TAKING AN L!!

I am not even going to lie, failing sucks! Like in a major way, especially when you fail at something you were so prepared for; when you fail at something you have waited for; when you fail at something you have thought through. It hurts more when you fail at something you committed into God’s hands and you knew He gave you the go ahead. What does one do then? When you are so mad at God and you can’t even explain it? What happens when God becomes the last person you want to hear about because ‘He is supposedly the cause of the failure’. That feeling sucks and I know this because I have been there. I have felt it. I have thought the thoughts and I have disliked God in a very big way because He wasn’t there when He should have been. He was acting like He had favourites.

Let’s take this scene to the last class of senior secondary school where we are meant to sit for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination. I had done my part, I had read and when I say read, I mean read! I prayed, I committed all into the Lord’s hands, I was pretty confident in myself (not overconfident but confident enough). To top it up, the questions were pretty fair, and I was expecting my perfect looking result slip with 9 A1’s (yes, I don’t settle). Well, result day came, there was a C, a lot of B’s and 2 A’s (sigh). What sort of rubbish, am I right? I didn’t even know how to react; I just went to my room and balled my eyes out and very well blaming God. He saw how hard I worked, He saw everything and yet He didn’t crown my efforts with good success. I felt so bad.

What then do we do when we fail or when we lose, and it looks like everything is lining up against you? Back then, I didn’t know how to react. I only felt a lot of anger.

Recently, I received another heart-breaking result. Oh, and this one is way way more important than WASSCE. I failed. When I saw the result, again, I didn’t know how to react. I didn’t cry. It was like my body prevented me from crying. I wasn’t processing it. I read, I prayed, I spoke out in faith, I believed, I trusted, I knew God was with me through it all and somehow,  someway, it was like He fell my hand yet again. I wanted to blame Him, I wanted to be angry with Him, but I couldn’t. I am glad I couldn’t. I am grateful I couldn’t because I know that if I have God, He is working out everything for my good. He is working out everything for your good.

What happened between WASSCE and now? Why couldn’t I blame God? There is this grace of being able to take an L and still praise God. This comes from seeking out the Lord, seeking His face, dwelling in His presence, and just knowing. I pray that this grace dwells in each and every one of us, it makes things easier honestly. This is not to say I am perfect, or I have it all figured out (that would be a major lie). But as Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Nation would say ‘Progression over Perfection.’

Taking an L, taking your loss, taking our losses can be a very difficult task, especially when the L isn’t an exam lol, but take the L. Take the L because He is working through it for us. It can be difficult, it can seem impossible, but I pray that whatever failure or loss it is, that God will help you process it. I pray that the Holy Spirit will help you heal and that you will be prepared for what is coming because God specialises in exceeding our expectations.

Oh, and guess what? I am so excited to see what He is about to do in my life. I have a feeling my mind is about to be blown like never before. I have a feeling He is about to bless me so much that my head will be turnioniown.

Till then, lean in! God is forever good. Amen!

P.s: There is this amazing movie called High Calling by Mount Zion I found on YouTube and it literally drives home the message. God always has a plan!

AFOMA

Nigeria at 60!

Nigeria, a land flowing with milk and honey. Is it? Some people are already set to behead me for this very statement. Be calming down lol.

Before we say happy birthday, 4 years ago, our first blog post was Nigeria at 56 (feel free to go back and read) and look where we are, God is a very sure G!

Happy birthday to Nigeria! Omg, it’s been 60 years. 60 years of green and white, 60 years of fertile soil, dignity, and strength (at least , so says the coat of arms), 60 years of a whole lot! And the question is what do we have to show for it?

A lot of people will be writing about October 1st and what it means for us as a people, as a nation. Some people will be writing on the way forward, some will be reminiscing, some people will be out right cursing and I think they will be well within logic to.

I am not here to drag anybody’s government (at least not today). Instead, I want to write on the Nigeria we love; the Nigeria that has made us smile one way or the other; the Nigeria that is resilient; the Nigeria that is not plagued with natural disasters; the Nigeria that has God; this Nigeria and the Nigerians. I want to talk about the Nigeria that contained Ebola virus well that year, the Nigeria that has blessed you and I with mad music in a very interesting year.

I want to talk about this Nigeria. 

Nigeria, over the years, might have ‘fallen our hands’ one way or the other but common guys, it’s her birthday and our birthday so let’s drop a few good words of encouragement for her.

