The Love Series: 3 Ways I Learnt About Love The Right Way.

It will be valentine’s day in a few days, and I may spend it alone, I will sit at home and have my glass of Moscato (yes please), but might skip out on the chocolate, I’m on a diet. 

I know many single women, experience anxiety on this day, chances are you will have a serious case of FOMO.

So prepare yourself, fake illness, avoid social media or take on some extra load of work on that day so you are too busy to imagine, the fun other people are having, go ahead, I won’t judge.


 Last year, as I sat on the couch minding my business, my flat mate walked in, and asked me what I was doing for valentine’s day, I looked up perplexed at the question (homegirl knew I was single with no prospects in sight LOL); smiling, I said nothing.

We then,engaged in our usual 30 minutes’ conversation about men, lack of men, relationships, the usual, I don’t like to engage too much in these kinds of conversations, because I sometimes find they stem from a place of a perceived lack of contentment, with being single, and that is fine,but sometimes it gets tiring.

Anyway, with valentine’s day coming up, it got me reminiscing about my love life or lack thereof,the other day someone mentioned that I appeared to be a romantic at heart, I chuckled, they had no clue. 

I have been single on every valentine’s, since as far back as I can remember, well for most of my adult life. I wonder if that’s sad or intriguing haha. 

Long lasting romantic love is something that has eluded me, I’ve had short-lived affairs, a few “talking to’’ but never any real deep bond or lasting connection. 

On one hand, I’ve never had to live with cheating or being scarred by any man, I’ve shed a few tears, had thoughts of what could have been, and berated myself for being naïve but i count it as experience in making me a better storyteller.

I realized it’s because I am emotionally independent, too much so, I don’t say this from a place of the  strong independent woman narrative (that’s not what I am about).

 I’ve never been someone who has always looked outside myself for happiness or fulfillment or at least I didn’t feel like I needed to, but I realize now that love is a gift because it gives you the opportunity to share your life with someone.

I thought about how I would approach my blog posts this month then I remembered the Ariana Grande song Thank You, Next, and the infamous line, one taught me love, one taught me patience and one taught me pain (the memes on social media were hilarious). 

 I will share my experiences about love, dating and the three lessons I have learnt about love . I’ve been on a one post a month tip lately just focusing on the quality and not the quantity of my content, but this month is special, and since it’s more personal, I will share a lot, so I will try keep the posts coming.

I hope you all enjoy

Love

Ndidi.

The Most Important Thing I Need This Year.

Who is excited about the New Year? I am still trying to get myself into work mode, my Christmas was quiet but I had a good time ish.

I’m ready to get back to business and give you guys’ great content. I honestly don’t have major New Year’s resolutions this year, but I have two things I would love to accomplish.

I thought about how I wanted to start this year out, and what message I wanted to pass across as my first post of the year.

We have before us 12 months and 365 days of unknown possibilities; we know some of those will be great, some will be average and some will be downright horrible, we may lose people we love or fall in love, we may get fired or land a job of a lifetime, we may go through depression or experience the happiest years of our lives.

Anytime I think of the New Year, I always remember what my mother says about how everybody prays joyfully into the New Year, but nobody really knows what the year will bring for them.

This is the year I am trying to live my life each day in a way that makes me productive, I don’t want to spend a bunch of weeks busy doing absolutely nothing.

I want what everybody wants, to be financially secure to take care of myself and have some savings in my bank account. I need protection against unforeseen circumstances, like health problems for instance, and Lord knows I need direction because I need to be sure that every day I am making the right choices that lead me towards my goals. I have made too many mistakes in the past, and sometimes life doesn’t give you second chances.

So this year I determined that I will no longer do things my way, I need help; I need to know what to do and how to do it. I need guidance, beyond what motivational speakers and self-help books can offer (trust me I read a lot last year), the reality is I need Jesus.

David declared in Palm 23, The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want, this is the level of faith I need to have in the power of God to guide and lead me so that there is no lack in my life in 2019. I am not just talking about having enough to pay my bills, I’m talking about finally getting traction in my career, and propelling my website forward.

I am talking about helping to give me wisdom so I may discover and walk in my purpose as a human being, I’m talking about being fulfilled emotionally, rich, abundant, full life.

