WELCOME… DECEMBER

Yippee!!! My best season is here. I doubt if I will ever stop being excited about December. This wild excitement I have about December is one that I have had from as far back as I knew myself and even as I grew into middle age until now, December has not stopped being an amazement to me.

December being the twelfth and the last month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars is also the last of seven months to have a length of 31 days. It is a month loaded with exciting activities across the nations of the world. It’s a month that cannot be ignored.

I guess there are so many things to be excited about this last month of the year; It always announces the end of an era and ushers us into a brand new beginning. December gives one this psychological feeling of freedom from all the hassles of the year and climaxes into a brand new beginning that birth hopes, opportunities and optimism.

The height of my excitement is the eve of Christmas. And I always wished I could keep that moment static and bask in the euphoria of the birth of our Lord Jesus. Many have argued that the date may not be accurate, but I am sure if another date was fixed for His birth, the impact would be the same.

Man is essentially a spiritual being. So, I naturally reconnect with my creator through retreats and spiritual engagements in December. It is an opportunity to thank God for making it to the end of the year. Trust me, not many people did. I have a long list of people; great men and women that passed on in the year. May they their memories remain in our hearts forever. There is therefore no better time to let God know how grateful we are to be here.

One of my major retreats schedule for December is the attendance of the annual Shiloh Convention organised by the Living Faith Church Worldwide. It is often a life transforming events with real live testimonies of God’s faithfulness and encounter with God through His word. My encounters since 1999 when i began attending are too numerous to share here. I hope to do that someday. But please be my guest for the 2021 edition titled ” More than a Conqueror” It starts on the 7th December 2021 and can be watched online. Check their website for details. https://faithtabernacle.org.ng/

There are other series of worship and musical concerts that keep me busy at Christmas. With technology, you have access to nearly all of these activities online. I am particularly excited by “The Experience”; an annual night of all worship through songs and special ministrations. “The Experience” features international gospel Artistes including Travis Greene, Maverick Choir, Sinach and many others. #TheExperience2021. #TE16G · #TheExperience2021

Beyond the festivities and celebration, December is also that time of the year when i prepare my Personal Development Plan. Read. https://glitter-s.com/2020/11/16/year-2020-in-perspective-a-review-of-my-personal-development-plan-pdp/ And this year, i have decided to share a part of my 2022 PDP with you again.

One of my desires every year is to complete the study of the Bible and indeed it is one PDP that I have always scored a 100%. This is because I usually draw out a schedule by the end of the year. I breakdown the bible into daily reading portions using different strategies as helped by the Holy Spirit. However, for year 2022, I trust God to help me do something different; I would be doing a chronological study of the bible and intend to do the New Testament twice and the Old Testament once.

I will be glad to have you do this with me. There are 1189 chapters in the bible. If you are doing the bible in one year, you would read less than 4 chapters a day. I believe God for grace that together with you, by December, 2022 we shall review our experiences together.

Now the best way to study the bible is not just by reading through like a novel. You can try the following:

  1. Create a time daily for study and meditation and stick to it. (the early hours of the day work well for me)
  2. Pray before you begin reading. Ask God to open your eyes and your heart of understanding by the help of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Always have a jotter and a pen when studying.
  4. Underline the striking points and note them in your jotter as you are inspired.
  5. Identify instructions and commandments that you must adhered to as shown to you in your study.
  6. Identify examples and learn from both good and bad deeds.
  7. Identify God’s promises, covenant and terms in your daily study.
  8. Examine yourself to see that you fulfill relevant instructions and terms of the covenants.
  9. Take a decision on required steps daily.
  10. Meditate all day on the key scripture. Note that you do not need to memorize scriptures as you meditate daily it just sticks.
  11. Don’t stop even if you miss out on any day. Make up for it the following day.

So guys let’s go study and make our 2022 an amazing time of fellowship with God. See you by His grace by December 2022 in Jesus name, Amen.

Adenike Babajamu (December 2021)

GO HOME AND LOVE YOUR FAMILY

I had been sitting in the café for over one hour just sipping my tea and eavesdropping on a conversation between my friend’s husband, David (not his real name) and two other men who apparently were his friends. Their conversation was centered on how much their families; wives and children meant to them. I listened in amazement as David painted the picture of a shared love in his home. He expressed his affection for his wife, Grace and the sacrifices he would be willing to make for her and the children and all sweet blah blah blah…

The conversation was very strange because my friend, Grace (not her real name)  had confided in me about how unhappy she was in her marriage. I had at several times counselled her on patience and the need to give her husband time.

