Day 30: Lade

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. Psalm 119:114

I am usually not a very optimistic person, but I have hopes for this year. I start the year optimistic same as most other people, but a few weeks in, my optimism starts to wane and I’m tired and I believe that 2016 is the year the stars align. One month in the year is almost gone and I’ve still not lost that hope. January has been bumpy, but I’m focusing on God and all the awesome things I have planned.

I got the license to organise TEDxUnilag this year. I’m definitely very excited about that. I hope this turns out to be great.

I’m in my 3rd year in school (but 2nd year in Unilag). I ended Year 2 with a great CGPA. I hope I’m able to maintain it.

For the past few months, I was almost always broke. I hope I get a job soon and that I learn to manage my money better.

I generally don’t hold grudges, but there is this one I’m trying to let go of because I was hurt pretty bad. I read a post about forgiving all wrongs and I hope I can do that this year.

I haven’t gone to church in about two years. Probably more than that. I hope that changes this year. I’m church hopping for now. Until I find where feels good.

BookBarterNG finally kicked off last year. I hope that all the things I want to do around it happen.

I have other hopes and dreams that I won’t share (because: reasons), but I’m very hopeful about this year. Not just for me, but for a lot of people. Good things will happen this year. Happiness will be constant this year. Joy and good news will not depart this year.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46:1-3


 

Lade has grown in leaps and bounds since I e-met her 6yrs ago. It’s fascinating to see someone/something grow, flounder and flourish before your very eyes and that’s what I pray for Lade… That at the end of this year, she shall look back and be fascinated.

Dusk 29: Fifi

Last year when I wrote about my year, I emphasised over and over how my grandiose plan was taking the year as it comes. That was sort of a horrible plan, why didn’t anyone stop me?

The year had me yo-yoing in different directions. Trying to pick up my life as it scattered like pieces of eight into the wind. A tad dramatic, but true. It wasn’t about achieving things. Things were achieved but at the end of the year I came to the startling realization that I wasn’t someone I wanted to be. Ever felt that? Looking at yourself in the mirror and being enveloped by that ‘this is me but I don’t want to be me’ outer bodyish feeling?

I’m a hazard to myself. Don’t let me get me….

Insert 2016:

Opens blank page.

The whole mantra ‘New Year, New Me’ makes me laugh. I’m not planning on being a new me, I just don’t want to be the me that I was in 2015. Almost like an improved version of myself. I have no plans to throw 2015 Fifi away. With her lessons, regrets, thoughts, achievements, tears, times of understanding. No. In 2015, I took a walk away from God. I grew up a Jesus Baby but Jesus babies get disappointed. Jesus babies get hurt, Jesus babies get disillusioned and start to think they do not want to be Jesus babies anymore. 2015 was that year. 2016 already has God dragging me by the ear.

Oooooh child, things are gonna get easier…..

Last year, I spoke about dreams and aspirations when it came to creating content for TV. This year, I am going to have screen credits on 4 shows on TV. MNET/DSTV/whatchamacallit- I get it so mixed up, my contracts should be cancelled. Anyway, there are 2 TV series co-created by me. 2 series will have my name in writing / production in some capacity. And it is still January.

Flowing from my heart is Gratefulness….

This year, I really want to improve on myself. Making a deliberate decision to get better- as a person, become a decent human being. I’m a pretty awesome human being but there are higher heights and deeper depths.

Here are a couple of things that might help me be a better human.

Learn to direct properly. Shoot a short film. I have postponed this every year for many years because of fear. And the voices in my head that say I have nothing to say. It took 4 TV shows in one year to give me a sense of validation. Wait, I have something to say. I might not be a quack after all. So I will.

Learn a new language. Been looking to get Spanish classes a while now. This is the year.

Learn to ride the bike I’ve had parked in my room since last year. My parents never let me play outside growing up, so no bikes. Ever. What adult does not know how to ride a bike? Tell me I am not alone. Show of hands, please.

Get Fit. Eat healthier. That’s all I am going to say on this cringe worthy topic. Started fitness classes last year but I destroyed all the work I had done in a month. Started again this year. Yoga too. We’ll see.

Buy a Power Bike. Vroom! Vroom!  The voices in my head have fought me over this for too long. They say a girl should not want this. Sometimes, those voices are louder than who you really are. And I know who I really am adores the speed and the freedom being on a bike is going to give. So YES. I am getting a bike. So long, suckers!

Travel. Ghana, Kenya. Thailand. I read Sonia’s blog the day she said she had visited 30 countries before 30 and looked at my barren passport with a sigh. Mba. Before I end up in some man’s house and have to think twice before I travel. We move!

