So What is God's Will For My Life?

I recently completed a plan on YouVersion about God's will. hmmm. Maybe I should start a What I'm loving on YouVersion typa thing. I really, really love YouVersion, as I have probably mentioned on this blog a million times. See here and here and here and here and here. Wow, maybe YouVersion needs to sponsor me oh. Tell their people to call my people. Haha. On a more serious note, it's incredibly organized and quite easy for someone like me. And you can literally find something tailored towards how you are feeling or whatever season in life you are.

Anyway, so this new plan I just completed was called "What The Bible Says About God's Will". I wanted to just recommend it, but I know that alone won't work. Knowing myself; if I read some post suggesting something, I probably would not bother reading it too. Yeah, we are all stubborn like that. So I am taking the time to do a short summary, because of just how great it was.  Yeah, you're welcome. Lol. Also it's just a 7-day plan, so if you can, you really should check it out.

A lot of times when you are in a dilemma or life is just really kicking your butt or you ask for advice, most Christians will tell you to do God's will. In fact, before any huge life decision: say you want to move, or go to grad school, or switch jobs, or the VERY ULTIMATE...marry a person, they say but did you seek God's will? Did you ask God before making that decision? Sometimes they are casually talking and then they say oh yeah it was a difficult decision to make about whether to move cities but we asked God and he told us to. Now if you are like me you would scrunch up your face in confusion. Wait. You mean God said that to you? He literally said, lagbaja I think you should move from Lagos to Ibadan or from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh? Huh. And you know what, no one ever really says HOW God told them. Because of this, the rest of us are left wondering what it's like for God to whisper in your ears, "tamedu I want you to marry olori nla".  And yes so many Christians are obsessed with knowing what God's will is. This hear the voice of and specific plan of God has paralyzed so many into inaction. That's where this plan came in.

Please, [and this should go without saying] I don't mean to say God doesn't speak to us. I mean, Abraham was described as the Friend of God, and God would sometimes go decades without saying a word to him. I believe God speaks to people, but I think most of what he needs to tell us, he already said [in his word]. I think God has equipped us with brilliant minds and the gift of choices. I think God gave us trees; he doesn't need to come down and turn those into wood or chairs and tables for us. I also think to know someone is to know their heart, is to know their desires. But I disagree that God told you what dress to wear to church. Nah uh. I just can't bring myself to believing that. And I am not sorry about that.

Okay Ife, but what about more important things like, should I marry him? Where will I work? Where will I live?

I'll share some of  what I learnt from the aforementioned YouVersion plan. Of course, God cares about our future. But more than those silly minutiae, he cares that we have an amazing relationship with Him, our father. Should you marry him? If you want to, go ahead. The truth though, AND YOU KNOW THIS, is that God has described [endlessly] in the bible what true and noble character is. He has prescribed foundations for a good relationship. But we willfully ignore it because we want to have our way and then somehow manipulate God. There are tons of options for a job, or spouse, or whatever else. But ask yourself if they align with God's desire [as written in his word] before complaining about not hearing from him. There are obviously good choices that are bad for you, don't get me wrong. But see this quote from that plan,

"God envisions a day when what matters most to you is unrelated to the trappings of life...but instead relates to Him! God's will for you is a vertical relationship where those things become less and less important as you are caught up into the depth and glowing height of knowing and loving the Lord."

More than anything, God longs for us to seek him. Jeremiah 29:11, blessed as it may be NEVER said anything about a blueprint for life. God has a sovereign will and detailed guidelines in the bible. Quite frankly, the more time you spend with God, the more second-nature these things become. And this works for everything. I recently asked a teacher of mine how to get better acquainted with a software, such that it becomes second nature. You know what he said?  Just spend more time with it. Time.

Does it not give you some relief to know that you don't have to be up all night figuring out some great cosmic plan especially detailed for you?

This is now too long and there is still so much to say, so I will come back (hopefully) with a second part.

Love, and some peace of mind,


On Ignorant And Nosy People

It's funny that when I wrote this post, I didn't even realize I would have an example so soon. And it's the perfect example too. Let me refresh your memory. So in that post, I talked about people projecting their insecurities on others. I said people always find something to say and will attempt to mask their rubbish with faux concern. For the most part, I said, these people are just nosy or bored or want to be sure your life sucks as much as theirs.

Well, something happened that made me chuckle because it is the perfect example. Y'all know I stan for the Currys. Case in point, see here and here and here. Actually, Steph Curry is practically the only sports person I know. Lol. And If I didn't know his wife, I would not have known him. Anyway, so their family participated in Family Feud and they (Steph, his wife, his parents, his sister) took pictures, and posted the pictures on social media per usual. I saw the picture, aww'd and kept it moving. To me, a regular, sane, business-minding, it was an innocent family picture.

