As I look forward to celebrating my birthday again on the 20th of November, I have had to pause and process before I proceed and forge ahead. For the most unusual of reasons, I am playing a Smooth Jazz Christmas Carol playlist in the background as I write this.
On my normal days, it would have been some soulful orchestra; maybe Ludovico’s Experience or Hans Zimmerman’s Interstellar, more often than not, it’s my pastor begging me and the brethren to take life and godliness seriously, or my forever faithful Hillsong playlist… but ’tis the season so excuse my wandering soul today.
I ought to have begun on a note of love, that you should know my voluntary absence from everyday life has not affected the love I have for you. I came out of hiding to write you this heartfelt letter and to let you know I still love you. Muchly. Yes. You. And once again, it is this love that compels me to write you.
MY YEAR IN A FLASH
In the last year, I completed a PGD in Development Communication and commenced my Masters of Art in same, fully transitioned into tech as Head of Communications for a Blockchain startup but that is an article for another day, then I had an 8-week-long stunt with Y Combinator’s Startup School and then another 8 weeks learning Virtual Assistance with the African Leadership Group (ALx).
In-between jobs, I’ve been juggling my first love Safaya and the team every other day. This year alone, we have published about 10 authors across 7 countries, half of them women, written at least 200 articles, built about 7 websites from the ground up, rebranded and branded about 4 companies besides book designs with Ruach Media Group and we’re still growing.
Ah… I have also perfected some of my recipes as the accidental chef that I am and my spaghetti seems to take the crown this year followed by the sweet and sour chicken recipe. Lol. I have also made new friends; something I could not say in the last few years, reconnected with old ones, and of course, lost some.
To Begin With…
I thought about a hundred and one ways to title this post:
Honour your path
On love, writing and everything in-between
Grace, Grit, and Guts: Honouring the Most Important Things in Life While Chasing the Important Things in Life (Perfecto!)
The Creative Life of Ene Elizabeth Adeka (This one sounded proud.)
I have been many things as it’s typical of polymaths but the most important thing, however, is I have been true to myself and my path. After several thoughts and deep contemplations about what I’d write you this time, I settled on writing one of the most sincere things I’ve written in a long time but I’ll leave you to be the judge of that. Looking back on how gracious God has been, I have a lot to be thankful for grace, grit, and guts. This is my story.
GOD AND GRACE
Purpose discovery outside of God will frustrate you and you will always doubt the authenticity of your path in life if you invented the road yourself. Even with God, there are days you will ask if you are on the right track, how much more without Him?
Every year, a song that accurately puts into perspective seasons characterizes my life…from Jakes Hinjari’s Water Me to Hillsong’s Desert Song when I was fighting to graduate from Chemistry to Highs and Lows in the year of the lockdown, I have a song for every season.
It is important that you sing the songs God is singing over you in particular seasons of your life.
I pause here because it is impossible amongst many other things to separate God from melodies; He’s truly a “melody man” and in season and out of season, in the silence and the multitude of words, in the cool of the day or the heat of the desert, a sound will always precede His workings in your life. It is important that you sing the songs God is singing over you in particular seasons of your life because where words fail to have meaning, songs will communicate your heart or explain His heart.
I began writing as a way of escaping my then reality as a Chemistry student who knew she was not cut out for all of that hydrocarbon stuff. If anyone had told me ten years ago that my writings would take me down the winding paths of destiny and leave me on the corridors of discovery, I would have bet my life on the fact that they were high or low on something.
GIFTED OR GRACED?
I thank God for Chemistry now not because I exactly enjoyed the process, but I do so because those were my years of definition. I started this journey with nothing but God; yes I come from a long line of writers and readers but that gene was recessive until God entered the scene and as I count my wins and losses again this year, it is important that you understand that my writing is first a gift from God before it is raw talent and mastery. It is not me; it is Him; it is not mine; it is His. And I’m not gifted, I’m graced.
With God, every other thing will fall in place because He doesn’t come alone, He will come with the right people and leave you with provision for your vision. When you stay with God, the right people will gravitate toward you. And when they do, He will give you the wisdom to nurture and grow such relationships through humility, honour, and service towards one another. Remember, only weeds grow on their own. Everything good must be nurtured if you want it to bear good fruits.
I pray that in practicing your craft, you, God and your gift will be a threefold cord that cannot be broken.
