Women of Reverence welcomes Sandra Zaca as a guest blogger.
Sandra Zaca is a business owner, motivational speaker, student, wife and mother.
She arrived in South Africa in 1995 as a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo where civil war had broken out. She has survived sexual, emotional and physical abuse in her younger years and even spent some time in a refugee camp in Malawi.
She is a strong personality with a gentle heart. A former model who is just as beautiful on the inside, as she is on the outside. Her tenacity and will to rise to life’s challenges are evident in how she has overcome her very humble beginnings. She has slept on the street, often gone hungry, attending school without meals, enduring xenophobia, teaching herself English and all the while helping family members to improve their station of life.
Sandra and her family of 5 live in Pretoria where she is completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Political Science and running a beauty business. She has a passion for children and women’s rights, civil rights , education and personal development.
Her friends describe her most endearing features as her smile, her sense of style; and her honesty, candidness, kind-heartedness, generosity. Some also say she is somewhat “spicy”.
There was a time in my life that I was my own worst enemy. For many years I was
caught up in the debilitating pattern of toxic thinking. The habit began as a child and
the older I got the more my habit of negative behaviour increased. This habit was
affecting every area of my life. It was affecting me physically, emotionally and
mentally. I was literally at war with myself.
My journey of taking my power back over my thought pattern began when I started
seeing a psychologist/life coach. Yes, I am that girl that who believes in Jesus and
therapy! The first thing my life coach was able to pick up from our initial conversations
was the lenses through which I perceived my life. Everything was negative and felt like
too much. I was constantly feeling overwhelmed and felt utterly powerless in most
every area of my life- in being a daughter, a mother and a wife.
Her consistent question to me during following sessions was, ‘how is your thought
pattern?”. At first, I looked at her with a blank face, thinking to myself “what does my
thought pattern have to do with anything?”. That question bothered me. Then I turned
to the Bible and there it was in Proverbs 23:7 (KJV), “for as he thinketh in his heart, so
What this meant to me was that I was, and I am the product of my thoughts. That was
a very difficult reality to accept, that my emotional state was self-created. God has
given us free will but that free will comes with responsibility. Our thoughts, our tongue
and behaviour are intertwined. It is up to each of us to be aware of their influences and
our God given ability to exercise control over them, with the help of the Holy Spirit. His
divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our
knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness, 2 Peter 1:3.
I am responsible for my thoughts and their consequences and I should be held
accountable for them.
What I realised was that I was living the life I had created with my thought patterns;
because whatever I am thinking, that was what I am also creating. What I mean is that
whenever I opened my mouth, and only negativity came out of it and that manifested
itself in my reality. The Bible is also very clear about the power of the tongue, and its
power. God was able to create the universe with his spoken word. In the book of
Genesis, the first few verses are all about what God said, for example, he said “let
there be light”, and there was light
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit
Proverbs 18:21. There was so much negativity coming out of me and it was imperative
that I took control. After all, God had given me everything that I needed to live my life
according to His words, and from that place, life overflows. I was being mastered by
my own toxic thoughts patterns and it had to stop. I needed to draw a line in the sand
and take a stand.
Initially the journey was challenging. I began by taking captive every thought that came
to mind and began to practice living more consciously. I practiced by being fully
present in every moment, and to take time to think about what I am thinking about. By
taking the time to think about what I am thinking about, I became more aware of what
I was allowing into and tolerating in my mind. I made a decision to have a calm and
peaceful mind, by meditating on the word of God. After all, he has not given me the
spirit of fear but of power, of love and of sound mind.
In practicing this new way, I now do the following daily:
1. Practicing an attitude of Gratitude.
For a grateful heart is a joyful heart. Starting my day with gratitude changed the
lenses through which I saw my day. It filled me with hope and expectation, and
a sense that my life is in safe hands. In our home we do this as often as we can
with our kids. At our dinner table we tell each other what the highlight and the
lowlight of our day was in order to instill the culture of conscious living and of
2. Learning to read my body.
My body often tells me what is happening in my mind. Have you ever read
something or got off the phone with someone and you realised that something
in the atmosphere changed? Perhaps you suddenly feel uneasy or anxious? In
the past I would just push through and ignore those feelings, but I would only
feel worse through the rest of the day. I have learned to take time to stop and
observe my thoughts objectively. Taking time to observe and think about what
I am thinking about, gives me the opportunity to take hold of every thought and
bring it under the Lordship of Jesus. In those moments I chose to exercise the
will power that God has given me and surrender my thoughts and emotions to
him and not allow my mind to control me.
3. Taking captive my thoughts.
The initial stages of taking captive your thoughts is very difficult. Many times, it
felt like I was fighting a losing battle. I was mentally exhausted by constantly
watching my thoughts. There were days in which I gave up and allowed my
mind to reap havoc. In those days, I would notice how much negativity came
out of me, how my behaviour towards my family was often unkind and selfish.
I would literally not have any self-control. Whatever we practice, we become
Practice taking captive every thought. Practice self-control. Practice the
authority you have been given in Christ. Practice makes permanent.
4. Lean into the Holy Spirit.
He is so ready and willing to assist us on this journey taking control over our
thoughts and minds. He is willing to prompt you when your thoughts about
someone, or a situation is not aligned with God’s word. He is saying “lean into
me, I am here, trust me and I will enable you to succeed”.
We have to choose to trust him and to follow him. He never coerces or
manipulates or covers up truth. For me, the Holy Spirit has been a gentle guide,
a close companion and a source of energy and determination.
I have yet to reach my destination, however I am determined not to give up or to be
mastered by toxic thinking. I will soldier on because I am fighting this battle from a
place of victory. In Christ Jesus, I am always victorious and that give me courage to
get up the next day and give it my all, knowing that I have a perfect Father cheering