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Losing but Gaining

As I sucked the life out of my last chicken wings, it dawned on me how different life was for me as a Nigerian living in the UK. I thought about the government, the education system, and other pressing issues. However, I spent a long time reflecting on my faith journey.

Here is a quick story. I was 17 at the time, and I started to attend computer school in Nigeria. Since I had just renewed my relationship with Christ, I was extremely eager to share my faith with people.

Evangelism was less of a challenge in Nigeria due to its religiousness. Growing up in church, we did public preaching as well as rallies. We were so enthusiastic and confident as we sang gospel songs on the streets. Being a child, it was the highlight of service, just like PE classes where we spent an hour out of the classroom engaging in fun exercises. I use to be enthralled by the prospect of not sitting in service for hours. I'm sure other people who grew up in Nigerian churches can relate.

So back to my story, I was privileged to share my faith with a friend I met in computer school, and I was so excited about it. One time I journeyed in a public bus to Ibadan city and talked about Christ to fellow passengers. It was such a blessing! Then I moved to the UK, and life was no longer the same.

The UK, I have realised, is not a religious country. Despite this, the values they stand for are priceless. Respect, Tolerance, Individual Liberty, Democracy, and the Rule of Law are pillars of the country. They serve to unite everyone irrespective of race, colour, religion, upbringing, and other differences we may have as individuals. However, things created to deliver freedom to all can sometimes be bondage to some. Wait! I'm going to explain.

My confidence spiralled to a significantly low level when I came to Britain. The pressure to blend and feel among meant my faith had to take the backseat. As good as Respect and Tolerance are, they taught me to fear at one point. I could no longer boldly associate myself with God among peers and in public. On days that I knew God was the one behind my success, it was challenging to say it loud. I can not recount the numerous times I rehearsed my gratitude speech in my room, putting God at the centre of everything, but when I came out in public, it all flew out of the window. I knew I was dependent on God, but I faked independence. I did not want people to feel uncomfortable around me. I thought the definition of respect was to shut up and hide my beliefs.

Now I know better. It was not the British values that held me bound but my ignorance. Now I know true freedom. I have learnt that respect for others does not equal silence. I can speak, share my faith, and show my gratefulness to God in public and still respect other people's beliefs and opinions. Impeccable respect is this; when I share Christ with you, whether you believe it or not, I do not hate, judge, or condemn you. Neither would I force you nor treat you inhumanely.

I still feel the pressure. I think it's inevitable. Social media have questioned my stand too. I sometimes feel the need to be less vocal about my faith on social sites to remain relevant, make more friends, gain followers, and all.

When Jesus said to his disciples that they would have to forsake family and friends to follow him, he wasn't joking at all. While some are lucky enough to have families and friends who share their faith, some are not, and sadly that quote from Jesus is their reality. The same applies when you vocalise your beliefs. One will lose friends. Even some people you have a crush on, you will have to let go. Ouch! That hurts.

Living for Christ is a decision at the end of the day, and I am determined to choose him every moment. He's all in all for me.


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