Testament term translated “worship” means “to bow downto prostrate oneself” and the primary New Testament term literally means “to kiss toward”.  “It may be regarded as the direct acknowledgment to God, of His nature, attributes, ways and claims. Whether by the outgoing of the heart in praise and thanksgiving… or by deed done in such acknowledgment” (W.E. Vine)

Worship is a spiritual exercise. It is an exercise of the mind and heart, more than just an action of the body. Time and time again people are so sidetracked by the rituals of worship that they miss the true essence of humility before God, love for one another and a holy life.

Anthropologists have noted that worship is a universal urge, hard-wired by God into the very fiber of our being- an inbuilt need to connect with God. Worship is as natural as eating or breathing. If we fail to worship God, we always find a substitute, even if ends up being ourselves. The reason God made us with this desire is that he desires worshipers.

Depending on your religious background, you may need to expand your understanding of ‘’worship”. You may think of church services with singing, praying and listening to as sermon. Or you may think of ceremonies, candles, and communion. Or you may think of healing, miracles, and ecstatic experiences. Worship can include these elements, but worship is far more these expressions. Worship is a lifestyle.

Worship is far more than music. If Worship was just music, then all who are nonmusical could never worship. Every part of a church service is an act of worship: praying, Scripture reading, singing, confession, silence, being still, listening to a sermon, taking notes, giving an offering, baptism, communion and even greeting other worshippers.

Worship has nothing to do with the style or volume or speed of a song. God loves all kinds of music because He invented it all- fast and slow, loud and soft, old and new. You probably don’t like it all, but God does! If it is offered to God in spirit and truth, it is an act of worship.

Frankly, the music style you like best says more about you- your background and personality- than it does about God. God likes variety and enjoys it all.

These two definitions, adoration and service, hold each other in a creative tension. They reinforce each other. If we are to be Biblical, we cannot have one definition without the other. Without adoring veneration on a regular basis our service becomes empty, barren activity. There is little sense of the eternal perspective in what we do. On the other hand, without the regular choice to live out the moral and ethical implications of worship through a lifestyle of obedience, times of praise and worship become hypocrisy.

If you have ever said, “I didn’t get anything out of worship today,” you worshiped for the wrong reason. Worship isn’t for you. It’s for God. Of course, most “worship” services also include elements of fellowship, edification and evangelism and there are benefits to worship, but we don’t worship to please ourselves. Our motive is to bring glory and pleasure to our Creator. God’s heart is not touched by tradition in worship, but by passion and commitment.

Worship is not a part of your life, it is your life. Worship is not just for church services. We are told to “worship him continually” and to “praise him from sunrise to sunset”. In the Bible, people praised God at work, at home, in battle, in jail and even in bed! Praise should be the first activity when you open your eyes in the morning and the last activity when you close them at night. David said, “I will thank the Lord at all times. My mouth will always praise Him”. Our motivation for a lifestyle of worship is God’s merciful love.

Every activity can be transformed into an act of worship when you do it for the praise, glory and pleasure of God. Martin Luther said, “A dairymaid can milk cows to the glory of God” Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of his presence. Real worship is all about falling in love with Jesus

We are commanded to give to our LORD the honor and respect due His Name! We are also commanded to worship, or prostrate ourselves before Him. When was the last time you fell on your face in worship of your LORD? It is at once a humbling and inspiring experience! And lest we think our beautiful buildings and fashionable apparel can garner God’s pleasure, David instructs us to worship in holiness … in the purity of our hearts and minds, for only such worship will God accept.

Worship proclaims our dependence on God. Worship is always offered to a greater being from a lesser being. God does not need our worship but He does seek it as an expression of our love and communion with Him.

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Eliezer

 

 

 

 

SHOOT FOR LIFE

Some weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a basketball seminar being held at Ejisu Model School. A 10 year anniversary to commemorate how influential Shoot for Life Ministries have been in the lives of young leaders through basketball. I had the opportunity to meet Pastor Roxane from the USA basketball team.

Basketball is a sport I love so much because unlike football which focuses so much on the teamwork of 11 players to put a ball in the net. Basketball usually takes the effort of one dominant person, to make game changing plays. Clutch shots? Pump fakes? In and Outs? 360s? 3 point shots? One player. This shows my love for basketball.

