When I was 18 years old, I gave my life to Christ. When I was 24 years old I had already been a youth leader, preacher, consolidated and taught modules on Foundations of the faith for new converts, consolidated modules for cell groups, led cell groups and also led our media team. I mention these roles, not as accolades of pride but with great admiration for the leaders who saw something in me that was worth trusting, especially with such sensitive areas of the church.
I was so active in the church that my church leaders – then – forgot that I had not been baptized. As a result, for my 21st birthday, I never had a party, I simply asked to be baptised.
I am 30 years old now, and a lot of life happened in between the 18-year-old me and the man that I am today. Both the good and the bad pulling me towards the person I am today. When I look back I have no regrets.
I’ve written about various topics that affected me, like depression. But for this post, I initially wanted to write about how easy it is for the gifted, talented, busy, willing and available in the church to fall away without no one ever noticing. How easy it is to backslide on Saturday night, and then slide back on Sunday morning without no one ever seeing a change because our gifts keep-on-giving and our willingness to serve is unmatched.
Maybe one day I will write about how my private struggles with personal-purity framed my early faith life and how no one noticed that I was struggling, but most importantly how the environment did not permit broken boys to heal so that they can become whole men. You know, trying to over-spiritualise real issues thinking that the euphoria is the cure, only to realise later that the addictive anaesthesia has not really assisted in healing the wound. It only numbed the pain. But above all, I wanted to write about how the 30-year-old-me uses such experiences to overcome.
On the eve of my 30th birthday, I took this conscious decision; I told myself that from here onwards, I will give myself the permission to live, part of that is being honest with myself. Part of my honesty with self includes being honest with the people around me. It’s really not my problem what they choose to do with that.
For example, Would I have I written this piece two or three years ago? Hell Naw!
I decided to write about how I am learning to love Jesus again. I am learning to love Christians again (If you’re one, just know I didn’t hate you. I’d just taken the decision to pull away from you all for a little while, ’cause you all know how you can get under a person’s skin and be right on their nerves all in two seconds and be spiritual at the same time – I am being honest with you now).
See, I am at a place where I am understanding what it means for a Heavenly God to love a 30-year-old mess, a man of colour with a talented wife and a brilliant kid living in a globally-connected schizophrenic world, that is struggling to find and define itself post-truth.
This is significant for me because for the first time it’s not about how much of Him I can define using Biblical Lexicon and Pentecostal jargon, for me now, it has something to do with me knowing that He sees me for who I am and where I am in terms of my need for Him as a man, not a title, a role or a responsibility.
My relationships with people have taught me that, it’s easy for a person to fall in love with the idea of you. Sometimes the memory of who you were. Whilst some, for what they think they can change you to be, without ever taking the time to see you for you now.
I am at a place where I am understanding that I am crazy, imperfect and I am more than capable of doing dumb things. But I am still enough to live for God – and be loved by Him. Like all Christians, I still struggle with real issues but I no longer have to use my gifts to mask my realities. So I decided to press the restart button and start all over.
Can you relate?