Learning to breathe

Archive for the tag “christianity”

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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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

Learning to Breathe Better

learning-to-breathe-pic

It hasn’t exactly been a year since I started learning to breathe. I started learning to breathe on the 12th of January, 2011 and I’ve been sharing m breathing techniques on my WordPress since then. I believe that you can never stop learning to breathe, you can only get better at it. So yes, I’m still learning. 2012 has been a pretty eventful year for me…somethings I’d like to forget quickly, somethings I’ll cherish all the days of my life. I met new friends and I lost some. I’ve been the insecure girl at work and I’ve been the picture of security. I’ve had emotional roller-coaster rides that have been anything but enjoyable. Been tossed here and there by emotional tides. Now that I look back on all of it, I can smile. I can smile because I tasted a wealth of emotions this year.

Spiritually, I’ve become wiser, maybe even stronger. And I find it amazing how God calls my kind to be “the light of the world” and “a city on a hill” when all I want to do is crawl back into the pit that He picked me from. The pit is comfortable. The pit is all I’ve known. The pit is was home. Time and time again, He comes for me, picks me up again and sets me on a hill for all to see. I’m not sure I love the attention all the time, I would rather go back down to the pit sometimes and feel sorry for myself. Often He tells me that my flaws, imperfections, insecurities, brokenness is exactly what He needs. If I was flawless, perfect, secure, sturdy…I’m afraid He would have no need of me. And I would have no need for Him. If there’s nothing I know about myself, I know that I am needy and I love to feel needed. I think of that and I get out of my pit willingly.

At home, I won’t say that everything has been dandy. That would be a lie. If there is a perfect home in this world, it definitely isn’t mine. I love my father with every fibre of my being. I know that he has made mistakes, I acknowledge the fact that he has many flaws and has made decisions he will regret all his life. I just want to make regretting easier for him. It’s the least that I could do. My siblings and I share a name and a home but I can’t say that we live for each other. We are so used to giving each other left over loving, I’m not sure what it would feel like to give them the main dish. What if they don’t even want the main dish? My stepmother on the other hand is an enigma to me. Sometimes, I think it’s possible for me to love her and other times, I wake up to the cold reality that it will be difficult and it will take flesh out of me. I’m pretty selfish. I don’t want anything taken out of me. I want it dropped in my lap. I lie to myself that I don’t have much of me to give to anybody and I know deep inside that there’s so much to give, so much to pour out and I’m afraid that is what keeps me up at night. I don’t know how to give and through 2012, I wasn’t ready to learn. I just wanted to breathe.

As for school, I’ve had moments when I just sit down and cry. I ask myself more often than I really want to: “What are you doing here?”

What are you doing here?!

I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m doing handling violins, pianos and a lazy soprano voice. I don’t know what I’m doing writing MUSON theory exams. I don’t know what I’m doing reading sheet music. I don’t know if I want to go to Royal College of Music when I finish university. So I’ll just focus on breathing for now. I’ll breathe deeply when the music notes become blurry and the tears threaten to spill, I’ll breathe confidently when my mouth opens and timid soprano pours. I’ll breathe, surely, when I bow my violin in front of an unfriendly looking panel. I’ll breathe.

As for relationships, I’ll take a break. I can’t make wise decisions when I keep hopping from one relationship to the other. I’ll  lose my breath and some of my sanity, some of myself. I’ll lose. I lose because I don’t know what to give and I don’t know what to keep. That way, I end up giving what I should keep and keeping what I should give. So I’ll just stop and breathe.

Breathe.

This is my last post on this blog. Still unsure if I should delete it or just leave it dormant. Don’t ask why, I don’t have the answer. I can tell you confidently though, that breathing is the best thing that could happen to us humans. Just breathe. Breathe deeply, thoughtfully, reverently. Breathe as you are.

And let your heart find rest in Him…

Sunset

The few days after the fight were a flurry of events. Events too painful to narrate. I ended my affair with Tiwa in Sunmade’s presence. Then my son and I flew to London with my husband.

He has not said two words to me since we got here. It has been four days now.

Thursday.

I run my fingers over the healing wound over my left eye and turn to gaze upon my son as he toddles towards me.

“Mama” he coos.

“Hey baby. Come to mommy” I wrap him in my arms and twirl round the living room.

He shrieks and laughs.

The sound of his laughter reminds me of my wedding day and how Sunmade and I danced in endless circles, endless joy, endless happiness. And I could smell the cologne he wore that day all over again.

We were so young. We had no fear. We were wide-eyed.

The door creaks open and the object of my thoughts appears.

We stare at each other.

I put Ire in his chair and fumble with my hands.

“I’m…I’m sorry I beat you.” He says.

“I’m not sorry you did.”

Something in his eyes softens as he comes towards me and holds me.
I cheated on the one man I ever truly loved and guess what he did…

He chose to stay.

Convo

This post came to me yesterday. I was bone weary and I had just had a late lunch. I haven’t put up anything in a long (long to me, anyways) while and I felt I’d just share some of my thoughts and conversations with you. If you have been following my Orin Series, (I guess I could call it that) I’ll be putting something new up soon (I hope)

In the bathroom

Me: Oh dear Lord, I’m fat.

God: You’re a size 8.

Me: A fat size 8.

God: ….

Me: Okay so maybe I’m not fat…just rounded…slightly pudgy.

God: Shut up, Ibukun.

Me: Okay.

In class

Me: God this class is so boring.

God: You’ll have a test soon.

Me: I will?! Oh dear! I haven’t been paying attention :O

(Class ends)

Me: God, you said I was going to have a test. Was that a joke?!

God: No. You will have a test. Soon.

Me: At this point I take your ‘soon’ to mean in the last class for the semester. I can’t believe you just did that to me.

God: 🙂

In church

Me: God, look at these people, especially Pastor Carlton, I don’t think I could ever be like them.

God: You’re not suppose to be

Me: But they look so perfect! They act so perfect. I’m like a sore thumb! The black sheep. I’m a sugar junkie…amongst other things 😦

God: Well, as perfect and shiny as they look, they all struggle with something.

Me: Oh yeah? Like what? Inability to read more then a book of the Bible a day?

God: Somebody’s actually struglling with that…

Me: Are you for real?! :O I mean, really?

God: Yes, I’m for real

Me: :O tell me more!

God: …..

Me: Please na 😦

God: …..

Me: Hmmmn I see. The silent treatment. Oh well, at least I know someone’s struggling with bible reading! Bwahaha!

God: …..

Me: ….

God: ….

Me: okay I get it. This convo is over. Ok bye 🙂

In bed. 5.00am

God: Ibukun!

Me: What? Is it rapture time yet?

God: No. It’s bonding time.

Me: Doesn’t this count?

God: Not exactly

Me: But I don’t want to get out of bed just yet 😦

God: Okay.

Me: (tries to fall asleep again)

God: …..

Me: (covers head with pillow)

God: …..

Me: (fights for sleep)

God: ….

Me: ….

God: ….

Me: How do you do that?

God: 🙂 spare yourself the fight and get up.

Me: Fine. You owe me.

God: Haha! Roight!

Me: 🙂

The end

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