What were her complaints? “David does not love me” she says frequently and each time I asked her how she knew this, she goes; “He hardly talks to me, does not remember my birthdays and when he does, there are no gifts, no anniversary presents, no valentine gifts, nothing special that I can point to as a gift from my husband. And then he does not appreciate anything I do, fails to help in the house and hardly notices nor care when my health is challenged. He hardly observe changes in my appearance even when I had my face made up and fingernails fixed, he barely noticed”. The list was endless and my conclusion always; my friend was a very unhappy wife. So you can imagine my amazement to hear her husband declare his love for his wife publicly. How ironic?

The story of Grace is not peculiar, it is actually that of many married women here in Nigeria. From an informal  survey among working class married women, some of which are my friends and colleagues, I gathered that most women feel unloved and are just enduring what they described as a loveless marriage. Many agreed to have transferred their love to their children and their career. A few of them admitted that they felt loved by their spouses but also added that it could be lot better.

What on earth could be wrong with our men? They spend years or months of efforts, waiting and impressing a lady only to bring her home, get her to change her name, mother their children  and simply forget about her. It is true that many of them claim they love their wives and even boast about how resourceful, beautiful and supportive she is. They could sing about it to all who cares to know but not to the only one person that needs to know.

I once asked a male colleague why in his opinion would a woman feel unloved by her husband and he responded with another question; “what exactly do women want?” This response simplified the whole essence of a loveless marriage to mean that either wives are asking for too much or husbands are ignorant of the needs of their wives.

 So what do women or specifically wives want as proofs of love from their husbands? In very simple words, the answer is love, love and more love.

Love has expressions and no man can pretend not to know. This is because the expressions of love was what secured the wife in the first place. But how ironic, that suddenly after marriage, dear husband (former lover boy) is now confused and does not know what to do. The wooing of a woman is a lifelong Ministry that no man should retire from.

 In a quest for proofs of love I consulted the bible and google (I actually asked google for proofs of love) and trust me, the list is endless.  So if I miss out any, kindly send your contributions.

Dear Husbands, in the words of Mother Theresa “go home and love your family” and your family starts with your wife.

  1. Tell her you love her daily. Mean it and look into her eyes when you say it
  2. Spend quality time with her. Stop running from home only to return at midnight when everyone has gone to bed.
  3. Take her out on dates as you used to do. All these other dates that you keep outside will wear you out.
  4. Hug, be tender to her even as you go through the day. Stop being the lion of the tribe of your home. Calm down.
  5. Biblically, God love and gave His Son, a major proof of love is giving. Dear husband when was the last time you gave anything to your wife? How often do you give? All these no birthday present, no anniversary gift, no valentine gift, even mother’s day gift must change. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
  6. Be patient and kind.
  7. Be protective. Are you protective of your wife? When she has crisis or  challenges who does she call first? If it is not you, then it simply means you have failed in love.
  8. Show your partner that you desire her
  9. Trust her and stop sniffing
  10. Do something spontaneous with your partner (Join her in the bathroom)
  11. Pay special compliments. Tell her how good she looks after a hairdo.
  12. Be the first to notice a change in her whether positive or negative.
  13. Stop calling her “Mama Bose” . Haba! what would you call her mum
  14. Put her in first place (after God).
  15. Surprise her with little things. Come home with surprises.
  16. Show concerns on bad days (in sickness, work pressure)
  17. Take a walk together. Workout together where possible. Stop all these “be going, I will catch up with you”. Are you ashamed of your wife?
  18. Pray together.
  19. Visit family and friends together.
  20. Take a vacation together. It could be to the village.

These are just a few of the long lists of expressions of love that can restore a lasting peace into marriages. I encourage every husbands to review and make them a lifestyle. Trust me, it will be a seed that will bring a profitable harvest to the family as a whole. So Dear Husband, please go home and love your wife. It has a ripple effect that  will ultimately change the world. So let me end again with the quote of Mother Teresa “IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD, GO HOME AND LOVE YOUR FAMILY.” That’s where the world begins

Send your comments to denikyjay@gmail.com

You are absolutely responsible for your choices

Our Choices in life are personal and everyone is absolutely responsible for the outcome of his/her life.

My mother who is 81 called me on my mobile phone on October 1, 2021 to inform me that she had just taken the second Jab of her Covid 19 Vaccine and that she was fine.  This may seem like a normal occurrence but to me it isn’t and there is a story behind it.

When the first batch of vaccines came to Nigeria, my mum was the first member of the family who showed interest. She consulted the children and we all discouraged her. In fact I led the team that opposed vehemently wondering why an eighty year old woman should be afraid of Covid 19 in Africa where the average mortality age is about fifty. And so she didn’t go for the vaccine. So when the second batch came, without any consultation she went ahead for both doses and only called to notify me and her other children.  She took the decision and was ready for the consequences of her action. This is very significant to me. What is the lesson? She showed to me again that in life, major decisions (nearly all) are personal responsibilities particularly as adults.

