THE VOICE TOOK ME BACK IN TIME

I didn’t get to watch The Voice yesterday when it aired live. I was busy hanging out with some friends and having a blast being an absolute nuisance. So, I started my day today with that, and gosh…it was such an emotional experience for me.

Now some of you might know that I was in a reality show in 2010 – The Debaters. That show wasn’t the easiest of shows for me: I kept running into trouble with the judges because instead of being oratorical in my approach, I was conversational. The one time I decided to be passionate (the episode to raise awareness of autism), I was rebuked for not being empathetic.

(I’m still very upset about that episode by the way. I worked out an achievable plan, created a tagline, everything, and those people didn’t even throw me small face. Choi)

Anyway, I went along, worked hard, spent weeks fighting my own feelings of insecurity, tried to balance friendship with the fact that my housemates were also my rivals etc etc. By the last but 1 episode, I was in the lead (that episode was my absolute best), I was sure I was going to win. The morning of the finals though, we had a short interview panel – total curveball, none of us knew it was coming. I was so pumped for my debate that I hopelessly flubbed the panel, I think I even burst into tears sef.

I ended up coming 4th.

I was bitterly disappointed and more than a little resentful that I didn’t win. Then one day, after He probably got tired of my relentless whining, Abba said “If you needed a victory to achieve what I took you into the house for, you would have won”. In other words, His plan for me didn’t depend on victory to be fulfilled. I didn’t see it, I barely agreed with it, but I decided to try my hand at hope. 3 years later, I got the call from my now CEO that showed what God’s plan had been all along, and that plan is still unfolding.

Every day of my life, God makes this truth more and more evident to me – we might all be in the same space, but we are not in the same place, we do not have the same destinations and we definitely do not have the same journey.

My friend DJ Switch on the other hand went for X Factor Nigeria. Week after week, she put out her best effort, she wasn’t always the best singer, but guess what, she won that competition, the only edition  so far. E be like say God create that platform make my girl just show herself.

I watched Brenda perform week after week. There were arguments “Brenda dey sing” “No jor, she dey perform, she no fit sing like the others” and so on. Watching the finale, I smiled as I remembered my “not-victory” I understood that for her, God’s path to her future does not require her victory. The girl go still blow – she is an AMAZING performer. I watched Viveeyan grow stronger every episode, watched her final episode and was blown away by the accomplished musician who held me enthralled by Wrecking ball. I watched Nonso strip away all the extras and present music in its purest form, I watched Patrick and Dewe, stories of grace and the kind of favour that makes men stand for you when you have been counted out.  I watched Arese, who throughout the show has marched determinedly to her own tune, picking the more eclectic songs, standing firm even when it didn’t seem like it should work. I saw her take the mic and sing “Hallelujah”, sing like everything so far had been just for that one moment, and I was reduced to tears. All in the same space, not in the same place.

I’ve been in a place of transition in the past year, I’ve written about it a few times (I no really dey sure of the exact post, abeg make una just help me find am), and it made me smile that today, in the month of the third anniversary of my joining EbonyLife TV, God reminded me of where it all started.

Do you know that the benefits of the Debaters came after for me? The confidence, the public assurance, the ability to hold my own, the patience to dig deep in research? All happened much much later.After the show had ended.

Guys, I am learning that we cannot use the expected end as an indicator of what our expected end should be. For everything we encounter, there is a need to seek and understand God’s personal purpose for us. And where He chooses not to share, we must trust nonetheless that there is a purpose. When you understand that, disappointment is minimised, faith is established, because we know that His thoughts for us will come to pass.

To anyone in a place of wondering and waiting – asking God why what is happening for others hasn’t happened for you, asking if you’ve failed because your outcomes are different, wondering what you’re doing wrong that you are not getting the same results as others…take a deep breath, exhale the anxiety, take hold of peace.

