Posted in Inspiration

New Year, New Me; The Cliché

 

Happy New Year amazing people!!! Thank God we all made it to see the first post for the year! 😀

I saw this funny picture as someone’s display picture. Albeit, a little  rudely said, there’s a bit of truth to draw out of it.

new year
Photo Credit: @WestAfrikanman

We’ve all heard the ‘new year, new me’ line. Some of us have even used it. But here is the truth; the New Year doesn’t in any way transform you into a new person. It’s not a cocoon where we change from caterpillars to butterflies.  The earlier we realize this truth, the better it is for us.

We often set for ourselves unattainable goals, probably because we get so pumped up after the Crossover Service on the 31st night. But there’s only so far we can go with the New Year charade. Before long, we go back to the same old us.  I would know, because I’ve been there countless times. I know how disappointing it is to set really high goals just before the year starts and find yourself derailing from the plan before January ends. For someone like me who loves making plans, plans and more plans, I get super frustrated when they fall apart!

So do we linger and sip our drinks as the year starts with no goals whatsoever? Do we watch from the sidelines with folded hands just because we never follow through on our New Year resolutions? Do we stop making plans for the year? No!

 Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: ‘He started something he couldn’t finish.’ -Luke 14:28 (MSG)

 

Don’t be afraid to make plans. By all means, make SMART goals for the year; goals that are both specific and achievable. But you must realize that your plans can only come alive when you commit them to God’s hands. 

Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word. 

Put God in charge of your work, then what you’ve planned will take place. 

We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it. -Proverbs 16: 1, 3, 9 (MSG)

 

The New Year doesn’t change you, God does. The New Year doesn’t have the power on it’s own to make you get rid of the addictions, lose the extra weight, get out of that bad relationship, or change your current sad situation… but God does! The New Year is not an automatic fresh start, but every moment of repentance towards God, is a fresh start for us. It’s only a ‘New You’ when you turn back to God.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Cor 5:17 (KJV)

Friends, let’s get it right this year. No more avoidable mistakes! Remember life isn’t just about you or your plans for yourself. Life is about God and His bigger picture. Allow Him to work in you and through you this year.

I pray that you walk in God’s divinely orchestrated plan for your life this year.

Have a fantabulous year ahead! 😀

Lots of love,

©Mfon Etuk, 2016.

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Posted in Inspiration

Monday Musings

Grrrrrr!! It’s Monday again! I slammed the alarm clock on the bedside table and opted for 5 more minutes. Who was I kidding? 5 minutes could be the difference between getting to work on time and being stuck in rush-hour traffic; between having a good day or a crappy day. Finally, I dragged myself in and out of the bathroom and hit the road at 5:00 AM. Of course, the peculiarity of Lagos makes it necessary to hit the road so early in order to get to your destination on time.

I kept brooding about Mondays as I stared out the window, looking at the cars queuing up on both lanes. Soon enough we pulled up behind a similar queue. The inevitable rush-hour traffic was already building up. Mondays are freaking crazy! The traffic is out of this world, the stress to and fro…I can go on and on about why Mondays suck but let me rather use a few memes to describe this feeling.

Photo credit: truegif.com
Photo credit: truegif.com
Photo credit: imgur.com
Photo credit: imgur.com
Photo credit: memegenerator.net
Photo credit: memegenerator.net

I’m sure most of you can relate! 😀

However, in the middle of my brooding, the Holy Spirit reminded me of a particular quote I had seen a while back which said; ‘There is nothing wrong with Mondays, just our attitude towards it’.

Truth is, Monday is the same as any other day. It has only 24 hours (even though most times I think it’s up to 26 hours). It is our attitude towards Monday that makes it the big scary monster it is.

Please note that your attitude towards Monday could affect the remaining days of the week. If we keep trudging through Mondays, we may just find ourselves trudging through the week, waiting only to thank God for Friday #TGIF (which ought not)

Let’s change our attitude and perspective towards Mondays. Maybe, just maybe, the problem isn’t with the day, but with you.

Don’t pull through the day as though the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Remember that you can’t have a good day with a bad attitude and a bad day with a good attitude. Your attitude makes the difference!

Photo credit: lovethispic.com
Photo credit: lovethispic.com

Happy Monday Friends!

Have a victorious week ahead!

© Mfon Etuk, 2015

This is the day the Lord has made so we will rejoice and be glad in it! Ps 118:24 🙂

Posted in Inspiration

That’s Not Your Bus!

It’s been some six months now in Lagos (the busiest city in Nigeria) but I still don’t get the whole commuting process. You walk to a bus stop, keep your ears open through deafening sounds as bus conductors yell out the names of their various destinations.

