My Faith Hassle

The Story of the Beginning

  1. “If I know the way home and I’m walking along it drunkenly, is it any less the right way because I am staggering from side to side?” — Leo Tolstoy

I became a Christian four years and seven months ago. In those four years and seven months, I have staggered from side to side. I have, at some point, believed that some people were just not born to be Christians. In those four years and seven months, I have become accustomed to a deep weariness that now resides in my head. I have laughed about this thing, I have cried about this thing and now, I choose to write about this thing.

In 2016, I gave my life to Christ. It was nothing dramatic. I was new in university and my roommates would wake up in the morning to cry, literally, to God. It was astonishing to me. Why would anyone wake up early in the morning to cry to the big guy up there? Every morning, I would wake up to sounds of tears being shed with smiles on their faces. They would sing “Oh, how you love me so/ oh, how you love me so…” and I would plug in Lil Wayne and watch till it was over. It was good fiction material. After one week, I decided that it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to have. Two weeks later, I was in a Christian meeting saying the sinner’s prayer because I wanted something to cry about early in the morning.

My Christian journey started on a high note. I had, and still have, the most supportive Christians anyone can find. I had several empty journals and a brand new Bible. I was ready to begin to a new life.

The first year:
Everything was good. I went around bookshops, pricing Bibles and having huge dreams of preaching in market squares. I bragged to John Timothy that I would raise the dead before Final Year. I looked up Kathryn Khulman and tried, unsuccessfully, to fall in love with her sense of fashion. You never could tell, her life may soon be mine.
A few months in, I ditched my trousers and my Lil Wayne songs. My friend, Temi smiled as I marked all the songs for the bin. She was happy, she did not particularly like Lil Wayne. We laughed together and ate chicken boiled in a local spicy stew. After eating, I went around the hostel collecting gospel songs. After listening to some of the songs, I would be so angry. What is this one even singing? What kind of mediocre album is this? But, I convinced myself that I would get used to it. The devil would release me long enough to enjoy it. It never happened.
I broke up with the boy I liked. I told him I wanted to take God seriously. I began to “press into God”. It seemed like the more I pressed, the farther he went. I was confused. Jesus, where are you going? Why don’t you like me? Is anything wrong with me? Son of man, you’re super partial. You’re so partial that Nneka gave her life just yesterday and she already has the early morning tears.

The second year:
My Quiet Time book was filled to the last page. I had gone through some books in the Bible. In fact, the last time I went home, I attended my home church to challenge the Sunday School’s teacher’s knowledge. But, my Encounter Book was empty. My Miracle Book was empty. No written prayer was ticked as answered. I still did not have the early morning tears.

I saw the boy I used to like and he asked how my Christian life was going. I nodded and ran away. He was looking finer than before.

I start to read Christian books, borrowing ten at a time. I was looking for answers. I was looking for something to be deeply passionate about. I came across the term “hardness of heart”. I decided that it was what I had. I mean, look at Pharaoh. God intentionally hardened his heart! Maybe that’s what God was doing to me. Maybe that’s why I’m not overwhelmed by the sacrifice on the cross. I started to tell everyone that I wasn’t growing, or changing or crying. Everybody started to give me solutions: Be patient. Don’t look for signs. Everybody’s walk with God is different. Search for God in the scriptures. Pray. God likes to hide, he only reveals himself to those who have grit.

Really? He died on a cross and now he wants to hide? If I died on a cross and 2000 years later, you confessed my name, I’mma appear in front of u and give u a slurpy kiss on the cheek. I’mma be like “Yo, Yo, Yo, it’s Christ come to save you! Mehn, I never thought you’d ask!”

The third year:
I’m giving my life to Christ for the 500th time. Something must have been wrong the previous time. Maybe I didn’t say all my sins. Maybe I wasn’t sad enough, broken enough, willing enough. They say the altar call and I’m raising my hand again. Dear Jesus, come into my life…. My mind is wandering. I’m thinking about boys. I’m thinking about money. I’m thinking about fame and debate motions and Adichie’s wisdom. My mind is a noisy place, too many things are happening at once. Maybe if God quiets it a bit. Maybe if it’s less cluttered. Sighs. Na like this dem dey take go hellfire.

Fourth year:
Many have given up on me. Many, still, are praying for me. Many continued to insist that I was looking for “big signs”. So, I stopped looking for any sign at all. I stopped expecting anything. When I went to church and the preacher said “I hope you came here with an expectation”, I would just scoff. I won’t even expect the sun to set.

I grew tired of my Christian friends. I became angry with all of them. Why are they so happy? Why are they so content? Why is theirs even easier? I started to criticize their every move. Did Jesus ask you to…? Will Jesus condone your…? I was the stupid voice of reasoning in every Bible study.

