A few weeks back, I was having a conversation with my friend. Our conversation was initially centred on movie producers and she said: “hey, do you know they even choose an actor based on the number of social media presence they have?”. I was taken aback as I felt choosing a cast should be base on talent and not the number of followers.  We went on talking about why movie producers do this and the benefits it holds for them. Whilst having this conversation, my attention was immediately  drawn to those who haven’t got as much online recognition as they would love and the pang in their hearts when they compare their small growing number of followers to someone’s else’s  thousands or millions of followers on Instagram, Facebook including the number of views, likes or comments these people receive on a daily basis when they post a new picture. This is particularly prevalent among teenagers but there is also an alarming struggle among youths.
Now consider this; if an adult could worry about such things,  what do you think the average teen who is only starting to find his feet around and understand how the world works feel?
Don’t get me wrong, I use to worry about Instagram (did I say use to? I mean I still worry sometimes) and for such a long time it left me feeling sad when I see people’s pretty picture and the effort put in before a picture is posted. But I have a few things that keep me going and I hope it helps you.
  1. Knowing the purpose for joining Instagram? Knowing this would help you figure out where you stand i.e I didn’t sign up to NnekasChronicles Instagram to compare myself to others. On the contrary, I signed up so I can make an impact in my little way. I also have a personal account that helps me save my pics and connect with old friends. So even if I am not getting so much from there, it doesn’t bother me and this is because I understand the purpose for which it was created. So understanding this could help. You might have signed up to reconnect with old friends and relatives.  So knowing and understanding your purpose is important.
  2. What value are you adding? This is a powerful question.  What value are you adding to the 50 followers or 20 followers or 1million followers you’ve got? If you aren’t adding value to your few loyal fans, why should you then be bothered about having millions of followers if you aren’t impacting something meaningful? Ponder on this one.
  3. Who are you following and how do they make you feel? I am aware people do something called follow for follow (F4F or FFF) which is simply following back a person who follows you on instagram. So when you follow these people or stare at a picture or profile for so long, what impact does it leave with you; does it leave you feeling sad, happy or inspired? Sometimes after going through a picture, I find myself taking note because I have just learnt something new that I can’t wait to implement. So if your followers don’t inspire you or add value to your life or make you happy, it will do you more good to unfollow them. Trust me I have done it before (I still do)
  4. My last point which I believe is the most important (it doesn’t mean scrap the other 3 though😁, they are equally important). Is: everything is for show. No one can boldly say they have the perfect life however everyone claims so on Instagram or on social media. Remember the perfect picture had to undergo ‘surgery’ using different apps so don’t worry much if your pictures are not up to standard just work on your operating skills and like magic you will be there :). Mind you some of the people who claim to be the happiest on Instagram or any other social platform also have moments of sadness but hardly do you ever see anyone post their sad lives. Haven’t you heard of those who post up the nicest pictures and take their lives the next minute? My point is, we all struggle so don’t let anyone’s Instagram curated life make you feel like a failure or that you’ve got nothing to offer because you do.
  5. If nothing sticks out to you, remember what you see on the gram is not often a true reflection of the person’s reality. (remember the surgery I mentioned earlier?)  As I sometimes say, it’s all packaging.
I hope you leave here feeling positive and see Instagram in a different light.

Now get your favourite drink with you as you are about to read one interesting story you hardly hear me talk about.

For some who aren’t aware, I was born in Nigeria. Back in the days, we had this child star make waves in the entertainment industry in Nigeria with her hit song ‘Osemudiamen” pronounced Ose-Mu-Di-A-Me and this is where the story of me being deceived comes into play.

When the hit ‘Osemudiamen’ by the young ‘Benita came on, the kids in the street, including myself and my neighbours were in love with the song. We will sing to it every time and our favourite moment was when it comes up on our television screen as we loved to watch Benita perform. As I come from a different tribe from Benita, I obviously didn’t know the lyrics to the song but I ‘chew’ my mouth in tune anyway.

My big sister knew how much I loved Benita and longed to see her so she capitalised on this and then one day, together with our neighbours who were twin sisters, conspired [yes! I say conspire because she knew I love to go to bed early and wouldn’t stay up late at night with them so it was indeed].  to lie to me so I could stay up longer rather than go to bed the usual time I did.

Back to my story.

So my sister conspired with the twins to lie that Benita came visiting with her parents and when I wake up in the morning, this is how the conversation goes:

My Sis: Ah!! Nne, you missed o

By the way; ‘O or Ah’ are a few among many Nigerian clichés we incorporate in our everyday conversation. I mean you hear people speak to their bosses at work or lecturers in universities like “Ah, excuse me sir  I can’t handle this course o” lol.