Not to digress from the topic, Shoot for Life has the purpose of raising young visionary leaders by inculcating basketball into them from the start. Get them through basketball and preach the word of God, so they do not depart from it.

The word of God is shared and the children are taken through drills to make them better basketball players with the hope they are sent out of the country to play basketball and help in propagating the word of God. I hope Ghanaian leaders could also start a wonderful initiative like this. Whether it be, hockey, basketball or football because we can not let all these amazing talents go waste.

Their mission is to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of athletes and coaches

This is their website

Website : http://ghanafca.org

Picture of trophies they have won over the past few years

Below is a picture of my coach and I. Berchie.

David Dompey my basketball role model. I see you! Respect!

STRESS COPING MECHANISMS

26/07/2019. I was given the opportunity to create awareness on stress and the need to deploy measures to optimize their stress levels- by visiting Shalom Baptist Church.

A church filled with energetic and committed young individuals, I found myself leading a song and clapping to the tune of good praise songs, when I had made an entrance with the intention of delivering a well rehearsed presentation.

The head of the church? A Spirit- filled gentleman; Pastor Ernest Appiah. Thanks for pushing me up the podium to help people better their mental health and protect their mental space.

Because this was my first time to the place, I made a Queens move by exploring the area of Fawode, a suburb of Kumasi, before I entered the church.

With this blog post, I intend to educate my readers and liven their tastebuds on the need to adopt an unladen lifestyle which feeds on measures to reduce stress to the lowest limit, because long life is enjoyed when it is lived to the fullest.

So what is stress? Everyday English! Members of the church projected stress as the discomfort they felt they are stressed!The word itself looks stressful! Stresssss…

Just to ice the injury surrounding the word; stress is actually not a bad thing. The stress response; when working properly is the body’s way of protecting you. This helps you stay energetic, and alert, focused for the task at hand. Be it that exam drawing its ugly head close, that presentation you want to murder so intently, that girl you are dying so hard to ask out or your paralyzed legs which suddenly give in to full power when a dancing car heads your direction.

Your body realizes the frantic call for help and floods your system in a sea of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which float in your body, to rouse you for emergency action. Your heart pounds faster, your muscles tighten, your blood pressure rises, your breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. Classic sympathetic response! These changes increase your strength and stamina, speed up your reaction time, and enhance your focus—preparing you to either fight or flee from the danger at hand. At this point, I would advise you enter a comic shop and get yourself a cape with a mask.

However, beyond a certain point, stress halts being the vehicle of help and starts the engine that causes major damage to your health, mood, productivity, relationships, and your quality of life.

This can lead to serious health problems by disrupting nearly every system in your body.

Like many of us in today’s demanding world, there’s the tendency to be subject to chronic stress, that our body undulates in a flux of stress all the time.

Chronic stress can

1. Suppress your immune system.

2. Upset your digestive and reproductive systems.

3. Increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

4. Speed up your aging process.

5. Finally rewire your brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.

However, what causes stress depends largely on your perception of it. Some people may savor what rattles you and keeps you awake in the middle of the night. A terrifying experience of getting up in front of people to perform or speak, may be the spotlight others live for.

But bear in mind, There is always a way to regain your balance on the scale of whatever event or situation is stressing you out; by tilting towards the center of positive energy.

What are some of the ways to deal with stress effectively?

A TED talk by a renowned neuroscientist revealed we keep ourselves organized by finding a permanent home for basically everything we have, as a master key to dealing with stress. A locker for our folded clothes, A shelf for our books and a heart for our love letters.

Here are some tips to help you keep stress at bay.

1. Prayer. Research shows that people who are more religious or spiritual use their spirituality to cope with life. It is said they are able-bodied to cope with stress,heal faster from illness, and experience increased benefits to their health and well-being. On an intellectual level, spirituality connects you to the world, which in turn enables you to stop trying to control things all by yourself; throwing everything at the feet of the Creator. When you feel part of a greater whole, it becomes easy to understand that you aren’t responsible for everything that happens in life.

