Trust Issues

There are times when I feel like God and I are on point…He’s speaking clearly to me, I’m hearing clearly from Him and we are absolutely on the same page. Life is good and dandy, colors are brighter, images sharper and nothing can bring me down.

And then there are other times (and this happens more often than the previous scenario) where I feel like I’m floundering and grasping at straws. I feel like I’m just going through the motions when I pray and when I read my bible. I understand that I need to do these in order to grow where spiritual matters are concerned but I don’t “feel” Him. I hear some of my friends talk about how God spoke to them and what He said and I can’t help wondering “Erm God…didn’t you see me when You were talking to her? What did I do wrong and what did she do right that You spoke to her and not to me?”

The thing about one’s relationship with God, or any relationship for that matter is that each one is unique. I think that human relationships are easier to evaluate because you can have conversations with them, gauge their reactions and decipher whether or not things are working. It’s much harder to do so in a relationship with God. There are times when I feel like I’m doing everything I should but I still feel empty and because God is not flesh, I can’t look into His “physical” face (I don’t think He has one) or have a pointed conversation with Him where He will answer my questions in a manner that is most convenient for me (actually, I can sometimes but I find that as I grow in my faith, this happens less).

And so being the “logical” and “structured” thinker that I am, I use what I can see of the relationships of my closest friends with God to gauge where I am going wrong and this is can be very dangerous if it’s unchecked; we are all different and God meets us where we are as individuals. If I’m being honest, it’s a quick fix that’s convenient as far as my personality is concerned but it is also highly detrimental. I know that instead of trying to break down those relationships, I should actually face God to show me what’s wrong. I know that it is in those times of seeming disconnect that God can open my eyes to see where I need to do some work in myself.

I think it all boils down to whether or not I really trust God; do I really depend on Him to the be the plan or do I make Him Plan A and have a couple of back-up plans just in case it doesn’t work out. “Well yeah God, I’ll pray to you and ask what’s wrong when things seem a little off between us. But if You don’t get back to me as and when I want, then I can still go back to my friends’ relationships with you”. That’s another area of my life where I need to let go and surrender to Him.

If God asked me to quit my job today without explaining to me what the plan was, would I obey? Or would I be like “Guy chill, you have tell me why and what the plan is going forward before I do”. God told Abram to leave everything He knew to go to a land that He would show Him:

“The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I WILL [emphasis added] show you” – Genesis 12:1

It’s very important to note God had not yet shown Abram the land (He said “will show you” not “have shown you”) and yet He still asked Abram to leave everything he knew to follow God to literally God-alone-knows-where. I’m thinking that if I was Sarai (Abram’s wife), I would have thought the guy (Abram)was crazy and I can’t honestly say that I would have followed him.

But that’s what God expects of us people. To totally abandon our lives and be completely surrendered to Him. In the seemingly small things and in the huge decisions as well. All that we have been blessed with, He has given and so when He makes a demand on it, it’s only right (and in our own best interests) to yield to Him.

It is definitely not the easiest thing to do; society has expectations of us and the truth is as much as we try not  to let them matter, they can very easily sneak into our thoughts – the unsolicited advice of a friend, the admonition of a parent. It’s often easier to bow to the loudest voices but the opinion that should matter the most comes in a still small voice. It’s hard to hear, can ask that you do some crazy things but the fruits of obedience are out of this world.

2014 (Part I)

Hey guys,

Hope y’all are doing great….I’m not doing too bad myself. Dubai is turning out to be a retreat of sorts. My time away from the circus that is my life (which I love by the way, I can’t even complain) to meditate on what’s been accomplished so far, figure out what’s still out there to do and most importantly, spend quality time with God. I must admit I’ve been slacking over the past week in this area; there’s something about living in comfort that can make us relax in areas where we need to be the most alert and energetic. When I’m home and I have to be up at 5.30 in the morning, I’m more faithful in spending quality time with God in the morning that I am here where I don’t have to be up till 7, there’s no traffic and I can get to work in 10 mins. Boggles the mind really.

Anyways I was thinking of what to write about and I had a couple of ideas but the one that stayed with me was a review of the year so far. Companies do H1 reviews of their performances so I figured I’d do one of mine and look out for those areas where I need to improve. Most importantly though, it’ll help me see those things that I ought to be grateful to God for. So here goes.

The year started for me in South Africa where I was the chief bridesmaid at my hunnie bunnie’s wedding. That is, hands down, the best wedding I have ever been to in my life. My wonderful friend has been such a lovely example of what a good, strong Christian woman (and now wife) should be and I am always encouraged by her as I watch her pursue Christ. I love you hunnie.

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After South Africa, I was able to spend a couple of days with my brothers and cousins before I went back to work and they went back to school. It’s very easy to disregard the importance of family and take them for granted when they’re not around. It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that my parents won’t always be around and my siblings and we won’t always live together so I should enjoy them as much as I possibly can now.

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The next significant event that comes to mind is my birthday. I know I’ve said this many times before but allow me reiterate……I LOVE MY BIRTHDAYS!!!! See, I have no problem being the center of love and attention *shrug* that’s just how God made me. One of the important things I took away from my birthday is that my network is increasing; I’m more confident than I have ever been and it frees me to connect with all sorts of people. It’s therefore very important that I make sure I am living for God each and everyday. Firstly because He is my strength and my source and secondly because the number of people watching me is increasing and I need to ensure by His grace that they can see Jesus through me.

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My boyfriend became my boyfriend not too long after. Our story so far is one that has been full of interesting twists and turns. It’s a bit difficult to write about him here because I’m still trying to figure out what the exact boundaries are in terms of what I can share with you guys and what should remain between the two of us and my intimate friends. I will tell you this though, he is a wonderful guy and a gift from God. He calls me out on my crap (in love of course), has my back and encourages me to be a better person. I can honestly say (and this is very important) that he pushes me to God. That’s one major thing that gives me peace in our relationship.