Come to think of it, if you haven’t included ah, o, abi, shebi in your conversation (Especially with your fellow Nigerian), are you truly Nigerian? **Food for Thought**

Again back to my story, apologies, getting distracted.

When she says that to me in the morning, me with the sleepy eye and hungry tummy, trying to find food to eat ignorantly replied ”

ME:  What happened?’

MY SIS: Benita came here yesterday

ME: It’s a LIE!!

MY SIS:  Ok, then, ask the twins

On hearing ‘ask the twins’ my eyes  will lit up and I screamed like:

ME: ‘Oh my God!! why didn’t you wake me? *Already on the verge of tears *

MY SIS: I was trying to wake you but you refused. You said I should leave you alone so we (Herself, the twins and Benita) ate puff puff and she sang her song to us”

*Puff Puff is a Nigeria snack.

I would be so upset and I’d run to the twins. Their story was always the same. So I pleaded with them saying

ME: Please, when next she comes, wake me up

TWINS: Don’t worry, she (Benita) said she will come today, we will try waking you up

On the night of Benita supposed arrival,  I stayed up, fighting sleep until nature eventually called and I gave in. This continued until I figured they were playing tricks on me but we laughed it off. I stopped being gullible.

Now reflecting on this, I decided I will make my nephew and niece pay for their mum’s shenanigans by making them stay up late. Or would I? Since I really want to be their favourite auntie. I guess they won’t have to pay for their mama’s sin.

Moral of the story???

Why not tell me what you deduced from this story yourself?

Till I write to you again, enjoy reading and enjoy the video below.

I was having my shower and a word of wisdom dropped. By now one will think I tend to get inspiration in bathrooms (see my previous bathroom inspired post here). The story of Jonah came to mind and how God told him to go to Nineveh to preach the gospel but out of fear, he went the opposite direction. While he was running away, God sent a heavy storm that shook the boat he was in and the people in the boat threw away their belongings to make the boat a little lighter. Whilst everyone was busy panicking and praying, they noticed Jonah was asleep. Long story short, Jonah told them he was running away from God and if they do not throw him off the boat, they might all die. The travellers threw Jonah overboard in the midst of the terrible storm and the sea became calm again.

While going through my routine, the thought of ‘Minding who you walk with in 2019 came to mind and I couldn’t wait to share’. I realise that a lot of opportunities have been missed as a result of the kind of relationship a person keeps. Back to the bible narrative, the travellers would have lost their lives have they not gotten rid of Jonah.

Do you remember when your parents would warn you against associating yourselves with a certain person because they were concerned you would be judged by others in accordance with the friends you keep or particularly the influence they might have on you? It’s been said countless times that “show me your friend and I will tell you who you are”. In essence, if you have a negative friend, invariably, you automatically become a negative person even if you are not and this happens because the company you hang with is believed to depict an actual representation of who you are and what you stand for regardless if it is true or not.

As you go through your journey, you will begin to understand like the men travelling with Jonah how important relationships are. In the early years of my life especially as a teenager and one going into adulthood, I thought having so many friends was important and I will become unhappy when I find that the people who I called my inner circle were no longer the same people I once walked with. Now I do no such thing as I have come to realise that not all relationships are supposed to walk you through your life’s journey. I now understand that some relationships will last a while and probably till you complete your journey on earth while others will last for a season. It’s up to you to unplug when a particular season comes to an end. Be tough enough to let go.  Obviously, letting go isn’t always easy but the earlier we condition our minds to work that way, the better for us.

It’s important to check for traces in people we think might drag us down and to eliminate such people from our lives without feeling sorry. Cutting yourself off people doesn’t make them your enemies, you just aren’t designed to walk a path with them anymore and even though it might have been good at some point, always know when to draw curtains especially when you sense the relationship isn’t making you a better person.

This brings me to the conclusion; as you walk through 2019, remember the story of Jonah. Be conscious of who you call a ‘close pal’ because your character is often reflected by the company and friends you chose to surround yourself with.

 

Faith, Inspiration, Fire, Earthquake, Storm, Elijah, Hearing from God, Making decisions

He was not in the Fire

Yesterday morning while in the bathroom I had a wow moment. As fate would have it, later in the evening I was having a conversation with my mum and sister centred around the happenings of the morning then all of a sudden, the thoughts gradually became clearer and were now making so much sense to me.

