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My Beautiful Disruption

“Is it dusk yet. Yes? Okay. Listen up! This will be long.

When I took this photo, I was just hoping to capture a beautiful sunset as I used to do every evening on my way home over the bridge. Then this danfo comes out of nowhere to interrupt my view but I’m still clicking away anyways. I caught a few good shots, but for some reason I could never delete this one.

A few months and #snapseededits later, I look at this disrupted photo and it’s beautiful. And clearly different from all of the other sunrise and sunset photos I’ve taken.

God was telling me that this Disruption is my life. And it’s oh-so beautiful. And so, because I’ve put this off too long, I’d like to introduce you all to “The Beautiful Disruption” 😊

It’s been a long time coming, and it’s something that God gave me for everyone. It’s a collection of personal essays that strip the layers off and show you how God went out of His way to create this beauty that my life is, by removing everyone and everything that stood in His way, and sometimes, like this picture, by putting roadblocks in my way. And all the lessons I learned along the way.

Now it gets better: Some of us (my blog readers) will get the chance to share in this project. You get to read a few chapters. And because I know how important it is for us to tell our stories, I’m throwing it open for anyone who is willing to share their Disruption stories with the world. The only requirement is that you must realize that there is no shame. You didn’t go through all of this not to tell your stories.

Over the next couple of months, I’ll be sharing excerpts on the blog. I can’t wait for this journey.”

 

First I want to apologize for being away from here for so long. I wish I had a perfect and believable excuse, I don’t. I’ve just been feeling dissatisfied and uninspired (more on this later). I feel like there’s a lot on my plate but I’m learning to prioritize.

Back to the matter at hand.

I posted the text above and picture above a couple of weeks ago on the gram and I’m a little over excited even. I was going to do all I had to do in private, but i’m reminded that in the end it isn’t always about me. God gave me for me, and for many other people. I threw it open and the response has been overwhelming, which was just confirmation that God wasn’t playing when He asked me to go on.

I’m currently working on a dedicated website for this, should be up in another few months, and then we can start sharing. If you would like to be a part of this project or support it in any way, please holla!

Love and Light

‘Gbemisola

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What I Learned From My Big Crop

So I recently cropped my hair, recently being last Saturday. And even though I like to convince myself that it was a spur of the moment decision, it was an idea I had played around with for a while. Maybe since last year. But I usually got swayed and just thought that the same old way was better. Before now, I had mostly had the same hairstyle for the past six years or so – side part (left side please). If I wanted to switch it up, I would braid my hair or wear a short weave. But I got tired. I feel like I went through a lot in the last year and I had earned the right to shed old skin. So at the end of April, I cut my hair shorter. But after about a week of running on auto-pilot I went back to what I knew. I saw my cousin’s hair this year and was inspired to do what I knew I wanted to do in my heart.  I asked a few people for their opinion (again) and everyone said “No” so I shelved my plans again so when I finally summoned the courage this weekend, I kept my decision away from everyone who could dissuade me. And the results were beautiful.

 

But here’s what I learned from cutting my hair:

  1. If you really want to do something, just go ahead and do it: I know this seems pretty obvious but you know how truth is often hiding in plain sight. But what I have learned from all of this is that once you are certain you want to do something, you don’t need any other opinions.
  2. You own your reality: Nobody knows you like you. You alone know what is best for you at every point in time, so just go ahead and do it. When you lay in bed at night, you’re only accountable to your God and to yourself. Be sure that you’re at peace with your decisions.
  3. You never know until you try: I had doubts about changing my looks, seeing as I had worn the same hairstyle for years. Even when I finally decided to chop my hair off, I thought that there was a slight chance that I would hate it the next day, and I had my wig nearby. But the next morning when I looked in the mirror I could barely stop smiling. Turns out I actually love it. Haven’t cut my hair this low since I was in JSS3, about seventeen years ago.
  4. Sometimes you just need a fresh start: When I told my sister I wanted to chop my hair, she said “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But truth is, sometimes, you really need to stop patching things and give yourself a fresh start.
  5. Change is the only constant thing: I always joked that even if I had only one strand of hair left I wouldn’t chop it, seeing as I am, to a large extent, a girly girl. Well, look what we got here. Never say never. Stay open to life’s changes and just breathe.

