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The Privilege.

Talents. Everyone has atleast one talent. Some people have more than one. While we can say everyone has a talent, not many people know whether they have any, some, actually don’t know what a talent is. More often than not, some of us confuse talents with abilities. I have many talents, I’m aware of some, some are aware of me. The good thing with talents is that you can not really lose them, but you can be unable to exploit them to the fullest. Like reach your full potential regarding the same.

Having a talent is one thing, using or rather exploiting the talent is another. Before we go far, I’d love to remind you that talents are God-given, and for the benefit of all. If you use your talent selfishly, it is not going to of any significant impact on this earth. Let us take a look of a few diverse talents we have in this world; Messi, Christiano, Diamond Platinumz, Bena Wa Malines, Azziad, name them. What do all this people have in common? Talents, you got that right.

Remember the day when you had anxiety and we’re so stressed, seeing a blurry future, then you logged in to your Instagram and stumbled upon a funny, grumpily dressed young man with a funny accent and you cheered up? That is what using your talent to the benefit of society is. I must admit that I didn’t appreciate football that much before I knew Messi and Ronaldo, they brought the beauty of the game and smeared it all over my face. Now remember the nights when you couldn’t sleep because your illicit lover had sent you a dedix – Moyo Wangu by Diamond Platinumz, or when you got the motivation to record TikTok videos of you lip-singing to Christian Girl by Beyoncé using your 3MP Itel camera after watching Azziad’s trending video. Impact of talents well used, and, or not selfishly used.

I have had a chance to exploit my talents, some of them, and I’ve always seen the impact they’ve created in people’s lives. I love impacting people’s lives, in a positive way. I had made a promise to myself and asked God to help me uphold it, to never get into spaces, create relationships or even engage people anywhere if I am not going to leave a positive mark on them. I love teaching, and as a teacher, I have seen my teachings – by God’s grace – impact people. One case is of this young man I used to see working in the hardware across the road. Dusty from head to toe, slow to speak, unbothered about what is going on in the world, except I his, I happened to seat him down every Wednesday night for eight weeks. We learned a lot about being a better person for both ourselves and the world. Right now, I can proudly say my student made it.

I’m a teacher by profession, yes, talents can be monetized. But don’t let money be your motivation. Use your talents to impact the lives of the people you happen to cross paths with. Using this talent has also seen me rise ranks in the places I’ve had a privilege to work in, within a few weeks of working. Having a talent is a privilege, don’t misuse that privilege. Use your talents wisely. I’m out, hope this helps you see the world from a different view point. Adios.


Dangerous Questions

Shem Ian with friends at a past Church meeting.

A day starts with a thought, a subtle questioning of your existence. A question of the purpose of your life, the meaning of life itself and even how life came into being. We all have questions that cannot be answered, some, as we tried to answer them, led us astray. Into the abyss. These are the dangerous questions.

Pause and ask yourself this question, I swear (sorry Lord) it is going to help you, it is not a dangerous one, ‘what is the outcome of me answering this question?’ When you get the answer, you will have saved your life, your relationships, everything that was going to sink with the Titanic will be left afloat.

Be careful of the questions you entertain. Be they from within or without. Questions lead to conversations. And conversations determine the future of relationships. You might be asking yourself why I’m only talking about relationships. Here’s why; life is all about relationships, the reason why God created you was to have a personal relationship with Him. That will tell you that there is someone else who is against your good relationship with Him, but he is a loser, don’t mind him.

He is a loser, yes, but he knows that you took his place, that won’t leave anyone in a good mood. He is determined to severe the relationship between you and your creater, and all other meaningful relationships with men. But are you aware that the enemy is aware of that fact? It is a question. What you do with the knowledge you get on answering the questions will determine how your life turns out.

Do you realize the reason why you’re stuck in masturbation and drug and substance use is a question posed to you by your peers when you were out having fun? The reason why you no longer are pure, both in thought and in flesh, okay lemme just say you’re not virgin anymore, is the innocent ‘do you love me?’ The reason why you were beaten by your partner is the questions you insisted on getting answers for?

So, where do we go, that we may never face these questions? The answer is, nowhere. We are going to stay here but we are not going to identify with questions that will lead us into doing things we are going to regret later. Staying alert when someone tries to disdain the character of someone you have entrusted your life with. And not allowing the loser bring up questions in our minds that will lead us to be cast away from the presence of our creater and, or be void of the spirit of our Lord.

I’ll leave it here, but I’ll leave you with a question, ‘Has this piece made you think?’ Now share with a friend. Adios!

