They Really Want What’s Best For You!

The year is March 2016, listening to the Brand New jam Papa by King Kaka – arguably one of the best lyricist, but let’s leave that discussion for another day. Being a fan, I hurried to watch this new video as soon as it was uploaded and there was just something special about it. It was only 4 days after my late dad’s 3rd Anniversary (R.I.P Erick Zephan Anyumba); you can imagine the emotion as I listened to each line. The first line actually struck me so hard!!! “Siwezi wadanganya, mi sikuwa poa na my father…” he began. At this point, I started feeling like he was referring to my story. My Dad and I; I wouldn’t say we had issues but the degree of closeness between us was not where I would wish my relationship with my children to stand. King Kaka went on to pour his heart out, sharing that he didn’t say his last goodbye in hospital; which was the same in my case, but probably for different reasons. I won’t go into the details, but this song has me thinking a lot to date. It has not been easy putting this together but it was important I share my thoughts. So, about 3 months after I started writing this, here goes my message to you.

I don’t know whether this is something only new to our generation but I highly doubt that it would be tolerated or heard of in the previous one. The amount of disrespect to parents is increasing day by day, especially as we grow older. The audacity to bad mouth them among peers, sharing their weaknesses, despising them and even comparing them with other parents… we even have our own perspective of how they should parent us; especially after you begin to feel all grown up and start earning some little money, feeling independent despite living under their roof.

You feel like you know it all because you have been ‘exposed’ to campus life and now you know everything about the world. You view your parents’ advice as old school because that’s what applied in their years so how can it be of help to you now? Well, it is said that what an “old man” sees when seated you may not see even when standing on a hill.

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How about those of us, who neglect one parent, leaving them out of our affairs maybe because they are stricter or they hold a different view on certain things that are important to you. We forget that all they really want is what’s best for us. The worst case scenario according to me is those that don’t appreciate their parents at all. We even have other “dads” and “mums” that we are more proud of than our biological parents. The parents that have raised you, sacrificed so much and ensured that you get everything you need to live a good and healthy life; but the minute you ‘make it’ you do not recognize that struggle.

You want to please people out here; people who do not know or even genuinely care about your existence. You want to show them what you’ve got, what you can afford and how you are living your best life; yet your parents are not doing well at home. You move out, go to “posh” places and leave your parents struggling to survive, waiting for Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day to take selfies with them with your expensive gadget so that you post them on social media, again to please the masses. You then leave them empty handed or with some peanuts telling them how life in Nairobi is difficult (Nairobi ni kugumu). Maybe your parents are well off; they may not need your money or financial support, but they surely need your love. The little things you do to make them happy is what keeps them going. When was the last time you talked to your parents? When was the last time you visited? When did you last prepare a meal for the family? When did you last buy a gift or do a favor for any of them?

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What if am not keen on this parent’s thing? What if I just live my life independently without concentrating on them? Is there anything am missing? The answer is YES, a lot. First of all, there is no place you will get true love and support. How many times have you had your close friends betraying or abandoning you? Let’s not even discuss about getting dumped by that lover who you had already settled on names for your future babies. When your world falls apart and everyone seems to be distancing themselves from you, the only people who will stick with you are your parents. Maybe you may doubt this because your world has never broken into pieces but don’t wait for that moment for you to start adjusting.

Your parents’ advice is again one thing that you may miss greatly. As youth especially, everyone now is looking for life’s direction. Most people seem uncertain of what’s next. Age seems to be catching up and you may be thinking it’s not long before you have your own family but you are not sure whether you even know how to run a family. Again your folks come in handy. They have raised you successfully so we can refer to their advice as tested and approved. They are also the only people you can be sure, want the best for you so they would never mislead you.

Lastly, we all have been reminded the 5th commandment since childhood, “Honor your father and mother, so that your days may be long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” Exodus 20: 12.

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Ensure you don’t miss out on that blessing. Let us learn to appreciate them at all times. Don’t concentrate so much on what they lack and forget what they offer. Remember, nobody publicly and proudly displays their struggles, so don’t be quick to judge that the other side (other parents) of the field is greener. You never know what you got till it’s gone. Take this moment to do something special for them. Above all, vow to be the best parents in future. For those who are already parenting, be the cool parents you wished for. Cheers.

