LoveI was walking towards the Big Cross Over as we had labeled it with a few of my friends. I was turning the big 30 and I was starting to panic. I am not those people that are scared or afraid to be old, sometimes I think am overly anxious to be old because I think it is a sign of God’s faithfulness. I still look forward to being at least 100 years of age and that means I need to be comfortable with my present age. In fact, that means I need to celebrate every new year that the Lord gives me. I have seen so many people die young that I am grateful for everyday and even more for every birthday.

Anyway, back to the Big Cross Over. I was so anxious about it that I kept wondering why no one has ever written a book about turning 30. I did not know what to expect, it was like I was at the corner of some really great start and I wanted to prepare myself. It is as a result of this that I passed by one of my favorite places – a bookshop. I love books, I love books very very much. I believe no one can ever read enough not to be reading a book every week and books are my therapy and solution providers. Before I ever go to someone with a question, I have already spent a while finding out what other people who are patient enough to write a book thought. You may tell me that they are not always right and I agree with you but this is my thought. If someone was confident enough to put their thoughts into writing and then go on to publish them hoping to make some money, they are worth listening to. Even if I do not agree with them, I celebrate their confidence.

Okay, am getting derailed. We were talking about the Big Cross Over. So, I had been ably told that I should get married at 30. It was great to think of that at 25 years of age but not so cool on the last day on the other side. I do not know what I thought but a part of me expected to wake up married on my birthday so I panicked since I did not see any person to make this happen and I bought a book. The book I bought is entitled ‘If men are like buses, then how do I catch one?’ by Michelle McKinney Hammond.

Now, let me be honest here. If I had known that she is the one that had written the book, I would most probably not have bought it. I know, it is very ….. (no word yet to explain the word but it is a word that could mean judgmental, prejudicial and stuff like that). Anyway, I discovered when I opened it but I was already captivated. Just to clear the air, you maybe wondering why I would not buy a book written by her. Well, she is single and seems really happy and a part of me feared that reading a relationship book written by someone who is not married and is happy may mean I will forever stay single. Do not judge, my mind is always active, it sometimes makes decisions for me that my mouth has to back up.

Anyway, back to the Big Cross Over. So, I bought this book because I was eager to find out how to catch one of these buses to make the dream and desire of my soon acquired age a reality.

This book is the reason for this blog article because it is 5 days after I bought it and I have come to the end. I feel it was money well spent given the fact that I have read it to the end. I also have another weakness, I get bored easily and so I sometimes do not read books to the end because I feel they have said all they can say at a particular point. I know this is how people sometimes feel about some of my emails, I really write long emails. I guess by now you know the reason why, I keep getting derailed. Blame it on my really cool and innovative mind. I can have a plan but my mind goes on to give me other options in case I am interested. I will write something about my mind sometime so this is the last time I am going to talk about it – I hope.

Anyway, I had been having so many questions about this marriage thing and my purpose. I had a plan for my life 5 years ago and it did not look like this at all. That plan had me in a different country doing very different things but here I am. Most days it is okay but I sometimes wonder why and I guess I was at the wondering part as I prepared to cross over to the other side (oh, this side).
As I read the book that was supposed to tell me about catching a bus, I found myself sitting at the bus stop and letting all the buses I had planned to catch pass me by. I found myself sitting at the bus stop and talking to the Bus Driver. I found myself deciding to take a time out from buses completely because she talked about the need to love the Bus Driver. I may have lost you at this time but you know who to blame – my mind. So, the Bus Driver is Jesus.

You see, I have spent so much time on this marriage thing – thinking about it that I feel like I have not really listened to the Lover of My Soul. I have been so frightened of what He may require me to do or who He may want me to marry. This is not an everyday struggle, for those starting to judge me, it is a sometimes struggle. Sometimes being 6 days in the 7 days that make a week. At least I have a sabbath rest from this fear.

I love my Lord so much and I am sometimes worried that if He told me to do something, I would do it. That is how I ended up in another country. I sometimes fear that He will tell me something, I will be in so much love and move forward and then the scales that cover people in love will fall off and I will be caught in what He told me to do and I am may not be sure if I like it. That is the reason I was really scared of hearing God’s opinion on a number of things that are close to my heart i.e. purpose and marriage.

Anyway, as I read the book, I felt the fear lifting and I was reminded again about what is really important. It felt like a bold pink writing in heaven just for me on a very cloudy dark day. I now know that I can not live my life the way I had started living it, I can not be too busy doing things for God that I miss out on a relationship with Him – a real relationship with Him. It is as a result of this that I have decided to be real with myself. I need to tell myself the truth like when I am hurt, I need to remind my mind to pick up on the feeling instead of explaining it away. I have decided to give the most important relationship in my life another go. I remember a time when I had put aside time to just bask in the presence of the Almighty, to have a date night but I got destructed with movies or other staff like chatting with friends. It is so back because I need to spend time with my Bus Driver.

I need to stop writing at sometime and am here thinking about how glad I am that my job does not involve reviewing books because it would be really sad. As you can see, this blog article was inspired by reading this book and yet I have talked about other things more than the book.

