A Reason to Hope

I listened to Bernie Sanders speak in the days after the historic US election that saw the unlikely Donald J Trump emerge as the president-elect of the United States of America. I heard him say that he was very hopeful and optimistic about the future of their country even as he has written in his new best selling  book ‘Our Revolution’.

However, his enthusiasm has little or nothing to do with Trump’s election but everything to do with the young, vibrant, beautiful, and enthusiastic young individuals he met as he traveled across the United States during his own campaign to be the Presidential candidate for the Democratic Party.

Then I thought to myself, if Uncle Bernie is hopeful about America because of THIS reason, then we have even more reasons to be hopeful about Nigeria and Africa at large. Spread across our great land are young, energetic, dynamic and bright individuals who are passionate about the future of our country.africa-green-ring

Young men and women who are awaken to the fact that our leaders can do little to help us. Therefore, we must now take it upon ourselves to do everything we can to help them. We will hold them accountable on how they lead and govern us. We would participate as much as we can in the affairs of things. We would create businesses and opportunities for ourselves and the people around us. we would use whatever resource we have to build our nation.

Young men and women who are awaken to the fact that our leaders can do little to help us. Therefore, we must now take it upon ourselves to do everything we can to help them.

Consciously or not, we are beginning to see that we don’t need titles or positions to lead. We can do our own bit starting from where we are. If there is not so much our country can do for us, then there is so much we can and will do for our country.

We won’t relent till we see Nigeria become great again and Africa take a leading position in world affairs.

I am very hopeful about the future of Nigeria and you have reasons too.

Stay believing.

Afolabi

Advertisements

Dont Let a Crisis go to Waste!!!

Crises are very important. As much as we don’t like them, we honestly owe many of the progress we’ve made as a people to it. The greatest things have happened when things got messed up. Necessity is reputed as the mother of creation and crisis I believe is the mother of necessity. A crisis reveals in clear terms that something needs to be done and that certain things need to change.

It is obvious that Nigeria and the world at large are in a crisis state. Economies are heading for recession, the climate keeps surprising us by making certain things we only imagined in Sci-fi movies our daily realities, terrorism is on a record high, and things are just not ideal as we’d have loved them to.

So what do we do with all these crises we have at hand? What do you do with the punches that life is dealing you? Do you just do so well to dodge as many as you can and hence survive; or do you learn from these crises and confront them and hence thrive?

Crises are no doubt opportunities in disguise. Though its good to pray for opportunities, but not this kind. They rarely respond to your wishes and prayers. They don’t need an invitation from you. They have their own agenda that they are running and sooner or later, it will be your own turn. They are like summer and winter; your opinion is almost irrelevant to them. You can curse, nag, complain, be bitter etc. but you’d still have to live with them.

What you can and should do really is PREPARE for them. If we save in the days of plenty, we won’t lack in the days of famine.

In confronting a crisis, there are 3 things that are needful.

The first is to change something; one of the worse things you could do is to try to act in denial by refusing to change when confronted by a crisis. What crises do is that they change things around you and when things around you change, you also have to change. Change requires change. In the face of a crisis you should ask yourself the big question-what do I need to change about myself? That’s where the solution starts from! Do I need to spend less, save more, work extra, change environment, beef up security, form new alliances, break off certain relationships, form new habits, play less, pray more, etc. What do I need to do differently? If you try to do it business as usual, you’d end up worse off. Those who insist on the status quo when change arrives will find themselves on the wrong page of history.

Change requires change

The second is to develop tough skin. Crises are like seasons, they come and go. So eventually, it will pass away but only if you hang on will you not pass with it. When the going gets tough, only the tough gets going. In tough times, you have to develop tough skin. You shouldn’t back down or break down at every sight of discomfort or challenge. You have to be resilient and tenacious. You have to engage active patience; a patience that doesn’t just wait for dawn to come but that fights darkness while it awaits a new day.

