Monday, November 23, 2015

The big lesson I learned from the Great Ethiopian Run

photo courtesy to @melmaclaine on Twitter.jpg
I never got myself ready for anything like I did for the first Great Ethiopian Run. I remember my dad used to bang my door at 6:00 AM. I would get up excited, change into my sportswear, and we used to run from Lideta all the way to Meskel Square and back. Of course, my dad would be walking fast, and I had to run to catch up with him.

Eventually, the Great Run became something I would just do for fun. I would get the tickets at a very last minute, after making sure how many of my friends were running, so that I would have more fun. I stopped exercising to get ready for it. I didn’t aim to get a medal or finish the race. The ‘Great Run’ became the ‘Great walk.’ I would just walk along with the group, chant with those who chant, even stop to see if there is any dance show on the way. Well I, along with my friends, just did it for fun.

At some point in my life, I realized my life has become just like the Great Run. I was running aimlessly, following the crowd, in a ‘luke warm’ state of life. Of course I had some sort of purpose, I took my work and relationships seriously, but I realized what ‘intentional living’ means and that it requires more than that.  

Intentional living is about knowing why you do what you do in every detail of your life. It is to be willing to step back and evaluate the things you are doing.

The Bible tells us that we should run the race of life in such a way as to get the price, to get a crown that will last forever. Everyone who competes in the game goes into strict training.  (1Cor 9: 24-27) Paul says, I don’t run like someone running aimlessly, No I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave…
2 Tim 2:3-7 “…not entangled in civilian affairs..”

Intentional living is questioning yourself, what one thing, if I did well all year would make the most remarkable impact on my life personally and professionally. 
Successful people practice intentional calendar control in their career, school, spirituality, health, learning travel and so on.

God was detailed and intentional in creating me, Psalm 139:13-18 tells that he intricately woven knitted me together in my mothers womb, I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” He was intentional in giving His only begotten son to die for me. He is intentional in letting me live, in letting me be in the place I am at right now and so much more. And I am created in His image!

When I go through my Bible in this mindset of, I realized Jesus, the apostles and the prophets... they were all intentional in their lifestyle.The Bible talks a lot about ‘making every effort…’ (2 Pet 1:3-15, Luke 13:24-25, 2 Pet 3:14). 80% of our results came from 20% of our efforts. Imagine how effective we would be if we exert more efforts? Being faithful to God requires being faithful to our life’s major roles.

Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is insanity. It is never too late to change, to start new and to be intentional. Make a list of things you need to do differently in your everyday life, if you really want to build up yourself, taking control of thought, spiritually grow in your walk with God, grow in your business or improve your grades.

I will soon start blogging detailed blog posts on intentional living; I hope this can get you thinking…

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Glimpse of life part 4

Drawings by zerihun seyoum
I sometimes think that Ethiopia is the only place in the world, where people just start  conversations in public places, where all passengers in a taxi or bus talk on a certain subject, where anyone can ask for direction without feeling weird, where people who met in taxis (the minibuses) sometimes end up being good friends or forth! 

For instance let me give you two examples from yesterday and today and what happened in the taxis I took in similar times, going back home;

Yesterday-  a famous song was playing in the taxi by Tilahun Gessesse, 'japanwan wedejae' by a young girl who was a finalist on Idle show, last year. So this young girl is singing the song by Tilahun, a male singer about how a man fall in love with a Japanese woman. There is no change done to the lyrics to fit to a girl singer. I didn't actually notice this till two guys from the back seat laughed out loud saying, 'she is saying, she is in love with a Japanese girl. .how funny.' Then a woman who sounds so irritated by the guys start defending the girl, 'it is not funny, she has a good voice, which is what matters, and she is a young girl how can you laugh?' The guys kept explaining how funny it sounds, and that it is not actually the young singer's fault but the producers choice of music that was wrong...' The woman also kept explaining what a nice voice the girl has...' They kept arguing, they were loud enough for everyone to hear. The woman was so defensive and didn't actually listen to what the guys were saying to the point I feel that the singer could be her little sister. Some passengers gave their comments too...the argument continues till they all get off the taxi and go their own ways. 

