This post is LONG!!! Was gonna divide it into two but no, I won’t!!! I’m sorry… NOT!!!
So lemme set this up with a story that makes me SMH every time I think back at it
Btw, by lockdown, I really mean, who or WHAT is putting you under INTENSE PRESSURE?
Before you start thinking of anybody else, please look within. Because I truly realised that a lot of times, I was the one who got ME on LOCKDOWN.
Ok, that story!!!
There was a time I was very very unhappy. Sometime around the second half of last year. I was 3months post-partum and it was clear I was not going back to work or even Abuja. I couldn’t believe it. I was constantly upset and comparing my life with a whole lot of persons who I KNEW I was way better than as they progressed in their careers. I mean, I made a First class, believed God for and gotten into my Dream Organization, THE UNITED NATIONS and lived in my land of milk and money The ‘Buj.
All of a sudden, I had a baby and everything changed.
Lemme highlight a particular sister I literally went crazy comparing her life to mine because I VERY ERRONEOUSLY thought we had somewhat the same situation.
Ok so this chick on Instagram, she also had a baby about the time I had mine. A little earlier tho. She had given birth abroad, then came back after about 6weeks and then soon after went back to work and her beautiful career. She didn’t even look like she skipped a beat. Her life and seasons flowed seamlessly into the next. She would take pictures of her either at or on her way to work daily and tell nice short stories around it, and how she manages to combine work with being a mom (hashtag #workingmom). She would take short work related trips and return to a perfect home. When she travelled with her baby, she would share pictures of their trip, she would share pictures too of date nights with her hubby, and so on. Her life, as a wife, mom and career woman just seemed perfectly integrated and every single time I visited her page, I would get a lil more depressed. She was living my dream life. Here I was, stuck at home doing NOTHING beyond changing diapers and pumping breast milk. I just felt really sorry for myself and under INTENSE pressure to jump back into the work world.
Talk about LOCKDOWN!!!
I even feel one kain typing all this out. But tz OK. That Crazy chick is gone!!!
Anyways, I found myself beginning to do things I had absolutely no biz doing. I was CONSTANTLY upset at my husband. I recall when he said I should come to Bonny for a bit. I said LAI LAI!!! I need to start making applications in Lagos biko and be ready for interviews and tests when I was called. Gosh, it took Rev’s intervention and WISE COUNSEL to get me to go. Then I started doing all those GMAT stuff and all. A friend introduced me to COURSERA where she was taking online courses for free from top universities and wham, I quickly registered and started taking courses too.
I just wanted to feel like I too was doing something career-related and I made sure to drop that casually in conversations so that I sound ‘career relevant’ too. I recall how HARD it was fitting those courses into my schedule and just how much of gibberish it was to me then but I FORCED myself to follow through.
I too must be #WorkingMom so lemme keep my brain buzzing.
Plus that Chick on Instagram was also my ‘motivation’ lol. Btw, she is not even a personal friend ooo. It didn’t matter. She had it ALL and I just wanted her life and I believed I could start working for it…
Anyways, one day God literally sat me down and explained somethings to me using the same chick’s life as an example.
Now, that Chick is not only from a filthy rich home, she is also married into a political family.
She could afford the entire works… a Nanny, Cook, Housekeeper, Driver and more. The day I saw a video of their kitchen, I bowed.. Lol
Her and her hubby live under the same roof and then money truly was answering a whole lot of things in their life… Plus they have a SOLID family support system in the same city they lived in.
The situation I was comparing myself to was very unequal… And frankly STUPID!!!
I didn’t have no politician money(YET) and so couldn’t afford all that help…
I lived in a city where I had ZERO support system and so it only made sense to stop work and relocate to Lagos.
What would be the alternative to that?
Why was I comparing?
Why was I under that kinda intense pressure?
Most importantly, what has God said about me? Funny thing is I always felt GOD tell me I had a different path that did not involve the kinda career I so desperately wanted. But nah, I just wanted to dress up AND go somewhere every day.
That for me defined SUCCESS!!!
I mentioned a line in this post which really came from a DEEPLY PERSONAL PLACE
PRESSURE COMES FROM NOT KNOWING WHAT GOD HAS SAID ABOUT YOU!!!