Talking about men- it is part of my itinerary to fall in love. Deliriously. Deliberately. Drool Worthy(ly). I giggle as I type this because I cannot imagine myself in any kind of love with anyone. But come on, dude. Bring it. My heart is ready. I think.

Ineffable Euphoria. Closer to my heart than ever- is my plan for a food bank and a soup kitchen that rotates in the city of Lagos. Since 2013, we have been visiting communities of people who need food stuff and providing goodie bags once a year. I would really love that to grow. Expand into something sustainable and worthwhile. This year, I plan to do something about that. Write some fine barra letters to some FCMGs and see if they would like to participate in the project. It would be great to have stores where people could get food stuff for twenty naira or something. I need to think that through. Ask me again next year. 

That’s the year. Looking at what I have written down makes it feel real and achievable. Write the vision, make it plain. It will find its way to you again. I know I ramble a bit. If you got to the end of this, here’s a thank you and a sorry. 

My status is changing, there’s no more decline. I’m on my way to better days…

Day 29: Eden

DELIBERATE 2016!

When I signed up for this, I had it all written down in my mind. I just needed time to take a pen and scribble it down, but things changed. In fact a lot of things have changed since I signed up; in the midst of trying to decide whether to go ahead  and write not I came on here to read olatoxic’s call about 30 days of hope and these sentences jumped at me…

#30DaysOfHope presents the opportunity… to document all that they want from the new year, that they may reflect upon it as they carry on. They grab the opportunity to speak/write what they desire into being. This is for people who realize the power of the spoken/written word and are willing to unleash it in their favour.

Write down your hopes and dreams, your aspirations and plans, ambitions and projections. Write your fears and challenges, your doubts and concerns, stumbling blocks and hurdles. Write the methods you will use to vanquish them, the paths you will take around them, the amount of time it may take. Write it all down. Write a hundred words. Or a thousand. Or in between. Write elaborately, or haphazardly. Write a story, or an article, or a letter to yourself. Write for the first time or the millionth. Write because you choose to. Write because you must.
Write because 2016 is yours for the taking.

And then when you’re done writing, speak it. Read it out loud. Share it with a friend. Read it to your family. Preach it to your walls. Whisper it to yourself. Speak your hopes and dreams and aspirations and plans and ambitions and projections into reality.
Then take action.

So here are my cluttered hopes, dreams, aspirations… in about 50 words.

God. Prayer addict. Bible lover!

Love! Bae! Wedding Bells!

Travels, hotel rooms, airports, lay overs, tired bones …because dream job.

Good financial year, investments…money cometh!

Healthy eating, Gym runs, new wardrobe … Size 12 loading 

Writing, writing, writing. Deadlines. Articles.

Registrations. Seminars. Workshops.

I am excited. I am also afraid. Here’s to a deliberate 2016!


It’s almost funny how half of this post ended up being words written by me 😄😄😄

If there’s one thing I love about this project, it’s how diverse the writing styles come. And if there’s one thing I love about Eden’s entry, it’s how very specific and deliberate it is about what she hopes to achieve. And to those, I say “Amen”.

Dusk 28: Frances

I tried to review my goals abi hopes for last year on my blog and I just couldn’t do so.

It was a year of surpassed goals… what God did in 2015 couldn’t be boxed into a corner and I simply let gratitude flow as it should.

This year is a year of “Coming up Higher” for me.

“Come Up Higher”.

I kept asking God what He meant.

Well, it’s a “come up higher” in purpose…

Come up higher in Christ Jesus…

Come up higher in God’s glory…

It won’t be without a cost as my path is one that I have realized that few people walk.

I’m not after money, I’m not after a bae, I am not after that 5 figure job… I am after “walking in God’s purposes” for my life and if His purposes involve the fore mentioned things people pursue, then I want all that too.

Funny thing is His purpose actually actually involve these things but His ways work a bit differently from the world, being that you don’t pursue those things, you pursue Him and what He wants for you… then and only then He adds up the rest to and for you.

So this is me simply #ComingUpHigher like you keep saying Lord…

My God-given visions for 2016 are divided into three basic parts…

Spiritually…

(1) I want to get into more of the Word this year.

The Word is God and the more I am wrapped closely with the Word, the more I am in Him.

Goal is to atleast finish one book of the new testament every two weeks… (this will be hard because I mostly study my Bible as the Spirit gives me a word each morning…) but in addition to this, I will take a deliberate step to delve into the Word in more than what I have been doing in the years gone by.