Yes, there might be inputs informs of suggestions, shared experiences, counsel, advice or even threats, the final decision is often a personal one. You are absolutely responsible for the decisions you take and the outcomes. Let no one therefore pass the blame of the consequences of a decision on a third party.

We have at several times handed over key decisions of our lives to people who have no business deciding for us and the consequences are always very grievous. Imagine being directed in traffic by a novice who keeps waving his hands asking you to reverse your car and that the road was clear. The moment you hit the wall or there is an accident, he  disappears. You cannot blame him for the accident.

It is time to examine our choices and ascertain if they were genuinely ours or those of  friends, family members, leaders or even mentors. While it is true that we need all of these people in our lives to counsel, guide or advise, life’s choices are our personal responsibility.

This important subject of personal responsibility must be taught early to our children. It begins with the choice of friends, books to read, programs to watch, site to visit on the internet and many others. As parents all we can do is point them to possible outcomes of a choice, the final decision is the child’s. It’s a case of forcing a horse to the river but not being able to force it to drink water.

Time to wise up and stop leaving major decisions of your life to those who have no business in it.

Ooh Yinka! Our hearts bleed.

Life does play tricks on us and often catch us off-guard. It is funny how we just have faith and believe that some things cannot happen even when it is so glaring that it was inevitable. This was exactly what happened to me yesterday 22nd August, 2021.

“Yinka Anifowoshe (Azuka) is dead?”

This is a statement I will have to come to terms with. Sharp, piercing, rude. “No he cannot die”, I screamed at the voice on the phone and hung up.

I resumed what I was doing and made my mind blank. I only just saw him about three hours back in the hospital. He was unconscious but still blinked his eyes a few times. I encouraged his wife and assured her (like I was God) that Yinka will rise again and she must not despair.

How right I was. Yes, Yinka will rise again but only at the resurrection. Now I am too stunned to look at that woman. Did God fail? NO, He never fails. But so many things we do not understand now, the bible says we will understand by and by

The voice on the phone had asked me to check people’s status but I refused hoping it was a lie. When I couldn’t bear it any longer I summoned courage and picked up my phone and there it was. His pictures were on many of my contact’s status. I made a call to my pastor who was his friend and who was supposed to have accompanied me earlier to see him and he confirmed the news. His words still echoes in my ears “Yinka is dead, I am looking at him right now in the mortuary as he lay”.

No! I screamed. I didn’t cry,  I just began to shake uncontrollably. At that moment I did so many things that I don’t want to bore you with. Yinka’s death simply hit me like a sledge hammer. Only a few days back he sent his promotion letter to me and we were both excited as we praised God for the promotion. In his words he said:

 “thanks so much for the love and support Ma….. We will continue to make you proud Ma”

Ooh Yinka! OOH Yinka! Is all I have been saying since it happened. I unconsciously asked God in my heart why? And His response has being a subtle “why not? Who can question God. Can the clay ask the potter why it is made a vase and not a pot?

Yinka my cheerleader, my subtle support system. Yes, he was a junior colleague who showed great respect for me but he was quite close to my heart. Often times while we still worked together he would sit with me in my office with words of encouragement and assurance that endeared me to him. He believed in me as much I believed in him. Even though we barely meet physically, he never misses to send  monthly prayers to me at the beginning of each month. And each Christmas, Yinka would show up with a chicken or some yams and packs of juice  in my house. This he did even years after we no longer worked together. He was such a thoughtful and considerate man.

Ooh Yinka is gone, his sun has set and his time here is over. He touched lives, raised a family and lived well. Going by what happened in this last week he was loved by many and I know that even in death his life will continue to speak by the legacies (his wife and lovely children and family) that he left behind.

Adieu Yinka, Adieu to an amazing young man, My cheerleader, my friend and my brother. Rest on at the bosom of the Lord, where there are no more pains and sorrow. Even though it hurts now and our hearts bleed for you, we are assured that we will understand it better bye and bye.

bleeding heart clipart PNG image with transparent background | TOPpng

P.S: And yes did I and every one that loved Yinka sleep last night? Maybe very late but even with the pain we all slept and probably feel a little better this morning. I have cried a little, like many this morning too and even last night was only able to sleep after taking a pill. In spite of all of these I ate dinner like some of us also did. We weep, we mourn, maybe for the immediate family it will be much longer to overcome but eventually, all we will have left are his sweet memories. Let us therefore live life well, redeem our time, value relationships, be good to others and prepare daily for eternity. It is well.

YOU CAN CHANGE YOU

Real growth is when you start checking and correcting yourself instead of blaming others, you take your power back by being responsible for your life. – Anonymous

I grew up in a society where everyone else is to be blamed for the errors of other people. I was not exempted from this abnormal behaviour. Not until I began to mature did I realise that I am mostly responsible for the outcome of my life and no one else.

