2017, the profound.

I’ve been procrastinating and even considering not writing this review at all. The first reason being writing about personal experiences is not something I find particularly appealing aside it being hard to articulate my feelings aptly. Two, this year was a lot. Like a roller-coaster that has no end. In all, I guess I can say it was a good one, but even more than that, 2017 was profound. I will never forget this year. I am not the same.

I don’t remember setting any goals, I know I really wanted to get back to school but asides that I was sorta okay. I did some pretty amazing stuff this year. I wrote a book. I started an initiative. I tutored kids for free during the summer. I launched a magazine. I wrote about 10 stories or more, I wrote well over fifty poems, I read a little over 30 books. I won a giveaway and got one of my favourite books everrrr (thanks Timi!) I kinda got a hang of Twitter. I grew up this year. Like a lot. I don’t even know how to explain. I didn’t really plan for most of it. It just happened. God just so blessed me. So perhaps I tricked you, maybe this isn’t a review at all, maybe it’s just a thank you note to God because I can’t even hide it, I am overwhelmed.

Lord Jesus, thank you for life, thank you for my family. Thank you that when we were attacked by thieves in the middle of the night you kept us from harm. Thank you because everything that was lost was recovered. Thank you for keeping your promises, thank you for being faithful. Thank you for healing my heart completely this year. I’ve been carrying around a lot of baggage for a while now, thank you for taking the load off me. Thank you for being mine when I thought I didn’t have anyone, for staying close always. Thank you for the breaking of chains and additions. Thank you for the emergence and grooming of a new woman, a powerful woman you said. Thank you Jesus. Thank you for all the great sermons and books and music and articles. I was well-fed this year. Thank you for friendships. Thank you for Jerry, I really don’t know what I would have done without him sometimes, don’t know where I would be with my endless thought spirals. I pray that in his darkest days you will shine bright for him as he has shone for me, you will bring him home, into the warmth of yourself. Thank you for tm, for a rare companionship, a vulnerability I did not think possible with a girl, thank you for Seun, Susan, Victor, Tamilore, Peace, Dammy, Mayokun, Nick and many others that have blessed me, so many names, so many pillars. Bless them lord, let their lives continue to shine bright. Thank you for the future you have set before me, I can barely stand still from excitement. I love us. I love where we are now. Keep me close, keep me steady, keep me safe. Thank you God for you, thank you for dying. I am still blown away by the fact that I am righteous, that I won’t die, that I am your child. Ah! As I type these words, the hair on my legs are standing. Thanks for the revelation of you. Thank you for all the things you’ve been teaching me, haha, I don’t even know how to say it. Lord you can see the content of my heart, the things I cannot find words to express, you can tell. Thank you for those things. I love you, I know it’s nothing compared to the waves for you own love, but I want you to know all the same that I love you. That I will never leave. That you have been too good for me to turn my back. I no longer know what it is to live without talking to you every minute and listen for your replies. You make my heart sing. I am so happy. Thank you for that too, thank you for this persistent joy, thank you! It’s amazing. You are amazing. Thank you for 2017 lord. Thank you. I love doing life with you, the year doesn’t even count. It’s all about you and because of you I am confident for not only a phenomenal 2018 but a fantastic life. Thank you for that, thank you for the assurance of your love. It’s me and you forverrrrr. Glory!

Compliments of the season guys. Maybe your year didn’t go great, don’t lose hope. it really does get better. Trust God, he is not one to disappoint.

Just in case you haven’t heard the January Edition of Elevate magazine will be out January 5th 2018. Awesome stuff!

PS: big thank you to everyone that liked my story on Instagram, the winner hasn’t been announced yet. I really appreciate the goodness of y’alls hearts ❤

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Choosing Your Battles

Hi guys! Today I want to quickly examine the art of choosing your battles as we draw closer to the end of the year and the beginning of a new one. I am sure you are already writing down your goals and plans. There’s no need to put up a front, I would be lying if I say I don’t love new beginnings too, that I don’t take a special liking to the thought of a new chapter unfolding. We all do and there’s nothing wrong with that.

