All posts by Thando Tshabalala

About Thando Tshabalala

South Africa, for the first time since the dawn of democracy in 1994 has seen tremendous political instability that has translated into poor economic outlook and a looming junk status rating from the ratings agencies. My country’s political turmoil is calling me to act and affect change in the most meaningful way I know how. I have worked in the local government space for the past eight years of my life and have seen too many discrepancies against the poor, irregular spending, corruption and fraud. I have also seen great politicians that put their hearts on line every day for betterment of their communities. I want to introduce New Church views into everyday lives of my fellow country men and women. The New Church way makes a great deal of sense to me—not only because I was born and bred in the New Church: enjoying the writings and the doctrines all my life; but because I sincerely Believe. Working in government has allowed me an understanding that personal development is the only way to real economic and spiritual freedom. Real conversations about the current economic conditions in South Africa cannot and should not take place within government structures only. It is going to take really special people to affect change in South Africa, true patriots that really care about the future and the economy of our country.

On The Eve of Something New

There is often an indescribable feeling of hope and joy when one is on the eve of something new. Change is the most uncomfortable process to adjust to; yet very inevitable. The charismatic Christian movement has mastered the art of selling the eve of something new: a brand new discovery of Christ. This ceremonious event, though practiced and expected every Sunday, where unbelievers are called to the front of the church to receive Christ as their Lord and saviour; is the brink of change at a deeply personal level. It is the eve of the discovery of Christ; the discovery of something New…

The researcher in me struggled to understand for a long while why the research element of our MBA program kept so many of my peers from completing their degrees and graduating? After a couple of conversations with these very bright and intelligent peers of mine, I remembered the innate power of teaching and coaching that lay deep inside of me–forgotten.

More than a decade ago I assisted high school learners to discover the love for learning science and to find the desire to rise beyond their own expectations in academics. My two year stint of teaching was a great success and the most rewarding job ever. Teaching came so effortlessly to me that I dismissed it as non-challenging career choice. And yet again in 2019, a full MBA graduate, I find myself loving to motivate, elevate and awaken the little boys and girls inside these adult MBA students of mine to rise beyond their own expectations and graduate.

I’m on the eve of something new here; something great! I am pleasantly surprised by their belief and trust in me to pull them through. So much so, that I need to be very close to the one that pulls me through. I read the other day on the new church vine yard website that “While the Lord is the source of all that is good, our response can also be blessing.” I know and understand very well that everything good that comes through me; is directly from the Lord blessing His children. And for that, I am grateful! Being in the midst of people discovering the God inside of them has fulfilled my life to the brink.

I’ve been recruited for over a year now into the ‘strategic advisor’ to the MMC for Finance position in the city of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality. I love my boss, he is as challenging as South African politics could have ever defined; yet very kind, ambitious and completely loyal to his calling. He’s quickly ascended in the ranks of political power and it’s been an amazing journey seeing him rise beyond his own expectations.

As I lay these words on this page right now, he is on the eve of becoming the next Mayor of the City of Johannesburg. Twenty four hours into the announcement I find myself reaching out to my own God, within me, to pull him out of the nerves that are consuming him as the minutes slowly go by. I don’t know if he will be voted in as the new mayor of Johannesburg tomorrow -he is, one of the three candidates in the running. At this time, he’s done everything he knows how to do, we have worked very hard to even receive his own party’s nomination.

The race is about to end, he is on the eve of something new. Change is coming. No matter what that will be; I must remind him of the hope that is God; I believe that it was decided a long time ago who the next mayor of Johannesburg will be; the reveal will be discovered tomorrow. Faith must accompany his Charity now. He’s done well. Those of us who live by God’s will are not afraid. We are hopeful that the best candidate will take the seat tomorrow. In my own article, I have already declared him the mayor. Let His Will Be Done; not my own!

The Space In-Between

What becomes of the feelings that manifest in between the sifting and sorting of decisions? I wonder about the activity and energies inside our brains when decisions particularly emotional ones are being processed and ultimately filtered down into the right one at that particular time. Not to dive deep into psychology; There comes a time in our lives when we’ve elevated ourselves enough to be granted opportunities. The one side of the opportunity can be success; while the other side can be failure or fear. The power to choose one way or the other rests solely with us. This article is focusing on that middle ground—the space between the unknown or not yet discovered success, and the overwhelming fear of failure presented by that opportunity. 