You will not always see the end from the beginning, everyone’s definition of victory might not be the victory appointed for you, success might not come via that promotion or that new opportunity. Trust however that there is always a plan, trust His thoughts towards you. It doesn’t matter how many people are in the same space as you.

I will not say “maintain your lane” because it assumes that you all are headed in the same direction.

I will say – find your map…and then, step by step, trusting in your Way maker, trusting in your journey, trusting in your destination, grab hold of faith and make your way.

 

 

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IT WAS A SET UP!

Guys! It was a set up o!!! Abba set me up WELL! I couldn’t even wait till next Sunday to gist you people this gist.

Hmmm, so I called our housekeeper today as promised. When she answered, I asked her in tones of controlled indignation what happened to my toilet. Her answer? “Nothing Ma”. So I told her it wasn’t flushing and below was her reply

She hasn’t pushed the flush button on my toilet since it went bad because of all the trouble it took to fix, so she uses a bucket from my shower. On Saturday, she noticed water was running into the bowl again, so she turned off the water and left it. Didn’t call me because she didn’t have credit.

Brethren, as she was speaking I was just sinking lower and lower in my chair until I was almost under it. HAAAAAY!!! See, when I came back and it wasn’t flushing, I lifted the tank cover myself, in other words, I was the one that made the bits fall out, in other other words, NA ME USE MY OWN HAND SPOIL MY TOILET!!!

HAAAAYYYY! I needed to sit in a corner and just think about my life.

So I’m just here right, relating this whole gist to Abba, and then He does one of those “You missed something” coughs. Now last week, almost the exact same thing happened to me, i.e. someone accused me of something I had not even gone near doing. I was hurt, angry and had written the person’s name in my black book in permanent marker.

So I gazed suspiciously upwards and asked “So You’re saying….?”

“So I’m saying it’s very easy to come to the wrong conclusion, especially if it’s something you’re lowkey already worried about, and perhaps you need to take the person that offended you out of your black book because girl you just accused someone else the exact same way”

And then He said “Gotcha!!!”

*takes a minute to side eye Heaven*

Guys Abba set me up o! Shebi I said I was looking for the lesson, toh…there’s my lesson.

I just can’t believe He did me this thing that He did me!

So yeah I’ve forgiven the person…almost…working on it…sigh…

Ok I’ve forgiven, I just need a minute for the vex to go but yeah…forgiven

*side eyes Heaven again*

 

 

Peace in the Promise

I’m not even going to bother with the apologies again..no point. I nearly decided to leave off with this blog. I just got tired. Like when I finish working, the last thing I want to do is pick up my lappie and start another work…this was becoming work. Which is a problem.

I’m not joking I have like 5 titles to write on, but no energy, no motivation. So I decided to give it a break until today.

And today I am here because…I am grateful…

This time last year, in response to a situation, God told me “No matter how it looks, it will turn out for good”. I got a bit alarmed by the way Abba phrased it, I mean what did He mean by no matter how it looks…I was worried o.

The second half of last year was hard. I’ve blogged about it before I think. It wasn’t fun o. You know when you’re dealing with something undefinable. It’s not – Oh this person said this, or that person did that, or this thing I need is unavailable. It is just life becoming struggle on every single front. I was tired! Spent so many nights questioning God and hearing “You are perfectly in my will” and “Stop trying to escape this process. You must go through it” All those sturvs.  Ah!

I’m sitting here in my house and I am so grateful. Did the situation change? No, not really. But guess what? Somewhere, somehow, without knowing how exactly, God arranged my perspective to see my situation through new eyes. Through frustration and despair, He took away fear and anxiety. You know how you hit rock bottom and you’re like – This is it, I’m done. And then you find, most unexpectedly, peace in the giving up? I found it. Because I found out that the results were not up to me, the answers were not up to me. When I stopped trying so hard to hold on, and I let go, guess what I found? I found out that He was holding onto me, that He wouldn’t let me go.