Today- it was a bit late. The taxi was full. It was quite normal environment till the last guy entered. The weyala (the guy who calls out where the taxi is going and collects money from passengers) was telling every passenger that, 'the price is 5 birr.' The normal price is 3:00 birr but it is common to pay 5 Birr when it is late. So everyone agreed except this guy who entered last. I call him the deviant. 'No!! The price is 3:00 birr I am only paying 3:00.' The 'weyala' told him to get off the taxi if he doesn't agree, he however refused and kept arguing, then they start insulting each other... Everyone starts to give his/ her comment on the matter… the guy said 'everyone can get off the taxi, ' አራግፍ ከፈለክ!, am not paying!!'

The temperamental man:- Through all this there was this guy in the third row. He got so upset all of the sudden and got up to fight with the guy who said he will not be paying 5:00 Birr. Imagine, he is just a passenger willing to fight and he is shorter, younger...

The peace maker:- I wonder what our world would be like if not for these kind of people. He is a tall guy, doesn't speak loud, and doesn't say much but say what matters. Every time the temperamental guy got up to fight he said something softly to him and made him sit back. He just kept gesturing with his hands to let the tempered guy sit back and calm down. 

Then the deviant takes out 3:00 Birr from his pocket and said, ‘this is all I have got and this is all I am paying!'

Everyone then murmured ' why didn't you say that at first, it is okay if you don't have money.'
Then we started going but the deviant didn't stop complaining about the 5 birr, and how the ‘weyala’ disrespected him.

The Gurage lady- I was sitting at the back and this woman sat beside me, she looks older than all of us, she wore a scarf and 'diriya.' She has the typical Gurage accent and she is loud. So keep imagining the accent when I tell you what she was saying. 
When the deviant said 3 birr is all he got, she said,'አሃ!! እኔም 3 ብር ነው ያለኝ! እስገባኝ የለኝም አልኩ ለወያላ!  አስገባኝ!  ለምን አንተ ትበጠብጣለህ! ,' I also have only 3 Birr, I told the ‘Weyala’ that is all I have got, he said okay...'

The solution girls:- there were two young girls in the third row.  I call them the solution girls because they offered to pay for the deviant guy. But that turned out to annoy him more. He said, ' I have kids to feed, I carry cement all day to meet my needs. I work hard to earn money, and you all argue I should pay, comparing me with yourself. I can't! You can! And you a 13 year old girl (she could actually be 25) who are you to offer to pay for me? 'I really thought what he was saying makes sense!

He just keeps complaining though, then he asked the ‘weyala’ to turn the light on, he tries it himself and saw it doesn't work. He said, 'their light doesn't work, their car doesn't work, their mind doesn't work!'

I started to realize that he was actually drunk! 

Then the driver, who was murmuring the whole time pulled the car aside, said 'he is disturbing me! I can't drive!!' He jumps out of the car so angry and come to pull the guy out of the car. 

Here acts the peace maker, he jumps of the car, put his huge arm over the drivers shoulder, whispered something in his ears, walks him back to his driver’s seat, got back to his seat and we started moving again. 

The cheer leader: cheer leaders are never part of the game but they give energy to the players to keep playing; either positive or negative energy. The cheer leader of all this sat on my left side. He doesn't have a stand; he is a kind of guy who speaks anything that comes to his mind. At first he was speaking out loud that the guy should be dragged out of the taxi. He keeps commenting irrelevant things the whole time. He even got so evil, at one point when he said, this guy should be slaughtered, he is stupid....'The gurage woman responded, ' አረ በልደታ አንተ ምን ነው ምታወራ!

Problem avoider: that would be me. I just can't stand all this, I hear myself complaining out loud, ' ok let's go now, will you all be quiet everything is settled now, አንተም ተው አንቺም ተይ በቃ አሁን እኮ ተስማምተዋል…ና ሂሳብህን ውሰድ እስቲ.’.trying to change the subject. Then the gurage woman turns to me and said 'ተይ አንቺ ደሞ ዝም በይ አትበይን! Stop it! dont tell me to shut up' Oops I didn't expect that. I told her it is because I didn't understand the relevance of arguing with a drunken guy. 

She later says, - ታቂያለሽ እንዲህ የሚያረገው አጋንንት ነው Then she whispers this to another girl, ...አጋንንት ነው.'  (It is the devil making him act this way). Then I looked at the cd in her hands, it was orthodox spiritual song. 

The deviant guy still complains.

The gurage woman all of the sudden shouts out loud saying 'እኔ ፍርድ እሰጣለሁ ይክፈል!! 'I give judgment he should pay!' Everyone laughs out loud...the guy already paid 3:00 Birr and we were moving peacefully, and then she brings this up? She then said, 'አንተ እሰራለሁ ነጋዴ ነኝ አላልክ ለምን አትከፍልም;...' Didn't you say you work, that you are a business man, why dont you pay?' I tried to think back, he only said he carries cement.  

