Failed Diving

Okay, so apparently, there’s this cognitive bias called the dunning-kruger effect, where you think something seems easier than it actually is. That was exactly what I was experiencing when I was heading out to sea.

I wanted to swim from Last Hour Beach to African Beach, that’s about 1.69km… 1.69km!! It didn’t cross me initially until I finally got there. Secondly, the waves stretched farther than I initially imagined. I estimate it stretched about 600 – 700 metres into the sea. Apart from that the water current was exactly opposite the direction of the waves so the more I entered the sea, the more the current pushed me in. This meant that even though it would be easy for me to go 600 – 700 metres into the water, it would be much more difficult for me to come back and I might even drown in the effort back to shore.

You think that stopped Robert?

Of course not.

I went into the water swam till my feet could no longer feel the ground and I was deep in  the water. Even with that, I wasn’t any where near even halfway where the waves began. Ibrahim, my bud bud, was on the look out for me together with the lifeguard and cautioned me to come back to shore before the tides swept me into the sea and it would be my end.

I learned a lot today, actually– especially concerning why people die when swimming at the beach. For those who don’t know how to swim, it’s quite obvious. The tides sweep them away and they have no way of recovering themselves. For those who know how to swim there are several scenarios than can cause them to die. First is if they hit their heads against a rock inside the water. Second is if they can’t hold their breath for long and a huge wave hits them, they’d drown because they can’t make it up in time when the waves have settled. And the third is when the tides sweep them out to sea and in their attempt to swim back to shore, they get tired, can’t continue anymore and then drown.

I’m going to continue tomorrow though. Hopefully, the current would be taking a different direction and the waves would have come a bit closer to shore, with the tides calmer than before. Tomorrow, the aim is to manage to get behind the waves. If I do that then I can start my search for some reefs.

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Fire Camp.

So, I went back to school for a 6-day camp and that has been one of the most life-changing events in my life. It was in those 6 days that I began to understand God more than any moment in my entire life. I thank God for showing me so much mercy as to go for the camp and for delivering me from certain notions I had about Christianity that weren’t true. Here are some of the lessons I learned:

Your dream life is very important:

God wants every way possible to speak to us and one of the ways He speaks to us is through our dreams. At night, when we are asleep, our minds are at their most vulnerable. It is a great opportunity for God to speak to us (as well as the devil to deceive us). God usually speaks to us in our dreams allegorically, using elements we are very familiar with to speak to us. Allow me to give you an example and a testimony concerning this dreaming factor. Last night I had a dream and in the dream, I was struggling to use my laptop. I turned the laptop and opened it up to try to see what it was, and I noticed it was a problem from the hard drive. The computer wasn’t reading the right information from the hard-drive so it was very difficult for me to use the PC. Praise God that while I was sleeping, I heard a voice (it was the Holy Spirit) interpret the dream for me.
Apparently, the computer was ME and who I thought to be myself was GOD. The hard-drive being faulty and reading the wrong instructions was talking about the fact that I wasn’t studying the Word so I was having some wrong mindsets and false notions which weren’t allowing God to use me.
I wouldn’t have known this at all if I didn’t know that God speaks to us in our dreams in a very special and personalized manner. D’accord, that sometimes it may be explicit, but most of the times they are allegorical. As the Woman of God, Auntie Derby said, “dreams are parables”. I remember how, through the Spirit, she would interpret our dreams and someone’s dream about plantain chips was actually to reveal something about the Kingdom of God. Interesting isn’t it? There are so many times God has spoken to us through our dreams that we do not realize.
So in dreams, we usually see people; some we are familiar with, and some we aren’t familiar with. The people we see in dreams usually represent people far different from who they are in reality.  I remember several people dreaming and seeing Auntie Derby in their dreams. Apparently, in the dream, Auntie Derby didn’t represent Auntie Derby but represented God or even the devil. God uses people we trust and hold in high esteem to speak to us in dreams. Someone had a dream, where he thought it was Auntie Derby speaking to him but it was actually the devil trying to deceive him. The devil is fine to cause deceit and mischief once he can hide behind people to do that. We can know if it is God or the devil speaking to us when we are firmly grounded in the Word of God. We should never take any dream for granted and we should have something to document our dreams in because they are very important. Dreams were potent tools used in the Bible. Auntie Derby said she had dreams from 8 years ago which she didn’t understand until recently. From that I realized the need to document the dreams. Oh and also, there’s no static formula for interpreting dreams– It takes the Spirit to do that.