So earlier in the year, I read a book called Die Empty, you’ve probably read my review and there’s a chapter in there that’s titled choosing your battles. It didn’t really occur to me then, until very recently that there’s more to choosing what you choose to fight for and what you are willing to let go.

Someone, I cannot remember who right now, said we can do anything but we cannot do everything. We as human beings are not capable of everything single thing we imagine doing because we have limitations that are quite a part of who we are. And this limitations shouldn’t be seen as limitations, they shouldn’t be seen as hindrances because could you imagine what it would be like if everybody was doing everything, there would be no diversity and therein beauty that we have all come to enjoy. Instead we should see limitations are road signs pointing towards the places where we are truly needed and where we will excel. 

I hate hate. I hate the salve trade. I also hate that some people are still dying of malaria. I also hate that Trump is encouraging further hostility towards vulnerable groups but I can’t help with all of that. I hate it all, but I can’t help it all in my lifetime. What I can help with is malaria because I am a medical student. I have chosen certain battles by choosing my career path. 

What would be disastrous is a human being that is trying to do everything. Like I mentioned in another post, focus increases the quality of your work. If you choose too many battles, you might and mostly likely will loss them all. Look at Jesus, he had just one goal; to die for humanity and that was that. Choose your battles, no every battle is yours to fight.

 

An Open Letter To My Future 12-Year-Old Child

First written: 28/11/16

Hey baby.

I’ll try not to sound not too old school, though I’ve always liked old school.

You know, I never really wanted to have kids. It’s something that has always scared me senseless. But your dad, being the embodiment of incredible, he made having kids, having you, something grand—something I didn’t want to miss out on. I hope that you are more like him, than you are like anyone. Except Jesus. Not to worry, you’re safe following daddy, I don’t know another that follows Jesus as genuinely and faithfully.

I wanted to talk to you about something, about many things actually,  maybe even everything. Maybe you won’t get it now, at 12, but you need to be told now. And many will disagree and say you are too young, but you are mine. God gave me you. And I will love you best I can. This world we live in, it’s broken. Like Lego blocks all over the place and so many people want to fix it yet they don’t want the inventor’s instructions. They want to do it their way, and get the inventor’s results. I know, sounds like a pretty wack plan to me too but it’s where we live and so we need to confront it and be informed.

I want your mind to be sharp. I want you to pick up books and read, not to have an opinion but to see—see beyond your nose, see a little farther still.  I want your mind to become soil, fertile soil, for culture shifting revolutions. And for this to happen, you will need to be exposed. Society is wired towards a sickened love for self. A crippling love for self. A love that says I must have what I want when I want it and how I want. And that love, that flaw, has led to many terrors in the human community.

One of such contagious terrors, are the perversions that come with sex. I pray to God that this is the first time you are hearing that word, at least in this context. I want to be the one who tells you about it. Sex is when a man and a woman are deeply intimate with each other with their bodies, especially their gentials and also with their souls. I know that you might pretend like you don’t want to hear this stuff or might be shy to talk about it, but I’m also sure that you are curious and you want more information than that little sentence up there. You need to trust me when I tell you that’s all there is to it. That is all. Any extra information, will only stir your urges before the right time. When your friends start to talk about this (and they will) and you begin to feel like the novice, think about this moment, this words, and how much weight they hold. Believe me when I say, you don’t need to know more that this. Not right now. I want you to know that sex is good. God made it, for us to enjoy and in so doing bring glory to His name. Look at it like this, when you watch the sunset, what comes to you mind? I know what goes on in mine. I go oh my, how lovely, how totally amazing this is, there has to be a genius God who made this. That’s what captures my mind. That there is God, and he made this. And in a way I see Him through that. And I feel a glint of His beauty, I don’t have a choice but to give Him credit, somehow. Even if I don’t say it directly. It’s the same way with sex. It’s this beautiful thing God has made, that we might see Him through. That we might enjoy Him through. It’s beautiful inside God.