2. Exercise. Regular exercise can lift your mood and serve as a distraction from worries, allowing you to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed stress. Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity that has its source from a boost of endorphins. Rhythmic exercises such as walking, running, swimming, and dancing are particularly effective in dealing with mind – leaching stress.

3. Connect to others. The simple act of talking face-to-face with another human can trigger hormones that relieve stress and soothe the nervous system; in the tantrums of agitation and insecurity. According to a study led by Sarah Townsend, an assistant professor at USC Marshall School of Business, The best person to provide measurable relief from stress is the one who genuinely understands your emotions and response. It could be that family friend, co- worker, sibling or spouse. Talk the stresss away!

4. Engage your senses. Does listening to an uplifting song make you feel calm? Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently, so experiment to find what works best for you. If you’re a visual person, try to manage and relieve stress by surrounding yourself with soothing and uplifting images. Slowly savoring a favorite treat could also be very relaxing, however mindless stress eating will only add to your stress and your waistline. It is recommended that you eat slowly and focus on the food in your mouth. You could also sip a steaming cup of coffee, tea or a refreshing cold drink just to wash that stress down your gut.

5. Learn to relax. You can’t be completely responsible for all life’s problems. Relaxation techniques such as meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the polar opposite of the stress response. When practiced regularly, these activities reduce your everyday stress levels and boost feelings of joy and serenity, increasing your ability to stay calm and collected under pressure; always delivering that clutch performance- Michael Jordan style!

6. Eat a healthy diet. The food you eat can improve or worsen your mood and affect your ability to cope with life’s stressors. Eating a diet full of processed and convenience food, refined carbohydrates, and sugary snacks can worsen symptoms of stress, while a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, high-quality protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, can help you better cope with life’s ups and downs.

7. Get your rest. Feeling tired can increase stress by causing you to think irrationally. At the same time, chronic stress can disrupt your sleep. Whether you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, there are plenty of ways to improve your sleep by adopting sleep hygiene methods. The aim of good sleep is you make you feel less stressed, more productive and emotionally balanced.

With these stress- hacking tips, I hope my attempt to enlighten you will probe your mental hands, into taking stress by its reins and mounting it appropriately.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend!

Eliezer

This post is dedicated to Mr. Kofi Akowuah Kyei, the man who encouraged me to write this post on how to effectively deal with stress.

VOICE OF POWER

Lately, Friends have expressed their displeasure in the sudden change of my personality. I think I have become more quiet, reserved and distant, furthering my reach from friends and family who actually care, and keeping to myself most at times. This personality makes it difficult for people to lunge at me, with full extension and flexion of their pretentious smiles and grins just to know the story behind “his misanthropy”

I think this is a way to protect my mental space; by keeping a few trusted friends and making close meaningful relationships.

This month has been a very hectic one! I thank God my firm willpower has not been shattered yet. The hospital admissions of two close friends, the back to back duties conjugating the essence to produce well delivered presentations every 2 weeks, and the vigor to ensure my patients get the best of care-saps the limited energy I have.

Free flying ideas that rampage my mind muffles this deep seated call from God; penetrating every fibre of my nerve- endings, rendering me mute and teary just to acknowledge the need to worship Him.

Listening to music has always been my escape route to the stress of this life. Please discard the notion “I’m rude”, if I happen to disregard your presence, in the whirlwind of my earbuds, when I should have stopped and said Hi.

As I was ministering in church today, I felt this sudden calmness; God’s way of telling me He’s got it all. “Stop worrying and Worship”. That unruffled, serene, deep and strong voice that tames the feelings of guilt and despair and flames that spirit longing for Him.

That voice that breaks my stone-cold heart and melts it into fragments of blood vessels, that My heart can pump in response to Love, one more time.

That voice that gives me back the lost desire and restores in me the Love I felt once more for Him.

That voice that crumbles kingdoms and smashes nations into pellets of chaos by stilling their mighty storm with a single word.

That voice that is glorious in thunder and sends droplets of rain as evidence of His compassionate heart even after we falter.

That voice that calls us up further and further towards of His throne of grace, as He challenges us to grow in faith and love.

