Exposing the Goliath - Reflections of a Young Man™

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Exposing the Goliath

I suppose everyone has faced that problem my friend Ngishili Njuguna described as "the Goliath" in his now defunct blog. He called it "the Goliath" because it seemingly defies all efforts to overcome it. If only I could overcome this problem, so we think, then life would be great!

Ngishili borrowed the term "Goliath" from the giant in the Bible who was killed by David as narrated in the Book of 1st Samuel. I just like the way Ngishili described the story of Goliath:
"Goliath was a legendary warrior of mighty proportions and extraordinary fighting techniques. Some considered him a giant. In the powerful command of Goliath, the Philistine army was the most devastating to any opposing force that stood against it. So much was the confidence that Goliath projected that the whole Israelite army became as meek as lambs in his presence. Goliath would stand in front of the Philistine army and dare any Israelite warrior to challenge him to a fight.

It was in the midst of one of those taunting episodes that a young shepherd boy named David arrived at the battlefield to check on his brothers that were drafted in the army. He heard about Goliath's reputation, and was appalled at his spite and vitriol, and what it was doing to his brothers and their comrades in the army. It was then that he volunteered to challenge Goliath on behalf of the Israelite army.

David's dare to Goliath was ridiculous to the point of being laughable. Here was a naive boy with nil battleground experience, and whose only credential were his apparent foolhardiness against a giant of a career warrior with years of experience and arrogance born out of numerous spectacular successes. David's body could not even hold the weight of the battle armour!

And so it was with those insurmountable odds that David's triumph over Goliath has been exalted again and again over the ages by his admirers. For it only took a primitive sling to catapult the rock that hit Goliath right in the middle of the forehead, killing him instantly. In that instant, the battle was won.

I always picture what it would have been like in that battleground on that day. When the Philistines realized that their hero was dead, they all took off with the whole Israelite army in triumphant pursuit. What is most interesting to note is that the defeat of a single Goliath caused, on the one hand, every single warrior of the Philistine army to flee, and on the other hand, every single warrior of the Israelite army to be rejuvenated with strength and courage.

There is a similarity of this story and that of the problem I call 'the Goliath'. When we face 'the Goliath', it always feels like it is the one problem that has put obstacles on all the paths of opportunity in our lives.

I guess we have all been in a place where we feel that if we could only be able to figure out this one problem, then everything would work out because when we face 'the Goliath', it is as if the world comes to a halt and the pain that the problem causes is the only thing we can feel. It is usually so intense that we are helpless even when we know what needs to be done to overcome 'the Goliath'. This helplessness causes distress, shame and even hopelessness. In the face of 'the Goliath', we feel paralysed and all our good faculties seem frozen in more or less the same way that the Israelite army and every single warrior in it were. "
There you have it: the story of Goliath as Ngishili described it. O, how I am endeavoring to acquire that kind of colourful description!

As for me anyway, I have faced several Goliaths in my life so far. Like during my high school years at Starehe Boys' Centre and well into the university, my Goliath was confusion. People used to comment of how confused I looked - something that bitterly bothered me and diminished my self-esteem.

Later on in 2008 after I was diagnosed with schizophrenia after I went bonkers at JKUAT where I was pursuing a degree in Electronics & Computer Engineering, my Goliath mutated into a lack of enthusiasm in life. Since then, and as late as this week, I have struggled with recurring periods of apathy during which I struggle to get out of bed in the morning. And when I wake up, I end up feeling lonely, frustrated and sometimes guilty over some of the things I have done or words I have uttered. To make matters worse, I lose interest in my hobbies. It's a terrible Goliath, I tell you: one that is preventing me from experiencing the abundant life that Jesus came into the world to bestow on us.

I am striving to overcome this Goliath: as in, those recurring periods of apathy that reduce me to a useless blob of protoplasm. And I can't help that with your prayers, I shall overcome. So help me God.


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Prayer Requests

Second from right on the front row is me squatting after an evangelism graduation ceremony (circa August 2008) at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, the welcoming church I joined after I left Starehe Boys' Centre in Aoril 2007.

During one of the evangelism classes I took in 2008, a gentleman named Jared Ogutu advised us to keep a list of prayer requests to track how God fulfils our needs. Although I liked Jared's advice, I have only implemented it twice. That was in 2012 and again in 2015.

I still have those lists I wrote in 2012 and 2015 stashed somewhere. While going through the list I wrote in 2012, I discovered God only answered two prayers requests: acquiring a piano keyboard and landing a part-time piano teaching job. And while going through the list I wrote in 2015, I discovered that I had changed some of the goals I wanted God to help me accomplish. Like I no longer desire to be a newspaper columnist; I just want to be writing entertaining, enlightening and inspiring stories in this lovely website of mine.

Now, I have decided to come up with a new list of prayer requests which reads as follows:
  1. Develop courage to say "no" without feeling guilty about it
  2. Gain wisdom on how to spend my time, words, money and energy wisely as well as on who to associate with
  3. Reduce my weight so that I can reclaim my youthful looks
  4. Rise early in the morning everyday to pray, write, read, sing, walk, meditate or play the piano
  5. Renew my emotions of happiness daily by writing an inspiring story
  6. Win a lucrative advertising contract in this website
  7. Meet my soul-mate who shall be declared my wife in a colourful wedding which I'd like to be held in April 2019
  8. My parents may live to see me get wedded
  9. Produce inspirational songs
  10. Become an eloquent speaker both in public speaking as well as one-to-one conversations
  11. Get an opportunity to travel overseas
  12. Crack clean and witty jokes everyday
  13. Become rich enough to build a magnificent home which I shall stuff with modern accessories as well as with rare and beautiful treasures
  14. Learn how to drive and own a brand new Toyota prado
  15. Experience sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss and inner-peace
Yes, I will be going through the above list once in a while to witness the work of God in my life. I challenge you to also come up with your own list of prayer requests. And let us remember the timeless words of King David in Psalm 37:6, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." Over to you!

If you've enjoyed this story of mine on my list of prayer requests, you might also enjoy another story I wrote about an inspiring prayer worthy of memorization and another story I wrote about my favourite Bible verse. Just click those links in blue to jump straight into the stories.


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Benefits of Solitude

As some of my engineering classmates at JKUAT would testify, I spent a lot of time alone during my two years in the university. I enjoyed being all alone in the university's pristine meadow where most students never ventured. The following epigram from the autobiography of Bill Clinton was to me then, as it is still today, an inspiration and a spur:
"Tell him to be alone often and get at himself
and above all tell himself no lie about himself.
Tell him solitude is creative if he is strong
and the final decisions are made in silent rooms.
He will be lonely enough
to have time for the work
he knows as his own." [1]
Bill Clinton made me think, and still makes me think, that something good could come out of my worrying and wondering. And yes, I did indeed spend a lot of time alone at JKUAT to do the sorting out Bill Clinton said a good life requires.

Before I end this story, allow me to tell you something funny. There was this obedient boy who was instructed by his teachers in school to always stand up for adults in a packed bus. One day, the boy happened to be sitting on his father's laps when he spotted an attractive woman standing in the packed bus. He quickly stood up and motioned the woman, 'Hey, come sit on my father's laps." What do you think happened next?

[1] I extracted this epigram from page 150 of My Life by William J. Clinton, published in the United Kingdom in 2005 by Arrow Books.

If you've enjoyed this story of mine on benefits of solitude, you might also enjoy other stories I wrote on the benefits of music and of reading and of writing and of drinking water and of doing physical exercises and of working in a team. Just click those links in blue to jump straight into the stories.


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