Hope You Don’t Get Famous

Trust is having confidence in the honesty of another, I was aware of this fact. I trusted her, I believed in us. You know when you’re young and have so much unbridled emotions – what we usually confuse for care and call love – you are easy to trust, or think that you’re safe in your other person’s hands. When I call to mind the little arrangement we had with Showanda*, I see a pair of young, naïve and self-deceived men. It was a few years ago, a lot has changed, the schools of thought and also all that comes with age – wisdom. As you grow old, you are poured from vessel to vessel, you lose your fragrance, but in the process you become wiser.
I had two others with whom I tried to do life with but all that was in vain. I was on my journey to self-discovery, not that I’m there yet but the Most High God has had me get to a level I would have taken years to get. The latter two were everything I hated in life, nagging, loud and unstable. They also lacked trust – they had zero confidence – in me. They wanted to cage me, a wild dromedary. Their behavior was as a result of I being ‘famous’. I did not realize I was till they pointed that out to me. When you’re in the frame, you can’t see the picture, that is where I was – I mean I was the famous one here.
We made out in the kitchen couch once in a while, kissed on our way home most other times, promised each other the world. A typical Gen Z relationship. In such relationships, the only thing you can offer to one another is coitus and depression. One will be sad thinking the other is ignoring them or, to make it even worse ‘cheating’ on them with someone else. We call them insecurities. These insecurities are as a result of a weak soul – lack of trust. When one lives long enough to know that relationships are not all about sex and looking good, their soul strengthens, their insecurities fade away, they start building better relationships, with mentors and most importantly their maker.
There is one thing that I have come to learn throughout my seventy-two relationships. One can only serve a maximum of six relationships satisfactorily. That is, your maker, your family, your pastor, your friend, your teacher, and your boss. This is a scientifically proven fact. So, we had this list of do’s and don’ts in our new relationship. I had my list within five minutes of askance and she was mad saying I didn’t think it over. Yeah, that is the same question I asked myself when she said that, can you imagine? I have been doing this – writing list – the whole of my life, to imaginary characters in my stories or just anyone who wanted to get me some things from the market – shopping lists.
On my list, there was a ‘live peaceably’ clause. This encompassed all mitigating processes of any fights that may come up due to misunderstandings or that which ladies do for fun – create chaos. In the Taoist ring, the dark serpent represents chaos and is female. You can never separate women from chaos, they are chaos. I’ve lived to understand this, I mean it is only that I had not read ’12 Rules of Life’ before to get a backing to the sentiments yet. A man craves peace, peace at home, at the office and peace with himself. This is because – going back to the YinYan – men are naturally inclined towards order, creating and maintaining.
I loved my relationships in a certain way, full of love, fun, trust and sharing of wisdom. I loved, still do, readers. I loved readers because I believed one can never stop learning, and when you are a reader, you become a leader, in that you will always find yourself more knowledgeable that your peers thus the need to lead them comes easy. This works everywhere, when you were in high school, your teacher would have you covering them for some lessons helping your classmates with sums or historical events during World War II. Did you guide your class in reading set books or the CRE parables of Jesus about the kingdom of God? I did.
When you read a lot, you become wise, you find yourself knowing much about how to do things, how to walk or talk to certain people, you’re productive. You also catch the anointing! We all have dreams, rather had dreams. Us being in a relationship at tender age meant we were yet to accomplish our dreams and goals. I wanted to be a teacher – a teacher in all aspects – they wanted to be whatever they wanted, they didn’t know yet. They were undecided, I can say. Maybe it was because of the information I had about life by then, from reading much. Let me pause and say that the level you are in life depends on how much information you have.
I wanted to become a teacher, but I had lost track somewhere, I guess with the ladies. I was too blinded by what I wanted to become and forgot about all I was becoming. When the devil loves you – which he will never do because you dethroned him – he sends distractions your way. You will be drinking your youth away in the name of enjoying your youth and not realize you are helping the liar destroy you. He is a perennial liar Mojo Jojo, comes only to steal, kill and destroy. He deceived a third of infinite angels into rebelling against his maker, and you think you are stronger than him, wow. My distractions were this deceptions of short term relationships, many of them. And, fame, did I forget to say that?
I was not instafamous, no I was just popular with the ladies, wanton and reserved alike. I also was popular for storytelling, both in written and audio platforms, I don’t want to talk about my popularity as a drug peddler or a police cell regular. I was a playboy, I mean a gamer. There’s this time my then girlfriend came over to ‘spend quality time’ with me but I had other plans, to go game with the boys. Leaving my phone behind, I left her in the crib, I went to the gaming lounge. She wasn’t there when I came back, neither was there a sticky note on the kitchen drawer. I am yet to buy a fridge for that. Haha.
“I hope you don’t get famous, Ian”. She said as she let go off my hand. I smiled and muttered inaudibly, “Sure, babe, I won’t”. I made a promise I wasn’t going to keep. I had zero intentions of becoming famous then, but some things are just inevitable, especially if you are to become a teacher. Jesus can tell you that for free. So, I became famous, and she called it quits. My better half left me. I was heartbroken, but proud. I lived in denial for some months, even tried to ‘give up’ relationships – which could’ve been the better decision then – but finally came to a realization of ‘I have to move on.’ The teacher had learned another lesson, worthy adding to one of his lessons.
When you are happy, you enjoy music, when you’re sad, you understand the lyrics. I have never grasped the lyrics of as many Westlife and Backstreet Boys songs than I did then. My rejection, fortunately, was my redirection. I was not threading more carefully. The next two relationships was me trying to teach the lesson I learned to my new students. You know as a teacher, you should never be emotionally invested in the students you are working with, I don’t know if that is in the Ethics and Professionalism class, maybe I’ve forgotten, but that is a principle I made up in my mind since then.
One student didn’t take it to heart but the counterpart fell into depression courtesy of my well taught lesson. I’m not a proud teacher at that though. Did I mention that in my early years as a teacher I never believed in God, the all loving maker of the universe? I had issues, we call them Christian surprises now, with Him. My life never turned out to be what I had asked the loving God to help me in living it. My father, the biological one, was also an excuse. Both fathers had let me down. The bitterness and lingering unforgiveness led me to making insane decisions, which I look back at and thank my heavenly Father for helping me through all that character development. That is why I can proudly urge you to not limit Him (God) to your knowledge of Him.

