How was your Thanksgiving day?
Mine was pleasant. I must say I’ve loved the way Americans honor and treasure this holiday, it was effortlessly contagious. And this week while interacting with a guest at work, she found me to be diplomatic 😊. I wonder whether it’s a good thing. The other description I’ve tumbled upon quite a number of times, is I’ve been told I’m philosophical in my expression. That too, I wonder if is a good thing 🤷♀️. What I personally know though is I tend to be very analytical. My former boss described me as meticulous and assiduous. And while doing business and preparing some soft interior furnishes 3 years back, a close friend of mine told me I pay keen attention to detail when she visited me in my house ‘cos I’d undo stitches on some fabrics designated for a certain product, fill ’em up again to a desired capacity, re-stitch ’em ’till I could get the perfect end product. I don’t gamble with quality when it comes to execution. One of my favorite cousins calls me ‘perfectionist’, and that too, I question if is a good thing 😎.
So, how has your past decade been?
Just took a short backward look at mine by walkin’ down mem’ry lane, puttin’ the Spiritual Warfare project aside shortly and will be resuming in a minute.
Well, mine has been one of growth in untold measure. Looking back at the last 10 years immensely speaks of a picture of God’s mercy, faithfulness and undeserved favor. Been a decade of growth in: prayer & spiritual formation, financial literacy, endurance & resilience, professional skills attainement, life’s priority check, growth in diversity & flexibility, and the list is without end.
And well, this year? The decade’s closing with a year that felt as though I was plunged in the very deep end. Four years back, having worked for close to 4 years in a francophone European diplomatic mission as a Bilingual PA to the Trade Commissioner in an office whose jurisdiction was in 6 countries of operation, handling trade logistics, business & economic missions as well as international trade affairs, I thought then that that was busy enough ’till this year when I have had to work: 12 midnight to 8am shifts, 8am to 4pm shifts with majority of my work shifts being the 4pm to midnight shifts (talk of the real 24 hour economy), mostly getting back to the house at 1.30am after a 30mins train journey… then the hardest lesson I have had to learn is flexibility & availability – being accessible within a short span of notice, yet without succumbing to availability due to desperation. Working in a fast-paced city that’s situated in a state that borders New York only means that the speed of execution is relatively, almost similarly quick.
What I’ve enjoyed the most is doing what has become my new love having done it now for 6.5yrs – Administration, despite my area of training & expertise being Teaching.
Mark Batterson puts it this way, “Everything in your past is preparation for something in your future. God wastes nothing!” I look at my last decade and from teaching full-time as well as part-time, to being a Travel Consultant – preparing trip proposals, engaging in research and negotiating rates with hotels and airlines, to being a Content Editor in 3 languages with a Mobile Media & Communication Technology firm that covered around 13 countries in Africa, to working in the Trade section of a European embassy whose country is a world leader in the production of unparalleled chocolates & pharmaceuticals just to name but a few, then ending up as a prospective entrepreneur, a blogger/ writer/ poet/ playwright (and God is yet to fully unleash the underlying, unstoppable potential within), then I’m a living testimony that indeed God wastes nothing!
Every skill I’ve attained in my previous mission has always given me an upper hand in the next. And every life: skill, experience, network, challenge, setback and lesson has always thrusted me forth to the next dimension.
Have I had personal setbacks? Yes – new companies closing down, lay-offs, resignations, staying off work for months, even years etc. Did these experiences strengthen me? Yes they did. What of family struggles & setbacks? Yes we have had some and only emerged stronger and closer to each other than ever.
What of relational and friendship goals? Well, in life, you meet people who value you too much, almost to the point of worship. Then you also meet those who hold no value at all towards you, the latter, I treat their perspective of me with a grain of salt. What ultimately counts is, ‘how do I see myself?’, ‘how do you see yourself?’. It fundamentally starts from there before addressing ‘how do I/ you see others?’ Everyone enjoys authentic company and authentic for me is tried & tested over a duration of time and found to befit my trust. The introverted side of me goes for quality as opposed to quantity and as a result, I make very strong bonds but very few friends with very deep roots. It’s a logic your system will never ever comprehend ’till Jesus comes back if you’re 100% extroverted. Been told I talk to strangers as though I’ve known ’em my entire life. Be not fooled, I make friends very quick but trust people really slow, it takes years. That’s just me, and that’s my principle. So, over the past decade, I’ve had the priviledge again of making few more authentic bonds.
