Is Friendship a Myth?

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A series of events got me thinking about the idea of true friendship. I wondered if it is possible to find a friend that really personifies the word. Seeing as we are humans, it is expected that we have fall outs and as soon as possible, reconcile and get back to loving each other. However, after knowing someone for  a while, it seems natural that you would know the likes and dislikes of the person. And being a friend, you will do more of the likes and reduce the dislikes.

Guess why? Because friendship is sacrifice. So if you have a friend who’s an introvert and you’re sanguine, then you know that sometimes you’ll go out alone and let them read a book indoors because that’s what they love to do,and on some other occasions, you go together to each person’s activities, again because friendship is sacrifice.

It isn’t getting upset because a melancholic friend wants to do poetry when you want to go clubbing, or trying to change a person. That is disrespectful, in my opinion, as they’re probably not forcing you to critique Robert Frost. Each person is different from the other and has their unique gifts that make them stand out. Just in case anyone tells you you’re weird or awkward or silly, just to put you down, tell them you’re special. Prov. 18:16 says that a man’s gift makes room for him. No matter what you can do, someone out there is looking for it and if they are sure you can do it well, they will be willing to pay, so don’t be afraid to be different from others-its a bonus!

Back to the concept of friendship, its important not to let familiarity get the best of you in your relationships. It makes you take people for granted and that is unhealthy and a recipe for misunderstandings. When you get so accustomed to a person, you tend to say things or behave in ways that you wouldn’t to  a new friend. A way to prevent this is to think through discussions and apologise if you feel that you’ve said something hurtful. She might have forgotten about it or brushed it off, but your apology tells her that you care and are not too ‘friendly’ to admit a mistake when you make it, even a little one. And that adds to the deposit in your ‘friendship bank’. The next time you slip up without realising, you’ll have something to fall back on i.e. your friend can easily assume you didn’t realise it since you came clean the last time.

It might be a myth or maybe not, but sometimes, even when there are a lot of people around, its hard to find a friend: someone who truly gets you, can read your expressions and moods and not misread your words on Whatsapp (please just call if its serious. Whatsapp sometimes could make matters worse…) If it lies within your power to, show yourself friendly to someone. Make excuses for their naughtiness: maybe its the monthly, or they’re having a bad day. It will be far from easy, but the Holy Spirit is our helper and can guide us on how to best to show love.

It will hurt on some days and you may not feel like it. It helps me to remind myself that God probably didn’t feel like dying on the cross for me, but He did it still. You may argue He had no choice, but that’s exactly the point. If He could do something so great for me, showing some love to a friend shouldn’t be too much for me to do.

Have a good week!                                                                                 *MBW

“Don’t ask whether it’s going to be easy. Ask whether it’s going to be worth it.”-Michael Josephson

 

 

 

 

Willing to wait?

I was at the train station one morning a few weeks ago, scheduled to leave at 9:12am on a London Midland train from platform one. A few minutes to the time the train was to arrive, a Virgin train slowly came on the tracks. This was at 9:10am, and a group of about ten people flocked towards the train and one of them (who seemed like their tour guide) tried to open the door- it did not open. After a few seconds of speaking in a foreign language among themselves, they backed away from the train to continue the wait. I looked on the automated information screen and nothing had changed: the ETA of the train was still 9:12am, it was expected to be on time and leave from the same platform.

Later on, I thought about the incident and couldn’t help wonder that a similar thing happens to me sometimes: I know what God has said to and about me, have an idea what it looks like: this future, His wonderful thoughts, the expected end; but I reach out for other things that seem like it because I’m eager, anxious or even desperate to lay hold on that which He has for me. It’s a mixture of anxiety and doubt.

But then I tell myself, if it’s not His ‘train’, the ride will not be the same. Even He said that there will be false prophets (Matthew 7:15) and but to know when it’s Him, we need to stay focused on Him, knowing Him so well so that when He comes, without a shadow of a doubt, we would know to go with Him(Matthew 24:5).

While the Virgin train stalled, I noticed a London Midland train arrive on platform 2. Both platforms 1 and 2 were separated by a landing, think of it as a corridor with train tracks on both sides. It crossed my mind that that might be my train but I needed an instruction before making the assumption, so I stayed put. At 9:11am, there was a message that there had been a platform swap and the train to London would now depart from platform 2. Now I had my instruction! I moved across the platform and entered the train. Not everyone may have seen that instruction and therefore they may not all have got into the right train. Maybe they were so stuck on the fact that they had been told platform 1 earlier and not so accustomed to a change. For some reason, there was a change and this made us move platforms.

