On Complaining And My Challenge

Oh this is good. This affects everyone. Everywhere you go, people are complaining. About the economy; about their political leaders; about work; about traffic; about social media; about their future; about their families. Pretty much about everything under the darn sun. Now don't get me wrong, I complain too. Ha I'm chief complainer.



Sometimes we even complain about something that's absolutely okay. We complain even if things are great. It almost feels like the norm to just complain about something. I don't know how and when this culture of complaining permeated our lives his much, but it has. And it keeps eating at us. To be clear, there ARE MANY things wrong with the world and with us, and we are sometimes right to complain.

However, I am now almost convinced some of us just like the sound of our own voices while we complain. At the risk of sounding ignorant; I have to say when you hear the ridiculous thing some folks complain about, you really want to smack them. Myself included. I'm not even talking about silly first world problems now. I'm speaking more generally about someone, who maybe has a great job, a great family, even occasionally affords the yearly vacation, but is still hard pressed about how life in Nigeria/America/insert whatever country is so aggravating. Bla bla bla.

I have given enough disclaimer: I get it; life is hard sometimes. Other times though, we are just ungrateful brats.

I heard myself complain [again] sometime last week. I was whining to myself about the unrealistic amount of workload I had. Then I called myself to order. How about first STARTING the task before even complaining. Now remember my challenge here: and my success with it, if I say so myself?

I want to start another one: to stop complaining. I have decided that for every time I get the urge to complain, I would do two things instead. First, thank God for the other things that are wonderful in my life. For many of us, this should come easy because there are really many awesome stuff going on. The second thing to do rather than complain, is to do one thing towards alleviating what I want to complain about. So let's say I want to complain about not getting enough sleep, well then go to bed earlier, Ife. Even if it's just 30 minutes earlier. Or suppose I want to complain about how messy somewhere is, then start cleaning. Or suppose traffic is what bothers you, leave home early.

Of course the above is assuming everything you complain about has to do with you. Sometimes it's others. Then just remember you can't control how others behave. Find peace in that. You only really have control over how you react.

So this is my challenge as well as yours. Check yourself and try to reduce (maybe not completely stop) how much you complain. Yes our political leaders suck (this can literally apply to most countries of the world ha). Yes the economy is bad. Yes you need a better pay (don't we all?). Yes yes yes. But also yes, you are alive and well and doing ok. You will be fine. We all will.

TLDR: stop complaining. Be grateful and be more proactive.

Love,

I

P.s: I am not trivializing anyone's struggles at all. I have mine too and have just realized we can better manage our struggles. Fin.

Friday Reflections

1.) What is God's will for my life?

2.) Why do we find it so hard to enjoy the mundane, the normal, the boring? And yearn so desperately for excitement all the time?

3.) "My sister sells flat tummy tea on Instagram. I mean she's got hella followers, but what's her endgame?" Lmaoooo Insecure has the best, THE BEST dialogue on TV currently.

4.) This great story of how a rich man opened his home to victims of Irma.

5.) I've always talked about how Cristina Yang is my favorite fictional character ever. Period. The thing though is, I feel like if I knew someone like that in real life, I probably would not want to be her friend haha.

6.) I'm starting another Whole 30! Whoop....to share my experience or nah?

7.) I started reading a great book today, so I will probably have a book of the month. Yay. Haa it's been too long I posted one of these.

8.) Gosh kindness is such an important attribute. I mean, smarts is good. Gee, everyone is smart in some way (this is NOT true lol). Seriously now, human decency, courteousness, kindness are so rare nowadays.

9.) Why we fell for clean eating; an obsession with "clean eating".

10.) Read this post explaining why the author is transitioning away from veganism.

On The Power of Worship Plus a Playlist

For the longest time, I never really liked songs. I didn't get their appeal or perhaps, I just wasn't interested in them. So the way people describe having magical moments? Well, it never applied to me. This extended to worship songs as well: songs we sing to God in worship.



As far as I was concerned, when speaking of worship as a concept, my favorite way to remind myself of God's awe has always been through the Bible. I feel like some people love to sing, some others pray...I believe mine is reading the Bible and talking about God. So whenever I would see people crumble in tears during worship sessions, I used to be surprised. To me, praise and worship was mostly about having a good time—albeit  in God's presence.

Well all that is beginning to change. More recently I have been listening to songs that are exceedingly powerful. Songs that, by themselves speak to the greatness and power of God. Gosh, Hillsong Choir is pretty astounding. They are a group of highly talented individuals.  It goes beyond the singing (which in itself is great); it extends to the writing and overall production of the songs. The lyrics of their songs are filled with depth and meaning.

I now truly understand and believe those who emphasize the act of worship as an essential aspect of worshipping God. Anyway, in that vein I decided to share (I love to share, don't I?) a list some songs that have spoken to me recently, and of course I also say one or two things about them. I also think ever since joining the presentation team in Church—which  involves posting the lyrics of songs on the big screen among other things—I find myself appreciating the true meanings to those words I post. This is another way my life has been enriched since choosing to serve.  Anyway, here we go.


On How To Make a Decision

I came across a plan on YouVersion. I have to digress to talk a little about YouVersion because it's absolutely fantastic, and wherever you are in life, you can find something that speaks to you and helps you grow in your faith. Anyway, this plan was on decision-making and I knew I had to share some of what I learnt. Because people are very concerned, borderline obsessed with making decisions. They want to know if they are making the right decisions, and if so, is there a better alternative? How can I pick the one that best serves me? What if I pick door/option A and in the future it doesn't work out. How can I pick between two jobs, or two schools, or ahem two men? I do not have all the answers for you. I do however have some suggestions based on a recently completed plan on YouVersion, whose name currently eludes me now. Good thing is the actual points are not forgotten...at least not yet.


1.) Consider The Consequences
Of course, pray about it first. This goes without saying, and especially for Christians. So now that you have prayed, when making a decision, first start by considering the potential consequences of your actions. Every action has consequences, good or bad. Remember that. An interesting analogy for that is Deuteronomy 28:1-6. It contains a lot of blessings. My favorite  being:

"Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed" - Deuteronomy 28:6

And us Christians, ha. We love those one liners, or verses that we can just mumble all day like incantations, with the hope that a constant recitation would somehow automatically get rid of all our problems. To be clear, quoting bible verses is awesome. Constant meditation is even more awesome. The thing though is we need to consider contexts a LOT. In Deuteronomy, for instance, God gave those blessings conditional upon certain commandments to his people. Now, if you go down a bit to verse 19, you will see serious curses that are the exact opposites of the blessings above. Consequences people. For every action, there is a reaction or what's that thing physicists say? Just figure out what the consequences are for each potential decision.

2.) What Would Jesus Do?
A saying almost as old as time itself, but rarely ever actually acted upon. This goes without saying. And how would you know what Jesus would do? Check out his word.

Huh, do you want me to read the whole Bible Ife just cos I want to make a decision?

Okay, fine. What kind of a person do you envision yourself to be? What kind of a person do you want to be? God demands justice, kindness, and humility. So how does the choice you make embody these values? Which choice makes you more kind, humble, and just? How does the choice affect your character?

