Nigeria recently witnessed an historic political awakening. One that saw Nigerian youths unanimously demand (and are still demanding) good governance from their elected leaders. It was as though we just broke free from learned helplessness to the reality that our lives are in our hands, and that it is ours to shape. We came out in our numbers from different parts of the country to march in peaceful protests against the unscrupulous activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), police brutality and ultimately bad governance. I had never felt so proud to be a Nigerian youth.
Consequently, I had a conversation with some people regarding the protests, and in a nutshell, here is the response I got.
‘Protesting is not the way to go. You people should fight the battle on your knees with prayers and supplications. God is the only one who can change the situation.’
While I was not surprised at this response, I felt sad at the fact that there are people who still reason this way despite the many years of silent supplications without success.
Don’t get me wrong!
Prayer works and I have no doubt that prayer can change our nation. But I believe that this mindset of ‘leaving everything to God and doing nothing’ has done more harm than good. It has not only enabled the socio-economic ills that plague our nation but has empowered the perpetrators as well.
We have all been blessed with mental and intellectual capacities. And it is our responsibility to develop these capacities to help us make sound choices and overcome challenges. Unfortunately, many people fail to exercise their mental and intellectual abilities because they believe the illusion that they have no control over the events in their lives. Hence, they assume a state of learned helplessness and mental lethargy.
They accept that they are unable to control or influence any situation in their lives. And they comfortably resign themselves to fate and make no effort to change their situation, even when the opportunity presents itself. They prefer to hope and pray for change than engage their mental and intellectual capabilities to devise the solutions necessary for change.
From experience, it is difficult to reason with such people. Particularly because they are exceptionally skilled at comebacks that validate their poor perspectives. They are ever ready with a million excuses as to why they should be complacent with unpleasant situations. They tout the misguided belief that their docility is an acknowledgement of God’s supremacy and omnipotence as well as an obedience to authority as directed in the holy books. Hence, they sheepishly justify their belief with the expression, ‘Que sera sera – what will be will be.’
Trust me, I believe and know that God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and sovereign. And I am convinced that He means well for everyone and loves everyone unconditionally. However, I have learnt from my relationship with Him that, He has equipped every human being with potentials for success and fulfillment and has blessed man with the unique gift of choice. Hence, He will not do for man what He has already equipped man to do.
And like I said earlier, I do believe in prayers. And I understand that prayer is a means to receive clarity, insights, and instructions regarding any matter. But I am also convinced that effective prayer entails taking responsibility for the change you desire. So if you are not getting your desired results, it could mean that God requires you to take a step.
Sam Adeyemi, a dynamic Teacher, Pastor, and Leadership Consultant said in one of his sermons that, ‘waiting for God to come and do everything for you, seeking to achieve something when you’ve done nothing is vanity, laziness, and pure incompetence.’ Moreover, the Bible admonishes that it is not enough to pray, because faith without works is dead.
You need to balance your prayers with the appropriate actions so that you don’t spend 40 years expecting a miracle concerning a situation that could have been resolved in just 4 hours.
Therefore in addition to prayers, I encourage you to break free from learned helplessness and mental lethargy. Engage your mental and intellectual capacities.
Empower your mind with information regarding the change you desire, put in the work required, and upskill where necessary.
Make the decisions you must make, and let your actions align with your faith. Take responsibility for your life, and always remember that you are your rescue.
I believe you found this enlightening. Let me know in the comments section if you did. I also suggest you check out this bestseller too, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.