A couple of days ago, I was pushed, I tell you! Here was I, minding my own business like any mama of two toddlers who has been gifted with a free evening would (hmmm? ☺). It was pretty late at night but I felt my writing juices sizzling, so I cracked open my laptop and got merrily stuck into a piece I had been writing. When I was done, I thought, hey, let me just faff around on Facebook a bit, mess around with a few concepts, maybe create a Facebook page, you know, invite one or two people to test it out. You know, normal, everyday stuff like that. Next thing I know, Facebook popped open, pages were created, words were written and voila! People were invited! I went to bed with my head in the clouds (it was about 5am) and a huge accomplished grin on my face, feeling like surely I must be the true author of the best-selling book, the Purpose Driven Life (in my dreams) because that right there was some purpose-driven livin’. Whoohoo! Only for me to wake up 2 hours later with a start! Freaking out! “Hey! Tooyyyiiiin, what did you do?! You went and opoooned Facebook page ehn?!” (original accent on point) “You invited peepuu?! Ahh! Who poooshed you?!” Complete with hands on my head and everything! I got pushed, I tell you. That’s my story (with some writer’s seasoning for ‘n bietjie flavour of course) and I’m sticking to it! ☺
Okay, dramatics aside, have you ever had an experience like this? Where you take a leap, or more like find yourself taking a leap, and mid-air, you look around, then up, then down, and you and realise, YOU ARE NO LONGER ON THE GROUND! And you are like, “Where in the world did that come from? Who pushed me? This is not the road I planned to be on! This route is not on the map!” But deep in your heart, you just know that though it might look like you are on some shot left, this apparent detour is actually linked to your highway to God-breathed purpose for that season of your life. I’m talking about purpose-driven living here. The Narrow Gateway is way beyond my comfort zone. I mean I like to chit-chat quite a bit on social media, as most of you know, and yes, I am big on observing events in the world and adding my N7.80k (2 cents converted to Naira at black market rate☺) to the discourse, from time to time. But trust me, it’s only a push from God that could get this girl right here to go a whole lot of steps beyond conveniently placed comments on Facebook, into what I am doing now. And I share a bit more about that right at the end of this piece, and more in later pieces. But guys, are any of you going through something similar? Can you feel the season? Are you continuously glancing behind you to see who is incessantly prodding at your back, and declaring, ”This is the way, walk in it”?
I have noticed something blistering over in the hearts of a number of people I have engaged with lately. Purpose! Purpose! Purpose! Be the solution! It’s like, the time for brewing and stewing has come and gone, and yes it will come back again, but right now, it’s time to serve up the main course, and let the people feast and be filled! The season of “the vision is for an appointed time” will come back around. But there is an urgency about the now. Move. Burst forth. Dust off those dreams and soul-erupting passions that God placed inside of you, you know, those ones that used to keep your eyes wide and burning at night, once upon a time, but are now like dying embers in the crowded spaces of your mind? Those ones that make your skin crawl when you contemplate translating them to real life because though you know that this is who you really are, you are scared because it feels way bigger than what you can dare to be? Most importantly, those dreams that are principally about cracking open the code to solution spaces in a world that is in dire need of real, tangible answers to pain and suffering and brokenness? I’m talking about allowing yourself to get pushed into stirring up and unlocking those gifts that God wrote into your DNA, trusting that the One who pushed you, will bear you up and accomplish the work that He Himself placed in your hands to do. I’m talking about purpose-driven living, not the kind that has ‘self’ as the focal highlight, or the kind that feeds off attention by creating a spectacle. I’m not talking about living for the red carpets of social media so that we can have people clicking virtual likes and hearts at us and inserting our names and our work into their cleverly crafted hashtags. I’m not talking about punting ourselves, our strengths, our skills and talents, our savvy, our glamour just for the fame; though fame in itself is all well and good, and can actually be a powerful tool, if that is part of God’s plan for your life. I am talking about the God-push that prompts us to respond to creation, which is waiting, eagerly anticipating the revealing of the children of God.
The world is in turmoil. We know that. Just a few days ago, a chemical attack struck the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib, a province in Syria. At least 85 people, including 20 children, died. There were horrific images of children suffocating on the ground, victims writhing and gasping for air, bodies lined up in rows and heaps, all over. Yesterday, I saw a picture of a victim, a man clutching the lifeless bodies of his twin babies in his arms, wailing in despair at the carnage around him and the terror he had not been able to protect them from. He also lost his wife and at least 20 of his family members. My hands were shaking as I read about it. In the same time span, an orphanage that I follow on Facebook, posted a picture of their newest arrivals, two abandoned babies, they couldn’t have been more than a few days old. This orphanage is one of hundreds in South Africa, and it posts pictures like these at least once every couple of weeks. So this was not a once off occurrence. My heart…it splintered, knowing that these kids, even though they may have one up on hundreds and thousands of other abandoned babies, in that they have been taken in by an orphanage, they will still one day have to deal with having experienced such tragic loss at birth. Creation groans and pangs, as if in childbirth, waiting to be delivered from the rampant futility into the glorious liberty of the children of God, and for the believer, our role remains what it has been throughout the ages when we have had cycles of increasing corruption and decay in our world; we, pushing into our gifts and callings, are meant to be working the works which God prepared for us to walk in, unravelling the maze of brokenness in a world that is crying out for us to live the truth that we claim to believe. We are to plug into our gifts so as to unlock solution spaces and unravel answers to the spiritual, moral, economic, political and social crises that besiege our families, schools, churches, communities, nations.