“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”

– Francois Marie Arouet (Voltaire)

Francois’ words resonate more with me now than then, maybe all along, He allowed me to go through what I call character development, to prepare me for the plans He always had for me. First, giving me the desire to teach, and all the opportunities to actually teach, and be popular among my peers. Because with the fame and popularity, and the urge to be more knowledgeable was all in preparation for the good of the one who loves Him. I’m trying to, by His helping hand.
I stopped listening to music – sad music – when I am discouraged, I now eat and sleep. I forgot about my desire for secular music. Works out just fine. I stopped fighting fame and popularity, it is God-given and I believe it is a good gift. After all, all good gifts come from above. I may not wear a Kings Man suit, or speak meticulously, but I teach, a small group of faithfuls about much that I never believed in before. It is strange, yes, but none of the things of God fall far from mysterious. I learned to forget my past mistakes, the comfort that came about by serving the liar.
I have come to understand that reputation is what people think of you, and character is what you are. I was, or may have been famous for the wrong reasons, but that did not define me. And that gave me the opportunity to do what people didn’t expect from me – teach the good news. My character, having been changed by the renewal of my mind, helps me do life with care, love and inculcate growth in all the people I come across. I now see that I was not born to be famous but to influence my generation. Not all famous people have the ability to influence their generation, but I believe Jesus granted me the grace to do the same, of which I will forever be thankful. The same way, not everyone who knows has the ability to teach.
Manners maketh man, the habits, the behaviors and culture define us. How you speak, what you speak, how you walk and where you walk to, what you enjoy and what makes you uncomfortable, what things you compromise and what you stand for, all these things are what defines us. We always want to be the best there is, in all that we do. I personally want to be the best teacher that there has been, but the one who gives us the ability is the one in whose name we’re called – God. I had tried that with my own strength and power, I ended up hurting innocent souls, oblivious of the fact that it is not by power, nor by strength, but by His spirit that we can do anything for His pleasure, and it is He that gives us the power to will and to do that.
Different strokes for different folks. I am privileged to be teaching different categories of people, in the secular world, and in church, however much I can try to marry the teachings, they can’t fully marry. Teaching the world through podcasts, and TV is fulfilling, although it started on a low note, it keeps getting better. Basing my arguments on the knowledge I have on the secular world and what God expects of us, it gets a bit easier to anyone willing to learn. Takes me back to, all things worketh for the good of those who love Him.
Teaching in church is way out of this world. Learning whilst teaching, new revelations, the infilling of the spirit of remembrance and understanding, acquiring a teachable heart, developing ears that actually hear and eyes that see and perceive are an added advantage to all that. I hope I just don’t get famous, but be able to influence the world!

