Posts by Toluwanimi

I love adventure, creativity... and I love Jesus! I believe that every young person can and should do great things in their lives - just give them wings and they will soar.

Take your work seriously! (The principle of Creative Diligence)

Hi dear readers!

I’m especially excited to be sharing this post today. It has sat in my blog drafts for months because the post wasn’t ripe yet, but the recent turn of events in my life has spurred me to reopen this muse.

I am so passionate about this principle I am learning every day and I think you need to see this, especially if you consider yourself to be a creative. This article is a little lengthy but I assure you – it’s worth reading to the end.

My post is not an attack on the wonderful professions of medicine, law, engineering, economics and many more which have immensely contributed to the progress in our world today – and professionals will continue to break grounds. So, if you are very passionate about your professional or conventional path, this post is not for you. However, you are welcome to glean the principle for application in any area of your life.

My post is tailored to the innate creative who is stuck in the stereotype.

If you consider yourself to be a creative in thought or in practice – if wonderful ideas daily tug your mind seams and threaten to burst forth, if your hands are tremulous until you have penned down those lines of prose or those sketches, if you have been misunderstood by family and friends and repeatedly accused of daydreaming or being unserious, this post is for you.

You don’t have to think long or hard before you realize that every aspect of daily living thrives on creativity. We all have, time and again, benefited immensely from the imagination of creatives – from writers, artists, broadcasters, podcasters, musicians, movie producers, photographers, publishers, writers, audiovisual content creators to app developers/programmers, video game creators, animators, scientific innovators and tech gurus. Yet, the age-old conventional stereotypes have classified these pursuits in many people’s hearts as mere hobbies or at best side-gigs.

Growing up in Nigeria, I can authoritatively say that one of the surest point of parent-teen tension is when the JAMB* forms are about to be filled. Chances are higher that the typical parent will be more delighted to hear the child has chosen to be a doctor rather than a creative designer, and a few teens have, sadly, had guardians stand over their shoulder as they filled the forms so they would pick their parents unfulfilled dreams.

Very little has changed over the years, as many people feel that the professional careers, while difficult, promises financial security upon graduation. I agree. The admission requirements into college for “professional” disciplines are stringent and the competition remains record high. I also agree – I went to Medical School! The discipline exerted by the professors, the structure of the discipline, the rigors of the long years of study and the importance of the subject of the discipline (human life in Medicine for example) makes the professions very noble. I agree.

On the flip side, many perceive the creative path to be flippant, not requiring diligence and surely not noble enough to be a career path or a full-time thing. For parents who fear for their children, you will have a hard time convincing them that art is more than a childhood hobby, possibly because it is usually associated with beauty, intrigue, exhilaration, its results appeal to the soul and seems to be mostly enjoyable to the consumer, and the creators seems to be having a fun time creating, they conclude that the process should not require diligence.

Somehow, I think this mindset has slowly crept into the minds of creatives and non-conventional people like me that we seem to be complacent and submit ourselves to the cage of stereotype. We are not taking our creative crafts as seriously as we should and we feel very ashamed about it among family and friends.

We believe the lie that it’s just a hobby. Come off it, creative one!

Statistics show that the creative industry is a major driver for economic growth. In America for example, the creative industry contributed $698 billion to the nation’s economy and 4.7 million jobs (a 2015 report of the the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts). I can only assume that many other countries have similar data.

Think about an area of your daily life where the creative industry is not relevant? A “special” area that creativity cannot help? I’d like to see your findings in the comments below.

The myth of the starving artist is over (thank you Jeff Goins for that!) Certainly, the myth of the “unserious” is past due too. Now is time to wake up, hone your craft, launch your dream and bring beauty and impact to our world with the power of your trans-formative creativity. The potential of your creativity is only limited to the extent of your imagination and tenacity of your diligence.

The creative industry wields so much power and it requires diligence! The creative path is more self-directed as opposed to the profession, but it doesn’t take away an ounce of diligence required to thrive and create beautiful work. In fact, it should inform it.

A doctor, lawyer or any other professional will always be respected and at least be able to pay the bills but I will dare say that what makes these career paths prestigious is the thoroughness that is constructed within the fabric of training and the impact these professions have on the world.

And Creativity has that! SURELY.

