This Little Rudder in Me II

Cropped image of woman clenching teeth

Here’s some more inspiration for the contemporary Christian young woman. Did you read my earlier post about my short adventure and how I discovered the little rudder in me? You want to know what became of me, my guide and our little boat? If you missed the first part then you can click here to read it.

Okay, so this large vessel was looming overhead and I was shaking like a leaf, wondering what I was thinking when I decided to go on that adventure. I clutched my seat tight and the boat driver laughed. He said I needed to see the way I was holding onto that seat. The large vessel was looming closer and those two were laughing, telling me not to worry, I just had to relax. That was when my prayers were answered and another boat came by. They gave us some gas and continued on their way.

In a short while, the boat’s engine revved again and we moved away from the path of the large vessel. It was so fast that it still caught up with us. Its waves rocked our boat back and forth, almost pushing us off from our course. My heart was beating so wildly, I thought that any stethoscope placed on it would surely explode. Tears stung my eyes but I was determined to act courageous. I must say, our boat fought valiantly…at least it didn’t capsize while the ship was moving so fast. Just then I noticed that the ship was turned slightly away from us. I saw something like a big, flat blade at the stern of the ship, immersed in the water, which seemed to direct the flow of water away and reposition the ship to face a different direction.

The scary moments passed soon enough. It had only lasted about one minute yet it had seemed like a whole lifetime to me. The water was calm again and it was almost as if nothing had happened. The guide giggled as he recalled how I had gripped the edge of the boat as though my life depended on it.  It was only when everything was calm that I had time to admire the magnificent, impressive looking ship. I wondered how something that big could move at such speed, what kind of engine it used and what powered it.  The guide was quick to explain. I suspect he didn’t know much but he considered himself very knowledgeable. He pointed out different parts of the ship, explaining in simple language what they were for. We couldn’t see passengers or crew men on board.  It just looked like a moving house. The guide told me that in that big house moving on the water was a captain controlling its movement. He told me about the rudder, a unique component of the ship that helped move it away from us.

rudderWhat he said made me think about the verse I read that morning in James 3:2-9. The tongue is perhaps one of the most ignored parts of the body. It performs multiple functions and we often don’t realize its importance until it brings results, good or bad. It’s amazing that both blessings and curses can emanate from the same tongue.  Talk about gossips, negative speeches, faithlessness, lies, malice, deceit and corrupt speeches. Many gossips that lead to malice and enmity could be avoided if you could just control the tongue. While you’re calling negativity into existence in your life don’t forget that it takes just about the same effort to declare positive things to yourself. Instead of saying that you may never get a job because you don’t have connections, try saying that you know the one who has the hearts of kings in his hands. Instead of saying that you may never make it in life, try saying that you are a success.

Many wildfires have resulted from the tongue and many erudder 2nraged hearts have been calmed by the tongue. The same tongue produces both bitter and sweet waters. Every disciplined person must master the control of his tongue. To succeed in your faith and in all in life activities, the tongue must be made to speak not just the things that are evident but to call forth the things that are not yet in existence.

If a vessel that large could be controlled by something as small as a rudder, how much more human beings like us? You see, we all have that little rudder in us.  These verses caution us to control the tongue pretty much the same way a rider puts a bridle on his horse. If we can control our tongues we would be controlled in every other way. So you want to be the femmetotale, put a bridle on your tongue and put your rudder to action.

Femmetotale

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This Little Rudder in Me

Cropped image of woman clenching teeth

Here’s a little inspiration for every Christian young woman. I consider myself to be quite an adventurous person. I haven’t climbed Mount Everest before, gone hiking or bungee jumping but I just might do so, if I get the opportunity one day (not climbing Everest though) all for the purpose of being able to say I did something for the first time. So, adventurous me decided to jump into an expedition one day and that’s what gave me an insight into the little rudder in me. Are you eager to know what happened? Okay, walk with me patiently and I’ll get right to it.

I was in Bayelsa, every normal person in Nigeria would know where that is (or at least know that that’s where the bulk of the oil comes from) even if they’ve never been there. I was visiting with my sister and I had been there for a week with no ‘action’… lol. She was working long hours and adventurous me needed to get a feel of the place. Eventually, we got a native to take me on a boat ride so that I could at least say I saw the rivers in Bayelsa, yaay!!!

Okay, three questions any normal person would want to ask me; 1. Did I know how to swim? 2. Did I know the native guide? 3. Did I know where we were going? The answer to all three questions was no. I don’t need to know a guide very well or where we are going before going on an adventure, do I? That’s why it is called an adventure folks. The only funny part was that I didn’t know the first thing about swimming. I mean, I had tried to hold my breath while submerged in a bathtub for close to ten seconds before… shouldn’t that suffice?