I had a bit of an accommodation situation this year, needed to move out of a place within a certain period of time, hunted, searched, and then quite randomly got led to a place that is 10 times better than the former place. I wake up each day peaceful, content and excited. This is what He has done, showed me how precisely He governs each detail. How precisely I am led.

Today I was asking Him – All these seeds I’m sowing, will they ever pay off? And I got an assurance in my Spirit – Of course they will. This is a process, just like the past one was. My life is a daily giving, a daily pouring of myself for Him, through my service to other people. And though I am coming to a place where it is becoming less like “doing” and more like a regular way of life, it still made me smile when I said to Him, “I’m ok if You never give me any of the things You say You will, it’s about You, not them” and He sends me to a Scripture that says…let me find it first I’m coming

Aha..Ruth 2:12. In the CEB – May the Lord reward you for your deed. May you receive a rich reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you’ve come to seek refuge

He intends to reward, all that one I was speaking was just grammar.

I’m blessed with daily miracles, big and small. And now I hunger to be a miracle too. To be the vessel through which someone goes back to God to say “Thank You for coming through for me”

I used to wonder why people never gave to me the same way other people testified of receiving. You know how people say “I was just scratching my foot and someone came to me and gave me a new car”. I used to wonder why I never was the recipient of unrequested and unexpected gifts, and then Abba did something –  He took that feeling, and then turned it into a hunger to be the giver instead, of unexpected blessings. I want to be the reason someone testifies, I want to be the channel by which people are blessed.

His hands on earth and that sort of thing.

Anyway…I’m grateful. The situation I was in hasn’t changed, but being in a place where you are totally out of control and the ability to predict what comes next…well it does something to you. It gives you peace. It teaches you faith and trust. Because you are no longer able to influence or push or manipulate. And all you can do is lie there and wait.

There is promise in the waiting. There is peace in the promise.

 

HELP! MY BOSS IS TRYING TO KILL ME

Your name is David and you are the most popular man in Israel. You have fought so many wars that you’ve forgotten half of them. Young men want to be you and women throng the streets to sing about your prowess. It’s a heady life but for you it means one major thing, you love your job and you’re good at it.

One day you walk into your boss’s house. As you turn down the corridor, Michal, your wife and the daughter of the King, rushes to you with a slightly panicked look in her eyes. Your hand goes to your sword as you scan the space behind her. She clutches you “He has started again”. You relax…you know what that mean;, everyone knows what that means.

“Bring me…” the increased panic in her eyes stops you… “send me my harp, I’ll play him something. Don’t worry, it will be over in no time” You take a minute to kiss her, deep enough to take her mind off her father and on to other things, and then you release her with a smile.

As you head to the King’s anteroom, you already know what you are going to play, you had composed a new psalm the night before; it is a song of awe and worship…perfect for a troubled king.

You walk into chaos; the king is pacing, screaming obscenities and throwing things at any courtier close enough to earn his disfavour. Servants, guards and ministers are huddled in frightened clusters. An audible wave of relief goes up as you walk in, followed almost immediately by your harp.

You start to play and almost immediately feel the presence of God. The King is still in a fit, but you know that it is only a matter of time before the music soothes him. You are getting lost in the music, sinking into rhythm; the King turns to look at you playing and then…a warning at the base of your spine…you glance up just in time to see the spear leave his hand, directed at you. You fling the harp to one side and throw yourself to the other. The spear passes through the space your body inhabited before. The shocked silence is louder than anything you have never heard. In that moment when time stops, you look into the king’s eyes and everyone else disappears as you realise that the rage and hatred in those eyes is directed solely at you.

As you scramble to your feet, you know that things will never be the same again.

This passage for me is the perfect one for anyone dealing with a terrible boss – employee situation. Yes your boss shouts at you, yes o, the other day she tried to slap you, ehn…he cut your salary, but has s/he ever tried to kill you? If the answer is no, you’re still in good standing. Lol!

