Leading up to planning the 2020 Do It Afraid Conference, the Lord taught me about gratitude. We had planned to pre-record the panel discussion and we postponed it to the Sunday before the conference because of the endsars protests. First of all, the proposed moderator for the panel couldn’t make it because she was ill and then out of 9 panelists only three could join that day. With all the obstacles, I was still bent on pre-recording until the night before when I felt really down and didn’t feel like going for the pre-recording the next day and so I sent my director a message saying I didn’t feel like doing it. He sent me a message in the morning asking how I was feeling and I told him I was feeling deflated. I then went on a rant about all the things that were wrong. One of the things that bothered me was that I had expected God to provide for the conference the way I thought He would and when a week to the conference He hadn’t, I was sad. I really wanted to cancel the pre-recording but because I had paid quite a huge sum of money that my husband had given me for the venue for the pre-recording, I was reluctant to cancel because I didn’t want to lose the money or have to ask for it back. As I was ranting about all the bills I had, a friend then sent me a message about some money I owed her and this made me feel even worse.
My director Oyakhire responded saying He had prayed and that our Father has heard everything that I have said. He then said I should take some time to thank God that morning, play music and then reach out to him later that day before the planned pre-recording.
I obeyed him and then I fell asleep while worshipping and had a dream. In the dream God instructed me to give the money I had paid for the pre-recoding to the company who owned the venue we wanted to use as a seed towards the work they were doing with less privileged children. That was my major concern in postponing the event. Therefore, I was relieved that I didn’t have to request for the money back and relieved it wasn’t wasted money but a seed towards helping the less privileged children. Also, my makeup artiste didn’t turn up so I figured God wanted me to post pone and record the panel session live on the day.
Later that day God taught me about gratitude. I was led to listen to one of Bill Johnsons sermon and He was talking about being thankful and He quoted 1 Thessalonians 5:16 in the Bible which says 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
He said most of the time we are praying to know Gods will but that God has told us what His will is in 1 Thessalonians 16-18. He then said that God expects us to rejoice always. He talked about how rejoicing is a choice and not a feeling and that we must get to the point where we choose to rejoice no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.
He talked about the importance of giving thanks in everything.
I decided to look back and remember all that God had done in our lives and even in the conference over the years.
Truly gratitude is a major key to open heavens. In the spirit of being thankful it allowed me to have clarity and to hear from God. I then asked God how He wanted to fund the conference and He told me through crowdfunding which He confirmed through my cousin, Damola. Interestingly about a week or two before, He had sent my friend Esther Longe to tell me to look at getting people to partner but because I was bent on my own ways I insisted that what I needed was for God to give me a break through in the things I had been working on or hoped for. He was doing something new while I was still waiting for the old.
Over last weekend my husband and I had the privilege of speaking at Oasis International conference and Apostle Joshua Selman preached such a mindset changing message that drives home the point I made about God doing something new. The theme of the conference was “Behold I do a new thing” based on Isaiah 43:18-19 which says
“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert. The beast of the field will honor Me,
I have heard this verse so many times but I hadn’t heard it from this perspective. He highlighted how before we access the new, we must first of all forget the old which involves forgetting the old pains and also forgetting the old victories. This was so profound for me as I had been expecting God to come through in the way He had done in the past but He wanted to do a new thing.
As I meditated further on this verse I noticed verse 16 which says
“Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea
And a path through the mighty waters,”
Essentially in the past God had parted the red seas for the Israelites but this time He was doing something new according to verse 19 which says He was making a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Essentially the red sea represents abundance i.e. God making a way in abundance but the desert represents dryness and so God is saying this time He is making a way in a dry place. We are currently in a global pandemic and in a recession, in this season He is doing a new thing which is making away even in difficulties.
This is what I experienced. The theme for the 2020 Do It Afraid Conference was “A volcanic Transformation”. God told me to look inward like a volcano at what was lying dormant. He said there had been people impacted by the conference and that I should reach out to them to support the conference. In total we had about 4,500 in attendance at the conferences since 2015. I reluctantly put out a post on social media, my network and sent to our database and in 2 days we raised circa N1.8 million which covered the costs of the conference. God blew my mind.
I was so happy and like the Bellanaija.com headline the conference was a huge success.
After the conference I found myself still feeling ungrateful because I expected that we would get a lot of money as I hoped this was the breakthrough I had been waiting on God for. What we raised was only enough to cover costs, infact it was short of just a small amount. I had personal bills I wanted to sort out and so I was low key angry that God only covered the conference costs. Then God took me through another lesson on gratitude in 1 Kings 18 :41-45
“Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.”
So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.”
Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’ ”
Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel.”
He showed me that Elijah bowed in worship and even though His servant came with a negative report seven times, He still believed and trusted God by worshipping. Worship is an expression of thanksgiving. Then as soon as there was a cloud as small as a man’s hand, He told his servant to go and meet Ahab.