I love my country and I love the people. I love the food (is it pounded yam and banga soup eiisshhh or gbegiri?). At least after a very tough day, there is very good food (that is a very big plus). We are a funny set of people!! Well, we can make light of any situation and laugh at it. Twitter says it all lol. We dey pray fire sha! (Let’s leave those ‘religious’ ones first, not today). We know how to hold our own and at the end of the day, we know who owns it all, na Baba God o. Na only Him know which way.  Oh, and what a resilient set of people we are! Laziness isn’t in our dictionary, we want something, we work for it (and again, not today for those who sit on their hands waiting for gold to fall in their laps, wehdone ma, wehdone sir, the gold is on its way o!) I admire the resilience, the strength of the women and men that come out every day, come rain or shine, to make some money.

Oh wow! Nigeria, take tiri gbosa jarey, you try. It’s Nigeria’s birthday today. Do something good for the celebrant today or tomorrow or during the course of the week, whatever. Don’t throw the gala nylon on the floor, there’s a dustbin somewhere if you look for it. Be patient, everybody is angry o, try to be the patient one, it costs you nothing. Smile; find something to smile about, no matter how little. There are a lot of people living in poverty, help someone within your means today. Don’t be rude, that woman selling bole is a human being and very worthy of respect. PRAY for our country. It is ours. We are Nigerians. Seek out the Lord’s face over Nigeria, let His hand move over and for us (for those who know, we know that this is a big deal). Please don’t sit and curse out the celebrant and the inhabitants, it doesn’t help.

It is well.

Happy 60th, owanbe ati asoebi nko ?

AFOMA

LIMITING YOURSELF!!

Hello Lovelies,

How have you all been? I hope it has been a splendid week thus far. So, something interesting happened during my week and I thought to tell you guys because it got me thinking in a way.

Over the week, I wanted to do something with my friends. We were all sufficiently tired, but I was convinced that if we did not do it that day, the situation may get worse. Hence, I knew I was going to have to give them a little ‘motivation’. I called the first person and as expected ‘motivation’ was required and I asked, ‘What do you want?’ She replied, ‘Chips and Chicken’ from her favourite place close to her house. Oh, I was happy. It was well within my ‘motivation’ budget. I called the second person and it was the same process. I asked, ‘What do you want?’ He said he wanted pizza. Now, pizza was three times the amount of chips and chicken.

Little disclosure, I have recently become obsessed with budgeting. It is actually so beautiful to look at the sheet I created. So, every part of my money has been dissected.

 He asked for pizza, I reverted to my budget sheet and saw I could make that happen as well. It was not a problem. I agreed to his request. Walla! I got my friends together with the ‘right push’.

Now, after we were done with the agenda for the day, the second friend who asked for pizza left. The first friend attempted to remove my sweet head. Accusing me of ‘motivating’ her with chips and chicken while ‘Y’ got a whole large pizza with wings. In that moment, she forgot that she asked for it. I was very happy to remind her. ‘Babe, I asked you for what you wanted, and you said chips and chicken.’ She then replied saying that I did not give her options. I said neither did I give ‘Y’. It was simply a blank offer freely given to them both.

Whilst strolling home, I reflected on my day and it dawned on me that the incident was very similar to most of our walks with God. Most times, while praying we limit ourselves. God is available to make your biggest dreams come through, but we go before Him constantly with a limited template. Then, someone else who isn’t afraid of the big things goes before God and prays those might prayers. God moves mightily for the person and we come back to ask God why. The question should be ‘why not?’ Are you lacking anything you asked for?

The Bible is filled with many verses telling you to ask God for things. It is almost like God is reminding you to pester Him with your asking because He wants to do wonders in your life. The famous bible verse is Matthew 7:7-8

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

I do not know about you, but I think you need to start expanding your horizons. The truth is you won’t go to God with mighty prayers if you consider yourself to be so small. The first step is reminding yourself of who you are and allowing yourself to be open to the greatness that can be done with, through and for you. Your lens should not be yours but try to envision yourself the way God does. The Bible constantly tells you how God sees you. He calls you a masterpiece. You think a masterpiece is limited by small thoughts? I highly doubt that.

Remain blessed.

Queen N.

LESSONS FROM A RECENT LIFE EVENT!!

You can call this my little story time. I live in Dominica and we get 24/7 electricity once you have paid. It’s like a meter – it keeps reading and you top it up when it goes low. They will disconnect the light once the meter is at 0.