As for me, this is a tribute to my late dad and the best gift I can offer him is taking care of his wife, my beautiful mother.
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Things Fall Apart

Remember when you were somewhere around upper primary and maybe even secondary school, and you were wondering why your young uncles and aunts were not serious with their lives because you thought they were busy idling after campus? Remember how you would think to yourself, “I will not waste my life like this” and even went ahead to make your entire life plan probably even up to marriage? You planned to get the best grades, attend a national school, study hard and get an A so you can go study Medicine or Engineering with the firm hope that your efforts will grant you a direct pass into employment immediately after graduation. Remember that?

You even vowed to work for at least 5 years and settle by 26 or 28 in a big mansion and drive the fanciest car (or should I say machine) on sale. Besides, you can afford it right! Then when you hit 30 you can proudly pass on your values and success down to your newborn kids. Well, allow me to ask; how far are you with that initial plan?

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I don’t know about you but I’ve talked to a number of people; myself included and we are far from the initial plan. Much of what we had promised ourselves to be by now, the jobs, the fine cars…

Here’s a bit of my side of the story. I cleared campus some few months ago, waiting to graduate soon and trust me! This is one of the most confusing moments in life. I have been in contact with those I cleared school with and those from different universities and it’s safe to say that nearly everyone seems to be in some form of searching. Searching for some direction in life. Some seem undecided on the next step, others are just wondering whether it was worth it even going to campus.

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Knocking on doors in search of a mere internship has probably been the order of the day for most of us and the number of rejections faced could cause a more serious heartbreak than what you have gone through in a past relationship. If an internship is that difficult to attain, what about a permanent job?

So, back to the beginning of this hearty write. Remember when your young uncle or aunt stayed at home? Is it starting to make sense to you now? If there were minimal opportunities then, with the increase in population, university graduates, immigrants; could things get any worse than this?

Where did it begin falling apart though?

Probably at different levels for us all. Some did not attend that desired national school. Others did but did not attain that grade they worked so hard for. A majority of us are even studying courses that we do not want or which we realized halfway that we have absolutely no interest in. How about those of us who studied hard, and passed so well but are now tarmacking and stressed because we feel like we put in all that was required of us; but here we are still struggling.

The older generation will only tell you that “You are now beginning real life” or as my mum would say, “ Karibu Nairobi” because Nairobi is known for being the place where people travel to (I think they still do) find a job to try and kick-start their independent journey to begin earning a living. Suddenly the ‘settle and be stable by 26’ goals seem to be so far from reach. The question is for how long?

I believe the first step is accepting the situation at hand. Ignore the many regrets and wishes as they are not beneficial to you at the moment. Second and most importantly, quit with the comparisons, because am sure a few of your friends (trust me when I say a few) seem to have it all together. This makes you panic and question whether you are on the right track. Hear this, we all have different paths to follow and struggles to face.

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Exodus 4:2 Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. Third, I pose the same question to you. What do you have in your hand? Use it! What is that talent that you have? Which is that area you live in that is more advantageous compared to the rest? Which are those links you have that could help you achieve something or even a job? Which are those opportunities advertised to you that you think you can’t handle or don’t qualify? What are those resources lying around that can be used to generate some income if well used?

You have a wide variety to choose from considering what you have learned for the last over 20 years attending the school of life. I am not saying it is easy neither am I saying I have it all figured out but I trust that the effort I put in will count someday. It may not be the field you intended to delve in but starting off with ‘whatever is in your hands’ may lead there eventually. Better off, what you start may end up being your turning point to success and you end up loving and prospering in that field. So many people have studied the “big courses” but are now the most successful entrepreneurs and doing very well in the entertainment and arts industries.

As you think through this and decide on what to do, SEEK FOR GOD’S DIRECTION and pray for His blessing in whatever you decide to eventually do. He works wonders especially in situations where we see no breakthrough or way forward.

Now stop thinking too much and start acting. Don’t just sit there. Do something!

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Life’s Positives Always Outweigh The Negatives

Ever felt like there is so much happening in your life at the same time that you cannot handle all? You feel like if you had a choice you would just sit back and do one thing first and complete it before moving to the next but life does not give you that much time? Moments like those that make you want to let go of some things because you’re not sure whether it is all worth living for!
Those in school, for instance, you find that you have an exam to study for, some hustles to carry out, watch the World Cup (Trust me, it’s important 😅😅😅. Once in 4 years! Who would want to miss that!? 🤔🤔🤔) among other activities. Times like those that you sit back and console yourself with the common Kenyan proverb Cha muhimu uhai 😂😭’ (Swahili for Life is what’s important). 90’s kids, I know you are great victims here.