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Just before H1 2014 ran out, I attended my little brother’s graduation from university. I am super super proud of him mostly because he has surprisingly remained humble in the midst of all he has accomplished in his young life. He understands that all he has been given has not been a result of his own effort but a gift from a loving heavenly Father and that’s one of the things I love the most about him.

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I finished up the first half of the year in Dubai. Now that’s a story that’s still being written. So far, it’s been a lovely trip. It saddens me a little because Dubai gives me a picture of what my nation could have been if the people in power had done the right thing. But it also gives me hope for what is achievable if my generation gets it right.

In the middle of all this activity, I had my CFA exams to study for which pretty much took up most of my free time and I wrote the exam the day after my brother’s graduation. I can’t lie, the exam was tough and I did not leave that exam hall feeling like I had smashed it. If I do, then it’s nothing short of the grace of God. The results are out in 19 days so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

It’s been a very interesting half year full of lessons to learn. I thank God that I confidently say that I have grown from the person I was at the start of the year. I thank God for the journey so far and I remain excited about what lies ahead for the rest of the year.

 

Peace and Love,

Grace’s Daughter.

 

 

Hey guys,

Soooooo…….this is the most time I have spent away from you lovely people and it’s partly for a good reason i.e. exams. All the same, I still owe you all a massive apology and thankfully the Lord has taught me the importance of apologizing when I’m wrong. So I’m sorry for being away for so long guys and I will do my best to ensure it doesn’t happen again. As long as I’m inspired and led, you will always get a word or two from me.

I must say that I tried putting up a post a few days ago but I wasn’t getting any word that resonated with me. Yesterday however, I got back from work (I’m in Dubai for work for two months by the way, God has been absolutely awesome this year) and I decided to flip open my bible and get a couple nuggets of wisdom. The first page I flipped to was Isaiah 58. Now I was about to skip past the passage cos I knew it had to do with fasting but something encouraged me to read it again. And like most times with God’s Word, the well-read passage took on a new meaning.

If you don’t know by now, I’m passionate about my country; trust me this is a  pretty new development. My more recent posts can attest to the new-found burden I have for my nation and it seems God wants to extend it to the world but that’s another post for another day. So as I read Isaiah 58, it brought together some of the lessons God has taught me over the past couple of months concerning the state of my nation and its people.

Many of us have prayed over and over again for the state of our nation and a number of us have even called fasts but unfortunately it has stopped there. These acts have not changed who we are or how we interact with people especially those that are less fortunate than we are. Isaiah 58:2 (NLT) says:

“They act so pious! They come to the Temple everyday and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending  they want to be near me.We have fasted before you’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed?. We have been very hard on ourselves and you don’t even notice it!’ 

This paints an eerily accurate picture of Nigeria today…..need I say more? God goes on to say:

“I will tell you why!” I respondIt is because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers. What good is fasting when you keep fighting and quarreling? That kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me.

Verse 6 goes on to say:

“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them and do not hide from your relatives who need your help. Your godliness will lead you forward and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.”

Verse 9b:

“Remove the yoke of oppression. Stop pointing fingers and spreading vicious rumors! Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Then the light will shine out from the darkness and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon”

This passage spoke to me on two levels. Firstly, it reiterated the fact that the problems of our nation are rooted in poverty. If we want to get our country back on its feet in terms of the economy, politics and security we need to attack poverty on all fronts, micro and macro. We keep praying to God to save our nation but we get off our knees and go ahead to abuse those under us. Who do you think robs you on the street or joins Boko Haram? So what are we doing? Start with the people who serve you at home; your cooks, security guards, househelps, etc. Treat them with respect and try as much as you can to give them a better life. What are you doing in your church? Your community? How are you giving back? It’s never too late or too early to start. You’re never too young or too old to make a difference. If only we learned to look beyond ourselves.

The second thing it said to me is that each and every one of us as individuals hold in our hands the solution to the problems our nation faces. In order for the darkness we currently face to become light, we must , EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US address the need we see around us. The solution to Nigeria’s problems don’t lie in the hands of the government; they lie with us. And it only needs to start with an enlightened few. Verse 9 says that light will shine out of the darkness first which means light will first shine in the midst of darkness before it spreads and everywhere is as bright as noon.

That’s my message for today guys, I hope it speaks to you. We all have a role to play and the more we obey, the more we will be given and the better our nation will be.

ANNOUNCEMENTS!!!!!

1) Save the date!!!! The CONVO by IJustMetMe comes to Lagos! On Saturday, August 23rd 2014, IJustMetMe will hold the first Lagos installment of the The CONVO, a Relationship Discovery Series currently hosted in New York. Grace’s Daughter is privileged to be partnering as a sponsor of the event and it promises to be an enriching and  event. I will be giving away free tickets to this event so stay tuned for more info. Trust me guys, I would not choose support this if I didn’t believe in it. Tobi Atte, the speaker, has such words of wisdom when it comes to breaking down relationships and I for one have benefited from them. I do hope you guys can make it, it will definitely open up your mind in ways you can’t imagine.

2) I was approached by a lovely young lady and a fellow blogger to put up a book review of her first novel that I was privileged to read. Watch this space for that and please grab you copy of “Still” by “Eniola Prentince”. I can tell you for free that it’s not easy to write a book (I would know cos I have tried), so much respect to Eniola for writing a book that I didn’t want to put down until I finished (that’s not an easy feat to accomplish).

That’s it from me lovely people. God bless y’all.