A few days ago, during one of the lengthiest conversations I have had with Tosin after a very long time, even with our hands busy with our children and chores, I shared with her my failures and shortcomings and how I cringed every time I saw her doing what God asked her to do. I did not cringe out of disgust or jealousy, nope, I cringed because she was, is and probably will always be a sometimes silent and most times loud reminder of what I want my relationship with God to look like. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Lord, and back in the days, I was all out for Him. No excuses.
I forgot to introduce myself.
My name is Astra and I am old.
Hahaha. I got you.
Seriously now, I am a Ghanaian woman living in Ghana, blessed with an amazing husband and three little champions. I know I am creative though I prefer to think I am not (just so I can be invisible; as much as the Holy Spirit does not find it funny anymore). Araba (Tosin) is my sister and one day I will share ‘our’ story.
I have been hiding; first, it was simply because I was ashamed of being a stay-at-home mum. I felt like I was lazy, obviously because there are mothers who have careers. Then I hid because I have physically changed with each pregnancy, but the biggest reason was my hesitation to do anything at all when it comes to what God has for me, including working on and with the talents and passions He has given me. I was barely praying and didn’t know how to properly manage my time (yeah, I’m still a student in that school) with my three children all below 7 years. I stayed in the background and gave all the excuses in the world, the best one being that I’m a mum of three little children; so God must understand, right? Of course, everyone knows that motherhood is not ‘beans’ and I was willing to flash that card at anyone who might just give me a suspicious glare. I looked down on myself and felt even worse, thinking that was ‘humility’ and ‘modesty’.
The first time I heard that pride was linked to low self-esteem, I rolled my eyes. I didn’t want it to be true because I am an expert on the subject. Even in the past when the world around me thought I had so much confidence, I always saw a fault with myself in every single area of my life. Nothing was good. To me, God could have done a better job with my looks, my financial status, my faith, my academics, my ministry, my family, and you name it. You could call me blessed, beautiful and talented and I would respond with a smile but deep inside I was convinced that you are only trying to be nice to me. It took a while to admit this, but truth cannot hide: My response was born out of PRIDE.
Pride will not always exhibit itself by walking around with shoulders to the roof, bullying others or being loud with your overestimation of yourself. Underestimating and undermining yourself and thinking that God did not do a great job with you after creating you in His beautiful image is another manifestation of pride. The pride that goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18) will not always exhibit itself in its hype and pomp, but also in a false sense of simplicity that degrades. Gradually, both kinds of pride will kill your love, passion and desire for God.
Now I have learnt that confidence as a Christian is vital because our confidence is in God, trusting His judgement on how He has made us, why He has made us and what He has planned for us. Confidence is not pride in ourselves but the stability we have, built on the strength of the truth we find in the Word of God. It is simply the result of a right understanding of who God is and who God has made us be. You can only have this confidence when you spend time with God and His Word. Do not throw away this confidence you have in God because it comes with great reward (Hebrews 10:35). This confidence comes with humility which transforms your posture from looking down on yourself to looking up to God; submitting to Him and being obedient to His directions.
When Tosin suggested (more like commanded) that I write a piece for her blog, fear and pride took over, so I gave her my best line like you already know; “I cannot do it, I am a mum of three children, I barely have time to do anything else.” Yes, I lied; I obviously had forgotten about 1 Peter 5:6-11. The plan was to avoid Tosin for a while, but not only did she threaten to send God after me, God came after me without her pushing for it. He said to me,
“IT IS TIME! LET GO OF THE PRIDE. THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU BUT ABOUT ME. ALLOW ME! I WANT TO REWARD YOU. YOU MEAN EVERYTHING TO ME, THAT IS WHY I SACRIFICED MYSELF FOR YOU. ALLOW ME TO LEAD YOU AND TO LOVE YOU.”
So I have stepped off that pedestal; after all, the mind of man plans his ways but the Lord directs his steps. The past few years have been eye-opening and full of life-lessons, but 2020 was ‘it’ for me, as I’m sure it was for a lot of people for many different reasons. I spent 10 out of the 12 months in a place where I dreaded to be. This particular location did a bad number on me a few years ago when I got married, so I ran back to my comfort zone. It was in this place where I experienced all my major breakdowns and bouts of depression and this made me very scared to return. Nevertheless, I came back because of the lockdown and then got stuck. I have had to face every challenge that has presented itself since I’ve been here, and in this place, God is proving Himself as a great Father, again.
I invite you to join me in gaining back our confidence in God, leaving behind every kind of pride and humbly submitting to Him and His purposes for our lives.
Let’s get back our GODFIDENCE!
Now the God of peace, who brought from dead the Great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip us in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen! Hebrew 13: 20-21
N/B: Kindly study Philippians 2 when you can and see how our ultimate example, Jesus, showed us how we can humbly walk before our God.
With much love,
Astra is my beloved sister from another mother and the same Heavenly Father. As much as she said that I commanded her to come as a guest writer (and I’m laughing my head off), I know that the Lord is blowing back into flames His passion in her heart, and this is just one of the winds He has chosen to utilise. It is by Him and it is for Him. We’ll be reading more from her in our guest writer series.