That voice that serves as a bedrock for my fleeting ideas and thoughts, thrown as darts by my panic-stricken heart.

I pray these words of Avalon in First Love stir up your desire to hear that voice of Power!

“I used to be the one who would long to hear Your voice

A child who sought to win his Father’s heart

But as I carried on, life’s got a hold on me

Now here I am a son so far from home

Tell me when did I loose my first love?

Where did the fire and passion go?

Burn in me Your holy fire give me back my lost desire

And restore in me the love I felt for You”

Is God’s voice of power the loudest voice in your life?

That’s the question.

If the answer is no, that’s the problem.

Thanks for reading!

Happy Sunday

This post was inspired by Zipporah. True friends like you are rare. Keep being yourself!

Eliezer

GIVING

It’s been a while I put down something. I trust we are all doing fine? Today’s topic dares to be interesting. It is a post of giving ; The Christian Way.

It was the 8th of September 2018, time check 3:00pm. I found myself escorting my favorite cousin; Maame Dufie to get her provisions in town. We found ourselves at the exact location because her dad’s car had maneuvered through the gate of Golden Tulip some minutes right after we had our lunch.

 

I remember the 20 cedis I had on me almost falling out of my pocket. This bolted me into the sense of awareness I was officially broke. How was I going to survive? I saw myself as this big boy who had got his guts together and did not need help from anyone financially. God had to intervene; This was my silent prayer.

The schedule for church the next day had been earmarked and dubbed “Pastor’s Appreciation Day” A day pastors in the church were rewarded with the delicacies emanating from people’s pocket based on how proficient and instrumental they had been in the lives of their church members.

I remember crying in my chest and complaining on how broke I was. I was so broke I could not sit up straight. Swaying to and fro with the rocker buttom feet that took its place on the ground in the form of shoes. Expenses kept mounting and climbing that my bank account had hidden her face from my sight. It was tired of succumbing to the shadow of undulating stress and apprehensiveness. These were days I wish I had a side job but…

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I informed my cousin of the reality I had just 20 cedis in my pocket and… she was taken aback. I had to support her with my palms to prevent her from falling backwards. She made an emphatic statement and further questioned me on how much I put in the offering bowl every Sunday. She stated plainly without mincing words “Nana, you would be doing a great deservice to God if you put anything less than 10 cedis in the bowl.

I smiled coyly and replied “Its my widows mite I give. The amount I give does not matter, all that matters is whether it is from a good heart or not”

“Nana, if you knew the benefits of giving, you would have carried everything you possessed to the altar” But then I knew I would not be demonstrating common sense if I did that. What would I eat? What would I wear? Where would I sleep and lastly What would I spend?

“The Lord would provide” kept hammering its nail into my eardrums but I easily distracted myself as we got to the destination – Opoku Trading. I had not made up my mind to give.

I decided to read on the benefits of giving and share it with you readers. I hope it touches your heart to give because God loves a cheerful giver.

Money has the inherent potential to take the place of God because it feeds us, clothes us and gives us the good things we enjoy. We work for money, depend on it and gain security and significance through it.

To the degree that a Christian allows money to take precedence over God in their affection, trust and pursuits, that Christian is serving a false god and not a true God. Materialism drains the vitality and power out of one’s spiritual life and places one in bondage to things of the world.

Giving is the key that breaks the power of the false god of money. Scripture indicates how giving fits in God’s plan for the Christian life.

Giving is rooted in the character of God. All of God’s blessings are given, not earned, shaken but not stirred. Therefore the practice of giving is imitating the character of God.

Above all else, giving increases our affection for Christ. This is why it is necessary to mentally give each gift to Jesus Christ. When you give your gift to Him, your heart would automatically be drawn to the Lord.

The practice of giving is a spiritual discipline of great significance for all Christians. It is my prayer to put into action, God’s principle of giving.

Thanks for reading

Eliezer.

DEPENDENCE

27th June 2018, 08:00am. Amidst the heavy traffic, I managed to get to work early today to start reviews. My current rotation has granted me the opportunity to work with critical preterm babies.

