Saturday, 30 May 2015

Maybe it's me...

When concerned parties like my sweet friend, Rob, ask what is going on with me I usually tell them I'm going through a quarter life crisis. Of course I get the puzzled look considering the fact that I'm just a few weeks away from my 22nd birthday. The conversation usually ends in a joke I pull out my arsenal and everyone forgets I even mentioned it.

I think there have been many emotions I have been packing and unpacking for as long as I can remember. But these past few months have been very, err, for lack of a better word constipating for me emotionally and mentally. I can only run for so long. I’m barely 22 and I'm weary; my soul is tired.

Today I saw a conversation thread on my twitter from two women I greatly admire. They had ended the conversation ages ago but I have this ridiculous habit of checking their individual timelines so I found it (creepy, I know). It was something about us women not having friends from our own gender. “I don't have very many female friends” was the sentence that jumped out to me and I chuckled because I say that. Often. I'm slowly reaching out to other women these days and giving friendships a chance to blossom into something beautiful. But it’s a hard, hard journey. I still have scars and phantom pain from experiences not too far in the past. I was laying on my bed, munching on something, phone in one hand as I quipped, “It’s not always black and white. Some of us have suffered emotional abuse from so called friends”. Of course there are women who think it MTV cool to say that they don't befriend their own gender but my case is different. Surely I can’t be the only one.

The conversation ended with one of them saying that if a woman has had bad friendships with other women say three times then the problem was probably her. And if she had the same problem say three times in three different relationships the problem was also probably her. Then launched a series of tweets about how black and white human relations can actually be when guided by the Holy Spirit. I put my phone away from me for a long time. Looking at it alone was painful. I eventually got talking with a friend of mine about it and she helped me understand a couple of things.

It got me thinking though, how easy it is to group things into two convenient boxes but real life is rarely like that. What happens, for example, when in trying to make better and more God-honoring decisions in my relationships, my partner turns out to be the worship leader who manipulates, emotionally and spiritually abuses his God-loving, church-going girlfriend? Was I not discerning enough to have seen it coming that someone I knew and brought me closer to God would also have me trapped between the wall and thirsty hands? Is there something truly awfully damaged in me that attracts backbiting friends who also led bible study? Am I truly the magnet that attracts the predators and manipulators in the world and even in church? Am I not discerning/spiritual enough to see through their disguise? Or are there just too many people in need of a personal savior in the world? Is it me? Or it the frailty of humanity?

My heart bleeds for each time that we as Christians rashly share things online without thinking (or caring?) how our statements are read. It’s easy to think, “Yes, I'm just speaking the truth” or quip something witty about not wanting to be liked by people but to simply please God. But the question we should really ask ourselves is “Am I pleasing God? Or am I making my faith as unattractive as possible to people?” And no, they don't have to go hand in hand.

There are statements that we can make when we are teaching at church, for example, when we're talking with friends on the same level as us spiritually or having lunch with friends that even though those statements are radical, the people around would get it. They would be convicted by it but not offended because y'all are on the same level. Unfortunately, online, we don't have that luxury. We forget that the same crowd we have church picnics with is not the same crowd surfing the net. No one can see that my eyes are not vindictive as I share that bible verse on my Twitter, no one can hear the softness in my voice as you say it. No one can hear the levelheaded factual explanation that follows. All they will ever see are the words on their computers, phones, tablets. Not words that convict, but words that condemn.

Not everyone who has been burned by people (both in and out of the church) have the luxury of talking it over with girlfriends like Kovie. Each hurried Im-just-stating-the-facts-take-it-or-leave-it update online drives jaded, weary hearts farther and further away from the light into waiting numbness.

How many of us in it actually give as much grace as we have received?

 “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” – 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 NIV


  1. cassandra ikegbune30 May 2015 at 14:51

    When I saw the post title, I was expecting a beauty post. 'Maybe its me, maybe its Maybelline" LOL

    I must confess that I didn't read the whole post so I don't have much to contribute, just glad to have you back

  2. Lol Cassie!!! I'm with you on this one. I just clicked...well I am reading it now :D

  3. I'm particularly excited to have you back in the blogging world, IB! You have permission to feel weary sometimes...don't just stay weary. And don't think you're weird, alone, or abnormal. You just have purpose brimming inside of you...waiting to be discovered. And in time, you will find out why you're having these things happen to you. Keep the faith, girl!