"Imitate God, therefore in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God." Ephesians 5:1-2

"No, o people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he  requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." -Micah 6:8

3.) Do Unto Others As You Want Done Unto You
This is as basic as it says. And it was Christ's golden rule (Matthew 7:12). Making right decisions is really a habit that grows on you. But taking the above three points into consideration is something to look into. Just ask God for wisdom if you need and He will give unto you.

Finally, and just as important is trust. Seriously. Trust God. Trust yourself; that you made a decision and just have the faith that you made the right one. Let it go. Don't make a decision and then linger on for ever, wondering. It's how some people are already married, but a gazillion years later they are still wondering if their lives would have been better if they chose to marry the other loser asking them out. RULE number one after having made a decision is YOU NEVER KNOW THE ROAD NOT TAKEN.

what if I had....

But if I chose this instead....

NO. So many variables work together for an event and to recreate a choice would mean taking into account every variable and counterfactual. I shouldn't get too technical. The point is you have made a decision, STICK by it. Commit to it and see it through. And don't let the fear of making mistakes with your decision paralyze you into inaction. Indecision is itself a decision.

TLDR: consider consequences; act like Jesus would; do unto others what you would have done unto you; don't let fear keep you from deciding; and once you decide, commit to it.

Love,

I

P.S: the actual writing of blog posts isn't what frustrates me. It's every other thing: production, if you will. Things like adding pictures, formatting, sharing on social media bla bla ugh. I just wanna write abeg. Anyway, have a good week. I had such a productive weekend of fun and work that I'm beaming with pride. Weekends like this convince me adulting ain't so bad after all. Haha. Go on and rock this week, beloved.

On Faith And Doubt in One's Self

I don't have any wisdom to dish out today. If anything, I am presenting what some might call a conundrum.

How often do you doubt? How often do you have tons of questions for God? Do you often wonder where practicality, or perhaps common sense ends and faith begins?

C'mon be realistic.

I'm pretty sure you have heard at least some variation of the above. Faith, to me is such a multi-complex issue that I never get tired of reading about it or listening to someone talk about it.



I watched this and was reminded of "what it feels like to doubt, to be overload with skepticism".

Something recently got me thinking:

I'm not qualified for this

I can't get this

This is not for me

Be realistic Ife, you can't do this. You simply are not enough 

Now, I am of course a Christian and I know there is a general consensus among Christians to "pray like you are incapable/haven't read/insert whatever else AND that to act like/read like you haven't prayed", which for the longest time to me meant:

Yeah, God is capable...BUT it's still up to you as an individual to achieve/do/get that thing.

See, if it was entirely up to you or me, if it was completely within our power, why do we need God? I now know there are numerous answers to this. Like God himself believes in a strong work ethic and in discipline. Like God is not a bellhop that brings you whatever you need/want whenever you need/want it. We need God for more than just our earthly desires, which you probably only desire in the first place so you can feel superior to others.  I know now that a relationship with God isn't just about me, me, me. A relationship with God is an anchor for my soul.

But then again, I'm not always clear minded enough to reason it out that way. If I had no faith in God, there are many things that I would never, ever try. I'm very rational and it can often present as pessimism. The thing is I really, really hate wasted time. And in my opinion, many things are mere time wasters.

I have now learnt (and still constantly learning) that God is limitless and anything is possible. I have also learnt how faith can open your eyes to see what's IN you. To see what's WITHIN you. Faith, is indeed empowering. Yet faith is also knowing God CAN do this, but he doesn't necessarily always want to or have to.

It wasn't till later in life when my parents were trying to make an analogy about my life in one of my dark moments, that I found my name could also mean "the will of God". I began to understand even much more about my life, because as you should already know, names are or can be a powerful force in a person's life.

So now I ask myself, I want this, but does God want this? Because while I only see a teeny weeny part of the whole picture, God sees and knows the entire picture. He is all-knowing. So I just do. I then remind myself about the things that truly matter. Whatever that thing is that you want to go crazy about; I'm almost certain it's not your WHOLE life. It really is just a part of your life. Of course in my case, it is an important part of my life that I desire and trust that God will help me achieve. But it's just that: a PART of my WHOLE life. Ultimately, even if God doesn't give me this thing I want desperately, it doesn't make Him any less great or any less mighty.



I refuse to be controlled by my wants and needs. And you should as well.

What's the point of this story? I already hinted to it above. I was close to not attempting something this past week. It was too big a dream, so I quit. I swear those online motivational speakers would have ripped my head apart hahaha. A la if you can think it you can do it yidi yada. Yeah, no. Please there are tons of things you can dream and can't do.  I digress. Anyway, so I told myself I was not that lucky. And was about to keep it moving. BUT. Now, this is a huge BUT. But...somehow, God gave me the grace and humility to actually tell my sister about it, who immediately admonished and charged me. She reminded me of past achievements. This is gold. Always, always remember where and how God has come through for you in the past. Surround yourself with wise counsel. God really used my sister for me and I decided to go for it. My prayer is that I come back to this blog to testify.

"Today I have faith, but I can't make any promises about tomorrow." - Joseph Solomon


Therefore if you are in doubt or confusion about something hard you want to do... GO FOR IT. The truth, cliche as it might sound, is that unless you try, you'd never know. What if you fail? But what if you fly? You say, but my faith isn't enough. Lucky for you since you only need faith the size of a mustard seed, huh? A healthy dose of doubt is good. A healthy does of fear is good even. It gives you perspective and some humility.

Now if your doubt isn't about a particular thing, perhaps about God in particular. That's very understandable as well. You will seldom find a Christian who hasn't been there. Work through it, and of course pray for clarity. God always, always shows up.

"Before you doubt me, doubt your doubt. And you'll see they are just as empty as the tomb that I walked from."

Selah.

Love,

I


Friday Reflection

1.) Happy new month people!! What's your plan for the remainder of this year?

2.) How Did You Feel About It? A short story by Chimamanda Adichie.

3.) A lot of times people conflate the social pressures to get married with actual desire.

4.) "I’d never use the word 'hubby' or write a laudatory Facebook post about him performing a basic life task such as cooking dinner." Read this interesting piece about the author's desire to get married.

5.) Read this fascinating and heartbreaking story of a modern day slave. Everything is so chaotic about the story, and blames for the miserable life the woman lived could fall on a number of people. The truth though is that if that couple (parents of the writer) had just treated Lola like a decent human being, perhaps it would not have been as awful.

6.) The curious case of Christians and alcohol. Isn't it so interesting how one person can channel their own personal principles as universal tenets of a religion? It still happens.

7.) Were people waiting for a reason to bash Joel Osteen? Indeed the whole fiasco said a LOT about American Christianity. But what baffled me wasn't that his church did or did not allow people in during the flood; it's that Joel Osteen is worth 40 million. You guys, FORTY MILLION. HOW? Like... what is one person doing with so much?

8.) Houston, Benue, Sierra Leone...all on our hearts.

9.) Man, Kenyans are so lucky they get a do over with their elections. If only us Americans had the same luxury (side eye).

10.) Okay something quick about number 8. Don't be that person that whines about the world paying attention to one catastrophe and ignoring another; it is not a misfortune competition. I used to be this way too, but quickly realized that everyone would NOT be angry about every injustice or every misfortune.

11.) You know what though? If YOU feel a tragedy isn't getting enough coverage or mention, then YOU start it. DO something. Create a go fund me and publicize it. Disturb all our timelines about that tragedy; do whatever you can to bring attention to it. Just stop with making folks feel bad about sympathizing with others or worse, making the victims feel bad about their own tragedy.