In like fashion, the instruction God gives today may not be the same He has for you next week. Constantly listening to Him and being yielded to the Holy Spirit is key. God is not limited. He is sovereign and has over a million ways to get things done.

Always remember,

-God is always speaking, you just need to get quiet before Him to hear.

-He has your best interest at heart-He’s your Father! (Jeremiah 29:11)

-Even when things seem slow or unproductive, know and believe that He is working behind the scenes and will come through for you.

 

Stay blessed!

*MBW

Thoughts from Peter

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A verse in the book of first Peter chapter 5 stood out to me last week and I decided to read the whole chapter. I learnt some lessons from it which I thought to share. It changed my perspective on suffering and gave me a reason to smile through hard times. All verses in this post are from the New Living Translation (NLT) Bible except otherwise stated.

Peter wrote this book and could relate to the experiences of the elders in the church as he was an apostle of Jesus and had been a faithful follower also. In verse 1, he said, ”I too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I too will share in his glory when he is revealed…”

He wrote about serving God, especially caring for the Lord’s flock. He encouraged us to “watch over it willingly, not grudgingly -not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God” (v2). This speaks of the motive behind our service to God and it is important that we re-evaluate our hearts on a regular basis to see that our motives in serving in God’s house are right. Are you an usher so you can show off your new shoes? Or are you in the choir because your voice is the best and they totally cannot do without you? Well, God uses the foolish things [around us] to confound the wise(1 Cor. 1:27-29) so even a broken person who is bent over in fear and shame can be an instrument in God’s hand if they are willing, available and have their hearts right towards God. It is not wrong to look nice or wear the best of clothes, we are to be ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor. 5:20) and I’m sure He would wear the best clothes had He been on earth now, but we are not to make that our priority. Our focus should be the Kingdom (Matt. 6:33) and its advancement.

The way in which you serve is also dear to God’s heart as Peter says in verse 3,“Do not lord it over people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.” The fact that you have a position of authority in church, fellowship or a small group is an opportunity given to you to SERVE God. You are not to boss people around or make them feel inferior. You are in fact a servant (Lk. 22:25-26) who should lead by example. Your life should minister to your followers so much that you wouldn’t need to speak much. They should see the character and virtue flowing from you and be impacted by it. This is the act of true leadership. It may not be easy, some people are easier to lead than others, but this is the place of grace. God who called you will grace you for the assignment and equip you with strength and everything you need. In all honesty, He has given you all you need already (Eph. 1:3). And God promises to reward our labour with “a crown of never-ending glory and honour.” (v4)

God favours the humble and opposes the proud (v5). “Oppose” means to “actively resist a person.” Some synonyms for oppose are “fight”, “challenge”, “confront”, “attack”. God clearly does not appreciate pride. It’s easier typed than done but He can help us to put away any elements of pride if we ask Him to. He also delights that there be respect and protocol observed in His house: younger men are to accept the authority of the elders. This means taking your pastor’s authority and obedience to deacons and leaders, even when you might not want to or agree with them. As long as it is in line with God’s Word, we are to honour them by accepting their authority. This is one of the ways to please God.

I remember a friend saying at a Bible study group that it’s better for you to humble yourself than to let God humble you. It’s probably just a wiser idea…His ways are not our ways, remember? Nor His thoughts our thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9, get it?) I would rather He lift me up than humble me, because God does exceedingly, abundantly, above my expectations (Eph. 3:20).

This bit is hard for us as Christians, we seem to think that we can handle a lot more than we actually can. It’s a good idea to look through God’s Word and take it literally, just how He said it-

”Give all your worries and cares to God for He cares about you.”(v7)

It’s simple. Do your best to forget about it and give it all to God. He knew about the issues before they even came up and He has a million ways to resolve each of them and make you smile again. Remember Ephesians 3:20.

The enemy just wants to throw you off balance by bringing all sorts of situations your way but you need to “Stay alert and watch out for the great enemy, the devil…” (v8) He prances around looking for someone to take advantage of, like a bully really. But we must be “strong in faith” (v9) and resist him.

Verse 10 is my key verse in this chapter. It changed my perspective on suffering and hard times. I used to think “why me?” when I was going through hard times, but then I read this verse and I saw a different angle to hard times.

“In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.”

God is kind enough to allow me share in His glory, grace, blessings and mercy on a regular basis. And then I got to experience a bit of His suffering too, (just a few times this year). Should I really complain? It hit me that I should be thankful. God endured so much more for me on the Cross and did not complain or murmur, instead He said “…Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Lk. 22:42) I began to see my hardship as an opportunity to feel a bit of what God felt on the Cross, to partake in His suffering. I apologised for the “why me” feelings and thanked God for the opportunity to go through some of the emotions He would have gone through when He died for me.  And for the fact that He is aware of my struggles and will never leave me.

