The Thing About Idols

 

An idol according to the dictionary is an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed or any person or thing regarded with admiration, adoration, or devotion. So basically an idol is whatever or whoever you place before God. I’ll refer to the Bible because God Himself made His views on idols pretty clear in the Bible. Exodus 20 vs. 4-5 states; You must not make for yourself any idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens, on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to worship them, for I the Lord your God is a jealous God, who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. NLT

I am going be really honest and talk about my own idols:

1) My cell phone- my phone is practically attached to my hips, when I go to bed I keep it next to my pillow. If it rings while I am fast asleep, I will most likely wake up and answer it, I always have to have my charger whenever I go out and when I wake up in the morning the first thing I reach for is my phone. What I have just described is me basically putting my phone, which is an object, above God because when I wake up in the morning my FIRST attention and devotion should be to God and not a piece of metal.
2) Marriage and children- I had a life plan, a plan I so naively thought would come to pass, I always wanted to get married and have babies really early in life. I had this plan when I turned twenty one, and seven years later, it hasn’t come to pass and I will be the first to admit that I have been obsessing over it, wanting it and whining about it because it hasn’t gone my way. Sometimes I almost place the thought of having my own family, above actively pursuing a relationship with God.
3) Worrying- yes, worrying excessively is a form of idol worship. I have a PhD in staying up at night when I should be asleep, worrying about the future, about when I will have kids, about how I am going to pay my rent, about how I am going to fulfill all the responsibilities that come with being my mother’s oldest child, I worry and worry and in so doing I elevate my problems above God.

The beauty of admitting that I have these idols is that in so doing I have acknowledged that I have these issues and I am daily handing them over to God in prayer, admitting my weaknesses and praying that God’s strength be made perfect in my weakness. I make a constant effort to glance at my phone less and less, and I recently handed over the reins of my life to God after I asked myself a couple of hard questions like; what if it isn’t God’s will that I even get married, what if the rapture happens before I meet my husband? Asking myself these questions and knowing that I have no control whatsoever about what tomorrow will be has given me a certain measure of peace. It is my job to seek God, and make the most of my life while I am here on earth, and it is up to God to make His presentation to me in His own time, because HE does make all things beautiful in His own time, and because He is a good father, I know He will grant my heart desires.

I don’t know what your idols maybe, but if you search yourself, you will definitely find that there are a number of things in your life that you place above God and your relationship with Him. The tricky thing is that you might have enthroned these idols unconsciously, but the beauty of it is that there is grace made available to us and God is and will always be, just a prayer away.

The Vals Day Myth

Ah! Valentine’s Day and all the heart ache that comes in its wake, and this year probably wasn’t any different. I know the day has passed but I had been meaning to write this post but never got around to doing so until now. Young people all over the world might have gotten into beds they shouldn’t have, spent large sums of money buying copious gifts that they had no business buying, but did it anyway because it was the 14th of February, the day of “love”.

Spending Val’s day here in the States however, made me see it in a very different light. February 14th is just another holiday, where aggressive advertising starts from immediately after Christmas up until the actual day, sales are shoved in your face, soapy adverts make you want to go out and buy some outrageous gifts, that leaves a gaping hole in your pocket or sends you further into debt because your credit card has been maxed out and for what?

What is it about this day that makes it the one day of the year where it is legitimate to buy your spouse a gift and failure to do this is seen as not being romantic, it beats me. I personally don’t think that Valentine’s Day is the only day to express your love to your spouse, the remaining 364 days of the year is ample enough for declarations of love. Showing your spouse how much you love and appreciate them should be something you do on a regular basis, and while physical gifts are important, there are other ways to gift your spouses as well. You can give them the gift of your time, attention, forgiveness, intimacy, a decent meal, the remote control even when you have a game to watch, I could go on and on.

However, the bubble that is Valentine’s Day was rudely burst in my head when I found myself at the grocery store on the night of February 15th. The store staff worked tirelessly to take down all the silly cupids and arrows and candy and flowers and replaced them with Easter bunnies and some other stuff. Valentine’s day was over and it was back to business as usual. It struck me as really funny because if you had walked into the store a night before you would have been enveloped in the spirit of the season and would have felt bad if you had nobody to spend the day with.

So watching the store staff burst the balloons and take down the cupids was quite eye opening for me, and it served to reinforce my belief that there are a hundred more days to show love and that you don’t have to go broke while making other peoples businesses richer to buy some gift just because its valentine’s day.

It Takes A Village…

 

It takes a village to raise a child, and I completely agree because it certainly took one to raise my siblings and I. So last night my friend and I went to the grocery store and while we were there, she wanted her little daughter to do something but the little girl refused and screamed so loud that she had heads turning in the store. My poor friend was so distraught as she tried to cajole her to keep quiet, and while she did this, a thought popped in my head, if this was back home, one stern glance from her or a smack on the derrière or even a remark from a complete stranger would have done the trick.