 

Righteousness:

God has a plan and purpose for each and everything He created. In that light, God has a special plan and purpose for you. In conjunction with this special plan and purpose He gave us, He gave us something called free will. Free will allows us to decide whatever we want to do with our lives. God gave us freewill as a gift and it is a very lovely gift. As C.S Lewis said in his book, Mere Christianity, 

“He gave them (us) free will because
a world of mere automata could never love and therefore never know infinite
happiness.”

But giving us free will also meant that we could decide whether or not to serve God and whether or not we would follow His plan for us. And this is where sin comes into the picture. Sin means “missing the mark”, and thus anything that we do that does not fall into what God wants us to do or created us the way we should be. But that is not the whole picture. In the New Testament, sin is not only what is done, but what is conceived in the heart. Such that if a man looks at a woman with lust it is considered adultery (Matthew 5:27-28) and if a person hates his brother it is considered murder (1 John 3:15). Also, sin means outright disobedience. If God tells you to let’s say, pray for this or that person to get healed and you don’t do it, you’ve disobeyed and thus sinned.
The interesting thing is that the gifts of God can still operate in you even when you are in error. There are so many people healing the sick, touching lives, delivering people from demons with the genuine power of God but because they are not doing so according to God’s instructions, they are being sinful. That is why Jesus would say Get away, you workers of iniquity, I don’t know you. (Matthew 7:23). They are indeed working iniquity because they didn’t obey God but rather were doing the things that seemed right in their hearts that they thought God would be proud of.
Righteousness is an interesting topic because it is not something that we can use our human moral standards to measure. As Auntie Derby pointed out, if Jesus was to be in our present day, a lot of us would have called him a false prophet because of some of the things he did. Besides, how can someone said to be very humble, speak with authority saying he is the son of God? How can he say he will destroy a temple and in 3 days rebuild it? A temple that had taken so many years to build? Why would a righteous man be defending his disciples plucking grain during Sabbath, which was clearly wrong according to the law? (Mark 2:23-27). This is to say that God’s standards for what righteousness is is clearly not what we, using our moral ideals, can comprehend. Graciously for us, God has given us grace to enable us walk according to His will. He has also given us the Word, which is to transform us through the way we think so that we can understand His will and purpose for us (Romans 12:2).

 

Mercy:

It is very easy to dismiss that mercy simply means forgiveness but mercy goes way beyond that. God’s mercies are not only available for forgiveness but also to exempt us from the consequences of the sins we commit. When we understand mercy, we begin to see how gracious God has been to us. Imagine we paid the price for every single wrong we did. How would our lives be?
Mercy has been made available not only to be exempted from the consequences of our unrighteousness but also to set us back on the path of God’s righteousness. Mercy also goes before us to make things better for us. For instance, it was by God’s mercies I made it to the fire camp and I learnt what I learnt.

 

Beyond the physical:

 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.” — Ephesians 6:12

Once the devil can hide behind humans to cause harm and do mischief, his mission is complete. We are quick to judge people when they are rude and wicked to us; to those who hurt us and abuse us. We fail to realise that these people are usually influenced by forces that cause them to do what they do. And these forces gain influence through sin. When people sin, we may be tempted to take things at phase value but the sins create loopholes for the devil to cause afflictions and trouble’s in people’s lives. There are so many people that have diseases and afflictions not only because of their sins but also because of the sins their parents or forefathers committed.
A lot of the world’s social issues like terrorism, human rights abuse, rape culture, epidemics and others are all products of the works of the forces of darkness and as Christians, it is our duty to wage war against these forces, to destroy the works of these forces.

One very essential thing I learned was about pride. I used to thing pride meant simply seeing yourself better than everyone else, but that was just one piece of the large puzzle. Pride constitutes so many things including self-ambition, self-righteousness and the mere sense of comparing yourself to others. Pride is anti-God, because it acknowledges the self without giving credit to God. There are so many things that constitute pride but I will leave that for another post.