A couple of people got off the taxi.

The gurage woman said, 'በሩ ጋር ጫፍ ጋር አውርደኝ አዚህ ካወረድከኝ ዱርዪዎች ይደበድቡኛል' (drop me off over there, I will be beaten up by thieves here!') Everyone laughs out loud again, the way she said it made it seem like there are actually some guys waiting for her to beat the hell out of her at that specific spot. She laughs with us saying, 'you all are laughing at me.' 

The deviant turns to the passengers and starts apologizing for his actions. Everyone is quite now. He specifically asks apology from the solution girls. The loud taxi is now filled with silence. He said he should be dropping off here but will go to the end with us till he gets forgiveness from us. The taxi stops. This was where he needs to get off. He got up still waiting for our response, he again said 'don’t you all accept my apology, I am sorry.’ Everyone was quite so I said, 'We accept! Have a good night!' He walks away waving his hands high. 

At the last stop, the driver said, I would have not act that way, if I knew he is drunk.'

What a glimpse of life!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Easy money

We live at a  time when almost everyone is after easy money. Young people almost do anything to earn money. They simply call it 'business' or ' shikella.' Wherever is the easy money, wherever is the shortcut to richness, there, you can find the youth. I often see people turn down job opportunities they are passionate about because it doesn't pay good; and I often, see young people engaged in activities just for the money; no interest, no passion attached to it. Growing in a certain career seems not that important these days.

So what triggered me to this idea? 

I was just reading the story of David on 1 Samuel 24 David was hiding from Saul in a cave, when Saul went to the cave to relieve himself (most probably for number two). This seems like a good, even a God designed opportunity for David to kill Saul and be enthroned. David could have just said, 'the Lord has given me my enemy in my own hands...' That is what his friends actually advised him, "This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, 'I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish." v.4 Imagine David at the corner of the cave hiding, while his enemy who was actually out to find and kill him is before him relieving himself. 

David had time to think, a moment to make a decision that can take his life from cave to palace, from living as a fugitive to a luxury of a royal life, from sleeping on a stone to a kings bed, from eating hunted food to the feast of the palace, from life of loneliness to the life he can marry and be friends with whoever he desires, from tiresome waiting to what God has promised to him, to taking by force and owning what God has promised. David could have just stabbed Saul at the back and become king of Israel. But David didn't kill Saul by the sword in his hands. David decided to wait on God instead of taking things in his own hands. 

David's integrity was tested, he was tempted to take the shortcut to success, he was tempted to take the easy way out, however he didn't fall for the temptation. David remembered Saul was appointed by God and it is against the law to kill the king. And that was a defining moment in his life and a lesson to us to this day.

It is funny, though David restrained from killing Saul, he made a bizarre decision in sneaking up to cut off Saul's robe. Ha, something to show off of his integrity, something to show to his friends later, and when the time comes to Saul himself.  It could be something to show off when he said, 'I could have killed Saul, look how close I was, but I have integrity.' 

In our words it could be... 'I didn't take a short cut, I didn't take a bribe at my work, I didn't do what those people do to earn easy money, look everyone I have integrity.' Often times we cancel out our integrity with pride. Integrity and pride can never go hand in hand. 

The very thing I always love about David is that he recognized his mistakes and took responsibility. David was conscious stricken for having cut off a corner of Saul's robe. He said to his men, "The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord's anointed or lift my hand against him for he is the anointed of the Lord. With this words David rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul." v.5 

"Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it." Proverbs 13:11

May God help us to keep our integrity like David; to not take the shortcut to God's long term plan for our life and to have a heart of repentance like David... Amen! 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

In the morning...

Genaye Photography

When the sun shines through your window in the morning

When you don't want to wake up but sleep your life out
When you desire, for your mattress to be your coffin once and for all;

Remember Jesus is still standing by your bed side
to lift you up and walk with you
so hold his hand, let him help you up;

you see the sun rise again

only because God is not done with you yet
for his mercy is new every morning
for his love endures forever
'Stand!!! and do everything to keep standing!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Predators & Prey

One morning I got up with a taught about predators and prey;

The bible tells us to run from sexual sin. In order to run from something there has to be a chaser. The Bible also tells us, to “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. “1 pet 5:8

Imagine a lion 

Lions in general have two main hunting methods. The first is that the lion stalks from bushes it hides from, with a final burst of speed at the end. The second method is to find a bush close to something its prey NEEDS - usually water. It climbs in and waits where its prey HANGS OUT.