The third is to stay hopeful; Do not let the candle of your hope burnout. Always keep hope alive. When a cup is broken, it will struggle to hold water. At that point, It differs not from a basket. You are not a basket and you can avoid becoming one by keeping the bond of hope alive. Against hope, keep hoping. Believe that better days are ahead. Find that silver lining in your stormy days and hold on to it till it dispels the clouds and brings you the rain of abundance that you desire.

Believe that better days are ahead

A crisis is indeed a veritable tool of progress for those who can handle it. A crisis is raw material for greatness. Never let it waste, make the most of it!

Afolabi Soaga

A Christmas day Speech

index

Our Christmas barbecue in church was tagged ‘Jesus’ birthday’. And like some other birthday parties we attend, folks were given the chance to talk about the celebrant. How they met him and how their relationship has been thus far. I didn’t get passed the mic and so I’ve decided to recount my own story here.

*coughs*

As much as I’d have loved to, I can’t remember the exact day, hour and second I met him. Like I can’t remember the exact day, hour or second I met my other friends. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t a ceremonious meeting, or maybe it’s because our love happened softly. They say it’s wise to choose good friends; in my case, the best friend there can ever be chose me and I’m glad I agreed.

in my case, the best friend there can ever be chose me and I’m glad I agreed

I’ve always been a ‘Christian’ for the most part of my life that I can remember. I did everything the average Christian does. I attended church services as often as I could, I argued about religion at every slight opportunity, gave my own share of N5 when it was offering time, slept through sermons only to be tapped out of it rudely by ushers, etc. it’s a good thing to have been raised up a Christian. But I find that all my parents did was introduce me to a religion and that helped me find faith and Jesus. You don’t find Christ until you believe him and his gospel. And that didn’t necessarily happen at an instance for me really, it was a gradual deepening process that I went through over time. That’s partly why I don’t have a date I can name. All I can say Is that I have come to believe on him and I always re-affirm this faith as often as I have needed to.

And that didn’t necessarily happen at an instance for me really, it was a gradual deepening process that I went through over time

Now to how our relationship has been thus far…

The first thing that strikes me about the lord is his love for me. Ours has so far been a truly true love story. Countless times I have failed and disappointed him; countless time he has forgiven. Why and how he does it, I can’t exhaustively explain, I don’t even try to reason it out, I just enjoy and bask in it. Jesus’ love has never been conditional. He’s loved me at my best and at my worst. When the feeling was mutual and when it wasn’t. Whether I felt like it or not. His love has been that constant ‘X’ in my life’s mathematical equation.

His love has been that constant X in my life’s mathematical equation.

His loving me has taught me what love really means and has led me to love him much too. It has also taught me to love others; to be tolerant of their faults, to always look for the best in them, and to always offer to help bring out their best at all times.

His faithfulness is epic. Just when you think he’d leave you, there he remains with you. Through thick and thin, he’s never ashamed of you even when you are ashamed of yourself. His loyalty is legendary. He has been faithful to me and the things that are important to me.

Then there is his grace. I like to call it my shine. Prior to our relationship, I was pretty much average. There was no boldness, no confidence, no uniqueness; or maybe they were all there, but I never found them. Christ has helped me see my best self and attain it. Of course this is a process; I keep getting better and better, brighter and brighter, smarter and smarter, wiser and wiser, richer and richer, finer and finer, every day and in every way. God’s grace has made and is continuing to make all the difference in my life.

And lastly, he gives me hope. That hope is why I’m always joyful, positive and full of life and energy. I truly understand what it means to have life and have it abundantly. I am truly alive. Not that I don’t have bad days, but through it all I shine. Nothing ever keeps me down. I’m aware that he’s always got my back. I know that in the end, it will all be alright; and that if it isn’t, then it is not the end. No matter how today seems my future here on earth and hereafter is never bleak. His hope brings this boundless excitement into my life. And this means a lot to me. It allows me fly without wings, be free just as the wind; it allows me to be me and to enjoy the process of living life.

His hope brings this boundless excitement into my life. And this means a lot to me. It allows me fly without wings, be free just as the wind; it allows me to be me and to enjoy the process of living life.