On Staying Woke And Resisting Anxiety

Everyone understands anxiety (well, many people do). And we even sometimes are able to conquer it, we know the signs...and as Christians we are well aware of what the Bible tells us about anxiety and worry. We know God is for us. We have read and read and read page after page in the Bible telling us who we are in Christ. In fact on some days we feel peaceful and free and content. And all of a sudden, the next minute or day, life happens. Anxiety creeps in and you have to start to adjust all over again. 


Well, we have to continually guard against anxiety. To do this, we must renew our minds daily. In other words, we have to STAY WOKE. The truth is before we even set our feet on the ground each day, satan is going to try it. He will attempt to mess with our heads. Our minds. Our thoughts. Our feelings. Then enemy seeks to get us down. To destroy us. We are now aware of this. After all, in battle and in war, you must first understand the strategy of your opposition; of your enemy. Now that you do, what shall you do?

RESIST. Learn to equip yourself with and arm yourself with the word of God. God has given us the authority to resist. Replace anxious thoughts with reassuring thoughts of God's words. We also have to get to the dwelling place with Jesus. Thereafter you will remain at peace despite what the day throws ahead of you. I didn't say that means you would have a completely easy day. It means you are clear headed, you are filled with peace, and most of all armed with wisdom to handle whatever happens. This is all tried and tested folks.

Part of that wisdom, for instance is picking your battles wisely. Don't let a bad five minutes destroy an entire day. Don't let an awful short conversation with an awful person affect your entire conversations for the rest of the day with decent people. Do whatever practical thing you need to do to protect your sanity.


My motto for the remainder of 2017 is that Goodness and Mercy WILL follow me ALL the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord. In fact, I feel like my theme for the rest of the year is DWELL.  I will dwell and thrive in Christ. Look, the year might be close to being over, but it doesn't stop you from setting new themes and goals and resolutions. It shouldn't stop you from living as full as you can. Four months is a LONG time. 

"Those who dwell in the shelter of the most high will find REST in the shadow of the almighty." -Psalm 91:1

So yes, I will mostly be minding my business and dwelling for the rest of the year by God's grace. It reminds me of one of my favorite verses: "for I bear the mark of Christ, let NO ONE trouble me." As you can see, I plan on maintaining my peace while dwelling in God for the rest of this year and for the rest of my life even. 

Therefore as you go back to school, work, living fabulous, or whatever else rocks your boat, remember this: You will be okay.

I sincerely hope I remember it as well.

Love,

I

On Three Things To Note As Summer Ends and Schools Resume

I should have been more consistent these past few weeks. Even I know that. But I wasn’t kidding when I said the end of summer was making me a bit nervous. BUT I am somewhat in the groove of things and about ready for summer to end. I’m not worried about keeping up with blogging when I became way too busy. If I can plan in advance, I will be fine. That said, you can keep up with me on Instagram.

I don’t know why I don’t upload pictures of myself more on this blog. It just…I don’t know. I guess since I’m not a fashion or hair blogger. You probably can’t even call me a lifestyle blogger. Anyway, I took some real professional quality pictures [by chance] today with my iPhone. Here:









So three things for today.

One: As schools begin to resume, if you can afford to, you can be of help. One way to do this is donate to your local school board(s) to offset lunch debts for underprivileged kids. Another thing is to call up local charities, who sometimes have Amazon wish-lists. It is probably not as expensive as you imagine. But yes I find that when people feel helpless, doing stuff like this can help relieve burdens. In other words, be the answer to someone else's prayers.

Two: Hurricane Harvey. Sigh. Natural disasters are awful. There is only so much anyone can do to prevent them. That said, what people need now are SOLUTIONS. So yes indeed our hearts are with them. Our prayers are with them. But you don't need to tell victims this. Pray in the privacy of your house for them; you don't need to post the prayers online. Why? You ask. Well, someone online gave the best analysis for this. You see, some people stranded in the flood don't have access to power. The only access to information that can help them by providing rescue or some sort of haven is probably through social media. Such people will scour online hashtags for any information at all. Now imagine your floods of "Our thoughts and prayers are with you" obscuring actual, practical steps and provisions to save their lives. They definitely need prayers and KNOW many are praying for them. So  give way for them to see how God is coming through for them. Thank you. So in that vein, if you are posting on any social media, please post numbers of rescue organizations, places they can get help, news on what's happening etc. I saw that some took offense to this reasoning, calling it an assault on their religion. You guys really need to chill with this sensitivity and fighting for God ish. God didn't send your behind to be his defender, okay? Okay. Thanks again

Three: A conversation with my mother today about a friend who failed reminded me to reiterate this. Failure is NOT and will NEVER be the end of this world. I say this because I know it. There are not many things I can say with absolute authority because I run away from absolutes. This ONE I know without a doubt: you can RISE from failure. People often remain stuck after they fail. Instead of wallowing in it, just regroup. Create a new vision for yourself. Start again. Have you realized you have failed so badly, the school asked you to withdraw? You did bad. But you can come back from it. Maybe take a minute to figure out what works and doesn't work. But GET BACK UP. It will be hard, but you will be fine.

Well that's it.

For those headed back to school or maybe even starting college for the first time, good luck! Here is a throwback where I wrote some words to live by in college.

Love,

I

Photo credit: my sister



Friday Reflections

1.) Person of Interest is pretty dope. I mean by the time I realized it was sci-fi I was pretty sucked in already.

2.) If you are looking for a carefree, black, and uber (pun intended) successful chick, look no further than Badass Boz.

3.) Let it be known that as long as that chick is at Uber, I am NOT boycotting Uber. Yeah, I stan for my sistahs like that.

4.) Mehn I really want to like "Insecure", because again I stan for my sistahs. But the random sex with girls you met at the grocery store checkout; or desperately looking for sex so much, you practically forced your neighbor for sex; the THIRST...I really don't know anymore.

5.) "When Jesus stood on the side of justice, turning over tables- would you have said both sides are wrong?" - Austin Channing Brown

6.) What if the Western media covered Charlottesville the same way it covers other nations (particularly African nations)?

7.) Oprah Winfrey is on a roll, again.

8.) Can you love God AND trap music?

9.) This family learned to mourn their brother/son's death in their father's house.

10.) The last days of summer is seriously making me jittery/nervous/anxious.

11.) I have always thought it was possible to have a black friend, be married to  a black person, heck even have a black kid and still be racist. Anyway, read how donald ruined this dude's relationship with his mother.

On Who Your Neighbor Is And Inaction

One fine morning in December, with the glaring winter sun in full view, a man walked to work. The day before had been particularly hard, and he struggled to find any reason to show up today. But he decided to go anyway. He walked his usual route with the confidence that comes with routine, paying no mind to his surrounding. He was used to the silence that plagued the road because of how early in the day he walked. He would normally walk on the sidewalk, brushing off long branches from the trees. Today was no different. As he walked, the cool winter breeze made the branches sway back and forth. He thought about his life and how far from achieving his dreams he was when a loud jump interrupted his reverie.


Friday Reflections

1.) "I rarely  meet men in real life as extraordinary as ones on film, and rarely see women on film as extraordinary as ones I know in real life." - Twitter User, @SmartAssJen

2.) Plus size fashion can't and shouldn't be ignored anymore.