Everything good will come!

-It can't work-

Today will Probably Be the worst day of your life

Or the best.

And this is not a motivational speech, I promise.

I know we’ve all heard lines along “the day is what you make of it” so much that it sounds cliche. Well, it’s the truth. Every day has potential, to be the worst day of your life or the best day of your life. Your day can start off with everything that could possibly go wrong going wrong. While I believe in God, and force majeure, I also know that we often abdicate our duties to fate. And I know this, because I’ve been in the school of thought of waiting for perfect timing or conditions, or just a good vibe. I always imagined I would just sit down with these ideas and knowledge, and one day BOOM out of nowhere, I’m top of the game in my field. And the book I always swore I would write, well one day, I would just see my book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Well, that didn’t quite work.

No. It didn’t work AT ALL.

Over the last few months, I’ve come to learn that if you want to do something, just do it. As they say, “leap, the net will appear”. If you’ve done your due dilligence about any decision you want to make, then just go ahead and do it. Don’t think yourself out of an innovative idea with impossibilities that only exist in your mind. There are no “perfect conditions”. There will always be bills to pay, and traffic, and everyone gets stressed, especially if you live in Lagos. If you wanted excuses for everything you did not want to do, you could write a whole book. In the words of Bruce Lee “if you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you will never get it done”

With every day that passes, you miss out on a day that could have been the day you started – the day you started writing, the day you started a business, the day you started creating – and you’re running out of time. Except you’re ageing in reverse (a la Benjamin Button), every day is one less day in the grand scheme of things. No one can pick your brains when you die, so if you think of something and you don’t do it, the idea dies with you. Or perhaps someone else will do it. Whatever, you get the idea.

Light a fire where you are.

Have a great week.

Image by: MAX BECHERER/AP

The Rounds: Is the World Imploding?

Songs for the Week: “I believe” by Mali Music and “My World Needs You” by Kirk Franklin, Sarah Reeves and Tasha Cobbs.

 

I’ve had one hell of a week.

 

You know what it feels like to lose someone who was in his prime and so full of life? I experienced that, again this week. It hurts. It leaves you confused and asking questions you know you won’t get any answers too. Everyday I learn more about the sovereignty of God through acts like this. And even though people say you shouldn’t question God, I think that everyone should. It’s how your faith grows. You may not get the answer you require, but your faith will grow. I got this new book Trashing About with God: Finding Faith on the Other Side of Everything by Mandy Steward, it’s a book for times like this. I’ll review it afterwards.

 

Black Lives Matter

 

So yes. I’m one of those people who is more interested in things happening abroad than in Nigeria, except it concerns. I know that I should feel a certain ownership of things happening in Nigeria, but I’ll wait till we have responsible journalism. Everything here is so sensationalized. I wake up on Wednesday Morning and the first thing I see on my Twitter feed is Alton Sterling’s murder. While I was still trying to get a hang of it, the next day I see #FalconHeightsShooting and #PhilandoCastile. The videos are so gory. Then I hear about the Nigerian, Chidi Nnamdi, who was killed in Italy for defending his girlfriend when she was called a monkey in an apparently racist attack. By the end of Thursday, I am exhausted with all this talk about race. Reminded me of “Roots” and “Da Rules” by Marvin Hodges, Em Allison and Seidu Tejan-Thomas, I posted a minute of it on my Instagram. In the aftermath, some snipers shot and killed 5 Dallas policemen. The issue here is that you can’t end violence with more violence. I understand the frustrations, having seen videos of Police encounters with black people, but common, killing innocent cops? I only hope that all of this forces a conversation. And I hope that we get to the point in Nigeria where you can openly record policemen. Amen

 

But what’s it with race that humans cannot seem to get a hang of, centuries after? What is with the feeling of superiority or inferiority that we feel? Why can’t we all just get along? I think I have more questions for God.

 

Three-Day Public Holiday

 

I don’t think we’ve had a 2-day work week in a long time, or perhaps since I started working post-NYSC. The moon decided to play peek-a-boo, is the lightest way I can put it. And while some people argue that it is senseless in a country in recession, I loved it. I slept well, which is something I have been struggling with lately. I also got to write a chapter of my book. I saw my sister and her kids, who are like a ray of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy world.