Mothers did not help in this blame game either. I remember sometime ago, I watched a toddler who was just learning to walk run to his mother. He hit his foot against a stone, fell and began to cry. I watched amusingly as the mother picked up a stick to hit the stone as if it were the cause of the fall. The toddler was appeased and stopped crying. In this simple illustration, the mother failed to point out to that little toddler that he fell firstly because he was not careful enough and that it was also expected to fall once in a while until he is fully able to walk well. She chose rather to blame the “poor” little stone.

When a student fails an examination the teacher is often blamed for his failure. Often times the only one at fault in matrimonial challenges is the other spouse. In my country where so many things are wrong the only person to blame is the government whose name may be Mr President, My Governor, Mrs. Senator or one semi-illiterate who was carelessly elected into the House of Representative or became a local government councillor. We often forget that all these people were helped into power by the “saints” of the same society.

It is obvious that nothing changes until you begin to accept the responsibility of changing yourself. No one has the power to change any other person. You may try but changes only happened because the other party agreed to change. So to have good governance, you must change the way you vote.

Today most marriages fail because of the illusion that the other party will change once the marriage is consummated and so when the expected refuses to happen, things fall apart. So to enjoy marital bliss, stop pointing accusing fingers at your spouse. Change yourself and watch him or her change.

The summary of this write up is change begins with you. You can change yourself, change the things you don’t want, change the places you go to, change the friends you have, change your habit and cultivate positive habits, change the way you vote, change the things you say, change your life style, change your response to situations. But by no means must you imagine that you have the capacity to change others.

Agreed, it is possible to have people change in response to your action or inaction. Both are always variables that when properly used can ignite a positive social change in the community, family or other forms of relationships. However, the responsibility of change still rest on the individual. It is therefore important for you to Identify areas where you want to see change and make conscious efforts to.

What you don’t want, you do not watch. Rather you take steps to alter the course you do not want or variables that are within your own capacity to change. For example you cannot change your haters but you can change the way you respond to them. A few areas to start may include:

  • Wake up early
  • Have a vision. Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Vision propels you.
  • Plan your time
  • Read, study, meditate
  • Fellowship with people of the same faith
  • Be kind and not judgmental
  • Maintain a diet, cut down junk foods. Eat healthy
  • Be productive. By all means work. Engage your mind and your hands
  • Pray
  • Exercise. Workout,
  • Be contented
  • Be deliberate in your choices
  • Laugh some more
  • Relax some more
  • Live your size per time
  • Invest in yourself
  • Save for raining days
  • Give back to others
  • Be true to yourself, speak out when you are hurt
  • Celebrate small wins,  allow yourself to be happy
  • Avoid too much negative news. Do not kill yourself over what you cannot change
  • Cultivate positive relationships among friends and family.
  • Explore new places. Go on vacation from time to time. Go see the world.

Deciding for Covid-19 vaccine…

Ever since Covid 19, many have lived in the fear of contacting the virus and probably loosing a loved one to it. Holding on to Faith in the saving grace of Christ,  I had grown far above the Covid 19 scare. 

However with the introduction  of the COVID 19 vaccine, came many theories of conspiracy some of which are not only very disturbing but seems so unreal. Then with the vaccine and the many theories of conspiracy came a fear that was more scary than the virus. I actually began to think that taking the vaccine was a sin.

Today, many have gone ahead to take the vaccine in my country Nigeria but are too ashamed to admit it because of the conspiracy and religious bias. I encourage anyone in doubt to consult the Holy Spirit and take a decision. 

I initially told myself I didn’t need the vaccine and I prayed God to help me take a right decision on it. And this is what God did. He led me through Matthew 3:15 . “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” So I agreed that I do not need the vaccine but to fulfill all righteousness and convinced in my Spirit I went ahead. And so for the record purpose, I took my first jab of the vaccine yesterday.

And guess what? I don’t feel like a sinner. I am more assured of my redemption and convinced that it had nothing to do with my salvation.

P.S:  My safety is not and can never be because of the vaccine, I am saved by grace through faith. “For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God;” Ephesians‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭AMP. This alone is my boast.‬

Adenike Babajamu (June 2021)

Silence is golden…

Have you ever come across people who think they have answers to all questions? They act as if they know everything and always had a comment about every subject of discussion. Some of them practically complete all your sentences for you. They often take over the conversation and make others look stupid. I have come across several of such people and let me guess….. you are probably one of them.

Now you want to know if this is a character problem. Not necessarily. In most cases people who have this habit are not dull people. Some of them are actually smart people who just don’t know when to shut their mouth and remain silent. Knowing when to talk and when to remain silent is what distinguishes a wise man from a foolish one.

While it has been confirmed that talk is cheap, I read from scripture that “even a fool, when he holdeth his peace is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding” (Prov 17:29). The Amplified version says “Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent: with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent”…  Hmmm! This is interesting. It simply means Knowing what to say and how to say it are as important as knowing when to say what you know. Put simply, there is a time when silence is golden.