3.) Questions for Cory Taylor about dying. This might sound cliche but the article gave me renewed sense of appreciation for life; a renewed disdain for pettiness and trivial issues; and a huge amount of courage to tackle life's adversities with appreciation. Because ultimately, good times and bad times still amount to good memories.

4.) The email Hilary Clinton's pastor sent to her the day after she lost the election. I have a new saying: SUNDAY IS COMING!

4.) "HBO’s Confederate takes as its premise an ugly truth that black Americans are forced to live every day: What if the Confederacy wasn’t wholly defeated? African Americans do not need science-fiction, or really any fiction, to tell them that that 'history is still with us.'" - Ta-Nehisi Coates

5.) Here is a cold feedback from an entrepreneur who left her day job to pursue her dreams.

6.) This writer explained why she hid her second pregnancy from the internet. Spoiler alert: answer is somewhat in number 7 :)

7.) What I'll say regarding number 6 is that the decision to announce your pregnancy on social media, as with other social media displays like a new boyfriend can be tricky sometimes. Ultimately though (and this sounds cliche) do what YOU like, but try not to be so paralyzed with the fear of losing a thing that you don't celebrate it at all. Even if things [say a relationship] eventually go sour; it doesn't negate the good times.

8.) I just watched Manchester by the Sea. It's a really good movie, which despite the humor and astute dialogue, I just couldn't quite get past the sadness. The emotions were almost overwhelming, and spoiler alert: it didn't leave me feeling good. But it had the most realistic ending. This is the most comprehensive review, but also features lots of spoilers.

A Summer Update and Some Rambling

A summer update and some rambling.

I follow this incredible girls' empowerment page on Instagram. It is for:

"...fly girls who defy expectations and navigate the world on their own terms. A community. A philosophy. A safe space."

Anyway I love it.

Speaking of Instagram, follow me on Instagram! When life gets in the way of long, detailed posts, I'm pretty sure I'll still be able to post snippets there.

But more to the point, this picture struck a chord in my heart.





Isn't it just true? I remember explaining to my siblings that someone I know was enthusiastically and happily stunning for the current head of the executive branch aka a former reality tv show star aka thrice married, social media-in-chief. Now ordinarily, political differences is not enough [in my opinion] to sow a discord in any relationship. But as we have seen in recent times, it's now beyond politics and partisanship; it speaks to your values and what you hold true. Now if you were a white male, I would understand [sort of] that you are just a selfish person who cares about no one else. Okay. But this person in question isn't just black like me, he is an immigrant as well. I know too well the opportunities that his being in America has provided for him and his family. I know him so much that  I know everything donald stands for works against this dude. It's like deliberately voting AGAINST your own interest. I don't get it. Not to mention, he is a Christian. So my sister suggested just screen-munching the headlines of the day to this person to show him his folly. Because pick at random any headline, and you would see that our political leaders are not doing right by us. I just said, you know what, I am done. If I have to explain to you how this administration hurts you, well then...you are a lost cause. Do what you like.

So yes I have OUTGROWN FRIENDS WHO THOSE WHO DON'T TAKE A STAND AGAINST IGNORANCE AND INJUSTICE.

I have outgrown so many things. I don't know what it is, but my tolerance for BS reduces everyday. I am still working on outgrowing shrinking myself for people who are intimidated by my intelligent and opinionated self. I still sometimes worry about being "too much". I tell myself it's humility, but it's not. So may God help me to be unapologetically me.

I also hate small talks. Ugh. So I will avoid them at all costs. Humans of NY posted this woman's story yesterday. And I kept terming it "Goals", which is something I never do. No one's life is so great that I would want mine to be an exact replica, to be honest. But there was something about her approach to life. When someone asked what exactly made her "goals" to me. I just thought, you wouldn't understand no matter how hard I explained. The joy she radiated. The attitude and disposition towards life were admirable.




I have also overgrown society telling us how to live.



I find that people haven't yet realized how completely different human beings are from one another. So they try to dictate hard and fast rules that typically exclude people that have different temperaments. One instance is aggressive networking. I don't believe very much in it [please don't be like me oooh. Network like your life depends on it.] But I'm more of the let your work speak for you type. More on this later. I also for instance don't believe in finding your passion. So I'm different, in many ways. This isn't always good news, but I'm learning to manage my individuality. Which often than not means having to not always explain life choices every time because it's...different. And yes even to friends.

So believe me when I say I'm taking my advice  in cutting out that and those not beneficial to my mind, soul, and body.

Well, that was a long update, wasn't it?

Oh, and just because I haven't posted on this blog in August (SMH), I also want to wish my parents well here as well.



They celebrated 30 years of marriage at the beginning of August and that was awesome. People complain about what a bad rap marriage gets these days, so I like to shout out to my parents a lot so people can see that a good, long-lasting marriage is possible with the grace of God.


Love,

I


On Taking Care of Your Mental Health and Avoiding Depression

A [social media] acquaintance of my brother is going through a very rough phase of depression and suicidal thoughts, which then brought about our discussion of mental health and depression. Certain matters came up and then I decided to blog about it. Mental health is VERY important. Do not take it lightly. More so, since the current rate of suicides among young folks is becoming alarming. Anyway, here goes a list of things that can help with your mental health:

1.) Seek Help. First things first. If you have physical pains, say in your stomach or your head, you would go to the doctor or find some way to address it, right? Well the same goes for your mental health. You need to seek help somehow. Once you have constant depressive episodes and/or thoughts of suicide, it is imperative to seek help. Talk to someone: maybe family, a trusted friend, or seek the help of a professional. Some people spent a chunk of their adult years in school studying and learning this stuff. They have been trained to help you; to evaluate your lifestyle to determine causes of and kinds of depression; and if necessary prescribe medication for you. Therapists/counselors are everywhere. Use their services. And if you can't afford it, then another suggestion is to look to religious leaders. You don't even have to believe. What we say in my church is "you can belong before you believe". Just seek help somehow if what you're experiencing is too much for you to handle. If you are worried about the stigma (and thankfully people are less critical these days), but you don't have to tell everyone you are going to a therapist. Your therapist would also be bound by ethics to not reveal it to anyone.



2a.) Guard your heart. This is crucial. Everyone is woke these days and that's a good thing. The problem is an overload of information. So on a regular day on social media, people are hashtagging something, or protesting something, or crying about famine and human trafficking, or insulting donald, or racism or colorism, or bigotry. SOMETHING is always happening. Now if you are very sensitive, it's bound to affect you somehow. The helplessness in all of it alone can send you into a spiral of depression. The bitterness and vitriol. The anger. It can be exhausting and overwhelming. TUNE out. Yes, unfollow. Unsubscribe. Do what you can to protect yourself. Now at first, you will feel guilty about that because these activists and woke people are doing the Lord's work by crying out against injustice. But you also need to look out for you.

"Being woke is not an excuse to walk in lovelessness"- Preston Perry

There is only so much you can do. Also you can  NOT change the world. I don't care who you are; nobody can.  So unfollow and get yourself some peace. I'm not saying be quiet about injustice. I'm saying move at your own pace. Protest and resist your own way. The very interesting fact about the world we live in is despite everything going on, this is the most peaceful the world has been in most of history. Yes. Our ancestors were worse than us.  If you feel helpless, then volunteer in your local community. Or just give [no matter how little] to a local charity doing what tugs your heart the most. You'd be surprised how much that can help.

