Tuesday, November 25, 2014

P.S: You ain’t God

Bode and Solape had been together for three years when he asked her to marry him. Oh, how happy Solape was, especially when she stared at the beautiful rock that donned the middle finger of her left hand. Plans were falling into place and they both were excited about their future together. Up until Bode told Solape about his own personal plans for her; she would have to resign from her firm so she could concentrate on being an effective wife to him and mother to their children. Bode never really liked Solape wearing make-up or hair extensions and if they were getting married, she had to throw out her make-up box and wear her hair natural. He also told her about his preference for skirts and dresses, he never really thought trousers were an appropriate clothing choice for women. Apparently, Solape was overweight too, thus she needed to hit the gym every day and quit all the sweets and chocolates she loved to munch on. What’s more, she had to do this before they got married or he would have to break their engagement.

Then Solape began to remember all the subtle snide remarks he had made about her hair and make-up, how when she asked him how she looked, he would just give a passing compliment. How when she complained about the demands of her job, he would smile and tell her she only had to endure for a little while.  I guess Bode thought since he had given Solape a ring, he had earned a god-given right to also run her life. See, some people be thinking that being in a relationship or marriage gives them the license to become Jesus, they forget those shoes are just too huge to fill.

There is a MARKED difference between manipulation and influence; whilst the former is coerced and evil, the latter is genuine and productive. I think it is plain arrogant to think we can change other people; how well have we even changed ourselves? If you would be honest, you would own up to the many times you have been frustrated simply because you have tried so hard to change certain things about yourself to no avail. Those bad habits, addictions, bad behavior, I can’t count how many times I made resolutions that I didn’t honour or how self-talk only got me thus far. It takes a higher power to cause real and lasting change, that kind of transformation that is too good to be true.

We often tend to forget an important element in transformation; the willingness of the individual. Willingness cannot be obtained from manipulation or ultimatums but from a genuine realization of the need for change and a deep hunger to leave the status quo. However, willingness though important is only the starting point.

Change is such a beautiful gift; it is indeed a blessing that we can live better lives when we make a decision to do/be different. Just imagine what living would be like if we all had to stay the same, unable to do anything to alter our situations, frustrating doesn’t even begin to describe it. Truly, the awareness of such an opportunity provides the motivation I need to get out of bed on some mornings as I draw strength from the endless possibilities in the horizon.

The problem with trying to change people though is that it is most times selfish. We can argue and try to rationalize how noble our intentions are but the reality is that we have a preferred stereotype for the other party and they don’t look like it. So we nag, we prod, we push, we threaten, we cajole, we manipulate, we demand, we blackmail, we do all sorts just to get that person to give up who they are for who we want them to be. Then we begin to wonder why there is resentment, why they avoid us, why they clam up when we are around, why the sparkle seems to have dimmed from their eyes and why they seem to be more stubborn than they were. 

Perhaps, if we remembered that we didn’t create humans, we might also recognize that we have no right to tell them who/what to be. Some would even say, ‘if you really love me, you would do what I ask’. Now, that is a warped definition of love as 1 Corinthians 13: 5 says, ‘love does not demand its own way and it is not irritable’.

I do get that sometimes, we have genuine concern for people who are making poor choices. One of the benefits of our relationships is in our ability to influence people and have positive impact on them. Indeed, it is a great testimony that people learn to live better lives after they meet us but we don’t achieve that by being forceful or manipulative. Influence does not erode the other person’s will; it educates it to consider a different choice.

What if we just learnt to accept people for who they are without pressuring them to be different? What if we just decided what we couldn’t cope with and did the other person a favour by pursuing the kind we really want? What if we just loved people by not trying to control them?

The best way to elicit change from other people is not to concentrate on them but on you. You have heard that saying, ‘Be the change you want to see’, it’s not overrated at all. Let your light so shine that they yearn to have what you got going on. Try to adapt, make some changes in yourself and watch how the other person responds. More often than not, changing one’s self is a seed sown to reap changes in others but remember, to have true and lasting change, you need more than your will power.

If there is anything thing I have learnt, it is that the only person I can control is myself and truly, the only person I need to control is myself.

