Trusting the Process.

“What we are waiting for is not as important as what happens to us while we are waiting. Trust the process.” 

– Mandy Hale

A good number of us reading this have experienced most of the stages in life and are currently in one stage or another. From infancy, to adolescence, to teenage-hood to adulthood, to taking on responsibilities, getting jobs, to getting married and having children and to even retirement in old age- the stages seem to keep coming one after the other. There is always something new to look forward to in life or something we are waiting for to happen.
An amazing phenomenon about life that I have come to recognize is the insatiety of man and his continuous quest for greatness. Most of us never get to a point where we just sit down, cross our legs and feel like we have arrived. Instead, there is always this constant hunger and drive inherent in almost every human to become a better and more developed version of themselves. There is this sense of pride we feel when we can look back and confidently say that we are not where we used to be in some particular aspect of our lives. So with each passing day, we continue to push ourselves; physically, mentally, financially, spiritually and intellectually to become better and better knowing that even when we become the best, we would still want to strive to become better than the best.
And in pushing, it is quite easy to get so enveloped and overwhelmed in the process and all its little achievements that we need to accomplish to get where we want to be. In pushing, it becomes even easier to become ungrateful and impatient control freaks wanting to take charge of the whole process and speed it up “just a little bit” so we can be where we want to be as soon as possible forgetting that there is only so much we have control over. 
Then there is this huge headless worm called Society. Sometimes, Society is not particularly bothered about what you are trying to achieve in life in your own little way. However, Society is there ever present and ever breathing down your neck, ready to remind you everyday that you need to just take a look around and realize that you are not where you are supposed to be (as if Society knows where you are supposed to be in life at every given time). Society is there to set and impose its own goals on you so you subconsciously adopt them as yours; own a car before 25, become a millionaire before 30, for the women, get married before 30 (because by 27, all the men on  planet earth would have finished and you have to move to mars and even the men on mars would be like “neh”), build your own house before 40, become a serial entrepreneur before 28 (even if you do not like it or love your 9-5 job and you are doing great things there and on the side. No. You must become an entrepreneur because you are poor when you only have a 9-5 job even if it pays really well. I’m not talking of multiplying one’s source of income), wedding goals, best friend goals, couple goals, boyfriend goals, girlfriend goals, mommy goals, daddy goals, children goals, money goals, car goals, house goals, “goals” goals (because how dare you have goals that are not goals). Na wa.
So we subconsciously adopt these Society-imposed goals as ours (some of which are not so bad, I may add) and find that in time, we forget all about our own process and become impatient, frustrated and annoyed that things are not going how society says they should go, not how we want them to go. We forget that our process is not the same as the next person’s and our end may not be theirs. We forget that it is possible to have a different success story from the next person and the joy of being unique is in having your own story to share. 
And so we get caught up constantly looking around and comparing our lives to others who seem to have it all together (nobody has it all together) and wondering why our own process is taking longer or is slower than others. We subconsciously find ourselves calling some stages in our process “delays” because Society has prescribed the specific time within which certain things need to be achieved and if they have not, they are delays. And so even when we speak to people about where we are in life and certain things have not happened for us, we refer to them as “delays”. 
Who told you it is a delay?
Let me use this illustration. Imagine walking down a street alone and you know where you’re going to so you just keep walking, perhaps listening to music and enjoying the cool breeze of the day. You eventually get where you’re going to and all is well. Now, imagine walking with your friend who is taller than you and has longer legs than you do. Your friend might most likely always find himself walking ahead of you because he has longer legs and then might say “speed up a little you’re walking  too slow”. But when you were walking on your own and looking ahead at your destination, it did not feel like you were moving “too slow”. However, the minute you start looking at your friend’s path and normal pace of walking and compare it to yours, you feel you’re going too slow and want to catch up by all means. 
Also, I have found that more times than often, we experience moments of waiting; waiting for that job, that relationship, waiting for that one opportunity or something else that you eagerly expect that is not forthcoming at the time you want it to. Sometimes we find that we are waiting for just that one step that might catapult us to places beyond our imagination. But guess what? There will always be times of waiting. Like the quote at the beginning says, it is what we do while waiting that is important. We can choose to be negative and beat ourselves down for not achieving certain goals or realizing certain plans within the time frames we or Society have given ourselves or we can keep going!
I am learning that at each stage of life, there will always be people ahead of me or behind me and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I have learned to fall in love with my own process and path (inclusive of the “set backs”, milestones accomplished and even dreams not yet achieved) while learning to surrender my life and plans to God. I have also learned that someone else may have a greater opportunity at getting the same things I want and this may enable the person get those things within a shorter time than I would, and that is perfectly okay.
I am also learning that I may have to work twice as hard to achieve a goal or accomplish a task and that is fine, I’ll find two more ways to accomplish or not accomplish that task. Above all, I have learned that everything eventually falls into place and takes shape one way or the other. Just because my process has more hurdles or days, months or even years of waiting should not mean that it is more disappointing. Instead, I choose to see it as an exciting experience and I am learning each day to live in that passion.