2b) Based on 2a above, study your triggers. How does it start? What is that thing that constantly makes you downcast, and brings heaviness to your heart? Does sexual violence bother you. Then maybe don't watch Game of Thrones. Maybe don't watch Law and Order SVU. Maybe the thought of slavery angers you so much, you can almost feel the anger physically. Then don't follow the producers that have decided to create a new show based on an alternate world where slavery still exists. I did not make that up. I digress. There are lighthearted options. Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother etc. would make you laugh so hard, you'd forget all of life's problems. Whatever you do, guard your heart FIERCELY.  Make sure you maintain your atmosphere.

3.) Try not to always live in your feelings. Your feelings don't own you. You own them. You will often feel sad, discouraged, angry... Don't dwell on them. Don't succumb to them. Speak what's real unto your life. Speak what God has said unto your life. Talk to your soul, to yourself.
Speak faith. Speak love. Speak assurance. Most especially, remind yourself of God's goodness and greatness. You will be constantly tempted to drown in your pool of emotions. Try to resist that temptation. I'm not so naive as to think everyone is a Christian. So even if you are not a Christian, you can still speak positivity into your life. Scientific research has proven how much that works. This obviously does not come easily. But so many things in life don't, and so far you have managed to achieve some of them despite the terrible odds. I'm a cynic by nature and a little bit of a pessimist myself. But I'm also a Christian. A while ago, I had to pick which one to surrender to. You guessed right. I chose to believe Jesus.

4.) This too will pass. My favorite. To be completely fair, there are some tough life situations that won't actually pass, but can be managed. However, MANY things including but not limited to [romantic] heartbreaks ALWAYS pass. Please and please and please, do not give any human so much power over you that their breaking up with you harms your mental health. I promise you, no human being is worth that much. You will be fine. There are literally millions of human beings; you will find another love.

Finally, God isn't afraid of our feelings so go ahead and tell Him how you feel. Also try to take care of your body. The physical can sometimes help the emotional. Eat well, exercise, avoid stress if you can. Immerse yourself in a community of solid friendships and relationships.  Like I always say we have an extraordinary amount of resilience in us, and we are built to weather through storms and survive. We will be okay.

Love,

I

P.S: here are helpful things to do when the waiting period seems like it's going to last forever.

Friday Reflections

1.) Please read this on why judging the poor is faulty logically. If you read carefully, you will also learn how one can do everything right but still get it wrong.

2.) When you hate political drama, but also love it. Lol. American politics is devolving. I guess we have to praise the Democrats and three Republicans who were able to save lives by voting no on repealing Obamacare

3.) Summer is really not going as planned but I'm still thankful. Plus remember this advice on what to do when things don't go as planned?

4.) I shared on Instagram that I watched this and  learnt a whole lot about the will of God. I learnt how sometimes the will of God doesn't look "pleasant". In fact the wilderness you are in might be the will of God.

5.) Follow me on Instagram. I have always wanted a space on social media to share short inspirational and motivational messages, so I created one.

6.) I can't believe (just kidding, I actually can) the president of these United States went on National T.V to encourage brutality against "gang member". Wow.

7.) American like to believe they are superior to everybody else. This is a lie. Even the very institutions that has always prevented from sinking low is now being threatened.

8.) People love a sob story, and more than anything, people love being the "savior".

9.) I am fit fam until I get a hold of Haagen Dazs.

10.) Another phase is over.

11.) Do you think guys sometimes propose because the relationship got boring and they needed something interesting/worthy of hype? I do.


Friday Reflections

1.) An open letter to clergy who prayed with Trump.

2.) A girl and a woman 58 years apart talk about life.

3.)  So did a man and a boy 57 years apart. Quite interesting.

4.) People who are trying and working hard to change the world don't spend all their time talking and tweeting about it, they just do.

5.) My girl, Mindy  Kaling is pregnant with her first child!!!

6.) Can you imagine your close friend being pregnant and you don't know who the father of her child is though? I mean, that's basically not friendship haha

7.) Did you see this practical advice on what to do while you are waiting for that big thing?

8.) Ugh I'm so sorry about Chester Bennington. I really didn't know him that well, but lots of people were very bugged down by it.

9.) Depression is very complex and multifaceted. BUT it can be dealt with. I really hope and pray people struggling can find something, someone to life them from the pit-hole.

10.) Even I don't have an explanation, but I know an answer: Jesus, the calm in the storm.

On Practical Things To Do When The Waiting Period Seems To Last Forever

Hello people!

*Try to flip hair*

*Realize that hair is too kinky and crack neck in the process*

Re do.

Hello people!

*pats hair*

That's better.

Hahaha

Seriously now. I think I should have done this a little bit earlier. But actually, it's the right time. I suppose many graduates are home now; doing the waiting game. Waiting to hear back from places you applied to. Or maybe not graduates; maybe just regular people. Maybe things are not going as you planned, which is 99% of the time in life. Seriously, the earlier everyone accepts that life rarely goes as planned, the better for everyone. So yes, you had planned the perfect summer, you had planned the perfect year, indeed you had planned the perfect life, but it's not working. Or nothing is happening right now. What do you do while you wait? How do you maximize the time? Here are a couple of suggestions.



1.) Pray: when I say pray, I don't necessarily mean badger God for that exact plan/thing you envisaged. That's not exactly a bad thing. But the essence of prayer here is to learn to relinquish your plans for God's plans. A lot of times our fixation on perfection and our own plans prevents us from noticing progress or even enjoying the present. This is what praying and seeking God helps you do. Also it helps with peace of mind and an ability to trust God. So spend time with God, getting to know more about God, listening to preachers who share God's word, and learning to have a discerning spirit, which of course you would need further down the line.


2.) Shut down social media and build your mental strength: This varies. Social media is fun. But it also can be very, very toxic. All hail the mother devil, Instagram. While you are going through a tough time, it's not especially the ideal time to watch people pretend to be living their best lives on social media. So you might need time away to clear your head. You might also need time away to keep you from bouts of envy. I mean, imagine just breaking up with the love of your life only to see everyone getting engaged or those gorgeous but flamboyant pregnancy shoots. Yeah, no. Or imagine being jobless and then logging on to see your old schoolmates bag the job of YOUR dreams, and seeing them travel the world. It's never easy, even for the best of us. At that moment, we are never logical enough to think that everyone puts their best foot forward on social media, and the pictures you see are only snapshots and peeks into perhaps, otherwise turbulent lives. That being said, it's important to become mentally strong, because you will need it in life. So learn to stop comparing your life with others; learn to stop throwing a pity party for yourself; learn to understand that sometimes things are bad, other times they are good. Indeed people's lives may be as perfect as they portray and no matter how much you convince yourself its all a facade, it really isn't. So until you learn true contentment, just stay off social media. Or keep it, and build your mental strength.

3.) Journal: maybe it sounds mushy mushy, but it helps. It helps you to think. It helps you glean from God/holyspirit/introspectiveness on what is next and how you want to move forward. You would also be able to look back and see how far God has brought you. And best of all, it's therapeutic to describe exactly how you feel. Knowing how you feel also helps with dealing with it.

