Am currently reading ‘The art of following’ by Dag Heward-Mills.
It has really taken me a long time to appreciate the wisdom of following because for most of my life I was following people around, trying to be what they were or do what they did. I had painful experiences. The results were not pretty.
I hated life because I couldn’t keep up with the many people I was trying too hard to be like.
I was depressed.
I was exhausted.
Over the last 3 years I was led through a path of self discovery. Am still on that path, there is so much to know about myself! (didn’t think there was that much to discover! lol). I fought through the boxes people around me had stuffed me in, and switched my focus from looking outside at others to gazing with pure wonder at the person I was inside. I put my running shoes back on and continued to run, this time I stuck to my own lane.
So when I was first introduced to the art of following 2 years or so ago, I simply shot it down because it brought about some bad memories. I didn’t give it a chance. I didn’t even take time to try to understand what it meant! Simply put, I didn’t want to.
I have read 30 pages so far and am applying the principles as follows:
Meaning: to copy. to emulate someone. to imitate something.
(10 definitions are given in the book)
Following someone or something is not a bad thing (I have just come to understand this!) but there are healthy and successful ways to do it. Ways that don’t lead to depression and a feeling like you have no identity of your own. You maintain your uniqueness along with the added advantage of reaping fruits of following.
Who have benefited from it before: China
4 were given but China spoke more to me because I studied here for 5 years. I was equally impressed by how fast they could copy a product,system,method and make millions out of it. People can argue that this kills creativity and innovation, but you would be surprised to know that so many companies copy from each other and improve upon the copies. A copy can never be the original, true, but think of how fast things are changing and the time required to create something new,from scratch! We have new problems that need new technology but how about the problems in one country that are similar to another, just a bit localized?
How to be successful in following:
This part is crucial. This is where you ask ‘who should I follow?’ (A lot was listed in the book but I’ll just mention 2 of them).
1. First and foremost, follow God
5 Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].
2 And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a [a]slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.
We are to follow God. We are to imitate God in love and sacrifice.
This part excites me. As humans we are so confused by this word ‘love’, it carries so much yet lacks proper definition in the world. It’s like a vast ocean and everyone experiences a different part. To others love is beautiful, yet others can’t stand hearing you say the word. We want to love right but we don’t know how.God is love, and if we keep company with Him we will learn a life of love.
Application: I decided I’ll read through the gospels more often (like at least once every month), to get to understand the heart of Jesus; how he dealt with the pharisees, how He met needs, how He treated sinners and so on.
I will continue to cultivate a more intimate relationship with God. Which means spending more time in prayer and fellowship with the Holy spirit. To be more specific, I now have a prayer book to record my prayers and what I hear from God. I will have scheduled days to just spend with God (rendezvous with the Holy Spirit).
I want to re-read the book, ‘The relationship principles of Jesus’ ( a very powerful 40 days devotional-like book by Tom Holladay that digs deep into relationships) and ‘A love worth giving’ by Max Lucado (I started reading it some time back, but didn’t get a chance to finish it. It’s from this book that I got to truly understand that “you cannot give what you don’t have.”)
2. Follow men of God; their teachings and their lives
There are people whose lives God has turned around or greatly impacted to teach, guide, encourage or comfort us in one way or the other. It does not mean these people have no flaws or weaknesses. They are earthen vessels carrying the power of God. Earthen vessels. Not angels.
I would say be cautious though. Don’t just follow everything they do, always test the spirits. Always pass everything through the sieve of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit (#let peace be your umpire). Some people get so obsessed when following people to such extreme levels that they lose their own uniqueness, don’t go there. Follow only what is beneficial for you, for that season or purpose/goal. You don’t have to copy another person’s WHOLE LIFE!
28 So God has appointed some in the church [[f]for His own use]: first apostles (special messengers); second prophets (inspired preachers and expounders); third teachers; then wonder-workers; then those with ability to heal the sick; helpers; administrators; [speakers in] different (unknown) tongues.
29 Are all apostles (special messengers)? Are all prophets (inspired interpreters of the will and purposes of God)? Are all teachers? Do all have the power of performing miracles?
30 Do all possess extraordinary powers of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
1 CORINTHIANS 12 (AMPC)
God has given various gifts to different people. There are some people God has given them a message from what they went through, what God taught them. Most ministries/teachers/preachers have a focused message.
When I was trying to grow in my faith I buried myself in Kenneth Hagin’s books and teachings more. And when I sought to work on defining my vision and purpose, as well as developing as a leader I turned to Myles Munroe. So who I focus on following at a particular moment in time keeps on changing for me, depending on my season and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Two weeks ago I was on some serious prayer journey. I had noticed that my prayer times were becoming shorter and a bit of a drag, I needed to spice them up. Shake things up a little bit. Priscilla Shirer’s passion for prayer and teachings on developing prayer strategies helped me a lot! ( I also read her book ‘Fervent’).
Application: I need to work on a lot of things
(i)Hair health– I still haven’t found anyone to ‘truly’ follow yet who has an in depth understanding about hair care, how products work. At the moment I got myself some books and am experimenting with different regimens, products, exercises and foods.
(ii)Family/marriage: CPYFamily on Instagram and website http://crisisproofyourfamily.com/.
Heather Lindsey on YouTube and Instagram, and her blog http://www.heatherllindsey.com/
My close friends recommended Funke Felix-Adejumo…am yet to listen to her messages.
Hee am not married,yet, but it’s good to have foundation knowledge of what I plan to get into someday. Such a big decision requires careful planning and attending to wise counsel.
(iii) Business/entrepreneurship : I found this blog by Heather Katsonga-Woodward particularly insightful and practical http://www.katsonga.com/ (I hope to some day, hopefully soon, buy her books and take the online course).
I intend to go through Henry Kachaje’s interviews and posts.
(iv) Current teachings: Dag Heward-Mills (serving God)
T.D Jakes (Soaring!)
Rick Warren (S.H.A.P.E, power of faith, setting goals in faith)
…there are so many areas I can list, but these will do. For now.
Advice: Don’t be shy to copy something from someone. It could as small as copying how they decorate their room or do a particular hairstyle to as big as how they treat or attract customers!
Follow people who have gone through the path you intend to go through. It saves you time, even money. It also spares you from mistakes that they made. You go into the path faster and accomplish more things in a short time than if you had to create your own from zero. You might not always have the time, money, necessary skill/knowledge or resources to invent things.
Mind you, don’t go about copying other peoples’ material and claiming that they are your own, that’s plagiarism! You’ll get in trouble.
Know exactly what you are after in the person you are following.
Follow with caution. Don’t be a blind follower. Keep your eyes open.
Read and take action♥