Learning to breathe

Archive for the tag “culture”

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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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

    Thoughts, thoughts, ramblings, musings

    What do I know apart from what I know?

    Nothing.

    I met someone new and he taught me new things. He taught me things I can’t be sure I know because what a heart knows by heart is what a heart really knows.

    What if I know by mind? Or soul? Does that count for nothing?

    He taught me new fragrances and  he taught me art. He taught me to feel and he taught me honesty.

    He taught me to sing and he taught me to sound breathy.

    But I had no intention of staying under his tutelage for long and I disposed of that type of education with the coming of full moon

    Till a certain full moon came that I did not stay outside to watch, to admire, to love, to  soak in.

    Instead, in slumber I was watched, admired and stolen from.

    Rudely awoken at an even number and informed that I wasn’t the only one watched, admired or stolen from while humans slept

    You have to hang loosely to things that can easily be forced out of your hand because it was never yours. I learned that under his tutelage, under the full moon.

    Another teacher stays a die hard fan

    He teaches me but he hardly speaks. Talking is too much. Talking is unnecessary; he  lives like a blackboard and chalk.

    A walking illustration, he is

    I stay here to muse and wonder about the teachers I learned from this past week and my mind recoils, not wanting to process any of it fully. Doesn’t want to have to process anything.

    Some things are best left the way they were given you

    Other things are gifts you have to check thoroughly in the mouth

    Do you understand any of this? Does your mind keep you up at night?

    Will you lose yourself in the forest that is your mind?

    Or will you build a safe house somewhere at the edge?

    Either way, you’re not really safe in the thing that is your mind

    There is always something unsafe about safe so choose which direction of unsafe you will fall.

    Before you are pushed over the edge

    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…

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