Now my story!! The meter was already reading negative, it was just like negative 1 so I didn’t think they will be quick to disconnect us. We were just dragging our feet and then boom, we got disconnected! I was like ah (this place has spoilt me, back home, if they take the electricity, you go and sleep and wait till ‘they’ decide to restore it). Now once the light was disconnected, there was no WiFi. Hence, our way of topping up the electricity was gone too (access to internet). Luckily for us, I had top up, so we went online and bought it.

That’s how we were waiting for them to restore it o, 10 mins, 15 mins, 20 mins, nothing! We had to get the head office’s number to call for them to restore the electricity. All these customer service numbers were using me to sing song, so I kept cutting and calling back. Then as if that wasn’t enough, my top up got exhausted! I felt like crying, no jokes.

Our neighbours didn’t have WiFi but they gave us their phone to make a call, the person we called couldn’t help us. So, we were just there, no top-up, no WiFi and sweaty!

Eventually, our landlord called us because the WiFi being out in our place was affecting our neighbours. We explained the situation and he helped us call the same customer care line, the light was restored, and we lived happily ever after! Lol

What lessons do we want to possibly learn from this? Four lessons actually:

  1. Always have top-up! How can in a house of 3, I am the only one that had top-up! How? Please always have top-up, whether you need it or not, you never know when it will come in useful
  2. Patience!! Oh, patience. I wasn’t so patient. I was irritated by the wait on the customer care line. If I was a little bit more patient, they would have eventually picked, and the light would have been restored sooner because it was the same number the landlord called.
  3. Forgiveness! The reason the electricity was disconnected in the first place was my friend’s fault and I was so pissed but being realistic, it wasn’t really her fault, but it was actually. Lol. I let go of the fact that it was her fault and we just worked together to get the electricity restored.
  4. Always keep your devices charged! I couldn’t read while we were waiting because my laptop was at 6%.

For patience and forgiveness, these are things I know, things I have learned. Why was it so difficult to practice? I think these things are easier said than done but we need to be more intentional about these two in any situation we find ourselves, so we don’t look back and start thinking ‘oh that could have been handled better..’

A lot of people do not know how to act under pressure. Some people tend to make matters worse rather than focus on ways to solve the situation. So, I went in search of some good resources that could help you with stress management and you would find the book attached below.

Also, there are actually laptop power banks. The thought never really occurred to me till this incident when I could not read with my laptop because I had taken constant power supply for granted. Depending on your activities and location, this might me an essential tool for you. I found one and attached the link below.

AFOMA.

p.s: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying sales.

THE TABLE AND TIME!!

It was the stare off of the decade!

There I was, sitting across the table with trembling eyelids begging to be shut for a second, with eyeballs teary from all the wind that was getting into it.

Seated on my table was my laptop staring back at me in all its brightness unmoved by my shaky state. The timer for its hibernation when left untouched had been set to five minutes. How five minutes had not lapsed baffled me. I felt like I had been staring for twenty minutes already. I groaned inside as tears began to form on my eyeball. In seconds, there was enough to fall from my eyes onto my face.

By now, I could hear the pleas of my brain to shut my eyelids. With a determination fuelled by my unflinching laptop, I kept them open. I lasted another ten seconds and that was it. I could not take it anymore. I wanted to scratch my eyes so badly and wipe the tears that were now flowing uncontrollably off my eyes and face.

My laptop had won. I had lost to a machine. I was a sore loser. I laughed out loud as these ridiculous thoughts filled my head. I was being very silly.

Why had I entered a staring contest with my laptop again? Oh yes! The words on my laptop’s screen were not making any sense to me. I had mouthed the words several times to make them make a little bit of sense but to no avail. My jotter where I scribbled those words lay on my table by my laptop. When all efforts to comprehend the anatomy jargon proved futile, I resorted to staring. There was a slim chance that staring long and hard at anatomy’s puke would make it come alive in my brain. I took that chance. I stared and stared. Out of nowhere, the thought of outstaring my device popped in my head and for almost five minutes, I left my eyes wide open.

Then, I was back to reality. Anatomy was my reality. Slowly, I read the first few words of the page aloud.

“The superior vena cava (SVC) returns blood from all structures superior to the diaphragm, except the lungs and heart…”

Even as I did, my mind remained transfixed on the word “returns”. There was something about the word, something awfully familiar. I felt like I had to do something about the word. I could not continue to the next sentence until I figured out why the word meant so much.