So what exactly does a shepherd do?In our 21st century world I’m guessing a lot of us are so far removed from farming and agriculture that the representation of Christ here, might be difficult to relate to, I had to go look it up. I had this image in my head of someone who walks around with a big stick, directing sheep.

I was so wrong; I discovered my friends that Jesus wants to take care of you.

Sheep completely depend on the shepherd for everything. It is the shepherd’s responsibility to ensure the sheep are guarded against minor diseases; they are under his/her constant care; the shepherd watches out for dangerous predators, and they have to be alert against constant danger.

It is the shepherds’ responsibility every day to lead the sheep to forage in green pastures, the big stick I referred to (the rod) is used to lead the sheep in the direction the shepherd wants them to follow, the shepherd even assists the ewes during their lambing process, they require constant and undivided attention this is a role that requires dedication.

In John 10:14 Jesus goes on further to proclaim that he knows his sheep by their name, and when he calls out to them they hear his voice meaning, he has an intimate relationship with everyone; he knows us personally if we are his sheep to tailor make specific pathways for us to have abundant lives.

We are all individuals; we vary in our talents and temperaments, we cannot be sure that what worked for Ada will work for Michael, that is why it is important for us to seek guidance from the one who has promised that he is the good shepherd, he will lead us down the path of opportunities, places and activities suitable for us and will enrich our lives.

2019 is not the year we need to grope in the dark frustrated, we have assurance we will be led on a path that brings us fulfilment, this doesn’t mean however that life will be champagne and cupcakes, but we will fulfill our God given purpose.

This year I vowed not to write any resolutions, I tried hard but I wrote none specific goals, at least not yet. I have determined in my heart to seek God’s guidance above all things, I don’t want to trust alone in what I can project or what I can dream up; I want to depend on God completely to guide me down the right paths this year.

However, this doesn’t come just by wishing it. We need to develop intimacy with God, there has to be a personal relationship and familiarity built on a constant connection, how can we trust that God will he guide us down the right paths if we do not spend time with him and getting to know his character. I wouldn’t dare dream of starting a business venture with someone I met randomly at a party, I would take my time, studying their character, to know without a doubt they are trustworthy and reliable, that is how it is with God.

Likewise, I have to be obedient, this has to do with trusting that God knows what is best for me, even if I don’t understand what is going on. I can only accomplish true obedience if i have unwavering faith in God, which is built through prayer, spending time in his word and overcoming difficult challenges.

So guys I wish everyone an adventurous and fulfilling 2019 and beyond, let’s really trust and depend on God this year and watch him do great things.

The F word

Forgiveness

I have heard everybody from Bishop TD Jakes to Oprah say, that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, letting go of past harms and moving forward is beneficial for you, you let go of bitterness and allow yourself the opportunity to move ahead, unforgiveness can be like dead weight you lug around, it weighs you down, if you forgive you empty yourself from an unnecessary burden.

But grace can be tough, when the pain cuts deep, it can be almost impossible. I don’t know if I would regard myself a forgiving person, my approach when I notice someone has wronged me,if I consider their actions to be irredeemable and they are not remorseful is to avoid them. I may not go around seeking to plot my revenge or wallow in a cesspool of bitter emotions and animosity, but instead I will deal with being scorned the best way I understand how by erasing you from my life, it would be as if you never existed. It saves me the trouble of seeking to be the mature one by absolving and letting go, but I also don’t have to carry around the pain of what you did to hurt me. As a word of caution I don’t think this solution is healthy, so that is why I wrote this blog, to tackle forgiveness.

What is the best approach to go about this whole forgiveness business. As a Christian I am expected to be forgiving always (Matthew 18:21) I will be sincere, this not sit easily with me, why? Because It seems as if you are offering an individual, unbridled autonomy to continue being an asshole.But on the other end, what does clinging on to past pains and retaliating do for us, sure it feels good when you act out, but when the blood thirst for revenge quenches does it make us better?We still know deep down inside, we are hurting, vengeance doesn’t loose us from the anguish of having our feelings hurt. It is like placing a band aid on a deep cut from a knife.

Sometimes I wonder, is forgiveness always about being wronged or more about our own ego, there is no excuse for betrayal in marriage, stealing from a business partner, or sharing stories told you in confidence by a friend, but let’s be careful not to let the ego and pride, provoke us to create mountains out of mole holes in situations where a simple, it’s okay never mind, would have solved the problem.