Here I was in the morning brushing my teeth and the thought of Elijah in the Bible dropped in my mind. The bible said he was instructed by God to go to the mountains and God will pass by. (1 Kings 19:11). It was later recorded that there was a powerful wind, thereafter an earthquake, and after the earthquake, a fire but God was not in any of these events. I was trying to make sense of this when a question came to mind It went something like ‘ you know we make decisions and think God is in it right?” and I was like WOW, so true!!.
Immediately thoughts began to form in my mind.

Whilst going through that motion, I was reminded of times I, like many other Christians made decisions and went ahead with our plans in hope that Christ was involved only to realise he wasn’t.

As I was sharing with my family, I said to them: “ the best thing before making decisions or venture into a life-changing activity is to desire and seek Gods will in that situation”. Then came the question “how do I know it is not Gods will for me especially after I prayed about it and told God to give it to me?”.

My response to that was “you told God to give it to you but what if it wasn’t part of his plan for you to have it.?”. The difference here is, we are telling God what we want rather than asking what he wants us to do in the situation.

Although that’s a tough question and I probably didn’t give the best response but I know there are times we get into relationships, careers or make a life-changing decision after praying and asking. And because it came to us, we think God was involved. Sometimes he chose to go quiet and we mistake his quietness as a response

{p.s. This isn’t to say people don’t hear from God because, in fact, most people hear God and very clearly too. For these people, this comes with growth, knowledge of God and a relationship with him.}

So back to the question: how do I know God’s will? The truth is, I know God wishes for his children to prosper and be in good health and I myself struggle to comprehend what God is asking me to do at some point in my life. Other times it’s very clear but in moments when I hear nothing, when I am clueless, it’s in those moments I plead for him to guide me in making the right decisions. I also take it further by pleading with him to walk with me so I do not go out of his will.

Another thing I say to him is for him not to take me where his presence isn’t. Once that’s said, I relax and let him have his way.

To non-Christian, this might be difficult to comprehend and that’s fine. However, for those who have made decisions but didn’t hear from God and went ahead in hope that God was there think of Elijah and ask for God’s will.

“11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” 1 Kings 19:11-12

Obviously, I do not mean it in the literal word as ‘me’ walking on water. But this phrase ‘Walking on water’ is one that’s been on my mind since the 10th of September and each day I am inspired to write something about it. And I know I’ve been away for a while- from social media and everything ‘online’. The time off was a much-needed space for me to reflect and most importantly work on myself. I never forgot about you though but this ‘me time’ was everything I needed and still need. Hopefully, I get to go in-depth in sharing my story on what’s happened and still happening to inspire you. So since I’ve been away let me start by saying …hey lovelies, it’s good to have you back (insert smiley face).

I have been inspired to share my thoughts on walking on water based on the encounters I had several months back. And although this phrase brings to mind the story of Jesus walking on water it, also, speaks volume to my personal journey these past months. I was listening to Mali Music ‘Walk on water’ and instantly I realised how the past months have been for me. It felt as though I have been walking on water, almost drowning.

This phrase ‘walking on water’ speaks particularly to me about life’s struggles. How we try to cope with the impossible or what seems impossible. It’s like being thrown into the ocean deep knowing fully well you are unable to swim and when thrown in, you struggle to breath, you need to survive. You fight to come out so you find a way of lifting yourself; your head a little higher, you’re happy because you catch your breath but then you find yourself going deeper and deeper again and you wonder “is this the end?” Now that’s how life can be for some people but if you are lucky, you swim out of it and come to land or you get recused by the lifeguard but sadly not everyone makes it to land.

The past months have been like that for me, one of a roller coaster, struggling to swim out of the ocean I was thrown in, and how like Peter in the Bible, I kept looking up to God to save me from drowning, and other times been so afraid that I look at the sea and I thought I was sinking, and somehow like Peter I was led back to the boat. In that moment, I literally saw God manifest himself in the most amazing way possible.

I mean sometimes God is so full of humour and he makes me laugh at how he turns everything out in one’s favour only if you trust him. So particularly for me, its been months of learning, reflecting, waiting on God and holding on to his words.

Throughout this process, I have learnt to wait on the lord and to trust his timing. I now understand that he is never too late or too early he is simply on time and whilst he is working, I am learning to be Still and just Wait.

The difficulty with all of these is, it isn’t easy to wait on someone or something when everything around you looks like it’s about to crash on you and if you do not act fast, you will crumble with it but hey I’m learning to ‘WAIT’ and ‘TRUST’ Gods timing. I will say trusting and waiting is the most difficult part for me as I am generally not a patient person but I am learning. slowly, taking baby steps.

In conclusion, although it’s been months of challenges, it has toughened and strengthened my faith and I am slowly learning not to get obsessed over how things will get resolved but trust Gods timing.

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