A preterm, unfortunately, is born more than three weeks before its estimated due date. It is important to keep such babies in an optimal state to prevent numerous complications that could befall them – A recognized one. Apnea of Prematurity

Mothers, oblivious of these conditions, become impatient and call for an early discharge from the hospital. With elucidation, they get to discern the importance of keeping their babies in incubators, dispensing their lungs with oxygen and nurturing them adequately before they leave the hospital. Mothers are happy, We are happy!

Reaching the ward, I started my reviews of the babies; ensuring they had their medications, monitoring their temperature, in addition to their feeding pattern and attending to any pending issues distressing the mother or the baby.

After inserting the yellow cannula into the first baby’s antecubital vein, the adjacent monitor started to beep. I was enlightened beforehand not to turn a deaf ear to any noise a monitor made, regardless of its pitch.

The AMBU bag lying in the babies incubator drew my attention to the possibility that, the baby had been resuscitated a couple of times in the night. The monitor read 32% and jumped to 26%. In the next second. I found myself resuscitating this baby with the AMBU bag in my hand.

Handclaspping the ambu bag in different motions of contraction and expansion, the baby’s chest rose and fell to this intense flux of air, waving the oxygen saturation to rise in concord. It took me a minute before I realized the environment I was in.

After bagging for an hour, the SP02 read 100%, but, the baby was not breathing; her chest was not rising. I restarted the monitor a couple of times, but the display had the same reading everytime. Could I trust this monitor? I continued bagging when I remembered the words of my lecturer “YOU are the best monitor!” I continued to impale her chest with oxygen from the bag, when I noticed the pulsation on her chest had become faster and stronger. “The best determinant of sucess of oxygen delivery was an increase in heart rate” My fingers recoiled for joy when the baby resumed spontaneous breathing strenously.

I had the opportunity to glance through the baby’s folder. Obviously the baby was at the Intensive Care Unit on account being born before her time. She had an extremely low birth weight of 0.9kg, that it made her look fragile.

On admission, she had suffered multiple episodes of seizures. We played with an initial diagnosis of Meningitis, but revised the diagnosis, when the electrolytes popped up deranged. Sodium was skyrocketing high! Hypernatremia. The CSF results turned out normal surprisingly.

The objective way I could confirm multiple episodes of resuscitation conducted for this baby was to read the nurses notes; handwritten in red. “Baby was seen desaturating at 8:35pm on intranasal oxygen. Bagging started for an hour. Spontaneous respiration resumed but weak.” This had been written three times, making reading monotonous, but it had happened. The baby had been bagged.

I had tons of babies to review but this one had captured my attention. She reminded me of the Biblical narration that moved the Good Shepherd into action to neglect the ninety- nine sheep just to save the life of that one priceless sheep in the wilderness.

With this in thought, I continued bagging, and praying God would save the life of this young lad. I felt despondent when the mother checked in, in tears and asked if everything would be fine. A question which I had no answer to.

Surprisingly,there was no chest movement, but audibly, air entry into her chest was adequate. Something was propelling this baby to strive, vive and live. A couple of people came around and asked me to stop because babies bagged for long hardly survived. But I was the firm certainty this one would make it. I didn’t know how.

I gave up after a couple of minutes and washed my hands; throwing in the towel but my conscience probed me to continue fighting for this baby. So I continued bagging, for another one hour.

Then It hit me! Why don’t I stop everything and commit the fate of this baby into the arms of His loving care. I couldn’t bag for 24 hours. He had already decided the fate of this baby irrespective of hard and insistent I was. Removing my gloves and leaving the area was a painful decision, but then I had to let God do His work. It demanded I closed my eyes before I could see through His eyes.

I said a word of prayer for her soul and left the rest of the care to God. I was because He is.

I was so hopeful to come to meet this baby in the full health the next day, so then I knew He was God.

So then, I left home very early the next day, just to see this baby in a better state; the classic miracle I was expectant of.

As I entered the room, the first thing I noticed was the white bed linen. Initially, I thought I was in the tombstone of Jesus Christ. The white empty duvet stared at my face with a sinister smile of victory.

I knew this baby had kicked the bucket, but I had to confirm that from the attending nurse, just to be sure. It had lunged to that moment, bagging the child could not save the baby any longer in the afternoon. Tired Lung Syndrome? Please don’t try looking it up.

