“The number you have called is not reachable at the moment. Please try again later.” Who likes to hear that annoying service response? I don’t. In fact, if I call a number like 3 times and I get the same response, I most likely won’t dial that number in a long time. At most, I’ll send a text. Feel free, judge me. LOL.
Not wanting to try again is not just about calls for me. It’s about Arinola. Let me tell you a short story (I promise, I will try to keep it short 🙂 ). Try to imagine how happy and proud the Super Eagles (tempted to call them something else, but I wont. Lol) get whenever they get the opportunity to represent Nigeria at a championship. That was exactly how I felt in the year 2012. I was super excited. My team mate and I were to represent Nigeria at the Cannes Film Festival in France. What’s more? It was an all-expense paid trip with plenty out of office allowance. So, in my excitement I had told everyone, I mean everyone, that I was going to France. I was ready. Then the unthinkable happened, the Consulate whatever (side eye) rejected my visa. The reason will amuse you “I was too young and I would run away”. LOL. Back then it wasn’t funny at all. This happened like a month before my travel date.
“We’ll get letters from the Cannes office in France. It’ll help your application”. Cannes representative in Nigeria told me. They did get the letter but it didn’t help. In fact, my application was rejected again. (I could show you sometime if you’re curios). LMAO. The painful part? Some people actually did get visas to enter France but a tiny fraction of delegates didn’t get and sadly I was one of them 🙁 . Cut the story short. They travelled. I stayed in Nigeria. Tried to keep a good attitude. Went to church. Pastor said God was good; couldn’t stop wondering “if that’s true why was I rejected 2 times”. LMAO. The guys came back from France, bought goodies. I volunteered to distribute it. Talk of the real “suffering and smiling”. LMAO.
Then 2013 came. And it was time to compete at the national level for that ticket to represent Nigeria AGAIN. Then the best creative director in the world (Tunde Sule) called me into his office and said “Arin, the agency will like you to select one candidate you’d like to work with for Cannes”. The moment I heard Cannes, I tuned off. Like “Been there. Done that. Definitely not interested”. Of course I said these in my mind. I nodded reluctantly and left his office. Then days went by, he called me again and again. I was honestly not interested cos there was no way I was going to let myself go through the embassy wahala a second time. If I was too young a year ago, then I was still too young.
Sha, we submitted our entry for the competition. Then I started to pray “Lord, you know I was utterly embarrassed last year. I don’t want to go to France by force. Please don’t let us win this competition nationally if you know we won’t get the visa”. I prayed this like every day. Then it was time to attend the unveiling dinner where winners will emerge per category. Guess what? It was long decided…in my head. I wasn’t going. I didn’t want to win. Or what’s the point in winning and not getting a visa? So I thought.
Hours went by and there was a nudge in my heart “Arin, go” to which I responded “No I won’t go. I don’t want to win”. The voice continued while I enjoyed fresh ground nut with my bro. Then my phone rang. It was the organizers.
Organizers: “Arin, where are you?”
Arin: “At home”
Organizers: “Why? Aren’t you coming?”
Arin: “Emm…err…” LMAO *now covers face*
Organizers: “Arin, you have to come. You won in your category and will be representing Nigeria in France. You have to come to pick your award. It’s at Sheraton. Inform your partner”
Arin: *mixed feelings* “We won? Whoa. That idea was good. We knew it was” Then at the back of my mind, I was like “God you didn’t answer my prayer o. I don’t want to go through that embarrassment again”. I went for the award anyways. At the award, one of the Cannes reps (Aunty Funmi) kept saying “Arin, don’t worry. You’ll get your visa this year. Can’t you see this year’s national competition was tougher and you still won? I bet God is up to something”. My response was a smile and a nod.
Then it was time for visa processing. At that point I had two options. 1. Allow what happened the previous year depress me and make me hopeless. Or 2, get up and believe God regardless. I decided to go with the latter. Then daily I would say “the Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want a visa. The earth is the Lord’s and everything therein including the consulate and because God is on my side, I’m getting my visa this time. Thank you Lord”. Despite my confession, negative thoughts attacked my mind daily but I was resolute.
Then one day, I was at MTN “I Don Port” parry when they called to give me the good news
Organizers: *sounded too happy for me* “Arin, you got it this time”
Arin: *pretending not to have an idea* “What please?”. LMAO
Organizers: “Your Visa to France”
Arin: “OMG. I got it” Then I started doing the Saka dance right there in front of Saka and everyone else. LOL.
So if like Arin, God is prompting you to “Put out into the deep (water), and lower your nets for a haul.”. Feel free to tell Him exactly how you feel “Master, we toiled all night [exhaustingly] and caught nothing [in our nets]…” and then let Him know you’re willing to try again ““…BUT on the ground of your word, I will lower the nets [AGAIN]”. Luke 5:4-5.
Do this and watch God overwhelm you with goodness: “And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish; and as their nets were [at the point of] breaking, They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and take hold with them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.” Luke 5:6-7.