Shem with friends at a past function.

So Aware, Yet Not Self-Aware.

Have you sat down and wondered why you’re so aware of every vice, bad behavior, uncouth and uncultured barbaric behavior, or even the goodness, sexiness, and high-handedness of people but never self-aware? Maybe you haven’t, I also thought about it today. There is so much that goes on every second and minute in the world; political assassinations, lovers killing their partners in cold blood, masses being led into salvation, children being born, people being retrenched, others receiving promotions, and some breathing their last. One has to stop and wonder why all this happens at the same time, but we only can be aware of so much.

I have been a leader for the longest part of my life, my own leader sometimes and the other times overseeing other people’s interests. Being a leader in my life has been the hardest job ever. Not to say that leading a bunch of block-headed individuals or prideful kids is any easier. Shem, you have to get out of your comfort zone, uncuff yourself from convenience, stop comparing yourself to anyone else and do not compromise what is going to create a disastrous conception. All these, I had to remind myself every damn time I caught myself complacent.

When you walk, eat, sleep and, or do everything out of convenience, you are most likely to forgo self-awareness. The reason is that there is no condition that will ever prompt you to look deep into yourself and see how stinky you are. The junkyard you call a heart, full of pride, jealousy, envy, and prejudgment.  Lingering unforgiveness takes a larger part of your emotions, yet you call your emotional outbursts a ‘phase.’ Those episodes are calling out loudly but you are listening to the world and not yourself! You are seated ‘waiting on the Lord’ whilst ‘doing what you want to do’ and not what ‘He needs you to do.’ Do you see how crazy that is?

Self-awareness is not an easy task to carry out to completion. It requires nights of crying, days of discomfort, and even months of taking offense. You will seat there labeling people haters when they are the only people with the guts to tell you the truth. You have put barriers to anyone trying to tell you the truth about yourself, which you need to be aware of. The truth hurts, some wise men said. The truth is uncomfortable, I say. Most people would never entertain the thought of the fact that what these people they’ve been calling haters say might actually be true. They brush it off as ‘just an opinion.’ Everyone has one, they say, forgetting that the truth is the truth however much you’d want it to be just an opinion.

‘You’re fat!’ I said to this obese young man drinking soda in the school cafeteria. He actually wanted to beat me. He was obese, that was a fact, medically proven. He was uncomfortable hearing that from me, he was actually my friend, had been for some months then. But it was true, I never felt sorry about it, knowing some scripture mama read to us sometime back which talks of speaking the truth because it’d set one free. I may have said a few truths then that never set me free, I’d get a proper whooping, but actually feel ‘free’ later.

Comfort clouds convictions. Whenever someone is in a comfortable situation, they may never be convicted of wasting their precious time or living unhealthy lives. Everything is set up around how they want it, when they want it, where they want it, however they want it, how it feels good, and they want to do anything because they want to do it, never are they doing something because they need to.

‘You are proud and egoistic.’ I might have heard that a few many times since I took the responsibility of leading. Wherever I was a leader, someone would say that. I didn’t want to accept that fact, I was comfortable without knowledge of whom I actually was. This ended when my life took a turn around. Thanks to the Holy Spirit taking charge of my life, having surrendered it to Him. He convicts me of the bad things and habits that I am never ready to face.

That takes me to the question of why we are so aware of everything else except ourselves. The answer to this is that we are comfortable doing only what is convenient for us, once we get out of our comfort zone and stop doing things because of the convenience, we will be so much more self-aware that life would be better. We won’t need Amerix to remind us that our health is our responsibility or anyone telling us we smell of selfishness.  

The Midnight Train.

In the loud silence of the night
Dark moon-lit clouds hover
Sounds and echoes of souls
Souls you deprived of life
This is your midnight train

The pleasure you had then
Idyllic, mind-blowing
Then out the results came
You delved into a hazy daze
This is your midnight train

He denied responsibility
Your pillow wet with tears
Spoilt for choice
Kill them, you chose
This is your midnight train

Voices in your head
You are losing your mind
You’re barren now
No longer of impeccable birth
This is your midnight train

Scornful husband
Spite from the in-laws
Harder, you pray now
Should’ve played hard before
This is your midnight train

Stable career woman
Unstable woman of the house
Productive at work, in higher ranks
Unproductive at home, lowly rated now
This is your midnight train

Take the train, the last one
Be patient, long is the journey
Talk to God, one more time
He surely will listen, He is waiting
This is your midnight train