I landed in Lagos just over 48 hours ago and I’ve witnessed many wild and weird things. Before I kick off with yet another list, I just have to say: I love it here. I loved it as soon as I walked through customs and saw a fight ensue between a man and an employee (more on that later). My Old Man has been pushing for a family trip to Nigeria for the past two years and I owe him an apology for being so resistant and buying into the Western perception (yeah, I said it) of Nigeria/Africa. Yes, there is poverty, but name one place where poverty does not exist? I know our televisions/the adverts on the trains tell us that Africa is a
country continent rife with suffering, children with big bellies and mud huts, that is but a fraction of what exists on this continent: Nigeria is beautiful, Nigeria is amazing; Nigeria feels like is home.
3 things I’ve learnt in Lagos:
1)Temptation is everywhere
They warn you about sex, drugs and alcohol but they don’t tell you about the Sprite in Nigeria that sits in my fridge and contains more sugar than the Tangfastic Haribos. We have so many cans and they call out to me each hour, beckoning me, knowing that if they call for long enough, I will eventually give in. It sounds so small and insignificant but my inability to resist those precious cans has revealed something deeper, something that I have been turning a blind eye to for a long time: my lack of self-control. I say ‘tomorrow will be different’ but will it? A part of me knows at some point in the day I am going to run back to that fridge and drink
1 2 5 cans and feel guilty for the rest of the day. What do you keep going back to? Is it as harmless as a can of Sprite or is it so deep-rooted that you wonder if you will ever be able to resist? I need to learn how to say no to myself, remembering that:
“I have the right to do anything,” you say, but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” but not everything is constructive.
1 Corinthians 10:23
2) There will be periods of darkness
My cousins and I decided to venture out into the estate so we could get to know the area. We walked and walked, taking new turns in the hope that it would lead us right back to our home. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and darkness began to fall. We had a choice – to keep going, taking new roads or to turn back and retrace our steps. One route offered certainty and the other didn’t. Guess which one we took?
How many of us are so afraid of the unknown that we turn back to that which is familiar as soon as we enter a period of darkness?
Darkness will come…but so will the light.
If we never walk new roads, we will never experience all that God has for us. Some of us are so busy praying in our bedrooms for God to open new doors that we forget to venture outside.
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
God has already started working in our lives, we cannot be afraid to take steps of faith – even when it is dark.
3) You can’t choose when to love your neighbour
I love hard, I love deep, I love irrationally. If you asked me yesterday whether I needed to learn how to love people properly, I would have shaken my head and inwardly done the polish nails emoji because I would have been 100% sure that knowing how to love people was not my problem. This was until someone didn’t ask for my love; they demanded it, leaving me with no choice but to comply. My space was invaded and my love was taken hostage. My initial reaction to the event was so hostile that I had to question the depth of my relationship with Christ. In that moment of conviction, I learnt that I can’t just love when it’s convenient and easy, I have to love when it is unsettling, difficult and possibly even painful.
In other news, I saw a cockroach this morning and nearly died, I am petrified of mosquitoes and their capacity to ruin my legs, and I have accepted that by the time this holiday is over, I will be so fat that I will need two seats on the plane. As I write this, I am surrounded by chin chin, thinking about what I will be eating tomorrow – these are my confessions.
Lots of love!