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Most times when such moments occur we start regretting the choices we’ve made. This is normal, in as much as it is not beneficial. That moment when you start questioning whether things would be different if you followed your passion and chose a different course. I know this is one thing most of us clearly relate with, including myself. You may question why you dated or got hooked to certain people, who you believe wasted a big part of your life. I know some of you have been in relationships which ended and left you convinced that you had taken so many steps backwards. Or when the hype dies down after high school and campus life and you realize that so much time was spent in the company of wrong people, doing all the wrong things.
What about the times when our regret is centered on things that we can’t really change?
Have you, at one point in your life sat and asked yourself either of these questions?
“What if I was born in a different country or tribe? What if I was born into a richer family and went to a better school and live in a better house? What if I went to a different school? Would I be smarter and brighter than I am now? Several times I have heard people even questioning what life would be like if Adam and Eve didn’t eat the forbidden fruit. 🍎

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On the positive side, has it occurred to you what life would be if Jesus did not die for our sins? What if there was no such thing as grace and forgiveness? You’re not a refugee because you actually have a place you can call home. What if this privilege was not there? Life is not an island; but what if you really never had a family or friends or anyone to associate with at all? So you believe you spent four years of your life studying something you probably won’t practice but have you taken note of the things, the memories and people and opportunities which wouldn’t have crossed your path had you not spent your four years in that class? I don’t know about you but my campus life (though I was studying what I may not practice) has added a lot of value to my life. But that’s a story for another day. 

Though we are not experiencing things at the same level, we need to open our eyes to the fact that life’s positives outweigh the negative. Right there where God has put you NOW is where you need to be and it’s time you start looking at the opportunities He has placed around you. Regretting or complaining about your current status blinds you from looking around and seeing the potential for greater things. 

 

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What if you are the person God chooses, to deliver your family from poverty? What if he is using you to raise them to the level He has planned for them?
You are the voice of hope and reason to the friends you dread ever crossing paths with. All that you are going through is part of the process. This moment right here is your testimony.
Look around, identify each and every stepping stone and use it to propel yourself forward. Don’t sleep on opportunities; don’t lie on your potential, just because things didn’t go your way. There is still a great future ahead my friend. Because God has the best plans for you. (Jer. 29:11)
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Finishing Strong

As you all know I am a great football fanatic, Arsenal supporter if I must say 😅 (Kindly don’t give up on the FOURTH line of this piece 🙏🏽)

Every football fan watches a match with the expectation and desire that the team they support emerges victorious. Of course, at the beginning, everyone might be calm but anxiety builds up as the 90 minutes start elapsing. This is because everyone has hopes that his star player will do the impossible and secure a win. The same happens when you are cheering on that athlete on the track and want him/her to win that gold medal.
Better off, ask anyone who is involved in betting and find out how important every minute is for them. Every single minute including the very last one.

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Every football fan remembers Sergio Aguero’s 2011/12 last minute title-winning goal for Manchester City.

We are in the second last month of the year! We all know of good things that come during the eleventh hour. Put yourself in the shoes of the star player who you depend on to win the game. YOU are the star player in your game of life. With God, your family, friends and all those who look up to you as your fans, and YOU! Because you are your biggest fan. You wouldn’t want to disappoint any of them, would you? They have all invested in you in terms of resources; opportunities, strength, support and even time to watch you succeed. Would you really want to let them down?

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Hail the all-time 100M Champion, Usain Bolt 🙌🏽👑

Reflect back on all the plans you had made for the year. Evaluate what you have achieved and what is pending. Put what is left in God’s hands, remember He is one of your fans. Quickly set up your plan to achieve them. Start tackling them one by one without giving up or wearing out. You have the resources, you have the gift of time and above all you have yourself.

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Remember when your star player scored the winning goal at the last minute or when that athlete passed his/her opponents just a few metres from the finish line? Remember the amount of celebration that happened afterwards? May that be your amount of celebration on 31st December, and not just because you are crossing over to another year, but also because you have fought the fight and successfully finished the race, ready for new challenges that 2018 will bring.