To the insecure, nonsensical busy-body, that picture was proof the Currys didn't care for the middle child (Seth Curry). Let's back up. Steph Curry apparently has a younger brother (Seth) who also plays basketball, but for another team. Now, as anyone with half a brain knows, it is incredibly hard to follow in the footstep of an extremely successful sibling. I honestly don't think Seth Curry is a bad player; I'm pretty sure he is great. But being Steph Curry's younger brother must be like being in the same musical group as Beyonce: not many people notice you. Some people are just like that, their star shines so brightly, others have a hard time being seen around them. It's hardly the fault of anyone; it's just life.

To then think somehow that the parents and family of the Curry brothers prefer one over the other just because he is more of a star is extremely presumptuous and frankly, silly. Many parents claim not to have a favorite child; we'll have to take their words for it. Truth though, I suspect, is that even when they do have favorites, it's rarely for the obvious reasons people think. In the previously described family picture, Seth wasn't there. As soon as those poor folks posted their pictures, people started to comment...and I don't go around reading comments, but I notice Ayesha told her sister-in-law to explain because people were already "coming for them". Hmmph.

oh wow, you guys just act like Seth doesn't exist.

Where is Seth?

Damn Seth didn’t get an invite

Where’s Seth Curry

FIRST OF ALL, WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS?! Those girls had to keep explaining; they even edited the caption to explain that Seth was not there because he was just recovering from a knee surgery. Can you imagine?  The sister said repeatedly, he is just a part of this family as anyone. You don't know a family's dynamics, you are just on your own making stupid assumptions based on your own desperately wicked mind.  You are conjuring up scenarios that don't exist and then projecting it on another family? And you are not doing this all by yourself, but going ahead to ask intrusive questions and insinuate ridiculous things about something that is TRULY beyond the family's control. Because there was no way they could have had Seth there since he was, you know, recovering from surgery. A fact they would have known, if they were true, actual fans of Seth Curry and not just nosy people. Hopefully Seth Curry is emotionally intelligent enough to not allow such rubbish affect him so much that he starts to feel inferior to his brother.

That's what I mean by not allowing anyone project their insecurities on you. Ignore the noise and do your own thing.



On Facing Your Lane and Following Your Path

"When you realize how quickly the memory of the dead is forgotten, that's when you will start living your life to please no one." - Toke Makinwa

    Source - The Financial Diet

For reasons I don't really know, many people are people-pleasers, including me. Somehow, and somewhere we became conditioned to first think about what others think about us. This inhibits us more than we are willing to admit. We don't want to be too much, and we don't want to not be enough; just right so people are comfortable. The sad part though, is people will still talk. You are damned if you do and still damned if you don't. So why don't you just do?

Before I continue, there is a slightly confusing angle to this. Now, a more common habit is the tendency to loathe accountability. So even though people exhibit everything described in the last paragraph above, you hear a lot of I don't care what people think about me.  People who say this the most are the biggest people-pleasers among us. The same way people who make noise about hating drama have the most drama. I digress. A disdain for accountability creates an excuse for many people to live life on their own terms, without any care in the world. That's not quite right. Live life on your own terms, but in a different way (which I will elaborate below). No matter who you are or what you do, you need to be accountable to someone, something, somehow. You should also, to some extent care about what others think about you, because it can help you act right. I'm not contradicting myself. The difference here is, you care about bettering your life, so you set up a dependable and reliable tribe of people whose opinions you absolutely trust, either because they have a wealth of experience or are just generally wise counsel. After all, the bible says whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool. "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel". So yes, care...but only to some extent.

What you should not do is live for others; live for pleasing and impressing others. Don't let people project their insecurities on you. Because people will; they will find every way to remind you how much your life sucks. Especially if you are...different. People don't understand different, so they mistake it for bizarre or defunct. Usually though, they will mask this with faux concern. They will trivialize what you do, and will rarely celebrate you. Learn to rise above it. The need to please people and the obsession over what people will say, or how they will react, or how to explain your life choices will cripple you into inaction. Your life choices are just that: YOUR life choices. You don't owe most people any explanation. And for the most part, people do NOT care; they are just bored, being nosy, or want to be absolutely sure you are doing worse than them. When God created us, onto each of us he assigned our paths. Do not let people put unnecessary pressure on you. There is no one way to have a fulfilling, blessed, and happy life.