Anyway, finally, we got to the dock (they actually just called it a park) and I paid for a private boat. We kind of like just hired the boat for one hour. I didn’t plan to stay longer than that. My first major challenge was stepping into the boat. I couldn’t figure out why the thing just kept floating on the water. How was anybody supposed to step into something that wasn’t stable? I don’t know how I did it but I finally made it into the boat and sat down. Then we moved. Slowly at first and then a little faster. The guide pointed out landmarks or should I call it watermarks? We saw natives bringing out white sand from the depths of the river. I was really amazed at how some of them could stay for at least two minutes under water without surfacing. The guide told me that some of them could even stay for two hours under the water… hmmm I didn’t bother telling him it wasn’t possible. He really believed what he was saying. He showed me the petrol stations on the river and people doing their traditional oil business in the water (you know what I mean). I also saw company boats belonging to major oil companies transporting their workers, all with their life vests on. I asked my guide why we weren’t wearing any. He laughed and said I didn’t ask and besides it wouldn’t be needed. We weren’t getting deep into the high seas. That was when it happened. The engine of the boat went silent. I tried not to panic. The driver/pilot tried restarting it but it wouldn’t budge. The gasoline had finished. The guide told me not to worry that the driver would get from another boat driver so I should just concentrate on the view. It wasn’t much of a view though, just a couple other boats passing us and men entering the water for white sand. Then I saw it.

I first noticed that the waves in the water were looking heavier than ever. Then there was the low drumming sound and a loud horn. A large vessel was approaching. It was really gigantic and made me think of Titanic (without the love scenes and Celine Dior’s magical voice of course). The waves were practically rocking our small boat to and fro. The guide seemed a bit worried. He said our boat had to be moved out of the way or the waves from the large vessel would make us capsize. That was when I knew I had to make some serious prayers. There was no way I was going to test how many seconds I could last under water in that kind of panic situation. I had to remind myself that I was the Femmetotale.

To be continued…

NB: If you were inspired by this post, don’t just read and smile :D . Get involved! Share on your social networks, facebook and twitter. You never know whose life you’re going to help change.

Your break will come

black-woman-paying-bills

Some days are just like that. You wake up in the morning, stretch on your bed like a cat for a few moments and smile to yourself, ready to start the day. Then you start to notice that something is just not normal about the day. You draw your curtains and sniff in the cold air, fully expecting the darkness to give way to the light but you realize that something is definitely wrong. With every tinge of light, the dark clouds advance even more and it dawns on you that it’s going to be one of those dark rainy days. Just like that, your excitement that morning is replaced by a somber mood that lingers all through the day.

First you got to the office late because you couldn’t find your umbrella and even when you thought the rains had finally subsided and stepped outside, the torrents increased immediately as though it was waiting for you to fall into its traps. The day doesn’t get any better. Just because you arrived at the office late, you were unable to complete your task for that morning and you got a heavy dose of shouting from your irritable boss (there’s no way of telling whether there were ants in her chemise or something) and every other thing that day goes that way and you find yourself wishing you could just get a break from life. The job you’re doing is just that…a job. Somewhere your passion lies untended because you have to put food on your table first before thinking about living your dreams. You feel as though your dreams have been neatly packaged in a box and set adrift the sea that never flows backwards.

I read an inspiring write up by Tyler Perry, a man whose name is synonymous with success in the world of television. He wrote about the years he spent as a shoe shiner, a car sales man with a dream which he almost never believed would one day come to pass. Today, he boasts of an empire and people wonder the secret of his success. He never knew that the years spent in struggle were preparing him for his future.

I also know a boy who had so much hopes and dreams for the future. Sometime in his teenage years, his dreams were thwarted and he found himself in a strange land, a slave with no hope or future. The story got worse and the storm clouds of his life darkened even more. Somewhere in his heart, he held a candle of hope, refusing to give up on his dreams or his beliefs. He didn’t allow his circumstances to define him and he held tenaciously to his faith. Did he know that the period he spent in the prison was preparing him for a lifetime of administration and governance of a great nation? Did he know that the people he met in the prison were the ones that would introduce him to his destiny? Did he have any idea how his vision would come to pass? Before you give up hope just remember that the one who has the manual for your life knows your end and he promises that it will be beautiful. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jer. 29:11.

Some days are just like that. The rains keep pouring and it doesn’t seem like it will ever stop. Are you at that point when life starts to look so bleak and it seems like you will never get a break? Are your dark clouds getting even darker and the story of your life seems to have no happy ending? Now is the time to remind yourself that your break will come. The night does not last forever. Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. Rejoice for as sure as the dawn, your break will surely come.

Femmetotale

7 things I wish someone would tell me

I recently made a post about believing in yourself but the truth is that believing in yourself is actually one of the most difficult things to do in life. It is difficult to believe in yourself when you keep failing at things,  losing at things you desire or when you feel that you are not good enough. Imagine how much easier it would be if you had someone holding your hands up when you are discouraged. Imagine if you had your own personal life coach with you every moment of the day, helping you to make the right decisions and offering you a way to retrace your steps when you derail.

Here are 7 major things I wish someone would tell me. Okay, well it started off at 7 but became 15! I guess the number of things I wish someone would tell me are inexhaustible but these are some of them.

1. You can achieve anything you set your mind to achieve: I remember those moments my mother used to say to me repeatedly as a child, how much I could achieve if only I set my mind to it. I heard it so much that it almost became annoying to me. Now, I realize how true and how right it was.

