When Seunbabara reached out to me to speak at the WholesomeGirl Network Conference this year, I was very excited about it. This was partly because I had been invited to the network before and I had totally enjoyed that meeting. On another hand, I was excited because the conference had been themed ‘Evolving’ and looking back at how far my life has gone, that was a topic with lots of stories that I couldn’t wait to share with the girls. The conference held on the 28th of February and it was an amazing time for me, so first, I would like to say a big thank you to Seun and the entire WholesomeGirl Network for having me again.
Today, I have decided to share my session here with you guys because why not? If this is your first time here, I would suggest that you sit back, breathe, smile and grab something to chew if you can. On the other hand, if you read my blog regularly, a few of the things I’ve shared here might not be foreign to you. I have however tweaked this post a bit, so it looks more like a conversation between us, than the way it was with the girls. I really hope you find some new insights in this as you read. Enjoy.
I grew up with a low self-esteem. This meant that as a young girl, I saw everyone else as better than I was. I was easily intimidated whenever I was in a gathering with other girls and no matter how pretty I looked (of which I always tried to look pretty because I thought that would make me feel better), I would still always see myself as inferior to everyone else. As a teenager, I was shy, I was timid and I was afraid.
The only thing I had that made me feel good was the fact that I was extremely brilliant in secondary school and I had big hips. I mean, if you had a figure 8, what else are you looking for, right? Fortunately or unfortunately, my hips just started to reduce. Like that was not enough, my brilliance also did not get me the course I really wanted to study at the university, so after some time, I pretty much felt that I didn’t have anything.
In addition to all of these, I was also a very angry teenager. I remember back then, my mum would cry and say things like ‘are you the only one going through puberty in this life?’ I couldn’t blame her o. I was always fighting with her, angry at everything. Then as I continued to grow, I started picking up some sinful sexual habits as well. In retrospect, it felt like my life was going down a spiral and somehow, I couldn’t come out of it.
Then I got into university and I started to hear messages like ‘there is someone that God has created you to be’, ‘there is a purpose for which God has created you’, ‘there is a person you are becoming’, and I just got confused the more. At this point, I had given my life to Christ and I was so desperate to stop all the habits I had picked up. I also wanted to stop getting angry so easily and fighting with my mum but I didn’t know how to stop. Every time, I would cry and ask God for forgiveness, and the next minute, I was back to the exact same thing I had just done. Yet, I kept hearing that ‘God had a reason for creating me and that there is someone he is making me become,’ and no matter how hard I tried, I just could not fathom how me, this sinful, angry girl who did not like herself could become anything other than what I already was.
But I look at myself now, I look at how far God has brought me and the woman He is making me into and I’ve found myself asking the question ‘how did I become this person? How did I evolve?’
Another person whose story resonates with mine would be the man called Saul. A number of you probably know this story already but let’s continue. Saul was a Pharisee who used to persecute Christians back in the day. As a persecutor of Christians, this man, Saul would travel from town to town to identify people who had accepted Jesus as their Lord and he would watch as they were being stoned or beaten to death. He did this for a long time and he was very popular for it.
On one of those trips, while he was traveling, a very bright light from Heaven flashed around him and he was blinded. Along with that light was a voice that said ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ Saul, of course, was confused. He didn’t know who was talking to him and so he asked ‘who are you, Lord?’ and the voice called back ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.’ Jesus then told Saul what to do to regain his sight and he went on from there to become the great Apostle Paul who preached Christ and wrote almost all the books in the New Testament today. Again, we ask ‘how did Paul become that new person? How did He evolve into the person God wanted Him to be?’
I will answer this question, and a couple of others in an attempt to attempt to explain what evolving means to me.
First, what does it mean to evolve?
Evolving is the process of growing or developing into something. For example, back in secondary school, my sister and I would collect tadpoles from gutters or puddles because we thought they were tiny catfishes and we could rear them. We would take them home only to have my mum shout at us, for bringing home frogs or God knows what those tadpoles would develop into. If my mum had not made us throw those tadpoles away, perhaps we would have seen how they would have changed into what they really were. But she had us throw them out and wherever they landed, if they were lucky to be alive, I’m sure they ended up growing into frogs or whatever it was they really were. That process of them changing is what it means to evolve.
Evolving is not a one-time thing, rather it is a process of developing or being transformed into everything God has created you to be.
Now, how can you develop into that person?