As I picked up my phone to look at the time, it hit me. “Returns” was a song my friend had sent to me the previous day. He asked me to listen and share my thoughts on the song. I reached for my headphone and connected it to my phone. I slouched and put both my legs on my reading table as the melody of the song filled every inch of my inner ear. Oh it was such a good song. It was so good that I did not realize how soon it took for it to get to its end. Playing it one more time should not hurt, should it?

I must have played the song at least ten more times when the realization that I had not made it past the first paragraph of the page I was in my anatomy text jolted me. Hastily, I disconnected my headphone, took my legs off the table and sat upright. Angry at the fact that I had just wasted forty five minutes of my time on frivolities, I grabbed my pen and started to copy my text into it. With that renewed resolve, there was no stopping me. I was going to read three pages without pausing for a break, not even a water break. If I had to go, I would hold it in till I was done with those three pages. Yes! That was the moment! The moment anatomy was going to make sense.

I must have scribbled in my jotter for almost a minute when my phone beeped notifying me of a message that had just come in. No! Nothing was going to stop me, not even a text from anyone. But then, anyone could be anyone. It could be Dad who had promised to send in money that day. It could also be my supervisor asking me to submit my write up. Both suspects were capable of sending a message at such an ungodly hour. I sighed heavily as I dropped my pen and picked up my phone. It was not going to take too long. If it was not Dad or my supervisor, the text was going to have to wait.

I laughed out loud as I read the text. It was from a friend who was a fan of a rival football club. Through his text, he threw soft jibes at me and my football club over a loss to a smaller team in the league the day before. I quickly sent in a reply telling him to back off and focus on his club. I dropped my phone and was about to return to anatomy when a message from him came in again, only this time, it was a voice note. I had to listen to it. For the second time that night, I reached for my headphones, plugged it in and listened as he went on about how abysmal my club had been all season. I was not having any of that. I could not just seat back and watch his mocking remarks go without a reply. If anything, his club had been far from decent all season. I had to give him a piece of my mind. No, texting was not going to do enough justice. I had to reply with a voice note. We went back and forth for a while.

One time, when he did not reply as fast as he had been doing, I exited the messaging application and randomly browsed through my phone. It was then the Bird app icon decided to enter its stare off with me. I stared at it, it stared right back. The silence in that spell was deafening. In that stillness, it called out to me softly. It told me that it was not going to take up to five minutes of my time. It said to give it just a tap. What harm could a tap do? It asked. I sighed heavily and assured myself that it was not going to take up to five minutes. I was just going to check the trends and that was going to be it. I glanced at the clock across the room. It was 4:38am. Doing the math, by 4:43am, I should drop my phone and return to my study. I decided to extend it by two minutes, 4:45 just seemed perfect.

I looked up at the clock again. The time was 4:53. How had twenty minutes gone by so fast? It felt like I had been on the Bird app for only five minutes. Okay, just another seven minutes. At 5am, there will be no stopping me. For the second time that night, I slouched on my seat and put both my legs on the reading table.

It was 5:02am. Another three minutes and I will be all anatomy’s.

I gasped as I raised my head to look at the clock. I threw my phone on the bed, took my legs off the table and sat upright and revived my hibernated laptop. I hissed and cursed at the Bird. Why was time never patient? Why did it fly so fast? At that point, all I wanted was a knife to cut the wings of time and keep it from flying ever.

Until then, I had only been able to read a single paragraph out of the… I hurriedly checked the number of pages left. 157 pages! How had I not known that this was a 157 page text? To make matters worse, the font was ridiculously small. I was livid.

My back hurt from all the slouching. I decided it was time I moved to my bed to ease the pain. I put a pillow up against the wall while I rested on it. I put my laptop on my lap while my jotter was by my side. I bit my pen when it dawned on me that I had to go over the paragraph I thought I was done with.

About ten minutes in that position, I realized it was getting cold. I pulled my blankets up to my thighs. The back pain had still not gone. For that reason – not that I was getting sleepy or anything – I took the laptop off my lap, put it by my side, took my pillow off the wall, placed it rightly at the head of the bed, lay down, put my head on my pillow and pulled my blanket up to my chest.

Perfect. Just perfect. In this position, nothing was going to stop me, absolutely nothing.

The sound of my pen dropping onto the floor from my bed woke me up. I took one look at my laptop and hissed. I managed to place it on my reading table without really leaving my bed. A pang of guilt hit me. Almost immediately, I suppressed the feeling by consoling myself with the fact that exams were not until two weeks which was just enough to complete a fifty seven page text of anatomy jargon.

Under my blanket, I ran into sleep’s warm embrace to be ushered into dreamland.

TOMI