Seriously sha, how do you deal with a boss that is actively trying to kill you? Like for real wants to see you dead? Mean bosses just entered another level.

For me, the most remarkable thing was how David kept his head in the middle of all this. Kept his respect, kept the value he had always had for the king, no snide comments, no yimu-ing behind his back. He was still as obedient, as respectful and as dedicated to the King as he had always been, right until God told him to leave.

I believe that 3 things caused this.

First, God had bred within David an understanding of honour. It is not easy when the person over you displays ogbanje behaviour, but David understood honour, and he knew that, no matter how anointed you are, you will never be bigger than your designated authority. There is no blessing in rebellion.

Second, he had an endpoint in mind. David knew he was going to be King. He had known it for quite a bit, knowing God’s plan for him made it easier to deal with all the wahala, he knew that it was temporary. He understood that what was happening was just an aspect of the full story. He didn’t take it personal (which is a big deal considering that Saul was literally running around the place trying to skewer David like a recalcitrant rat). He was able to separate the events from his work and his purpose, and he dealt.

When I read this story, I remembered a former employer I used to have. It was one of the most unhappy work periods in my life. She was verbally abusive and I was always afraid because I had no clue where the next tirade would come from. I would stand there, unable to speak, as she screamed at me until she was tired. And yet, every time I wanted to leave, I got a clear “Stay” order from God (till date He hasn’t told me why). Finally, one night I wrote my resignation letter, I was going to submit it the next day. The next morning, as I was editing it, I got a call – she wanted to see me. I went upstairs to be told that the company could no longer afford to keep me on fulltime. I was given a choice between leaving or staying on in a project based capacity. I (of course) chose to leave. As I walked out, I cannot explain the utter lightness that I felt in my spirit. I smiled at her and thanked her (sincerely!) for the job and the opportunity. I walked to my desk to meet a ringing phone. I picked it up and heard an offer for another job.

I know there are lots of people in really bad work situations, and many people don’t have the option to stand up and walk away. If this blogpost is for you – pray about it, wait till you have a word before you act. It gets better, you will get through it, there is a plan, you will be fine.

ps1: The Story of David was primarily taken from 1 Samuel 18.

ps2: If I overcome my laziness, I’ll share some tips from David on how to deal

CONVERSATIONS WITH ONE – RE-LEARNING TO HOPE

You have always thought of yourself as a hope filled person – someone who always believes and encourages others to do the same. That’s why you disagree when One points out the emptiness of your Hope jar. You don’t believe it, it doesn’t sound like you.

But the post phone call autopsy shows different. In that uncomfortable but increasingly familiar sequence of events, One shows you your body language through a phone call that is pretty much the biggest possible deal ever. Even as you share and pace and plan, your spirit stands, separate and disengaged, hands folded, heart determinedly closed. You still don’t agree… you’re being cautious, realistic, planning and waiting.

So One asks you to pray… and you see Spirit…struggling to put faith to words, struggling even to find the words. You realise that you do not want to pray. And One asks, “Why?”

You look at yourself more closely, at the hunched shoulders. You think of the storms, not fiery raging ones that force fight and fire from you, but steady slow drizzles that soak and soak until all you can do is hunch your shoulders…and wait

The answers are compelled out of you…You have asked too many things and watched them go unanswered…you have been hurt and denied too many times…you do not have the testimonies you asked for…you are scared to ask because you don’t want to become resentful when the answer is no…you don’t want the hurt of asking and investing in an answer that doesn’t come…you don’t want the pain of refusal.

With your response comes a painful sort of freedom, but One isn’t done. Again the nudge “Pray”

As you go to pray, you note your posture, not a child asking a loving Father, but a supplicant beseeching a distant ruler. This is not the King you have come to know, how has this become the King that you see?

