25: Girl On Fire

It’s pretty obvious what today is, isn’t it? And I can feel my silliness climbing rapidly. Oh well.

I’d always attempted to imagine what it’d feel like when I turned 25. Definitely not like this. For me, it’s a dawning. The past couple of years have been crazier than words can describe, and I had thought that I need to get my act together before I step on this threshold of 25. You see, it’s like a line that I’m crossing. I wanted to cross the line without my plethora of mistakes and at least the semblance of a presentable life.

The past few years leading up to this one have been trying, to say the least. However, they have also been the building blocks that led me here. There were days when I longed to be someplace else but where I was, with someone else other than the people I was with, and even someone else than who I am. I longed to escape the discomfort, the pain, the troubles, the uncertainties and the pressures. But I’m glad I didn’t. 

Arriving at this threshold made me realize a number of things. I’ll share.

  • Perspective means everything. God’s perspective is everything.
  • While a lot comes with age, even more comes with humility and obedience. 
  • There is nothing as important as my heart. It is what makes me who I am and what defines the continuity of my existence. 
  • There’s no point trying to prove a point. 
  • Contentment is a worthy companion. She comes along with peace, tomorrow’s promise, and the steadiness that protects faith from wreckage.
  • There will never come a day when anyone is 100% satisfied with me, and vice versa. Righteousness is simply good for me. 
  • God is truly not angry with me.
  • I’ll always be imperfect, but there’s not another of me anywhere on the planet, so I’d better give my best to those I am with and be happy with this me. 

My heart is full, and my narrative lacks coherence, but I can’t seem to coordinate properly thinking about God’s grace. Suddenly, His corrections and instructions are full of life to me. Suddenly, He is more precious to me than I ever esteemed. Suddenly, I really panic at the thought of doing without Him. And suddenly, in my seeming moment of great defeat and “non spirituality”, His Words are becoming life to me. Everything God says has taken on a new and deeper meaning. And it is getting easier to see me the way He always did.

Now I know what I want to look like in 25 years: A tree planted by the rivers of living waters; oak of righteousness, the planting of the Lord; flourishing in the courts of God

I want to be a steady, fruitful, wise, insightful woman who dispenses wealth and whose life is deeply impactful in all the ways that matter. And as long as I keep my heart on my precious Lord whose strength is mine, you’ll be reckoning with a fiery force in another quarter of a century! 

I’m planted; ready to flourish. I’m lit; ready to glow. I’m here; ready to stay. Ready to live, to love and to conquer! 

I’m on fire. 

Brave: Live The Whisper 

Hi! 

I’d intended to put up this post 2 months ago, but I got busy and I resumed second-guessing whether I was being honest enough with myself and with you who take the time to read this. 

I’m taking a little diversion, but I’m still within the circle of Bravery I’ve been on for some time now. 

So, over a month ago, I collected my NYSC certificate. It was uneventful. There was less ceremony than at the take off point last June. It was just me, walking into the Secretariat in Lafia town, submitting my ID card and signing for the certificate. No fuss. And when I looked at the certificate, a seemingly flimsy piece of paper that represents my energy and resource exertion for the past year, tears formed in my eyes. Memories that transcended even the past year flooded my mind. And a happiness that I’m not even going to attempt to describe.

I was deployed to Yobe State, and I had plans to redeploy to Makurdi, Benue State. Those plans didn’t pan out, but I got close – Nasarawa. I was posted to Keffi LG at first, and it took me two to three months to get rezoned to Lafia.

Many people asked me, Ele, what’s the fuss? It’s NYSC, you can do it anywhere. In fact, you should do it far from home. But I had decided on this path before I even received a message from NYSC. I wanted to serve in Makurdi because of my church. I know, I know. If it’s meant to be, when you get back after a year, it will be. Well, the thing is, the church isn’t a boy who is wondering if he can wait a year for me. The church is me and other believers, and it is as much a part of me as my hands or my intestines are. And I didn’t go away for a year and leave my hands behind. 

It was hard, all round. I was on the road more times than I was OK with. I was fatigued a lot because of the commuting. I wanted to be in church in Makurdi and I wanted to really serve the country, so getting rezoned to Lafia served both purposes for me. Many days, transport fare was all I could think about. I had to take up eating more than usual, quite necessarily. 

There were days when I woke up in the morning with thoughts telling me to just explain how difficult this was to my pastor, and wheedle my way into moving to Nasarawa. After all, it was what I was supposed to be doing. And then I wouldn’t have to “embarrass” myself all the time looking and praying for transport fare. But just as soon as the thought arose, I would remember -not necessarily something the Holy Ghost said- that I had made this choice long before the present moment, and that God had strengthened me already. It took more courage than I imagined I had, but I wouldn’t back down.

Days passed. I went and came every week. Sweet Lord, I was a good French teacher, too! I participated in my CDS and in a short space of time, I became a person even the leaders could talk to. In the end, I was glad I did what I did because I had changed so dramatically as a person I almost couldn’t believe it. 

I am telling this story because in times like the present, it is almost always so much easier to do what will bring you personal gain. We see no reason to simply do things that have no direct profit coming to us, and it shows. I was advised severally (until now, I might add) to focus on doing things that will “up my game”, make me more “valuable” and give me more money. But like Ralph Waldo Emerson said, you shouldn’t expect everyone else to live by the whisper you alone heard. And none of that is the whisper I heard. 

I alone hear the whispers in my heart. I know where God is calling me. So often, it feels like a dark and lonely road, and I wonder, why isn’t anyone else walking with me? Why aren’t You calling anyone else here? But no matter how scared I feel, how risky it seems or how dead the path looks, I decided to go where the whisper leads…on that road where He calls me. 

Live by the whispers in your heart, the ones that have been there since you considered yourself innocent. The ones that scare you and make your heart pump wildly. The ones that you know are crazy because no one else can hear this madness that God is insisting upon in your tender heart. The ones that spoke words that you still long for… And if you can’t hear the whispers anymore, then go to the Whisperer, and tell Him your emptiness and your longing. Wait in His presence as long as it takes. And then, when you hear it… 

Live boldly. Live loudly. Live you. Live true. Live the whisper inside. 

Psalm 23:3

He leads me in the paths of righteousness, for His name sake…