Being offended is becoming common in our society and narcissism is at the root of having an a ruthless spirit. People won’t consistently be perfect, they will mess things up, irritate and will disappoint you in ways that will astound you, and indeed worse still you are just as capable yourself of doing the same actions to them, nobody is above being the wrong at any point in time (Matthew 18: 23-35).Lord knows I have done things that have made a few people angry. 

 Guard against being unforgiving , and save yourself from emotional stress by providing room for grace.

ndidi ndekwu

 I am still learning to temper my expectations on human behavior, I and other human beings are intrinsically selfish at the core,it is our nature and because of this we will often hurt other people willingly and unwillingly, we will fall short.

 Ideally, we should strive to provide for grace for everybody, that might not always be possible, it is  entirely up to you to decide to whom and how much you will give space for forgiveness;  as a general rule of thumb,you must be open enough to do this for everyone you meet.

 It doesn’t make you a doormat, and it doesn’t mean that individuals will have liberty to walk over your emotions, if it puts you in a position of being in total command of your reactions and emotions.

Despite any of their antics you stay the same when people realize you are  unperturbed it makes them feel shameful and embarrassed at their own behavior (Rom 12:19-21). Leave vengeance to the hands of God, he sees everything.

Some people might read this blog and say well what about individuals who have dealt with sexual abuse, domestic violence and other heinous crimes inflicted on them, what business do we have to tell them to give room for grace, and you are right I have none.

 In those cases not as easy as just placing your ego aside and hugging things out, their wounds cause scars that may take years to heal, for them I will be forthright and say lay all that resentment, bitterness and even shame at the feet of Jesus, asides from you only he sees where it pains and how best to fix it, we live in a fallen world where terrible events happen to us beyond our control, but as justified as it may seem emotionally, holding on to that pain does us more harm than good, it can never make us happy in the long run.

Forgiving may not always be easy, it takes a lot of maturity and spiritual growth for us to come to a place where we can truly let go of hurts, but it is a gift that is worth offering to yourself.

My First Book Review

The Man God Has For You: 7 Traits To Help You Determine Your Life Partner by Stephan Labossiere

I love writing and talking about human relationships. Love, family and friendships are at the core of what makes us human, and we all want to know how to navigate those relationships in such a way that brings us fulfillment,and sometimes when we can’t find the answers we are looking for in the secular space, we turn to spirituality to lead the way.

In all honesty, i love Christian literature, I love to read books on faith, I will always devour a good devotional,and so if it comes highly recommended chances are I will read it. About a year ago, I was browsing through my Instagram feed, when I saw an ad pop up for the book by author Stehpan Labossiere titled ”The Man God Has For You: 7 Traits To Help You Determine Your Life Partner’’, naturally I was intrigued.

So I read a couple of reviews on amazon and decided to give the book a try, I have to say, part of my curiosity lay in the fact that the book was written by a man. Now, I have read a few Christian relationship/dating books, I even recall that I thoroughly enjoyed Michelle McKinney  Hammond’s ”Sassy, Single and Satisfied: Secrets to loving the life you’re living”,when I bought it a few years ago, but I find that when men talk about finding love it tends to be very straight to the point and direct,which is what I like so I was definitely going to give this book a chance.

First of all, this book reads easy, it’s roughly about 164 pages, so if you are a fast reader like I am, you can finish it in 2-3 days give or take. You will definitely want to have your highlighter and a notebook on you, because you will be taking a lot of notes. This is the kind of book that you will revisit frequently, just to make sure you haven’t forgotten any salient messages. It’s simple to follow, straight forward and very practical.

Now to the fun stuff, I think my biggest takeaway from this book is personal responsibility. Everything starts and ends with you making the right decision based on guidance from God, trusting your intuition as a woman,and being honest with yourself. Stephan makes it clear that you are actually in the driver’s seat, when it comes to deciding, who gets to be privileged to have you as a blessing in their lives.

He firmly believes that God has a specific man for every woman, but recognizing him is going to take some work on your part. Praying to God to ”send you a man” is not going to mean you fold your arms and sit back,you first need to prepare yourself by healing emotionally from your past, so that when he arrives, you will be open and vulnerable enough to receive him. You’re also going to have to get real and very honest with yourself, by stepping away from the situation and objectively looking at the man in front of you,not with rose tinted glasses, but examining who he is at his core and asking yourself if he truly measures up to the standard God has for you.