That chick didn’t have me on LOCKDOWN!!! She wasn’t doing anything wrong.
I had ME on LOCKDOWN!!!
She was running on her lane and I ought to have stayed on my lane too, running passionately and not spectating in her own lane.
Phew!!! How foolish I was. Thank God for deliverance.
Sometimes though, we actually KNOW what God has said about us but we confuse His ‘due season’ for our own ‘due dates’, so we put ourselves on DATE LOCKDOWN and then start to panic as that date draws by or even goes by. Something happened to me recently and it drove home the point for me.
So there is something HUGE I am in faith about. Then God told me to write it all down in a stepwise process, and continue to daily thank Him for it as though done. I did, complete with the dates I wanted each step completed. I wasn’t panicking, I wasn’t on lockdown, I just happily Phillipians 419’ed it every day.
Then one morning, I realised that a date had come AND passed for one of the steps and it still hadn’t happened. It was actually about 3days late which wasn’t even my concern.
My concern was that I didn’t even see it happening in the physical soon. Then just as the spirit of LOCKDOWN began to creep in, I heard the Holy Spirit tell me very very VERY gently AND lovingly
Eziaha sweetie, don’t do that. Don’t do that…
And further explained to me that while He indeed wanted me to believe Him that XX is done by YY day, He wants me to STAY BELIEVING even if that day comes and passes because HE can flip the script and make it happen OVERNIGHT!!!
And instantly, I said it out loud to my own hearing that my date might have passed BUT I trust that His timing is perfect and HE is NEVER LATE and so I stay trusting. How He is going to do it, I don’t know but I believe enough to continue to thank Him for it.
2days later, it was done!!!
You see, the spirit of LOCKDOWN, especially by DATES is real!!! Once it overshadows you, you get depressed, you stop your positive confessions and now start talking the kinda nonsense that gets the devil nodding in agreement.
Heavens know how much it affected me as I believed for my hub’s relocation to Lagos. I would always put dates to it, which in itself was not bad, but by the time that date comes and goes, I am soooo sad and depressed that I actually stop praying about it. Now I am wiser. We believe and talk about it A LOT literally every day but as it is tarrying, we stay waiting with FAITH and PATIENCE and don’t give up.
Let’s be very very careful with dates. I have seen Chicks say ‘by September 1, I must be married and in my husband’s house’. Then as September draws near and no man, they get depressed.
Infact, one of my younger friends once told me that ‘Bishop prophesied at Shiloh that some sisters here would be married by June’ and she received it as her Word!!!
She was doing the most ridiculous things to make that happen and I had to really sit her down and tell her that NOT every word that comes out from the pulpit is for you ooo.
It don’t matter how much you ‘name and claim it’, if it ain’t your season, IT AIN’T YOUR SEASON.
So no need to put yourself on LOCKDOWN because of a WORD!!!
The same goes for women believing for the fruit of the womb. I kinda flow with Heather on this. She says when we stop worshipping our ‘problems’ or challenges, typically that is when the testimonies come. Happened to her as she believed God for a child. She literally was OBSESSED about it and trust God to ignore her. When she stopped worshipping the situation and came to a point of COMPLETE TRUST IN GOD, she took in and had her baby. I believe that we should stay believing and as the Lord leads us AND speaks to us. You see that Sarah got her testimony only after the Angels told her ‘by this time next year…’
I believe that his timings are PERFECT and even when we say ‘Oh I believe God that this is the year’, it is OK, even to go ahead and shop and have names for the baby(ies) but we do not sit and keep worshipping those dates but instead we stay WORSHIPPING GOD, trusting Him all da way, irrespective of dates.
Because I have seen women just sink into depression after that their set date goes by. Frankly if you want my honest opinion, I would say, stay trusting God WITHOUT dates to put you on LOCKDOWN (except of course you are VERY SURE HE TOLD YOU) and then I believe that GOD gives us our answers in terms of INSTRUCTIONS some times and then whatever He says to do, just do it.