So there I stand, looking so lost and paranoid as I tighten my grip on my handbag while waiting for a bus. A bus soon arrives heading my way and the other impatient commuters almost throw me off course as they push and shove their way into the bus. I just don’t get the rush! An average Lagosian walks at five steps per second (Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating) but you get the point; everyone is in a hurry.

Photo credit: voicesofafrica.co.za
Photo credit: voicesofafrica.co.za

The first bus leaves and then the next and I begin to pace as I frantically glance at my wrist watch. ‘Lord, send me my bus’ I silently pray. Emphasis here is on ‘my’ not just ‘a’ bus but ‘my’ bus. Now this is where we take this analogy into other things that matter far more than just getting a ride to our destinations.

There’s a bus for everyone. But most times we miss it as a result of impatience. Let’s face it, the world is in such a hurry that we begin to set time for God (the one who created time). We say stuffs like; Lord, I want to graduate at 21. Get married at 24. And while you’re at it, get me that multi-billion dollar contract before I turn 30. And God is probably smiling as He looks at the master plan and shakes his head like ‘these kids don’t know what they are saying’.

Ever heard that line ‘God is always right on time’? Well, it doesn’t always look like it. Come on! We’ve been waiting for good stuffs to happen. Time is running out. I want to graduate. I want to get married. I want to have kids. I want that big job. I want to move to a new location. God, are you even listening? And then He goes; Chill child, I’ve got this. Wait for it.

Only a few of us would heed and wait. But within a few months we begin to panic. Oh God, it’s not happening. You said I should wait, but clearly you’ve forgotten about me. Look at my friends, they’ve got new jobs, new cars and did you see that Diamond rock on her finger? Or don’t you love me?

Some of us even decide to help him. Umm, Lord, you’re yet to send the man after your heart for me, but come on, this guy here is good. He doesn’t believe in you but he helps people. I guess this is it Lord. Oh yes! Even Sarah did it; we’ve been waiting for this son you promised. Well, maybe you wanted us to figure out how to make it happen. So here, Abraham, take Hagar and let’s make a baby! We feel God is not fast enough and we want to help catalyze the process.

Personally, I think it’s not in our DNAs to wait. We want things and we want them NOW!!! We push, we shove, just to have our ways. We even sulk, get angry at God, and get envious of our friends who seem to be having things working right for them. When things aren’t happening at our pace, we feel God is slow. So slow, the internet explorer is way faster!

Sometimes God allows us have our way. We get on-board the wrong buses and learn the lessons we could have avoided on the journey. The relationship we hurried into turns sour. The stuffs we pushed others to have doesn’t satisfy any more. We end up in a miserable state we didn’t have to be, if only we waited.

Waiting is hard. It’s frustrating. The worst part is when you’re waiting and others are moving. Ever been on a lane in traffic that isn’t moving an inch and you look through the window to see another lane where the cars are flying past. You’d be tempted to blame yourself or the driver for not being on that lane or in that fast moving bus.

To be honest, there would be such moments when people around you would seemingly be on fast lanes. Getting different breakthroughs they didn’t necessarily have to wait for. And you might begin to panic. But at that point, it is most crucial that you hang on to the promises God has made to you through his word.

So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word-Heb 10:23 (MSG)

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful-Heb 10:23 (NIV)

Back to my story. Within a few minutes, ‘my’ bus arrived. No one struggled with me for it. The bus waited till I got in and I even got a comfortable seat! I got to my destination right on time. And I smiled within myself and blessed God.  🙂

Please note, this doesn’t always happen in the physical sense of it in Lagos; especially if your faith doesn’t carry it; you may just end up getting super late for work. Please be wise in this regard!

Photo credit: photobylagos.wordpress.com
Photo credit: photobylagos.wordpress.com

However, in the spiritual sense of it, it is important you are sensitive to your correct bus. Don’t get on the wrong bus just because it’s on the fast lane. Besides, why hurry when the one who controls time says ‘it’s not yet time’? He will make things happen for you at the time He has appointed, and believe me, there’s no time more perfect than that!

Take a chill pill. Relax. God’s got this. 🙂

It’s always my desire that you live victorious lives.

Lots of love ❤

© Mfon Etuk, 2015

stamp new

Posted in Fiction, Inspiration, Series

Forsaken Series

Hey guys!

Sorry if you felt I had forsaken you by delaying the release of the final episode.:)

So here is a summary;

Episode 1 was the incidence, centered on how the character lost her parents and questioned her beliefs in God.