I have heard of families torn apart by a promising child’s revelation that he wants to go into some form of creative industry. I feel the pain writers go through to conceptualize the many ideas that brims into overflow in their wild minds. I see the disappointment in the faces of parents when their children take on a paintbrush rather than a scalpel, and the colicky pain that surges though the hearts of a misunderstood creative.

Do you say that a writer, artist or musician (or whatever kind of creative you are) has no impact or is less important in our world?

I don’t think so.

Rather, I opine that not many unconventional people have given due diligence to pursue their paths with dignity so the society does not see it. We do not take ourselves seriously so the world emulates us!

Here, I speak to you, creative one. Gone are the days of waiting for inspiration and complacency on talent. Tim Notke is spot-on when he says that “hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard.”

Take your creative work as seriously as a physician would take his procedures and patients or an attorney will take her depositions or court hearings…

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.

You may not be a street sweeper but Martin Luther King Jnr has you covered when he says that “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

If you’re called to be a writer, painter, artist, musician, or minister (yes, this applies to spiritual ministers too) in any aspect, you must realize that your generation needs you as much as it needs the doctors, engineers, lawyers and other professionals. So, the least you can do is to dignify your strategic societal position by pursuing your path not like a hobby but with much diligence and thoroughness as a conventional professional would.

Even though there are fewer formal options of training, take your calling serious, study and learn all you can from the best mentors you can find. Spend un-clocked hours honing your craft and chart paths for posterity. Show up to work even when you aren’t inspired and Sit under the Muse till wonderful ideas drop in your spirit.

Creativity is tagged unconventional for a reason – Learn to chart the trail and set your milestones as you go.

When you become an authority in this, doctors will pay to view your exhibitions. Your books will touch millions and cross more borders than you will. Lawyers will use your words as anecdotes. Engineers will pay to listen to you. Intelligent Business school graduates will queue to apply for positions at your successful start-up. Professionals will sit under your voice and listen to you deliver counsel and your compositions will sanitize the most insane minds.

“Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.” Proverbs 22:29

If you give due diligence in your work, you will stand tall among peers and kings and command confidence.

Please, carry your calling with dignity and you will see what fulfillment lies in a job well done!

You are important. The world needs you!

Cheers,

Toluwanimi

P.S. If this post does not make sense to you, then you are conventional, but it’s okay! But at least, you can be diligent in whatever path your life will take and you MUST respect the unconventional people in your life.

*JAMB – former name of the University entry exam in my home country, Nigeria.

Finished: Nifty completion tips for the creative.

 

Whew!
I cannot believe that a whole year is wrapping up. 2017 gradually bows out. At the beginning of the year, when I was going to make one of the most difficult decisions of my life (more on that later), I wondered how I could make it through the year in one piece.
Well, here I am, in one piece… I think. The not so cold winter of 2016 gave in to a refreshing spring. Then my bland job-hunting summer and it’s challenges. Now the leaves are fallen – the penultimate month of 2017 is here. How did I make it here? What have I learnt? What am I looking forward to? I made it here by God’s grace. I’m looking forward to better everyday.
So what have I learnt?
I have learnt that the lofty dreams of my heart will be tackled bit by bit.
Sounds too elemental? Well, I find it difficult to retain.
I used to pride myself (like most creatives do) in the fact that I have a lot of ideas flying about in my head, waiting to be plucked and implemented. My mind is always active and reaching out, imagining and thinking of beautiful things to create and how to make the world a better place, but I realize that this gift can easily lead to frustration that is proportional to the size of my ideas. Each idea quickly seems like a huge task with an endless to-do list that judges me with each passing day of doing nothing.
I have this other gift- perfectionism. I just want to create the perfect work and when I do not get the perfect time, conditions or resources to create this perfect masterpiece, NOTHING gets done. I’d rather not do than to do imperfectly. Sadly, the last time I checked, there’s no such thing as a perfect creative environment. And I think this lofty unrealistic expectation has been my undoing.
I want to know the huge plan of God for my life, as in with the 4K kind of details. I want to have a perfect view of my life and purpose. “Haha,” I can imagine God laughing at me and saying, “don’t you know son, that doing this would defeat the purpose of faith?” God merely gives us manageable glimpses of him and as we grow deeper and mature in faith, we build a capacity to experience more.
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Day one of the rest of my life.
So, from now on, I’m tackling life one day at a time. 30 minutes of writing 100 words each night will lead to a short story in a month. Planning a 2 hour routine without starting will lead to – you got it right – nothing! The short story might not win awards or become a bestseller, but you would have finished and added 3000 words to your experience and hopefully, the mastery of your craft. You want to podcast, make YouTube videos, learn photography, speak in public, code computer software, start an NGO, finish a course with an A?

