I woke up one harmattan morning knowing my emotions were against me. I was aware of a feeling of sadness that made me just want to cry. I also knew without needing to dig too deep what it was all about. A delightfully dear friend of mine who took a cupid arrow in the heart for me once, and who thankfully is still affectionately disposed to me regardless, had come to visit the day before and we played catch up. Even though we’d been pals a few years, i relished the quality of our friendship as it now stood; never been lovers, twice been friends. He told me all about his career, his forays in business, his writing which we have in common, it’s evolution and of course his love interests ( I’m a hopeless romantic, i never spare my friend’s love lives) . As our talk wore on into the last minutes of conversation, he suddenly said to me, “Nike you are the type to take home to Mama” . His comment didn’t have the usual effect on me, i was lost in thought.
In the first six months of this year life was a breeze. I was ensconced in testimony after testimony, month after month, but as the year stepped into it’s concluding half cycle, i got unlucky in love and had a hurtfull falling out with it. As if hit by a gaint wave, i found myself at the low ebbs of life’s current and literally found myself there. In the whirl of battered emotions, something strange began to happen- my spiritual life had a chance to grow. Humbled by pain, numbed by suffering, i was more open to listen to God. I was so sobered that i wrote in one journal entry:
I have no pride
I have no shame
No tears to cry
No tantrums to throw
I’m no longer looking for a way out
I ‘m not looking for a short cut
I’m just waiting for this cup to pass over me
I’m waiting to be fine again
Interestingly, this year i set for myself the laudable goal to read the entire new testament. My strategy was to read a chapter or two a day. I made this decision in Febraury when i had this unsettling feeling of “hollowness” settle over me. A phenomenum i later recognised as God nudging me in the area of my commitment to a consistent, daily fellowship with him. But about the time of my fall from cloud nine i had slipped into a dull routine. It was all beginning to be a bore and i had started loosing ground and focus. Love-wrecked however, i turned to God again and together, God and i found the way back to solid ground. On the sturdy steps of a rejuvenated relationship with God, my shaken sense of self was centered again and i quickly regained my elasticity (the ability of a thing to return quickly to it’s original shape and size after being bent, stretched or squashed) and pulled back tautly into form. Incidentally too at that time, i miraculously encountered Joel Osteen in his book- “Your best life now”. I know that book was well timed to my exact need of it by the author and orchestrator of love Himself. He loves me so! My awe of God’s timing was heightened when i observed that i would just be experiencing a withdrawal symptom, when the chapter i was reading would be teaching on how to cope with the SPECIFIC thing i was dealing with! I have never before seen that type of synchronicity between real life and a book, but as i concluded chapter after chapter of that book, i literally closed chapters of what has now become a retreating past. This was also when i started journaling the lessons from my daily devotions and curiously, there seems to have been an outstanding theme in all the messages i’d been receiving- messages very relevant to what i was going through. I’d love to share what i’ve been learning but i’ll save that for another post.
Counting blessings; Listing lessons.
One of the things i’m very thankful to God for this year, are ideas. I’ve had so many ideas i’m excited about, ones i think are brilliant. My mind has been alive with them and alert to insights dropped into my very thoughts at odd moments. One of my ideas was to send my article to TRUE LOVE West Africa, it’s one of the articles i featured here in January this year. I was absolutely and pleasantly surprised when the article won a cash prize and was published in the prestigious magazine!
So i’m thankful for i-d-e-a-s! I’m also thankful for the amount of information i’ve acquired in both physical and spiritual things. The bible defines a mature, well –rounded christian as someone who has spiritual understanding, see that in one of my fav scriptures of ’09:
“...don’t loose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others”. 2 Peter 1:5-8 The Message/Remix version.
When i found that verse a while ago, i fell in love with the prose. It paints with action words the picture of a seasoned child of God. There is a certain intrigue in the character these words describe, let me show you.
Our basic faith is our belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, first as our saviour ( saving us from a damned here and now and a damned hereafter as a direct consequence of sin) and as our Lord ( the one we offer our worship, service and whom we obey). But that’s not all there is to developing our christian status, that’s just the basic not the whole. In addition to being saved and church- going, we should develop good character. This has to do with our morals, integrity and behaivour. Then we should add to that spiritual understanding. This implies that we should acquire a deep, firm, well- founded and resolved understanding of spiritual things. As christians we should be knowledgeable about God, faith , healing, and unworldly things. We should not be left in the dark or be ignorant and unlearned in this area but we should know about them from the bible’s perspective. In addition to that we should develop alert, watchful discipline. This means we should apply a concious control over our lifestyles, values and beliefs. We should then add to that the quality of passionate patience. Isn’t that such a paradox? Patience is the ability to endure waiting or delay or provocation or unpleasant circumstances calmly without becoming angry or upset. And to be passionate in the most watered down, diluted sense means to be willing. So the quality of passionate patience adds up as being willing to endure something difficult with a calm attitude.
Do you already see how beautiful we could be if we were matured christians not just faith speaking, church going, empty ones? I was especially pleased and interested in the next quality.
We, christians are to develop into our persona, reverent wonder. We should develop the sixth sense of wonder. We should be able to see and recognise beauty, the miraculous and the lovely. Christians should exude the charm that comes from the ability to see that a basic beauty permeates things and people. Love for people comes from and is of God, a christian should abound with love for people, affection for others and exuberance about life. These fruits grow out of God’s love for and in us. Added to these traits, a seasoned christian should develop warm friendliness. That’s quite a contrast to our typical gruff, critical or even rude attitudes. People around you and around me should enjoy our warmth. Our friendliness should show itself as helpful, welcoming, tolerant and free of cutthroat competition or mean-spirited conniving. Finally a seasoned christian should show generous love. We should be big hearted, open handed people. Giving in time, in cash and in kind, substantial, sufficient and princely offerings of ourselves .
There aren’t many christians who are a combination of all these traits but the bible explains that each one of these qualities are essential to the development of our basic faith. Most christians stop at being saved, we need to grow. Seasoned with the spices of good character, spiritual understanding, passionate patience and alert discipline and sweetened with the flavours of reverent wonder, warm friendliness, generous love; we can attain the full stature and maturity of our christian transformation. Then will our profession of faith be worth savoring. Then will we be well cooked and suited to our Father’s palate.
Closing ceremony of ’09.
This isn’t my last post for the year but as the year counts down into another, for me the closing ceremony has begun. Part of the activities of my personal 2009 closing ceremony includes that i will be sitting back to count my blessings. This means i will think of every “remembrable” thing (pardon my French) that i’ve been blessed with or blessed to have and prepare a praise, an offering and a dance for the Lord to thank Him. The second thing i’m going to be doing is to go over the four journals i have written this year and review all i’ve learnt. I’ll be taking time off my bible and other books for a while and will use my journalized devotions during my quiet time. Finally i will take time to focus on the new year and be ready for her by the time she gets here. So let the count down begin! Oooooh i’m soooo excited!