The lesson here is you will keep going in circles until you collide with God. So, the first thing I would love to celebrate as I mark another year is God. I have tasted the lovingkindness of God and I have a deep understanding of how He loves me. This love is the energy that fuels my writings and the muse that inspires my scribbles. I pray that in practicing your craft, you, God, and your gift will be a threefold cord that cannot be broken.
Honouring your path in life will come at a price, one which most are unwilling to pay. You will have a dance with loneliness, you will be misunderstood many times, you will feel lost and completely clueless sometimes and every other day, you will have to be your own motivational speaker.
Grit is a special combination of passion, perseverance, and persistence. It is not enough to be passionate, can you persevere when your passion becomes the biggest source of mockery in your life? It is not enough to be passionate; can you insist on that path you have decided to tread even if the crowd goes in a different direction and you are left, a lone traveler on the path you have chosen? Grit is not just commitment, it is unshakable faith and unflinching belief in what you have set out to achieve with God and for God.
Passion is Not Enough
If you don’t have grit, you will easily give up when the days of nothing come upon you. If there is one quality, I thank God for having, it is grit. When I started my postgraduate studies in Development Communication, for instance, I was the only student with a scientific, educational background in a class of about 30 arts connoisseurs. To say that I understood anything they taught me in the first few weeks would be a blatant lie.
There were days I threw up my hands in frustration and called myself a sham, a fraud, and an imposter but somehow, I always circled back to the things I abandoned and picked up from where I left. In my relationships, this quality finds expression as well. It takes a long time for me to walk away, a loooooong time. Lol. But do not count on my coming back when eventually I do.
So, today you must enter a covenant with grit, my dearest. You must have passion and perseverance toward your meaningful goals. Nobody is going to do this for you, you must rise to the occasion and stick with it, whatever IT means to you, no matter the nay-sayers or the difficulty. Grit must become your friend.
If you’re always worried about crushing the ants beneath you, you won’t be able to walk. I used to be a terribly shy person, I still am, I just know how to handle it better. My shyness resulted from many things; lack of belief in self, years of listening to the wrong self-talk, and of course, those special group of people we all have in our lives who would make it their days’ job telling you what you can or can’t do.
If you do not have guts a.k.a courage, you will be a cheerleader in every life except your own. You will lead the pack of spectators in your life when you ought to be out in the field doing what you love the most. Guts is important if you want to do meaningful work because you won’t always have the blessings of everyone before you proceed.
You will also need guts for when you have to say NO to certain people, and situations. The courage to walk away from the abusive relationship, the courage to say no to being taken for granted, the guts to go for what you want regardless of that voice in your head that says you aren’t good enough for it. None of us are, we just believe we deserve it; whether it deserves us or not is a question, we’re answering on the job.
NO GUTS, NO GROWTH
You must have the guts to go for and grow what you want; the love you desire, the business, the friendship, the life you want! You cannot have it sitting on the fence, you cannot have it from the sidelines. Everything requires effort my darling, from drinking water to marrying a good man. And you cannot put in the required effort if you’re afraid to embrace the guts to even desire such things first.
May you have the courage to go for what you want. I didn’t say snatch another person’s boyfriend sha before you use my article to justify your side-chick genes.
ON VIRTUES AND VALUES
In the last year, I have felt emotions I never thought my heart was capable of feeling. I even cried from watching Netflix’s “From Scratch” (is that you laughing at me?). I am a preacher of love, there’s nothing to be ashamed of honestly, I was made by love, to love and be loved, and going forward, I hope to communicate this better.
It is better to be skillful and full of virtue than gifted and full of vices. – AJS
If you don’t know your value yet, build virtue. My father in his own words said to me, “Value without virtue will crash-land you at the gates of destiny. It is better to be skillful and full of virtue than gifted and full of vices.”You don’t have to pay anyone to build virtues; peace, tolerance, politeness, humility, meekness, patience, etc. These are the things that would lead you to the place of value.
This year again, I look forward to helping first-time authors especially first-time women authors tell their stories and document their journeys of love, faith, and all-around growth. I hope to document the things I have learned so far and that I am learning on A Cup of Energie, my YouTube.
Thank you to everyone that has made this past year a beautiful one for me; from my mentors to teammates at work to clients, to church family and friends, and finally, my biological family, thank you!
A Song of Prayer for You
Thanks so much ma, this is another reason not to fail in this life or hereafter.
So much love and value in “one” piece.
You’re already blessed ma.
Thank you Ene, God bless you and, Happy Birthday!
Thank you so much Love, God bless you.