My nifty tip – Finished is what matters at first.

Aim for finished, not perfect. Here’s a very hard to come by wisdom – You can edit finished. You can make “finished” perfect. You cannot edit “nothing.” You cannot perfect nothing!
Get it? So here’s what I suggest you and I begin to do-
De-congest your brilliant mind unto paper.
You probably don’t know how restful your mind will be when you write down those ideas. You get to see it solidify in text blocks (on paper or on the screen) – this is the first step to getting any project done. Your story plot ideas or prototype drawing are safer on paper than in your mind especially when you don’t intend to start off the next minute. It all feels good in your head, but when you write it down, you can cut out the nonsense as you type the recesses of your mind. You will find that your mind may think you have fifty ideas when in fact, writing shows you that you only have five workable ideas. Trust me, you mind doesn’t need more junk.
Categorize your ideas or project into manageable milestones.
Yes, this is where it gets really hard. If you’re like me, you feel that the weight of the world’s problems lies squarely on your shoulders and you have to solve it fast! All at once! Dear friend, this is not usually true. At best, the pressure is called passion welling up within you waiting to be channeled into manageable milestones. Like my example above, a good milestone is 30 minutes or 100 words per day. You can always scale up those days you have much inspiration but keep a basic structure.
In graphic design, I find that telling my clients I need three weeks to work on a design is better than telling them I need a week because I have this wonderful design concept that will fit their purposes in my head. Most time, that idea falls apart as I put it on paper and I find out I need a new one. Three weeks would have worked better. I remember when I did write Donut (you can get a copy here), I had high and lofty dreams for it, but I made a plan. And Yes! It worked. When things became slow at the middle, I was able to adjust and stretch out the financing aspect of the project till we made it through. Bit by bit.
Take one task at a time.
Ideas come in cohorts, and they all seem great and ready to fly, but one action after another results in more doing. Pick one of the three hundred story ideas and start. Finish it before you pick the next one. It’s wiser to have two finished stories at the end of two months (and two hindered and ninety eight written ideas) than to have five hundred disjointed ideas but you’re too overwhelmed to start any.
Do it everyday
The wisdom behind many of the creative challenges like NaNoWriMo, Inktober and Writathon (by my friend, Samuel Osho) is to hope that your intent to finish a novel, master illustration or write consistently will be greatly helped by a daily practice which builds consistency. Do it every day. Nothing can be mastered any other way. And watch this – Even if you don’t (and you don’t have to!) share what you produce with the world daily, still produce daily.

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Reward your progress.
Yes, reward that one task you finished. Decide what the reward will be and attach it to completion of a task.
Share the process with fellow creatives.
Yes, we all need accountability and this is one area where I still need a lot of work, so I’d not say so much here. I know that constructive criticism helps a lot!
The next step.
Since I released Donut, Life has happened to me (more on this later). The most important thing is, right now, I am picking up from where I stopped. But I will not take on my ideas all at once.  My journal is full and my mind is at peace and focused on a single task ahead. One step at a time, I will gain mastery of one and then the other, until I am able to realize the most. Why not join me?
Cheers,
Toluwanimi
Do you ever experience times of overwhelming frustration because you have this so many ideas but cannot seem to get things done? Sometimes, you start, but you find it difficult to finish? I’ve been there! Have you? Can we share ideas in the comments below? Thank you!

The Uncharted path


It is pertinent to seek and discover God’s will for you – his purpose for your life. But when you then try to plan your own path in light of the insight God showed you about your future, you are trying too hard to help God. Whatever you know about your life is an impartial glimpse and you cannot set off fitting the pieces with that limited view. Actually, you can and I know you’ve tried, but you always end up feeling like someone who has been tasked with fitting the ten thousand pieces of a jigsaw puzzle whose final image is not shown to him or her.

I’ve found that after the glimpse into purpose, God’s notification comes increasingly and daily. Regardless of how much we pray, study and commune with God, the circumstances of our lives are often revealed in installments, the deep details made known only after the fact.