The best part is that in His mercies, He does not let us suffer continuously. The second part of verse 10 says He will “restore, support and strengthen you and place you on a firm foundation.” I think He watches our reactions to the little mishaps in our lives and then picks us up for an upgrade. What is your reaction? Do you run away and curse God at the slightest appearance of trouble? God loves you and cares about you. Nothing happens without His permission (Lam. 3:37). If you run anywhere in the time of trials and troubles, let it be towards Him.

Peter ends with the purpose of this chapter in verse 12, “to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you.” This is the summary of this post. Peter couldn’t have said it better. He further encourages us to “Stand firm in His grace.”

I hope this has encouraged you and given you a slightly different perspective on suffering as a Christian. God “cares for us affectionately and cares about us watchfully” (1 Pet. 5:7, AMP). This is a huge reason to trust and hope in Him.

Love and hugs,
*MBW

The Gift of Blindness (adopted from Cobhams Asuquo)

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Cobhams Asuquo is a Nigerian song-writer, music producer and singer. He shares some things which he has learnt from blindness, a reality he has lived with since birth. He was faced with the looming possibility of failure in his life when he discovered the intricate possibilities of living in a world of sighted people and the fact that people were ready to excuse his failure because of his disability.(To find out more about Cobhams, check out his website here).

In his Ted X Euston talk, he shares some lessons he has learnt so far. Some of each lesson is written below but I cannot do justice to these points half as good as he did so I suggest you watch the full talk here.

  1. Do Not Excuse Failure for any reason or on any account

“This doesn’t mean to be unmerciful or impatient with the less abled, weak or disadvantaged because failure will come, but the same way that it comes, we should see to it that it goes. Wherever there’s a larger-than-life seemingly insurmountable flaw in our lives, leaders, system, etc, we tend to indulge in it, overlook it and get comfortable with it. And even give it names. This should not be. By excusing failure, we miss the opportunity to scale through those seemingly insurmountable obstacles: to elevate ourselves and elevate others.”

  1. Trust

“Life has enough unfortunate things already, regardless of your status. Trust, even when you have no reason to. Trust has no expiration date: keep trusting, keep hoping, keep believing.Hard as it may be to trust, it’s like a 50-50 lifeline. It may be worth your while to trust, but you’ll never know if you don’t take a leap of faith, and trust!”

  1. Focus

“Sight sometimes is a distraction. On your way to your destination, what you see can also be a big distraction from your goal. You have to be blind in order to be focused. Focus is blindness in a sense. You need to be blind to several things.”

The last point hit me like the unexpected palm of an African parent. It’s so true! You can’t do everything all at the same time. I often tell my friends to make a shopping list whenever we go grocery-shopping because they tend to want to pick things they did not plan to buy. This may be excused once or twice but not on every shopping trip- that would easily become a bad habit.

It’s hard, but as human beings, we must be disciplined. I refer to being disciplined as the act of ‘being the horse and the horse rider’. This is the dual act of living your life and being in control of your actions at the same time. It’s doing your thing but also pulling the reins on yourself like the horse-rider would do. The aim is to self-evaluate your actions and to know when you are going or have gone off course. If you are going to lie to everyone else, at least love yourself enough to tell you the truth. And it ties back to what Cobhams said, to achieve the many things on your bucket list(or weekly/monthly/life goals), you can’t afford to do it all and expect excellent results. There’s a need to plan and more importantly to prioritise.

I remember some stuff from my Economics class in high school: the scale of preference and the opportunity cost. The scale of preference consists of the things you want in an order of importance, the most important being at the top. It was to help in spending and budget making, so that you can allocate resources to the most urgent needs. The opportunity cost is the alternative foregone(some textbook definitions just stick, don’t they?) This is the cost you have to forego to get what you need. For instance, if I have £20 and I want to get a purse for £15 and a pair of shoes for £12, I can only afford one with the cash I have in hand. I would look at my scale of preference to determine which is more urgent and it’s the shoes. They cost £12, but the opportunity cost is £15, i.e. the cost of the purse I had to forego. These two concepts have helped me in managing finances and making decisions also. They are useful in doing a lot of everyday activities as well.

Challenge yourself to make no excuses for failure, trust and fous!

Have a lovely day!

