In preparation for 2019, God told me it was a season of immeasurable excess. As i began to walk in this instruction, he continued to give me directions for the season. For the first time ever, god gave me a 3 year plan for 2019, 2020 and 2021. He labeled these years as the year of exposure, year of elevation and year of establishment. Since then he has gone further to reveal to me his 10-year plan for my life. But that is a story for another day. Today, I want to look back on 2019, the year of exposure.
January was the best and worst month for me this year because I found myself in between god’s promise and my reality. I was in the middle of processing my relocation from nigeria to the UK; an opportunity that was as exciting as it was scary. a few people knew, but mostly we were being circumspect about sharing the news, as we waited for our visa application to come through. I had put in my resignation in the office, and ended my lease with my landlord. i had committed to giving away our cars and furniture, and were wrapping up our life in nigeria. and then the news came that our visa application had been denied. for a moment, our world stopped, and a huge weight of doubt began to push us against the wall. january was supposed to be our last month in nigeria, but suddenly we were thrown into a waiting bubble…
This month felt like a vacuum. My wife and i drifted through life in fear and uncertainty. the refusal of our visa application had cast a shadow over our enthusiam and our faith. i questioned everything i ever heard from god, i wondered if i had made a mistake, i avoided people because of how hard it was to explain why we had not left nigeria. i felt completely lifeless. Most of our days in this month were spent in a zombie-like state. We packed up our belongings in the house, half afraid that it was for nothing. Some days we tried to be hopeful, frantically searching online for hope from other believers who had shared their relocation journey. throughout that month, my favorite search term was “relocation by faith”. i wanted some assurance that i was not alone, that others had experienced the same rejection and hopelessness that we were feeling, but had come out victorious. it helped a little, but most nights were the longest. the waiting, the not knowing what the future would look like, the waking up each morning to face another day of uncertainty, of pretending to friends and family that we were excited about relocating, while deeply fearing the worst. it wasn’t all gloom though, because in the middle of the uncertainty god had presented a slight glimmer of hope. my new company had agreed to engage me as a remote contractor while they reapplied for my visa. so even though i had resigned from my old job, i was not unemployed. in retrospect, i see all of this experience as the “cloud as small as a man’s hand” that elijah and his protege had seen just before the deluge of rain. but you see, this is the tricky thing about faith, i am connecting the dots now, 11 months after the fact, but back then it was hard to see through the rejection and fear that god may have failed us.
March was a reminder that many times our greatest fears are unnecessary, especially when walking by faith. despite the delay and uncertainty, my wife and i eventually departed Nigeria for the UK. It was a period of relief and gratitude that holding on to god’s word had not been a mistake, as we immediately began the journey of building a new life. It was also a period of excitement, still mixed with a tinge of fear, at the adventure that lay before us. As usual, my over anxious mind went into overdrive thinking of how we were going to find a good house. Back in nigeria, i had already started googling and researching online about first time renting in the UK and there were a 1001 reasons for me to be worried. Yet again, God came through and we found a beautiful new build home less than 10 mins from my office. By the end of the month, wehad moved out of our airbnb into our own 2 bed apartment.
April, May, June
These months were a whilrwind of change for me. I was giddy as a school boy. God had blown my mind. Living and working in the UK was not something I had ever imagined. In my younger years, my uncle who lived in the US had regularly encouraged me to participate in the US visa lottery. But I never found it enticing. I think it was mostly out of fear though, I realize that my biggest fear for relocating out of Nigeria was wondering if I would be good enough to thrive in a more advanced environment. Back then, I was content to dream of visiting and having fun in the US, but actually living and working there was not a thought i entertained. Especially not for the UK. I had no frame of reference for the UK. I had no family ties, only knew a handful of people from my university that had moved to the UK, people who i wasn’t really in touch with. So to me, the UK was, in the words of tasha cobbs and nikki minaj, “something i had never seen before”.
over these three months, my wife and i began to settle down into our new life, learning how to live in england. everything was unfamilar and intimidating. we had to learn how to ride a bike, use the bus, program the thermostat, open a bank account, set up direct debits, register to vote, register with a GP and a bunch of other mundane necessties. while the process was quite easy because everything was available online, it was a bit overwhelming because we had to figure out most of this on our own, and it felt like being a baby again. my wife had this fear of communicating with people because she wondered if she would understand their accent, or if they would understand hers. i had the fear of proving myself to my new colleagues, when i struggled to contain their boudeless energy and excitement, or understand their sense of humor and interests.