(2) It’s a huge goal to pray in the Spirit for at least one hour each day.

I started this last year and it’s just amazing… building up yourself in your most holy faith the Word says…praying according to the will of the Father… the benefits of this are immense.

My preferred time is 3am in the morning each day but I won’t streamline this to that, let’s say this 2016, a set time to war on my knees in tongues is a huge goal to achieve.

(3) Learn to love like God wants me to love.

He keeps calling me to come up higher in this 1Corinthians 13 kind of love and it’s so hard!

But I have realized that quarrels, unforgiveness, etc, are not of God(Love).

So this year I want to walk in love and let love dominate my flesh.

Get to the point where I love the unlovable, forgive the unforgivable and forget the unforgettable.

(4) Sow more seeds…

As the Spirit leads, I want to give more… and this I will do much more so when my cash at hand isn’t enough… that should be the more reason why I should obey and sow.

I hope to spread seeds everywhere as God gives me grace to do so this year.

#WalkingInPurpose…

(1) Stay faithful on the blog.

Last year was amazing on the blog, God just blew me away with people I met, lives that were transformed… the testimonies had me asking if it’s same small me God is using to do this…

This year, Purposeful Monday’s, Online Bible Study, Frances’ Love letters… seminars an discussions on purpose arising from my book… I pray and I am determined to stay faithful with the ministry of writing for Jesus that God has given to me.

(2) And speaking of writing for Jesus…

Last year I had a goal to write a book on NYSC but God surprised me.

First I wrote “Chastity For Men” (which all men and women should totally get. The e-copies are free)

Then He gave me words for my first hard copy book “10 steps to walking in purpose”.

The way the provision for printing, book launch, seminars on walking in purpose being held arising from the book… the way it all happened was like a movie!

This year He has been tugging on me to get on the book on NYSC, it should be out latest March/April as its written out already.

I expect Daddy to blow my mind away with this one too… along with other ideas for books He will make a reality in this year 2016.

(3) Take my work in schools to the next level.

I organize “Awakening youths” seminars in secondary schools where I speak on finding and walking In purpose… basically awakening young girls to the fact that God has a purpose for their lives.

I would be getting a website for it and registering the NGO this year.

I hope to get this done by April this year so work starts In schools as they resume for second term.

If you are interested in volunteering for this… you love impacting lives too, then you can shoot me a mail at okorofrances@gmail.com

(4) I would also be organizing more seminars/discussions on walking in purpose arising from my book in universities, youth gatherings, etc.

The first of these is planned to be in Unilag, hopefully done in June.

(5) Stay faithful with the single ladies group “the Women at the well” that God has given to me.

We had our first meet last year in Lagos and the discussions, prayers, Bible studies that have sprung up in the group have been amazing.

It’s just surprising that God would take my simple desire to live a satisfied life as a single lady in Him into something this grand.

I believe we’d be moving into a group with bridal showers being thrown, married women becoming mentors and the single ladies… all women filled with and in Jesus, shining His light everywhere..pillars in their workplaces and families.

I pray to be a faithful tool in God’s hands in setting this up…

And oh, we are having our first hangout in Lagos this Saturday January 30th.

We’d be sharing on “wisdom for the not yet married” along with a movie date, watching “War room”, complete with drinks and all.

Talk about a room full of godly women with the Word and prayers, setting up this year on a serious high.

You can email or comment below with your email if you are interested in attending. It’s free. Venue is at VI, Lagos (more details when you mail moi)

#Personal Goals…

(1) Travel Goals…!

Last year I had an amazing time with my #12TripChallenge!

I visited 12 new places in 2015 and it was awesome!

I had a high like no other and till today when I read the chronicles on my blog, I break out in a huge smile.

This year though, I would still be traveling and seeing new places but I sincerely only have a desire to broaden my travels outside Nigeria.

Ghana and Cotonou first to be precise.

The Ghana trip, God has told me it’s a Joseph dream because I also wanna hold seminars in schools there… but also still see tourist sites.

So at the end of 2016, since God can do far beyond what we can ask or think, I expect Him to have worked out trips that are far more than these two I listed… amen!

(2) #FitFam things…

All I will say here is I am now more concerned about getting my eating habits right and making exercise a lifestyle.

Seriously I put on a bit of weight at home at the end of 2015 and I wasn’t that bothered as I knew I would lose it again… what got me worried was that every time I ate “anyhow” I found it difficult to pray and all, energy levels would be down and for all I know 2016 has in store, this isn’t the way to go.