But the world is so psyched by it, sex, that they’ve distorted the image. We no longer see God, we see ourselves. And because we will never truly be happy if we don’t see God, distorting the image only harms us more in the long run. We will never be satisfied.  I’m telling you this because I know liars are lining up at the door step of your ears. I know they will try to tell you otherwise. And you will be tempted to listen, but take strength from the truth you know now and stand firm.

Sex is only beautiful, in marriage, between a man and his wife, pointing ultimately to the goodness and mastery of God. It’s something special.  Something amazing. Over the next few years, more than ever before you will see sexuality displayed openly, without regard, and you will wonder what the point is. The point is this love, your joy is at stake. True joy, yours, is at stake. Because only God can satisfy. Not sex. Not human adoration or attention. Only God.

Many of the people you will know, and might even be close to will become addicts of something called pornography, movies of people engaging in sex. They will have their minds invaded and polluted and it will take years for them to ever get their minds back, if they do at all. There’s guilt, there’s shame, there’s hurt, there’s depression, there’s self loathe. And while they engage in this they might seem alright, they might even seem happier than you. Don’t be fooled. In the dark corners of their rooms, they cry and get sick of it all. Don’t fall into that trap. Guard your eyes, heart and mind. Don’t let your curiosity get the better of you. Look away, they are many other wonders of the world to get your mind rapped around. You must keep your mind yours. Don’t open doors to things that will control you. Take responsibility and be in control.

Never forget that all things are yours. All things have been given to you by God. You are free. Whatever you don’t have, isn’t really valuable. It’s not just cheap, it’s fake and it will soon fade away. You are so loved. You are so blessed and sometimes you will forget. Tell me, and I will remind you. And as much as I want to be there, and I will when I can, I want you to know that when I am not, God is, and he will never leave. Ever. Take rest in that. Take rest in Him.

Take care of yourself. Take care of your body. No one has a right to touch you, not even only slightly. You are a person of substance. You are important. You are not an object. Sometimes, people that don’t know better will treat you like less, but you must always know better. Don’t let them mistreat you or touch you in obscure places. Say no. Walk away, run away. Shout. Tell me. Write it down till it sticks; You are royalty. One of your kind, rare. First in your lane. Child of God. You are not a toy. No one has a right to you.

I also need to tell you to respect other people. They are not your property. Every human being has value. Value has nothing to do with money. It has to do with simply being,  having a space in time. You must never exert forceful power on anyone. No one owes you anything. Not a kind word, not a smile, nothing. So when someone is good to you be grateful, be very grateful and let them know. And when someone is mean, walk away. They don’t have to be nice to you, it’s not their job. They aren’t at your service. Be humble.

No matter what, talk to me when something is wrong. Talk to me when things are right. Talk to me. And to your dad. Always. Ask your questions. Put them out in the open. Your voice is to be heard, not tucked away. We cannot promise you the best put together answers all the time, but we promise that we love you, more than you will ever know and we are here for you.

All my love, mom.

 

Thoughts on The Smart Money Woman by Arese Uwgu

Confession: I did not read every word in this book. I read about a hundred pages and skimmed the rest.

I wasn’t able to read it all (page by page) because the book is written like a story and then there are snippets of non fiction at the end of each chapter that point out the actual points of the chapters. I found that layout exhausting because I thought I was being sold a finance book but instead I had a wannabe novel with bits of the info I want to read. I understand what the author might have been trying to do (be interesting, or appeal to a certain audience or add flesh to the book), I guess it just wasn’t for me. I felt like the prose was lazy, the kind of stuff you read in a primary school story book. And maybe I only think this because I am an amateur fiction writer myself. And I am my biggest critic. Nonetheless, the book is a good one for African women, old and young. It just lacks focus. I feel like if Arese had dropped the story telling part and just told us the truth plain and simple, it would be a much better book. 

