Asides

It’s Not About Me

I was walking up the street one day with my eyes on my phone, scrolling through my email. I just happened to look back up at the road in front of me when I saw that there was suddenly less road and more …well, pole. Yup, I’d almost walked into an electric pole. It was then that I realised I had to pay more attention to the world around.
The whole ‘scrolling-through-my-phone-while-walking-on-the-road’ bit is a habit I’m trying to stop. I think I picked it up as a reflex response to avoid the awkwardness of staring at people walking toward me. I’d either be checking my mail or checking out the latest ‘share’, ‘comment’ or ‘like’ on my last post (narcissistic much?)
But I realise that I’m cheating myself of other things. Like the world around me. The people around; yes even the ones I’m trying not to stare at.
While I’m dipping my head into cyberspace I’m missing out on the opportunity to be a blessing out here in the real world. They’re the ones I’m supposed to reach out to, right? I shouldn’t be all wrapped up in myself or I’d miss out on all that.
It’s not about me.
It’s not about you.
Our lives are too big and too full for it to only be lived for ourselves. But you know what? We are also too tiny and infinitessimal for us to be the centre of our own lives.
We were made to live for God, and God’s all about reaching out to others. Showing them Love. Giving them Life. That’s what we’re made for.
You’ve got a LOT to offer, some of which you’re yet to discover. You’ll see them when you actually reach out.
So don’t be all “me, me, me!” You’ll miss out on the other notes in the beautiful harmony of God’s Creation.
So flash a smile to someone today. You never know how far it could go.
🙂

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A Child’s Heart

‘…some day, you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.’
— C.S. Lewis to Lucy Barfield, at the beginning of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

I recently asked my friends on Facebook to share some of the amazing, and ‘crazy’ ideas we innocently held as children. Hilarity ensued. I’ll share some of them here. I set the ball rolling with these:
‘I used to think that the money we gave in church as offering would be placed in a bowl, taken to a forest, and a beam of Light would flash down from heaven and take it all back to God.
I used to think that if you flew by plane into another country, you would see a ‘Welcome’ banner suspened in the clouds. Like a ‘Welcome to Kenya’ banner suspended over the Kenyan border.
One of my sisters used to think that filmmakers would ask, “Who wants to die?” Whoever volunteered would die in the movie.
I was almost certain that if I ate too many orange seeds, a tree would grow out of my head!’

But then my friends followed it up with these hilarious comments:

‘Yeah, about that dying in movies thing, I used to think exactly the same! And my niece, when she was told recently that an adult was going to school, … was
amazed at first, then asked, “Will she be wearing uniform???”
— Roselyn Enezeeyi Balogun

‘…I used to think a Bank was a place u could go withdraw money as much as u wished whether u saved it there or not…’
— Dare Ilesanmi

‘I used to think that I could take the chicken out of TV screen & eat it, only for my hand not to enter the TV screen.’
— Ajoke Adebisi

‘I used to think that by just turning to face the rear wind screen of a car, it automatically reverses!’
— Chika Amogu

‘Amazing! Now I know I had a normal childhood. Then, I always thought that by leaving the Coke bottle I just took for long enough, the bottle would fill up again.’
— Kayode Okikiolu

‘@everyone: Totally hiLARious!!! I still see the Man in the Moon! And I’m certain he’s got long hair too! 0_0′
— Me, trying to keep ’em coming ( 😀 )

‘Yupp! Man in the moon….still trying to decide if he’s really a woman carrying a baby on her back and pounding yam (as I thought back then) or just “the Man in the Moon…but that woman’s got my heart BIGTIME… :S’
— Roselyn Enezeeyi Balogun

Before I go on, I sincerely appreciate you guys for volunteering your amazing ideas! You made it interesting. It was really cool to know that there were other children like me out there with amazing ideas for those unanswered or erstwhile unasked questions.

The amazing thing about a child’s imagination is that it is largely untampered by that fella we call ‘Reality’. So we actually believed we could put cars in reverse by just staring at the rear windscreen (hehee) or take a piece of chicken from the TV screen, or withdraw unlimited amounts of money from a bank, or even get our Coke bottles refilled after leaving them for a while!!! Reading this now, you probably think they are ridiculous or downright comical. But, think about it, aren’t these thoughts the preludes to motion detection technology, or touchscreen technology, or … um … ahem, sorry, I still haven’t come up with something for the rest. But they all had something in common: Faith.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.” (Luke 18:16, emphasis mine). The mindset and lifestyle of God’s kingdom–where everything is perfect, good has won, evil has lost, and nothing is impossible–is so fantastic, the rational logic of mortal intellect cannot accept it. The smarter we become in the things of this world, the more disconnected we are from the ideal. We begin to think and say things like, “no one is perfect,” “Everyone is corrupt”. When we see a miracle, we try to explain it away as mundane. This kind of mindset cannot live the kind of life God wants. But children, unaffected by these things, can appreciate what adults can’t … or simply won’t. They can believe in the ‘impossible’ simply because it has not been unproven to them. They believe what you tell them, because they trust you. They can believe that there is a time or place …or Person… that is much better than the present.
And who says they are wrong? This is the kind of trust God expects of us.
To trust that He’s got everything under control.
To see the best in people, not bashing them with their faults.
To believe in what mortals call ‘impossible’.
This is the kind of mind God can give mind-blowing ideas, because they will not reject them. People like Abraham, David, Samuel…
…and you.
As one of my favourites, Petra, once sang,
‘Don’t let your heart be hardened
Don’t let your love grow cold
May it always stay so childlike
May it never grow too old.
Don’t let your heart be hardened
May you always know the cure
Keep it broken before Jesus
Keep it always meek and pure’.