4.)Open your eyes to see what lessons God has for you: this is sort of a piggyback to the last point. But every season/situation/problem most likely has a lesson for you in it. Sometimes they are not very glaring, but there are lessons. Is it a test in patience? Or in preparation? Or in hard-work? Or to get you ready for a completely different phase of life?

5.) Learn/Explore/Do something different: we all have that one thing we have always wanted to do or learn. Do it now. I'm not going to give some silly, elitist advice like travel the world or work for free or go skydiving. No. If you can't afford it, don't bother your head. But there are things you can do: learn a language? read a book? learn to code? re-read a book? write a book? learn graphic design? Maybe that concept you were taught but never really grasped because were too busy? Well, there is time now. YouTube is filled with [free] resources. The internet is filled with tons of resources. Allow for fun too; yes binge watch your favorite shows or do whatever your definition of fun is.

6.) Create a new vision: Unfortunately, it would be a lie if I said everything always works out perfectly. It doesn't. Sometimes your biggest plans fail. Sometimes you will not get that job, sorry. But is that the end? No. Re group. Someone asked TD Jakes how to continue life/cope after her divorce, because she felt like her life was over. His response was profound:

"What makes you feel like you have lost your life is that you have lost what you had in mind for your life. Which means you need a  new vision for yourself; one that does not include someone that no longer chooses to be a part of your life."

I feel like you can apply this to almost anything. Create a new vision, a new dream, something completely different if the prior plan has failed. Things and plans and even people fail. That's okay too.

One last thing is to learn to live beyond your feelings. Please, this can't be overemphasized. We can't be consumed by our feelings all the time; it's so fleeting. Our feelings should have no control over us. I have to write an entire thing on this. The root of most problems is dwelling in our feelings AND letting it conquer us. Anyway, I digress.

This is way longer than I thought, but I hope it helps someone out there going through a waiting period that seems to be lasting forever. This, too shall pass. It usually always does.


Love,

I

Friday Reflections

1.)This Hell Not Mine: On Moving from Nigeria to America.

2.) See this outstanding and profound essay on the place of dance in the midst of pain, depression, and powerlessness.

3.) I'm constantly learning and re-learning to be my own person.

4.) Contentment or complacency?

5.) On the power of prayer especially in tough seasons.

6.) Stop searching for your passion. "You don't follow your passion, your passion follows you."

7.) How is it that we (as human beings) can hammer on for years about a tragedy or misfortune, but are conspicuously quiet about triumphs? Quite interesting.

8.) This "sliding into DMs" business. Please slide out of my DMs and back to your lane.

9.) Nigerian [young] women are getting increasingly progressive, whereas the [young] men have refused to leave the 18th century.

10.) First responders are real-life, everyday heroes. I just watched Sully :)

11.) "The dating pool becomes much smaller when you refuse to compromise on misogyny & bigotry." This is a real tragedy. And what stinks is how prevalent misogyny is even among VERY well educated guys; I just don't get it.

12.) I can't believe it's 10 years since we finished from QC (my secondary/high school). For all of its problems, that school gave me the gift of lifelong friends and countless memories.



On Failure

This one is easy in the sense that most people have experienced it at one point or another. But how have you let it impact you? Has it paralyzed you? In that, has a fear of failure hindered you from making great strides? Or has failure given you a bold audacity to thrive? Because it has been both for me. Failure has paralyzed me and it also has inspired me. I think it's usually more of the latter these days, and I'm grateful to God for that.


The thing with failure is we all need it. It's humbling, but more than that it's eye opening if you maximize it well. There are also different kinds of failure. There is the failure that occurs because you didn't try. But then there is the failure that happens even after doing everything you can; everything within your capabilities; making all the best plans; praying with all your might; and then still fail. That's really the kind I'm addressing. Despite the pain and shock and feelings of inadequacy that might accompany failure, you must never let that conquer you.




So when I saw the above picture, I smiled. I smiled because it felt familiar. I am in NO WAY comparing myself to the great Michael Jordan. Ha, no. I'm saying I know what it means to fail, to be rejected (literally in every sense of this word), and to keep trying. There is a kind of freedom that comes with having no fear of failure. There is, to use the word above, an audacity it equips you with. I have failed so much that I don't think I am scared of failing anymore and that feels good. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying failure has no impact on me or that I still don't feel the sting that comes from every "NO" or every silence. Of course I do. Haha. I'm saying it can't stop me from trying again. When asked how she was able to build the multi million Naira brand that is EbonyLife TV and Films, Mo Abudu said it was from never relenting.

"It really is a game of numbers." I remember her saying. "Everyone can't say no to you. Eventually someone says yes."

Listen, if that ain't the truth.

To be clear, and I feel like I always have to give a caveat because I would hate to be misleading, and seriously I'm the most cynical person, which means I do not like sweeping, overly vague "encouragements" or cliches. So I must warn you to apply wisdom. This means, if something keeps failing, it's sometimes because you are doing something wrong and should attempt to approach it from another angle. Be flexible in your approach. Let's give the most rudimentary example of failure: an exam. So you took an exam and failed. Re-examine your study methods, evaluate your weak points in the subject and hone in on those. Indeed, ask yourself the importance of this exam in the first place. If it's time problems, take practice tests under time constraints....etc. Don't just keep writing the same exam and failing and think it's just a game of numbers. No please. So you get the drift? Use wisdom, try different approaches, sometimes you might need to abandon it altogether and try something else. But try you must; do not give up. And this can be anything. After all, we fail on many different things in life, don't we? Jobs, exams, businesses, projects, relationships, challenges...whatever, just don't because you already failed once decide to cower. Nope.

Most importantly, your failures don't define you. I personally TRY to do my best, but I also know it’s not a matter of life and death. I think the older I grow, the more I’m able to define my identity. The clearer I’m able to state what defines me. So like I always say, my failures don’t define me. Indeed my successes don’t either. They are parts of the whole me. It's important, I reckon, to know this. It’s probably why I don’t hammer on and on about things I have achieved*. I do what I want and keep it moving.  So I constantly pray that I we are not (or my entire existence is not) hinged on a crippling fear of what if I fail.  What if I can’t? Well, what if I CAN?


Love,

I

*P.S: please know I am not saying to not celebrate achievements and successes. Far from that, in fact celebrating your success helps you better deal with failure. Just don't dwell on them so much, even they begin to paralyze you :)



Friday Reflections

1.) The seduction of pessimism

2.) Oh gosh, I'm watching Confirmation and GOODNESS, I'm infuriated at the injustice Anita Hill went through. Not one Democrat stood up for her while her character was  being assassinated. Eventually Edward Kennedy said something, but only after she had been thoroughly humiliated.

3.) I'm now the person who does yoga when she has a headache instead of taking a painkiller. LOL

4.) Some kids just never stood a chance because of the misfortune of being born by certain parents.

5.) If our lives came with soundtracks, mine would be Morgan Harper Nichols' Storyteller.

6.) This poignant speech by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts at his son's ninth grade graduation.

7.) Ninth-grade graduation is a thing?

8.) Politicians across the world (YES, even developed countries) spend more time politicking than actually governing. I can't explain how much that irritates me.

9.) How to stop being a doormat.