Sometimes, we are the ones putting the pressure on ourselves. We have convinced ourselves that life is one-size-fits-all  with a series of items on a checklist we must get through at certain ages. You have to be content with who you are and what you have. You have to face your own journey and your own path. It doesn't matter who is richer between you and your friends; it doesn't matter who gets married or has kids first; it doesn't matter who drives the better car. What matters is you. I recently had a great discussion with my friend, E. And since it's quite important advice, I will share it here as well. Instead of using other people's yardstick as a measure of your life's success. How about you draw up a plan of what success means to YOU? Not what success means to people where you live; not what success means to your group of friends or to your, what does it mean to you? Then go from there. Bear in mind, it may not even look like the typically formula—finish school, get a job, get married, have a house, and have kids. Or perhaps it's some interesting version of those or in a different order than people expect. Recently, Osemhen of Eureka Naija blogged about the end and it was so poignant, and filled with depth. How does it end for you? How do you want it to end, because that can be incredibly helpful for planning the journey. Create the terms for this path, and thrive in it.

Write it down...but make sure your plans are for you. Of course, keep God in mind but don't worry about him too much. God has empowered us with choices and opportunities. He doesn't care for the mundane as much as he yearns for a heart that seeks him. But I will repeat this, make sure you want that thing because YOU do, and not because it proves you are better than lagbaja. Respect your lane and your unique, yet beautiful journey.  I will reiterate from this post, you will never have peace if you keep comparing yourself to others.

"It is better to be a great sergeant, than to be a poor general." -TD Jakes




On Mental Health and Suicide among Young Professionals

I read this devastating, but brilliant profile on the drastic increase in suicide rates among female physicians in New York. I will be honest: I did not read everything. But it was familiar. See here and here on suicide among graduate students and the awful cost of getting a Ph.D. no one is talking about. Almost half of graduate students suffer from depression. See also this and this on suicide among academics.

In the first article that's linked above, we are told the doctors in that hospital sometimes work over 100 hours a week! Can you imagine that? The person who is supposed to cut into human beings and heal them is probably suffering from lack of sleep. I shudder just thinking about that. The most painful thing was her suicide, of course. But a close second was the hospital's handling of her death and the impersonal way it was treated.

You know what though? It's proof and reason to survive, to live, to thrive. I do not care who you are, if you die today, the world WILL continue. No one is irreplaceable. Yes, that job you want to die for? They will replace you in a heartbeat. That's life for you. Why then do we take one thing and make it our all, so much that we forget to take care of ourselves? There is a particularly insane culture in America, to brag over how you never get sleep and/or how you work more than 80 hours a week. Does that make any sense? Very recently, a bunch of academics were discussing their work hours on Twitter when a professor said if those of us just starting out are not doing minimum of 80 hours/week, we can kiss our careers goodbye. Immediately, another professor at Oxford responded it was bull. She had just gotten a tenure track position and does not work more than 50 hours. Don't listen to him, she said. Pace yourself and work reasonably, but smartly to meet your institutional demands.

Sigh. Thank God.

Not for either of them, but for God. I am so thankful for my spiritual strength and constant reminder in the Bible that God brought me where I am today, he will continually guide me and lead me on.  I am thankful for constant reminders that my efforts are just that: efforts. That while I must be diligent in my work, it's not by my strength or power, but by his grace. I'm thankful that I am often reminded that this is not my ALL. It's a part of me.  I'm also thankful for my support system. All that being said, I pay attention.

Pay attention to yourself. Within the past year I have heard of two people in their twenties/thirties who just slumped...and died. Another was rushed to the ER with extremely low blood pressure, and would have died but for quick medical response. And work is not the only trigger for mental or even physical health challenges. Life can be a lot sometimes. So know when to step back and when to get help. When our cars are faulty, we know to fix it. But our mental health always takes a back seat. Why? Perhaps it's how we have been socially conditioned? Seriously, take care of yourself, whatever that means. For most people, it means taking time to shut it all off. It may also mean not taking criticisms personally. If they disparage your work: it is your work that is being disparaged, NOT you. Draw a line between your work and your life (or other aspects of your life). Set important boundaries and keep at it. I'm not naive: not everyone can afford to do this, but there has to be one action you can take to better take care of yourself; to take care of your mental health.

It's even more worrisome because millennials apparently have it worse than any other generation in 50 years.  We are constantly told our efforts are not enough; that we are not enough. The world is moving at a faster pace than anyone can comprehend. And of course, the world has been set up to pit us against each other and compare lives, successes, and failures.

Ignore it.

Toke Makinwa said something on Twitter. Remember this, because this is probably the only time I'll ever actually reference (for good) something she said. Anyway, she said, when you realize how quickly the memory of the dead is forgotten, that's when you will start living to please no one.

The second part of this post will dwell much more on this and on living YOUR own life and running your race.

Have a great week,


Friday Reflections

1.) Thirty-six financial decisions people regret. The article in that link is the scariest thing you will read all week. Promise.

2.) How braids tell America's black hair history. I don't like to ever talk bad about the Kardashians, because honestly, it's trite and the girls are actually mostly nice people (especially Kim). But the thing Kim did with the cornrows is very distasteful.

