Learning to breathe

The Resistance

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.                          – CS Lewis (from ‘The Weight of Glory’)

 

    So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. –James 4:7

Jesus was the ultimate iconoclast; he was rude to religious leaders and treated whores with respect. He was born like most people. He was ordinary and unmajestic in human flesh, wasn’t wealthy by any standards, had no names to drop, no elbows to rub. He was Mary’s boy and James’ brother, a carpenter, a teacher, a friend. He had no car, bike and travelled everywhere on foot. Jesus’ ministry lasted 3 years and when he died in his early thirties, he had no army to champion his cause except for the simple fishermen, commoners and outcasts he spent his time with. Yet his message  grew outlasting empires, dynasties, wars, revolutions, nations. Today Jesus is known all over the world. 3 years. Today on my way back from work, I found myself wondering about my countrymen and why Nigerians are called some of the “happiest” people in the world.

Are we really happy or are we just desensitized?

There is so much life to be lived and we are content with our own cube of earth. We’re fine as long as we’re “convenient”. We’re okay as long as it’s not our relative that gets hacked to death by extremists. Everything is dandy as long as we have our clothes, nice jobs, girlfriends/boyfriends and other pretty things. The corruption, terrorism, fraud is none of our business as long as it doesn’t affect us. I say “us” because I am just as guilty as everyone else. As long as I get to wear my favorite pair of jeans everyday and sing “Halleluyah! God is good” on Sundays I’m fine.

But am I really?

The Jesus that I serve turned the Middle East upside down in 3 years and even after his death, people were (and are) still messed up by the message he brought. I cannot begin to think of where I would be if Jesus had been content with his carpenter pay and being Mary’s boy. What Nigeria needs is a revolution, not religion. We need hearts that can still break not desensitization. We need people who will stand up for something other than themselves, people who will stand up for something greater; our country. We need people to be tired of Nigeria being one of the largest exporters of “convicted felons” to the US. We need to stop inviting the devil to dinner and start resisting him like James 4:7 implores.

Since June this year, a number of people have joined in to pray for Nigeria on the 15th of every month for 10 minutes. And everyday since that first day in June, they have chosen to be the resistance, the rebels, the insurgents fighting  against desensitization, fighting to wake up inside. Will you join us to fight for a truly happy Nigeria? Join  the virtual community, Nehemiah Prayermobs, on Twitter and Facebook.

The resistance is growing.

nehemiah project prayermobs

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Another meet-up

So the other day I found myself bitterly complaining about transportation and bus drivers in Lagos to a friend of mine and it shocked me just as much as I’m sure it shocked her that I was narrating the incident to her, three days after it had happened. I’m not one to care much about rude bus drivers, horrible customer care, strike in universities, human head breaking, mase-wielding men in government and generally everything related to Nigeria. But maybe what I’ve been praying for is really happening and my heart is starting to break for something other than myself. Just maybe, God has started wrecking this heart for her country. I’m not there yet but I’m on my way.

Nehemiah Project Prayermobs will be meeting up virtually and physically again on the 15th of this month between 12:00pm and 12:10pm. You don’t need to fly down to Lagos; you can start a mob right where you are. God is everywhere and He is more than ready to hear prayers from people that have abandoned the sit-and-complain-in-armchair fraternity. Last month, I felt strongly that God would have us fast also for our country as we pray. I like to think that fasting doesn’t change God’s heart; it changes ours because it is changing mine. There are a handful of fasts you can do and I’ve written a little about them here with a couple of guidelines you really want to know. So maybe you’re new around here and you don’t yet know what NPPM is. I’ll quickly run this by you so we’re on the same page more than literally.

  • Who are we?

Nigerians that are tired of the religious-yet-godless society we’re in, corruption, poverty and are willing to do something to change the state of things

  • What do we do?

We fast between the 13th and 15th of every month and pray on the 15th from 12:00pm to 12:10pm. For the rest of the month, we consciously seek ways to improve ourselves and our country.

  • What do we want?

We want reformation, unity in our diversity, an end to Boko Haram and other fanatical religious sects, one nation under God. Finally, we want the sit-and-complain-in-armchair state depopulated.

  • When do we want it?

We want it now.

So will you join me to fast from today till 15th? And will you pray with me on the 15th? When you’ve made the decision to, and actually follow through with it, I would love to hear that you prayed. There’s something about community and knowing you are not alone that encourages you to do better, to pray more. The families that rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem worked side by side; seeing each other lay brick upon brick. They stayed together in a one-line human fortress and fought off their enemies for each other. I believe they couldn’t have finished rebuilding the walls any other way. You can connect with the movement on Twitter, Facebook and GooglePlus. Tweet, facebook or googleplus us the hashtags “#NPPM #Iprayed” (with a picture, maybe) after 12:10pm on the 15th so we can share crazy joy with each other!  You don’t have to be religious to start or join a prayermob; as a matter of fact I’d prefer you weren’t. Just have a heart for God and a heart that wants to live and die for bigger things.nehemiah project prayermobs