On Justice and the Kind of Life God Wants

I recently found this gem the other day and thought to share. While it's particularly important for Christians, I also think it's something everyone should consider. So it is from the book of Isaiah in the Bible. Basically, God told the prophet Isaiah to pass on a message to the Israelites. The Israelites always acted very pious, God said. They would go the Temple every day and even seem happy to learn about God. They carried themselves as though they would never abandon God and like they wanted to be near Him. And when there was silence from him, they would protest:

we have fasted!

we have been really hard on ourselves; denied ourselves of life's pleasures just to please you!

why are you NOT impressed, huh?!

why do you act like you don't notice?

Sounds familiar? I bet it does. You are fasting and praying. You serve in Church. You can quote the Bible from Genesis to Revelations. You can preach the devil back to hell. So what's up? Why does God not notice it?


Well that's because while you are fasting, you are exploiting and oppressing your workers. While you are fasting, you are fighting with the whole world, and keeping malice. So you do the rites, and fast for 150 of the 365 days in the year. But God is like, nah, that kind of fasting will get you nowhere. That kind of lifestyle really doesn't please him. What kind of fasting does he want, you ask.


"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 relatives who need your help." Isaiah 58: 6-7


If you go on in that passage, it continues to say "THEN..." meaning after you do the above will you experience true healing; will your godliness lead you forward; will the glory of God protect you. It is THEN that the Lord will quickly (it specifies) answer your call.  When you feed the hungry, and help those in trouble, your light will shine out.

In other words, less of you and more of others. We can see that justice, mercy, and compassion matter to God a lot. And again, we see that hypocrisy really irritates God. I'll give another instance; this time in the new testament. Jesus was dragging the Pharisees and calling them hypocrites and stuff. And then he mentioned how they do everything right, they were careful to tick all the boxes. They would even tithe the tiniest income they earned. BUT, they would ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. I'm not even kidding, Jesus called those the MORE IMPORTANT [THAN TITHE] aspects of the law. He then reiterated that while tithing was and would always be important, justice, mercy, and faith were more important.




Coincidentally, I was just joking with my dad and sister recently that while no one person can be angry about all injustices, it's important and dare I say, it's our responsibility to care about justice. There has to be something; one thing you care about. Pick that one thing and run with it, in whatever capacity you can. Is it giving the less privileged? Maybe this year instead of another useless birthday photo-shoot, you can instead ask your friends to give on your behalf? Someone on Twitter once suggested calling your local school(board) and asking to offset some lunch debt for kids. Maybe it's your time you can give: to your own family, your friends. Something...just remember God really cares about it.  Also remember you can't just consistently live for yourself and yourself alone.

Love,

I

The Patriotism in the Christian

This is the 290th post on this blog.



Woah.

So far so good. I think?

I like blogging.

I hate uncertainty but you probably already know that. Random facts.

Happy July 4th weekend!

Here's to freedom and to democracy.

So many things are unclear to so many people. Like, what is the essence of Christianity? How am I a good Christian? Who is a good Christian? What are so-called Christian values? How am I supposed to act? So, can I be nationalistic AND Christian?

I am a bit unclear about some of these things too, except the LAST one. You have to pick one. You either hate others/those different from you or you are a Christian. You can't be both. You can't use the pulpit of God IN a church to bully people. You can't use the celebration of July 4/Independence Day to preach a hatred for non-Americans and a disdain for the other. Actually you can, if you want to. You just can't do that AND be a Christian at the same time. You gotta pick one.

"The church is an embassy of heaven, not America. It’s an international family bought and paid for by a Middle Easterner’s blood." - Matt Smethurst.

I'm not saying don't be patriotic. I'm saying what is your patriotism about? A celebration of true freedom and democracy, or a practice of inherent superiority to those who aren't white males. Because it's becoming increasingly hard to differentiate between the two these days. Before you throw in the founding fathers, please just go elsewhere because I don't really care. Bless their souls, but founding fathers of America and any other country were human beings too. I cringe at this idolization of people who came before us as if they could do no wrong. I digress.

But yes, I  felt like sharing that today. Do what you want with it.

Love, and some freedom,

I




Friday Reflections

1.) This is what happens when you reply spam emails.

2.) I'm doing this thing where I watch ridiculously old movies, because...late bloomer. Forrest Gump was good...but it was no Shawshank Redemption, just saying.

3.) Million Dollar Baby was just depressingly fabulous. I cried my eyes out but it truly was a masterpiece.

4.) See this insanely touching photos of dads in the delivery room to bright up your day :)

5.) I think I've shared this before but it's worth repeating: my dilemma with blogging is that while I want to share my thoughts/writings/ramblings with the "world", I'm also always slightly nervous about sharing my [private] thoughts; it makes me feel so...vulnerable. It's why I pause with the whole blogging thing a lot and don't blog as much.

6.) Anon blog, perhaps? Nah. I'm too big on identity to be anon.

7.) A man that cheats on/mistreats his wife while she is having miscarriages and stillborns is not a man; or how do I put this delicately? Such a man is closer to an animal than to a real man; it doesn't matter how much billions he makes.

8.) If it takes you more than ten years and the birth of your baby to grow up, jeez you were never the real deal.

9.) Women, keep these dudes ACCOUNTABLE please.

10.) Just give it 7 seconds.

11.)  Old, but still necessary. Why Trump made (makes?) Aziz Ansari scared for his family.

12.) "Everything ISN'T found in men; EVERYTHING is found in God...Remind yourself that Jesus is the only one that can save you." - Jackie Hill Perry


On Trusting God and Not Depending on Mere Mortals

When I was younger, I used to expect a lot from people. Let me explain. Friends, acquaintances, family, just humans generally; I just expected folks to do better. I thought there was a fixed expectation as to how people should act. I thought human decency and courtesy should be reciprocated. It's just commonsensical, I thought. That was stupid of me. Now I know for certain that I have no control over how others act; I can mostly only control how I respond. And seeing this post by Eziaha reminded me how often people fall prey to this.



Let me tell you something, God is ultimately your SOURCE. You can't depend on human beings. More recently, God reminded me of this. Everything I was depending on one person or the other for, such that if they sailed through, I would have said "Without XYZ, I would not have got this or done that; everything failed, no one came through. No kidding. And in retrospect, most of my life has been that way. Ultimately, everything I am I owe to God's divine provision and grace. It's my plan to always depend on God. Because the other option is to rely on people. See, the thing is you and I are really fallible and very undependable. I've always said this: people are inherently selfish. Yes, you and I. Of course some more so than others. So chill with idolizing people so much that you forget they have their own responsibilities and problems. Also, learn boundaries. For your sake and others. There is no point being so hurt over your own personal problems that you blame it on others. No bueno.

Now that being said, I know there are a few people out there that are just generally awful. They are your "friends" but will never ever support you or your endeavors; they will never call/text to find out if you are even still alive; and when you text, they never respond; they never tell you what's going on in their lives; On your birthday, crickets; On your worst days, more crickets; they are just never there, point blank. Well, till they need you. Now that's toxic. Normally, I would say confront them and let them know how disappointed you are. But you know what, forget it. Seriously, just forget it.
I'm not saying to take on and keep accepting the excesses of others, or worse allow them walk over you. I'm saying most times, such people are not worth the stress. Don't expect anything else. So should you treat them the same way? YES. Lol. Okay, but as a Christian, I feel compelled to say "NO". Hear me out. There is forgiveness and there is ACCOUNTABILITY. Keep people accountable and GUARD YOUR HEART jealously. Yes be courteous to them, but accord them the level of respect they accord you. Or at most, STAY IN YOUR LANE.