Best Quotes on Silence ~ Best Quotes and Sayings

Let me share a practical example. I was at a management meeting sometimes ago where various Heads of Units were represented. The subject matter was a very sensitive one that was eventually resolved after several deliberations. In closing the Chairman (just for formality sake) asked if there was any other comment. Surprisingly, one of the management staff who I have always respected stood up and made the greatest mistake of his career by his comments. Today, when I remember this incident, I wish he had shut his mouth.

In this Sorosoke (Speak up) generation, talk has become so discounted and has landed many in trouble. People who have no idea of a subject matter go publicly to make statements only to return a few days later with an apology. Many lack the depth of knowledge on a subject matter and yet they discussed it with impunity. Wisdom indeed is profitable for direction so I admonish us to go for knowledge and above knowledge pursue wisdom passionately. It is only by divine wisdom that a man’s words become golden.

I always advise people to  “be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]” (James 1:19 APV).  Read https://glitter-s.com/2020/09/15/be-calm-please-listen/ Where you are boxed into a corner and you must respond there is nothing wrong with saying things like;  I will get back to you on this matter or can you give me some time to investigate this?

It is also always advisable to invest time in reading. However no one has a monopoly of knowledge. You can know a little of many things but cannot be an expert on all things. It is therefore important to speak with authority only on things you know about and when it is appropriate.

Keeping quiet until you get all facts about a matter does not make you a mumu (foolish man). Sometimes it is simply wise to say nothing. Learn when to speak and that rightly. Silence indeed can be golden but only to the wise.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: NO ONE HAS A MONOPOLY

Image Credit: IStock

It was 9.pm and I was just checked-in  to my hotel room for the night. I sorted out my clothes and hung them in the wardrobe. I was going to spend a few days in the town. Tired and completely exhausted from my journey, I crashed on the sofa in the middle of the room. I must have slept off probably for about 30 minutes when suddenly I was startled by a sting on my stomach. I jolted  now fully awake and my first thought was a scorpion bite. As I struggled to unwind my jeans zip, I felt another sting now on my waist, I hurriedly pulled down my trouser and then I saw the object as it fell off to the tiled floor. It was a black medium sized cockroach.

This was strange to me, I didn’t know that cockroaches bite. You probably didn’t  know too. But believe me, cockroaches like all roaches bite, I was a victim. Strange as I felt, I refused to accept my friend’s interpretation of witchcraft. The cockroach probably fell into my body while I was arranging the wardrobe and was trapped in between my blouse and my jeans trouser. It had to bite in its bid for escape because there seemed to be no way out of the trap. This is the story of most domestic violence where the man is the victim.

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Domestic violence which often occurs between people who are or have been in a close relationship can take many forms of abuses, including emotional, sexual, physical or stalking. Abusive relationships always involved an imbalance of power and control. An abuser uses intimidating, hurtful words and behaviours to control his or her partner. When this is done repeatedly the abused loses self-esteem, withdraws from society and in many cases develop a mental disorder that may be catastrophic.

It is not uncommon for a married woman to be assaulted by her husband. Statistics has shown that women are vulnerable and are more victims of domestic abuse than men. This seems to date as far back as creation where I try to imagine in my little mind what Adam must have done to Eve after she ate the apple and they were thrown out of the garden. He probably dragged her on the ground angrily and railed  abuses on her as they exited the garden. Domestic violence against women in particular often occurs when the abuser believes that abuse is an entitlement, acceptable, justified, or unlikely to be reported. Sadly so.

Today the table is turning and women have in more recent times shown that no one has a monopoly of violence. Like the black cockroach, the woman is no longer contented to remain trapped in between the folds. That men are victims of domestic abuse therefore is also no longer news. However, men are often reluctant to report abuse because they feel embarrassed, fear they won’t be believed, or are scared that their partner will take revenge. So most violence against men except for extreme cases go unreported.

Why and how can a woman who is often described as the “weaker sex”, vulnerable, susceptible and defenceless successfully attack a man? Did the man just sit and watch her kill or assault him? What weapons are available for the woman and how easy was it for her to use it against him?

A review of domestic violence cases reflects that it is an outcome of a buildup, a combination of multiple assaults that climaxed into real violence that may or may not result into death. Often times the woman is like that black cockroach, trapped  and pushed to the point of reaction. Or like the goat that suddenly attacks the dog that pushed it against the wall. There are many stories that often leave us wondering why?

There is the story of Udeme Otike-odibe (a lawyer) who allegedly killed her husband in 2018, Damilola Ayeni in 2018, and Maryam Sanda who also allegedly killed her husband in 2020. All of these and many more are real life stories that are in recent past and happen in our society (Nigeria) where we have had very few reports on domestic violence against men.