Our obedience has to be COMPLETE!!! Not just for women in faith for kids and husbands but for anything we are in faith for, (jobs, financial breakthroughs, etc) we need to NOT WORSHIP our own dates instead we WORSHIP GOD!!!
Frankly these days, I am so careful of DATES because I have had my fair share of heart breaks as a result of dates!!!
I believe that the society doesn’t even help us. Once we are 23 and have graduated, the next thing everyone starts talking is marriage. If you are 27 and above, that pressure is REAL!!! Ditto those married. 6months in and every looks at your tummy before they even say HELLO!!! Or you return from NYSC and 1month after, you better have your dream job or the questions and suggestions would start to roll in. God forbid if you even went abroad for Masters and then you don’t get a job with an INTERNATIONAL firm that same week you landed. Ah!!!
Well, my two cents on issues like this that tend to put one on lockdown is not that we start to hide from such society, because I have seen some people hide from them. Hiding for me is not it ooo because there are some people and situations from which we can’t hide.
Something happened to me recently that really pained me. Gosh, I almost entered ‘resentment’ level with the human but as I sat before God and just poured my heart out to Him, He gave me a solution which I would like to suggest.
So this person came at me with questions as to why I hadn’t done X and Y and it was in public and it was like
‘Ah, when are you doing it? Go and do it ooo, Time is going ooo, etc’
and the truth is I KNEW what I was supposed to do but my delay wasn’t because I was slacking. I just didn’t have the money to do it at the moment. I was actually embarrassed and I came home and just poured it all out to my hubby who you know did his best to get me out of that dumps. I also now resolved in my heart to totally avoid anyone or anything that would attempt to embarrass me like that. But as I prayed God told me that I couldn’t avoid that, Sorry!!! Instead what I should do is to have an ANSWER IN ADVANCE for such situations for when it comes up, which I shared on my Facebook Page Eziaha.com
‘No babe, I haven’t done it yet because I am BELIEVING GOD FOR THE MONEY for it, and as soon as I get it, I would go ahead and do it. It would also be a good idea if you pray that God hastens it for me too’
I think I was ashamed to be needy or to admit that I didn’t have the cash yet. But you know, something mama Joyce
(Lisa Bevere calls her mama Joyce and it sounds like music to my ears) said was
‘…we should not be ashamed or afraid to be in need because only then can God even fill us up…’
That just about liberated me.
So if there are certain TEMPORARY ‘gaps’ in our lives, we should not be afraid of it, or run from our current reality but we should elevate the TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD ABOVE IT.
Because the truth is, people MUST ASK. Their questioning would put us in AWKWARD positions and ON LOCKDOWN if we are not careful.
Sometimes they don’t even ask in bad faith, they don’t know/think they are putting you under pressure, they just ask… So instead of becoming resentful or angry or on LOCKDOWN, let’s build up our faith in and with our pre-meditated responses
‘I am not married yet Aunty, but I believe that God will bring my OWN GOOD MAN at the right time and until then, I continue living my life. Feel free to pray for me too…’
‘No I don’t have job yet but I am believing God and applying as I am led…’
‘I have already received my babies ooo, it is just the manifestation that I await and I trust my God to SHOW OFF with me when it happens’
‘Yes, I am still squatting with my friend and I believe that my squatting days are OVER already but until that manifests, I am so thankful to have a roof over my head’
You catch my drift?
Whatever God has told you about that situation, have it READY in answer when any person or situation tries to put you on LOCKDOWN!!!
And I must say the truth, it is so important not to get resentful of persons who come for you. Because I know that LOCKDOWN situations tend to lead to resentment. Sometimes, they just don’t understand why you can’t do this or that because their reality is far removed from yours.
Say yawl in a group are supposed to contribute some money for X or Y. I would use a church situation because I have seen that happen a LOT!!! Say maybe in your unit, they are doing a 10k asoebi for someone’s wedding. You say you no fit and someone is like ‘why now. Just 10k babe’
10k for some people is really nothing but for you, maybe a single mom or in a household where only one person is working, would it be wisdom to go and spend 10k on asoebi? NO!!! Or maybe sef, you have the money BUT you have more pressing needs in your family, say someone is sick and the bills are piling, should you spend 10k on asoebi just to be among?