Episode 2 was about her decision to go the dark side- night falls

Episode 3 consisted of the diamond heist which she got caught up in

Episode 4 centered on the turn around and new start

At some point in our lives, we feel like God has forsaken us. This happens a lot when we begin to go through trials and experience loss of dear ones. The story went on to reveal the human nature to get back at God. Pay him back in the coin of ‘injustice’ we assume He is dealing with. It takes going back to his word in total repentance to discover that we are mere dust and He is the most high. “Who is man that you are mindful of him?”

If you’re like Lisa right now, thinking you’re too far too gone to be saved, fret not! God’s got you where he wants you to be. I pray you don’t miss the lessons you need to learn in this trial.

I also excerpted a part of Job 38-41 using the Message Bible. Those few chapters struck me hard. We get so self absorbed and expect God to be answerable to us. Asking him for reasons “Why”. Why you lost the job. Why you failed the test. Why the relationship ended. Why you didn’t get the scholarship. Why your loved one died…to  mention a few. In these chapters, God poses questions to Job which he could not respond to. This just goes to reveal the foolishness in man.

So the next time you’re going through that test or trial, allow God to work fully and completely in you. Don’t question Him because His ways are not yours, neither are your thoughts his.

Most importantly, remember you’re not going through the trials because He hates you. You’re going through them because He wants to fulfill His plans and purposes in you. Smile through it for something bigger is on the way. Remember we write examinations to move on to the next level 🙂

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 (MSG)

It’s always my  desire that you live a victorious life!

© Mfon Etuk, 2015

Posted in Inspiration

Honey in the Carcass

Pain makes us stronger

Ever had one of those moments where it seems the world is crashing on you? Moments when you question everything around you including your faith?  That earth shattering, throat thickening, tears flowing kinda pain that is simply unexplainable? I’m pretty sure we have all tasted a bit of the pain pie at some point. But there’s this Kelly Clarkson’s song that says ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ and I find that to be true

I won’t lie and say that at the point of the pain you will feel strong. As a matter of fact, in my moments of pain and hurt, I’m the weakest of all; I sob, I sulk, I write and then I shut down. Literally, my mind shuts down as a defense mechanism from the pain.

How do we deal with the pain?

 People have devised different ways of dealing with pain. For some, it is avoidance, some others it’s shutting the world out or just burying one’s self in the pain till it stops hurting. For me, it’s throwing pity parties; I’d line up depressing songs in a playlist and eat lots of junk food (my fav is ice cream and pizza). Funny, how I enjoy wallowing in such depression like a duck in a lake.

Create an outlet for the pain to flow out.

Please do not keep the pain bottled up within you. It would get full and explode like a volcanic eruption within you someday.  Cry if you have to, hit the boxing bags if it makes you feel better, whatever you have to do to let the pain out, do it! And let it all go.

Now after the painful episode, tears and all, I go shopping. Shopping therapy works every time (except when you’re broke or under a tight budget-LOL). You could decide to hang out with friends, go for karaoke, go bowling, go hiking, go dancing, watch movies…whatever! Just make sure you have a good reason to stop drowning in your pool of despair.

I came across this interesting story about Samson who killed a lion and later went back to find honey in the carcass that was left behind.

Some days later when he came back to get her, he made a little detour to look at what was left of the lion. And there a wonder: a swarm of bees in the lion’s carcass—and honey! He scooped it up in his hands and kept going, eating as he went.

-Judges 14:8-9 (MSG)

God never wastes your pain

I haven’t had any kids (yet). But recently, my sister gave birth and she’s the first pregnant lady I have been privileged to spend some time with.

Birth pangs are simply indescribable. As strong as my sister was, the birth pangs were so severe that she wanted to scream, shove and push… Push, she did with every ounce of strength within her small frame. She pushed until his little adorable head popped out and the rest of the body slid out. Holding the cutest baby in the world in her arms, she quickly forgot about the pain and replaced the grimace on her face with a smile so wide! 🙂

isaiah

God allows us experience pain so that he can birth his plans and purposes through us. Sometimes you have to go through trials and experience pain in order to build capacity to survive in life.
At the point of the pain, it’s really hard to see what good can come out of it. Most times I just want to give up and cry.
Looking back now, I can see the honey in my carcasses of pain
There are certain things I wouldn’t struggle with anymore because I’ve developed capacity to withstand them. For instance, I’ve come to understand that things won’t always go my way no matter how tightly I hold on to the control reins. And this has taught me to trust in God even when I feel everything slipping from my grasp.

Photo Credit: 9gag
Photo Credit: 9gag

Instead of brooding about the loss or gruesome pain within, why not take a detour to find the honey in the carcass? If we do not let the waves of pain overwhelm us, we’ll discover the surfboard of faith to rise above it, stronger and thankful that we overcame.
I don’t know what you’re going through right now but I need you to hold on. Just as the night doesn’t stop the sun from shining when it’s morning, so will the pain fade away when it’s time. I pray you find the honey in the carcass.

