At this time of year there is a tendency for most to not only measure the year they have had but also assess where they are in life.
How’s yours looking?
Are you far from where you believe you should be?
Has 2018 been a year of one disappointment after another?
Do you feel as though you’ve made too many mistakes, and that it is too late for anything good to happen in your life?
Then this message is for you.
My pride doesn’t want me to relate my past twelve /fifteen months to you.
My pride tells me I’m forty six years old and should already have gone much further than where I am now; that many will read this and scoff at the fact I’m grateful for things someone my age should have had and surpassed long ago.
But my God wants me to tell you – for your sake; in order for you to be rest assured that when you follow His lead, no matter how tortuous the process or journey may be, only good things will come from it.
Because God is good, and He loves you with all his heart.
This is how God works.
In early August, 2017, I went to my best friend’s office to collect my passports from his PA (I always kept my Nigerian and British passport in his office, for safekeeping). I was due to travel to the UK for my nephews’ weddings (both got married within ten days of each other). As my best friend’s PA handed me my passports, I asked her whether he was in. She replied ‘yes’ and informed him I wished to say hello.
After the initial pleasantries, he asked me how work was going. I told him things were going quite well, as my company had done a number of customer service trainings for one of the big banks and the future looked very bright.
But he wasn’t satisfied.
As far as he was concerned I didn’t have any financial stability, and it was about time I stopped struggling to make things work in Lagos.
“You’re a very intelligent guy, Segs. You really shouldn’t be struggling in Lagos. You need a lot more financial stability for your daughter’s sake. This simply can’t go on. You have to do something now before it’s too late. And mate, there’s a reason you have a British passport. You need to think about getting employment, as against running your own business; for your daughter’s sake.”
I should point out here that when my BF wants to get a point across, all subtlety, politeness and diplomacy go out the window. God utilised his bluntness to sow a seed that couldn’t be uprooted.
I was incensed – ‘How could he talk to me like that?! Can’t he see my reputation as a sales and customer service trainer is growing by the day?! Yes, there are times when money can be a little thin-on-the-ground, but my reputation is growing, and I know my breakthrough is just around the corner. Can’t he see that?? And how could he talk to me like that?! Who does he think he is?!’
I was livid!!
In-fact, we didn’t speak again for about six weeks.
But a seed had been sown, and as I began to assess my situation more objectively, I realised he was right. I needed to make a change – not just for the sake of financial stability, but also for my peace of mind and contentment.
In short, my supposed three-week visit to the UK turned-out to be a permanent relocation. For whilst there I realised three things;
1. Lagos wasn’t working for me
2. I needed to get employment as against run my own business
3. I actually prefer living in the UK
But the decision to stay wasn’t an easy one. Deciding to stay in the UK in order to get a job felt as though I had failed woefully. Indeed, for several weeks I felt like a total failure. So much so that I was not only angry with myself but furious with God – to the point of questioning his very existence.
However, not only was he patient but he continued to direct me – urging me to take a professional course in order to commence a new journey that will eventually lead to my being a communications expert.
To cut a long story short, after much research, I decided to take a Digital Marketing diploma, encouraged by the fact the course would enable me to get some work experience, which could lead to full-time employment.
However, I still needed income, and so had to get a job at a Shell service station. Whilst it was good to get some income in, I often cried on my way back from work, wondering how life could have gone so horribly wrong.
But the Holy Spirit kept telling me to keep going; that it was all part of him renewing my life. He used certain people to encourage me – my older brother, David, and his darling wife, Yinka, who not only looked after me and continuously assured me things would get better but also loaned me the additional £2350 I needed to finance the course , my darling TT, whose immediate response to my decision to relocate to the UK gave me the confirmation I needed at that particular moment, and who never ceased to encourage me, my dear nephew Deji, who continuously checked-up on me, my sister Deola, who God used to prevent me from literally having a mental breakdown, aunty Funmi, for encouraging me to be humble, work hard and stay focused, no matter how I was feeling, my dear sister Kemi Balogun, whose words to me in the foyer of the Four Seasons Hotel in April could only have been from God, my dearest Emma, who encouraged me to seek stability as against riches and glory, my dear friend Sols, whose weekly telephone chats with me are a great source of inspiration and encouragement, and of-course my best friend, who never stops telling me how proud he is of me for taking the decision to relocate to the UK in order to get a job for the sake of my daughter.
It was a very tough period – emotionally, psychologically, and even physically. I was convinced I had failed in life.
Whilst feeling hopelessly despondent on the evening of 19th March 2018, the Holy Spirit directed me to write him a letter – to type it in my blackberry. These are the words I wrote /typed.
I can’t afford my own place and I can barely provide for my daughter. Right now, I just can’t see how things can possibly improve for me. But you told me that I should praise and thank you until the end of May, so I will do so. You told me there would be challenging moments, and I’m guessing today is one of them.
You told me not to ask for anything but just praise and thank you. I will do so.
I’ve no idea how things can possibly improve. I just can’t see how they can. But I’ll do my best to do as you’ve told me – and continue to praise and thank you.’
After typing and saving the letter in my phone, I completely forgot about it. I did indeed spend the next few months only praising and thanking him as against making any requests. But I didn’t think about the letter again until last week, when, upon getting home from work the Holy Spirit asked me to pick up my blackberry and read it. Words cannot describe how amazed I was as I read the letter. Everything I feared could not be addressed, all the things I was so anxious about, have been sorted-out in under twelve months. It’s as though He asked me to write that letter in order to convey he is not only a good God but able and more than willing to do far and beyond what I desire or deserve.
In a nutshell, my digital marketing course not only led to me getting work experience at a tech company, but I was confirmed as the Managing Director a couple of months ago. I’m doing a job I love, working with truly wonderful individuals, and passionate about the Chairman and Founder’s vision to upskill children to succeed in the digital world.
I arrived in late 2017 and had to start all over again – with nothing; no job, no place of my own, and very little money. Fast-forward a year and I’m now better able to provide for my daughter, have my own place, and part of an exciting vision.
When I look back at the past twelve /fifteen months the two words that comes to mind are ‘miraculous’ and ‘favour‘.
I’ve relayed this because I want you to be rest assured of three things.
1. God loves you and only has the very best intentions (for you).
2. It is never too late for God to turn things around for good.
3. If you sense He wants you to take a certain course of action or direction which seems a little daunting, just trust and obey him. It doesn’t mean it will be easy, but trust him anyway, no matter how painful it may be. You will come out in a far better place.
Finally, I want to thank all the people God used to encourage and strengthen me during the past twelve / fifteen months – Ladi, Bros Toks, Sis Yinka, Sis Deola, Aunty Funmi, Toyosi, Tola A, Shola O, Nath U, Sis Kemi Balogun, Deji Akande, Seyi Akande, Babs Oyeleye, Tinuola Akande, Emma B, Femi Akande, Dapo Akande, Banky Akande, Dupe Akande, Pastor Rufus, Casey, Shaka, and SuiLi.
I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
Whatever it is you’re going through – be-it a broken-down marriage, financial malaise, midlife crisis, losing faith in the possibility of finding a husband /wife, or slowly giving-up on ever having children, trust Him and do as He’s directing you.
God loves you so much.
Not only will He turn things around for good, but you will become a far better person for it.
He turned my life-around in less than twelve months. And I know he’s only just begun.
If he can do it for little-old me, then he can certainly do it for you.