May God keep your heart, dear friend.

FREE INDEED: The Story Behind the Cartoon

Most of you have seen the cartoon on which this is based before, but I never told the story behind it. Well, here goes…
It’s amazing how God places the right people for the right purposes in our lives, at the right times. The friends and family He has given to me are a testament to that.
Earlier this year, I’d just had a wonderful evening discussing and sharing ideas with one of such friends, Seun Akappo, when he gave me the album, The Struggle by Tenth Avenue North (thanks, man!). Later that evening, while I was working on some stuff I played the title track, The Struggle.
The chorus of the song goes:
Halleluyah! We are free to struggle
We’re not struggling to be free
Your blood bought and makes us children
Children drop your chains and sing!

The images, goaded on by some things God was laying on my heart in those times, started forming. Many believe that the Struggle is inevitable. You know, when people say we all ‘try’ to be good. That we’re all trying to break free from the limitations imposed on us, sin and temptation being a part of them. So it seems the struggle is inevitable.
But Jesus came to set us free from that struggle (to that struggle, we are free). He has made us free to be all God intended for us to be! The struggle is no longer a factor because, now, God wants to live through us. So it would not be us ‘struggling’ to do what’s right, but God wanting and actually doing what’s right through us. (Philippians 2:13)
We are free and truly free indeed!

So in the ‘toon, this guy’s chains have been undone for a long time already. But he’s still been sitting in the prison. Jesus, Who broke the chains, comes by (and I love how His shadow is actually Light, in the shape of a cross) and asks “Hey, didn’t I set you free?” The guy suddenly lights up in realization and goes, “Jesus, You’re SO right!” And, next thing you know, He’s running out of the prison.
When we suddenly realise the Truth, we wonder why we have not realised it sooner. Jesus is the Truth, and when He reveals His Truth to us, His Spirit in us agrees with Him. Remember where Jesus said, “And you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.” in John 8:32? He was talking about Himself.
So, think about it: what would you do if you suddenly realised that there was really no limitation ever again? Eh?
That’s what Christ has brought to us. Total Freedom, to live abundantly.
So, dear friends, the chains have been undone. If you are a child of God, you are free completely. The pain and shadows and limitations do not apply to you anymore. Christ, the Truth Himself, defines your identity.
You are no longer a slave to sin.
You are now a son of God.
You are not bound.
You are Free!
Do you get it?
Nice to meet you; can I call you ‘Free’? For now, with Christ in you, you are the definition of Freedom.

I am Free!
Are you?

‘Halleluyah, death is overcome
and we are breathing.
Halleluyah, our stone hearts become
flesh that’s beating
Halleluyah, chains have been undone
and we are singing.
Halleluyah, the fire has begun
Can you feel it?’
(from THE STRUGGLE by Tenth Avenue North)

“Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
by Jesus in John 8:36

(My friend, Seun Akappo, is also an amazing brother with a heart for God. It would be months before I realised what an amazing writer he is as well. You can check out his blog at http://www.wedontderserveitbutgotitanyway.wordpress.com.
God bless you, bro! 😀 )Free Indeed_veritoons

The Shadows Prove the Light

An Artist’s impression of Light usually requires the depiction of shadow.
I think there’s a song about that by Switchfoot. I saw a picture that brought that fact to me on Ted Dekker’s facebook page some months ago. It seemed really cool to me. But it just seemed to become so real recently.

It came alive as I drew a sad man looking down, kneeling, facing away from Light. That’s how I felt back then. Alone. Cut off from all that was dear to me. Like I was stuck in a dark cavern. It didn’t matter that I was surrounded by people that day. What I felt was deep … hurting me inside. I was in the Shadow. And so I drew. I usually draw figures depicting how I feel. So the man was definitely a lot like me.
Anyway, this guy’s face was cloaked in shadow. He was oblivious to the fact that Light was shining behind him.
I figured that when we feel down, or lonely, like we’re walking in a place of deep gloom and shadows, we can choose to remain gloomy.

Or…

Or we can choose to look Up.
When the man looks up and turns to the Light, his face is illuminated. It doesn’t matter that there are shadows behind him. No! Heavens no!
His eyes are enlightened.
His heart is ignited.

So when I walk in the Shadows, I remember that the shadows prove there is Light. That’s what they tell me now. They only seem darker because the Light is shining…
BRIGHTER!

We can choose to look down and mope, complain, grumble and wallow in self-pity. But when we look in the Light, we can truly see that we have good reason to be thankful.

I learnt that. Looking into God’s Light, I found that I had friends and family to be thankful for, even though we were not together. I got to meet new friends, and… the Light got brighter and brighter.

David also learnt this, you know. In Psalm 23:4 he says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
God is with me. That makes all the difference in the world … and beyond. Ha!

He is the Light. He made both Light and Darkness. When I look to Him He gives me the strength and comfort to be the Light for someone else.

Why don’t you do the same? You can choose to look in the Light. I learnt to choose to be thankful.
NOTE: Looking up is a deliberate decision. Just look up.

And the Light still shines,
piercing the darkness,
replacing gloom with bliss
in its glorious glare.

Aaa…