*MBW

If in the Netherlands…

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It was here again, a free space, a period of time consisting of some days within which I did not have to go to a room, sit and listen to someone who had been employed to daily fill me with academic knowledge for a period of three years, during which sometimes I would feel very much like listening and at other times like muting this employee. So I was grateful for this space and when it came, I was glad to embrace it, to make the best of it, to get away for the period and do something memorable.

Being in a small university with many nationalities represented, I had heard about many places to see: Bahamas, Morocco, Paris, Berlin, Malaysia, Mauritius, from those who lived there or had visited. I also heard about Amsterdam-the red light district, its many museums, the canals, the loads of tourists. I had some relatives in the Netherlands so I thought to make the best use of my time visiting.

A lot of the fun places to see in the Netherlands were in Amsterdam, which was not too far from where I stayed. There were other interesting places outside Amsterdam to see which made it tough choosing where to go. If you’re in Amsterdam, beware that there is a variety of beautiful sights and tourist attractions. You will be tempted to see a lot of different things and a part of you may feel like you actually can. This is a possible feat, depending on how long you are spending in the city as well as your budget. The price of museum tickets, boat rides or almost any other attraction are available online, which makes financial planning easy.

I had only a day in Amsterdam. I went to the Anne Frank House and though it seemed like a small building which I would tour in half an hour, it took two hours. This was excluding the thirty minutes I spent on the queue to get in: yes, a lot of tourists visit the house! It was very detailed, labelled rooms, letting you know which room belonged to who and video and audio recordings of some people who had known Anne Frank as well as some parts of Anne Frank’s diary. The use of cameras were not allowed but I saved my ticket stub.

Ticket Stubs

Ticket Stubs

I also took a boat ride that went on the waters of Amsterdam as the tour guide pointed out buildings and areas that were important or had some historic essence. The Amsterdam Light Festival was on at the time, so I saw beautiful art during the tour.

I found Louwman’s Museum when looking for places to see and Corpus was recommended to me. I decided to check them out. These are not in Amsterdam central, but they were definitely worth the ‘detour’ especially as they were on the same route. Louwman’s is an automobile museum, with vehicles from as far back as the early 1900s. It was easy to get around by public transportation, following the directions I got online. It’s a good idea to ask a local to cross check and inform you of a faster route if they know one.

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Ahrens-Fox Fire Engine 1928

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Rolls-Royce ‘Shooting Brake’ 1910

Toyoda AA (First Toyota Passenger Car) 1936

Toyoda AA (First Toyota Passenger Car) 1936

An interesting car from way back

An interesting car from way back

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World’s First 6-Cylinder Engine, 4-Wheel Drive, 4-Wheel Brakes

Corpus is a journey in the human anatomy. It takes you through the experiences in the human body, using real sounds to explain how essential organs work and how some processes are carried out in the body. It was a lovely experience, which I would especially recommend for young children as it is a fun approach to Science/Biology, as well as an insight on how their body works which they will not easily forget. There was a food court and a souvenir shop. Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed here so I have no pictures.

The Royal Delft was another place I had been told about, it is the home of beautiful hand-designed ceramic. I got a few pictures from here:

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I had a good time touring around the Hague and Amsterdam. Please share if you’ve been to any of these places or somewhere else not listed above. It’ll be nice to hear your experience.

*MBW

The Inner Image

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When this post was in the works, I looked up a definition but didn’t find anything that was related to what I had in mind. Instead Google offered me definitions and diagrams of the ear as well as laser removal services. Thankfully, that is not what this post is about. To help me form a definition, I tried to remember where I learnt the phrase ‘inner image’ and it was a while ago at church. The concept has been a useful tool in shaping my reaction to situations and helping me build positive expectations for the future. I have watched people practice it and seen results, so I have learnt to do the same.

Inner image refers to what you have inside, what you’re looking at as a picture of where you’re going to; the picture that fuels your drive; the image in your mind’s eye that keeps you going. A friend of mine thought about it as “What you see yourself as; the best version of yourself; the peak of all your potential”. The idea you have about a thing is most likely your inner image of that thing which could be good or bad. It is possible to form, change or adjust your inner image.