To be very honest, all that I have said is but a very tiny piece of everything that I learned during the camp. Ultimately, everything we learned was pushing towards the point that God desires a deep and personal relationship with us and the foundation for that is holiness and righteousness, rooted in a firm knowledge of the Word and a deep love for God. I will never in my life forget the experience I had with the Holy Spirit during this meeting. It has indeed turned my life around and I’m looking forward to next year’s Fire Camp.

Free Diving.

I freaking miss home. I’ve been in this place since the 7th of January, and I’m already tired. I miss Takoradi. I miss the breeze and the sounds from the roaring sea. Apart from missing home, I wanted to try something new– something adventurously new– free-diving.

I promise I remember when I was a kid I saw a coral reef back home at the harbour. I don’t remember exactly which part of the harbour I saw it but I remember vividly. So, I have decided to go free-diving at the beach near my house to see if I can find any reefs beneath. Already I’m hearing a coral reef has been discovered near the border between Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire.

I’ve already bought snorkels and googles. I need flippers and soon I’ll save up enough money to get a waterproof swimsuit. I also have to start working on my breathing exercises as well and I need to convince someone to come on this adventure with me.

Definitely not my little brother. No way. He’s the only brother I’ve got and I’m not risking him for anything. Apparently too, there’s a scuba diving lodge near Takoradi called Kedas Lodge. I guess that would be my next vacation destination…

The Truth 

You can have eyes and still be blind

You can have ears and still be deaf

You can have speech and still be silent

Because the fact that you have senses doesn’t mean you have sense

And the fact that you have a life does not mean you are truly alive.

In this world, the truth is beheld as paradox and noxious axioms, destined to despair rather than to purge

Indeed I tell you, 

There is knowledge that can make one ignorant

And philosophy that can turn one foolish

Thus the truth is neither words nor philosophy. It is neither conduct nor reason

The truth is Spirit, the truth is Life, the truth is Light

The truth is a personality

The truth has power and thus manifests itself in everything in creation 

The truth can manifest, yet is not the manifestation itself 

The truth is Jesus

And when we get to know Jesus

We get to know the truth 

Another mind-wandering episode

The face of reality keeps shifting, forming new tessaracts each passing day. The days sway by, repeating themselves by 24 hours, yet advancing in years. People keep walking. The trains keep moving. The birds keep flying. The sun keeps shining. Life keeps moving on.

It reaches the point where when I’m struck down, my quiescence turns into declination because while everything is prodding forward, I remain in a fixed, static position. The art of doing nothing unravels itself in my eyes in the form of laziness. I term it as an art because art requires observation, be it listening, watching, feeling, smelling or tasting. Art requires a certain sense of stillness needed to appreciate and savour an ongoing activity. Sometimes, to appreciate art, one must be active. But in a world where [almost] everything is in constant, tentative motion, one must be still.

I hope that explains why I can be lazy sometimes. Pleasure definitely dwells in my effort[lessness] to remain inactive, however I can draw insights from the world when I put myself in an inertial frame of reference and observe an ongoing activity without being affected by the activity itself.

Maybe what I’m starting to describe is isolation. Maybe I’m not lazy, because I’m putting in some mental effort to arrange all the patterns I see around me into something that makes meaning to me. I might be also putting in some energy to make sure that my current state stays invariable to the perpetual and erratic configurations and re-configurations the world has resolved to consistently model itself into.

Maybe it might be important to be isolated sometimes. That recluse, retrospective gaze at everything fosters a certain serenity that flexes my mind and makes me grateful for the beautiful, and horrible things I experience

Maybe, I should quit the maybes and start being assertive about certain ideas I choose to accommodate, lest I wander around in uncertainty. On the other hand, maybe I shouldn’t stop saying maybes because maybes are transitional words that push me to consider things from various possible (and impossible) perspectives.

To conclude, the important thing about this whole writing is to let my mind roam a bit, while being detached to the stream of thoughts it meanders around.

Love

Love.

Let’s talk about love.

No, let’s talk about ideas.

Yes, ideas.

Why?