Another reason I skimmed the rest of the book was because my dad has actually taught me most of the things she was explaining. Which was a surprising and delightful find for me. I knew my dad was smart but like everything someone put in a book, my father has actually been teaching me all the while. Wow. Hashtag respect. I shouldn’t be so surprised tho, my parents survived a whole year without their monthly salaries being paid. Both of them. And they didn’t borrow. And we didn’t go hungry for a single day. I guess that’s what you call financial freedom.

Should you read this book? Yes, definitely. If you’re not a fan of fiction, or particularly the kind of fiction in the book then just skip to the juicey part at the end of each chapter. That’s what I did. Not sorry.

Here’s a quote I like;

​Broke people think it is about how much you earn but rich people know it’s about how much of your income you are able to keep and convert into assets that can provide you with an income in the future.

If you’d like to read this book, leave your email in the comments and I’ll send you the e-copy. 

Thrive-In-School: First, Decide. 

so i have wanted to write about this for a while but i have been super busy. i’m about to start a new semester and the pressure is on (!) no doubt. but no worries every success or failure starts in the mind. it starts with what you decide. when i first got into the university, i knew i wanted to do well, and some people (by people i mean books of course) told me to go a step further and write down the exact cgpa i wanted. so i picked a randomly good cgpa and just wrote it somewhere, not because i gave it any actual thought or anything of the sort but because it looked nice on the white paper i scribbled it on and because i truly believed it was workable. i’m not sure but i think it was 4.85 or so. i ended up with a 4.00 with minimal studying. my bad.

i think the problem was that i was passive with my decision. i only wrote it, the assumed 4.85, down because i had  heard it someeverywhere that that’s how successful people do it and i thought oh well, let me sha have a goal. lets get real guys—it does not work that way. you have to sit down with yourself and actually decide within yourself who you will be and what you want every single day. the thing about success is that it is about accumulation. it’s not a one day thing, or a today and next two weeks thing. it’s an everyday thing, over and over with short breaks in between till you get to a point where the work is the break—yes, you can love work to that degree.

what you do is start with the end in mind—a ultra specific end. for example, let’s say you want to graduate with a five point grade point average. you picture yourself and your name being called on your graduation day. you write it somewhere you can see it. maybe make it you screensaver. you keep it in view at all times. and you focus. then you zoom out of that picture and look at yourself. look at where you are now. what are the five things you can do within every 24 hours you are gifted that will get you to your goal. i think what i have experienced with this approach to doing anything is that you will at some point be in tune with the person you are becoming. that is, when you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing, you will feel that something is missing. and then again there’s a tendency to burn out. when i was younger i used to think once i don’t show up for a day or two or maybe even a week then i had failed. no, not so. sometimes you need to rest, sometimes you get distracted and that is by large, forgivable. What is bonkers is to get distracted by your distraction. the moment you notice you are falling away, don’t start blaming yourself and feeling bad, remember why you started and get back to work. there are ways to avoid a burn out though—if you want to know, leave a comment and i will do a post on it.

there’s this quote i love from grey’s anatomy, the TV show:

We’re all going to die. We don’t get much say over how or when, but we do get to decide how we’re gonna live. So, do it. Decide. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More Compassionate? Decide. Breathe in. Breathe out and decide.

another thing i want to point out is that thriving in school doesn’t have to do with anything other than your academics. i know i’m probably going to get burned for saying this but that’s the truth, or at least that’s the truth I believe. you are paying for the education. not the social or cultural exposure—those come with being a human being. don’t let yourself get distracted. focus is a slippery thing. You are going to live long. You are not going to spend even up to a quarter of your life in college. Give it your time, and mind. The less things you entertain in your life at a time, the better the overall quality.

so, this is the world at your feet, decide what you will make of it.
Don’t forget to let me know if you want a post on avoiding burning out? You can ask any other school (and/or faith) related questions as well.

