Faith Talks | Keep On by Tee Awojobi

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Look, it’s tough growing up and out of church bro. It really is. I wish I could fully detail the struggles and issues I’ve had, but that’s for a private conversation, which we need. But the facts remain, these things we were taught in Sunday school, at camp, from the Bible, that we spoke about on our own terms and came to a clear conclusion about are still true. They don’t change because we change, so why do we change our feelings about them? Is it even us changing our feelings about them, or is it just the situation around us that is ever changing forcing us to look at things differently. Forcing us. Forcing, like we’re helpless. Like we have no other choice but to forget all that we held so close since 2005. I’ve got an easier time with faith than you do, I know that. And I don’t have a guide for getting out of the pits of faith. I try and help people out of the pits by jumping into the pit with them, then I get messed up, so I’ve gotta gather myself a bit before I do that again.

But something my Mum told me that I never forget helped me with this. I asked her once, “How do you read the Bible when you don’t want to?”. You know my Mum. She’s dedicated. She’s special. But she’s also very sarcastic sometimes. Her reply wasn’t even at first a direct answer. She was like “What do you mean, when you don’t want to?”. I was shocked, not cause she asked me that but because I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t want to sometimes. Because I was busy? Nah, still a teen living at home, I thought I was busy but I was on the PS3 all the time, so I clearly had more time than I needed. Because it was boring? Again, nope. By that point I’d been to camp enough to enjoy reading certain parts, and found it so entertaining as a book that I could relate to it. Because I couldn’t be bothered? Well, I don’t know. Probably, but I figured that me even asking the question showed I was bothered somewhat, which is the same thing I’m saying to you; the fact that you even care that you’re going through a dry spell with your faith shows that you want it there still. Cling to that.

So Mum was like, “What do you mean when you don’t want to?”, and I reply, “Well just those times when you don’t feel like it”. She gave me a look like, “Child what are you even saying?”. I didn’t know what I was saying. What is it like to feel like you want to do something? Is it an urge? Is it the happiness? Is it the determination? See, we all know feelings are a dangerous thing to be led by, yet we always do it without actually understanding what it means. You know me, I’m probably the most emotional person either of us know. But I probably understand my emotions and mood swings the least too. How dangerous is that? So the whole idea of leading with feelings is already one that isn’t beneficial in any situation, but applying it to faith as a young kid is so dangerous, because situations are ever changing. Things keep moving, and if our feelings are dictated by outside sources, as a lot of times in our teen years and older they are, then we’re never in control of ourselves. If you lead by emotion, and your emotion is controlled by an external source, then you’re being led. You’re a slave to your situation. So if you’re having a crap time in uni, or an incredible time at camp, you’re a slave to that. And in those times, you make some pretty huge decisions. Stop for a second and think; can I actually afford to make a decision that affects me and my whole life, when the decision is mainly influenced by outside sources, that could change as quick as anything. These are things that aren’t deep. This isn’t some extraordinary knowledge that only certain people have bro, this is written in the Word. Like, we’ve been told this from young. When you look at how fluid feelings and situations are, you can’t use that as your basis, can you? I mean, you can, but should you? It’s like tryna walk on water, you’ll just sink.

So Mum was like, “It’s not a case of whether you feel like it. You do it. That’s it, end of.”. And just left me there, feeling stupid. How can that be the case? How can the solution to “How do I get out of this dry spell” be “Just get of the dry spell”??? I’m laughing right now cause I don’t even think Mum remembers this story. I’ve definitely not told her about it since it happened. But whatever. The thing is, I was letting the situation dictate my feelings, and my feelings dictate my actions. That made me have super, super mood swings, because I didn’t have a solid foundation in anything. I would just be swinging, I’d be a different person at SJB, at basketball, at Church, at Camp, at all these places, because the situations were different. So I had no continuity, which made me confused. I didn’t know why I didn’t understand myself. And I was trying so hard to understand myself, but I let my feelings rule that. So, I’m getting lost in this right, but here’s the kicker: I had the power the whole time. Like, I had the strength to say “No, I’m not going right, I’m going left”. I was in control of listening to my feelings. I realised that every time I felt a certain, the action that followed was a decision! The feelings didn’t necessarily make me act on them, it’s just the stronger they were, the harder it was to ignore. But in actual fact, I had to decide that I was gonna submit. But at that point, I was 16, 17 years into just submitting all the time that it was subconscious thing. I didn’t have to think too deep into just going with how I feel. So that explains why some people know me as super deep, and some people know me as a player.

As much as I hate it, I let myself be slave to the situation. But God the whole time was calling me to make that foundation with Him. And this is what I’m tryna tell you bro, cause I love you like I love my blood brothers, and if you don’t know that you should. We have to dig. We have to build. We have to go to work. Because it’s a means to an end. Right now I’ve got two jobs while finishing off uni, and I can’t stand going to work sometimes. But I need to do it, because working there now means I don’t need to overwork later, and hate everything cause I’m not where I need to be. And it turns out, when I change my perspective and approach work as a necessity for this time, it drastically affects my mood, and I’ve got a big personality so it affects the situation. Reverse chain bro. And it’s the same with faith. That’s the strength that God’s given us. When it feels stale, when it feels like you don’t wanna do it, be honest with yourself. Why don’t you want to do it? What’s caused that feeling? And then you need to try. You need to start digging. You need to read the Word and build up your foundation. And you need to do it for you before anyone else. Like, reading one verse and talking to God about can do so much more than going to Church sometimes, because the individual relationship can get lost in a crowd of people. Spend time by yourself. Just you, God and the Word. And be honest with Him, and then with you. And when you’ve done that, start trying for goodness sake ha! Don’t just leave it there in the prayer, commit to the fact that you’re wanting to keep your faith going, and keep it going. Make a commitment to reading your Bible, to praying, to talking to someone you trust about something faith related that you’re strugging with, and most of all, to applying what you hear from God. Cause you will hear from God. Trust me bro, He’s waiting on you to call Him, because He wants you to know you have it in you to move these mountains. He’s not gonna spoon feed you, because you need to learn to feed yourself first, so that you can go and feed millions on His behalf. That’s the call that we got bro, and it’s about to be fantastic.

So keep on. Keep on keeping on. And call me soon. Love you always.

Tee x