© Mo’ Omoregee 2014

Whose Lunch are You?

'If you don't define yourself for yourself, you will be crunched into people's fantasies and eaten alive' - Audre Lorde.

Everybody likes Chris. He is that guy that has a smile for everyone; upbeat, friendly and sweet. Boredom becomes a myth whenever Chris is around, one dose of him and you just keep going back for more.

Enter James; think mousy and you think James, keen, quiet and sensitive. He is that guy that walks into the room unnoticed. He yearns to have many friends like Chris does but people just don't seem to enjoy his company. You see, James' secret desire is to be Chris, to have all that attention, popularity and charismatic. So he decides to study Chris' MO and replicate. Determined, he sets on his mission but as the days go by, he finds himself spent, tired and depressed. He feels like a square peg struggling to fit into a round hole. Chris made it look so easy that James can't believe all the effort he is having to expend................

Back in the day, I was James but not because I lacked friends or wasn't popular. I was James, the girl who wanted to be who/what was approved and accepted. I cared so much about what people thought about me...enough to deny my true self just so I could fit into the acceptable status quo. My backbone seemed to be on vacation in those days, getting tanned on a beach leaving me hanging in my needy times. I didn't know how to draw the line between what I really wanted and what people would have me be. This James lived in fear, the fear of disapproval and being an outcast. LOL! I laugh now because this James so wasn't built to blend in, ooh how silly I was to have lusted after man's approval. At that time, the truth eluded me, the reality that human approval is erratic and dynamic and that I really could do without.

If only James would accept his true self and harness his qualities. If only James would stop comparing himself with Chris. If only James spent all that time and effort focusing on his strengths, he might observe that even though he is 'Jerry' on the outside, his mind is all 'Tom'. Perhaps, James would sense that his personality gives him the template to do certain things, to handle certain positions....to reach certain people.

Can I get real? People will ALWAYS have an opinion but you gotta listen to Madea when she says, 'honey, it ain't what they call you, its what you answer to'. In a perfect world, people would learn to accept others for who they are but we all know the world wherein we exist is flawed.

Hitherto, you cannot afford to define yourself based on what people say/feel about you. The cost of sacrificing who God created you to be on the altar of who people would have you be is enormous. You are an answer to a question, a solution to a problem and you are just right for purpose. Even if you do need to be fixed, The One who made you has you on lock down.

We need to stop comparing ourselves with others, its unwise and a recipe for frustration. It is foolhardy to compare two very different things that were created for very different purposes....to what end? Imagine that the Sun compared itself to the Moon and decided it was time to become like it? What if the Root felt the Leaves were getting all the attention and decided it had just about had enough of being 'behind the scene'? We can't all have our names on neon signs or flashing across bill boards, some of us were meant to be behind the curtain holding up the props but you better recognise that you are just as important as the actor on the stage. Without your input, the show couldn't come on. Perhaps, if we remembered who the real Superstar is, we really wouldn't mind playing the background.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this James has grown. Nowadays, I couldn't give a rat's ass (pardon my French) about what the majority think; keeping up would be a real task because those opinions continually change, pointing to ConfusionVilla.com. There are some people whose opinions can INFLUENCE me but that number is in the minority and they are selective. After spending considerable time in that prison, someone expects me to put those shackles back on? Uh uh, MaryMary would take back my 'Thankful' cd plus Jesus didn’t die for that.

Love changed it all, I found love and my lover got to work on me. He unscrewed the default wacky job and replaced it with a Kingdom compliant version. I stopped seeing myself through the world's lens and learnt to see myself through His eyes. I learnt that he who didn't create me has no right to tell me how to be. I finally recognized that if I wanted to have a fulfilling life, I needed to stop looking to humans for validation and to focus on being the best of myself.

Perhaps you are unrefined gold but it doesn't change the fact that you are gold. You will shine when you recognise that even though gold and diamonds are precious stones, they are very different and it is ok to be different!

Know who you are. Own who you are. Embrace who you are. Then become who God made you to be.

'Do not conform to people's expectations of you but let God transform you by changing how you think' - Romans 12:2

Mo' Omoregee 2014
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