Remember that there is only so much you can control. Learn to live each day in light and love while putting your head down, holding your pen steady and working on achieving those things you have set out to achieve. The minute you look up to look around and compare yourself to others, you loose all the focus you need in your process. Things may not seem to be working out how you planned them or may not be going as fast as you want them or as fast as you dreamed. Things may not even seem to be looking up for you right now and you may feel like losing hope all together. But remember, each person has his own story. Each person has his journey. Each person has his path.

Keep going.

Be patient. Trust God. Own your journey. Trust the Process.

On Freedom…

So this time last year, I posted a little piece on valuing freedom on Facebook and it came up as a reminder. I thought to share it with a little bit of editing.
They say to appreciate the true value of life, you many need to visit at least three very important places; a prison, an emergency ward in a hospital (or a hospital in general) and a graveyard. I was privileged to visit a Prison this time last year and what I saw would forever change my perspective on life.
The Facebook post is below:
“There comes a time, a moment, an hour, or maybe even a split second or after having had an experience where you find yourself in deep gratitude to God. You have this inexplicable feeling of soberness and remorse for ever being ungrateful in life, for every ungrateful word or statement of complaint you have ever uttered, jokingly or in a moment of deep frustration.
Today, I experienced one of such moments. Today I visited the Keffi Prison, Nassarawa State. Being my first visit to a prison, I had mixed feelings of anxiety and excitement. Other than what I had watched in the movies or series, and what I had been told, I had never really seen what the inside of a prison looked like first hand. When we arrived, most of the prisoners (feels weird calling them that but that is what they are…I guess) were in the chapel (the Chapel of Reconciliation was what it was called).
As we approached the chapel, I could hear drums being beaten loudly and passionately by the prisoners as they belted out gospel songs at the top of their lungs. As we entered the hall of the chapel, the putrid smell that overwhelmed it stung my nostrils and I had to consciously fight to keep my face straight.
I guess what melted my heart the most was the fact that these were people living in the most uncomfortable of conditions, most of them as a result of awaiting trial and some, because they could not pay a meagre sum of two thousand Naira. Some were there out of an unfortunate event (such as walking around without having an ID card and looking “suspicious”).Yet…they sang…they danced, they praised and worshiped God with so much joy and sincerity. For some, I could see the pain and regret in their eyes, the silent wishes and desires for second chances, second chances that did not seem to be forthcoming…but in that moment, all that mattered was the happiness they enjoyed while praising God. I drank it all in; the smiles on their faces and the way some clutched their bibles and eagerly took down notes while the short message was being delivered.
As I stared around in awe, I thought to myself “these people are confined within the four walls of this prison. Most of them would not be going anywhere soon..or in some years…They are probably going to be stuck here for a really long time. Some may have even forgotten what it’s like to be free.”
In that very moment I learned to stop complaining about the little and meaningless things, about the things that do not matter. I learned to enjoy life to God’s glory and be happy with the freedom I have been given. I learned to release my mind from any mental prisons that my mind may have subconsciously wandered into and most importantly, I learned to value my freedom.”
It was truly a life changing experience for me. I had never felt so much remorse in my life for all the moments I was ungrateful or all the moments I had failed to use my freedom to the glory of God.
It could be me in there. Or you.
And while it was obvious to us all that these men were physically imprisoned, I wondered about many of us who are mentally imprisoned; walking around with so much freedom but allowing your mind to be mentally imprisoned by the bars of negative thoughts, fear of failure, peer pressure and its expectations, expectations from the society and even social media.
It has been one year since I put up this post. Most of those men are still in that prison and some may not be released for a long time to come.
Some days back I stumbled on an Instagram story being put up by CNN. I was able to get some screenshots of what was going on and it really convicted me. I have shared some of them below. The story was about Maha, a young Syrian widow who was trapped with her son in a city for several months and was communicating with her mother via Whatsapp. Some of the messages were sent in late September of this year and some in early October… While one young woman who has lost her husband was fighting for her life and not able to walk the streets free, I was probably complaining about traffic or rain or work or stress or whatever.
Source: CNN Instagram page.
What are you going to do differently today to show how much value you place on your freedom?