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2nd Timothy 4:7

Now share this encouragement with someone today and don’t waste any time – START WORKING.
Cheers.

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#Excellence2017

SWORDS OF FAITH AGAINST THE GREAT UNKNOWN.

We’re seated at my workplace’s Boardroom with the whole team present for some midweek motivation. My boss catches me off guard and asks me, “What is your 5-year plan? Where do you want to see yourself in five years?” I froze. It’s like all the elements in my brain began running to every corner of my mind flipping through the books of memories trying to find the answer to that question. I could only manage one simple answer “I just want to make sure that my Mum has a comfortable life.”  (This is actually true by the way. She is my biggest motivation.)

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I know. No smart answers of how I want to have a company and family and children blah… None of that. And it left me thinking, “Where is it written that I must have my next 5 years figured out? What if I honestly don’t know? Does this make me less motivated than the rest? ” That evening I did a lot of soul searching because that moment just made me realize that unlike everyone else, I don’t have these fancy, blow away 5 years plan, and I’m just walking as far as the light has allowed me to see. I can’t see the whole staircase but I’m still climbing and faithing my way to the top.

“Lord, if I need that 5-year picture plan, please reveal it to me before someone else asks me that question in your own time.”

But somewhere along the way, after that incident, I realize this.

For me, I just never want to be at a point in my life where I put survival first. I never want this to be the story of my life.

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I wake up in the morning. I want to just go back to sleep. I kick off the duvet and get ready for the day because “Dress up and show up even when you don’t feel like it, right?” It’s 9 am and the only thing motivating me to get things done is that with every passing second, I’m a minute closer to 5 pm. Then I get back home to my comforting bed, and sleep, hoping that tomorrow will be another day that I manage to survive through only to wake up to the same dreary routine.

Staying in a job I didn’t want to do.

Take 4 years to study a course that I won’t even major on (again)

Be in a relationship that doesn’t help me grow simply because I’m afraid of being alone.

Living to survive.

Living up to society’s expectations.

WhatsApp Image 2017-08-03 at 02.54.34I never want any of that. So I remind myself every other day that the greatest weapon against fear is faith. The greatest weapon against doubt is moving forward.

So, when life is shoving you in the direction of the unknown, dare to trust it. So often you’ll just know when you’re in the wrong place, when you’ve outgrown it, and when it’s time to move on. The fear of stepping into something unfamiliar often holds us back.

What if I close one door and the other got stuck?

pexels-photo-277017.pngWell, someday the pain and frustration of staying in one place are going to become too much to bear and you’ll be forced to move forward without caring about what happens next. So why not save yourself all the drama and confusion and just take the next step?I’m learning to put my happiness, my sanity, my peace of mind and my purpose first; often reminding myself that the worst-case scenario I’m imagining may not be so bad. In fact, it might be quite good.

As I slowly embrace this, everything else manages to fall in its place. I leave from one place and another opportunity reveals itself, some friendships fade away, others grow and others morph into lifetime commitments.

Be the best at being you. Take a step back, pray, do some self-searching, open your eyes and live YOUR life. Not your friend’s, not your employer’s, not your parent’s, not society’s. But YOURS.

 

 

 

Comparison Trap

Nash: You guy, do know you are so deep?

Me: Hahaha really? Than you?

Nash: COMPARISON TRAP!!! (She blasted me)

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She made me think of the number of times I overlooked my success, busy comparing myself to others. Comparing my possessions, my grades, my job, my friends, my body… the list is endless.

I’m sure most (if not all) of us have this weakness. We compare ourselves to people who aren’t even aware of our very existence. It may look like a small thing, but we need to take a step back and keenly evaluate this and reconsider our thoughts. Nash and I learnt a lot from this so called ‘Comparison Trap’.

Comparison is your greatest enemy. As the title says, it is an actual ‘TRAP’. It becomes a limiting factor, because our energy is shifted from self-growth.

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Let’s try and count the number of times you have watched your friends, colleagues and those around you receive their breakthrough, while you are stuck in the same place asking “What about me?”  It worries most of us when our progress is slower than others. We become uneasy and impatient. We want to run ahead and  catch up with the rest. Right?

The sad truth is that this often forces us to follow paths that are not meant for us. You find yourself doing or practicing things that aren’t meant for you. What then happens to your purpose? Who will take over from your unachieved goals? How far will you have walked, before you realize that you are on the wrong path?  Will it be too late?

