Everyone lucky enough to cross over into their middle ages experience this – for some, the experience is a crisis. I am choosing to call it reflections. So join me on my diary series as l reflect on the years of my life. For this piece, l would like to focus on confessions.

When l was a child, “l don’t eat fufu” meant, don’t call me to pound it.

When I was in boarding school, seniors were those who bullied and boy, l wanted to become a senior in no time.

When l was young, Uncles and Aunties were titles reserved for those who showed up and brought gifts, all others were my father or mothers’ relatives.

When l said to a girl –  “I love you”, what l really meant was – l have some ideas that l think will make me happy, will you come and satisfy my fantasies?

When l said l wanted a good wife, what l meant was – l want someone who would do as l please, be at my beck and call and always make me happy.

When l asked God to be on my side,  what l meant was for Him to condemn all who were not like me.

When l said l was a Christian, what l meant was to identify with the owner of all things as my father and that through that relationship He will give me everything to spend on my wild living – much like the prodigal son. Christianity to me was cool [compared to other religions]; so having that tag was important for me to tick a checkbox, not that l wanted to be a real Christian by God’s standards.

When l prayed to God to bless me; what l meant was for Him to be my genie who would give me everything l asked for.

When l said l wanted to win, what l really meant was that others would lose. Even more precisely, it wasn’t my winning so much as it was others losing. The thrill was in seeing others lose or defeated. I didn’t think the world had enough for all of us to have; so for someone else to have meant that l was going to lose. That was my perspective of life – a world of not enough.

My perception of things is what truth was – not necessarily the Truth.

To forgive meant to have power over the offender, that was my biggest motivation to forgive another.

You see, my childhood thoughts were full of enjoying rights and have no responsibilities. My Mom had tried hard to teach us that rights go with responsibilities but l never wanted to have any of that – at least not at the time.

But now, l have come to understand (or so l think) what life is about.

The difficult moments l have had in marriage have taught me things like commitment, patience, kindness, gentleness, long suffering, not keeping records of wrongs.

People who like flowers often pluck it, and after a little while, it dies. But when you love flowers, you water the plants and nurture it to make them grow – their blooming brings you joy and never their plucking. Because God loves, He gives – Love gives and does not take.

So l have learnt that true love means to add value, not to tear down or apart.

Now when l say l am a Christian, l see the responsibility of my life reflecting the character of God – and how much l must allow the Holy Spirit to lead me if l am going to ever get close; it is not a goal l can rely on myself to achieve.

When l say l am a Christian, l see that my primary purpose is to be a fisher of men – and to be all things to all men so l will possibly win some to Christ.

When l pray for God’s blessing – l mean for Him to make me a blessing unto others, that others through my influence or impact will choose to be followers of Christ as of first priority.

When l ask for riches, it is not for my personal pleasure anymore but to be a channel through which others’ needs are met.

When l speak of winning, l understand that it’s not a win until we all can celebrate sincerely. I have come to see that life has enough to go round for everyone, and that all of us can have equitably. This is a world full and abundant with resources for everyone to thrive – a world where everyone can win together!

Now, l understand that the Truth is what God says it is and not how l or others perceive it.

Now, when l forgive others, it is to set the stage for God to begin His work – it is to free the offender(s) and indeed myself and to allow God to forgive me of my own offenses.

I still fail often when l allow my childhood to resurface, but for the most part, l see that l am improving – thank God for His grace me that is abundant.

God has so arranged our lives like He has arranged the morning, afternoon and evening. There is a time and a season for everything and we must act in season and according to the times of our lives. For me, life now is about making significant progress over time, and ensuring that l am better tomorrow than l was yesterday.

The Apostle Paul once said, when l was a child, l talked like a child, l thought like a child, l reasoned like a child. When l became a man, l put the ways of childhood behind me.

What about you – have you put your childhood behind you? How have your prayer, speech, thought pattern and reasoning changed as you have aged? Will you share your thoughts and let others learn from your highs and lows?

An un-examined life is not worth living. Think about it!

FitzRoy Brown