For The Love of A Country

Our first Nehemiah Project Prayermob meet-up is Saturday this week and I am excited to say the least. When I finally worked up the courage to tell y’all about it, I honestly didn’t think that it would “blow”. I just wanted to make sure I obeyed that one thing He was calling me to do. Not all of us will be missionaries in the North, Uganda or even the Amazon jungle but all of us are called to radical living right where we are. So, right now for me, “radical” looks like praying for my country on the 15th of every month and getting as many people as I can in on it. I can’t tell you that about a million people followed us on Twitter or that NPPM has 2 million likes on Facebook. I’m not even here to talk about stats because they aren’t impressive by any standards. But I’m grateful for that one person that somehow got my phone number and called me for two days straight before I finally found my phone to ask how he could help with the movement. I’m grateful for that one guy that sent me mail offering to help design the logo for NPPM (haven’t heard from him in a while and I hope he’s alright). I’m grateful for the twenty-something comments and the handful of reblogs, the shares, the likes, views. I’m grateful for Twitter followers, retweets, shout-outs. I’m grateful for that one Facebook like because, really, the definition of success has changed for me. A dear friend of mine said, “Success is obedience in that one thing God has called you to do. That, in itself, is success. Forget the Stats.” (Paraphrased)

So I’m here again talking about NPPM so you know what to pray exactly on Saturday. If you started a mob in your neighbourhood and you’re unsure people will show up and you end up being the only one, just go on and pray anyway. You were obedient so you succeeded. And if it so happens that a bunch of guys show up in front of a supermarket (it’s a mob remember) close to your house to pray, go on and do what you came to do. Then if you’re like me and you’ve wondered what to pray for Nigeria in 10 whole minutes, I kinda came up with a loose plan for us to follow:

  • Pray for peace in the North
  • Pray for our leaders (GEJ and his cabinet, governors, etc) and finally
  • Pray for the citizens.
  • Pray each point for 3 minutes then take the last minute to engage and converse with the people that turned up, take a picture together if you can and tweet it at us or put it up on NPPM Facebook wall. with the hashtag #WePrayed or #Iprayed to encourage more people to join the movement then plan where you want the next meet-up to be. It doesn’t have to be the same place. When the last minute is up, disperse like the mob that you are! That was a compliment by the way.
    I’d love if you could spread the word to the ends of the earth and with as many people as you can. If you’ve ever wanted to do something meaningful and eternally significant for your country, this is it. Don’t let the thought that this mob thing is for “spiritual” people stop you from praying. Don’t let the thought that praying together won’t make a difference either. Praying together is way better than whining and doing absolutely nothing. I don’t care what church you attend or what church you don’t attend, come 15th of June put your disqualifications and differences away and just come out to pray for your country. If we don’t care to pray for Nigeria, who will? If you still want to help out with designing a logo for NPPM, do mail me zoe_akin@live.com I’d love to hear from you.

    Don’t forget to save the date June 15th!

    Nehemiah Project Prayermobs

    I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now. Actually I’ve been wanting to do this since the Borno killings I don’t want to be numb to the fact that almost an entire village was wiped out in one weekend. I don’t want to be desensitized to the fact that innocent men, women and children are dying every day in the North while I’m down southwest having rollercoaster rides and bumper-karting with friends. I don’t want to keep living like everything is peachy when it really isn’t. It would shock you to know that over 10,000 killings have been linked to the insurgent Boko Haram sectsince 2001*. Yeah, it shocked me too. Then the Boston bombing happened, the whole of America bled for Boston, the city was shut down, investigations were made and suspects were arrested. It was then that my heart really broke for Nigeria and it was then that I really prayed.
    Thankfully, my prayers did not bounce off the ceiling and I got a response but not quite the kind I wanted or expected. I wanted for God to raise fiery, popular cover-of-Time-magazine-worthy men and women to do something-to do anything! – to get this Boko Haram menace sorted once and for all. I wanted the SSS to announce on national TV that they had caught the leaders and they were rounding up the terrorists one by one. I wanted for God to just sort them out somehow. I really did not care how as long as I didn’t have to directly get involved. I mean, praying in my room on my comfy bed is convenient and pretty hands on. It’s safe. But the only response I got was “You, Ibukun.”
    He wants ordinary, can’t-use-an-excel-spreadsheet-to-save-her-life Ibukun to get off her fat behind to do something- anything! – for her country. I’m not my idea of an ideal patriot so who would’ve thunk it’d be me? Definitely not me
    So I prayed about it some more and got ladies over at SRT to pray about it too. And I can tell y’all that there is a game plan. It’s not anything exactly “fancy” but it’s powerful. I’m not about to tell you that God showed me the Boko Haram headquarters in a vision or had an angel FedEx their sponsors’ list to me the next morning. The response was not the kind you’d expect. The solution that I got was…wait for it…prayer. I prayed for a solution and the solution I got was prayer.
    God wants people who care enough about their country to pray about it to Him, together as a nation of people that is tired of losing citizens to this madness. He isn’t asking us to join the army, He asking us to seek His face, He’s not asking us to give away our body parts or organs, He’s asking us to give away desensitization. He wants for us to be mad and hurt enough to do something other than criticise the government. And not just about Boko Haram but also about the economy, about the youth, about our leaders, about finding sustainable energy and other major stuff that we have to deal with as a country.
    Now so we don’t just talk about it and end up not being about it, we are introducing prayer mobs. Prayer mobs are kinda like flash mobs, only that prayer mobs meet up, physically or virtually to pray concerning stuff at specific times in a month. So now it’s not about when we remember to pray for Nigeria, it’s about counting down to the next time we meet up, physically or virtually, with Nigerians all over the world at specific times to pray to God about unrest in our Country. It’s about Nigerians that have hearts that can break for their country. It’s about Nehemiahhearts.
    I may have said this before at some point in writing this but I’m no “world changer”. I’m just an ordinary girl that wants to do something other than live for herself. I waited until now to do this because I was dead sure God had the wrong girl but I’m starting to understand that God is not looking for perfect people; He’s looking to perfect people. So don’t hesitate to identify with this movement. Our first prayer mob meeting is scheduled for 12:00pm, June 15, 2013. Now you can help to spread the word about Nehemiah Project prayer mobs by:
    1. Spreading the word on all your social networks, word of mouth advertising still works wonders.
    2. Following the movement on Twitter our Facebook and GooglePlus pages will come soon
    3. Reblogging this post if you have a WordPress blog
    4. Sending me an email at zoe_akin@live.com if you’re willing to design the logo and page for this project.
    5. Praying at 12:00pm (W. Central Africa (+1))

