Flying witches by day

Large high heel looming over businesswoman

Dreams do come true, you know. Everybody has a dream or at least once had a dream. The most common of all dreams is the dream to succeed in life. In fact, that is one dream we don’t even need to close our eyes at night to have. You may be sitting in a chair, having a drink with friends or just napping and the dream starts. You will wake up with that euphoric feeling that drives you harder towards success. To really live, you need to have a dream. That dream is hope. That dream is the one we hope will one day come true.

Well, there are other kinds of dreams we don’t even want to remember when we wake up. You know the kind of dream where you see witches flying in the noontime. The kind of witches that don’t wait for the cover of darkness to bare their fangs and ride their supernatural long-broom-fighter-jets to wreck havoc on your life. The kind of dream you scream without a sound and wonder if that is the day you will breathe your last…lol.

If you were given a chance to choose your dreams I know there’s no way you would want to dream of noonday witches. You’d rather not sleep than have such dreams or maybe you’ll prefer to sleep at a shrine that night, never mind that the ridiculous images hanging there should be enough to terrify anybody. Okay, this is the type of dream you’d rather not talk about and the kind you pray will never come true.

Talking about dreams and success, do you ever wonder if you have the capacity to handle success when God grants it to you? I see you shrugging, saying to yourself, ‘Do I need any special skill to handle success? Anybody can handle success now.’ Please not everybody can handle success. In fact, for some people it is better not to even attain success. They sleep better at night and nap well in the daytime without success. In fact, if it were possible to ask God for a reversal of their success and to forgive them for ever nagging Him with their prayers, they would have done so rather than live with the result of their success.

Success requires courage!

After God grants you success you need courage to live with it. Some people work so hard and after they succeed, they stay awake at night afraid that someone will break into the house and take it all away. Some others pray for jobs and after they get the job they become paranoid, thinking someone in their office must be haunting them. Maybe you have been praying for a promotion and from the day you got that promotion, you started seeing shadows walking beside you in the daytime, thinking that your colleagues are jealous enough to send spiritual forces after you. Your prayers are no longer about excelling in your new position, you’re too busy calling the names of the witches you suspect are after you. There’s no way you can accept to sit on the chair of the person you took over from, she must have dropped some kind of spiritual poison on it. In fact, your first task as soon as you take over the office is to get a new chair and get the cleaners to remove all the cobwebs in the office just in case she uses them as spiritual antennae to monitor your progress.

Ladies, we need to get rid of all these superstitious beliefs that we jumble up with our Christianity. The way people get so frightened whenever they hear about witches and wizards is so funny. How can you be afraid of something you are greater than? Worst of all some ‘gospel hustlers’ and MOG are making use of this to take hold of people. Any MOG who truly has the spirit of God in him will tell you that ‘greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.’ Do you know where you rank in spiritual hierarchy? The word of God says that ‘what is man that you have made him just a little lower than Elohim’ and theologians have interpreted that verse to mean that man is just a little lower than God. You can’t be a child of God and still be so terrified of people sending spiritual forces against you. If anything, you should be more worried about someone stabbing you physically in the back. That’s the one you may not be able to control physically. As for the spiritual one, forget it. You are more than a conqueror. You are seated with Christ far above principalities and powers.

So, if you want to be the Femmetotale, forget the witches flying at noontime. That’s the most they can do. As a matter of fact, they should be terrified of you.

Femmetotale

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In the line of fire

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One of my favourite subjects in school was literature. Even before I got to the stage of studying it, I was already filled with anticipation. Imagine doing a subject that was part of my daily routine. I love reading. I would read all the recommended books and even give the summary to my friends that didn’t have the patience to read. It was in one of my literature classes that I first heard the word, onomatopoeia and it really piqued my interest. Like I said in my previous post, English is a very wonderful language. There are some words that have sounds which portray their meanings. Even if you don’t understand the language the sound of the word alone is enough to tell you its meaning. Take for instance, words like; hiss, splash or boom.

critics quoteThere’s one word I believe should be classified as onomatopoeia, the word ‘criticism’ and all variations of it that exist; ‘criticize’, ‘critic, critique, etc. The sound of it alone can really prick anybody. No one likes to be criticized. We all want to get people’s approval and be affirmed in all we do. When we’re criticized our first instinct is to think that nobody likes what we are doing or us. You might even say to yourself, ‘what’s the use trying so hard?’

