Beyond Low Self-Esteem
Bowale Ikotun is a friendly Database Administrator who shares his God experience with us.
I had just settled in for the night and was about dozing off when I heard; “Bowale! Bowale! Bowale!” I’d like to think my default response was: “Yes Lord, here I am; send me.”
Na, my God Experience didn’t involve me hearing a voice, neither did it entail me having to take off my Italian shoes in front of a burning bush! My experience seems like a somewhat normal story. I’m sure some folks can relate with it.
I gave my life to Christ at a considerably young age; must have been 8 years old or so. Getting into secondary school the year after kind of changed everything for me. My notion of Christianity at the time was that it was a ‘no-fun’ religion. I wanted to maintain my punk hairstyle and emerging swag but was told that as Christians we were to “love not the things of the world or the things that are in the world…” But I wanted to have it all – be myself, have fun and still have God but that didn’t seem like an option. As the years passed, God seemed like a sadist, a kill-joy that didn’t want anything good for me. The rules that came with being a Christian made it next to impossible for me to serve God. I sought after the freedom the world had to offer. I still went to church; joining the choir and being part of the drama production. I was a hypocrite. I wasn’t going to church because of my love for Christ; it was more about trying to get the pretty babes the choir unit had to offer.
I’d pretty much set up a plan for what my university life was going to be like or better. I wanted FUN which for me was to go to parties, get politically involved and roll with the main guys on campus. Basically, anything that didn’t have to do with God and involved me enjoying life to the fullest. If you schooled in Nigeria you’ll get this next part. There were basically two categories of guys in class. The born-again guys who sat in front with their trousers long enough to be passed to the next 3 generations and smartly tucked in shirts (usually stripped or sky blue). We also had the cool (happy-go-lucky) guys at the back of the class who always said funny stuff and ensured our ribs stayed cracked during the boring lectures. Pardon me, I said there were 2 categories. There was a third that consisted of those of us who wanted the best of both worlds. Take a quick pause right now and try to remember which of those guys you were back then.
Before we go into a different gist altogether let’s get back on course. So, where were we? Ehen! I was perplexed when I saw one of the happy-go-lucky guys leading Sunday School in one of the fellowships on campus. I found it difficult to comprehend. How could one of these guys be a Christian? And even more so, be a Sunday School teacher? How can he eat his cake and still have it, I wondered. This guy was the direct opposite of my ideal Christian. He did not look or dress to fit the profile of the Christian I had carried about in my head all these years. It was a tipping point for me. At that point I figured I could tap into that. I could be a part of this fun Christian family. That my friends, was how God arrested me and I re-dedicated my life back to Christ.
Another thing I struggled with was the idea that once you fall into sin, God is mad at you and wants to destroy you and the wise thing to do was to “run away from Him”. I have discovered, however, that the best time to run to God is when you’ve fallen into sin. Growing up I also suffered from low self-esteem, lack of confidence and a poor self-image because people told me that my head was too big, I had poor dentition, I was too dark in complexion and all sorts. Someone once told me to my face that I was not fine. He went as far as appealing to me to study my books just so I’d stand a chance with the ladies since there was no way that was going to happen with my looks.
These were some of my early struggles even after giving my life to Christ, but thank God for the understanding I now have that I am who God says I am. It is not a function of anybody’s opinion because the Bible says ‘I am beautifully and wonderfully made’. I’m married man today, so at least one of the ladies saw the bigger picture and stayed. Glory be to God.
PS: If you would like to meet the God Bowale spoke about, please go here.
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