I made the decision to go to school outside of Ghana. To some people this was the “normal” thing to do, to others a privilege. Either way, I was going to university abrokyrie. I was indifferent to the idea initially, to be honest. I was one of those children who had strict parents, but also had freedom a lot of my friends didn’t get. Ergo, the excitement other people got from the idea that they were going to be far away from their parents and be able to do whatever they wanted didn’t apply to me. I could already do what I wanted, within reason, and as long as it didn’t involve any life threatening, character-threatening things. It also had to conveniently fit in my curfew at the time.
Nevertheless, I looked forward to going to university and doing all the things that apparently university people did. Whatever that entailed. I had a few friends already in university and they were always chilling and having fun. Imagine my surprise when I got to university and the sort of fun and chilling people did was not the kind I was into. To add insult to injury, I could not stand the city I was in. I hated it. I had not, until that point, hated anything as much as I hated the city. I hated it so much when I was home for Christmas after my first semester I refused to get back on the plane. I wasn’t going back to that God-forsaken place. Nope. Not me.
I eventually got back on the plane, because money doesn’t grow on trees. I then devised a plan to be done with university as quickly as possible so I could hurry up and move back home. Much to my surprise, close to my graduation, I was praying about what to do next and felt the need to stay. There are a lot of things I pray for direction about, unfortunately not all I listen to. As much as I wanted to go back home, and I had made this clear to everybody with ears who asked, I knew God wanted me to stay.
So I did.
In that time, until date, I have been asked numerous times why I don’t just move back home if I don’t like it as much as I claim. And my response is almost always something of a deflective nature. For good reason. It takes too much effort to explain to everybody who asks that I’m on a mission, kind of. Or that I’m doing something I don’t quite understand with my head, but my spirit is relentless about this. I would sound like a crazy person.
I hated this city before, I no longer do. I found out, rather quickly, that it actually takes quite a bit of effort to hate something that much, and I didn’t have that energy anymore. Additionally, there are so many things I have learned being away from home and being “isolated” of sorts, I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. Mostly, the reason why I continue to stay is because I choose obedience over sacrifice. Sometimes, like in my case, the sacrifice is in the obedience. However, I say I would rather be obedient right now, doing whatever it is God has said to do. If, for some reason, I fail or things don’t work out the way I thought they should, I can always go back home. It’s home. But I can also go back on my knees and say, “there, God, I listened, I obeyed. I gave it my sincerest effort, and you of all people know that.”
I choose to stay because I would rather be obedient now and reap the benefits than be regretting the decision not to 50 or 60 years from now, or even 3 or 4. I don’t want to be going through a particularly trying situation without the skills or knowledge or experience or whatever it is I’m supposed to derive from this time, simply because I chose not to be obedient when I could have been.
It’s a sacrifice, or sorts.. There’s a lot I give up being away from home, being away from my family, being away from everything familiar. I’m absolutely convinced, that it’s not half as much of a sacrifice as I would have to give up if I had done this the other way around.
We typically think we haven’t truly achieved something unless we have sacrificed for it. We want to know what was sacrificed when people tell us how they got where they are in some way or form. I know I definitely think if I sacrifice the same things, maybe I’ll be in the same position.
Instead of always seeking to sacrifice something to achieve something else, maybe we should seek to be more obedient. In the grander scheme of things, I lose a lot less with obedience.
I can say, first hand, there’s no part of this that is peachy. Actually following through with something I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen as my ideal situation is tough. However, the past few years have also been a time in which I have truly learnt the meaning of “a peace that transcends all understanding.” Even I have a difficult time understanding how I can be so peaceful and calm about a situation I can’t see all aspects of, yet I am.
Sometimes choose obedience.
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