I Used To Hate Hymns.

I used to hate hymns in church. I used to dread that part of service.

As a person who loves to sing, praise and worship, and enjoy great music…those sad, sorrowful-sounding compositions just deflated my excitement. I’ll even stretch and say that it offended me. Yep, I was offended. How do you get me excited, hype, and happy with some LIVE praise and worship, then just shoot me off my high with a segue into the slowest hymn in history?!

I now realize that my previous dislike of these songs was just a preference for upbeat music. I never really paid attention to the lyrics and message in the hymns…only what it sounded like to my uninterested ears. Today, I still don’t like how sad some hymns sound, but I appreciate and understand that the words and message in the song is much more important.

Some of my favorites are It Is Well With My Soul(this song got me through an extremely low point in college), Great Is Thy Faithfulness, I Need Thee Every Hour, and Higher Ground. I truly believe that my growth in Christ has brought me to this point. Sometimes I find myself singing these songs randomly in the car, around the house, or even sitting during church.

I serve the same God that inspired the authors and composers of many of these songs so long ago. Isn’t that amazing? God is always relevant, His word doesn’t and will not change, and his love and faithfulness is everlasting.

If you’re anything like I am with slow hymns, next time you hear one, try not to think about how long it’ll be before the song is over. Read and understand the message in the lyrics, tap into the Holy Spirit that was there when it was written, and thank Him because you can. The words are sometimes so simple, yet powerful.

Happy Sunday.

-Misfit.

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Open Letter to Store 61.

It’s been a long while since I posted anything. This post is a very special one…and it’s taken me 4 days to write it.

Friday, February 14, was my last day at my first career location. Because I am no longer there, I can safely tell the world that I was an Executive Trainee for 9 months in the Best Store EVER: Asheboro, NC. Store 61. Since this was my last week in the building, a whole bunch of bittersweet goodbyes have taken place. I’m writing this in the order they happened…

To Pat: Pat, you’re just awesome. You have one of the biggest hearts and the loudest laughs I’ve ever encountered. You have so much love in your heart and you aren’t shy or stingy about sharing it. From the day we met, you adopted me as part of the Asheboro family and I love you for it. As I’m writing this, I’m looking at the peacock figurine you gave me. Thank you again. You’re so creative and your personality is so colorful, it’s so hard to not be in a good mood around you. We definitely must continue exchanging recipes and delicious culinary experiences. If ever I find myself an orphan for Thanksgiving…do I have a standing invitation for wherever you go?

To Ellen: “You’re a hoot.” I never really heard that phrase before moving to Asheboro, but now I know what it means and I think you’re a hoot! Even though you’re from (insert turned up nose) Southpark, you’re alright in my book. You have a song, tv/film reference, or dirty joke for just about everything. It’s hilarious! You have some of the quirkiest comments and nobody says “Modern.Southern.Style” quite like you. I’m not sure I’ll ever find a breakfast biscuit buddy in Wilson and …nobody can ever take your place.

To Lisa: *cue Fat Amy voice* “Umm…hmmm…uhhhh…” You’ve been one of my best friends in this store. We clicked almost immediately! Our inside jokes, movie references, random dances, and infamous fitness challenge…I’m going to miss you like crazy! I’ve added you to my list of big sisters. You’re so talented and I hope someday I’ll be able to merchandise as fabulously as you. I think my denim fold is almost there, but I’ll keep trying. I’ll make you proud in my new store. P.S. I don’t think they have a Chick-fil-a in the shopping center where I’m going. 😦

To Karen: I’m so happy I got my official members only ROCC sweatshirt. In the store, you work so hard without complaining. You run the best ROCC team in all of Belk. You have a way of setting your mind to do something, then just doing it. I only have that resolve about certain things. You’re so kind, you’ve become like another big sister. I’m thinking we should do another squat challenge since the first one was so much fun! I promise to try and keep up with Beauty and the Beast, but I might need some text reminders. I never got to skate with you and the kids, but maybe an outing in the future could happen! Oh, and I have to catch up with your weight loss! Lol…wishful thinking.

To Cindy: Cindy, you are, by far, the most sarcastic and witty person I’ve ever met! Sometimes I have no choice but to shake my head and laugh at the things you say. You’re so dedicated to your job, and I can honestly say that whenever I have a question about just about anything…”Ask Cindy” will be my first thought. You’ve taken me under your wing, adopted me as your surrogate niece, and given me plenty of advice about plenty of life topics. I doubt there will be a “Cindy” in my new store, but…I’ll strive to become that person. If ever I am lost on what things to do to impress someone of importance, I will always remember to Know My Numbers. Thank you Cindy for being the best coach/mentor an ET could ask for.

To Everyone: I honestly didn’t know what to think when I was assigned to little Asheboro. I thought I wouldn’t like the small town or small store, but I was definitely wrong. You guys have taught me so much about the quality of a person. The conversations we’ve had, the memories we’ve created, and the Day of Thanksgiving/Day After Thanksgiving we’ve experienced…I’m cherishing them all. Each and every person in the store has come to mean so much to me and leaving you all to go to another store is very difficult. You’re all so loving, caring, and all-around great people. When I first arrived in Asheboro, I was unsure of how I would be received or whether the people would like me. They say time flies when you’re having fun, and these 9 months have definitely been a blast. You don’t find a group of people as wonderful as the ones in store 61. I’ve realized that my assignment here was meant to be and I’ve gained a big family. Thank you for making this experience a rewarding and exciting one. God bless you all. I’ll miss you dearly.