Joseph (in the Bible) must have envisioned a lofty future in sync with his dream but he surely would not have envisaged the alternating triumphs and challenges that would characterize his path to victory. That is what an uncharted terrain feels like – you have an idea of the future end, but it’s okay to not have the whole stretch of the journey mapped out. 

Actually, that is where the magic happens, the adventure of a purposeful life where a person has to trust God, gain victuals, build character, resilience, and humility for the glory that is ahead. Thank God we have a comfort in Joseph’s ardent faith in God. 

If you feel that God is taking you through a seemingly divergent experience quite unrelated to what you have seen, relax. Do not try to channel the path. Just be still and trust his process. Joseph’s undulating path of slavery, repose, temptation and betrayal culminated to the expected end.

For whatever it is worth, you must remember that the path that eventually leads you to the glory will not always make logical sense. But it takes perpetual faith to overcome!

If it is God’s path, it will lead you to the expected end and when you get there, you will be able to look back and see things openly and clearly.

Hold on!

Cheers, 
Toluwanimi

You can’t foot the bill – because you aren’t meant to!


I have observed that many times, when God inspires people with an idea for a life-defining project, or presents opportunities to gain knowledge and training in peculiar crafts, career or ministry, many people short-change themselves with the questions their minds ask. Even me, 8 out of 10 times, my mind fixates on the price tag, especially when I know I can’t afford it. I ask, “How much does it cost?” That becomes my excuse not to pursue my highest. 

When God presents you with similar opportunities, do you embrace it in spite of the cost?

Consider this: how much does a butler earn? Surely not enough to fund a city-wide project. Yes, you got it – Nehemiah couldn’t have funded the budget for the Jerusalem wall. Surely, Moses didn’t have some huge savings to build the tabernacle. In fact, they were never meant to. They simply said yes and watched God do his thing.

Whenever God inspires you with an idea, he never means for you to foot the bill. The one that gives the vision will make provision: what you need for the vision.

Seriously, you can’t foot the bill – because you aren’t meant to! Stop worrying about Gods prerogative.

I’d like to challenge you to ask, “How much is it worth?” rather than “How much does it cost.” Instead of ” Can I afford this?” Ask “Can I afford not to do this?”

Can you afford not to listen to God? Can you afford not to live a purposeful life? Can you afford not to make impact? Do you want to miss out on the joy of divine duty?

Truth is, God has positioned helpers on your path. But they are not in the open. They are hiding and waiting for you to decide to take on the task before they show up. They want you to say, “yes, this training or conference or class is worth much more than it costs. I can’t afford it, but I will get it.” 

The long and lonely journey to the cross cost Jesus a lot for a while. It wasn’t easy, but it was wort it. His life shows is that he asked, “how much is it worth?” 

I keep receiving calls from youth ministers from Nigeria and abroad requesting copies of Donut, and I wonder – what if I looked at the publishing cost and didn’t go ahead in 2014? I knew I couldn’t afford the N350,000 price tag but (thank God!) I did move ahead and there was my dad who agreed to take installments (there’s someone positioned closer than you think!) and the people who believed (after I did) in the vision (they showed up from the hiding places! LOL!). We did it and produced 2000 copies we distributed free! There’s more coming!

The difference between action (excellence) and excuse (mediocrity) is the question you ask, and here is it- “how much it is worth?”

Like I said some weeks earlier, only the shortsighted celebrate potential. In my opinion, only the ones who invest potential with grit to produce bountiful results ought to be celebrated.

So like Joshua Son of Nun, Get courageous! Change your question. Change your life and our world. 

To the Happy New Week,

Toluwanimi

P.S.: Maybe you think you may trust God and still end up flat on your face. Maybe that’s a valid point. Maybe it’s happened to you before… Well, here’s the thing- try again and do it right this time by making sure God is involved. Moreover, you’ll never know until you try!

Don’t lose heart

A vision is exciting. A well-laid out strategy is exhilarating. A picture of the many lives your work will touch is enough to get you started, but the day to day requirements of purpose is not always as exciting, and surely not as scintillating as the envisioned end point. 

Before you abandon that path of purpose, that calling, or that project because it doesn’t feel as exhilarating as when you first envisioned it, it involves too many days of back breaking work or terribly slow wait times, remember that the beauty of gold is appreciated and enjoyed only when it has been extracted from its ore and refined. I do not need to tell you how undesired the process is.