Have a smashing weekend fam!

We Need To Talk About Lecrae’s Cry For You

About a week ago, Lecrae released his highly anticipated album, All Things Work Together after almost three years since his previous epic release, Anomaly. And in my opinion, Anomaly is a masterpiece but to say that I was shook by the sheer brilliance and realness of this new project is an understatement. Oh my Lecrae, you really did it with this one. You really showed us what it means to make great art. You showed us why. You showed us how. And I don’t even think that’s what you were aiming for. But you did it yo! A proper review will come soon (not by me) but y’all know how I get when something really touches me. Remember my Sense of An Ending review? Yeah, this is kinda what this is gonna be like.

The first time I listened to cry for you, I was going to bed so I didn’t think much of it. Matter of fact, I didn’t think much of the entire album. I wasn’t even going to listen to the album. Lecrae has been taking burns from Christians for some time now because he refused to take on the Christian rapper label and not only that, he intentional decided to go out into the wild and basically befriend non-christians. Making music with them, attending their shows, everything. I kinda understood his heart to an extent when I read Unashamed but a little while after reading that, a close friend sent me a link to an article titled “Bye Lecrae”. The author of that article was very succinct in terms of expression in her approach. I was sold. I texted my friend “I totally agree” back because I had been lowkey judging him too. I just need confirmation and when I got it I jumped at it. Listening to Cry for you changed all that for me tho. Listening to Cry for you opened my eyes.

When I was in 100level, I didn’t have any friends on campus. I had a very close friend that I used to text daily and we would basically talk about everything. At that point in my life I was really struggling with finding a church because I found that the churches around weren’t preaching the gospel. They didn’t know what grace was or how it had saved us. And going to church every Sunday sitting under that ministration left me mildly annoyed and bitter. I hated it. And I would always vent to my friend about this. One Sunday evening, I started again as usual. He said to me “shebi they are taking scriptures from the bible… Don’t worry the Holy Spirit will teach you” Waawu! How humbling. That changed my approach entirely.

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I think, and really this is just me thinking, I think as Christians we need to be more open. I think we need to truly always focus on God and what he is doing. I’m not saying Lecrae isn’t guilty of some wrong but can we help him by pointing fingers at him in public and telling him he is wrong? We can’t fam. That’s not the way family handles stuff. If you are not part of his church family, or his immediate family, you can’t really help him. I know that the internet makes us think typing on a screen can solve any problem, but people are more complicated than that. People are delicate. You don’t spank your younger brother in public for doing something wrong, you get home and you give him the spanking of his life there. You let him cry and wail in your compound. True change comes from the inside out. We can’t expect to change the people we don’t even freaking know. This is why I think I will always have beef with social media. I mean, half of the time, we don’t even have the full story, we only have reports from people that don’t know anything either. The fact is, as long as a person has surrendered their life to God and God’s Holy Spirit has entered them, He can use them. It doesn’t matter what they do. God’s word is power. It doesn’t matter if it is a drunkard that is quoting the scripture, the Holy Spirit can expand it in your heart if you are perceptive enough. God’s work is just that—God’s work. It is God that is doing it. Literally. I don’t know how else to explain this, but we need to get it. The human is the vessel. The human is the human. The human is like you; learning, growing, liable to failure, liable to distraction. See the human with the eyes of the father. Love the human with the heart of the father. And the internet is not the place to do it I am telling you. Yes, you can plant a seed on the internet, preach the gospel, pray over people, write seasoned words. But you cannot call somebody out on the internet and expect actual tangible change. You have no right! Do that with somebody you do life with, your best friend, your sister, your classmate, your girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, could even be your leader, but not a stranger online. Except, and this is a hulk-size except, you really do feel that God is leading you do so. And I am almost certain, God would want you to do that privately.