I continued with the rest of the reviews knowing this baby’s life was safe in the hands of its Maker.

We as Christians always want things to go our way. We begin to pant in desperation and rant in defiance when we recognize the wiff of disappointment and the air of disheartenment breezing. It’s easy to accuse God when life goes wrong. He can do anything, stop anything and change anything. But sometimes He doesn’t.

This world is full of death, disease and sin. Bad things happen to good people—even exemplary Christian people. But…

God never promised we would get what we crave for, that our days would be plain sailing, just because we chose to follow Him.

That is where disappointment sets in, hitting the hardest when we becloud what we think God owes us, with what He has actually assured us of. A life full of hope!

He said we should give thanks. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus”

No matter the phase of life you are going through, Hold on! When it seems your prayers are falling on deaf ears, Hold on! When it seems there’s nothing to Hold on to, Hang in. He said we should give thanks and in His time, He would manifest Himself.

I would like to end with this

Have a lovely weekend!

Eliezer

NARROW ESCAPE

12th May 2018. Time check: 3:30am. Another night duty! I pitched my eyes across the expanse of the room with very sleepy eyes, after penning down IV Vitamin K 1mg stat, on the drug sheet of the fresh baby I had examined.

Give 192 mls of 10% plain dextrose in a fifth of Normal Saline and monitor the respiratory rate of the baby.” The ecstasy I felt after winding up the yellow folder in the palms of the nurse, could not be compared to the fufu I had taken in the afternoon; which still sauntered on my taste buds and tonsils with jest.

I moved towards the exit… then I saw it! A baby wrapped in a cot sheet, being humped into the emergency workplace. This zapped me back in; with the intention of seeing to an early discharge.

The night had been a busy night. Everyone was tired! Working for 7 hours straight! non stop Our cortices had been denied the opportunity of spatially recognizing the chairs in the room. We had seen a triad of twins, sixplets? preterm babies and babies in respiratory distress. The place was so full that it emptied the little space remaining. The coolers had been conditioned to malfunction for just a day; so the place was as recalescent as a microwave.

Place the baby on the working table” I said, reaching for the glucometer. Then I saw it – this baby was pink! I had to hide my palms momentarily not to display my own pallor. I checked the airway – which was as patent as the entrance to the emergency room. Baby was breathing unconstrained, with good inspiratory and expiratory effort. His chest moved with oscillatory pirouette; dancing to the harmony of a regular rhythm. I had never heard a chest as crystal clear as his; envisaging how perfect his lungs were, with a scapel blade in my hands.

His heart lubbed and dubbed- doubling every time the second hand nodded. Stunningly, my stethoscope refined its colour, just to match his pink body. It divulged its attachment to the preemie; pledging its allegiance.

The glucometer, after having a taste of his blood, followed his 2 second heart beat and embossed 5.1 with a huge smile. At a very low birth weight of 1.28kg, he looked active; consciously moving his limbs with a normal activity. The newborn reflexes, which signified his bond to infancy were present, except that for suckling – bespeaking his need for maternal attachment.

Carrying the baby was a nurse in scrubs, in the accompaniment of a tall dark man I presumed to be the father of the baby. To my surprise, the man turned out to be the ambulance driver.

After my initial assessment, the only problem I identified was the weight of the baby: 1.28kg. From head to toe, the baby was just fine.

This baby was found in a dustbin” The nurse said. The little dopamine I had left animated my mood, when the pen had thought of falling from my hands.

The baby’s mother was alleged to have dropped the baby in the dustbin; stationed in one of the washrooms found in the hospital. After the incident, she came to lie on the bed unflurried and unruffled– like nothing had happened.

The reporting nurse discovered the baby when she visited the washroom some minutes afterwards, where she detected the baby; by the tenor of his cry. She immediately washed the baby and rushed the baby to our location, while the mother was sent to the police station for questioning.

The baby was admitted, started on intravenous fluids and antibiotics. The antibiotics were given because it was presumed the environment he found himself, after birth was septic.

But then, he was the cutest thing I had seen in a while. The specialist during ward rounds, even had the intendment of adopting the baby.