  4. IbukunAkinnawo1 June 2015 at 04:16

    Shey you read it finally sha *side eye* lol

  5. IbukunAkinnawo1 June 2015 at 04:16

    Glad to be back :D

  6. IbukunAkinnawo1 June 2015 at 04:17

    Glad to be back. Ibukun's getting her allround groove back lol. Thank you for your kind words, Maggie. The world needs more Maggies!

  7. Well, I did read and it's great to have you back..

    Somehow, I could feel/tell your expression as you wrote this and I didn't feel condemned, felt convicted and got thinking about myself, which is what the word should do.
    Correct us even as we evaluate ourselves.

    Maybe the ladies weren't vindictive, sometimes we just don't understand that things aren't always black and white and I am learning to recognize that fact too.

    Stay strong IB, God always uses the "somehow" parts of our lives to make something great - a message - a message from the deep messes- that's His specialty.

    *hugs and hugs*

  8. As I re-read again, an article I read on conflicts in church came to mind.
    We are all people filled with human frailties, and sometimes these frailties hurt people all around us, even in the church which shouldn't be or should be because that's what the Word/the church does, it exposes the stuff we have in us, all the wrong stuff, being in the Church magnifies them.
    But this should be for good, not for bad. It should draw us closer to the God who is perfect and not away from Him. Only in Him can we find perfection and He will build us to that same perfection if we let Him - then we can extend grace to those who hurt us even in the church cuz we can see that we are just like them, imperfect through an through. They need Jesus just like we need Him, we all need the only one who can save us- our savior- Jesus.
    So it's hard to let go of the hurt, but it can bring a greater good, cling to Jesus, He is the only perfect one who can perfect us too.

    I can imagine the hurt, but God's grace is enough to teach you what He wants to get to you thru all these...

    Much love sis.

  9. IbukunAkinnawo1 June 2015 at 08:51

    Thank you, Frances!

    Sending you love and light

  10. IbukunAkinnawo1 June 2015 at 08:55

    Of course, being in the body we are still frail with our imperfections. I wish that we would be comfortable acknowledging that. Acknowledging that we fail sometimes and reaching that arm of vulnerability out to others.

    The problem lies in us acting invincible when it's clear we're not. I feel we should be more open with one another about our failings but more importantly we need to create room for people to be vulnerable with us. Not hide because they are afraid of being judged by fellow members of the body.

  11. I totally agree with you..we should be open not just with our strengths but with our weaknesses..God can be seen in both, moreso even in the weakness and frailties and we should let Him shine through it.

  12. This...

    I'm a firm believer in Love. No Condemnation.

    I'm beginning to see how my reactions are usually a reflection of me.

    I see a lady all decked up, looking pretty and my first reaction is "she looks good. Fake bag tho"
    Hian. What kind of reaction is that?

    Drilling into that reaction exposes my own inadequacy. "Just because I can't afford it, she shouldn't be able to"

    So, I am learning. No Condemnation, just Love. My thoughts are aligning.

    Let the words of my mouth,
    And the meditations of my heart,
    Be acceptable in your sight...
    Oh Lord.

  13. IbukunAkinnawo5 June 2015 at 06:31

    Thank you for dropping by, Vivian!
    This is so true. I catch myself doing this sometimes.

    I realise that as women especially we need to be on each other's team more.

  14. You have beautifully expressed your thoughts and I can sense that you are someone with some emotional honesty which is a very rare trait to find. Most times self-awareness and emotional honesty are all it takes to make a friendship work. Unfortunately, those are not common traits.

    I think that if we let ourselves get entangled in an abusive or whack friendship for too long then it really is a pointer about our emotional health because most emotionally healthy people will love themselves enough to disengage from whatever is damaging to their physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological health.

  15. IbukunAkinnawo17 June 2015 at 04:47

    I was going over this with someone dear and they said almost exactly what you posted! It didn't "sting" because I understood where he was coming from and it made plenty sense.
    I may have to write a rejoinder after this.

    Thanks for dropping by, Inez