To answer this, I’ll be sharing a couple of lessons I took out from Apostle Paul’s story, which looking back, I too can point to, as the reasons my life has changed as well. Ready?
.1. You have to meet Christ:
Guys, the first thing we have to do to truly evolve into everything that God has called us to be is to first meet Christ. Like there is no other way. If you don’t, the truth is you would indeed become something. In fact, you could even be successful at it, but it won’t be that thing that you were created to be. I mean, look at Paul. He could have lived all his life as a persecutor, a very popular one at that. He could have lived all his life as a tent maker and believe me, he was very successful at it. But that wasn’t what he was supposed to be. He was supposed to be Paul, the apostle, but he would not have known that if He had not met with Jesus that day.
Another example we can see of this is Peter, who could have lived all his life as a fisherman. But He met Jesus and he became Peter, the disciple.
Yet another example would be me. The one thing that changed me from that angry, sinful teenager was my encounter with Jesus. I look back at everything I did back then and I know that if I had not met Jesus, I probably would have gone off rail. Like totally.
Now, have I fully become everything that God has created me to be? The answer is no. I am still evolving, but I am confident that I will become that woman only because I have met with Jesus.
.2. You have to stay in Christ:
I like to use this analogy a lot. Imagine you planted a tree, it’s first a seed right? Then it begins to grow and grow till it becomes full blown and begins to bear fruit. Now imagine that at some point while it is growing, you uproot the tree. Would it grow? No. This means that for that tree to grow, it has to be stay in the soil.
Again, imagine that at some point while it is growing, you cut off all its branches. Would it bear any fruit? No. This means that for that tree to bear fruits, the branches have to remain connected.
It’s the same with us. If we want to truly become the person God has created us to be, we have to stay with Christ. This we can do in the place of consistent fellowship with Him and His word. That’s how we grow.
For me, I realized that every time I felt alone. Every time I felt like going back to an habit or a sin I had dropped, it was usually because my communication with God wasn’t in place. The moment I connect back to God however, it just feels like He carries me and the Holy Spirit helps me overcome all the urges. So after you meet Christ, after you tell Him to come into your heart and live there, stay with Him.
3. You have to keep looking at God:
When I finally came to the place where I accepted that indeed there was someone that God has created me to be, I began to ask Him in my prayers who that person was. I mean, I know that the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God and if I asked, He could show me.
On one of those days, I was led to read 2 Corinthians 3:18. It says ‘And we ourselves beholding as in a mirror the image of God, are being transformed into that exact image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of God.’
If I ever had any question on who I was becoming, this scripture sealed it for me, because it showed me that the more I look at God, the more I am being transformed into His exact image. It would be so exact, it would look as though I was looking at myself in a mirror! That’s me. That’s who I am evolving into and it’s the same with you.
Finally, who helps you evolve into the person God has created you to be?
The answer is the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at that scripture again. It says ‘we are being transformed into the exact image of God, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of God.’ Believe me guys, we can’t do it on our own. I could never have stopped being angry at everything on my own. I could never have stopped those sinful sexual habits on my own. Never! I mean, if you knew how addicted I was, you would know that by my own self, it was impossible to stop.
In fact, when I eventually stopped, I didn’t even notice that I had. That was because at that point, I had taken my attention off trying to stop at all cost, to just focusing on how much God loves me. I wanted to be so consumed by God’s love for me and somehow, in that place, the Holy Spirit kept working on me until that same thing that had so much control over me suddenly just became disgusting and I didn’t do it again. It is God who works in us both to will and to do after all, right? So after you meet Christ and you stay with Him, keep looking at Him and yield yourself completely to the Holy Spirit. He will transform you and continue to, until you evolve into that person that God has created you to be.
Lastly, I think it’s important that I say this. It does not matter what are doing right now. It does not matter how much sin you think you have committed. God loves you. He really does and He wants you to become everything He has created you to be. I mean, look at Paul. He really was persecuting God’s own people. Yet, God still chased after him till He accepted Him.
Look at me too. Even with all the addictions, God still chased me. Till I accepted His love. So, it doesn’t matter where you are now. God has loved you even before you started trying. It’s not what you do that would make Him love you. He already does, so, tell Him you would like to meet Him and you would see how your life would evolve from there.
I have loved you even before you started trying. – God.
That would be all for today guys. I hope you learnt something. If you did, please share what you learnt with me in the comments. Also, do you think that you are evolving? If you have a story to share, why don’t you?