A person’s inner image is formed by their environment, value system, upbringing, experiences, and other related factors. Just as there are many different permutations of people and their experiences, so are there various depictions of the inner images they have. Sadly, the environment does not provide top-notch information and resources for daily living, and so it is all the more important to take control of what forms you: thoughts, opinions, beliefs and actions. Therefore, individuals must draw the line between what they desire and what the environment thrusts at them. They need to determine how much of their environment they are willing to take in and what information may not be beneficial for them. Just like 1 Cor.6:12 says, “all things are lawful, but not all things are expedient”. The fact that everyone thinks in a certain way does not make it right. (*1 John 4:1)

An experience may be negative, however a person can decide not to dwell on the negativity, but to sift out the positive lessons and portray that instead, seeing the glass as half-full instead of half-empty. If one decides to form their inner image based on their experiences only, they may not have a good picture. It is so easy to build an inner image by looking inwards, at the things that make us, assuming that we are the standard. Unfortunately, this may not be true. It is important to have a good image about yourself. This is the foundation for building other things on. If you do not see yourself as good enough, it may be hard for you to think you deserve anything good. The Bible provides assurance in Psalm 139:14 which speaks of God’s wonderful works and describes you as “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Gen 1:31 also affirms that all things God made were “very good“.

Like any worthwhile venture, to get a good inner image, you must carry out research: find people who are doing well in that field, ask questions, find out the tips of the trade. If you want a good financial life, it would be wise to find someone who is debt-free and excelling financially to learn from; that applies to any other area you wish to form a good inner image. The fact that your parent’s marriage didn’t last as long as you expected it does not mean yours will too-you can adjust that image! Surround yourself with people who are experiencing what you’re expecting, talk to them, ask questions, read books on the subject (by recommended authors who are living out what they publish). Heb 6:12 admonishes us to “follow those who through faith and patience have obtained the promise”. Translation: find people who have worked it, ask them how and work it too.

To assess your inner image, it is necessary to ask some questions: When you think about career advancement, finances, marriage, relationships, what comes to mind? Do you think of a drained pocket regardless of how much you work and earn; do you have a positive expectation in your relationships or fear that they will be short-lived. How about marriage? Do you have reasons why marriage won’t work or are you hopeful that living forever with that special someone, who happens to be totally different from you is possible? Do you think you might be a bad parent? The answers you have to these questions may be as a result of your inner image. It may also be your fears being voiced or a result of something you have experienced or been exposed to. A good evaluation would help you know which category it belongs and how best to handle it.

What you think on eventually grows to be what you talk about and hence your reality. A wise man once told me “What you set before you consistently enters inside you”. Just like music filters into our subconscious and we find ourselves spitting lyrics we did not take time to learn, also the things we are constantly surrounded by or focused on will soon become a part of us. It is important to focus on the right things as that is what your mind believes, and your body demonstrates. What are you looking at? What is in front of you?
2 Cor 3:18 says it best:“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Hugs & Sleepy eyes,
*MBW

Welcome!

Hello!
Welcome to this blog. I hope you find some inspiration or something you can relate to while reading it. My earnest desire is for a smile to break out on your face while you’re on here, for you to be challenged to be better, be inspired, or to feel a connection to a word, phrase or string of words that might make you wonder if I have cameras installed in your mind: Fear not, I don’t.

I’m passionate about seeing people get better and achieve all they possibly can or at least give it a good shot. There is so much you can do, so many heights you can reach if you stay focused and disciplined (a feat some people may think really hard), but nothing is impossible, or what do you think? To be all you can, personal development is imperative; there’s always something more to learn, regardless of how much you know.

Just in case you’re wondering who I am or what to expect on this blog,… I’m a young Christian lady who has procrastinated starting a blog for about a year, so I have a few ideas which I’ll flesh out and transform into posts which will be on here. The register of some things that distinguish my weird from yours are administration, order, symmetry, excellence, punctuality. Yes, I think everyone is weird but that’s what makes you special, ‘different’ is just a synonym for weird.

And what will this blog contain? A little bit of everything: pregnant thoughts, poetry, opinions from and about life, travel reviews, interesting people or things of substance I come across. There might be days where I rant about something I come across or that happened to me but as much as possible, it will be well-thought out ranting, proofread and all. And until I feel the need to stick to a particular field, at which point you will be duly notified, that’s the plan. Right now, my goal is to achieve consistency in writing and posting (and putting this down here means I really have to live up to my words), so help me God.

I believe in Jesus Christ and the Bible is my life’s manual so you’ll be sure to see Scriptures pop up often. I might do character reviews from the Bible and you can share your thoughts so I can learn too. I’m not going to pretend that I have blogging all figured out (I don’t) so ideas are welcome. I can’t promise that I will blog about everything that is suggested but they will be carefully considered. Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

P.S- What do you think about the name of this blog? I’m curious to find out what your first impression/ thoughts were when you saw the name. Please leave a comment if you’d like to let me know.

Thanks for stopping by. Do come again!
*MBW