To put an end to this, I will just say one thing. I am so glad I read this book for I can now truly and fully delight in the Lover of my soul – My King. I can put more time into the most important relationship; the only relationship that will forever be as I find out what He has to say about the bus that I hoped I would catch. So, no more anxiety or worry as I rest under the shadow of my Lover’s wings. I know my Love will tell me and guide me whenever the time to move has come. My plans have been shelved and we will take time to review them as we spend time with my Love and that is if there is time for that because I realize that there is a lot of catch up to do.

I am so glad I made the Big Cross Over and I have something in my heart to show for it. It is a great great book for everyone, not just singles. I was in a car, it was raining so hard I could not see the way and I was scared because I felt so alone but all that has changed. I am still in the car, it is still raining but this really cool person joined me who seems to know exactly what to do in such weather so am feeling rather warm and happy. I am enjoying this stormy journey because of the person that is at the driver’s seat.

It is a great book indeed.


THE WAY OF THE SHEPHERD By Dr.Kevin Leman and William Pentak

    7 Ancient Secrets to Managing Creative People

SECRET ONE: Know the condition of the sheep
Follow both the status of your work and the status of your people
Get to know your flock, 1 sheep at a time
Engage your people on a regular basis
Keep your eyes and ears open to what the sheep is communicating, question and follow through with both work and personal status

SECRET TWO: Discover the shape of your sheep
If you don’t buy/hire right, you will inherit someone else’s problems. your choice of sheep can make flock management easier or harder
Strengths: Try to place people where they can operate out of their strengths and not their weaknesses
Heart: while the strengths reflect the abilities, the sheep’s heart reflects their passion. Know what they like to do
Questions to ask
– What are my people passionate about?
– Is the job a cause of a pay check?
Attitude: Attitude is more important than talent
– Star performers with an attitude put a constant drag on everyone else.
– If you compromise with negative people for the sake o their abilities, your other people will learn the bad habits.
Personality: Is someone an extrovert or introvert, do they like repetition (same thing every day) or do they like variety (something different everyday), do they like structure or change?

SECRET THREE: Help your sheep identify with you
– Build trust with your sheep/followers by modeling authenticity, integrity and compassion
– Set high standards of performance
– Relentlessly communicate your values and sense of mission.
– Define the cause for your people and tell them where they fit in.
– Remember that great leadership isn’t just professional but also personal.

SECRET FOUR: Make your pasture a safe place
The question to ask is “Do people leave office or the place of service having survived or having thrived for the day?”
People thrive if they rest. Find out what helps the people you lead rest. People will rest if;
– They are free from the fear of being harmed (uncertainty gets to the people)
If people do not feel secure at work, there’s no way they can do the best at work.
People feel secure if they are kept informed as individuals and as a team. People also like being informed of their progress before review time.
– There is no rivalry at work (people working against one another rather than with each other)
In order to fight rivalry in an organisation; You need to infuse every position with importance, Everyone should be reminded that they have an important role to play, If possible, opportunities should be rotated among the different members of the flock
– They are minimized pests at work (small annoying things) like rearranging priorities, many ‘flavor of the month’ i.e. change initiative of the month, talkative employees who constantly try to engage other co-workers in conversation hence preventing them from getting their work done.
– The hunger for more responsibility or advancement or pay is dealt with
You can help people thrive if you; Remain visible. ‘People can handle the uncertainty of tomorrow if they can see a leader they are certain they can trust today’ and Deal with problems immediately. ‘If you act soon enough, an individual problem won’t become a flock problem.’

SECRET FIVE: The Staff Of Direction
– A staff helps provide direction as a shepherd
When directing the people, use persuasion not coercion; instead of making pronouncements, make requests. After suggestions and ideas, don’t dictate and demand; instead advocate and recommend. Get in front of the people and show them the way. When people mess up, use the incident as a teaching opportunity
– A staff helps establish boundaries.
People need to know where the fence line is. When they go astray, they need to be tapped on the shoulder. A department can’t fulfill its mission unless everyone works together. Provides direction and sets expectations then lets people decide how to best get there.
– A staff helps in rescuing stranded sheep.
It helps get people who are in my team out of trouble.
– A staff represents the shepherd’s responsibility to encourage his flock.
It tells the sheep that ‘I recognize you’. It says ‘Don’t confuse boundaries with bridles’’ and reminds people that failure isn’t fatal.

SECRET SIX: The Rod of Correction
– The rod represents the responsibility of a leader to correct the people he is leading.
– The rod protects the sheep from predators and stands in the gap for the sheep.
– The rod is used to protect sheep from themselves. It helps in bringing correction. It helps in disciplining the sheep. People are disciplined so that they are kept from harm not so that they harmed. Approach a discipline conversation as a teaching opportunity. Discipline isn’t about handing out punishment or assigning blame but it’s about instruction.
– The rod represents the responsibility to inspect. Ask the followers if there is anything they need help with or anything they need clarification on. ‘People who aren’t progressively increasing in their capabilities have a shepherd who is stunting their growth.’

SECRET SEVEN: The Heart of the Shepherd
– Great leadership is hard work and unrelenting.
– Leaders need to be willing to pay the price of leadership.
– Someone needs to pay for the price of leadership and it is the leader that decides who makes the payment.
– The price a leader is willing to make is relative to the value one attributes to something.
– The quality of your return is based on the quality of your investment.
– Great leadership is not a life style and not a technique
– You could be the greatest shepherd in the whole world but if the followers/sheep do not know you as the shepherd – you are just a stranger.
– How you view your people determines how you lead them.