See Elijah said He heard the sound of abundance of rain but after several disappointments, it wasn’t an abundance that came first but a small cloud. He didn’t complain that how come only a small cloud came but He took that small cloud as a sign of the abundance of rain that was coming and He acted out in faith by sending his servant to go and meet Ahab.
The Lord explained to me that the provision for the conference was that cloud and instead of me being thankful I was again complaining and so I decided to repent and go to a place of gratitude. I created a gratitude list and I stopped at 200 things that God had done for me and not that I couldn’t continue but I had to stop because I think I needed to sleep.
Since then I have seen God open up the book of remembrance over me.
Gratitude is a major key. It opens you up to so much.
As we round up the year 2020, I would like to encourage you all to be thankful and be grateful. I know the year has been tough for many and looking at the state of ethe economy etc you may not feel that there is anything to be grateful for but as shared earlier it is a choice and not a feeling. Rejoicing means be to be glad and to take delight. Choose to be glad. One way to do this is in Philippians 4:6-8
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
I particularly like verse 8 which tells us to think on things that are lovely and of good report.
I am starting a gratitude challenge where every day till the 31st of December we are required to post one thing we are grateful for on social media on their Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp etc using the hashtag ‘gratitudechallenge’ ‘gratitudeiswealth ‘thericherlife’’. You have so much to be thankful for even the fact that you are alive.
I would like to encourage everyone to do this as I mentioned before gratitude is a key that unlocks open heavens and even opportunities and ill share one example of when I gratitude opened up global opportunities for me.
In 2018 after the Do it afraid conference I was in debt of N5 million of which N3 million was due that month and I was devastated but by God’s grace I was able to choose to stay grateful and I decided to host an instagram live session for the last three days of the year sharing what I was grateful for and encouraging people to join and do the same. The goal was effectively to end the year on a grateful note. It wasn’t easy but I’m glad I did. On one of those calls, one of the most influential women in francophone countries happened to stumble on the insta live and she send me a message inviting me to come and minister at their youth conference in Abidjan . This led to the birth of the french edition of my book “The Richer Woman” which we then translated into french “La Femme La Plus Riche.’ I launched my French book there and went onto to launch in other french speaking cities like Paris and Kigali. Gratitude unlocked opportunities for me in the French speaking world. As I write this about 20 ladies are currently doing “The Fathers Daughter challenge” using a devotional I created titled “The Fathers Daughter”. Furthermore, a few days after the challenge I had a vision of a family member who was going through a tough season at the time. I called him to check up on him and after the conversation He mentioned that He was on his way to retrieve his pensions. Apparently if you have resigned from your job or out of work, after four months you can access 25% of your pension. It was an aha moment for me. When I checked 25% of my pension at the time was N2.8 million and so all I needed was N200,000 to pay off the N3million that was due. I knew that I needed to pay tithe on the money but if I did I wont have had enough to pay off my debt which was already short of N200,000 and so I told God to provide for my tithe if He wanted me to pay it.
The day before I was to pay back the N3million debt someone gave me a cheque of N500,000 as a gift and so I paid my tithe and paid off the N3million that was due, My husband gave me N1millon to pay off the balance of my debt and I eventually paid off N4.5 million of N5million while N500,000 was written off.
God blew my mind. I trust that as we embark on this gratitude challenge we would see God come in ways we least expect. Remember He is doing a new thing so let’s expect the new and choose joy no matter what we face.
Tips on gratitude
Dictionary.com defines gratitude as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Let us choose to thank God for all He has done for us.
- Choose joy
- Write a list of things that you are grateful for
- Keep a gratitude journal where every night you write down what you are thankful for the day
- pa gratitude jar where you write on a sheet of paper things you are grateful for each day and put it in the jar everyday
- Fight to keep your joy
- Give thanks in ALL circumstances
- Protect your heart state by being careful of who you follow on social media
- Decide to always find something to be thankful for
- Follow Adenike Oyetunde on social media. She is a gratitude coach.
- Host a gratitude challenge periodically with your friends.
Spending tips for the holidays
It’s Christmas, the season to be jolly. I particularly love Christmas because it is a season to give and receive love. I love the Christmas lights on streets like Ajose Adeogun, Alfred Rewane and Mobolaji Bank Anthony, the lights on buildings like the Civic Centre. I love the shopping buzz in Osu and Sandton and the exotic food in Nairobi. I love the parties, concerts, balls, carol services and of course the gifts and food. However, I also know that Christmas is a season of spend, spend, spend. We feel compelled to buy expensive gifts, eat out at restaurants, buy expensive clothes, jewelry etc. Consequently, many find that after the holidays they have incurred debt and have to survive on a very stringent budget the following month. In some cases, individuals have no choice but to borrow more money to survive in January and this has a ripple effect on the subsequent months. According to David Bach “the problem is not how much you earn but how much you spend”.