Seven months in the fifth year:
My Bible is dusty. I’ve discarded some of my journals. I’m happy Covid-19 has disrupted the church-going ritual. I’m happy that nobody will ask me why I didn’t come last Sunday.
My faith has become a burden but I cannot leave it alone. I still remember crossing Lagos-Ibadan express road and not seeing that oncoming car. Halfway across the road, people were shouting. What is she doing on the road? Does she want to kill herself? What is that girl doing in the middle of the road? I stood and, for the first time, I saw the car coming. It was so close already. It was coming really fast and I was transfixed by it. I simply stood, watching it and wondering if this was how people usually died. The screams were getting louder and something, or someone, nudged me back. It was a small push or a big jerk. That’s the best way I can describe it. It was there and at the same time it was not there. The car raced past me. It’s side grazed my body and it was gone. I had lost some buttons and the contents of my bag were scattered on the tarred road. Everybody was shouting and shouting and I just stood there till my brother came and yanked me off the road.

Every time I reimagine this story, I tell myself that I finally regained my senses and pulled myself away from the road but I didn’t. The nudge remains, as if challenging me to dismiss it, as if daring me to call it a brain trick.

“Do not mislead me, do not be glad that I have got lost, do not shout joyfully: ‘Look at him! He said he was going home, but there he is, crawling into a bog!’ No, do not gloat.” — Leo Tolstoy

This faith has become a burden but I can’t walk away. I can’t forget about it. It keeps calling me back. Something about it continues to appeal to me. Something about Jesus continues to catch my fancy.

So, this is not a story of failure. This blog is not a testament of my new found atheism or agnosticism. It is a documentary of my journey and questions and doubts and struggles.
Will it ever work? Will I ever have an unflinching belief in the Lordship of Jesus? Can I serve God and really be fulfilled? Do people like me — people who like to ponder and analyze and do their thinking independently — stand a chance at this Christian thing?
I do not know. I am not sure. I really cannot say. But, I’m willing to try. I believe in trying.

 

20 thoughts on “The Story of the Beginning”

  1. “Really? He died on a cross and now he wants to hide? If I died on a cross and 2000 years later, you confessed my name, I’mma appear in front of u and give u a slurpy kiss on the cheek. I’mma be like “Yo, Yo, Yo, it’s Christ come to save you! Mehn, I never thought you’d ask!”

    I did laugh my heart out(I’m probably exaggerating) after reading this in that weird Kevin Hart voice or was it some random Black American lady I encountered in a Christian movie I recently watched. Nevertheless, I understand the hassles of your journey cos I have had almost all of the experiences. But I’m glad I’m in a better place with God than I was years ago. I’d like to meet you. I’ve heard so little about you.(smiles).

  2. Pingback: Another year and I'm still playing with God - My Faith Hassle

  3. There’s always a trepidation that comes with changing your way of life. That fear is not at argument for not changing it, neither is it an allure to the old way. Change is good and if life is drawing you away from the Christian ideals, accept it.

  4. I Cant stop thanking God for this piece, we’d find answers always in the love of Christ. The lock down is another story every Christian has to journal, thanks for challenging me to recall my lockdown experience…

    This is me saying you’re not alone

    Bravo queen

  5. Sis.. You’re not alone in this…
    I was honestly not so excited when the lock down was lifted and church had to resume.
    Dear..

    I ask these questions too.. The expectations and “ENCOUNTERS” I’m like maybe it’s not for me. So my little sister is having an impression in her spirit and hearing a still small voice while me I just never feel different spiritually.
    .
    It just has to be that God is working with us differently but I sha want to know how. I’

    I like to think about these things independently for myself too. I’m looking for answers too.. Maybe just convictions

    Are. This blog is really really essential.. I’ll keep up with every post. We’ll struggle together. Cos whichever way, I have also found him precious ♥♥♥

  6. Oh Queen!

    This was brilliant, and relatable in ways you cannot imagine.

    I sometimes wonder if any of these are true, or if I’ll ever make the cut. The wholesome-relationship-with-God thing continues to elude me.

    These days, I dare not call myself Christian, at least not privately.

  7. An amazing read.. I can really relate.. The whole back and forth thing.. I am not saying I am there yet but the hassle still continues

  8. This is me, a young boy, hassling through the same thing. Thank you, Queenie, for creating this. This very blog post ‘The Story of the Beginning’ make things a little clearer. Definitely, Queenie, we’ll survive this race. I believe.

    Kudos to a good job, Queenie!