-Tobi.

Being Nigerian & Single.

My name is Oluwatobi Olofintuyi.

Let me tell you what Nigerians think of me, a 21-year-old college graduate, not having a fiance, or even boyfriend…

The struggle. They see me as the struggle.(ALREADY!?)

It’s as if these Nigerians expected me to graduate from college with a ring on my finger. I was supposed to walk across the stage to get my diploma…all the while planning my walk down the aisle to marry my betrothed. They expected it to happen all at once.

Umm…what? These are the same people who all but glued a note to my forehead saying “no boys allowed” all through my 16 years of school. When during my avoidance of all things male was I supposed to meet a guy, date him, fall in love, get proposed to, and plan a wedding? Are YOU confused? So am I.

Nigerians aren’t even really as forward as you would expect with their “you’re not married yet?” commentary. Let me explain. There are always an abundance of weddings to attend. And for each couple getting married, there is more than one “event” that is a part of the marriage festivities.

As a single girl, one has to be prepared to hear some, if not all, of the following phrases at such events:

“We will do your own wedding, In Jesus’ name.” -Is the likelihood of me getting married without divine intervention that bad?

“God willing, I will be alive to see your wedding.” -Are you expecting to be old and decrepit by the time it happens?

“When you get married, my gele(large sculpture-like African headtie) will be oscillating.” -So it’ll be that large a miracle if I get married that you will tie your BIGGEST gele for my celebration?

“There are lots of fine(nice) Nigerian boys out there.” Soo…I should just line them up and pick? Or better yet…put an ad in the paper/on craigslist to recruit applicants?

“What are you waiting for?” Of course I’m intentionally waiting until I’m past child-bearing age and my youth is over to get married.

“I have a guy(their sister’s husband’s little brother’s best friend’s cousin) for you.” Umm…no, thank you.

These questions/comments/suggestions don’t make 20-somethings want to attend weddings, engagements, parties, or any other event where old married ladies sit at a table and render judgement on all the “spinsters”. As soon as you walk in, it’s like you can FEEL their watchful eyes, filled with pity at your LACK of marital status…you just want to hide in a corner, at home, under the covers.

I noticed the change in my mother’s attitude toward me dating during my 1st semester of Senior year of COLLEGE. It was probably while I was home on Fall break or Thanksgiving break. She asked me if I was talking to or dating anyone. My first thought: this is a trap. Are you expecting me to say no? Will a ‘no’ affirm that I am the good girl you raised me to be? Should I say ‘yes’? Is that answer going to earn me praise for meeting a “nice/good boy” or insults for not “facing my books”? With my mother…you just never know. I decided to just tell the truth. Nope, no boyfriend, no guy friend I hope likes me back, no annoying guy who is obsessed with me…nothing. I think she was a bit disappointed. *Cue more confusion and a sense of failure*

My parents and I never had “the talk” or anything remotely close to one. I just knew that doing certain things or engaging in certain activities might result in loss of life at the hand of my father or mother. Thankfully, youth groups, older sisters and bible study sessions filled in the gaps.

Besides being unattached, overall I think I’ve done pretty well in life so far. I graduated on time. I got a job before graduation. I have enough to pay my bills. I’m not careless or completely reckless in my post-grad behavior. I don’t have any kids. Apparently, that isn’t quite good enough.

Do I think about having a boyfriend? Yes. Would I like the comfort that seems to come with a loving relationship? Of course. Would it be nice to have a person who cares about my comings and goings each day? Absolutely. Am I going to going to actively pursue attractive men in the hopes of gaining the aforementioned? No.

The Bible says in Proverbs 18:22[AMP], “He who FINDS a wife, FINDS a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” So, whoever/wherever he is, he needs to find me. In the meantime, I will do my part in the “hide and seek” game. I will try to make sure I don’t look raggedy outside, be friendly, make sure I represent Christ daily, and prepare myself mentally to be found. I always joke, “I’m just waiting to be found.”

Until that happens…in the eyes of Nigerians, I will continue to be “le struggle”.

-Misfit.

Have You Ever?

Last night, I went to dinner and a movie with my cousin. After the movie, we sat in the car for about an hour talking about life, love, relationships, dreams, goals, etc.

He asked me a question. “Have you ever been in love?”

I couldn’t answer immediately. I had to think about it for a second. I didn’t have a boyfriend at all during my college years, my only real boyfriend was a long-distance thing. I thought I was in love with him, but teenage hormones and emotions can be deceiving. He was a great guy, really caring, and a true sweetheart. I don’t want to sound like I’m boasting, but I do think he loved me.

I’m not sure if I have shied away from relationships, ignored guys, or just not been interested in dating, but…I think I’m ready now.

What’s that 80s love song? “I wanna know what love is…I want you [insert dream bf’s name] to show me.” Yea…something like that.

I believe that love is a beautiful thing, if done right. I’ve seen many stupid, emotionally abusive couples, and I can admit to being jaded about relationships. But I also think that if the right guy came along…we could try.

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“Have you ever been in love?” No, but whenever I do…I’d like to get it right the first time.

-Misfit.