Most importantly, remember to not put pressure on people anyway. I like to call myself a one woman army, not because I don't have good people around, but I know not to put too much pressure on people or set unrealistic expectations, especially considering how fleeting relationships are. I really am a one woman army at the end of the day, and don't bother my head too much over people's actions. I do what I can, when I can so I won't go around expecting people to be there for me the way I was for them. Nah. Once I realize you are not dependable, okay bye boo. Like Eziaha mentioned in that post, I used to really need other people to "gas me up" (Literally just learnt this phrase from Chance the Rapper while watching BET Awards). I would be offended when I wasn't getting the support I thought I needed or encouragement or pity. Again like Eziaha, God took me through a phase of so many disappointments, a wilderness if you will, to wean me off that nonsense lol. Now I gas myself up, all by myself. I have learnt to be my own cheerleader and army of one. I trust in God and find it easier to maintain friendship this way 'cos I have literally ZERO expectations from people.

So really, chill. Honestly, chill and you will be okay. Trust God, and really trust yourself a little bit more. Be there for you.

Love, and some chill,

I

Friday Reflections

1.) Black lives matter.

2.) Jumoke Adenowo is...unapologetic. She's full of wisdom and she's incredibly smart and is unapologetic about it

3.) "Life doesn't respond to breakthroughs and miracles, it responds to principles." - Jumoke Adenowo

4.) "That hair — as strong as the blackness that runs through our veins — refuses to stand down. It is not good hair. It’s our hair. And that is pretty damn beautiful." - Ijeoma Oluo in I Was Supposed to Have Good Hair.

5.) As I read through Lysa Terkeurst's story of her husband's continuous infidelity and betrayal, I'm thankful that Christians and the Church generally are rethinking this whole "God hates divorce" philosophy. I pray she finds healing and comfort in the coming days.

6.) Bill Cosby is NOT Cliff Huxtable

7.) I'm recovering (praise Jesus) from the worst case of what I think was lactose intolerance, and I'm really sad I might have to step away from Haagen dazs for a while. I don't even know anymore; I mean, what is this life? Ugh

8.) Haayyyy, June is practically almost over.

9.) Every time I watch an episode of King Women, I'm convinced it's the best one, and then I watch another. Seriously though, this one with Ayodeji Megbope is the best, cos there is no way anyone tops this; no way. Serious living case of "Kings will see your glory".

On Critics of the Hallelujah Challenge

GA SHI NAN!!!!!

Couldn't help it

Honestly, I didn’t really want to talk about this because talking about it validates it; gives it credence. But after thinking about it for about ten seconds, I decided to. Again, when you are quiet in the presence of bullies, you enable them.

I mentioned  here that Nathaniel Bassey started something called the Hallelujah Challenge on Instagram.

Err.. what’s that about? You ask.

At 12am everyday [Nigerian time] he hosts a live event of praise and prayer for an hour. It’s supposed to last for the entire month of June. And it has seen a rapid increase in participation: from about 13k people when they first started to now more than 60,000 people joining in everyday on Instagram alone, not counting the tens of thousands on Facebook live as well. Lives have been changed, testimonies have been recorded, and a sense of community has been formed. People are genuinely enjoying worshipping God.

That sounds pretty harmless and awesome Ife, so what’s the deal; what are you writing about?

Well, thank you. I thought it was pretty awesome too. I still do. However, some days ago I had a couple of minutes to spare and thought hmmm, what do I do with this free time? So I went on Twitter: first to ask a friend for a  favor and also to figure out what was pissing off millennials that point in time. Because I kid you not, something is always pissing people  off. On this particular day, it was the Hallelujah Challenge. Apparently, some people thought it was ridiculous and made no sense. Some said it was a "passive aggressive competition Christians came up with because of Ramadan". I'm not making this up guys. Yes, someone tweeted that. Some said it was performative and just...bothersome. Someone said it really was just "annoying them". Again, I did not make this up. Some lady even made an entire Facebook post criticizing Christians, calling [ALL] Christians hypocritical and irresponsible for participating in such crowd mentality activity rather than changing the world, and solving Nigeria's many problems.

Whew.

You know what I love about living in 2017? You know why I agree with my G and forever POTUS (Barack Obama) that there is no better time than now to be young and just, you know fly? Because it's a free freaking country. It's a free freaking world. Of the many groups to identify with, of the many identities that now abound in this world, only VERY few so willingly criticize each other as much as Christians criticize each other. What I mean is, seldom would you hear Yoruba people criticize and insult other Yorubas. Or Buddhists insulting other Buddhists. But us Christians, we own our faults. We know we are flawed and fallible and we are quick to call this out. Before you say we are hypocrites, honey we already say it. I know this because I myself have criticized the Church and Christians over and over and over again; for its lack of empathy sometimes; for constantly not living as Christ would. But you know what, screw that. Yes I said screw that...at least for now.

Lmao I gotta credit M for this one

If people participated in a Hallelujah Challenge while neglecting their responsibilities either at work or just as citizens, I would understand. But this is being done at 12AM, literally not disturbing the peace of anyone, completely voluntarily, yet they are being vilified. The question for the aforementioned critics is: what are you doing during that hour that Christians ought to be doing to make this world a better place? Go on, tell me.

How can you collectively assume that over a hundred thousand people are doing their OWN religion wrong? So not one of those thousands of people is doing it right? How can people working out their salvation the way they know how to bother you so much? I would be a liar if I said my philosophy in life was "live and let live". Nah, it's not. But no one believes in equality as much as I do (this blog could pass for an advocacy blog lol). I also don't believe in using one religion as an oppression of other people. I don't believe everyone has to abide by the doctrines of any one religion. But I carry my faith on my head. My most important identity is "Child of God" and I'm unapologetic about it. However I choose to work this out, let me be. Christians are fallible is why they/we need Jesus. If we were perfect, there would be no need for Him to die on the cross for us. If we knew how to make this world a perfect place; if we had it all figured out; pray tell, what do we need saving for then?

I was talking with M and we concluded that everyone is sorta free to be anything now, except you are a Christian or you believe in God. Well in that case, you are the village idiot for believing in something you can't see. LOL. Again, the best part of the world we live in now is the freedom to be what you can, when you can, and how you can as long as you don't hurt anyone or break any law. If I decide today that I no longer feel like the gender I was assigned at birth, you would take my word for it based on nothing other than what I tell you. Not only that, you would go a step further to encourage me to be comfortable in what I feel like. And yes, everyone should proudly wear their identities. In fact you would not dare question such a person because you would be scared of being politically incorrect. So I reckon you should let people worship God however they deem fit. Yeah indeed, you may have constructive criticism whatever, but truly, objectively speaking it's none of your business how I live out my faith. It really isn't.

Even when I shade so called evangelicals in America (ahem ahem) who would use Christianity for everything except help the poor and the oppressed and the marginalized, I know I really can only talk; I have no claim over them or their religion. When American politicians (who are public servants and rightly deserve scrutiny) would rather monitor wombs, give everybody guns than provide healthcare (America though, really?!!!),  at the end of the day I can only vote them out; I have no right to question their faith or indeed I can, but they have every right to be offended when I do.

So seriously, DO YOU. And let others BE. Sheesh.

Love,

I