A beautiful vision is pleasant to behold, but a few moments later, when your expectations fail to come through, it can easily be buried under a thick dark cloud. This surely doesn’t mean that the vision is purely your conjecture. It only means that you’re started on the real process of birthing – the bittersweet labor. 

There will be lag days, there will be incredibly slow and boring phases. You will feel like you’re pushing against a wall. Promised funding will roll in sluggishly or not at all. People will not always be willing. Your first prototype might fail. Expectations might be dashed and the mediocre on the other side will scorn. 

You will be demotivated and feel very useless at those times when the process becomes a monotonous routine. When this happens, know that you are under the fire that is meant to refine you and your work, not graze you into ashes. 

At this time, you need to put in writing the big picture and the reason why you are doing this, since it’s likely the thick cloud will block the horizon. Then put in the work because this is what you have to do. Do not seek repose in alternatives.

As you keep working, Pray and Don’t lose heart.

The cloud will clear and you will see yourself rise to the rank of the accomplished.

To a purpose fulfilled, 

Toluwanimi

Inspired by Colossians 4:2, Luke 18:1 (surprisingly).

Annihilation

Hello!

I remember when I was younger and would sit with friends to discuss several issues from cartoons and video games to cars, school work and movies, then we would touch on problems in my country and some politics which for my country has always been a popular tension point. We would argue and try to proffer solutions to the problems of economic instability, inadequate social amenities ( no thanks, Social Studies for etching those words into my mind – every essay had to have those words! LOL!) and poor leadership in my country. 

Of the ideas we generated, one that usually came up was to have someone gather all the unsuspecting corrupt leaders in a mock conference and blow them up. I favored the idea because I thought if all the bad eggs were dealt with, good people will remain then we would have some peace and development. But we would struggle with the moral implications of murder until we “sight” one of our friends toss in a football.

Now I know better!


As I grew older, I realized one thing – Anhilation of evil does not come by destruction of a group or generation perceived to be wicked. I feel one of the reasons why God might have inserted Noah’s story in the Bible was to get that across. The society Noah lived in was terrible – the people’s imaginations were evil and godless and they did whatever they felt like – which resulted in evil. So God decided to wipe out the world save Noah’s family, who found favor in God’s eyes because He walked with God and was a just man. After God through a flood rid the earth of the bad eggs, we would have thought that everything would go right onward.
We all know that it didn’t. Death does not take away evil from our world.

Sadly, I know a feel people who still buy the annihilation idea, and many others who figuratively extend the idea to their daily lives – who wish their clearly wicked boss or coworker would call in sick so there would be peace in the office for a few days… get the idea?

As I mused on Noah’s story the last time I read it, I remembered the story of Jonah. For similar reasons, God was set to destroy the people of Nineveh for their extreme wickedness but gave them a warning by sending Jonah, who reluctantly shared God’s message after a failed flight attempt.
It turned out God’s word rent their heart and they did an about turn.
No one died! Epic!

Now, I rather say change happens when the word of God meets with faith in broken-hearted people, regardless of how evil they have been.

I no longer wish for an desperado to blow up corrupt leaders because it wouldn’t work – in fact, a new crop of scoundrels will rise up from their ashes. And though, sometimes I still wish some mean person will not cross my path today, I know that with faith, prayer, and the spirit-inspired message of God’s love, positive change can happen.

People can change for better – by the words that go up to God and those that will loving go to others.

Now, I can only pray that your thoughts will be renewed, your words divinely empowered and your life, an example to the evil world around us.
Cos, truth is, we all need God!

Cheers,
Toluwanimi

Baring the Writer’s Soul

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works.” VirginaWoolf

If you close your soul to your readers – if you leave out your personal stories from your compositions, your excellent literary prowess and mastery of the craft will at best produce grandiose but impersonal works that will maybe, garner you some royalty, but will not touch any life in lasting ways. I know that is what you really desire – that your words reach out to touch your readers in transformative ways.

So, expect you’re an academic essayist with a limited theme and constrained concept bank, bare your soul before your readers.

Yes. Your Muse’s incubation of the crests and troughs in your soul is the crucible of true creativity and transformation. And if you are like me, that blessed soul of yours is the ground of all skirmishes, human and divine, past and present, and the center stage for all the dark and bright interactions of the seen and unseen forces dictating your path in life.