One pauses your prayer, and gently rearranges you. Your rigidly held out hands soften as they clutch the arms of the Father who is always ready to hold you. Your pleas for mercy become an assurance that you have been heard. You find yourself asking “Restore me to hope…remind me of hope”

You still didn’t pray like you expected to…for this thing that is so big that you are scared to hold on to it, lest like a bubble in the heat, it vanishes, leaving you with a memory…and sticky empty fingers.

But you pray for hope to believe, for the hope that will both anchor this thing to your soil and raise it, waving, in the skies of your spirit.

You pray for the ability to open your heart…yes, to pain, but also to possibility.

You realise that the lesson is not asking for the thing, but the ability to believe that all things are possible.

You raise your Hope jar; this tarnished, bruised thing, this barely burning flame. With hands that have almost forgotten the motions, you begin to polish…with lips that have almost forgotten how, you reach into you…and begin to blow

CREATION AWAITS

I was driving past our old neighbourhood recently and I remembered 2 businesses that used to be there; one a bakery and one a neighbourhood supermarket. Both of them closed, not too long after they opened…lack of business.

As I passed, I reflected on how much the area had grown in the 10 years since we used to live there. Those businesses would have been thriving today! The bakery would be perfect for freshly baked bread on the commute to and from work (they had fresh stuff morning and evening) and the supermarket had everything you could need, handy for all the new estates mushrooming by the second.

The phrase in my mind was – they were ahead of their time

A couple of days later I was reading a verse in the Bible, and in that way God has of connecting the dots, there was a fizz and a flash of light. The verse was Romans 8:18 – 21 in the Message translation

18-21 That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

Guys, now I have always read this verse, but I saw this part for what seemed like the first time:

Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead.

You know, sometimes it feels like you are being held back. You don’t understand it. You know what you want to do, you know how to do it, but it isn’t coming together. Sometimes, you aren’t ready. Sometimes, the world isn’t ready for the thing that you have to give or do. Sometimes the people that should walk with you aren’t ready. So God holds it back, reins everything in until both creation and creatures are ready and can be released together

I know that this isn’t a popular view, but I sincerely don’t believe that there is any such thing as delay. There is a set time which must come, and until that set time, we are patiently waiting and growing. However, as your set time approaches, one of a number happen:

  1. God raises an awareness in your soul that it is time to push (Daniel when Israel’s 70 years of slavery were up)
  2. God uses people to make things happen (Pharaoh and Joseph)
  3. God creates circumstances to birth a new season (the Israelites when the time of captivity had ended)
  4. God uses circumstances to push you forward (Esther)
  5. God uses supernatural circumstances and visitations (the angel’s visit to Zechariah prior to the birth of John)

I no longer pray against the spirit of delay, I pray for a revelation of God’s timing. Because His timing is always perfect. I do not seek to hasten the time, only to be found in His time.

Twice now God has given me this visual when I have felt like nothing is moving in my life. The first time, at 29 and in total despair because I was going nowhere fast, He showed me a picture of a house, abandoned, overrun with weeds, empty. Then He took me inside and I saw that there was furious repair going on. From the outside, nothing was happening, but within, there was massive renovation ongoing.

There is a house in my area, I have passed it for months looking like it had been abandoned mid task; imagine my shock when I walked in recently and saw that the inside was practically complete.

If you know how it is with houses you will recognise this, people will often leave the outside and spend months inside – plastering, wiring, putting in fixtures, tiling and all that. Then, in a week or so, weeds are removed, paint is applied, gates are fixed.

The main work happens indoors

Recently again He showed me a house, fairly nice looking. There was nothing wrong with the inside, but it was being upgraded. It was suitable for its former purposes, but now needed to be elevated to its new purpose.  And again, while men passed by unaware, within the workmen laboured, removing, installing…preparing.

Where in the renovation process are you? Can you see the changes going on within? The adjustments in your spirit? The refinement of your faith? The maturity in your understanding?