  9. Equiste writing little lady… Apart from the fact that I absolutely enjoyed it… It sheds a lot of light on the struggles a lot of people face as Christians… We feel so inadequate and inept at this religion we were born into…. But like you said we’ll keep trying

  10. Well, from the above story, I sense your love for God. There’s still a fraction of it still striving. I also want to let you know you’re not alone in this journey. One day your conviction is very strong and another you’re confused.
    I have to come realize that to live a true Christian life, one needs a direction, which only the bible and the holyspirit can give. But most importantly, keep your eyes off the world. The world will convincingly confuse you. Human wisdom might fail you. Preachers might fail you too. One will say this and another a different thing entirely. But the wisdom in the word of God is supreme. It is in the Bible. And remember it’s by Grace, so pray for Grace.

  11. I don’t know if this helps but I feel like you don’t have a working experience with God because you’re comparing yours to others. In the most simplistic way I can think of, if you can picture him in your inner eye, in whatever form your mind gives you, if you can talk to Him having that belief that he’s right there listening to you, then that’s a starting point. Forget about how others do it for a second, have yourself see him in your own view first. For me I started to talk to God as though he was a friend, if I had something I didn’t like I’d talk to him (the picture of him I have in my head) with the belief that he’s hearing me, at first I wasn’t feeling any different but I continued holding on to the belief that he is hearing me regardless. Fast forward to some later time in future, I started to realise that after I talk to Him in my heart, I start to think about so many things and inside of those thoughts I discovered that He is the one directing my thoughts and trying to focus my attention on something. Then I started to have dreams where I see future events, it started with something very seemingly insignificant at first, I had a dream that I was sick with malaria and the next day I came down with malaria. Some two days later I had another dream and I saw a pot with boiled eggs in our dining room, the next day my mother boiled eggs in the very pot I had seen in my dream. On another occasion just the next day after, I saw in my dream moi moi, we normally ordered moi moi from someone but it seemed impossible to me on this particular occasion because the next day was a Sunday. But lo and behold that Saturday that I had that dream I put it to test to see if it will come to pass because of the previous dreams. And that Sunday evening when we got home I saw that my mother had ordered moi moi and it was right there on the dining table. I was amazed and shook at the same time and it increased my faith so much. Before I started to notice all this with God I was spiritual asleep, I was told this by a prophet and after he prayed for me I began to seek God in my own way and not the seemingly conventional way. I started to tailor my words in a way I would talk to a person if they were right in front of me, I started to involve God in my activities at random times. I could just say to God in my heart “God see what this person is doing”, on one occasion I complained to God about my mother, and I asked him to touch her so that she stops being so aggressive, this wasn’t a formal prayer, it was more of a talking in my heart to God thing, and overtime I can tell you that my mother has calmed down immensely. The thing is, when I started at first it didn’t feel like God was listening, it felt like I was talking to myself, but after I convinced myself that even if I’m not seeing any physical confirmations I know for a fact that when I speak God is listening to me, and with this I continued to talk to God in my heart, I should also mention that my prayer life is actually quite poor, but I speak to God very often. Before I acquired this feeling of God’s presence around me I was just a guy who would talk to an imagination of God not knowing whether he heard me or not but believing that he did regardless. Then at some point it was no longer just a blank prayer or conversation, I started to feel God’s presence as I talked, I would feel an overwhelming wave of energy around me and that was a great sign for me that God’s presence has just shown up and with that it’d encourage me to say much much more than I even thought I had to say (Open your mouth and I shall fill it up). I hope this helps you in some way, take your journey into Christianity as a personal one from your own point of understanding and relate with God as though he is your friend, and you will start to see signs, they may appear insignificant but that’s God testing you first. He wants to show you the little things and see whether you can descern that it’s Him before he starts to unveil greater things. Always remember, no matter how absent you feel he is, just have that steadfast belief that He is hearing you as you speak regardless of whether you feel He is there or not. It’s a gradual process but He will show up in a way that you will know it’s definitely Him. Use this scripture to pray (I used it prior to my relationship with God, before then sef I had a very strong desire to have a relationship with God, I really wanted it so bad. You have to want God first which I’m sure you do already) Jeremiah 33:3 Read it 33 times midnight and pray with it for three days. It is God who saved you from that accident so definitely He is in your life and He will appear to you again. I’m routing for you and I wish you the best, God bless you and be with you always. I’m sorry it’s rather lengthy lol

  12. Sometimes the Christian faith is painted by some to be all splendid and full of high points…

    But sincere elders in the faith, generals and patriarchs will tell you they equally have experiences of doubt, uncertainty and what have you…

    Thanks for being brave enough to talk about these themes.

    I like the part of the unexplainable pull

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