Your deepest fears, your goriest experiences, your loftiest desires, your biggest triumphs, and your greatest personal discoveries in life banks up in your soul, and anticipates every moment you put pen to paper and bleed. Let your readers see that drop of blood that is known to redeem – from your wholesome compositions. You will not be the first to bleed for many, and certainly not the last. And you may well find that you are enlightened and healed in the process.

“If your soul isn’t ready to he bared, then your words aren’t ready to be shared.”

Writers, I know you are scared – how can you do this? Maybe you can start by baring your soul to your Muse.

Cheers,

Toluwanimi

Do… or Do not.

My epidemiology professor includes this quote in a number of his class slides… and has succeeded in getting this wedged in my mind. Good thing though, because I have fallen into the “I’ll try” rut, time and again.

On introspection, I realize that words/phrases like “I’ll try..” “Someday, I’ll do it..” or “hopefully” are comfortable ways of expressing complacency, non-commitment, fear or outright laziness/lassitude.

Someday, I’ll start saving. 

I’ll try coming earlier to work. 

Hopefully in the future, I will enroll for that class/start the business.

Maybe I’ll try to speak to him. 

Sounds familiar?


It’s easy for our timid minds to form various humble-sounding phrases to deflect the reality of duty and responsibility for greatness in life. An epic combination is – hopefully someday, I’ll try to write everyday and maybe publish a book – or something like that.

C’mon, you know that will never happen!

This applies to every aspect of life, relationships, business, day job or passion. 

These non-committal expressions puts you and other party in a limbo that never recedes until you grow weary and forget. Reflect and compare the words you have said that includes “try, someday or hopefully” with those you said with an emphatic yes, I will/know/believe or set a definite date and got to work on it. The difference in the results are strikingly significant.

“Say Yes or No. Every other thing is nonsense.” Jesus said (well, at least, my idea of what he said in Matthew 5:37)

When I wanted to publish Donut(when I really got serious about it), I believed it, set a definite time frame, got to work despite challenges and achieved it by God’s grace. What you must know is that there are also many other things I have “tried” to do that haven’t left the “I’ll try someday” phase. Hopefully, someday, I’ll get to it! LOL!

Why do we do this? 

Laziness? Lassitude? Discouragement? Procrastination? Non-commitment? I don’t know, really but I do know that thoughts and words are indicators of the state of the heart.

Ah, Yes, there will be challenges (if you are planning to do anything meaningful with your life, expect resistance already!), but the difference between mediocrity and excellence will always be between DO or Do NOT, there is no try.

Best,

Toluwanimi

The Gap


Today’s teenagers are lonely, and they’re looking for connection in the wrong places. Today’s parents feel helpless, and many parents in this situation are too embarrassed to reach out for help from others. Especially if their kids are rebelling against the way they were raised.

So the gap between parents and teenagers only widens. Teens think, “My parents are stupid. They don’t understand.” Parents think, “This narcissistic little brat. I’d like to take that phone away and throw it off a cliff!”

While It is clear that wholesome growth of a child rests upon the connection between the youth and an adult, there is a growing divide between teen and adult culture. It would be silly to point fingers at one cause, because it’s a mixed bag of nuts, including extended adolescence, enabling, helicopter parenting, the influence of entertainment media, etc.

The more adult mentors who seek out young people and help them apply faith to daily life, the better.

What if teenagers had more people like coaches they could talk with about stuff? Or an uncle? A youth pastor? A best friend’s dad or mum?

What if teenagers had ALL of these mentors active in their lives?

We need to bridge this gap if we’re going to do any important work in guiding young people to meaning in life.

Cheers,

Toluwanimi

Barabbas: son of the Father

Sit tight, this is a long one, but it’s worth the shot.

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The Story

The noise of the riot in the city receded as the soldiers dragged him across the city. His mind was tired but His mind resolute to gain freedom for the people of Jerusalem. Or at least avenge the death of his father. The Jews couldn’t understand that!

The company paused to refreshed along the way as he was being matched out of the city towards the gallows. One of the soldiers bent over him and placed a water skin near his mouth.

As he took a sip of the cold water, a hard slap against his temples jostled the water out of his mouth.

Oh! He opened his eyes and stared at hard concrete above. Instead of being refreshed by the water from the young soldier’s cistern, he was lying flat against his back in a prison cell, thirsty and famished.