    If you’ve ever wished you could do something substantial to change the situation of things in Nigeria, this is it. Be a part of it. Tell people about it. Be about it. It may not seem like much but you’d be amazed at how far praying together with a large body of Nigerians all over the world concerning Nigeria for 10 minutes at a specific time every month can do. The answers to our prayers for peace on the North first, economic growth, leaders of integrity and all round success are just before our very eyes waiting for us to ask for them. Let us ask together.

    *The Catholic Church: What Everyone Needs To Know, John L. Allen Jr. 2013

    On Getting Twitter Back

    When I deactivated my Twitter account earlier this month, I wanted to stop to smell the roses, I wanted to try new food, to hang out with friends, talk to my dad more often and all that good stuff. I wanted to experience real life and boy did I get real life. I got a mean ass rollercoaster ride this month. I don’t think I’m going to forget in a hurry. I’m not going into details out of respect for myself (I’ve always wanted to use that line) but those closest to me know that this month, I’ve felt more burned out, drained and overwhelmed than usual. I’ve been busy up to my neck doing everything inconsequential so I won’t have to curl up in a ball to cry. See the thing is, I’m very emotional and I get cranky when I’m hungry and when things don’t go the way I plan. I don’t know how it is that I still have any friends. So right now, I’m just grateful for closure and for the fact that May is almost over.
    On the upside, I’ve managed to find me a new and better coping mechanism and new hobbies and discovered that people reading what I’m typing over my shoulder annoys me to no end. I’ve found that I like walking in the evenings and in the mornings- just before the sun comes out in its full glory. I’ve found that mono-tasking is actually better than multi-tasking, that coffee tastes better when I mix my milk separately first, that red lipstick makes my lips look like thin strips of upturned bacon, that reading a chapter of a book every day is healthy, that not having anything to say all the time is fine and that not having all the answers is fine too. I’ve found that I have friends that will stand up when I can’t and are willing to give me the best of their lives. Now I understand that past mistakes will follow you around like a nagging wife and that cutting people slack is worth it sometimes. I’ve learned.
    It’s not to say that I didn’t know how to live my life while I was addicted to this social network thing, it’s just that I wasn’t living what I knew.
    I’m not exactly ecstatic to announce to y’all that I’m back on the thing, I’m just scared shitless I’ll become what I was again. My opinion about Twitter hasn’t changed and I doubt it ever will. But I think I’m better equipped at being a “stuffer” keeping most of my business to myself. I know to pray about difficult stuff instead of announcing the calamity to some two hundred people. I know to sign out when I have work to do, food to eat, people to converse with. The only problem is that knowing to do something and actually following through on what I know and plan to do are two entirely different things. So I’m still testing the waters, I’m still wary. So forgive me if you used to think I was fun and you’re hoping I can go back to being fun. I may not be able to measure up again; I might disappear for a few days and reappear online when I can, when I want. It’s not that I don’t care that you care; I just don’t want to get sucked in all over again. Some of you may be wondering what difference 19 days off Twitter has made. Well it’s kinda like how hearing and listening are different. The difference between hearing and listening is 19 days, the difference between “acquaintance” and “friend” is 19 long days, the distance between “loneliness” and “solitude” is 19 sets of 24 hours. I’m still exploring this side of life so be patient with me…and maybe help me.

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