Then the fortunate happened…

His mother appeared at the hospital the next day in tears. Just in the nick of time.

Apparently, she had experienced her ‘menses’ a month ago. The subtle complaints of intermittent abdominal pain brought her feet to the hospital. Little did she know she was 7 months pregnant.

This story did not make sense. Therefore I probed further. She was a 24 year old high school graduate, who had 2 children already, with a man with whom she was cohabiting.

She left her country of origin with the hope of landing and securing a job in Ghana; with the little education she had. Little did she know all her knots were tied.

She earned 5 cedis everyday which could not cater for her in-and out fare, to the workplace. I would draw your attention to the fact that she needed breakfast, lunch and supper.

Then, she met her savior who savored her exuberance by admitting her to a brothel. Her escapades at the brothel would not be narrated today.

Back at the hospital. The baby popped out into the water closet as she emptied her bowels. She assumed the baby was dead, judging from its size and dumped the baby into the bin.

She tried to draw the attention of the nurse who was deeply rooted in the dial of her phone, but she was dismissed with a wave of the hand. Lying on her bed, she waited for the nurse who was duty comatose but then…she slept!

She lurched into awareness when she noticed two men standing close to the bed in police apparel. She was sent to the station for questioning, as her baby was brought to our unit for assessment.

The next day, the 24 year old woman felt remorse for what she had done, after being extricated from the arms of the law.

It was a sight to behold, just to see such a tiny baby in between the breasts of his mother for warmth.

Time check : 6:06pm

Eliezer

CARDIO

It was one very hot afternoon… Never mind.. Not a story day. I started my cardio workouts today. I feel it would be a great time to catch some air from the pollution caused by the stress of work. I know it won’t be easy compounding the long hours spent at work, with the albatross of workouts. But… I want to enjoy the long life Daddy has promised me with health. I would do my best to take care of this body, which is his earthly temple. Daddy emphasizes the importance of exercise but He urges us to blend it with a life of righteousness.

I have read on the benefits of cardio workouts. Cardio in medicine refers to the heart, so a cardio workout is any form of exercise that aims to boost the heart in super mode; further increasing the supply of blood to the rest of your body.

I know I have to be determined and dedicated to this cause. The life expectancy of people found in my part of the world, seems to decrease as the earth keeps rotating and revolving. Just enter any dark place at night; hit me down if you don’t leave with a smoked puffed face or, reek off the stench of alcohol.

Lets go to cardio workouts. Body builders do not often hop on the treadmill with the fear it would zap their gains and make them lose their hard earned muscles.

But don’t fret!

Running is the best cardiovascular exercise I have always found to be a great stress reliever. Just put your headphones in, let the music flow and start running at your own pace. Before you know it, you’ll have hit the reset button on your hassle levels, leaving you super recharged and back on track.

Cardio exercise has many benefits

Bearing these benefits in mind, why not purchase a pair of jogging boots. Contact me if you need a pair of quality boots for as low as 50 GH CEDIS.

Me after 30minutes on Day 1 of the 30 day treadmill run. Ignore the heavy metals in the background. I am allergic to them.

Day 5 of Cardio. I have combined lifting weights with cardio

Day 10 of Cardio. I have added 5 minutes of cycling to 30 minutes on the treadmill

Day 15 of Cardio I have been a little stressed out lately. But I’m still doing 40 minutes of cycling with 5 minutes of pushups. I look like I have gotten taller

Day 20 of Cardio. Guess what? 35minutes of cycling to burn 500 calories. 5 minutes of running to burn 60 calories. 3 sets of 20 reps of push ups and 3 sets of 10 reps of biceps curls. Day 30 is almost up and I feel I am getting there. I am thinking clearly now. This is not to draw your attention from the fact I brought a new partner.

Day25.. I have started working on my core.. added 8 minutes of abs workout to the routine.

Day 30 still Work in Progress

 

Want to start a perfect cardio workout at home. This video would be the best to start with.

https://youtu.be/X1TuhAn6C-g

Get your shoes on, reduce the alcohol and cigarettes intake, and flush out the heavy toxins damaging your body with cardio workouts.

Eliezer