Even in church, wisdom needs to guide us. So if someone comes for your life, please have a ready answer and don’t even let it stew in your heart. Don’t get repeating it to everyone and their mama what that person did to you EVEN IF NOT TOO LONG AGO, THEY WERE IN YOUR SHOES!!!
We are all running individual faith journeys and are fighting different battles ooo. That someone has ‘broken through’ in an area we can all see don’t mean you ain’t making progress in yours.
So don’t let any one’s breakthrough, actions or words put you on LOCKDOWN!!! Trust God to make such doors open for you too but in the meantime, please harbour no grudges. Sometimes truly, people do NOT get WHY you can’t do something but it doesn’t matter. BE LED BY GOD!!! And remember what mama Joyce said above…
I am reminded of a story I have heard Pk tell a couple of times. While it gets some people laughing, it reminds me of who I used to be and who I can NEVER be again. He said someone came to him and says he talks a lot about sowing in millions and it puts him under pressure!!!
You see, I used to be like that. I used to feel like if a seed was called anywhere and I don’t give, people will look at me somehow so even when GOD didn’t endorse it, I will pledge to give FOR THE WRONG REASONS (Pressure, show off, etc) and then I won’t fulfil that vow.
I believe we should be led by God in our vows and giving too.
Not our emotions.
Not because someone gave a million or 10million.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe in giving, whether personally or corporately. I believe the house of God is the most fertile ground to sow in and frankly I speak this over my son daily that He grows up being a HUGE giver, but I don’t believe we should give under pressure, and the Bible says same…
ERV actually says you should NOT give if you feel FORCED TO GIVE!!!
The MSG? Awesome…
I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm twisting… GOD LOVES IT WHEN A GIVER DELIGHTS IN HIS GIVING!!!
You know what, when I attend a special program, I always prepare a special seed as I am led by GOD. Now I can get there and maybe a special offering different than what I prepared is called for. I make sure there is no compulsion to my giving if I am giving.
That’s wisdom if you ask me!!!
You know sometimes, I watch Hillsong services online and when it is time for offering, the person who comes up always has a line that says something like (in that delightful Aussie accent)
‘Oh, if this is your first time, please don’t feel under any pressure to join us. You can be led by God as you give…’
Again, don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to appeal to your greed and stinginess. You MUST give. We can’t run away from it as Believers. The Early church was birthed on giving sef. But don’t give from a position of LOCKDOWN!!!
I knew PK wasn’t tryna pressure nobody.
PK has shared stories from his BROKE past before and how faith got him to where he is today so instead of lockdown, I believe stories like that should build faith in us that this serving God biz will eventually pay off if we faint not.
If we however allow the devil make us receive it as pressure, GOOD LUCK!!!
Oh, but sometimes, I believe people appropriate their spiritual authority wrongly. One of my mentees came to me for counsel on something one time. Final year student, she happened to have double accommodation, one on campus which comes just because you are in final year, and an off campus one which she spends most of her time in anyways because it offered her privacy. Then her pastor or so says she should accommodate a certain NYSC chick since she has two. She offers to let her stay in the campus one and the guy says NO he wants her in the off campus one.
Ok, for how long?
Please how does that work?
I don’t know this Chick but I offer to help in the way that I know how and you totally want to inconvenience me and indefinitely too?
That’s unfair!!! And straight up power abuse if you ask me, because he was seriously pressuring her. I told her flat out NOT to agree.
When anyone gets an off campus accommodation alone for privacy sake, they KNOW what they are doing and are not trying to inconvenience themselves for anyone else who actually was not even desperate.
Corp members always find their way, even in villages. This was an ancient city with cheap accommodation but NO, because I am YOUR PASTOR, you must accommodate a COMPLETE stranger for possibly an ENTIRE YEAR!!!
God forbid!!! I won’t do it. Sorry!!! Except of course GOD tells me to, in which case God is not a wicked Father.
Of course, she didn’t agree and the Corper LIVED!!!
I think when we find ourselves in positions of authority over some, we should be careful not to put them on LOCKDOWN!!! Think about even our relationship with God. He GENTLY leads us and does NOT force us. I LOVE how Luke 1:74 says …that we may serve God WITHOUT FEAR.