So, what am I grateful for? So, so much, the list would be cracking from overload. Let’s just say I’m grateful for everything to this point.
And so what next? In the next decade plus many more to come, I just wanna move to a much higher realm of spiritual maturity and wisdom, make the world around me better and more habitable and of course stay true to the purpose for which God created me. It’ll take self-discipline, courage, shutting out negative energy, hardwork, determination, focus, sacrifice, perserverance, rejoicing & being grateful etc, but ultimately being constantly aligned to the irrefutable will of the Great I Am. If I can die empty, if I can fulfill His purposes for me, not as per my strategies & methods but in line with His prescriptive procedures & techniques then I’m all good 🙌. If only I can do so within the confines of His divine will for me, everything in His time and not mine, wisely utilising the chronos at my disposal and being super alert to His set kairos…yeah, if I can do so not with the associations I choose for myself but with the divine destiny propellers He has already gone ahead and established for me, not so as to bring glory to man or work gracelessly hard for their applause, but rather execute it all for an audience of One (1), then I’m perfectly good. PURPOSE – that’s all I’m passionate about and all I endeavor to achieve; everything else is simply a bonus 😊. Human accolades are just that. But if I can get home and my Friend tells me, “well done good and faithful servant”, then right there and then, it’s ‘Mission Bien Terminé!’
So, you outchea working on a project? A business, on higher education, a book or books, a building project, a franchise etc? In a world oozing of hurt, discouragement, lack of support or people quick to tarnish whatever you’re handling, here’s my encouragement:
Many years ago, I had the priceless priviledge of attending a talk issued by the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate & Environmental activist, Prof. Wangari Maathai at the French School – Lycée Denis Didérot, located at Yaya centre in Nairobi, Kenya. I took notes and really enjoyed the session. Two things however stuck and ’till date, remain very vivid. 1. I wasn’t told but I saw just how down to earth she was. 2. Much as I was very young then, it didn’t escape me for a moment watching in awe at how the ‘wazungus’ treated her with extreme honor – the way they adjusted her microphone, the way they opened her bottled mineral water and replenished her glass… oh my goodness! I can still see the pictures all so clearly. And my young mind couldn’t help but reckon, clearly singling out that her countrymen/ countrywomen didn’t treat her with the same measure of honor – a case of a prophet being without honor in her country. I was very young then, very very young, yet I still remember all these.
Fast forward to today, I remembered Maathai’s favorite story of the Hummingbird that she curated, which has stood the test of time and that I’d love to remind us of. Even in that forum that I attended, she narrated the story.
“We are constantly being bombarded by problems that we face and sometimes, we can get completely overwhelmed.
The story of the hummingbird is about this huge forest being consumed by a fire. All the animals in the forest come out and they are transfixed as they watch the forest burning and they feel very overwhelmed, very powerless, except this little hummingbird. It says, ‘I’m going to do something about the fire!’ So it flies to the nearest stream and takes a drop of water. It puts it on the fire, and goes up and down, up and down, up and down, as fast as it can. In the meantime, all the other animals, much bigger aimals like the elephant with a big trunk that could bring much more water are standing there helpless. And they are saying to the hummingbird, ‘What do you think you can do? You are too little. This fire is too big. Your wings are too little and your beak is so small that you can only bring a small drop of water at a time.’ But as they continue to discourage it, it turns to them without wasting any time and it tells them, ‘I am doing the best I can.’ (Atleast he was doing something, right 👍?)
And that to me is what all of us should do. We should always be like a hummingbird. I may be insignificant, but certainly don’t want to be like the animals watching the planet go down the drain. I will be a hummingbird; I will do the best I can.”
In the next decade and many more to come, you likewise can choose to be a hummingbird – to do something however tiny it may seem. Will you?
Take time…, step back into time, therein you’ll find grace unspeakable, thro’ the: good moments, the hardships, the foolish decisions, the limitations, the brokenness, the victories, the celebrations, etc, it all was, only by and through GRACE.
For me, all I can reckon is that grace has carried me and covered me and only through grace can I courageously stand and bear witness of God’s steadfast love & enduring mercy, His natural goodness and unequalled faithfulness. I’ve clearly and perfectly been borne on Eagle’s wings – Exodus 19:4.
If the Lord tarries, see you in the next decade 👋👋.
Blessed beyond measure!!