Just Get Started!!

“He has not learned the first lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson


Lord knows this blog has been a long time coming. The whole world (well, my world) knows this blog has been a long time coming.. too long. Well, that’s what fear and uncertainty does to your dreams if you allow it and that’s why my first post seeks to encourage you today to do just one thing…get started! I’m basically speaking to myself but secretly(not so secretly) hoping to ignite that spark within someone else.

Sooo, you know that one little or big thing you’ve always dreamed of doing or experiencing or even going for, but never got to do for one reason or the other such as fear of failure or uncertainty of what comes next? Yeah, that one. Do it.

You’ve probably heard this a gazillion times and its probably been the same small voice in your head every time saying “If only it were that easy…” That seemingly small voice can cause such a gigantic and unimaginable effect in a negative way. Of course, it may not be easy to get that dream or goal started, but I bet if you took one insy winsy step, continuing would come naturally.  

Think about it; you are nervous or scared about getting into the water because you are constantly thinking about how hot, cold, warm or deep it is. You have allowed fear to overtake your mind and keep you in a constant state of paralysis. That “little” “careful” and discouraging voice always has a way of creeping up at the moment where you’re about to dive and it doesn’t help one bit. Your mind is fixed on the negative what-ifs. What if i drown? What if i get burned? What if it’s too hot? What if its too cold? What if i get overwhelmed by the waves?What if I get eaten by a two-headed shark? What if I get eaten by a two-headed shark and it spits me out and I get eaten by a three-headed shark? (okay, I would totally think the last two. I don’t know about you) What if… What if… What if…

But then you want to know whether the water is cold? Get in. Want to know whether its deep? Get in. Want to know if you’ll be able to swim against the tides and the waves? Get in. Want to know whether there are any two-headed sharks or if they’ll be friendly? Get in. Want to know if you’ll experience the positive what-ifs? Get in.  And you can start by dipping your toes in the water right before you dive in.

One thing I have learned about fear is that is boxes you into a very comfortable position (your comfort zone) and keeps you trapped in that zone where you begin to question the point of having big dreams and goals. You could get so “content” with where you are in life that stepping out of the comfort zone seems almost impossible. So you end up postponing the baby steps to the realization of your dreams and goals to the “next week” or “next year” because “it’s just too huge and complicated”. “Why should I anyway? I have food to eat and a place to sleep. I’m good to go. What’s this “goals” stuff and “dreaming big” stuff anyway?” said the mind that is so far into the comfort zone. Granted, the comfort zone is safe, comfortable as it where…but that’s all that it will ever be. You can only go as far and as high as your comfort zone,

For me, it’s been such an amazing journey learning everyday that although a task, goal or achievement may seem like such an uphill battle or an impossible task, I’ll never really know until I just get started. I’m learning that sometimes fear could make you postpone certain steps to that dream or goal out of fear of failure or fear of disappointment while steady convincing yourself that it’s for the best. I’m learning that with each waking day, there has to be some fear surmounted to get closer to that dream. I’m learning that while you can have the whole perfect picture in your head of how you want that dream to manifest into reality or that ambition into achievement, there is no picture without a pixel. I’m learning that it takes being brave, courageous and strong to understand that you may try something and it may not work the first time, but with constant perseverance and belief in oneself, things would surely work out. 

And when you do get started and take that first step, do not worry about what lies ahead because it all eventually falls into place when you put all that hard work and planning into play. However, things may not always go as planned, but when life throws you lemons?….build a lemon castle!!! And for the moments where you feel lost or like you’re taking one step forward and two steps back, just keep moving… keep going…

But first, get started.

“I can almost see it.
That dream I’m dreaming,
But there’s a voice inside my head saying,
“You’ll never reach it.”
Every step I’m takin’
Every move I make feels lost with no direction,
My faith is shakin’
But I, I gotta keep tryin’
Gotta keep my head held high

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb

The struggles I’m facing
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down,
But no, I’m not breaking
I may not know it,
But these are the moments
That I’m gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep goin’,
And I, I gotta be strong
Just keep pushing on”

– Miley Cyrus, The Climb