Just imagine if someone you hardly know was accusing you on the internet, would that make you change if you were guilty? Would that help you change? I don’t think so. I think it would depress you to know that the world knows all your secrets, make you sucidal even and if not that, it would give you permission to be hypocritical. Guys, we are only making it harder for people in positions of leadership to be transparent, we are making it harder for them to grow and in the process we are making ourselves bigger and God smaller. Give people space to grow, to repent, to confess, to find grace.

Like I said, this is me just thinking.

Look out for the album review 🙂

Is It True, That As A Christian You Shouldn’t Have Crushes?

one of my younger girlfriends asked me this question—by younger i mean 16/17—and i didn’t want to give her a shallow answer so i thought i’d actually give it a thought and ask God about it. Now before we go on to discuss this, let’s define our terms. there are two major nouns in this question

  1. crush: a brief but intense infatuation for someone, especially someone unattainable.
  2. christian: someone who has received the gift of forgiveness and eternal life from God through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection. 

now that all that is clear, lets talk about what we all know to be a crush. so you see this guy or girl you like and you are attracted to this person so you start to fantasize about being in a relationship with that person, so much so that in your head you are actually already in a relationship with that person. to know whether as Christians, we should do this, we have to look into how God sees a relationship and what he says love is. the way we (christians) do things—especially in terms of marriage—is absolutely different from the way the world does things because you see, marriage is a picture of God’s relationship with the church and so God doesn’t take it lightly, because in case you haven’t noticed, God doesn’t take you lightly (Zechariah 2:8). He takes His relationship with you very seriously (Deut 31:6). i believe that when you really understand this as a Christian you are more purposeful about your relationships, especially your romantic emotions. we also need to understand that there’s a way God expects you to treat people. we are asked to be selfless in our love, and look out for the good of others. the truth is that crushes have very little to do with love. when you are crushing on someone, you are interested in their outward projections; who you think they are and most especially, their bodies. true love is nothing like that, true love is a reflection of God himself (1 Cor 13:4-7). it’s like you have a chance to be driven to an occasion in a limo and you’d rather let an okada take you to where you are going. what you are looking for is love, but you are letting your mind ride the lesser vehicle. you will not get the full experience of the journey that God intends for you.

 

#SDEM #singledatingengagedmarried

A post shared by Ben Stuart (@ben_stuart_) on

to answer the question, no, you shouldn’t have crushes the same way you shouldn’t feel jealous when someone else has something you want but you will because you are still covered in flesh and your emotions and mind will sometimes go astray. you might feel a certain attraction towards a certain somebody but listen, i’d advise that you don’t call it a crush, don’t give it a name. giving it a name, that makes it a thing, that makes it harder to dismiss. you see, your walk as a child of God in this world dwells on what you decide to accept as real and what you don’t. if you see your attraction to someone as a crush, then you are validating that tingle and a long chain of events can arise from that simple validation.

i once wrote an article about how in reality nobody is single, and everyone is either unmarried or married. in that light if you are unmarried there are several things that the bible suggests you should use your time and mind for, to keep it from wandering far and wide.

focus of God. i can assure you that there is truly nothing more satisfying. focus on the things that God says are important. wisdom. standing up for the oppressed. growing in the spirit. loving people. these are things that takes a lifetime to learn, it doesn’t stop and they are the things that grantee an long and fulfilling life. when you are on your deathbed, you won’t remember any of your crushes.

if you do have a crush at the moment, i’d say you should disregard it, don’t discuss it, don’t even so much as pray about it, i mean you can if you want to but you have to know that things like these bloom in the green room of attention. if you keep watering your attraction, it will consume you and you will not know how to detangle yourself. so starve the feeling and it will leave you alone. give you mind to God and i promise, He will thoroughly blow it, much more than any guy or gal can.

love & light.

references: ben stuart’s instagram.