  • Why are women now taking up arms and fighting back?
  • What are the options to reduce this growing spate of violence?
  • Why must one remain in an abusive relationship?
  • Is the culture fuelling abuses in marriages?
  • What is the role of religion in abused relationship?
  • Is separation the only solution to abusive relationship?

The answers to the above questions are not far fetched and as we cast our mind on the subject of domestic violence, we would all agree that no one has a monopoly of violence in a relationship. The once-upon-a-time docile partner can turnaround to be the violent one. Similarly the abusive partner may end up being the victim of his/her previous’ “victim”.

It’s no use remaining in an abusive relationship only to end up a murderer. While the sanctity of marriage must be kept and maintained in line with biblical and cultural injunction, partners in abusive relationship must not continue to endue hoping things will change. Steps must be taken to resolve amicably. Seek counsel if you must, maintain contact with and seek support from family and friends. By all means do not remain in an abusive relationship and do nothing. Either way, you may react when pushed over and the consequences may be disastrous.

*Send your comments to denikyjay@gmail.com

LITTLE THINGS THAT MATTER

Have you ever bitten your tongue while eating? I have, several times and I can tell you the pain is excruciating. It resounds in your brain and immediately it happens the food in your mouth loses taste. Such a tiny act on a little member of the body yet so painful that it momentarily stops you in your stride. This make me wonder why so little things matter yet we hardly pay attention to them.

A few days ago, I decided to pay a visit to a distant colleague who I had not seen for a while. It was an effort locating her house but eventually I did. As soon as she saw me, her face literarily lighted up. “So you came” she said smiling. She had been sick yet no one in the office knew nor visited. I will never forget the joy that twinkled on her face just by that visit. The next day, she was at work still wearing the smile.

Our world has become so complex that we have completely forgotten the little things that matter. In our quest to accomplish our dreams, we often forget that life is made up of little things. We build up great houses, fill them with gadgets and other luxury but never really enjoy the small pleasures of life.  Often we look forward to the weekend and actually forget to enjoy the week.

While we continue to pursue the tornado, we miss the gentle breeze that was meant to sustain and ease our lives. It is important to consciously pay attention to those little things that matter and let’s see how we can improve our lives by simply taking steps. The list is endless, you can make up your own list and take practical steps to making them a lifestyle.

  • Smile some more: How often do you smile? Imagine walking on the street and someone smiles at you, your most likely response is to smile back.
  • Visit: Take time to check out people particularly those who least expect it. The aged are usually very lonely. Make a list of the aged and sick people around you and schedule visits.
  • Phone calls: Check out some of your contacts and give them a call
  • Give: often we think of giving expensive things that we never get around to buy because of paucity of funds. Give little things.
  • Say thank you: don’t just appreciate things or people in your heart, say thank you. Even when you think it is your right. The husband must always say thank you when your wife serves your meal. Parents say thank you to your little girl that just offered you a glass of water.
  • Walkout: You need to pack that car and walkout. I chose a routine and I can assure you the feeling after a walkout is amazing. You can choose a convenient time and start little by little. You can walk out with family and friends.
  • Give yourself a treat: Life is not that hard. Take yourself out once in a while alone or with family. Trust me it doesn’t have to be expensive; roasted plantain and groundnut tastes just as sweet.
  • Sing in the bathroom: don’t just rush in and out of the bathroom. Take your time. Sing and say nice things to yourself.
  • Meditate on the word of God: Think and meditate on God’s promises. If He did it for one person, He can do it for you. Appropriate it in your life.
  • Dream nice dreams: Dreaming is cheap. Stop all these crazy negative thoughts that may never happen anyway. Fill your hearts with beautiful dreams.
  • Laugh out loud and enjoy the feeling
  • Forgive easily and make excuses for people: Stop harbouring offences. It is called “double jeopardy”.  Live a free life.
  • Random acts of kindness: Consciously set time out to be kind to people. Go to orphanage, help your neighbour.
  • Family time: Pray together, watch movies together, play games together, sing together, walk and run around the house with your family. Stop running from home because when every other person rejects you, home is where you find solace.
  • Forget the past, forgive yourself, pick the lessons and move on with your life.

Our daily routine is filled with a lineup of these little things from when we get out of bed till night time. Make every day count. When we are able to fix these little things then the big ones will begin to fall into place. Robert Brault said “enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things”.

Notice the little things around you daily. identify the small things that give you happiness, even if it is just for a few minutes. If something makes your heart smile, note it and make sure you include it as part of your lifestyle.