2. You have succeeded before, you can still do it again: Most times, when faced with a new challenge, it is difficult to remember that I have ever succeeded at anything. I have to continually remind myself that I can do it again and again.

3. Criticisms are not an indictment of your person, they are of your character or your work. Learn to look at it outside of yourself: Sometimes when someone criticizes something that I did, I immediately assume that the person means I am not good at that thing. The result is that I feel so bad that I don’t even bother to try again.

4. Someone admires you even when you don’t believe so: There are so many days when it is so difficult to believe this but no matter what, someone will always desire to be like you.

5.  Mistakes can be corrected and forgotten: Ahah this! Have you ever felt that one mistake is all it takes to spoil everything? I wish I didn’t have to take myself too seriously all the time but to know that a mistake can be corrected and it can be forgotten.

6. Let go of your fears, they are the shackles holding you back: I wonder who termed them phobias! There is a name for the fear of almost anything. Sometimes I’m afraid to try just because I am afraid of failing and sometimes I am afraid of succeeding because I fear I may not be able to handle the success…oooh..it’s very exhausting. Sometimes I have to remind myself to let go.

7. Setbacks are only temporary, that’s why they are called setbacks: I remember learning about the law of inertia and thinking that nothing can move forward without moving back a bit. Would someone just remind me of that when next I face a set back?

8. Every minute of the day counts: Yeah, even the minutes I spend daydreaming or watching movies endlessly. I need to become more productive.

9. Your past does not control your future: I need someone to remind me all the time that who I was yesterday doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with who I’ll become tomorrow.

10. Don’t worry about what other people are thinking about you: I’m not a mind reader. I can never know exactly what people think about me so why do I bother to wonder if they like me or not? Besides what does it matter? I need to learn to stop second-guessing people

11. Try being honest with yourself…and others: How much simpler my life would be if I could learn to be honest with myself and others.

12. Stop trying to impress others, they will never be impressed enough: If we could sometimes evaluate our relationships with others we would be amazed how much we do in order to impress people we don’t even know. The funny thing is that they will never be impressed enough.

13. Being special means being different. You mustn’t be like everyone else. It’s okay to be different: If I’m not different then I cannot be special. I need to learn not to be afraid to stand out in the crowd.

14. Don’t judge yourself too harshly. Let others do the judging and you can choose to listen or ignore them: If I were my own judge, I would probably be incarcerated for life by now. I need to stop judging myself too harshly.

15. Finally, can someone please remind me of how special, how beautiful and how unique I am? lol…thanx

I hope this will prove useful to you too.

Femmetotale…

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!

My first time of speaking to an audience

Would you rather run a thousand miles than stand in front of an audience to speak? If yes, then you should know that you are not alone in that. Ordinarily, I’d much rather hide at the back of the audience than stand before them.  The first time I tried it, I shook so much like a leaf. I came up with so many excuses not to try at all. First, I thought I would fall as I was climbing up the stage. I didn’t fall so then I thought I would forget everything I wanted to say. I didn’t forget cos I had a paper in my hand. I thought the paper would fall off my hands and everybody would start laughing at me. I thought everyone could see how much my hands were shaking as I held the paper in my hands. I thought people would get bored and boo me.

Guess what? None of those happened. Instead, they clapped for me. That gave me courage to try again and again and again. Today, I am poised to speak in front of a crowd, no matter how large.

I discovered some great tips for speaking before a large crowd. Such as:

  • I always put on clothes that make me feel good with myself
  • Once I stand before a crowd, the first thing I do is smile (it always works)
  • I try to hold something (a pen, handkerchief, etc. Anything to keep my hands busy)
  • I keep reminding myself that I can do it
  • I realized that if I make a mistake I can easily correct myself. There is no reason to feel embarrassed
  • I make eye contact with the persons in the audience. When you look at them boldly, they’ll most likely look away or nod in agreement with what you’re saying.
  • Whenever I forget what I want to say, I smile and try saying something else
  • I try not to beat myself up over any mistake I make

These few tips have helped me so far. Do you have any to add?

Be Positive (B+)

Do you see the glass of milk as half full or half empty?

             ‘Why me?’ ‘It’s not fair!’ ‘I’m a loser!’ ‘I’m a failure’ I just want to die!’ How often do you hear yourself use these words that we easily use whenever we’re disappointed in ourselves. They are also negative words that attract negativity to us like a magnet. Every situation has two sides to it (there are always two sides to a coin). Which side do you choose to see?

             Your first thought whenever you fail at something, is the negative. Sometimes it clogs up your senses like debris and keeps you from seeing anything positive in your life. If you don’t check it on time, you might get sick from depression or worse still you might attract it into your life as a permanent situation. Remember that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he! (Prov 23:7).

              Next time you fail at something or you are disappointed and you are tempted to feel bad, try to see the glass as half full. Look at the positive side of that creation and be thankful for the things you have. There is always something to pick up when you fall. No one ever succeeds without failing at least once.

            A simple exercise that often works is STOP. Just say it out loud whenever you are tempted to slip into negativity and it will break that flow of thought.

S…. stop

T…. thank

and

O…. offer

P…. praise