May 28 2014,Accra-Ghana. Climate: warm. I’m lying on my bed thinking and hoping for the things I want from God when it suddenly strikes me; how did I first meet God and where did it all begin for me? Like many I’m a Christian by birth, but growing up in a religious home did not bother me at all as I couldn’t at the time fathom the importance of having a relationship with God. As kids it was all about doing good and going to Heaven or find yourself in Hell while doing the opposite, which scared me to death thinking about this, but once the adolescent years kicked in Heaven/Hell could wait, I had to live life and enjoy the pleasures of the world first.
That was my priority at the time, but how God came to my life was really an effortless move by Him without my realization. I guess this transition began in Secondary School (High School). During the first months there I was living the so-called Christian life. Going to Bible studies, prayer meetings and other religious related stuff. With time these routines started wearing me out and when I partook in them it was nothing new to me. It suddenly became a cliché. Obviously the next step of action was to opt out of the boring life I’d implanted my self into and head into the world. And that was the best thing to ever happen to me. Welcome to the good life! All of a sudden my life was excellent, I was a man reborn. I was skipping class, causing trouble and occasionally getting punished for it.
But as the axiom goes ‘all good things must come to an end’ and mine had come without me noticing. I was now in my senior year with final examinations to the university about to commence. Now it was worth noting that during my stay in school I had hardly spent two hours studying which meant I was not in the right place for the exams. Before my first paper (mathematics), I remember taking a mug of coffee hoping to keep me up all night to catch up. But for some strange reason my stimulant had the opposite effect on my body which made me sleep like a baby. Having learnt nothing and now in the exams room I did what most humans do and poured out verbal words to God hoping for the best but expecting the worst and told Him how I would be of good behavior if He helped me. You guessed right, I was drilled by the paper very well and the rest of my papers were the same. You reap what you sow so I knew my results would not be to my standard or to my parents’ satisfaction but a boy can dream right? Wrong. Fasting was in order before the results were out but to no avail. Trust me, looking back at it now I think I did quite well considering…but at the time it was not good. I blew the chance to attend my first choice University which was a huge blow to me given the fact that everybody knew that was where I was headed so to explain why you couldn’t make it there was going to be embarrassing.
Then through the pain of that moment, I saw God when I needed Him most. When everything was going downhill for me He showed His face and cleansed me with His grace. Because that is what He does, He comes to us at our time of desperation and slowly puts us back on our feet. I thank Him for making my life that way in order for me to truly appreciate Him. And even though I’m still not what I ought to be I know He is in my corner.
Recently I’ve been trying my hand at poetry which made me write this Psalm:
I wake up to the sun not knowing what happens at night when asleep
Others sleep but do not make it through
What makes me special than they
Who am I to receive the splendor of your Glory
Sinful as I am you clothe me with your love
Love that has no bounds and knows no end
Love more colorful than a thousand rainbows in the sky
Paint me with just a droplet of your love
Show me a glimpse of what it is to love like you do
Thank You for You in me now and forever
It’s Wednesday May 7 2014 in Accra, Ghana and aside from the fact that my five week beard is taking shape, nothing really exciting is happening at the moment for me. Ok so this is supposed to be my last semester in the university and with examinations well under way I will be a graduate by the end of the month barring any hiccups. Now I know most people whom I know would line up congratulatory messages and talk about how time has flown from when I was a kid up until now.
But I think with age comes a new set of responsibility which I’m not too sure I’m ready for. I don’t know but I’ve been kind of dreading the moment when I complete the university because it is during that time that you really start to build your life. The reason for my fear is because up until now I do not know what direction I’m headed with my life. I am not sure but I feel like somewhere somehow something should click in me to point me in the right direction. But up until now it’s the same situation. I am from a very ambitious family, with my parents training us from a young age to work hard and reap the full benefits of nature’s rewards.
I quite remember my grandmother’s funeral (May her soul rest in peace) in the year 2006 mainly because of my dad’s speech during the funeral service. While everyone came to the podium talking about the great life she lived, my dad’s speech was one that I cherish and will forever treasure. This man tuned his eulogy to a lecture about life in a different dimension. He shaped his message from Jesus’ parable of the talents from Matthew 25:14-28. It’s a long verse which I cannot recite here but basically Jesus talks about how life should be lived and how everybody is entitled to fulfil their potential in this world. He ends the parable by saying: “For everyone who has will be given more, and will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” At the end of the day we will be judged by how well we put our abilities to use when we lived on earth. And that is the problem for me; fear of not reaching my true potential in this world.