What holds us back? For me, it’s looked something like this: I have my own problems, I am dealing with my own challenges, my resources have their own limitations, and most of all, I am faaar from squeaky clean, so how can I even think of helping my world when I myself need help? I cannot be anyone’s solution. Right? Wrong. Purpose-driven living may start off being about us and about how God is moulding us and bringing us into a new season, and equipping us, but the focus soon shifts to the work that God wants to do through us – we are but vessels, tools, conduits. As we ride the wave, it becomes less about us and more about the lives that have our names written on them, as a contributors to their deliverance. The more we spotlight that, our inadequacies and even our egos, diminish, and we become more fruitful in the hands of the Father, to show the world He loves who He really is and what He has already done to deliver us from darkness.
So I ask you again. Does this resonate with you? Do you feel the push? Has there been a fire burning inside you, stirring you up to do things that scare you and thrill you at the same time? Do you find yourself seized by the events around you? Maybe in your family, or your community, in your school, place of work, in your nation? Has God placed in you a natural inclination, a gift, to be hospitable, or compassionate, or giving, or efficient, or administrative, or creative, or artistic, or resourceful (for example)? Do you have access to funds, or influence, or a network, or a platform, or time, or equipment, or premises, or knowledge, or skills? There’s grace (divine enablement) right now. Take a dip.
If this piece speaks to you, but you are saying, “How do I find out what my gift is, or what my purpose is?” or “I know what I am meant to be doing with my life but I just can’t bring myself to step out. I am scared no one will buy what I’m selling” or “This is all well and good but reality beckons. I have a family to feed, I have bills to pay. Purpose-driven living is a child’s dream, but I am all grown up, and awake.” If that is you, please feel free to contact me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org. No I do not have any magical answers to your questions but together, we can do some truth-seeking. I also have a network of coaches that I could link you up with who can work with you to explore, discover and manifest your God-given gifts to the glory of God.
Thank you for reading and engaging. I’d love to hear from you! Can you feel the push? Where is that voice taking you? Are you giving in to the push? What’s life like post-push (if I may use that term)? I would really love to hear your stories of a life lived by the push of God, being the solution to the world in whatever way God has enabled you. If you are not keen on talking about yourself, maybe you can share other peoples’ stories, people you admire, who have given in to the push – everyday people in your life. Who knows, we may be able to do some truth-telling together. So please do go ahead and put your comments in the section below, or you could send me a private message on email@example.com. And don’t forget to like my page on Facebook (@coachtoyin) and follow me on Twitter (@thenarrowgate4). Engage, engage, engage. Listen to the interviews, read the blogs, share and re-share, tweet and retweet.
Critically, I end this by saying I am Toyin, quirky writer of this piece, and I am very much convicted by my own words, and under construction.
I look forward to getting to know you better. Keep truth-seeking.
Yours in truth-telling,
Toyin is a writer, blogger, vlogger, speaker and all round lover of truth-seeking and truth-telling. She is the founder of The Narrow Gateway, which is a platform that houses an ever-growing collection of creative resources and materials that are dipped in truth according to God’s Word, geared to trigger us to ask, WITNG? “What is the narrow gateway?” when we encounter life’s events and nuances. Because when we discover the narrow gateway in any given circumstance, we become well kitted to be transformed, that is, to bring our thoughts, values and actions in line, so that as we increasingly resemble Christ, we can burst forth in expressing the gifts and callings that God embedded in us, which are designed to be the solution to the world. (www.thenarrowgateway.com)
You already know what I think about you and what you have embarked on.
LOVE this ! Thanks for sharing and fanning the fire that has been burning for me ???
My darling friend! You inspired this piece in a large way. I tried to find a way to include that video you sent me in the piece but I could not download it off Facebook. But that vid tells the story of an ordinary woman responding to her God-given compassion for those less fortunate, and pouring out of her heart to be a solution. I wish I could have included the vid. But I will find a way to share it as an example sha…
@fanning the fire burning in you…YES!!!!! Goosebumps! Oh my friend, was just sharing with Fiyin this a.m how you are such a blessing to me over the years. You are the realest. I believe that whatever God is stirring up inside you will be epic and will change lives. I want front row seats! Do share when you are ready
Thank you my SparklyCoz and thanks again for the engaging so intently and for the feedback you sent on WhatsApp! Watch me apply apply apply! Love you lots.
Well written and moving piece! Echos to every soul in search of purpose and making change in and around themselves. Becoming a small pebble in a sea of people and creating a ripple effect one life at a time. It excites me and reignites the dormant fire within. You are gifted my dear old friend. Keep on keeping on. May your blog continue to effect change for the better in and around ourselves. Well done on a brilliant writing piece.
Imaan this means a lot to me, thanks so much for engaging with the piece and for receiving the message. When I write these things, I keep keeping in mind how ‘under construction’ I am and basically I am sharing things that I am learning and experiencing. Weren’t we in the same English class in TSHS? Mrs Engelbrecht? Lol! That was where my love for writing was birthed…but I never developed it all these years, then one day, a couple years back I was lamenting about how purposeless I feel and the Lord said to my spirit, “But I gave you a gift and you never did anything with it.” And He didn’t have to say anything else because I knew exactly what He was talking about…and so a process began of stirring up the gift, and also battling with feelings of inadequacy, or other priorities…but I thank God that He is helping me get back on track and I pray that He Himself reaches everyone with the message He wants to send out there. Love you stax old friend…oh and I look forward to being front and centre stage as you stir up that greatness that the Lord placed inside of you… Please keep The Narrow Gateway posted 😉