Monday, 25 December 2017

Breathing Underwater... By CHARLOTTE ADÉ

I remember the 31st of December 2016 clear as day. Sweaty palms, my hands were shaking out of control, tight and clenched chest. It felt like I was breathing underwater or trying to. Let's just say 2016 was my hardest year yet.
You see I had a plan....
The start of 2016, I had clear direction... If you are like me, that is everything. I have peace of mind when I have a plan, structured, detailed with even small goal checks along the way. (some of you can relate).. Uncertainty is the quickest way to get me on the wrong side.
31st of December all my plans had gone to ruin. It was a disaster! To make it worse, I felt like God was in alignment with those plans, In fact i had confirmations to back this up then. But my life at that point looked nothing like the plan... I was moving back home from the UK unexpectedly, after 18months of looking relentlessly for work and finally getting my dream job and location in an international organization. I repeat, I got my DREAM job, and those who know me understand the uniqueness of the role and how much it meant to me, they knew it was a BIG deal. But for some clause in the law, I had to return home within a few weeks. Following that, my relationship ended due to the relocation... Bear in mind I also just blew my whole savings going back to the UK to finish my interviews, continue applications and getting myself a lawyer. Plus for some reason or the other I could only move back home with one box and some weeks after, I lost my dearest god-mother.
So yeah, it was not a fun period in my life. I sat in the office of someone who could help me and he said "I am sorry I can't, I feel like God is doing something in your life I cannot tamper with".. urgh!!. I felt God was very harsh to be honest with you..
Now we are coming to the end of 2017, and I have never been so at peace. It is funny because I entered into 2017 with NO plan. My plan and strategy was to submit to God wholeheartedly every step of the way... lol i didn't have a choice now. My hands were already tied.
But it paid off! God has been so gracious, things I would have struggled for started to come to me with ease in 2017. While dealing with the emotions earlier this year, at the same time looking for a job or the next step.. I went to drinks with a friend. We got talking and he asked me about work, I explained my situation, he called a friend who is not even in the firm and GBAM, through this connection I got my current role (make no mistake, I paid my dues!! and passed my interviews). *Please be clear, you have to work hard to get results, things will not drop on your lap. But after you have worked hard you need to REST. I kid you not. Following that, I started training in a different role, within 6 weeks I was given a position that allowed me to lead 14 people, people 20 - 30yrs older than me.. look, there is more but you get the drift..
I will share one thing I learnt, this one post can't say everything. But this is the most important of all..
At crossover service, the message taught was about "hope". The passage was on the story of Ruth. what struck me about Ruth was how she trusted God when seemingly her life was over. But more importantly, she surrendered and she trusted God to restart her life. This year, I found myself being drawn to people in the bible who just trusted or, and submitted... like Mary.. an angel appeared to her and told her she was going to bear a child.. her response "I am the lord's servant! let it happen as you have said". ah! just like that?
Permit me, this annoys me a little bit... I am sure Mary had a plan for her life.. So how can an angel just come and tell me I am pregnant for the holy spirit? how sway???
I am a bit like Paul.. a bit stubborn (LOL!), You will have to use blinding light to stop me. To get my attention might take a little more effort for me to surrender. But Paul had to surrender too.. Even though I have always known, It is not my life.. I am only put here to fulfill the purpose of God.. the reality of it can be very painful sometimes because we don't know HOW he is working things out for us. Because we don't know HOW, we make plans.. not that plans are bad, but to whole heartedly rely on them is where it can be dicey, just be careful to remember ultimately it is God's. This is something I constantly had to remind myself this year.
As the bible put it..

"We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps"

So let us ALLOW him determine it....
In practice, I have learnt to take a step back and practice the act of meditation and worship when I feel tempted to panic or stress about a plan or my uncertainties ahead. It always removes the focus from me and replaces it with who exactly is sovereign over the situation. It's another form of surrender I have found. No wonder David was the man after God's own heart, he bore it all out but never forgot who was sovereign. The psalms always started with raw honest emotions of groaning but ended with thanksgiving, or vice vera. He understood this principle very well..
I have also learnt that another form of surrender is obedience. You see a lot of times, God will lay it on your heart to take a step.. even though you are not sure where it will lead to.. take it! Abraham in the bible is a perfect example. Our Oga at the top (GOD) asked Abraham to carry his son and he will show him a mountain where he will sacrifice him (PARDON??). He didn't understand but he trusted God's instruction and his heart behind it. "If he asked me to do this surely it is for a greater good". I have had to say yes to God many times this year when it made no sense initially because I have come to trust God's plans over mine.
I have never found this much peace before.. practicing the act of surrender to God, even when it is painful, uncomfortable and out of my comfort zone, it has taught me so much this year and brought me to a beautiful place in my life.. my own plans would't have hacked this. Nope it isn't perfect or easy but it is worth it. Let me warn you though.. from my experience, I had to practice rest and surrender frequently, sometimes I still suck at it and I am still learning how to breathe underwater.
I will end this, with an extract from Rick Warren.
"Surrendering your life is not a foolish emotional impulse but a rational, intelligent act. Sometimes it takes years, but eventually you will discover that the greatest hinderance to God's blessing in your life is yourself - your self will, stubbornness and personal ambition. You cannot fulfill God's purpose for your life while focusing on your own plans.. Put Jesus Christ in the driver's seat of your life and take your hands off the staring wheel. Don't be afraid; nothing under his control can ever be out of control.... Regardless, surrendering is never just a one-time event. Paul said, "I die daily" There is a moment of surrender and practice of surrender, which is moment-by-moment and lifelong"
Couldn't have said it any better...
Thank you for taking the time,
Extract - Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
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