Change is a common word used by Nigerians and even within our leadership parlance, it is very easy to say but difficult to implement. I remember how we chanted for change a few years back, how we were ready to die for a leader who we assumed to be dogged and change oriented. After the landslide victory, we danced and shouted joyfully in anticipation, absolutely yearning for growth, stability, and a shift from the status quo. Since then; few years have gone down the line and yet actualizing real and true change seems unrealizable, and has obviously become a mirage.
After a careful observation, I have now realized and concluded that; we so much clamor for personal and national change, but we are not willing to go through the painful process that brings about change. It is one thing to talk about change, it is another thing to rise up to and take responsibility. It is one thing to rise up to responsibility but it is another thing to have the capacity to effecting change and following it up to the letter. A lot of leaders emerge as the change Messiah but lack the capacity and strategy to enforce it.
"Change begins with you, change begins with me in fact change begins with everyone." Beautiful statement, we all love it. But it is so sad that the change so much talked about ended on news paper headlines, on branded T-shirts and on wrist bands. This makes me ask myself and fellow Nigerians this simple question: Is it possible that one can make so much noise about change but such a person is completely clueless about the nitty-gritty of it when opportunity is been given to him/her to champion the course?
A lot of people talk so much about change yet they do nothing about it. Some desire to effect a change yet do not know how to go about it. This will be my focus in this piece. Today, I would be showing steps on how to begin a radical change in your community, your immediate environment and the nation at large. These principles apply to any kind of change; whether business change, economic change, national change, behavioral change or attitudinal change.
What is change? Change simply means to become different, to make someone or something different or to give a different position, course, or direction to self, a nation, and a particular group of people. Change is interwoven with leadership, you can't talk about change and not talk about leadership. Therefore, if you are passionate about change then you should also be passionate about leadership. With this background understanding, I would like us to consider some few obstacles you are expected to face when you emerge as a leader or as a change agent. Before you step out as an agent of change; you must be very conscious of the following categories of people, who; no matter how good your strategy is; if you are ignorant of them, you will surely get frustrated and your vision would be like you are chasing after shadows.
There are people who have been possessed with the spirit of Sanballat and Tobias. They have phobia for change and so they resist it vehemently. They will oppose you physically by laughing you to scorn, they will despise you and even underestimate your capabilities. They also oppose spiritually this set of people come to weaken your conscience. They give you countless reasons why you must stop the struggle. Because your pastor is not in support, God is also not in support, our doctrine and religion is also not in support. The law of Moses didn't mention all these things you are doing. Can't you see that the church governing council have deserted you? All kinds of talk. But you must continue to press on. If they can't change your mind then they have no option but to join you.
You must also be aware of hypocrites, these set of people will oppose you in a diplomatic way, they come as friends and fellow comrades but they are against you. They come very subtle, giving you one thousand reasons why the change mandate won't work. They come in a subtle way infusing defeat into your mind. Using fear, skepticism and give the feeling of discouragement " forget it! Your fathers tried it too. You are not better than those who failed." These particular set of people have a chameleon spirit and they are the most difficult set of people to deal with. They try to make you unstable thereby giving you a double mind.
When that creeps in then it begins to weaken your authority. You don't know where they belong; very unpredictable it takes the spirit of discernment to know who they really are. There are others who fold their hands and observe they neither join you nor oppose you they just watch and put up the attitude of "let's see what becomes of this struggle." So Before you begin to criticize a leader who has not effect a change you desire, consider all these groups of people he has to deal with alongside with his vision and personal life struggle including health challenges. But that is not my focus. The essence of this piece is to help you overcome these challenges and effect a lasting and visible change without giving excuses for incompetence and mediocrity.
As we continue I would like us to examine the book of Acts17:16-17.
"While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there."
I have come to observe something very similar about great leaders who have walked on the face of the earth, and that is dissatisfaction with the norm. There is also anger welling up from their inside. Let us closely examine the actions of Apostle Paul in the text we just we just read.
Apostle Paul observed that the city has been given over to idols. How did he know? Through careful observation. And the Scripture says he was provoked in his spirit. It takes the right spirit to influence and begin a positive change. You cannot give what you don't have, when the same spirit that is in the world is the spirit that controls you then your eyes won't be open to see how bad your attitude has become. You need the right spirit and that is the Holy Spirit. And if you cannot see, you can't begin a change. Apostle Paul didn't stop there he went further to reason in the synagogue with the Jew's and the gentile worshipers.
I want us to note that word 'reasoned '. Reasoning requires wisdom, you can't begin a change without wisdom. Meaning that he engaged their intellect making them realize and see what his spirit is against. Reasoning also requires patience, soft talking but using highly powerful words which is the word of God. That is the only potent tool to effecting a long and lasting change. When Moses saw the children of Israel worship and dance to the golden calf, he broke the tablets of Stone. Indicating a dissatisfaction. He didn't stop there he grinded the calf and gave them to drink. Jesus Christ was also dissatisfied with what was happening in the temple, he didn't stop there he made a whip and chased them all out. If I may ask what whip are you making or you have made, that will be potent enough to begin a radical change visible to all?
Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest in Numbers 25:7-8 also got dissatisfied with Israel's harlotry in Moab that he had to kill with a javelin. He took the initiative and by that singular action he pleased God and turned back His wrath. Nehemiah also became dissatisfied with the condition of Jerusalem. See what he said to them "you see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and it's gates are burned with fire" the degree to which you perceive the condition of your environment, your nation, your attitude or even the church is to the degree to which you become uncomfortable and dissatisfied.
And this is how change begins. How do you see the present state of the church or the country and what do you wish to do about it. Was Nehemiah the only one who saw the condition of Jerusalem? The answer is No! But he took the initiative. Change begins with initiative. But he didn't stop there he began to mobilize people to begin the work of change. And he said "come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach" it is not enough that you are dissatisfied with the status quo, what effort are you making to begin a change and it begins with a step.
Whatever it takes in order to effect change do it. As for Nehemiah and his people, they were building with one hand and holding javelin on the other hand in spite of the challenges. Just keep moving forward whether fast or slow don't just stop.
Having read through this piece, I believe you are better equipped on what to do and how to mobilize for the great change our nation is yearning for. It is time for you to step out in faith. You have done enough talking, it is time to act. Begin the art of acting and speak less. Great thinkers do this: when you say a thing do it, when you think a thing, act it out. Great men are the best actors of life; who act accordingly; to what has been scripted for them by God. Steps are actions that convert strategies to result. I wish you good luck in all of your endeavors as you take the bold step to launch out into your destiny.
God bless you.