Unfortunately we can never avoid criticism. I don;’t believe that there’s any great person who ever lived that never faced criticism. If you’re married then your husband must have criticized you at least once. It may be the dress you chose to wear, your cooking or your hair style. At your office, you must have faced criticism a good number of times from your superior or colleague and we women are so emotional that we easily slip into tears after our work is criticized (please if you want to get ahead in your career then you must put a big hold on your emotional side. Nobody takes an over-emotional woman seriously. See my old post on ‘the contemporary christian woman in the work place‘ I would love to say more about this but that’s a post for another day). As a student you are going to face thousands of criticisms from your peers. I think young people are the most criticized (this reminds me of one man that said he’s the most criticized….on earth :)). The fact is that once you set a goal for yourself and dare to stand out from the crowd, you are bound to be in the line of fire. If you can’t stand the heat, you may just have to run out of the kitchen.

Before you run out of the kitchen just because of criticism, here’s what you should know. There are two types of criticism – constructive (good) criticism and malicious (bad) criticism. Constructive criticism is usually laced with a compliment. It is given in such a way that you will be inspired to do better. Malicious criticism is given purely with the intention of pulling you down. The critic doesn’t care about making you do better.

Even the bible has something succinct to say about criticism. Prov. 15:31 & 32 (NLT) says, If you listen to constructive critics quotecriticism, you will be at home among the wise. If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding. In my own manual, I believe that there’s no such thing as bad criticism. Any form of criticism is good because it should spur you to do better either because you were inspired to do better or because of your desire to shame your critics. If life gives you lemons then make lemonades with it or in our Nigerian case, ‘if life gives you beans then you better make akara or moi-moi with it’. Even if you believe the criticism is unjustified, use it and improve on it. It’s easier said than done though. It’s not easy not to get hurt when people say mean things to you. The only way to avoid criticism is to stay away from the limelight and do nothing but if you dare to stand out then you will be in the line of fire.

Femmetotale

The green eyed monster II

green eyed monster

Monster Alert!!!
Don’t read this if you’re afraid of the dark, vampires, blood or scary green-eyed monsters!

Remember my post about the green eyed monster? Well this is the part II. If you missed the first part then you can click here to read it. You will understand this post better if you read the first part. You won’t believe this but it is so true. I saw the green eyed monster today, shooting sparks of hot green lava.

Ok, that was just my pretend-scary-face. I do not watch horror movies or anything about vampires or monsters (romantic movies don finish for market? Even if they do finish I’ll just go ahead and create mine 😉 ). I don’t see why anyone would enjoy watching horror movies biko. What’s fun about watching a grown man in scary costume with tomato ketchup on his mouth chasing innocent kids to gobble them up or vampire human-bats swooping down out of the sky to sink their teeth into the necks of their preys (call it twilight oh, twilight saga, etc they can’t see my back view at the cinema no matter how many intriguing Ads they show)? I mean, there’s enough scary stuff going on in the world without re-enacting them in movies. Just tune onto CNN and you’ll understand.

Ok, enough with the horror movies bashing (and don’t say I’m just talking cos I’m scared of horror movies :)) let’s get down to the main gist. I saw a real life green-eyed monster today and no it wasn’t on TV. Have you ever been that girl that never gets picked up when you’re walking with your friend? You know, like Blair and Serena in Gossip girl. You’re Blair and your friend is Serena, get the picture now? Ok, if you never saw the TV series, Gossip girl then this is the gist, Serena is the bright, tall and cute blonde while Blair is a brunette who is also beautiful by all standards but always gets passed over for her best friend.

Ok, fast forward to today. Two girls, Ene and Tonia were walking home together after church and someone walked up (more like ran) to them and said hello to the fair one, Tonia. After the hello came a compliment to Tonia and a thank you from her. The darker one, Ene was left looking very green. What was the ‘greenness’ for? Tonia had been complimented on her sonorous voice and Ene decided in her mind that the fact that she was not complimented must have meant that she had a terrible voice. Both girls had sung together in the church that morning. You get the picture now?

So anyway, Ene went home that morning feeling murderously jealous of Tonia. Ene had always been known for her terrible temper and everybody at home knew she was mad about something that happened that morning so they all avoided her. She sat alone in her room fuming. Then she picked up her pen and did what she knew how to do best during her sour moods. Before long, she was smiling again.