 

Deregulation Blues

I ran out of gas during the Public Holiday and had to refill my cylinder. Cooking Gas is now N4,000 for a 12.5kg cylinder?

 

Jesus come quickly!

 

SPRING RANTS BY GBEMI

Thank You

Hello you,

Yes you.

I just wanted to say “thank you” for coming here and giving me a reason to write what I write. It’s hard to come on here and talk about life, and being single, and being a christian, who is rebellious and feminist. I know that everyone has so much going for them, so the fact that you even relate enough to come by here means an awful lot.

 

I know that I don’t write enough, sometimes my heart has so much to say I can’t find the words. Sometimes there’s too many places I want to split myself into. Sometimes I just want to curl and let whatever I’m feeling wash over me.

 

But I’m here today! And I’m blessed to be doing what I do.

 

There’s so much more I would love you to experience with me.

 

Stay a little longer.

Does God care about your broken heart?

On Ragdolls and Elastic Hearts

“He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147: 3

But just before the wounds heal you run back to the same things that caused them. Maybe it’s the lure of the familiar, or maybe it’s to show them you bruise easily. So they can see how much they hurt you? Or so they can try to fix you?

 
But you were already fixed.

 

Every tear, He wiped away. Every time they tried to tear your heart to shreds, He came through. Do you remember those nights that you cried so much you wondered if you would run out of tears? Do you remember when you thought that maybe, just maybe, if you stayed long enough in bed the world would go on and leave you behind so you could rest in peace? Do you remember when you would cry out asking who you really were and why your life was like a soap opera written by a sadist child? Do you remember when you thought that maybe Cain’s mark was on you too, so no one could love you or stay with you? Do you remember your whole body shook with the pain and all you wanted was for someone to hold you still?

 

He heard you.

 
He heard you, on those nights you thought that you were better off dead than alive. He held you when you shook with pain and tears and calmed your fears. He patted your hair and cupped your face in His hands, then He wiped your tears. On the night when loneliness was eating you from the inside, He was there. His arms were wide open embracing you. And you fit right into the nook, His nook.

 

But you forgot.

 
You wanted something “tangible” you said. You forgot His love was the most tangible thing you ever knew. Everything else was so ephemeral. But you chose that over love that never left. So you took your heart back from Him and gave it to the one who broke it before. Your heart is such a gift but on whose altar are you offering it?

 
He did it again.

 
Not Him, the other one you gave your heart to. You thought that your heart could stretch without limit, elastic heart. Your precious little gift you so willingly threw at his feet. You didn’t know how to handle it, neither did he. So he let it drop. Smithereens and fragments so little that they hurt to pick up. You are his rag doll now. And you’re too ashamed to come back to your fixer.

 

But He was always here.

 

The Love was always here. On the sidelines where you left Him when you went off. He’s here now, arms wide open. Waiting for you. He’s whispering:

 

“Let Light In, Let Me In”

 
Excerpts from my book, out Easter 2017

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The 30 – Day Praise Challenge : A Review

You know those times in your life when no matter how hard you try you can’t seem to find a good thing going on for you? I had one of those at the end of April. I was sad and depressed, then my body shut down too. Sometimes your body is down and your spirit is lifted, so you hang in there. This time it was both for me. I was disinterested in everything and did what I would typically do if I was depressed – check out. So I checked out, besides personal hygiene and going through the motions at work, I was just floating, numb, auto pilot. You know what I mean? Anyway, on one of those days at work, I was in a meeting and wasn’t concentrating so I started going through my email and saw a newsletter after free E-Books. I clicked and the one that  caught my eye was The 30-Day Praise Challenge by Becky Harling, probably because I was being cynical at the time. When I read the blurb (or whatever it is called for e-books) and I saw that it was a book that focused on intentional praise, definitely worth the try. And the best part was that it was $0.00. Can you see God?

 

Background and Author

 

Becky Harling  started to intentionally praise God after she was diagnosed with Cancer and had a double mastectomy at age forty-two. She also walked through healing from sexual abuse, but still kept up a vibrant praise and worship which lifted her heart and mind above the circumstances around her. So if anyone should teach you about Intentional Praise, Becky is the right candidate.