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Comparison will steal your joy. It will rob you dry and leave you empty, because you’ll never be content. You will always want more. It’s time you realize that – There will always be someone ahead of you. There will always be someone better than you. They’ll always be someone driving a car that is better than yours. Thanks to creativity, they’ll always be a newer version of what you have in your possession. With this said, if you spend your time, money and energy comparing, then you will never experience the joy of enjoying what you have at hand.

Know what you want.

Boss up to achieve it.

Make the best out of it.

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Whether it’s a lot. Whether it’s a little.  A bird at hand is worth two in the bush. What you have at hand is more important that what you want. What you have will only be as important as what you decide to do with it.

Comparison is an issue of the heart. It is an enemy of love. It makes us jealous. We begin to harbour ill feeling. These feelings take up space in our minds and hearts, and slowly but swiftly; begin to command our actions. You don’t need to physically harm anyone to prove that you are jealous. The minute you begin delighting in someone’s misfortune, is the very minute you need to sit and evaluate your intentions. Think of the number of times you have rejoiced because of someone else’s downfall. We’ve all heard the story of David and Uriah. Cain killed his blood brother. And it was all a matter of jealousy. I’m guilty of this as well! Aren’t we all?

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Comparison will interfere with your self esteem. It will either make you hate your very existence, or it will make you proud.

So, what is our solution?

THE ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE!

All this will change through gratitude alone. Thanking God for the blessings He has already given you. This shifts our focus from always wanting what others have, to appreciating what we have and what He is yet to bring. Celebrating what God has given others and leveraging what God has given you is the antidote to insecurity and envy. It reduces the urge to compare oneself with another.

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“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:10

God has different purposes for each of us so if your friend/enemy/competitor is called forth, you shouldn’t be sad, desperate or uneasy because God has His own good works for EACH AND EVERYONE of us. Trust this, and trust His timing on the same!

 

Lord help me to trust your timing. Help me to believe that I am where you want me to be. I don’t need to compare my life and journey to any other person’s. Forgive me for defining my successes using other people’s timelines and achievements. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on you and what you have planned for me.

In Jesus name,

Amen.

After Valentine’s Day Type of Love

The month of February is one that is set aside for lovers. The first half of the month is spent by lovers trying to prepare for the famed Valentine’s day and the other half is spent either apologizing to significant others for failing to reach expectations or basking in the afterglow of a perfect celebration of love. It doesn’t matter whether you are single or not, ultimately you will be made aware of the fact that love is indeed in the air.

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From exclusive getaways in popular destinations or hotels, to boxes of jewelry and chocolates everyone tries to go out of their way to show their significant other that theirs is indeed the truest and purest form of love. It doesn’t matter who you are, even that handy man in the village will probably be inclined to make that “mama mboga” he has being eyeing feel special by any means he can. So flowers will be bought and luxurious experiences sought after all in the name of celebrating love. I have nothing against this; everyone reserves the right to celebrate their love whichever way they wish. My only prayer for you is that yours is an after Valentine’s Day kind of love.

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What do I mean? I mean that after the special suits and spectacular dresses and heels have come off; After the expensive watches and rings and other gifts have began gathering dust on shelves; After the flowers have all dried up and the bags from the getaways have been unpacked; After the month of February is long gone and all that is left of it are memories; I pray that yours is a strong and all year round type of love. That the love you celebrate in February is still going strong in March all the way through to December. That regardless of the date your love will be forever evident and celebrated not always in grand gestures but even in small gestures that are capable of getting you through the tough times. That your love goes beyond the pressures imposed by society to showcase a perfect love. That even during the most boring and mundane days to the most exciting and thrilling days you and your significant other will nurture and grow a love that can withstand and sustain both seasons.

We are all witnesses to how under rated, mediocre and bland the word Love is today. The most powerful verb, and still the most misused one. Such a beautiful thing, being the reason for so many ugly things happening around us today. For something that people search for day in and day out, it’s funny how scarce such an amazing thing is, in a world that desperately needs it. Let’s take time to realize what ‘love’ genuinely is, and be the first to show it to everyone we encounter.

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Yes it is a lot of work but it can be done with dedication and commitment. So here’s to an after Valentine’s Day type of love! May we be lucky enough to find it and may we be strong enough to nurture it!