Like seriously, in a couple of days 2017 will be gone forever. How time flies. I’m so grateful for the blessings and the lessons this year brought me. God is indeed faithful. I can’t let this year slip away without sharing 10 out of the many lessons I learnt in 2017.
1. Have a Plan.
At the beginning of this year, one of my close buddies, Victor, called to ask how far I had gone with the book I wanted to publish. I had no answer to give to him because at that time, I was broke and didn’t see why I should write something that may not eventually come out. How do I get money for editing and graphic design? What if after producing the book, nobody buys it?
One day in March, I made up my mind to see my collection of stories come into reality. So that morning, I walked into an eatery and sat there set to map out a detailed plan. I wrote out the date I wanted to be done with the book and a step-by-step process on how I would go about it. Because I had written down my plans, It was easy to follow through with my decision and finally, I was able to publish two books.
For every project you want to embark on, having a written plan is one way to show how serious that project means to you. The more I reviewed my plans by rewriting them on a regular basis, the stronger the drive to see my project executed. I can remember the days I felt so tired to push on, rewriting my goals stirred me again.
Every area of our lives need a planning process. It starts by writing them down and reviewing them from time to time. I learnt not to wait for cash before making certain steps towards whatever the projects I have in mind. When preparation is done, it becomes easy to key into opportunity when it comes knocking.
2. God provides.
This is actually the biggest lesson I learnt in 2017. God is faithful. When He says, I will supply all your needs according to my riches in glory by Christ Jesus, He means every word. I have seen His hand of provision this year. His eyes indeed watches his beloved. And I am His.
3. God works in unexpected way.
One evening, on my way home, I got a call from my friend’s brother. He said my dad had been trying to reach me. So when I got home, I called my dad back and it was then he told me I had been asked to pick up my appointment letter from a particular agency in Ibadan. It was like a joke when I held my appointment letter that day. I just stood there, staring at it. It was then I remembered that I sent my CV a year ago but had completely forgotten about it.
How many applications have I sent in this my lifetime? I know most of the routes to job sites- from NG careers to Jobmag to Jobberman. But here was a job that did not have me waking up at 4a.m and jumping out before daylight or stressing me out and leaving me depressed. It was a job that suited me well. It gave me time to do other things.
Sometimes, we get to a point when it seems God has forgotten but nay, God is working everything for our good. His word says He is attentive to the prayer of the righteous… Its so sweet to trust in Jesus. Take Him by His word.
4. Mistakes are part of life.
Recently, I was watching one of Alex Kendrick’s video on Youtube (Alex Kendrick is the producer and writer of War Room). He said at the time He was writing ‘Fireproof; a story on marriage, he was having serious issues with his wife that required they go for counselling. It was ironical to him. How could he be writing biblical principles on marriage and yet his was facing a serious storm? God used the principles in that movie to help his own marriage and correct his mistakes.
This reminded me of the mistakes I have made this year. Actions that if it had happened to someone else, I would have given a long speech on how values must be protected. But I learnt my lesson. I learnt that mistakes are part of our existence. They have made me a better person. It’s not failing that is the problem but what you do after you failed.
5. Friends are wonderful.
Two of my friends, Yomi and Gloria, have been a huge part of 2017. We have slept, laughed, played and ate together. I don’t know what my life would have been without people with whom I do not have to put an act together for.
I still remember how my friend and I walked into an eatery and as we sat down to eat, I poured out an issue that had been eating me up. I couldn’t hold back the tears that night. She just sat there and listened. I’m privileged to have friends like this. They’ve come to love me deeply despite my imperfections. If you truly need a friend you can trust, pray for one. Let God send you a friend after His own heart.
6. It is blessed to give.
I can’t even recount how this has brought tremendous blessings to my life. Let me just say that, He that withholds will come to poverty but those who sow bountifully will reap great harvest. This isn’t just limited to money. Your time, your encouraging words..will bring bountiful harvest.
7. I cannot settle for average.
I cannot begin to talk about the number of hours I spend in scribbling down articles on my blog or on my social media platforms. Why do you think I upload articles here only on Mondays and Fridays. I could as well post everyday. Now, if this was all I did for a living, probably it would have been possible to blog daily. But I have other commitments too. I have a job that pays my bills, I have other social platforms where I put up articles, I have other things I do, but because I value quality over quantity, I have stuck to a particular schedule. After putting down a draft, I edit them over and over, making corrections where necessary. It’s not an easy task. Sometimes, I get frustrated when I can’t find the right word to express my thoughts. This happens a lot when I write fiction. Some times I just stare at my book trying to figure out words. I have the picture in my head but putting it down on paper is a different matter entirely.
I have learnt this year that there is too much at stake to settle for average. It is my responsibility to ensure I give my best to whatever task I’m doing.
True, the writings I do is ministry to me, cos I have one goal in mind: to reach out to the body of Christ, yet, I know God wants an excellent job done. So I aim high. I’m learning and correcting and finding ways to get better. I may not be there yet, but I know this year I have improved greatly.
8. Ask questions.
I have learnt to ask questions instead of pretending I know it all. In some situations when I really do not know how to do something, I watch when it is being done. Observation is one area that I have sharpened my skills on. I may be smiling and playing, but my eyes are at work.
When I made up my mind to learn how to prepare Efo-riro, I didn’t care if my friends would laugh at me. In fact, I announced to them my intention to try it out and I asked questions. My attempt turned out to be successful and I discovered it wasn’t so different from the other types of vegetable soups I was accustomed to. Anyone who is opened to learning, whose chest is not puffed up with the ‘I know it better than you’ attitude will always be one step ahead.
9. Watching too much television is a waste of precious time.
Meet the ex-movie addict: Ife-grace.
I can’t even believe that I have been delivered from sitting before soap operas and hours of staring at the TV screen. Hallelujah! Somebody, praise the Lord o.
How many times have I missed my quiet time because I had to watch a movie series.
Sometimes, as I read the bible, the movie would just be playing in my head and I’d be eager to quickly read the devotional and return to the movie.
I have lost precious time, walked in the flesh, killed my creativity because of my addiction. This year, to a large extent, God has helped me to cut down on that and instead I have filled my time with other things- reading, watching ted talks, listening to podcasts, reading articles on Medium.. It has helped to boost my creativity and made me more productive.
10. It’s refreshing to bath with cold water
You are missing out on so much fun if you still turn on the heater for your morning bath. Bathing with cold water is just the sweetest experience ever. Except you are sick or have a cold, I don’t know what you fancy about hot water o. I heard it has been discovered scientifically that cold water bath boosts the brain and makes you more creative. Try it out next year and your life will never remain the same.
This brings us to the end of Ife Grace’s blog update for 2017. It’s been a wonderful time here. I wish you a beautiful 2018. See you next year.