by the end of the quarter, i had my first in-country reminder that the life of a believer is one that requires a constant “fight of faith”. despite the excitement of relocation and easing into a new role, i hit a brick wall when i received an unexpected critical appraisal of my performance from my boss. i felt attacked. only 3 months in and i had been slammed on the job. i felt it was an unfair act by my manager, and suddenly my long fear about failing to thrive abroad surfaced with a vengeance. What if i wasn’t a right fit for this job? what if i had a made a mistake in accepting this job? what if turning down the biggest offer of my life in Nigeria was a grave mistake? my self esteem instantly went down, and suddenly god’s blessing seemed like a burden. the end of june brought a drape of despair over my life and faith, and once again i began to question if i had really heard god right?
July, August, September, October
the secret to being a believer is that you are meant to interprete everything through the eyes of his spoken word. however, knowing this, and living this, are two seperate things. as i began a new quarter my faith was deflated. why would god bring me into a new job where i was instantly assessed poorly? how was i to demonstrate my competence with a manager that already felt i had not met expectations? i lashed out at god, why did you give me a difficult manager? what if we never got along? what if i was fired? i had no safety net. i had literally ended my life back in nigeria.
i tried to stay strong. i went back to my writings of what god had spoken to me, i looked for clues to understand what was going on. i recalled nikki minajs’ words “so even when i cried i knew i’d be fine” in the theme song for my faith (Tasha Cobb’s I’m Getting Ready) and i tried to learn what god was teaching. he had already started explaining to me that 2019 was a year of exposure. it meant i would be exposed to a new way of working, it would strip me of the comfort and competence i had gained over the years, it would stretch me beyond what i thought i could achieve, it would force me to unlearn poor working habits and relearn new processes.
and slowly i began to see the light as i dived in deep into my role. the scales began to fall off my eyes as i saw that my difficult manager was exactly like me, only more exposed and disciplined. she was the better version of what i could be, and even though i hated how much she was pushing me put of my skin, i realised she was “my dark room” where god was exposing my raw image for a more beautiful processed picture. i spent these months travelling around ethiopia and kenya for work, and i began to experience more sunshine than cloudy days.
in retrospect, and based on the 10 year prophecy god has revealed to me, i understand that god does not evade process. there is a future that god prepares for his children, but there is also the process of preparing his children for that future. this was the main reason god had revealed 2019 as a year of exposure. it was the beginning of our season of immeasurable excess, but first god needed to expose our minds to the possibility of something we had never seen or heard before.
the last 2 months of 2019 brought for us a small sense of stability. i was more confident in my role and my job. i had experienced more of life in the UK and was gaining some comfort from familiarity. i was even beginning to adapt better to winter weather. but most eventful of all, i finally graduated from my masters programme. a programme i was so afraid i would fail. 3 years later, i was attending my graduation ceremony in person in edinburgh. again as i think over this event, i realized even more how needless it is to worry about the future when you are walking with god. i remembered how my wife and i had been hoping and praying that we would be able to afford travel cost and fuflill visa requirements to allow us visit the UK for my graduation. and yet, all along, god was planning that i would be attending my graduation not as a UK visitor but as a UK resident – paul was right when he defiined god as the one who is able to do exceedlingly and abundantly above all we think…
my wife and i enjoyed a quiet first christmas in england, indoors, and in a few hours, 2019 will be history. as usual, my over anxious mind is navigating the days and weeks of 2020, trying to peep into the details of a year that is yet to begin. i am also feeling some pressure that comes with all the end of year reflections and pronouncements that everyone makes. however, i am not particularly motivated to pray or fast or any of the religious activities typically done around this time of the year. maybe it is because i already know what god’s will for me is over the next 10 years?
2020 is coming…
2020 doesnt really feel like a new year for me because months ago, i already received my prophecy for 2020. i have also come to understand that the fine print of his will is not in one big reveal, but a daily, evolving discovery. just a few days ago, god began to reveal to me the guiding scriptures for my year. so i have now is a heartful of gratitude for where we are, and where he is taking us to. 2019 was a good year, cheers to 2020.