SOME THINGS I’VE LEARNT SO FAR
On 20th September 2013 I turned twenty….. #fill in the gap# ;0) Considering that my birthday fell on the 3rd Friday in the month of September; which meant that i ought to have published a blog post on that day (I promised to publish a post here every first and third Friday of each month), I found it very difficult to decide on what exactly I wanted to write about. Having thought about so many things I could write on, I finally decided to focus this article on sharing with you some of the most important things I’ve learnt within my twenty…. years here on earth, so here it goes.
1. That the family into which we are born has a profound influence on our experiences in life:
I was born into a middle-class Nigerian family. Both my parents are professionals who earn enough by God’s grace to give I and my three siblings all the basics of life and then- a little extra. Prior to my National Youth Service year (NYSC), I took the blessings of God that I enjoyed as a direct result of my parent’s ‘means’ for granted. But that changed after I started working with unskilled and skilled laborers on the construction project I was deployed to. On conversing with the workers, most of whom were young men between the ages of fourteen and thirty, I realized how that my life, those of my siblings and those of my friends at university contrasted sharply with those of these young men- we had attended ‘above average’ schools because we had parents/guardians who could afford to keep us there. On the contrary, these skilled and unskilled artisans couldn’t attend even the ‘average’ schools because they had no one who could afford to keep them there.
This new found awareness of God’s blessings though the family into which he placed me has made me more grateful for the life I have now. Yes, my family isn’t perfect, but I have more reasons to be thankful to God and I’ve resolved not to shy away from doing so
2. That a healthy self-image is a vital asset in helping you fulfill your dreams
For as far back as I can remember, I have always been smaller than my peers. In Primary school, it didn’t really matter but then in secondary school it became a little too obvious. Then I became aware that my legs were not as ‘straight’ as those of most of my peers. I hated the way I walked, I hated the way I stood and I hated wearing anything other than a trouser to cover those ‘hideous’ legs of mine. After a while, God started to deal with me about accepting the way I looked. He started by reminding me that my size never stopped Him from blessing me and my ‘not straight enough legs ‘were far better than no legs at all.
His admonition woke me up and gave me new perspective- a perspective of being grateful for how I look and not allowing the world’s perceptions about what body size or shape are beautiful and which are ugly to bother me. I tell you it was liberating! The more I refused to be overly concerned about my body features which I couldn’t change, the more time I had to invest in the things that were truly worthwhile and, the more I made the right investments in the right endeavors, the more people appreciated me for who I was and the results that I produced without paying much attention to my physical appearance.
In all, I learnt that each of us (especially ladies..LOL) must learn to be comfortable in our own skin and not let the media’s interpretation of physical beauty make us feel inferior.
3. That I am blessed to have been saved in the days of my youth
Ecclesiastes 12:1 reads; Remember your Creator while you are young, before the bad times come—before the years come when you say, “I have wasted my life.”[ERV]
I have lived long enough to have met older adults who wish they had made better choices while they were younger. I have also read enough biographies and self-help material to know that many of the successful people that ever walked the face of the earth developed much of the life changing disciplines that prepared them for success in life while they were twenty somethings. That’s why i thank God now for saving me in my youth. His loving grace and timeless wisdom have in many ways kept me from making the fatal mistakes that could cost me my future. However, its sad that too many twenty somethings today live their lives like there’ll be no consequences for their decisions whether now or in the future. Too many seem to be repeating the same mistakes that have caused older people to regret. I on the other hand have learned to be thankful to God for ‘saving’ me in the days of my youth. There’s just no doubt that having had an early start in Christ and with Christ is preparing me for a grand and enviable future. Mark my words and I make no boast on my ability- I’m making headline news soon to the glory of the kingdom of God! Amen!!
4. That choosing our friends wisely is one of the most important choices we can make in life
My friends! At the moment I’ve got just a handful of them but then i treasure their individual contributions to my life. Though i haven’t seen some of them in years now, the godly habits and disciplines they helped me cultivate have stayed with me ever since. i can easily think of several things which i once thought I’d never be able to do until, i began to interact with people who thought that i could do those same things and then encouraged me to take action. i can also think of some things which i thought i could do, but never did because i was surrounded with friends who thought doing such a thing would be wrong or inappropriate.
My observation here is very simple, we all need to be mindful of what it is the people in our lives are influencing us to do, because whether or not we’re conscious of it, their own attitudes, actions and lifestyle influences our own and afterwards, such influences could last even far after those people may have exited our lives for whatever reason.
5. That one of the secrets to maintaining our walk with God is to focus on honoring God in our thoughts and actions, one day at a time
To the glory of God, I’ve been born again for almost a decade. ( And no, i didn’t say that for you to clap but because it’s important for the point i’m about to make). After a few years of walking with God,, i found myself wondering if it was possible for me to continue to grow in intimacy with God without backsliding or ‘slipping away’ even for a short while. As i pondered that thought, the holy spirit began to show me how that our walk with God was a product of our day-to-day decisions. He simply said that if everyday i woke up and renewed my decision to honor God in my thoughts, words and action JUST FOR THAT DAY by his grace, then each day would lead to the next until a week would give way to a month and a month to a year and a year, to several years.
Those words have stayed with me ever since, and as i look back now i can say that the holy Spirit was right (as he always is ;0). The much simpler decision to keep Jesus at the center of my life on a daily basis has seen my walk with God blossom into several years.
Finally, having lived through these twenty…. years (you should have cracked the code by now. LOL), i am looking forward to the many more that my heavenly father has marked out for me. Considering that the path of the just is as the shining light that shines brighter and brighter until the glorious day, I am more than convinced that my best years are ahead of me and that I’ll be learning a few more things that i would hopefully share with you.