What are the little things that matter to you that you would like to share? Please feel free to share denikyjay@gmail.com

ADDICTION IS WARFARE: HOW TO WIN

Addiction: Definition, symptoms, withdrawal, and treatment
Image Credit: Medical News Today

As a fresh graduate from the University, I was posted to Edo state (former Bendel State) in Nigeria for the mandatory National Youth Service for all university graduates in Nigeria. I had a house mate that smoked cigarettes. Her name was Ayisha (not her real name). I used to admire the way she held the stick and dropped the ash in the beautiful ash tray on a table in her room. She smoked a brand called St Morris (I’m not so sure of the name now), but it was tiny and long and very sleek. I was fascinated by the sight of the stick between her beautiful manicured fingers and often imagined that the taste of the cigarette must be sweet and heavenly as I watched her closed her eyes in what I assumed was a sweet heavenly experience. occasionally she would rub her head as she stylistically released the smoke through her mouth or sometimes from her nostrils.

Ayisha and i spent a lot of time together. She was very intelligent and I loved listening to her. Unconsciously I began to long and yearn secretly for a smoke of cigarette. I was not bold enough to ask her for one probably because I was that timid, naive and unexposed little girl from the University. However, I decided to buy a pack of the same brand and I kept it hidden in my closet. For days I just admired it, not confident to try. I would bring out a stick and just hold it in between my fingers. At times, I would put it in my mouth and pretended to smoke. Well, It wasn’t long afterwards that I was bold enough to try one.

So on this dark and lonely night (terrible things always happen at night), I locked myself in the room and tried it. I had ensured the door was locked and it was night time anyway. After a few attempts, i successfully lighted the cigarette and had my first puff at it.

It was tasteless, dry, and I choked. I coughed and coughed and soon realised the only beauty in it was just my imagination. My expectation went immediately from 100% to zero. My tongue burned and went numb. Food became tasteless thereafter. I told myself “ this thing does not only destroy, it’s tasteless and was not worth my expectation. I was disappointed. I love sweet things and I concluded I could never be a smoker.

In spite of my experience, I still watched and admired Ayisha smoke her St. Morris. I was awed by the artistic picture created by the sight of her lovely fingers around the stick and how she neatly shook the ash into the gold plated ash tray. One day I summoned courage and asked her why she smoked so much and what exactly did she enjoy about it.

I was shocked by her reply. “ this “ she said pointing at the cigarettes pack in her hand “is my albatross”. “ It’s killing me but I cannot stop it” She went into a long story of how she picked up the habit while in secondary school just to belong to her friend’s social class and how she had become addicted. She desired to stop it but she had not been able to. Listening to her, humbled me. Here was I full of envy, while she was actually struggling with an addiction that she hated. Well in my heart, I thanked God that I liked sweet things.

“Do you know you can stop it, if your desire is strong enough?” I asked her. I explained that I have had terrible habits that I battled with too and the truth is everyone have or had habits that must be dealt with at one time or the other. However with all habits and addictions, there are always solutions. Never ever settle with the voice that calls your addiction an albatross. You don’t have to die with it. It can be stopped

Freedom from Addiction • Sean Redmond • Transformational Coach
Image Credit: Sean Redmond

Addictions may not have to be a vice like smoking, sex, masturbation, or even drugs. It could simply be an insatiable desire for chocolates, ( I suffered here), Soft drinks, burgers, fries. Addiction is a psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity, or substance, even though it is causing psychological and physical harm. In other words, any thing done in excess and that seemed to have control over a person wether positive or negative can become an addiction and must be dealt with furiously. Some addictions also involve an inability to stop partaking in activities, such as gambling, eating, or working. In these circumstances, a person has a behavioural addiction At times we call it habit and then gradually it grows into an addiction. The line between habits and addictions is so thin that I would prefer both are treated the same way. Some addictions may have spiritual undertone and must be handled as such. However, there are basic things that we must know in dealing with addiction.

All habits and addictions can be stopped. The first step in dealing with the situation is to know and understand that all habits and addictions can be stopped. Do not agree with the lie of the devil that you cannot stop a particular addiction. Sometimes, you may need extra help medically or spiritually but be assured that, that habit or addiction was not meant to kill you.

Engage your mind: I love the Bible scripture that says “But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.” Philemon 1:14 KJV. God gave to every man a mind and He would not force us to do anything. Your mind is strong to help you take a stand on that habit. It must start as a decision. The problem is often time we struggle with an addiction and hoped a miracle would just make it disappear. It has to start from your mind.

Take a decision: Decide you want to stop and mean it. Be intentional about your decision. Be definite and decisive. Deal with it as an opposition that was sent to destroy you. Be violent if you must. By all means hate your addiction so much that it will get so scared and part ways with you. Don’t play around liquor if you have a drinking problem.

Take Definite Steps. Having taken a decision, you must draw out an escape plan for yourself. Remember my experiment, I went to the shop, bought the cigarettes, locked my door, lighted and inhaled. You have to start by reversing the order in which you started the habit. It might not be as straight forward but it always follow the same patten. For some its little by little. Do not worry if you fail the first time. Just ensure you never give up trying. You can fall or fail several times but be determined to quit. Even the righteous fall seven times and yet God keeps helping him to rise again.