Because there’s a thin line between ideas and love. We as human beings are completely enamored by ideas. We fall for them and we make love to them. We let them swivel their charm all over us. We kiss them and caress them. Indeed, ideas have proven to be the greatest seducers in the world. Because they are so flexible, we can bend them into different positions and orientations that align with our pleasure pressure points. And then, finally we let go and let them take us for an interesting journey. I have been caught by this trap before, and I am here to help you break free from yours.

For sometime now, I have been feeling slightly empty. It’s a feeling I cannot perfectly describe. What I can clearly identify, however, is that it’s an unresolved catharsis– a yearning of intimacy. You could say that I wish I had a girlfriend. That would be too simple though. What I really wish, is that I have that one person by my side who will deeply appreciate me for who I am, would be a great person, would care for me and would be willing to go through thick and thin for and with me. Is that too much to ask?

To begin with that question is a very wrong move. The real question is, do I want a wonderful person in my life, or I’m consumed by the idea of having a wonderful person in my life? Why do I want such a person in my life? Is it because if the way she’s going to make me feel? If it is, then I’m headed for a serious trap.

The thing about ideas is that they are so greatly drenched with emotion. Take for instance a girl who is all over a celebrity. Would she be genuinely in love with the celebrity? Of course not. Heck she doesn’t even know him or her. It is because the girl has been fooled to believe that celebrities are a larger-than-life kind of people. She has been fooled by the notion that celebrities are the climax of happiness, wealth and fulfillment.

To know we are genuinely in love with someone, and not just the idea is to know the person whom we are in love with. To be cognizant of the fact that we are not enamored by a poeticized version of them but by their true selves.

 

 

Hello, Fear

Hello Fear,

It’s time we sat to talk. You did not give me a notice, but rather chose to creep into my life and cripple me. You have pushed me away from realizing my potential. You have pushed me away from accepting who I am to always seeking validation in other people’s opinions of me. You have taught me to play it safe, saying that risk is rather too averse and dangerous for me.

You’re not all that bad, I’ve got to admit. For triggering in me to jump to save me from that gas explosion, from preventing me from drowning the first time I jumped into the deep side of the pool, for making me protective of the precious material assets that I possess. But now, you have gone too far. You have started messing with my social life.

Because people tend to laugh at me most of the time because I’m not like them, you tell me to act like them so  that I wouldn’t be laughed at. You tell me to stop sounding outlandish, to stop talking about quantum physics, to stop analyzing deep text in front of everyone, and to stop thinking out loud because my way of thinking doesn’t appeal to the people around me.

You have even justified yourself by using morals. You tell me to stop thinking about myself but should consider the feelings of others as much as mine. So much that I can’t end some of my friendships because I’m afraid of hurting the other party’s feelings. You have taught me not to be blunt with people, but to be “nice”, “polite”, but you really meant to say  euphemistic because a tad of all your intents were just so that I impress people– of course, to avoid rejection

You have taught me that all negativity is a curse and all positivity is a blessing. That every pain or hurt I feel is not meant to happen. You have taught me to run away from these negativities by all possible means and run to the embrace of what you call, positivity. For instance, that time you told me not to tell Efua that I liked her because she might say she doesn’t like me and I might get upset. So to effectively avoid getting upset, it was better I said nothing in the first place.

Indeed fear, there is a reason why you are the most interesting of setbacks that have challenged me recently. You are interesting because you’re not an emotion born out of instinct like those of love and hatred and what-have-yous. You are an emotion born out of pure logic, making bare to my eyes dangers of certain choices I decide to make.

Now I know all your tricks and antics. I’m not going to sit back down and let you have the best of me. All you have told me is “don’t do this” and “don’t do that”. You have never suggested to me to do something. You cripple me, you don’t inspire me. Instead of stabilizing me with your rationalizations, you rather cause me to tremble.

In the wake of this almost dying moment you have caused me.

erm.. lemme rephrase that:

I mean, in the wake of this almost dying moment I have allowed myself to encounter with you, I have to assert that there is nothing in this world I must fear, except for you yourself. And from now, I’m going to have that same reaction and repulsion towards you that you have caused me to (actually, I have allowed you to cause me to) have to every good opportunity that has come my way.

 

Adios,

sucker