Have an awesome week ahead!

Lots of love ❤

© Mfon Etuk, 2015

Photo Credit: www.pinterest.com
Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com
Posted in Inspiration, Poetry

Bright Mornings

Photo Credit: www.themominmemd.wordpress.com
Photo Credit: http://www.themominmemd.wordpress.com

Alas! The sun awakens to my hurts and fears

Kissing away my tears

Naked emotions left bare

Don’t need a shadow to hide in

Take away the heavy cloak of darkness

Uncover my shame

Exposed.

Thick darkness fades away

Like mist at noon

Evanescence.

My very essence.

Healing. Still waters begin to flow,

As fresh wounds turn dry with every drop of water.

From darkness to light,

Sadness to laughter,

Night to day, black to white,

I’m changed forever.

© Mfon Etuk, 2015

He gets angry once in a while, but across
    a lifetime there is only love.
The nights of crying your eyes out
    give way to days of laughter.

-Psalm 30:5 (MSG)

Posted in Inspiration

The Book Cover

A saying goes ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, and as much as I agree, I must add ‘the cover of a book must match its contents’
Okay, so I know this could stir up some arguments or rather some brilliant discourse. Literally, I wouldn’t read a book with an unattractive cover. That’s the truth. So even though the contents may be really great, I would miss it and could care less because the cover sucked!

Now let’s bring this analogy of the book and its cover to us. You’re smart, intelligent, beautiful on the inside, and you’re fun to be with…but no one actually ‘wants’ to be with you. Ever asked why? Quick answer, check your cover! Does it yell am boring, insecure, not smart, with a wrong fashion sense and so on…?!

Lots of people pay less attention to the cover the book. While building the contents is very important, making the cover as pretty on the outside is also necessary.
Wonder why you’re still single, unemployed, not easily approached…? Please check your cover!

While some books have hard covers, others are made of paper backs. We select the books we read unconsciously by the cover. There’s a way bestsellers look and that’s why they are called bestsellers! They aren’t unattractive or boring. They have that magnetic feel that pulls you to the book.

Dressing is a huge part of the packaging process. It is fondly said ‘the way you dress is the way you would be addressed’ and I have to add this ‘dress the way you want people to see you’. Lots of people wear funny stuffs and later feel judged for it. Well, if I see you in total black with dark make up and lots of piercing, its normal for me to think you’re Gothic! But on a deeper look, not all who dress that way are really gloomy.
Let your dressing show who you are on the inside. If you’re decent and modest at heart, why fool the populace and reduce your chances by wearing indecent clothes?

I hear of guys who do have the money to put on good clothing but would rather spend the money on video games and risk coming out looking like they’ve got no future ambitions…how’s a lady supposed to trip for you?! Some use the flimsy excuse that the girl has gotta be more into him than into his appearance. While that is true, I must say a girl won’t want to go past the cover if it is repulsive, no matter how attractive the inside could be!

It’s safe to say lots of people have lost job opportunities because of their covers. While the CV is extremely beautiful, the person the employers see in front of them is totally the opposite. The outfit is appalling, the hair is something else! Gosh! The breath is another ball game! These employers take note of all these things and conclude based on the unsavory cover of the book. Need I tell you what that conclusion is?

Then there is the distracting dressing where everything one puts on distracts the audience from what he or she is saying. Don’t let your cover be too distracting! There are some books which have really flashy covers with so much going on…I go through such books and don’t remember the contents, just the cover.

Yes I want you to design your book cover in a very pleasing way but please don’t let it outshine the inside! Imagine a getting a present on Christmas day. A well wrapped present, beautiful on the outside, you can’t even wait to open it. You quickly tear off the wrapping sheets and voila! Its a pen. Not a gold pen, not even a ball pen, just a regular pen. Am sure you would be disappointed and wonder why there was so much wrapping sheet. Your friend could have just given you the pen without the wrapping sheet. That’s the same feeling when you see a really cute book cover with absolutely no content. The kinda book you sleep through!

Friends, not to be harsh or anything, I just want you to pay more attention to the cover of your book so that people would love to read you. How do you dress? How do you talk? Do you have manners? Are you insultive? Do you talk too much? Have people constantly complained about your style? Take some time out today and do a self check! Your outside has gotta be as attractive as your inside! In the immortal words of Steve Harris, never dress like a suspect and expect people to treat you like a prospect.

It’s my desire that your live a fabulous life!

© Mfon Etuk, 2014.