Today marks a new decade for me!🎈🎂 And yes, I’m turning 30 not 40 (it doesn’t help that I hang out with people born in the 70s lol). Before I go deep on y’all, don’t worry, I’m still the same Jamba Juice & pizza loving, accent imitating, awkward noise making, dancing & roller coaster loving Laura! 😃
So, my 20s started off with me working really hard – finishing undergrad in 3 1/2 years, then 1 year later going to get my MBA & finishing in 1 1/2 years. Blame it on the Nigerian ambition, but in my mind I was running full speed to my corner officer as the VP of a major entertainment company while driving my 7 series BMW. Oh & in the middle of all this, I was failing in my fight against my addiction & depression, thinking “this can’t be life.” The outside looked good, but I was literally dying on the inside.
Then out of desperation, I showed up to a church I heard about in passing about 4-5 years earlier, and that is when I encountered the risen Christ. I knew my life was instantly changed, but I didn’t yet understand what this meant for the rest of my 20s. In the middle of my applying to jobs out of state, I was introduced to discipleship. The recession hit, and no one was hiring me out of state, so I said I’d try this discipleship thing out. Then I learned about “death to self”. Death to self? A few years back, I was dealing with suicidal thoughts, so anything with death & me in the same sentence was a no go. Wait! Oh, you mean self-denial? Ya, I’m surrendered to Jesus – I mean I sing “All to Jesus, I surrender…”! I deny myself all the time. Uhh no! I wasn’t getting it. 😂
Then, to my surprise, I was suddenly no longer able to achieve my goals – no matter how hard I tried. It was like I kept running full force into brick walls & nothing made sense. I did everything according to the book & followed the Nigerian handbook to success 😂. (Well, being a doctor, lawyer, or engineer was gonna keep me in school way longer than I would have liked, and my parents said no to my other choices, so we settled on business.) Why am I not successful? There were lots of changes happening internally, but I desperately wanted the outside to match. I was like “thanks God for healing me from addiction & everything that came with it. Oh, and thanks for my new friends, but where’s my six-figure job? I mean, can I just have something for my parents to brag about when they’re around other Nigerians?” I was soooo frustrated!
So after years of fighting God, I prayed, “God, please get all the glory in my life.” That’s when things turned upside down. I learned that when God is in control, 1+1 doesn’t always equal 2. Things could look great on paper, line up perfectly, and not go according to my plans. I was completely humbled. I had so many plans, but He was the One determining my steps. I was stripped of everything I thought I wanted, and that is when I really began to learn the secret of contentment. I had to learn (& still learning) to stop taking control, get out of the way, & leave room for Him to move. I really needed to learn the meaning of “not my will, but God’s will be done”.
For those not walking closely with me, this past decade looked like my life hasn’t changed much. Sometimes, it even looked like I was going backwards. My 20s felt like the slingshot season of my life, where the dominant hand (God) grasps the pocket and draws it back to the desired extent to provide power for the projectile (me)! I’ve also learned that success to God is me following & obeying His plans, regardless of where the world says I should be. I no longer have 5 year plans. I no longer desire to be boasted about by my relatives. My desire is to hear “well done My good and faithful servant.” I have absolutely no clue what adventures will take place this coming decade, but I’m encouraged in knowing that God is able to do far more abundantly than I can ask or imagine! So cheers to Him bringing me to my 30s! 🙌🏾🎉💙