“Keep on keeping on!” Those words may not mean much to you but they are embedded in my core. They bring back memories of my dad who passed away in 2012 after battling a brain tumor that caused seizures. My dad was my hero. He was my biggest cheerleader. He was a Lecturer of Philosophy at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya. He was well known and loved by his students. I knew this because every time one of his students would meet me (I am a spitting image of my dad) they would ask? “Are you Dr. Waiyaki’s son?” When I replied in the affirmative they proceeded to tell me how great a teacher my dad was. This happened on numerous times. I must admit that I used my dad’s name on many occasions to gain favor in different places around the University.
The first time I came across the word, “Keep on Keeping on” was on my diary report book for school. The diary was how the teachers and parents kept track of our progress as students and could determine if a parent-teacher meeting was necessary to address issues. My dad wrote that phrase in the comments section of that diary for me as an encouragement. They were simple on paper but carried such depth of significance in my life. Those words have been a pillar for me ever since I first read them and they became my mantra since that day. I shared this with my classmates and those words went viral in class (this was before social media)! My dad’s words were trending as my friends repeatedly said “keep on keeping on”. If my dad had been on Twitter he would have written, “# keep on keeping on.”
Those words have been a cadence for me throughout my life. I never knew that my dad’s passion for teaching and writing would have the effect it has had on me. Incidentally, those two things are my passion as well. “Keep on keeping on” means to never lose heart or reduce your passion to the level of your current experience. It mean pushing the limits and breaking through areas of containment to experience greater growth. It means seeing obstacles as opportunities to stretch and progress. It means taking ownership of what God has given and using it with excellence as a gift back to Him. It means not allowing our surroundings or current circumstances to define my destiny. It’s the willingness to lose what I must, in order to gain what I need, to get to where I am destined to go.
I have drawn inspiration and maintained a positive and constructive attitude from the well of those words. They were written years ago but they are still as fresh today as when I first read them. Words are like currency. They act as an investment for our lives that can direct us in a particular trajectory. Words work in the positive and negative alike. Negative words act like a forecast of despair, hopelessness, and failure over our lives. Negative words can become tethers that ties us down. In a country like India, where elephants are ubiquitous and people domesticate and use them as a mode of transportation for tourists and for ceremonies, a tether, which is a rope attached to a post in the ground and tied to the elephant’s leg, is used to control this enormous animal. This is done when the elephant is young and undeveloped in strength to break free from the rope and post. After several failed attempts at freedom, the elephant opts to settle for its current confinement. Over time, the elephant grows in size, but its mind has been conditioned to believe that it cannot break free from its current incarceration.
Negative words have a similar effect. They put ‘tethers’ in our minds, making us think we cannot move past the surroundings of those words. We choose to settle in stagnancy all the while not realizing that we have grown to the place where we can break the hold of those words over our identity and our lives. Negative words turn our lives into a swamp, while positive words make our lives a stream. The difference is flow. A swamp’s stagnancy creates a stench and attracts mosquitoes. A stream, on the other hand, flows, and as it does, it remains fresh, vibrant, and acts as conduit to other water bodies.
In a world where we are bombarded with information, we must sift or filter through what we hear to ensure we are receiving life-giving words or words with value added in. Jesus said, “My words are spirit and they are life.” This is what we really need in today’s world if we are to break free from tethers and keep on keeping on. We use sieves to separate and only allow what’s valuable to pass through. Please note these five sieves to help break tethers over your mind and life:
- Peace: This sieve helps us to keep the storms we face in life from destabilizing our hearts and moving us away from what God has promised. We can stand in the storm with God’s peace guarding our minds and hearts
- Faith: This sieve enables us to act on what God has said even though our excuses and feelings try to keep us stuck. Faith moves us to action in God’s direction.
- Love: This sieve centers us in knowing that we don’t need anyone’s approval because God has already approved and accepted us. As the hunger for acceptance and approval dissipates, the passion for growth and learning accumulates. Love also keeps us content and tempers desperation that leads to compromise.
- Hope: This sieve gives us a positive outlook for the future. It can seem like our best years are behind us but hope pulls us of that mentality and reminds us that God has more in store. Your best years are still ahead!
- Joy: This sieve supplies the strength to maintain a positive attitude when we are tempted to allow what we are going through to change our disposition by grumbling and complaining. Joy helps us to keep an attitude of gratitude.
Words of value are like fresh water on a hot summer day. I want to personally thank you for reading and commenting to my blog. Your feedback has been extremely encouraging. I hope I can reciprocate it through this blog.
Keep on Keeping on!
Waiyaki M. Waiyaki
Discover Your Treasure
“Live by Design not by Default”