What a year!!! In all of my life, I have never, ever had a year like 2017. It felt like life kept knocking me down, and before I could stand up completely, it would knock me down all over again. I cried too many times. I lost weight, lost my appetite, lost blood, and I think I lost my mind too. But it’s okay, I have been restored.
Amazingly, I have come out stronger. I have entered 2018 with a spiritual confidence and awakening that I have never had before. God fought for me even when I did not know I was in a war, and my enemies were humiliated before my very eyes. There’s so much I want to say, but everything in its time.
For now, here are 20 very hard lessons I learned in 2017:
1. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph 6:12): I think every Christian probably knows this verse, but this year, I faced evil in a tangible way. Not an imagined evil, but one I could see and touch (and picture and video too). Don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about it one day.
2. I am an IJELE NWANYI: I am a strong woman. All around strong woman. Emotionally. Spiritually. Mentally. Financially. I. Am. Strong.
3. Try as it might, a leopard can never change its spots: It can hide them or paint over them, but eventually, they’ll always show.
4. Sometimes, the enemy is within: And sometimes, you unknowingly let the devil into your home. But you’ll find out eventually. Just like I did.
5. Money isn’t everything: but it’s always nice to have.
6. I really can do all things through Christ who strengthens me: In 2017, I realized a strength I did not know I had.
7. Although a goat does not bite, when pushed to the wall, it will turn around and bite you: This is a proverb I learned from Solachi this year. I have learned many proverbs from Solachi this year. I was the goat who never bit. But I got pushed to the wall, so I, like the goat, had to turn around and bite.
8. Stay on your level: This year, I learned the importance of staying on my own level. Rolling in the dirt with pigs isn’t a good look – especially for me.
9. It’s imperative for me to always reexamine what I tolerate: Sometimes, you’ll just be collecting nonsense and not even knowing it.
10. Self-love and self-preservation are of extreme importance: I cannot come and die biko. Like my former Pastor used to joke, if nobody loves you, love your sef!
11. That inner voice should always be listened to: I have come to believe that that voice is the voice of God because I listened to that voice many, many times, especially in recent times, and that’s how I found out many, many things.
12. An Igbo proverb says that the person who has people is more than the person who has money: People love me, but most importantly, God loves me: I know this for sure. Also, it’s important to have friends and family. I found this out many times in 2017.
13. It’s okay to not be okay: As an IJELE NWANYI, over-strongness can sometimes be worrying me. I usually have a problem leaning on people. I have learned that it’s okay to not be so strong all the time, and it’s okay to lean on people who love you when your legs can’t hold you up. So, go ahead and ask for help. It’s okay.
14. It’s not my job to change people: Even if I actually wanted to change people, I don’t have the power to do so. That’s all on God, and I’m sure He does not need my help.
15. Chattering does not cook rice: A person may shout Alleluia from dusk till dawn, but that does not mean that she knows God. The devil knows God, too. It’s not Alleluia-Alleluia we will use to enter Heaven.
16. To lead a people, one must first lead his home: Some people are born leaders; some people become leaders; some other people are clueless and don’t even know that they’re clueless.
17. Some people have to be miserable: There are people whose lot in life is misery. They are miserable from the day they’re born to the day they die, and if you let them, they will suck the life out of you and fill it up with misery.
18. A good name is gold: It’s true that a good name is important, and that your reputation precedes you. That way, when they try to slander your name, the people they’re telling – God included – will say, Nah, not my Vera.
19. Closed mouths don’t get fed: I learned this one from my mommy. In 2017. I relearned how to open my mouth.
20. Sometimes you forget who you are: I temporarily forgot who I was. But it’s okay because I have remembered who I am now, and incredible things happen when you remember who you are.
Dear 2017, I’m grateful you happened, and I’m even grateful for the lessons you brought with you, but I’m happy you’re gone. Thank You, Jesus for saving me.
Hello, 2018. Happy New Year, Sweet Potatoes! May this be our best year yet in Jesus’ name. Amen. And as always, thank you for sticking with me.