My first showcasing post is about stepping out on God's call on your life, and my first showcasee's obedience produced fruits beyond her expectation. Has God called you to step out and do something? Do you have a passion burning deep inside of you that vows to consume you? Do you have a dream? Is fear holding you back? Be inspired!
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Sometimes, when God needs to capture our attention, He comes in the form of a drama queen. He messes up our plans. He sets us up in traffic, and we miss a meeting. He yanks a relationship from right under us. He makes a scene. When we try to exercise control over the mess, he brings more drama and infuriate us until we look up and ask “What the heck are you doing, God?”
Now, He has our attention and then He speaks.
In Late April 2010, God captured Shileola Aderinanye’s attention, and RAE Affairs, an event planning outfit was born.
It was a typical day at The Dulles International Airport in Washington DC; Shile was at the American Airline counter irritated and arguing with the flight attendant. She could not check in her bags for a flight to Nigeria traveling out of New York at 10:00pm. It was 2:30pm and the flight to New York was scheduled to leave in forty five minutes. She needed to get on that flight, because she had to facilitate a training in Nigeria for her employer.
“I have been standing here for more than an hour. I was not late. I was moved from one line to another” She countered.
God had other plans; she was not going to Nigeria, well, not that week. Her flight was canceled the week before because of a volcano eruption. She was angry and frustrated.
A couple of weeks earlier, a friend had called Shile about a desperate bride who needed a new wedding planner. Shile was not an event planner. She was Head of E-learning and development for a consulting firm in the Maryland area, a job she enjoyed. Yes, she had planned evening balls and events at her church for two consecutive years, but according to her “I was not a professional event planner. I had no immediate plans to quit my job. I was not even thinking of starting a business, so I politely declined my friend’s call for help.”
If only she knew!
As humans, we love to take control, and resourceful individuals like Shile take charge. She called The Baltimore-Washington International airport to inquire about their last flight to New York for the day; all the flights to New York had left. Shile decided to get on the train; however, the last train to New York was pulling out of the train terminal right when she walked into the station. Not one to give up, Shile called The Ronald Reagan National Airport in DC and was able to book a flight to LaGuardia Airport in New York. Despite Shile’s determination, God is also one to carry his sovereign plan to completion; the flight was delayed for about forty five minutes. It eventually took off and landed in LaGuardia Airport, but by the time she took a cab from LaGuardia to JFK where her flight to Nigeria was scheduled to fly out from, they had just closed the counter. That was when Shile gave up the fight and came back home to Maryland.
That same week, she got a call from the bride her friend had talked about a few weeks earlier. Shile was hesitant. Yet, she agreed to help while telling the bride time and time again that she had never planned a wedding. Shile also insisted that she didn’t want to be compensated, because it was her first time. The next month, she received another random call from a couple who asked her to plan their May 2011 wedding, though she had not advertised herself as a planner. Only God could have known that one of her major hold- backs to starting an event planning company was the question “Where will the clients come from?” God decided to confirm to her that he will bring them her way. After two months of planning, Shile’s first wedding took place in July 2010, and it turned out to be a huge success. The parents of the bride were grateful and unrelenting; they gave Shile a large check at the end of the night. During this season, she felt God impress on her heart:
“You will quit your job at the end of the July. You will travel to Nigeria in August and when you come back, you will start an event planning business full time.”
It sounded crazy, “But, I kept on praying and I knew in my heart for a fact that it was God.” Though she had unofficially began planning alongside her fiances' sister to establish RAE Affairs as a weekend gig. It never crossed her mind to do it full time. At the end of the week, Shile stepped out in obedience despite her fears; she turned in her resignation letter. At the end of the month, she left her job. She only had one client, and she had no idea how to start.
“My biggest fear was financial security. My mom gave up a lot to get me through college, and I wanted to contribute to my family. I also questioned what my family would say?” She said.
“However, I felt God assured me that my family will support me 100%. My confirmation came when I told one of my sisters who is known to be logical and rational. She did not question me as I expected, she was totally in support of my decision. I was astounded by her reaction and support. I knew this was God.”
The week after Shile turned in her resignation letter, ProminentCease Entertainment, a media company she was involved with needed someone to go to Nigeria in August to promote their new movie. Shile knew she was the one to go. While she prepared for her trip to Nigeria and life after resigning, she got two calls to plan two weddings. She had not told anyone of her decision when these calls came in, but when God sets you in motion and you choose to keep moving, there are always blessings that follow. In those moments, she also knew God was further confirming that this was Him. The minute she told God yes, things began to fall into place.
“God also impressed on my heart that tough times will come.” Shile was prepared to work hard, and God promised to take care of her. “It is in our weakness, that we find that He is strong. I am humbled that the God of all the earth is aware of little me and steps into all my events to help me. At the end of every event, I am assured that I did it with God, because if it was left to me I couldn’t handle it and I would have said “deuces.”
“There were times I freaked out, but God took care of me. I also knew I had to work hard and get myself marketable.” Shile was previously enrolled in a Masters in Publishing and Creative writing, but she decided to also take certificate classes in event planning. “I immediately set up a website to establish credibility even before I registered my company; I knew the importance of credibility.”
And as she walks the path set before her each year, she works and God blesses her. “I do not struggle with finding clients, some say yes after the initial meeting and others go with a different planner. I am satisfied.” As 2012 rolls around, she has several weddings lined up, and she is looking forward to having more while working on new projects.
I asked “What is your greatest joy on this journey?” She is quick to count a few blessings while beaming.
“Knowing that I am doing what I love, and following my passion. Making peoples dream come true. It is exciting to know that I am doing what God has called me to at this moment. There is so much more in store. I am excited for the next steps God is leading me to and also for the weddings I already have signed up for next year. I am also working on new projects though the year so those are extremely exciting too.”
God is writing her story, and she is walking along to the tune of each chapter. Shile looks back to the day she was prevented from checking in her bags to Nigeria now as a blessing. God probably had his plans in motion a while back, but that day, she looked up in the midst of the drama he flung at her and asked “What the heck are you doing, God?” He promptly replied with a desperate call from a desperate bride who needed a new wedding planner.
Her advice to anyone struggling with fear about stepping out to obey God is “Listen to him in the small things. We are all waiting for the big picture, but what is God calling you to do now?” She emphasized that it is important to ask God for help. “It is okay to be honest with God and tell him if you don’t feel like you have the ability to do what he is asking of you and then ask him to strengthen you through his Word and help you obey.”
She then added “what I have found is that when God gives you a vision, he always makes a provision, so though you might think you can’t, you will be pleasantly surprised once you key into his strength that is available. When you know for certain that God has given you a word, no matter how risky it seems, the safer choice is to make a decision on the side of God, and the riskier choice is to not; because in an attempt to hold on to all you have you just might end up losing it.”
Finally I asked "Were all the fears, challenges and tough times worth it, and would you do it all over again?"
She replied, “Absolutely positively yes.”
[Photo Credit: Wale Ariztos]
[Video Credit: Kauri Media]