I am not going to lie, when people say God has a man for you, I truly believed that it was a specific man, that was a particular height,with a particular complexion, who had a specific job, etc you get the gist,ha!, and yes I still believe specific people are meant to be together for a purpose,but this book isn’t about that, I think this book offers something more tangible and realistic, I actually don’t think it would be a bad idea, to scrap your own list, and replace it with the list of things this book tells you to look out for, or have it as a guide if you will, on what you expect a man to bring to the table before you can possibly say that he is your potential spouse.

Now of course Stephan emphasizes that all things must be done in prayer,we can’t always just lead with our own understanding as Christians, he mentions that a man may not embody all traits perfectly,but we must be careful so as not to be easily dismissive, without seeking wise counsel in prayer.

There was a chapter in the book that absolutely cracked me up! when he talked about a prayer that all women say, myself included, and here was i thinking that i was doing the right thing!ha ha! without giving up too much away, i think it is safe to say, that when you read this part,if this book resonates with you, you are going to appreciate and agree with Stephan’s approach to the situation.

You want the man God has for you to desire you at his best.

It is becoming a common thing in society,where women are now expected to play the ride or die role,struggle love,and building up a man is seen as a sign of virtue, however it seems to me that,this approach consistently gives women the short end of the stick, a lot of times most women are left feeling bitter,resentful and used when they finally realise that they have only invested in someone who is looking for an upgrade.

He makes it clear, it is not God’s plan for any woman to build up a man. Both of you,should bring something equally to the table.

I don’t want to go into too much detail and spoil the rest of the book for you, overall I liked the book, and I enjoyed reading it, if you’ve heard about it and are thinking about getting it then you probably should. I’m a big advocate of looking inwards to solve problems, with external symptoms.

I believe everything starts and ends in life with the individual, I think love is great when it is done right, but I personally don’t think you can love someone properly if you don’t love yourself and you don’t ”learn” about love the way it’s intended to be shown, without a working relationship with God, because God is love , so you can read all the books you want and attend as many seminars as possible but if you don’t start with what is inside first, and be completely committed to practicing what is essential for you to see some changes in your own life then we have a problem, and i think that is what Stephan wants for all women.

Fear

Fear is powerful because it can cripple you emotionally, physically and psychologically.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. -Nelson Mandela.

I can’t remember exactly when I developed a fear of dogs. To me they have always been menacing creatures, their crooked ferocious looking teeth and fierce barks have always made me uneasy.

I remember making visits to friend’s and family’s houses as a child, and we would be told the dogs needed to be locked up before we passed through the gates, I remember the beware of dog signs. Growing we never kept dogs as pets, we had one, he was a guard dog, only his caregivers and my parents went near him, I think he was only let out at night to keep the premises safe. I’ve never seen them as pets because of this, no matter how cute or harmless they appear, at the back of my mind, I  feel like in an instant they can turn on you and bite you.

Fear is something I have been reflecting on lately, not in a philosophical way but in a primal way, I also have a fear of driving, I am embarrassed to admit this as an adult. If I feel you drive too fast, I will not seat with you at the front seat of your car, and I will constantly tell you to slow down. This is a fear I have to conquer, for practical reasons, I am the only one of my four siblings who cannot drive, I always think the worse will happen, maybe I will end up in an accident, because I was too distracted, talking to the person beside me, while trying to concentrate on the oncoming traffic ahead of me.  I also think about other drivers too, how competent are they,  What if they have been drinking ? What if they are really bad at driving, I hate the idea of worrying about them and myself as well.  I remember once I was in a taxi in Abuja, and my driver was texting on the highway, no hands on the steering wheel, I nearly shit myself by the end of the ride, these are the kinds of things that worry me.

I used to fear being different and I still do, I can be reclusive, although personable in one on one situations, I’m a loner, I don’t really enjoy small talk, but I can tolerate it, if you are my friend, this gives me anxiety because I’m afraid people will interpret this as being haughty or people will mistake this as me being reticent, which is actually not the case, I just don’t like talking unless I have something to say. Sometimes I fear that my interests are too weird for a 30 year old woman, I like make up, fashion to some degree but I love intellectual pursuits more, my dad once told me that he was worried something was wrong with me because I loved horror films so much.

