Monday, August 18, 2008

Who are you?

One Sunday last month, I was on a bus ride to the island from the mainland. I boarded the bus together with a lady, who from the minute I saw her sit by me, felt strongly that she was ill-mannered. She had a copy of ThisDay newspaper with her, which I really wished to read, but I could not ask her because of my subtle fear about her attitude.

A while after, some other passengers joined at the next bus stop, and one of them had to join us on our row, which meant we had to adjust. So, she was asked to create some space to accommodate the person. And hell was let lose! You can’t imagine the kinds of words she spoke, even though she spoke good “phoney” English. Some minutes later, a man behind asked to read the magazine, usually in the paper, and her response again was bad though she gave him.

I was right when I assumed, from the first minute that we sat together, that she had a poor attitude and bad manners. When she alighted, her attitude was the topic of discussion by the other commuters for over 5 minutes. I later asked myself how and why I arrived at such a conclusion about the lady so quickly. What did I notice? Was I not being judgmental (which is a sin)?

Character is like a cable, which is made up of smaller wires, wound round and round until it forms a strong cable. And at this point, it is difficult to unwind. The wires that make up your character are your habits and attitudes. These are the only two things that others see, so they can say “this is who you are”. It is so interesting to see how you meet people and within 10-30 minutes, you can say that this person can be my friend or not. But you should avoid being judgmental by ensuring that you actually have the facts before you conclude about them. You should also learn to give people a chance, when they show signs of change or when they need your help.

You possibly see a guy in ‘sagged’ jeans, wearing a tag and you just ‘click’ together, because that’s what you admire or even do. As a girl, you see another girl, on a low waist jeans and spotting a tight top with some expensive-looking jewelry and you just want to bond with her because she connects to something inside you. But maybe you’re like the guy or girl I admire, who doesn’t want to follow this world’s craze, or people who do, because you want to “flee every appearance of evil”.

So, who are you? Or better still, who do you show others that you are? I beseech you therefore brethren (I feel like Apostle Paul now) that you begin to consciously and deliberately determine who you are. Watch and influence your habits (what you do usually or regularly over and over without thinking) and attitudes (what you feel or think about something which determines how you behave).

IT IS NOT COOL TO KEEP NEGATIVE HABITS AND ATTITUDES. That is what you’ll become in a matter of time. And what you do is what people see, not what you intend to do. Deliberately, let the bible and good morals you’re taught at home and in school become your lifestyle.

Please get a sheet of paper of paper now and write out all your negative habits and attitudes. Beside them, write the good ones based on God’s word and sound morals. Now, pick one good habit and decide to imbibe it until it replaces the bad one, for the next 30 days. Remind yourself about this new positive habit every morning. Researchers say that anything you can do deliberately for 21days will become a habit.

So do it for a whole month. It will be though, very though but remember that you’ll be better off in the long-run. If you have to do it for a longer time, please do. Always remember that You Are What You Have Become. ‘Become’ here means what you have being doing on a daily basis. Your character is a composition of your habits and attitudes. Regardless of what you think or feel or wish, your character (which others see) is YOU!

So, begin today to determine and influence who you are. Ask God to help you. That’s what the Holy Spirit loves to do. And if you’re finding it really though, talk to a Christian counselor or your pastor or parents or to any MINE magazine contributor today.

“You are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14) Let others be able to say that about you!

*Dade Akinwande

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