Once a lioness is close to a herd, they usually target the CLOSEST PREY. They don't abruptly run to every prey they see but stalk their chosen prey. The lioness sneaks up to its victim until they reach a distance of proximity. There are two things that are said to help the lion considerably; they’re incredibly good at hiding and phenomenally patient.The attack is SHORT & POWERFUL. The lioness often catches its victim in a fast run and one big leap. 

If you are a fan of national geographic like me, you might  have noticed how the lioness targets its prey and runs specifically after just that one prey it put its eye on though there are many other zebras running away from it. You might have also noticed this prey is often not alert for an attack.

A lioness takes advantage of factors that reduce visibility; many kills take place near some form of cover or at NIGHT. However, they will hunt whenever the chance arises and that could be in the middle of the hottest day.

When the lion runs and leaps on its prey, the prey might still try to keep running. But that won’t be easy thing to do since the lion has it by its neck. The only remedy the bible gives us, is to run from sexual temptations. “Run from sexual sin! No other sin clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” 1 Cor 6:18 Like a prey in a herd; we have to be alert and ready to run whenever temptations arise. There might be rare circumstances a prey can fight with its predator and win. I have seen various YouTube videos where a lion or hyena is killed by a zebra or buffalo, it tries to kill. However, the best option is to always run from the predator. Once the predator is on your neck, it requires so much prayer and struggle to pull that sin off before it kills you.

Nevertheless we should always remember the predator is already a defeated enemy. Let me bring one more scenario from the wild life. Often hunters use a poisonous arrow in hunting. Though the animal is hit by the arrow, it keeps living its life till that poison spreads in its body and kills it.The devil is like this animal attacked by the arrow, and it is doing everything in his power to take us with him.

Let’s keep alert!
Let’s run away from any temptations!
And if we have already been attacked, let’s be those exceptional preys that wrestle the enemy off their neck and be the victor instead of the victim.

Monday, November 11, 2013

What if you go crazy?

Have you ever imagined what kind of person you will turn out to be if you go crazy?

I talked on this with friends and it turns out to be one of the funniest things to talk about. So I am sharing this to give you something to experiment with friends, and I hope you will also have something to laugh about!

Here is how my friends and I thought would turn out to be if we go crazy.
So here is the list of what we thought our characters would be;

Under normal circumstances has the eye for errors. She sees spelling errors, grammar errors, and accent error...any error out of anything. FYI she is the editor of my blog and almost everything else I write, she is goooood.
So if ever Meti goes nuts...
She will be walking around the city with a ladder and a paint and brush, to correct all the spelling errors on banners and billboards in Addis. She would go to restaurants during lunch and dinner time, but spend all her time editing their menu....

First I will never be friend with Meti because she will be walking around with ladder, and I am terrified of ladder. And I would walk around the city talking about all the story that is always in the process of being made up in my mind, or I will do the opposite and stop talking, mine is kind of typical crazy:)

Kidi is under normal circumstances a woman of love. She loves loving people and she actually loves and Sympathizes with almost anyone.
So if Kidi goes nuts, she will be walking around the streets of Addis, hugging everyone, smiling for everyone and telling them she is sharing the love of Christ :)
And she would definitely be dancing outside of music shops of Addis,  she always envies drunk men dancing under the tune of music opened at music shops.

Aye under normal circumstances loves numbers (he works in finance) and he loves jocks. So if he went nuts he would be walking around the streets with a calculator, and laughing loud! 

Well these are few of my friends I had this ‘what if we go crazy’ conversation with. Go ahead and think of what kind of person you or your friends will turn out to be and have some fun!!!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Rapture happens in a blink of an eye!

Can you imagine walking on street with a friend, and in a blink of an eye, your friend is not there? 
You reach home, some members of your family are not there,....
People you see on the street,
 one by one disappear...

I bet, when this happens you don't want to be left behind; 
I bet when this happens you don't want to leave your friends and family behind.

Cartoon by: Genaye Eshetu

" For with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God, the Lord himself will descend from heaven, and those who died in Christ will rise first. Afterward we the living who remain, will be caught up along with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall ever be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)