We all have fears, some primal and some based on our perception of ourselves and the  world.

Fear is powerful because it can cripple you emotionally, physically and psychologically. Fear is not necessarily a bad thing, it can serve a purpose, to protect us from real dangers, and it can also hinder us from moving forward in life.I don’t fear being different anymore, I know that God loves me, but I still fear dogs and driving and I NEED to conquer those. I don’t think it is healthy to hastily rationalize your fears away, for me, acknowledging them helps me to be honest with myself and reminds me that I am still human, but I think it is far more important to address them, even if it means taking baby steps.

I think fear usually has some deeper underlying cause, and everybody might not be ready to go there yet, I guess that is okay honestly, but don’t let fear rob you of the possibility of living a great life, I’ve always wanted to write, but I fear criticism, but I feel most alive when I express words on paper, I am determined to push through my fears, even if people don’t like it, even if I never sell books ( this is me showing bravado, please I want to sell books ha ha).

So I will try and make efforts to live my life as fearlessly as I possibly can and I hope you do too.

Xoxo.

The Cinderella Effect

What do Cinderella and I have in common? on the surface nothing actually. I have somewhat of a childlike imagination and I absolutely love a good Disney fairy tale. Cinderella,in particular,seems to be my favorite.I have a special place in my heart for her, i have a thing for underdogs and i want to see them win.

We all love a good love story, we love to see the hero get the girl, we love the happily ever afters. Fairy tales fill us with a sense of hope and possibility. I know most of us, have been on the love carousel long enough to realize that real life actually doesn’t quite pan out like the stories. A lot of us when we get older, give up on this romanticized ideal of love,at least,I like to think we do. But ever so often,people arrive and circumstances occur that revive our hope.

And, i think personally, that is why a lot of us women have fallen in love with Meghan Markle and why we identify with her so well, we see ourselves in her, to us she represents the possibility of an idea, that every woman can have a shot at prince charming.

This isn’t Meghan’s doing and quite honestly, I don’t think she would be too pleased to be compared with Cinderella seeing as she considers herself a feminist. But here she is, an independent, self-assured woman, who seems to have abandoned her former life for the probability of finding true love,happiness and nobility. She and Harry symbolize the quintessential modern-day fairy tale. As a woman who just turned 30, I resonate with her.

A lot of times we are told that after a certain age picking a suitable mate becomes difficult, and the chances of you “bagging” your ideal partner, grow slimmer with every passing year. Meghan defies all those odds. She is 3 years older than Harry, a divorcee, comes from a highly dysfunctional family and is biracial (some people say black, but is neither here or there to me), but here we are 5 months away from them becoming parents, she has singlehandedly redefined the Monarchy and catapulted it into the 21st century, to say that’s impressive would be an understatement.

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Yes, she got her prince, but Meghan is certainly a prize herself, she is smart, articulate and very charming, she had a modest but thriving career in Hollywood, she is a UN advocate for women, her repertoire is broad and brilliant.

I firmly believe that she would have gone on to be very successful with or without her newly acquired duchess title, Meghan brought something special to the table. I wonder sometimes, when we fantasize about the perfect partner do we ask (myself included), if I were my perfect mate would I date me? I think the answer would be a big fat no for most of us! Lol! .

See, here’s what I think, no love story or person is perfect, but there are countless of couples who are perfectly happy, I don’t think there’s really a need to start running off, writing a list and doing a bunch of things, that are not really you, to bag you a ‘’Harry’’ but if it makes you happy go for it,.

What I really think we should be doing, to get some semblance of a fairy tale love story in our own lives is to rid ourselves of the Cinderella effect. It means leaving fairy tales, where they should exist in children’s stories and tackling our love lives like grown adult women. Let’s understand what love is supposed to be from a Godly perspective (1 Corinthians 13:4). Let’s focus on making ourselves happy and healthy individuals, let’s set standards so that the men we let in don’t think our hearts are dumping grounds for their emotional baggage. It’s not about being perfect, but it’s about loving yourself, even if you’re insecure about your weight.

So even though we live in a “real” world where things don’t quite work out as we expect, i still believe in romance,and in fairy tales,I am team Meghan and Harry,and I wish them both the absolute best, I’m still trying to figure out though,Cinderella,was she comfortable in those glass slippers,to be honest I don’t think so.

Xoxo