So I wanna get things right that way first… and at the same time, get to my ideal weight of 65kg.

I am taking It slow and steady though.

Currently in a weight loss group that starts on February 1st and plan is to do three sets of 40days, being disciplined and all and then start maintaining from there.

(3) Get GODfident.

I realized after my book came out last year that I had a bit of confidence issues… not trusting what God has put in me… stuttering when I wanted to talk to bookshop owners… sizing up places and saying in my mind that “my book doesn’t belong here”.

All lies from the pit of hell.

I realize that me in me is nothing and me in God or rather God in me is everything.

So this year is gonna be a #going all out with everything God has told me to do.

Shutting fear down with no apologies.

A serious do it afraid no matter how big the what I have to do seems.

Getting that Godfidence that made a fisherman stand in front of crowds and win 3000 souls in one speech!

The reason why Peter did that was simply because he had been with Jesus.

Fear isn’t of God.

He expects me to trust Him and have confidence in what He has put in me and this I will be doing this year.

I am very certain that everything I have written here is just a tip of what God has for me this year.

He always does that… exceeds expectations and flies higher than the visions just so we know that He indeed can do all things!

I know that at the end of 2016 when I read this again, it will be with another awe at God and then simply respecting myself enough to give thanks and not evaluate/review because He has surpassed all the goals again.

And to God, the one who can do exceedingly, abundantly above all that I can ask or think… I commit my goals, visions, dreams, hopes and expectations.

It will be said of me “just when she thought she could thank Him for all He has done, He did it again!”

I wish us all an amazing year ahead.

And oh yes!

You can follow my blog and be inspired to #WalkInPurpose in Christ at http://www.imperfectlyperfectlives.com


The things Frances has done and is doing are so inspiring… it’s refreshing to see she’s not resting on her oars and she actually plans to do more.

I pray the winds in her sails never stop blowing. Fly, Frances. Fly.

Day 28: Juachi

I chose the 28th because I turn 28 this year.

And I’m not sure how I feel about it.

On one hand, I’m one of those people who really enjoy celebrating my birthday-no big parties but lots of biscuits and ice cream and movies. I really like that I’m getting older. It just bothers me now I guess because I’ve failed recently.

And it’s not one thing either, nope it’s ‘a series of unfortunate events’ since the end of 2015 spilling into 2016 and I think I’ve hit rock bottom now I’m at a low point right now.

So you know, that’s the ‘other hand’ and all.

Odd thing is though I’m not as sad/upset/depressed as I usually am about these things. I mean there’s the occasional crying and asking God questions but all in all I’ve had a really hopeful outlook on everything. Church has been a big help especially getting involved with some amazing people who motivate and encourage me. It’s because of them I began a Bible reading plan this year. My brother got married to an absolute darling last year, my Mum is finally done with school (don’t ask), Sisi is happy with her work, I started painting more often and had my first exhibition last year and reading too. I’ve learnt to look at these ‘small miracles’, keep track of them and recite them when everything feels so bleak.

That said, what do I hope for most this year?

First, I’d like to resume writing again. I’ve been dragging my feet but this month is my month!! *looks at calendar*

Next month is my month!! I have a thousand and one scattered ideas running through my head and would love to get them out very soon.

I’d like to travel this year, within Nigeria. Nothing nationalistic, just I have to be reasonable about what I can afford these next few months plus I really haven’t seen as much of this *insert patriotic, superfluous descriptor* country as I should have.

I really want to learn to play the violin this year. My goal is to be able to play Memory of Fanelia from the Escaflowne OST by the end of the year – I can’t even read music and don’t own a violin. People, pray for me.

I’ve got a few projects in the works and some still in planning stage so I really hope I can work on all of them this year.

Maybe two academic papers too while I’m being all hopeful?

Most of all though, I really want peace this year, to have faith without feeling like someone poured acid on my heart and to learn to make the most of difficult situations without whining as much (let’s just accept I’m going to complain regardless).

So help me God.


Writing. Travel. Violin. Two academic papers. Peace. Faith. Learning. Small fries for a God who’s a very present help in and beyond times of trouble.

God’s got you, Ju.

Day 27: Oluchi

THIS IS THE YEAR I LIVE

To understand what I am hopeful for this year, a little insight is needed into what my life had been before now.

I studied Law and Languages and graduated in 2014 and no matter how many career talks a person attends, nothing actually prepares you for the difficulty of the real world. I moved back to Nigeria armed with all the good intentions on God’s green earth and billion-dollar business ideas, but life was probably looking at me and having a right laugh.