We know this because our emotions communicates this dilemma explicitly; when we explore the upside of the opportunity it feels amazing, inspiring and joyful. However; when we explore the downside of the opportunity, if we have the guts to go there, it feels terrible. Surely there are lobbying elements, beyond us (both physically and spiritually) that present us with emotions and thoughts for one way or the other when we exercise critical thinking in decision making. 

Continue reading The Space In-Between

The End

I have been fascinated lately by the concept of “The End.” It is unclear to me how far that really is; or if it even exists?

As eternal beings we understand that life has no end; we move from one realm of existence, into another. We live in a series of beginnings, yet somehow our finite minds forces us to see ‘the end’ of it all. We plan our lives accordingly so we can be compliant to the unwritten rule that for every beginning; there must be an end.

Today I challenge this concept, I want to shift that perspective to help people see that an end is really a beginning for a greater purpose. I have graduated a few times in my life in many things: academia, marriage and divorce, motherhood, country women at all levels of government, and spirituality. With every graduation I believed that I had reached the end, only to discover a new beginning awaiting me on the other side of the story.

My life journey has taught me that ‘The End’ comes with excruciating pain that I must overcome to get to my new beginning. All of my graduations came with hard, focused and persistent work that required more power than I had on my own. I always had to leverage on my trusted relationship with my God to carry me through. Sometimes the pain was too real that I thought it would end me. It was in that TRUST where I could see that there really was no end; but a new beginning for a better, wiser and stronger me – every time.

The intangible trust has always pulled me through “The End.” It helped me learn about the world at a level that was deeper than most people; knowing and accepting that there has to be more out there. It was about listening to my inner self, about knowing when I had fallen short of my own potential. It continues to be about understanding and taking responsibility for my own successes and failures; it is really about knowing the truth about myself. The truth that I belong to an eternal God who has no beginning and no end; but is the beginning and the end.

The Intangible lesson—Trust can be taught

We speak about trust all our lives in our different relationships with people; and I’ve heard it a million times that “trust must be earned;” but never have I heard that trust can be taught. Trust is a feeling just like loyalty and love—it is intangible, so yes, it can be learnt. Trust in the Almighty and His Word is the first step to realising that just like Him we are eternal beings; we have no end, only beginnings.

I cannot believe how naïve I have been, looking outside of myself for the answers that were always inside of me. Thank you, God, for the clarity! For the alignment within me: my heart, head and hands now move in unison. My purpose is clear, all of my endings were bringing me closer to my life’s agenda. ‘The End’ of everything in my life was always awakening the best beginning for me. I am ready; let the next phase of my truth begin.

Blessing in Disguise?

Editors’ note: The congregation in Diepkloof, South Africa has been through a very difficult past few years. A significant amount of conflict with, unexpected decisions and strange behaviour by the former pastor lead to a lot of hurt. But as the article describes, the congregation has recently come back home to their church in many ways.

When tragedy strikes, such as life usually designs, one often wonders about the ‘blessing in disguise’ of it all. We know that God is with us every step of the way, and often cry out loud to His intervention – His Divine Intervention. Meanwhile, we hold on tightly to our faith and pray that our good works will see us through.

My congregation has survived a storm that was never anticipated in the history of the General Church. Our pastor took all of us to the darkest corners of our spirits to show us his truth; that he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last, the ultimate god for our church. Such darkness could never be seen in the light, nor by the naked eyes, for years we have been nurtured and schooled about the New Church doctrines by a man who never truly ‘got it.’

This revelation shook the General Church to its core when even the bishop was tested as he attempted to end the lunacy that had become cancerous; we were all tested! The church in South Africa and the world over became hostage and was held to ransom by God’s own chosen shepherd. Moving through that situation was like dragging a very heavy metal object through clay soil with the fear that at any moment we will run out of strength and get stuck.

It is now the year of our Lord 2018, five years later, and we have finally broken free of ‘our false god.’ We have survived the humiliation witnessed by the community we were sent to minister the New Church doctrines to. We have survived being erased and evicted from the only church and ministry that gave life to us in many more ways than one. And we’ve repeatedly won every legal court case that our former beloved minister took us through as he tried us through the High court of the land.

This article is actually about the question: so, what was that for?
Continue reading Blessing in Disguise?