“My wife’s co-sellers in the market are envious of her. That’s why she sustained an injury. Even my car that is having engine problem was caused by someone. We’ve been to the mountain to see a prophet and he confirmed it. He also said there are people who don’t want my wife and I to succeed. The prophet gave us Bible verses to read and prayers to pray”
This is what a man that works in my office said to me. He wasn’t asking for help or anything, we were just discussing generally, one thing led to another before he made the statement above. My discussion with him and the things I shared with him form the crux of this piece.
Often times especially in Africa we focus more on enemies than we focus on living our lives but we must realize that it’s impossible to have everyone wanting you to succeed. Even the Psalmist said God prepares a table before him in the presence of his enemies. So when a “prophet” says you have enemies, please let him know that that’s not news. If he says there’s a wicked woman in your village, remind him there’s probably a wicked woman in every village.
Challenges, problems are normal to life. The only way to escape a challenge is by not being born. The good Lord said “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” You can’t be more spiritual than God.
Having established that problems are normal to life, it’s important we learn to focus on how to progress despite the problems. I’m of the opinion that focusing on those who want your downfall is a major distraction. I remember working somewhere and it was obvious that my senior colleague wanted to set me up for failure but I paid no attention. I focused on getting the job done, often going beyond the call of duty. I did earn some accolades eventually but the goal wasn’t the accolades, the goal was work, impact, productivity and contributing to the company’s vision and objectives. Had I focused on the detractor in a bid to get even, it would have been counter-productive.
I’ve observed that once you ascribe blame to someone or something, you lose your ability to do what you can to solve that problem. This is applicable at work, in relationships and life generally. My friend whom I talked about at the beginning of this post was shocked when I told him the challenges some “big men” we both know were facing. I told him that if our employer focused on the challenges he faced as an entrepreneur, we wouldn’t be here in his company working and earning a living.
My friend said the prophet gave them Bible verses to read and prayers to pray but if you’re a Christian, you don’t need to wait for a “prophet” to prescribe Bible verses and prayers for you. Reading the Bible and praying should be your default setting. And if that’s the case, you’ll be your own prophet, prophesying good into your life. Secondly, your “village people” as we call it in Nigeria not wanting your success won’t matter to you.
What’s the challenge you are facing? Difficulty getting university admission, overwhelming carryovers in school, financial challenges, no job, no child, no spouse, health issues, the list is inexhaustible; My prayer for you is found in the words of Reinhold Niebuhr, “God grant you the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Photography by ©Dietmar Temps