The first challenge came with Law school. All of my friends who got into Law school said it was a breeze but the reality was far from it. I had to prove this, prove that, bribe this person, and travel to Abuja three times a month. End of the day it was all for naught; I didn’t get in.  I tried to hide the pain from my parents, acted nonchalantly and told them I didn’t want to pursue a career in Law any way but deep inside I was inconsolable, my friends were being called to bar and I was languishing at home, unable to do anything.

Next step was NYSC, I had gotten lots of mouth-watering job offers because of the course I studied at University but after every interview I got a call that they wouldn’t be offering me the position after all since I hadn’t completed the NYSC program. This was when depression set in. Close to nine months at home and I hadn’t achieved anything: my life practically ground to a halt, I lashed out at everyone so my friends quietly withdrew, I had shouting matches with my mum everyday, I became anti-social, lived in my room, wouldn’t talk to anyone.  In the typical Nigerian fashion my parents did not suspect I was depressed instead they’d always tell me that I didn’t have “the spirit of hustling” like my other siblings did, that I was spoilt and lazy. I don’t blame them though.

The only person who came close to finding out was my sister but I burrowed deeper into myself and wouldn’t let her in.  Oh yeah I also gained a truckload of weight and my self-esteem hit rock bottom.  Those were dark days.

This may seem like I’m spewing negativity but it’s a background to my hope for this year and I purposely chose Day 27 just to be able to see if I’d be able to keep up with the resolutions I’d made.

This year, I have decided to face life head on; this is the year I live! No more wallowing from one pain to another. I’m going to go back to Nigerian Law School this year to know why I didn’t get in. I’m applying for NYSC in February/March; heck I’d do them both side by side. I’m making a conscious effort to reconnect with most of my friends: some are willing but sadly others have moved on… oh well. This is the year I finally complete my driving lessons after so many, many false starts. This is the year I go the extra-mile and make just that bit of extra effort; go out more, meet people, keep in touch, lose some weight, do at least 1 extreme sport so help me God! – Yes I’m also finding my way back to God because he is the anchor of my soul and so far, it’s looking good

Life cannot defeat me unless I allow it and this year, I am choosing not to allow it. 

Oh and if I’m seized by bae this year, so be it.

I am invictus.


She is invictus. She is the captain of her fate. She is the master of her soul.

Day 26: Bankole

*exhales*

When I decided to write this, I thought it was going to be easy peasy. Shebi na to right goal and plans for the year and that’s all? Well now I can write it with ease but when I actually started a week ago, it wasn’t so easy.

First questions is what are my goals actually for 2016? Truth is I didn’t cross into this year with any definitive ones. It’s not that I am disorganized oh (okay maybe I am a little), it’s just that you make all these plans and God has something else in mind so I kind of want to go with the flow. However, I do have hopes for things I want this year and I will share them.

1. Do great in school (again)! Mehn last year was so really hard on me emotionally but I managed to do really great at school and I know it’s only because of God so this year that I am back at it, I hope to still do well. It’s the one thing I have right now and the one thing I can use to make myself proud of me. So I am hoping by September when I am done, it’s with an above 80% average again 🙂

2. Take the Canadian Securities Exams and PASS! So I am going into the financial services industry (well I hope) and I need to take two exams and pass them to work in the roles I want in the industry. Honestly as I write this, I don’t know how I am going to write the exams because the truth is I can’t afford to pay for it right now and because I had to quit my job for school and I’ve been unable to find a new one, I don’t know where I’d get the money. Anyway, I’m hoping God comes through for me and I get to take both exams and pass.

3. Get a job after college: Job hunting is hard. It’s a full time job on its own even when you have the required qualifications and experience not imagine someone like me who really has no substantial experience. I’m hoping and praying I find something that I’d at least be proud to say I do.

4. Make friends: So in the last quarter of 2015 I moved to a new city and it has been lonely as hell. I don’t really have any friends here so I’m mostly by myself and sometimes I think it takes it’s toll on me emotionally. Anyway I’m hoping this year I get to put myself out there more and be more outgoing because well yeah I don’t want life to pass me by.

So those are my major hopes for the year. I really want this year to go well and to be in a better place emotionally, mentally and spiritually because 2015 really wasn’t the best. I typically hate years that end in even numbers but let’s see if this one will break the cycle. Here’s to a wonderful 2016 🙂

________________________________________

This amazon person will just be showing herself anyhow. But isn’t that what happens when you’re blessed and highly favoured? Your self will just be showing itself. Anyhow too.

More blessings and more favour shall Bankole receive this year. Amen.