From our view we are stalled and stalling, idling while life passes us by. From God’s perspective, creation and creatures are reined in while all factors are made perfect so that you can be launched at the perfect time!

So that while a Hebrew slave grew and served in the prison, while he learned how to manage scarce resources and calm hardened criminals and impose order in a place of chaos, God prepared a famine, and touched a Pharaoh’s sleep.

And when Pharaoh woke up, heart pounding at the dreadful sight he had seen, a Hebrew slave was ready. Ready not only to lead, but ready to walk into the fulfilment of a dream that he had as a teenage boy tattling on his siblings to his doting father.

Creation needed to be ready – an Egypt heading to a famine

Creature needed to be ready – A Joseph tempered to administer in both the plenty of Potiphar’s house and the lack of the prison

Creatures needed to be ready – A Pharaoh troubled enough to hear the revelation of a pardoned servant…and to act on it.

Dear ones, you are not languishing. You are not waiting in vain. You haven’t been forgotten.

Align yourself with the time of the One who creates time and authorises seasons. See through His eyes the process as earth and heaven move for your manifestation. Have peace that He will not leave you behind. You will not be, like the bakery shop and supermarket, a great product launched way before its time.

Revel in the joyful anticipation that in due time, in your season, all that needs to happen will come into perfect position… and when the curtains are raised, there you will be, prepared, poised and ready, in your perfect time, in your perfect place.

 

OF BAGGAGE TOTING TODDLERS AND THE WONDERS OF COPY AND PASTE

One of the ways I aim to write more frequently on this blog is just to write as I think. Yes I know I said this last year but Maybe this will be the year of change. Haha! So I have 3 thoughts that I want to share…stuff that made me think

1. Last week, in the airport, I saw a mother with a toddler. His older brother was carrying a pull along kiddie bag, and so the toddler wanted one too…problem? The only other bag was Mummy’s weekend bag. Toddler didnt care o! He insisted until Mummy gave it to him. Funny thing is, toddler dragged that bag all the way to the plane, and from the plane to the arrivals terminal.

Now, with people we love and care about, we want to do the same thing. Shield them, stop them from doing the work, make life easy for them. Noble, but not always the best. Sometimes, we need to show our love for people by letting go and letting them do the work themselves. When we do, we strengthen them and give them the skills they need to do what they need to do themselves, we actually build them. Mummy helped, she carried the bag up the stairs, but that toddler felt like a G pulling that bag all by himself, and it was a learning moment for me.

2. I had a convo with a friend of mine last week, and it came to people who need to be treated badly to behave well. Commonly encapsulated as, ‘Treat em mean, keep em keen”.

I thought about this and I have decided that I want nothing to with this kind of behaviour. It is dysfunctional for someone to have to be treated badly before they know they appreciate you. I choose to be kind, giving and loving to the people I surround myself with. To be emotionally responsible to myself, I will only extend this behaviour to people who I know will value the gift of my spirit. Biko, if anybody decides that I am too nice to be appreciated, they should carry their wahala and go. I cannot and will not dishonour myself by becoming less than myself so that someone will not take me for granted. Guys, if a particular person only behaves whenever you release your personal demon, it’s not you, its them. Give yourself the first gift of the year and set them free.

3. I was walking past someone’s table when I saw her laboriously copying something from the computer to a sheet of paper. Curiosity made me stop and ask what she was doing. Her answer, she was copying down something to type for another file. 3 minutes later, she had learned copy and paste and I had learned a lesson.

Isn’t life so much harder when we don’t know HOW. How to make things work easier and better. Imagine how many years that girl had spent writing and retyping stuff that she could have copied and pasted in the flash of an eye. Ah, this year I want to learn how to work smart. I want the keys in my life and its various aspects. I need to be sure that I am not wasting time and energy to do the long way what I can do much more easily. Lesson learned

There guys, I’m off for now. I have one post I scheduled that didn’t post, so let me find it and post it.

See you guys soon and thank you so much for reading