I envy my siblings (the good kind of envy, if there is something of the sort) because it seems they really know which direction their life is headed. The pressure is enormous to succeed. But then again what is success? I was watching a talk on TED.com given by a former Basketball coach (Coach John Wooden) about the difference between winning and succeeding.
He talks about success saying: “I thought about that for quite a spell, and I wanted to come up with my own definition. I thought that might help. And I knew how Mr. Webster defined it: the accumulation of material possessions or the attainment of a position of power or prestige, or something of that sort – worthy accomplishments perhaps, but in my opinion not necessarily indicative of success. So I wanted to come up with something of my own.”
He further quotes a verse which influenced him “At God’s footstool to confess, a poor soul knelt, and bowed his head. ‘I failed!’ he cried. The Master said, ‘Thou didst thy best, that is success.”
So he says “I coin my definition of success, which is: peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you’re capable. I believe that’s true. If you make the best of which you’re capable, to try and improve the situation that exists for you, I think that’s success.”
Growing up as kids most of us are taught with the Mr. Webster definition of success which tends to put pressure on us to make it no matter what without really enjoying the gift that is life. My father for instance, grew up in the village being raised by a single mother of 9 children and made his way to the top (or is still making his way). This rise from rags to riches makes him a little bias in his way of thinking sometimes. To him to make it in life means to work hard and reap the fruits of your labour. Don’t get me wrong I actually think he is right somewhat. But in an environment where we are being trained to go to school, learn hard, gain a degree and work for a good company with a profitable salary to match, Coach John Wooden’s version of success is not seriously considered.
This is what got me thinking lately, I really do not wish to follow this safe trend taken by most but rather live my life as best as I could. Before going to the university, my parents kind of told all of us which road they expected us to take in life, and I know most kids have the same done for them too without being able to do what they are really passionate about. Besides I think life has too many variables for everything we plan to turn out perfectly which is the reason for many mid-life crises issues because when the safe path doesn’t work out we rue the fact that we couldn’t follow our dreams.
But as I stated earlier I really intend to follow my calling in this life and leave my mark, but the problem is how? How do you tell your parents, how do you convince them? I don’t know but somehow I would have to do it. Maybe I’ll just send them a link to my blog to read this post.
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. Martin Luther King Jr.
Buenos Dias my fellow comrades, it is my pleasure to write again because this means I’m alive and in good spirits due to the never ending grace of my God. I quite remember stating in my previous post about how I would try to publish new articles more frequently; well this is me keeping my word. We thank God for keeping us safe during the past month and as we usher in a new one it is my prayer that His favor continues to shine on us.
Ideally I would have liked to release this piece on the first day of the month but recent partying and series-watching meant I couldn’t have my way. Now after that master class of my latest work I’ve been thinking a lot about my next work and what it should entail due to the decent reviews I received but it wasn’t until yesterday while clearing my mind with Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories – which I highly recommend for music lovers – that it finally clicked. Why not discuss about a term most believers tend to undermine its value; faith. The biblical book of Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. My dictionary defines it as belief that is not based on proof.
A further read of Hebrews 11 talks about the various faiths of the ancients and how each was rewarded for their belief in God. Faith is one of the hyped words in the Christian life but if the term ‘faith’ is as the definition suggests how come most of us struggle to walk in it? First and foremost we need to understand that we receive what we ask – its simple mathematics – we find this in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 7. Faith is not only a mere term but a lifestyle that one must embrace to yield its rewards. Walking in faith is not about hoping for the best, but rather knowing that what we want has already been answered. The bible gives us many examples of this phenomenon being put to action (Matt 8, Matt 21:18-22, Mark 10:46-52, Luke 21:1-4…..). And upon reading these verses some key things are found in all stories.
- Faith is obedience
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ – Romans 10:17. Many a times we read the word a lot without really grasping the essential elements of the Gospel. We are encouraged to let go of our worries and let Jesus work His way through us. Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest – Matthew 11:28.
- God uses the positivism of our mind and hearts to answer us.
Let’s think outside the religious box to get a better understanding of how this works. Faith is being sure of what we hope for therefore using mathematics this should be;
God + Positive mindset = FAITH. (Simple).
Conclusion of the matter.
Faith is not about voiceful declarations but rather from the heart. The more we know God and trust in Him the better our faith.