20 of the Absolute Best Addiction Recovery Quotes of All Time
Image Credit: Ocean Recovery

Stop going to the place of your order. If you are struggling with alcohol for instance, you have to stop going to the bar. Stop going to places where your addictions are fed. I remember the story of one of my colleague who was addicted to cigarette smoking years ago. He had traveled to a place where cigarette was not allowed so he smoked in his room. When he ran out of stock and needed to buy, he discovered there was no shop in the community where he could get. In his words, (he said) he trekked several miles without coming across a cigarette store. He returned to the apartment weak, tired and wasted. That day, he took a decision and vowed never to smoke again. That marked the end of that addiction.

Change your company: If your friends are the influence, then change company. Friendship is a choice. You cannot remain in the company of addicts and expect to be free from the addiction. A man’s life is affected by the books he read and the friends and company he keeps. Stay away from friends that help feed your addiction.

Search and discover new interests like exercising, sports. Feed your appetites with healthy things and positive thoughts. For example you can replace alcohol with water mixed with some lemon, spend time at the gym, join a unit in your local church give yourself to community service, learn a skill or go back to school. Pursue a vision with the same zeal with which you fed your addiction.

Love and forgive yourself. Loving yourself is a big key in removing the chains of addiction. Grow to love yourself by constantly communicating with yourself. Feed yourself with positive thoughts, No one can complete you. Take control of your body and your mind. Refuse to give in to condemnation, depression or suicidal thoughts. You are in charge; you have finally unlocked the chains. You are free.

Seek medical help. there are some addictions that have done some physical damage to the health of their victims that may require medication. Don’t be ashamed to request for medical help if required. You may need to see a therapist, or join a relationship support group. This will help deal with the challenges associated with withdrawal. But note that medical help can not replace the other options listed above. It only come as a support. Your decision is your first way to recovery.

Get Spiritual Help. I have a very clear understanding that a man is a spirit being. He has a body, and a soul. In other word a man is a spirit that lives in a body and has a soul. your soul is your mind. It gets educated by the books you read, schools you go, the places you visit. Your soul helps you take some rational decisions. Your body is just a house that keeps your soul and spirit. Your body is what is first damaged by your addiction and may be destroyed if the addiction continues. When that happens, the body dies, the soul is destroyed and the man’s spirit returns to God. So to remain here on earth, you must take care of the body that houses the real you.

Find Your Freedom From Addiction – Crossroads of Lake County
Image Credit: Crossroads Health

Spiritual help is the fastest way to get free from any form of addiction. However like the medical solution, it also requires you to take a firm decision to be free. Without a decision, even God cannot help you. So after your decision, you have to return to God in your helpless state by surrendering your life to Him. I present the steps below as a way of escape.

  • Recognise your helplessness and inability to free yourself. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past” (Rom 3:23-25NLT) 
  • Accept God’s love. “For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. (John 3:16 AMPC)
  • Accept God’s provision for your liberty: The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). (John 10:10)
  •  Surrender in a simple prayer in faith: Pray “Jesus Christ, I am sorry for the things I have done wrong in my life. Thank you for dying on the Cross for me, set me free from all my sins and forgive me today. Please come into my life and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Be with me forever. Thank you Jesus!”

The above is only the beginning of your freedom. Now that you have accepted the Lord and handed over your life to Him you must take steps to grow in Him so that the addiction and every demonic bounds over your life are gone forever. Study the bible on a regular basis, fellowship in a full bible church, spend time praying and if possible fast to subject your body to your full control. Any man who has a capacity to fast can control his appetite. So fasting will help discipline your body.

The same way there are medication to help, there are also unbeatable spiritual tools for anyone who requires and submit to the spiritual solution. They are called the weapons of our warfare. Remember, quitting addiction is a warfare. These weapons are powerful when applied in faith; “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God for the pulling down of strongholds,” (2 Corinthians 10:4). Addiction is a strong hold that must be pulled down. You can use the following weapons ; the name of Jesus, the Blood of Jesus, the Holy Communion, the anointing oil, blood of sprinkling, Angelic help, the Word of God, praise and worship, prayers and many more. The more you study God’s word, the more your faith rises and the more you win.

Finally, be assured that while all addictions are destructive, all can be overcome by you when you trust God and take practical steps to deal with them. Refuse to justify your addictions by denying its existence, rationalising it or comparing with others. Take a firm decision today and kill that addiction before it cut short your life. Remember, even God can do nothing without your mind. Quitting addiction is your responsibility take it, pursue it, take one step after the other, little by little you shall be free and free indeed.

Adenike Babajamu (January 2021)