I always look forward to spring breaks. It’s a week-long break from classes. A week to catch up on what I may be behind in school. A week to sleep in and wake up whenever I like. A week to watch all the shows and movies on my ‘to-watch list’. A week to write more. On one of the days during the week, I sat down to write. I’d missed my main character. Her comedic timing, her wit, and her stubbornness. I relate to her in so many ways, and the more I write, the more I realize I may be pouring quite a number of my features into her.
Come and spend some time with Me — I am getting more familiar with the voice. It’s quiet and sobering and doesn’t go away until I yield to what I’m being told or asked to do.
Give me just thirty minutes, the voice continued.
I looked at the time on my laptop, which was 6.27pm. If I were to wait until 6.30pm, I would be back by 7.00pm. I decided to move to my bed without my phone because I didn’t want to be time-conscious, and I wanted to enjoy these thirty minutes — or more.
I lay on my bed in silence, eagerly waiting to hear what God had to say to me. I’m here, and I’m listening, God.
“Your circumstances are exactly as I intended, and you know I make no mistakes. All you have and do not have are for your good and My glory.”
Sometimes I feel like everything is moving so fast, and I’m standing still, and I’d never really felt as left out as I did this month. In moments like that, it’s so easy to think about what you have and don’t have, what you wish you could be doing but don’t have the means to do. And then, you find yourself in an ungrateful state.
My feelings matter to God, but I know I can’t follow Him solely based on my feelings. Feelings are fickle. One minute, I think I have life figured out, and the next, I feel like I have no idea about what I’m doing with my life.
I like to think of my life as a story that has been written by Him — I just get to live it out. It’s a unique story, and all the teeny, tiny details are intentional. All the huge, unavoidable details are intentional, too. But then, it’s not just me. It’s you. It’s the other billions of people with different stories, paths and experiences that make them unique, too.
I like to think of myself as a creative. I enjoy creating stories on paper and scenarios in my head, but most of all, I like to think of myself as a creative because my Father is a Creator. It’s the perfect like Father, like daughter case. I love making characters and giving them life. He created man from dust and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils. I love referring to characters from my books as my “babies”. He created us just to love on us and call us His children. I write and think about what it would be like if they were real people I could hang out with. He wants to have a relationship with us, talk to us and hear our thoughts.
And so, I think about my main character, who simply wants to deliver a cake to a client. It should take her roughly thirty minutes, but I decide to allow a few obstacles in her way, which causes the journey to turn into a two-hour one instead. She panics and even throws a fit, but I smile because I know precisely how these obstacles would bring about healing and joy. I know she will meet someone special on the way; this person will change her life. I smile because I know she would love her ending.
It’s the same way it works when we don’t get what we want. It’s the same way it works when facing different obstacles; we get upset, cry and panic. But there’s the One who writes the story, and He knows that the end is always better because He’s taking all those obstacles and challenges and working them out for our good (Romans 8.28).
This reminds me that even if it doesn’t feel like it, and even when I don’t understand it, He’s still working. On nights when I can’t sleep because of worry and tears, I am reminded to cast my cares upon Him and take His yoke in exchange. And, on days when I put so much pressure on myself because of results I can’t see, I turn my eyes upon Him instead.
“You think a lot of things, Ife, but maybe if you spoke more to me, there would be no room to overthink.”
I hope they didn’t take what I said the wrong way. What did I even say again? Why did she look like that when I spoke? Why is she not speaking to me as much? Did I do too much or too little? Did I sound smart? Did I laugh too loudly? And even in the dead of night, I’m awake recounting the day’s events and kicking myself mentally for not speaking up when I should have. For speaking up when I should have been quiet.
Speaking to people terrifies me these days, and I’m unsure what it is, but I’m glad God sees me.
Remember how I once said the book of Psalms catalogues every emotion we can possibly feel? I came across Psalm 6.6 over the past week, and I realized David also knew what it means to overthink. Also, when I think about the part in the Bible where Jesus asks those who are weary and burdened to come to him for rest, I figured it also includes people like me who let our thoughts have the upper hand. Jesus says he is gentle, and because he is gentle and lowly in heart, I can experience stillness.
And so, for the past week, when I wake up to talk with my Father, I ask Him to help me turn my worries into prayers instead because He is the one who hushes the waves of the sea and who can still the storm that rages inside me.
“Stay with Me, Ife. There’s nothing better outside of Me. Stay with Me.”
I like to believe that I’m three years old because I only really started living three years ago when I actually said yes to Him. And on so many days, I think about how privileged I am to have a relationship with Him despite being relatively young.
It’s not so hard to remember what life was like before I became conscious of Him. I always knew He was there; I was born into a Christian home, but Christ was merely an abstraction. I was going through life without an idea of purpose or what transformation felt like. I knew about the Bible, but I didn’t know every person mentioned in there actually walked the surface of the earth at some point. I would stay close to my mother and watch her mouth move as she spoke in tongues, but I never believed I could, in turn, allow the Holy Spirit to speak mysteries through me. I knew about miracles but didn’t think I could experience them. On some nights in secondary school, I would look out for the first star to come out so that I could pray. It only hit me much later that I’d simply been waiting to wish upon the star.
But in 2020, when the world was at a standstill, God spoke to me for the first time. I was confused and frustrated, and I woke up some mornings worrying about the future. Until I heard His voice. At first, I thought it was me, but it was too rational, too kind and soothing. I wasn’t the wisest person, neither was I very kind to myself. I thought about His words for days until I walked up to my Father one night and told him I wanted to get baptized.
I have seen it for myself, and I know in my heart that nothing can satisfy or fill the void inside except Him. As Dunsin Oyekan alluded to in his song To Know You, the very essence of life is to know Him and not live a life outside of Him. The weeks I’ve spent in lethargy have not been the most comfortable. You feel very susceptible and exposed. Whereas in Him, you feel safe and secure. There is comfort, and there is a sense of purpose. Despite the number of things that could go wrong, there’s a peace that comes with being His.
“I designed you to be My special creation, and you’ve been made fearfully and wonderfully. It is Me who says so; why should what anyone else thinks matter?”
I never really thought looks were a big deal until people started getting too comfortable with pointing out what they thought were people’s “flaws” to them.
I think we need to do better.
The first time I ever wondered if I lacked beauty was set off by a statement made by someone. I held on to it until I believed it. I am surprised when people say I’m pretty, beautiful, or cute. I doubt it when people say they like my smile, but I say thank you anyway. I believed it until I couldn’t trust the compliments that came my way.
The mind is fascinating — it discards the thousand you’re beautiful’s but chooses to hold on to the one something doesn’t look quite right. I’m learning to actually receive and accept compliments, but far above all, I’m also learning to believe that my value isn’t tied to my appearance. It takes a much lesser rank when I think about the other things I feel pretty proud of.
I hope I remind myself of this when I start feeling some way about my looks: what does it matter what anyone thinks?
I was crying again, but He said so much that I could bet I was with Him for over thirty minutes. But when I got up from my bed and walked back to where I’d left my phone and laptop, it was 7.00pm on the dot.
On another note, one of the wildest things that happened to me this month. I was taking a walk and two huge dogs ran up to me. It was probably the shock, but I didn’t do anything. I just stood and looked them in their eyes. That being said, after the whole experience, I really do feel like I can do anything.