Accordingly I have decided to provide spending tips for the holidays. They are as follows:
- If you don’t have the cash to get it, don’t buy it: A good way to prevent overspending is to use cash only. A recent study showed that the credit card user spends about 12 to 18% more when using a credit or debit card. Furthermore, if this pay check cannot accommodate it then don’t get it. Essentially, if you don’t have the cash to get it, then don’t buy it.
- Create a budget and Stick to it: It is important to create a budget for the season. How much do you have available to spend this holiday? Write it down. Based on the amount available to spend, what would you like to spend the money on? Write it down. It is important to determine, ahead of time, how much you have to spend on shopping and all festive activities. It is also important to stick to your budget. This requires a lot of discipline. According to Warren Buffett “do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving”.
- Get creative: This season lets be more creative with our gifts. Let us give creative gifts and not necessarily expensive gifts. It’s the thought that counts and not the amount spent on a gift. According to Mother Theresa “It is not how much we give but how much love we put into giving”. An example of a creative gift is a family calendar. Every year, friend of mine selects pictures of family members and creates a calendar with the pictures. She prints these out and gives the calendars to family members. Another creative gift idea is to give out cards with pictures printed on the cards. Every year, a family friend in America, sends my dad a Christmas card with a picture of his family printed on the card. This is especially good for long distance family members and friends.
- Buy meaningful gifts: This season buy a meaningful gift that would make a lasting impact in the receivers’ life. For instance you can give a book as a present or invest in a mutual fund on behalf of someone. Furthermore, if you are aware someone struggles with fear or bad eating habits, buy a book that would help the person overcome their fear or eating habits. I recently read an article about a story in the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad about a wealthy woman whose home was burglarized. The thieves stole the typical valuable items like jewelry etc. However, they failed to take her most valuable items which were her books. The thieves failed to realize that the books were what educated her on how to get wealthy. Give a gift of a lifetime such as a mutual fund, savings investment portfolio. You can give people money to sign up for the wealth creation course I created on my financial education platform “ The Tech World of Finance – www.wofin.org”. It is free but all they need is N5,000 to open a savings account for themselves which then gives them access to the course. There is a recession and right now people need all knowledge they can get to create wealth.
- Give: There is a fulfillment that comes with giving that money cannot buy. That is why the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are giving out all the money they have worked hard for in order to find fulfillment. I am not implying that you should give out all your money, however this season do not give gifts to only family members, friends or loved ones for it is more rewarding to give a gift to someone that cannot repay you. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful idea to visit an orphanage and give gifts to children who would not ordinarily receive gifts? Wouldn’t it be nice to visit a pediatric ward to give gifts to kids on Christmas morning? Wouldn’t it light up your heart to give a single mother money towards the school fees of her child or children or to contribute towards the rent for a widow? Put a smile on someone’s face this season by giving.
- Spend quality time with your kids/family: We are in a pandemic and the economy is struggling. Most times we feel obliged to buy our kids expensive gifts during the holidays, after all what and who are we working for? The good news is that you do not have to buy expensive gifts like branded clothes, gadgets etc for your kids. What really matters most is spending quality time with your kids.According to Kahlil Gibran “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give”. Spend quality time with your loved ones. Bake cupcakes with your kids, sing Christmas carols. Watch a movie in bed with your spouse. Cook a nice meal and have candle light dinner at home. What really matters most is the quality time you spend with your family. I remember in 2013 after I resigned form investment banking and we couldn’t afford to buy Christmas gifts for our kids. Around that time, they got a box of beads from a party pack and we decided to make personalised bracelets with the beads and sell to family and friends. Many people bought from the kids and someone even ordered some for a birthday party. They ended up making N30,000. We ended up bonding, my daughters learnt the value of hard work and how to make money and they started their first business at age 6 and 3 respectively.
As the year rounds up and a new year approaches it is important to have a vision for your finances. One of my mentors Terri Savelle Foy mentioned in a magazine a while ago that she saved $38,600 dollars in 5 months when previously it took her 5 years to save $1,000. She says it’s all because she and her husband had a clear, compelling vision to get a new house within 5 months and they were determined to have the money needed on time. So this season I implore you to get inspired to get out of debt, get a vision for where you want to be financially next year, write it down and set some goals towards achieving them. It is important to save and invest money and prepare financially to follow your dreams and goals. It is also important to be a blessing to someone. The Bible says “the wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets”.
If you are struggling financially please check my online financial education platform “The Tech World of Finance –www.wofin.org” . we have over 200 articles on all things money. I also created a wealth creation online course and it has 24 videos and worksheets. The good news is that it is free. All you need to do is to start your own journey to financial freedom by opening a savings account or buying a mutual fund on the platform. You should also sign up to our weekly newsletter where I teach on finance on weekly basis.