He wants us to serve Him from LOVE rather than compulsion and so I don’t think we should let anyone make us do stuff out of compulsion. Even with my mentees, I really discourage any form of pressure in our relationships. I want you to be free enough to have your own opinions as led by God.
We tend to IDOLISE our Spiritual leaders especially in this part of the world and that for me is because we are too lazy to download from heaven our own WORD!!! So whatever they say, we just blindly follow. I just love it when my Pastors say ‘Oh pray about it and let me know what you think’
I LOVE the freedom that gives. I don’t want to feel COMPELLED to do stuff just because you mentioned. Soon, resentment would enter the matter. I have seen it happen. I KNOW!!!
Me, I know how to stalk people ooo. But I do with wisdom. There are several things I have heard Heather say that I flat out do NOT agree with and not even try to implement in my life. I just KNOW that is for Heather and NOT for me. Ditto Chris Caine!!! I love, respect and honor them but I don’t follow blindly!!! I know which Word to receive and which to ‘jump and pass’ haha
You have to know what God is saying for your own life ooo and do it. All this LOCKDOWN you keep putting yourself under won’t do nobody any good.
Lemme share another story of myself. Lol. One of my besties told me that all these things God lets me pass through are just so that I can have enough resource for a 365 day devotional from my own personal life. I laughed soooo hard. Lol. Valerie!!! She is just PRICELESS!!!
Oh lemme share one before this one I really want to share.
I have two sisters. All BIG GIRLS in every sense of the word. When they drop, they drop BIG!!! Ah!!! I started to feel very pressured to push my hubby to also drop BIG and one day God checked me…
My sisters are all on a different path than mine
Think about it. Both of them entered Uni right after secondary school and scaled through drama free. They finished Uni (in which case I know ‘graduated’ works better but leave it laidat) at like 21 and started working soon after in Corporate Nigeria. They have steadily risen and can afford to DROP BIG without pressure.
I chased Pharmacy for 3 years and then spent 4 years there and got withdrawn. 7 years gone and so at 22/23, I was just starting Uni again.
I am not on the same career path as them so why not DROP as you are LED…
Ah, I repented!!! Now, I give as led ooo when it comes to family matter and I don’t even flinch!!!
I believe we should HONOUR our parents and in-laws in our giving BUT I don’t think we should give just to ‘show off’ or ‘keep up appearances’ so they don’t think we are not doing so well.
Don’t do it, Please!!!
Now the main story I was going to tell…
I recall when I was house hunting. I didn’t realise that all the locations I was choosing were just to make my family happy and then fit into some kind of societal mould. My hubby had a budget but lailai, I had pressured dude to up it even if it meant him doing X or Y aka bank loan!!!
I WORE myself out going to locations God had ZERO hand in and I suffered ooo, my people. I suffered!!! Works of the flesh are EXHAUSTING!!! Not to talk of all the money I wasted. One day in church, I just told God ‘I surrender. WHERE DO YOU WANT US TO LIVE!!! I would go wherever!!! I WAS TIRED!!! Incidentally that day, PK preached on us being submitted to HIS PERFECT WILL!!!
That same week, God led us to the PERFECT home through a friend without stress, the total sum was BELOW our INITIAL budget, the landlord is HEAVENLY and the area super perfect.
For my season, everything here is PERFECT!!!
Ah!!! First thing my people said
‘It is far ooo. We can’t come all the way to visit…’
Some friends too… Ah it is far ooo
To which God would ask me to ask them
FAR FROM WHERE?
Please allow me to laugh because frankly, I have TURNED down visitors just for my convenience… I have vexed when someone has turned up uninvited!!!
Literally EVERYBODY has visited or has asked to visit and I say NO!!! And Valerie told me something at that time when I was still unsure of if I wanted to go so far or nah…
Eziaha, anybody that wants to see you WILL come and see you!!!
In fact, I am so thankful for her. I recall as I ran the whole story by her in my ‘valley of decision’, even though we had paid for it, she waited till the end and said before even seeing the pictures,
Eziaha, if you told me you didn’t pay for that house, I would have told you to go and pay for it QUICKLY!!!