3.) I also know that cultural appropriation is not a very simple concept for most people, so just read and do your research.

4.) Welcome to Black History Month!

5.) If I have the time, I might shine the light on some old and contemporary black folks doing the darn thing.

6.) Anyway, this month I'm rooting for everybody black

7.) Watch Ellen give the biggest gift ever. Ellen is freaking AMAZING. I literally screamed at the end of the video. Ha.

8.) Read this story of the wife of a former N.F.L player detail how football destroyed his mind. Between this and the injustice Kaepernick is facing, there is no way I can watch any football game.

9.) Friday Reflection is coming on a Saturday morning, because life.

"...But God" And Other Things You Need To Remember in February And Beyond

Welcome to February aka Black History Month!! This month, I'm rooting for everybody black.

Many people keep talking about how slow January was, but I  really don't see it that way. It felt pretty normal, fast even, to me. But what do I know, huh?

Anyway, I wanted to drop by quickly to share some Bible verses to remind us who we are in Christ and who God is. It's very easy to forget these things. Sometimes we already know, but find it hard to apply them practically to our lives. So consider this a reminder. I want and hope you constantly think these things instead of the worse alternatives that the enemy (yasss we are going back to Church today) would want you to. Here goes:

1.) ...but he said to me 'my grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough--always available--regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfect [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weakness, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] my dwell in me.
2 Corinthians 12: 9 AMP

I specifically chose the longer version, AMP, because it lays out extras just to give a better and more nuanced understanding. If you read the preceding verses, Paul (God, I hope it was Paul and not some other person, which would then mean I'm not just wrong but dumb. But I am way too lazy to research now, so forgive me if I'm wrong) yes, Paul spoke of his many challenges [which seemed like a physical ailment] and said he BEGGED God to just please take it away. Wait for it, THREE times, he begged.  Instead, God reminded him about God's infinite power, which comes to life in our weaknesses. I know. You're not good enough. You can't go on anymore. But that's exactly where his grace comes in. You already have all the grace you need to survive, to thrive...despite how overwhelming the problem is, you can conquer it. Which takes me to my next one.

2.), in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8: 37

For this one, I should have put the whole thing from verse 31, but while I want you to have context and nuance to these verses, I also want this one-liners to stick out for and with you. One liners are easy to think of in the face of wahala. Because some types of wahala, you are too hopeless and weak and powerless to pick up any Bible, much less pray. But don't worry, these are great reminders in times of troubles. In an earlier verse of the same chapter (26), it says the holy spirit is kind enough to interpret our wordless groans. So yes, these verses I think, might constitute some of the greatest assurances of the Bible. AMP says we have gained overwhelming victory through Him who loved us. MSG says none of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. Fin.

Your answer to it all should just be, "...BUT God".

yen yen yen yen, this problem yen yen that problem yen yen yen

"...BUT God."

Last but certainly not the least,

3.) ...for I can do ALL this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Many people think this has been misconstrued. It depends on my mood: somedays I agree, it really has been. Other days, I think nah it hasn't. This verse was actually written, again by Paul, to say he could endure all things through Jesus Christ who gives him strength. So while it's very apropos for this post, you might have seen it in other contexts, where people use it for things like, I can become a CEO through Jesus who strengthens me, or I can be rich through Christ...etc. They are not wrong. Because what the Bible says is, good or bad, you can do it with Christ who gives you strength. Of course, I should drop a a reminder that God is NOT [y]our bellhop. So you can't just whip up this verse (or any other) as a recipe for your success so you can join pepper dem gang. No. What this verse does however, is serve as the reminder that hardship and pain might look like they will obliterate you. They can't and will not. You can triumph them. And if you feel convicted to achieve something great this lose weight [or just be healthy] or work hard or pass an exam...KNOW that no matter how daunting it looks or how overwhelming, you truly CAN do it because your strength comes from the Lord.

I didn't mean to write all these...I literally was just going to drop the lines and ex. But here we are. I know the year is speeding by or crawling by (depending on who you ask) and it feels like goals and dreams are taking a backseat against the harsh realities of life. Sometimes that's okay, or maybe not for you. I won't offer any platitudes; what I know is if life is becoming too much, you have a place in God. Do what you can to remind yourself of these. Say it. Write it down. I was in a seminar recently that started with me just showing my smartness, but somewhere along the line, I began struggling to keep up. I started to type these verses on my computer in place of my notes (true story yo!). Things didn't miraculously turn around immediately, but it was the BEST reminder of who I was (am). And it helped tremendously, because I picked up again. I was prepared after all; I just needed to dispel and conquer fear. I did. Because...Jesus. Go on and conquer February!