So this post is dedicated to the street that raised me. This street happens to be Sadiku Street, somewhere in Olodi Apapa, Lagos. I lived there from birth until I went off to the university. My mum did a pretty good job raising my siblings and I, matter of fact, my mum is a super human, but that is another post for another day. What I am trying to say is that she was a good mum but she worked so much that we saw very little of her. While she was raising five children, she had a full time job at the bank, a fabric business, and was running her Master’s Degree at the same time. In her absence though, the street stepped in and did an amazing job as well. The street consisted of all the mothers in my neighborhood, there were always there, always watching, and always ready to discipline now and report back to my mother later.

So basically, I didn’t have the luxury of doing a lot of the things my peers were doing or of getting into trouble, I was always on the straight and narrow, I couldn’t  even so much as slouch on my way back from school, one mother was sure to yell from a balcony or kiosk and remind me to walk upright. When my sister and I were much younger, it wasn’t weird for a mother on the street to stop us and inspect our homework on our way to school and to check that we had enough food in our back packs. One time, my little brother who is over 6 ft tall these days, annoyed me and I beat the crap out of him. Unbeknownst to me, I was being watched and my mother came from work and gave me a double measure of the beating I gave to my brother, without saying a word. That was the day I knew the streets had eyes, ears and a mouth!

This constant surveillance annoyed the heck of out me as a teenager but looking back at it now, I am super grateful these women stepped in and kept an eye on me and my siblings. It kept us in check, kept us from making stupid mistakes that might have altered the course of our lives today, I couldn’t glance or speak to a boy on the street without my mum getting a report on it, couldn’t detour on my way from school, couldn’t sneak any make up that wasn’t authorized by mother on my face. And it wasn’t just me, it was every kid on my street that experienced the same, even my mother did the same on the days she was home. Some Saturday mornings, it wasn’t uncommon to see all the mothers from the beginning of the street to the end of it casually gather right there in the middle of the street to have meetings that usually resulted in one child or another getting a good smacking later that day.

If I close my eyes I can almost see them, and although some of them have passed away, all the lessons they instilled in me are still very much with me. I am so thankful to God that all the kids on that street turned out well, every single one of us. Some are parents today, some doctors, all of us doing great things in our corners of the world. To all the mothers on Sadiku Street, Thank you!

Love Yourself…

 

Love yourself. It’s that simple and it’s that complicated. The truth is that after God, the one person you should love is yourself, because until you love and accept yourself, it will be hard to let any other person love you like you deserve, hard for you to accept something as simple as a compliment, and you will constantly second guess yourself and doubt yourself worth.

You also have to forgive yourself for whatever might have happened in the past, and try to understand that no amount of worrying and crying and obsessing over the mistakes that you have made in the past can change anything. If you’re a Christian, an added bonus is that God already forgave you any sin you have ever or will ever commit, all you have to do is repent and accept the forgiveness that has been so graciously made available to you.

For the most part of my life, it never really occurred to me that I was beautiful. I mean my mum and my siblings told me but I figured they were saying it because they’re my family, it’s what they are supposed to, but I didn’t believe it for myself. I went through life thinking that I was just another ordinary girl, and all I could see was everything that was wrong with me; my tummy, my arms, my thighs, my everything. All that changed a couple of years ago, when I stumbled upon some scriptures that opened my eyes to the fact that God thought I was beautiful. What? The creator of the heavens and the earth says I am beautiful? I always thought that when people say you’re fearfully and wonderfully made, they meant it as an insult because that’s how these comedians make it sound, when in actual fact that scripture means that God actually put thought into making me, that every part of my body from the strands of hair on my head to the nails on my toes, was fearfully and wonderfully made by God, He thinks I am beautiful and flawless, wow! That blew my mind, and from that moment, I saw myself in a whole new light.

It doesn’t matter if I don’t meet up to society’s standard of beautiful, doesn’t matter if nobody pays me any compliments, the only thing that matters to me is how God sees me. The moment you realize who you are in Gods eyes, the world and its opinion begins to lose meaning to you, when guys tell you how beautiful you are, it doesn’t sway you because you already know. Now this doesn’t make you arrogant, it just makes you confident and so in love with yourself and that in itself is one of the greatest gifts you’ll ever give to yourself.

So the next time you feel ugly or undesirable, remember who you are, not who the world says you are, remember that God knew your name even before you were born, that he knows all the strands of hair atop your head, and He collects every tear you shed in the palm of His hands. Remember that God loves you, that He loved you even though He knew you might never love Him back, gave His only son as a ransom for you and is concerned with every breath you take! Forget what the movies say, that is the greatest love story ever told.
You are beautiful, you are smart, you are loved, you are worth it, you are important, you are amazing…repeat this to yourself until you start to believe it.

Don’t forget to fall in love with yourself first- Carrie Bradshaw