However, something happened later that evening that completely changed Ene’s perspective on life. Sam, her cousin came to visit. He was doing his youth service and was new in town so he often came to their house for lunch on Sundays. While talking with her, he saw the notebook peeking out from beneath her pillow. He picked it up and read through the beautiful poetry Ene had written. “These poems are beautiful, really creative,” Sam said.

“They are songs,” Ene said and tried to snatch the notebook away from him. He was even more surprised. “Can you sing one for me?” Sam asked.

Ene was hesistant at first but she actually did sing it and Sam looked very impressed. “I never knew you were this good,” he said. “You could actually make a living from this.

“No one seems to think I can sing,” Ene became moody again.

Sam raised one eyebrow, “Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have the nicest voice I’ve ever heard. Your singing is actually not extra-ordinary but the music you wrote is excellent. How did you learn to write music like this?”

Ene shrugged and said, “It’s just my talent.” That was when she had an epiphany. Music was her talent alright but just not singing.

If you read ‘The Green-Eyed Monster I’ then it must have given you a background on this post. The thing is that jealousy always arises when we compare ourselves unfavourably to others. While Ene was busy envying her friend for her God-given talent she failed to realize that she had something beautiful within her too that may not have been like what her friend had.

Nobody was created without a special talent in her. When God gave talents to the 3 servants in the bible, He gave one 3 and the other 2 and the last, one. He gave something to each one according to their ability to utilise it (Matt 25:15-28). The remarkable thing is that you have the ability to utilise your talent to its full capacity. There is something within you, just reach down and find it. Instead of complaining about how God did not give you the kind of talent your friend has, ask him to reveal yours to you today.

I saw the green-eyed monster today.

Femmetotale.

Picture Perfect

picture perfect

The first time I saw her, my first impression was ‘wow!’ She looked so beautiful and perfect in my eyes. Her ivory complexion was glowing, her teeth seemed so white and perfect, she had these slanted eyes and perfectly sculpted nose. Her figure was like that of an hour glass. I remember staring and wondering, ‘if I’m staring like this what will a guy now do?’ Well, she was a lot older, I was only a fresher in school then while she was a final year student. I felt that if she was that beautiful then her life must be perfect. How wrong I was.

One night, I was on my way to the cafeteria when I heard someone crying in a dark corner, by the wall of our hostel. She was huddled all alone in that corner, crying so hard I thought her chest might burst. At first, I doubted if she was really the one there but it was her glowing complexion illuminated by the bright full moon that gave her away. What could she possibly be crying about? Someone, who was the envy of all the girls in my department. Someone who was not only beautiful but also topped her class. I walked away quickly. I didn’t want her to know I saw her crying. I thought it was best to let her sort herself out alone.

I saw her again the next morning. She was walking to school with two of her friends. They were gisting and laughing gaily. There was absolutely no trace of the previous night’s tears on her face. Her shoulders were not slouched like someone passing through a difficult time. She looked as perfect as ever. I even began to wonder if the previous night was a dream.

Much like Princess, many of us have become experts at being picture perfect while inside we are far from perfect. All we do is tuck in our challenges, disappointments and disillusionments behind a perfect exterior. Someone somewhere goes to bed at night feeling envious of your perceived perfection, oblivious to what you are battling with. You could be a pastor’s wife contending with maintaining the calm exterior of one who encourages others to trust God with their problems while secretly battling with yours. You could be looking at that perfect celebrity in the magazine who’s had to go under the knife several times just to keep her career. You may even think that your friend who’s husband just bought her a brand new car is the luckiest woman in the world but you don’t see her tears at night, all alone in her bed as usual while her husband is in a hotel with one small girl. Abi you are envying that woman who is a Chief Executive in her company but you have no idea how hard she worked or what she had to give up to get there. You’re also not aware that she has no child of her own.

I’m not saying that you should delight in other people’s miseries or think that everyone who is succeeding has some form of misery in her life. All I’m saying is we are PICTURE PERFECT. That’s exactly what it is, a picture. It is the image we want to portray to the world. You could apply all the make up you want to achieve perfection but there is no make up on earth that can be used on your heart. How wonderful it is to know that there is someone to whom we can hand over our burdens. God is the one we can reveal our imperfections without reservations because He truly cares and is ready to lift your burdens – Matt 11:28. You can trust him to handle your problems. Have you spoken to him about it today?

