“…Whatever You Like…?
Prince Akeem: Yes, I know this. But I would like to know about you. What do you like to do?
ImaniIzzi: Whatever you like.
Prince Akeem: What kind of music do you like?
ImaniIzzi: Whatever kind of music you like.
Prince Akeem: Look, I know what I like. And I know that you know what I like because you were trained to know what I like, but I would like to know what you like. For instance, do you have a favorite food?
Prince Akeem: Good! What is your favorite food?
ImaniIzzi: Whatever food you like.
Though this is a hilarious scene that I watched the other evening from “Coming To America”, it’s really quite sad when I think about a time in my life where I was just like this young lady: ignorant of myself. She had no knowledge of who exactly she was, what she had to offer in their relationship, what are the areas of interest and joy for her, her skills, gifting, calling, assignment. She solely was out to be whoever the prince wanted her to be.
Graduating from High School was super anti climactic. The greatest highlight was some people in our class led the charge to rush the stage before it was even officially over. We were “over” hearing the long supposedly inspirational speech that anyone seldom will remember.
Upon graduation when I was asked what exactly was my goal, priority, dream and ambition, my answer was based upon what I thought would be acceptable to my parents, and those other adults in society that had opinions of whom it was. I was to become a SOFTWARE ENGINEER.
I remember coming out of high school stating that I would be a software engineer. I planned to ace exams, get heavily involved in, physics, calculus, statistics and software development. Though I was a mediocre high school student for the majority of High School, college was where I would become the ambitious “A” student. Why? Because I saw my uncle excel at his profession as a software engineer and because of his certainty about his vocation and calling, I adopted it as my own.
As I enrolled in college and sat in math classes it was like having all the oxygen immediately sucked out of the room daily. My instructors were like a lineup of comedy characters. At least that is what I imagined them as to maintain my sanity. One looked just like Jack Palance (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Palance) playing his classic character “Curly” in “City Slickers” when I would ask him a question, he would stare off in the distance taking long pauses. Another instructor was like a black version of “The B.R.A.I.N” from Pinky and the Brain (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f4/PinkyandtheBrain.TheBrain.png) as a matter of fact he spoke just like him as well. No smiles only seriousness as if his mathematical genius was his instrument for world domination. This is how I snickered my way into failure in these courses.
I was extraordinarily drained, as I wrote html code and attempted my hand at C, C+ and a few other languages, I was not finding any joy in doing this. I had no vision for school and after high school I failed out of classes in the summer and took the first almost 2 years of Community College to party and just keep my parents happy that I was enrolled in school.
After I was born again by the LORD and he subdued me with his love placing new vision in my heart to really serve him and learn his ways, I asked him to show me who I was. One of my peers invited me to come and volunteer chaplain at a juvenile detention facility because she needed an extra hand leading bible studies. I looked at her like she was crazy. Her request to me was nuts because I barely was grasping anything in the Bible, I only navigated by the Table of Contents and my confidence was low in that arena. I had just gotten a version of the Bible I could understand shortly before she asked me. She said “Just be honest when they ask you a question and you don’t know the answer. After her badgering me I finally said yes.
It was in this liberating experience that I began the journey of rediscovering things about myself I had lost knowledge of. I loved to listen to young men in hard situations stories, I loved to advise, I loved to share truth, I loved to offer encouragement and support and I loved to pray with people going through struggles and challenges.
What about you?
In this episode we reaffirm our calling to dominate and offer the challenge to see are you an “owl” or a “lark”? Give this episode a listen and let us know your thoughts.