Lessons from June 2019
Can I call you friends? Yeah, I think we are there especially if you’ve been with me for the past few months. So let's do this again.
Another month is done and dusted. How did yours go? Did you make some progress in your plans? I think I made some good progress this month, some successes; mastered vue.js, finished my Lesson from May article in record time, took a nice holiday to Cyprus, and some failures; failed my driving test but we learnt and grew. Take a look.
1. Giving Up Control
Ah, control. The craving of all mankind. We are always trying to control something or someone, exerting our will to define the actions and outcomes in an event, shaping it as we see fit. The more control one has, the more power and will they can exert in that environment and as a species, we have exerted so much control in shape the landscape of the earth with cities, dams and artificial islands (although nature is starting to kick our ass). Losing control is therefore unthinkable for many of us and when it is taken from us, we will do almost anything to get it back.
Besides being part of the human race, I am an avid chess player, a game that prioritises control over the board. This reinforces my need to control things, and if need be, people. But I have gradually and by difficult means, come to learn that control is an illusion, lasting only for a little while, here today, gone tomorrow.
I and God wrestled with this, I, refusing to give up my illusion of control, Him having the actual control. One can only hold on before the weight crushes you. When the weight hit me, I started experiencing constant anxiety, distressed thinking, alternate reality delusion (lol) etc.
All the while God was just watching me. You know it’s hard to get a toy from a child that is wide awake and full of energy but if you wait till they’ve run out and are sleepy, you can get the same toy with ease (they might even offer it to you). That’s how God was waiting for me, to exhaust all my wit and strength, and in the end, I gave it up. When I did so, I regained my peace of mind. He then pointed me to things I needed to control (very cheeky of Him) like my sleeping and eating patterns.
No doubt giving up control, whether to God or another human is difficult. It requires trust and in some cases, love to be able to do so but we have to remember control is an illusion and things will change. That stuff you holding onto may not be as valuable when you look back.
2. Listen to God intently
It may seem I’m going to be talking a lot about God this month but please stick around. He is executive producer of my Lesson series and He came in big this month (He does every month really) so I can’t skirt writing about Him.
Firstly, yes, I know God speaks to me and we have interesting conversations. There’s something about relating to God (and any relationship really) that requires intent listening and obedience. If you don’t listen, you end up with misunderstandings and mistakes.
Many of us make errors when we don’t listen or listen to part of what He said. For me, most times it's part listening that trips me up. Say He told me to do 5 things. I start doing it and by the third thing, I’m like, “Yeah, I’m going good with this”, then I’d improvise the last two things and God is just rolling his eyes, “Dude…”.
It’s like giving someone a recipe and they mess it up, there will be consequences. At best, the food will not be as good as it should have been, at worst, it will be poison. The Bible has examples of many of those consequences, Adam and the fruit, Abraham and Lot, Moses and the rock, etc (now that I think about it, it seems guys aren’t very good at listening correctly).
Even though I know this, I, like Paul still find myself not doing what I am supposed to do many times. We can’t blame God for improvising His recipe, we just have to follow things as He said, not what we think or rationalise to be the better approach.
3. Keep your head in the game
On the day of my driving test, I almost crashed my driving instructor’s car into a barricade, It was the examiner that stepped on the emergency brakes. My instructor says I’m pretty good, so how did I almost total his car?
I switched off after a bad situation during my driving test.
I had done pretty well through half of the test, passed the difficult manoeuvre, and was going well when I got too confident and made a bad error. The rule is never to obstruct traffic and I obstructed traffic by stopping on the road because there was a pedestrian in the way. Big fat F there. I just knew I wasn’t passing this thing and my mind started panicking and shutting down. I made a second and third error after that (I only found out at the end of the test). Getting back to the test centre, I was mentally out of it and that’s when I almost crashed the car.
When the examiner stopped the car and gave me the review, I was just off and knew I wasn’t getting the license. I listened to the review and got the gist of it but what stuck in me was the last 5 minutes of the test. I was antsy and bothered and my mind checked out.
Sometimes, we live life like this. As soon as stuff goes bad, we mentally check out and leave our physical bodies to deal with the rest, going through the motions. If the examiner had not hit the brakes, we would have slammed the barrier. We weren’t going fast but it would have been more cost on the car repairs and maybe injuries. I have no sage advice, but I can only say, keep your head in the game people, don’t kill yourself!
4. The little (good) things matter
It’s why we love some people. They can sense the little needs that we (think we) don’t really need and do them. Those things that seem quite insignificant but when done for you, it hammers home the affection the other person has for you. It’s important to know those little good things that work for the people around you and your significant other. It just makes the relationship smoother. For your boss, it may be asking how his weekend went or giving him some inside Amazon deal for something he may like. For your significant other, it may be turning up with a gift or even smiling in pictures.
Ultimately, you don’t want to just receive those little good things, you want to also give them to those you care about. You can’t imagine how much it will mean to them and light up their day. Everyone needs them.
5. Man Up (lol)
The women’s section in the mall is not for faint-hearted men. It is amusing to me when I see men would stand outside a women’s shop while their wives or partners purchase or window shop. Why this is, I know not. After all, whatever she purchases, at some point in time, you may be the one to take it off her.
I’ve done my fair share of shopping with women but nothing prepared me for shopping alone for a woman. I was tasked with getting a gift for a lady, nothing serious, just shirts or dresses. I went into the shop and the odd looks from the women sent me out. I didn’t last two minutes with those eyes piercing me. Mehn, I needed backup and no one was available. I was about to call it quits and damn the consequences but I decided to call my good friend Gl.
Of course, she cursed me out (kindly) and marshalled me to get back in the shop and finish my task. So I psyched myself up that I’m shopping for my mom and with Gl’s help, I started getting comfortable checking out the clothes and even throwing eyes back at women trying to pick up clothes I had eyes on. Turns out, I do have a good eye (mine and Gl’s eye) and I was able to pick a few things that my friend really liked.
If at first, you don’t succeed (suck-seed), call a friend, have them patronise you and try again.
So that has been my wonderful month of June 2019. I hope you enjoyed it and learnt a thing or two. I’d see you in July.