 

The Book

 

The Book is divided into three parts: The Challenge (which is basically the Introduction and Background), Thirty Days of Praise and Taking it Further.  In Part Two which is Thirty Days of Praise, each day starts with an Invitation from God (it reads like Jesus Calling) where he encourages you to praise Him for a particular attribute or deed of His, or for a particular reason or person. The Invitation ends with relevant bible verses. After the Invitation, there is a suggestion of songs to listen to, a Prayer, and a Journal section. In Taking it Further, Becky Harling helps with more ways to intentionally praise God – Praising God through His names, Praising God using the Psalms, Praising God from the book of Revelation, praising God to defeat the Enemy, Praising God through a declaration, Praising God when you are grieving and a list of Praise Songs to download.

 

Here’s where it gets interesting: During my own 30-day Praise Challenge, I was broke as hell, ill for most part, depressed, had a minor accident (I say minor because God came through) and then ended up in the hospital for back pain. So it was clearly not a quick fix. But what I learned from intentionally praising God is that even though you don’t get all the answers immediately, your faith grows and your focus changes from the things happening around you to the things that God can and will eventually do for you, in His perfect timing.

 

The best of all of this, is that in a bid to encourage myself, I started sharing screenshots of The 30-Day Praise Challenge on my Instagram page. Turns out there were many other people following and who were blessed by it too. And the best part is that I got it for free. Maybe sometime in the future, I’ll be able to buy copies of this book to give out to everyone around me. There’s also a 30-Day Praise Challenge for Parents, but when we get to that bridge.

 

Have you read The 30-Day Praise Challenge? Let me know what you think.

Love and Light

‘Gbemisola.

Work-Life Balance

The Grind: Reasons Why Better Work-Life Balance Isn’t Overrated

The Irony: I’m only just learning again what Work-Life Balance should be. I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like, having spent the last 44 months in a start-up where by default everything is urgent. If I knew what work-life balance was, I’m sure stress-induced amnesia has made me forget. Until lately.

 

In the last one year though, I’ve had to retreat and rethink the things that are most important to me. And while my job will still be among those things, I realize that I am not doing myself, my career or my loved ones any good by not having a vibrant life outside of work. You’re not much fun when you can’t hang out with your friends without taking your laptop, or when you’re having drinks with friends and pause mid-sentence because an email came in and you have to respond because the subject has “URGENT” in it.

 

Not having a work-life balance wears you out quickly. You may love your job and be passionate about it even, but if you work round the clock that it always leaves you too drained to do anything else, you’ll soon start to resent the job. You’ll start to become so tired and spent and inevitably hate the thing that makes you always tired. And let’s not forget that it breeds unrealistic expectations of you, since people are used to expecting results from you, regardless of if you have to stay all night to achieve those.

 

You also need to have a personality outside work. I remember at a certain point in time, my entire world was centered around my job. Most of my friends were from work (which isn’t really a bad thing) and even keeping in touch with people seemed like too much work. After a restructuring at my workplace, I backtracked a bit and tried to ask myself who I would become if I didn’t have a job, seeing as most of interactions were work-related. I can’t say I have gotten to the point where I have a work-life balance, but I am headed there.

 

You need to have a work-life balance so that you can work on your dreams and goals. Except you own your business, or your job is your hobby, chances are that you have some goal or dream or passion that you would work on if you had a little extra time. If you have no work-life balance, there’ll never be time or energy to work on those dreams and passions. And as someone working in Human Capital once told me, only you are responsible for your choices and outcomes. At the end of the day you’ll have to live with yourself and the chances you didn’t take.

 

In the last few months when I’ve been intentionally trying to cultivate a work-life balance, I’ve learned a lot more about myself, and had a little more time to work on my dreams. Here’s what I did, and hopefully you can try:

  • Unplug: Unplug. Log out of work email on your mobile phone
  • Don’t bring work home. What’s the point in closing early if you’re going home to continue working
  • Make out time for your dreams
  • Have a to-do list.
  • Concentrate on your tasks: This helps you spend less time on tasks, so you don’t have to work during your free-time
  • Prioritize: Learn to put the things that count top of your list

 

Have you been in a situation where you didn’t have a work-life balance? Please share how you overcame.

 

Have a great week.