The green eyed monster

Have you ever experienced that feeling that just sneaks up on you, defying reason or control, tightening its vice-like grip on you mind? Have you ever felt that green-eyed monster take over you? Sometimes it just consumes your thinking.

Jealousy – The green eyed monster…

It first happened in your family, when your sister got the dress you preferred and you sulked for a while, demanding that it should be yours. Your actions were condemned and you nursed your wounds secretly. It didn’t stop there, your result came out at school and you came out in the second position, a few marks below your best friend’s score. You congratulated her while secretly wishing she would just move out of town or die or something so you would be the best in the class. On and on it goes, your best friend being the center of attraction when you both are out on social events, your dress turning out to be less attractive than someone else who is wearing the same dress, losing a promotion to another, watching your friend being picked up by a guy you had been hoping would notice you, the list is endless. Yet you just sit back, fuming in your mind, wishing something could just happen to turn the tables, feeling guilty for harbouring such thoughts and still reluctant to stop. Sometimes you even go ahead to act on your thoughts. Envy is usually triggered when you compare yourself with others and feel that you come short of your evaluation.

The green-eyed twin sisters!

Jealousy and envy are twin sisters with exact same colour of eyes – green. Jealousy strikes both men and women when they perceive a third-party threat to a valued relationship, and that distinguishes it from envy, which involves wanting something someone else has. We all, especially women,  at one time or the other have cavorted with either of them but some people have mastered the art of hiding it, some have learned to rise above it while others resort to giving full expression to it. It happens to every one irrespective of gender, race, social status, academic status, etc. In fact, the more ambitious you are, the more likely to experience this emotion. Envy has to do with feeling unhappy about the success of someone else, or about what they have and, at the same time, secretly feeling inferior yourself. Instead of finding success for yourself or improving yourself, you may be envious and want what another person has or find yourself wishing that the other person would lose that quality or possession in order to make things seem fair to you. It has its roots in competition and comparison. The unconscious form of envy is typically malignant and can cause trouble with anxiety, stress, unhappiness, stagnation, and poor performance.

Be your own best cheerleader!

  • My first advice is – love yourself! Don’t become vain or arrogant, just accept who you are and the way you are. You are unique and you have the potential to be the best at anything, it doesn’t matter who’s been there before you.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself! The values against which you measure yourself are likely to change as you mature and as you learn to evaluate your potentialities and accept your limitations. If you have realistic ideals and can generally live up to them, your self-esteem will not be threatened. If your ideals are exaggerated and you cannot reach them, your good feelings from successes may be short lived and you may feel that you are never good enough and will envy others.
  • Learn to celebrate other people’s achievements! You don’t know how hard they have worked to get to where they are besides, good things are also in store for you even if you have not received it.
  • Be patient with yourself! If someone has what you would love to have, just work towards getting it and be patient with yourself.
  • Finally, if you can’t stop envy or jealousy from taking hold of your mind, just talk to the father in prayer and pray for that person. Try it and you’ll get a different perspective on your feelings.

Oh yes, every one has experienced it at one time or the other. Sometimes it is so intense you can almost feel it like a physical presence. At other times, you can easily dismiss it, reminding yourself that it is an unnecessary emotion to feel. It has often been said that jealousy is not entirely bad. After all God referred to himself as a jealous God. However, it becomes bad when it prompts you to take wrong or harmful decisions and actions.

So when are you going to stop? A saying goes thus, ‘the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence’. We are always wishing we could just have what someone else has, thinking that we’d become happier. Is that so? Would you like to live in such a big mansion like your friend Emilia who has three siblings and knows neither of them has the same dad. Or would you prefer that promotion that Sarah got by doing unimagineable things with customers. Or would you like to do the same things the girl with the ‘brazillian hair’ did to buy it. Or maybe you would rather be the one that got married to Justin who hits your friend Binta anytime he feels like. What you are envious of may not even be the best for you. You’ll end up wasting valuable time which you could have used to carve your own niche, to chase after someone else’s achievement just so you can measure up. We are humans and it is only human to feel jealousy. The question is how have you handled the emotions you feel. Has it motivated you to make greater achievements or are you feeling sorry for yourself and getting depressed. While it is true that the person you are envious of may seem to be having it all so smoothly, always remember that you should only aim to be the best ‘you’ you can be and you are your own yardstick for measuring your achievement!