Mehn, we all need friends like that ooo. Friends who can look us in the eye and speak LIFE to us!!! Give us the permission to MAKE RIGHT GOD-LED CHOICES!!!
We should be careful of pressure ooo. I would have been a foolish wife to let my hubby do that!!!
We should be careful as wives not to put our husbands under any kind of pressure just because we want to live an Instagram life. I have seen some people let in-laws or family put them under pressure. They take loans and live fake lives and my heart breaks.
Mehn, life is in seasons ooo.
The right thing in the WRONG SEASON can kill you!!! And if you look closely enough, you would realise that most people in that season you covet were once where you are NOW!!!
So because your sister in law can afford a certain lifestyle, you contort yourself into all sorts of shapes to live that way too so you don’t appear the odd person out at family gatherings…
Because the ‘family hospital’ is XX you too register there and payment is WAR!!! And you know you were NOT led by God to…
Because all your friends have X and Y, you too compromise to get it so that nobody looks down on you…
Honey, you may need to take a break from FAMILY AND FRIENDS and just go and get your heart straight with God.
Frankly, I do that with some people. If I see you are pressuring me too much about X or Y, I cut off for you for a season. Sometimes I let you know, other times I don’t. I love you ooo, but sorry, you need to step back for now while I get myself together.
I heard mama Joyce say that if people don’t understand you just because you can’t keep up with them, especially SOCIALLY, you might actually have to cut them off because they are not real friends!!!
You need to know who your real SQUAD are and stick to them!!!
Don’t live an Instagram life. Don’t live for Snapchat and Facebook. Don’t live for your blog, blog readers and Youtube channel. Don’t live for the ‘likes’ and ‘follows’
DON’T LIVE A CHAMPAGNE LIFE ON A BEER BUDGET
Don’t take a cab if a bus is what you can afford for now…
LIVE FOR AN AUDIENCE OF ONE, God!!! This God is FAITHFUL O!!!
And if it means you have to be unpopular for a season, even embarrassed, count it all joy baby!!! These light afflictions are only for a season and in due season, God will ELEVATE you!!!
You know, Cornelius, Heather’s husband has been preaching this AWESOME series on When God calls you… at their church, The Gathering Oasis. They periscope their services live so I follow sometimes. You can catch playbacks on YouTube.
You need to understand that our walk is deeply personal. Nobody else KNOWS what God has told you so don’t let them put you on LOCKDOWN!!!
Don’t let NOTHING put you on lockdown!!!
I can’t sit here and tell you that I got this whole lockdown matter on lockdown yet (pun intended lol), NO!!!
It is a daily walk with God and anytime I catch myself drifting into lockdown mode, I retreat and do a quick introspection and adjustments.
I am actually a bit brutal about situations and things that get me on lockdown!!! Especially now that I am turning 30. I am too old to be put on lockdown by anyone. I mean if I am constantly tossed by humans and their ever changing approvals or disapprovals, what kinda example would I be setting for my kids? I stopped following that Chick on IG for a while, until I set my heart right. Now I check her out from time to time and I can truly celebrate and love her without pressure.
You know what? I LOVE MY HUSBAND!!! He has to be the most secure man I know!!! One day I recall a question he asked me when I gisted him of a certain situation I thought a friend was getting herself into
‘…Is it SUSTAINABLE???’
So you wanna go live in that place God didn’t lead you to… Can you sustain payment?
You wanna enrol your kid in that school God didn’t endorse… Can you sustain it?
You want to use so and so products or baby food for your baby just so that you can brag about it, good. But is it sustainable!!!
That’s a question I ask myself ooo.
Because if God is leading me by Faith to do XX, He will sustain and bless.
But God is NOT obligated to BLESS or SUSTAIN anything our emotions are leading us to do…
This is a lot I have said and I pray God takes this topic and really customises it to your own situation… Check yourself Darling, and adjust!!!
I am not saying you should not aspire to the next level. I am saying let’s not let LOCKDOWN be the reason why we do the things we do…
Nobody LOCKDOWN don epp ooo
Love. Sister to Sister