He had been dreaming.

He motioned to rub the sweat from his forehead, but was restrained buy the big iron fetters that bound his muscular blood stained arms.

As he struggled in vain to wrench his hands from the chains, blood trickled from wounds reopened by abrasion. He didn’t mind the loss of blood. He didn’t mind the pain. He was already in pain, since the day his father died.

The stamp of the hilt of a spear stopped him. A guard had come near.

He stopped struggling but muttered some curse words to him.

“Awake, bro?” the guard tossed through the slit below the door, breakfast. It landed near his temples.

“That’s your food,” He smirked.

Click of chain showed that the guard had released the tightness of the chain, so he managed to sit up, as much as the length of the chain on both arms could allow him.

The smell of the food was as disgusting as its sight.  But he took a bite of the stale bread and watery mushroom soup… (to be continued)

 

Behind the Scenes

And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. – Mark 15:7

Barabbas [Bar-abba] – literary translates in Aramaic as “son of the father.

Barabbas.

We know him as the criminal chosen in preference to Jesus, at the instigation of the priests, for Pilate to release on customary pardon during the Jewish Passover Feast. He had been in prison for murder during a Jewish revolt against the Roman forces.

Other than that, the scriptures do not give more information about this man. But I’d like to spike your mind with my overactive imagination. Indulge me – it would be quick.

I’m going into Barabbas’ head!

What if Barabbas was a sweet little Jewish lad who grew up through the Roman oppression but unlike some of his peers, was psychologically pained because he watched a lousy Roman soldier kill his father and got away with it?

As he grew, the hurt festered by the daily injustice he had become too familiar with. It eventually became too much and led him to think he could get freedom for his people by agitating. But he had a second motive – to get even with his father’s murderer in the process.

So he either led or signed up to join a revolt and in the process, got an opportunity to murder the soldier, who had become a high ranking officer at that time.

Phenomenal story line, isn’t it?

Maybe we all are like Barabbas.

We have always voted for the energetic. The Israelites probably thought that Barabbas was more of a savior figure than Jesus – they were expecting an aggressive king or warrior to save and lead them to freedom from the Romans, and end their suffering. They might have felt Barabbas would try again.

Little did they know that the real problem was an internal bondage that no insurrection could cure. Jesus came to deal with the heart of the matter – which is the matter of the heart. He came not to palliate, but to heal and restore to brand new. His inside-out influence involves and transcends the physical.

It’s exciting though, to parallel Jesus and Barabbas.

Two prisoners (with similar names) exchanged position – while the innocent One was about to be crucified, the guilty one was about to be set free. One sought physical liberation, the other brought spiritual (and holistic) liberation. Having similar passions to save, one did so by rebelling and killing, the other, by dying.

My imagination is very wild! But you see it makes sense, and it means something to your life.

The Barabbas in you is hurt, sick and tired of the oppression going on around. You are tired of the weight of sin, as it reigns in present day – and in your heart – and you want to close the gap it has created, so you try to do all you can to get out of the rut –hard work, ambition, morality, religion, science – the list is endless. We love to agitate – race against race, class against class. Without struggle, there is no progress, we say.

But it doesn’t work because the mechanism of human oppression and death is much deeper than you can fathom. The price of freedom is too high you cannot pay it.

I was in Barabbas’ agitating shoes until I realized Jesus was exchanged for me. He died a substitutionary death for me. I relaxed and believed his sacrifice was enough to bring me freedom.

The blood-stained freedom became precious to me. Of course, he was buried in a borrowed tomb because he wasn’t going to stay there for too long. He brought me to Peace and the grace I received empowers me daily to live the kind of Life God desires – and why He sent Jesus at Easter – the one above sin and unto righteousness in this present world and joy beyond this life. Titus 2:11.

Now, I simply follow the Father’s lead as a son and disciple according to His good will. I live the guided adventure of learning, growing and shining in life.

Maybe Barabbas heard about one “begotten son of the Father,” the king of the Jews who was killed when he was released. Maybe he repented, we may never know.

But today, if you will quit struggling and come to Jesus, you will experience a 360-degree.

Consider the divine exchange today.

Come to Jesus.

References: Matthew 27:20-21, Mark 15:7-15, Luke 23:18-19, and John 18:40