There are countless other things to write, but I’ll save ink and paper for another day. This has not been an attempt to get you to believe in Jesus and start your own relationship with him (if you don’t already do so); it has only been an attempt to share my overwhelming experience with my savior. I’ve only written as much as words and talent can permit me, there is so much more to our relationship than I can find words to express. If this moves you to want to have this same experience too, then I’d be glad it did, and I’d be happy to help out.

Compliments of the Season.

Have a prosperous new year!

 

 

 

In the face of Disappointments

Depressed Person

Everyone gets their own dose of it at some point in their existence on the earth. Disappointments in the story of our lives are like Snow fall in winter, you can bet on it. For some people it could be a failed examination, interview, business contract or relationship; or even the betrayal of friends and family; everyone of us at some point in life set our hearts on certain things and we just don’t get them while some others get certain things they never really wanted.

In a good number of cases, we don’t get what we want because we are not qualified for it or because someone else was more qualified than us. Relationships fail because people who were not ready for it delved into it. Interviews fail because people don’t prepare adequately and so goes the same for examinations.

Solution to this isn’t difficult to see. You don’t need to understand rocket science or see a prophet to know what to do here. If its qualification, get it. If its preparation, get it! If its timing, wait and be patient till you are ready. Whatever the case maybe, keep a positive attitude and try again more intelligently and appropriately.

But at times, the disappointments we face are entirely not our faults. There are times you felt that you’ve covered every possible angle and done all you can do and in all honestly feel you deserve the government contract or the A grade in that course but you still don’t get it. You’ve done your best and maybe didn’t even leave any ‘rest’ to God and yet still got disappointed. Such was my case in a recent project I embarked upon; uhm…..I did leave a ‘rest’ to God though 😀

The question then is, what do we do next after such?

Every disappointment poses a question to you. What are you gonna do next? You’ve got only 2 options. React or respond.

People that react either over react or under react. Hardly can anyone ever find balance when they are reacting because reaction is often outside your control. It is you taking action based solely on what occurred to you- in other words you become a thermometer whose results are influenced by external conditions. You are not in control, you are controlled and so you most likely act out-of-control. When the query is the right you also become right, but when its wrong like a disappointment then you become wrong too.

Responding to issues on the other hand is bringing things under control. It is you being a thermostat which regulates external conditions. It is you giving a reply based on the quality of yourself and not the disappointment of the stimuli. It’s is you being the influencer and not the influenced. You don’t just get to do what is normal or what you are expected to do; rather you do what is better, sometimes abnormal and most times extraordinary or what you ought to do.

See Proverbs 25:4-5. Don’t answer fools according to their folly, or you will become like them yourself. Answer fools according to their folly, or they will deem themselves wise.

Don’t the two statements sound contradictory to one another? Maybe not if you put sequence and scenario to it. The author there was saying that you shouldn’t hastily react to a fool’s utterance; you should respond to it. Hence, first it says don’t answer/react, then it says answer/respond.

Now lets talk about answering disappointments.

Its a mind thing. Disappointment troubles your mind. It tries to reconfigure your heart status. Hope took you on a high and reality is pulling you back…..managing the instability of this process is what dealing with disappointment is.

How do you win?

Stay hopeful by keeping your eyes on the bigger picture. Give substance to your hope by having faith and faith is a product of a belief in certain things like ‘all things are working together for your good’; ‘God loves you and wants the best for you’; ‘You are God’s investment in the world and his attention is on you as he is interested in every detail of your life’. He won’t let you fail.

He is able to do exceedingly and his plans are always better. And as he has begun a good work in your life, he is faithful to complete them. You didn’t come this far to lose.

When you shift focus from the disappointment of the hour to the bigger hopeful picture of life, then there becomes no challenge greater; no valley too deep and no mountain too big. We draw strength from our knowledge that the adversary has been defeated and so we are victors through God. And though a chapter of our lives may contain pain, suffering, and disappointment; we know that this book has a happy ending.

I’ll end on this note is stumbled upon once. It read “Sometimes when we don’t get what we want, it is because we are about to get better things”.

Soaga Afolabihopeful__always_by_sweetxxxgirlxxxjo-d4u7nxw

photo credit: Google