After I got my university admission letter, I could not wait to come to the city. The anxiety was further heightened by the tales I was told about Nairobi city and the University in particular. So with all these uncertainty ahead I wrote down my guiding principles: kind like my rules.

1.      Attend all classes(did not know they were called lectures)

2.      Participate in class discussions

3.      Spend my money and time wisely

4.      Go to church every Sunday

5.      Stay away from campus ‘boys’

Having jotted these down and other ‘control measures’ I knew I was more than ready for campus. So upon coming to campus and getting my room I stuck my list on my locker. I practically had everything under control. I mean, I had guiding principles so I could bet that nothing would go wrong and even if it did, I would see it coming a hundred miles before it got to me. I was covered or so I thought.

I was  a dedicated student, would go to all lectures thirty minutes before time just so I could get the front seat. You know that vantage point. My notes were up to date and I even went ahead and went to the library to supplement the course work. Everything went according to the set codes until when I got to make friends who were generous enough invite me to their rooms for parties as well as in the adjacent halls. So Saturdays that were meant to do laundry slowly became days I would sleep throughout the day. Then that Saturday evening I would unwind with a movie or better yet a series. Come Sunday morning I could not move an inch having slept at four in the morning. So that meant that church was not possible. As this pattern gained momentum so did the rate at which I was losing control of what is expected of me as a Christian and a student by extension.

I am certain that you have had your principles that somewhat controlled your day to day relations within yourself as well as with others. We have control over ourselves in that we are able to organize one’s life such that there is order and calm. However, we do not follow or stick to our values to the later. Why? Because as time goes by we begin to compromise; find a middle ground between what we have to do and what we are not ought to. For instance when one has to finish something in time or within certain boundaries there is the temptation of either doing it halfway and hoping to gain recognition of at least having ‘tried’. 

Some of us are ‘almost’. In that, I almost got that A grade were it not for the less time I put in, in that term paper. I almost finished reading the book of 1st John but I got sleepy and I hope to finish it at the end of this week. Imagine driving a car and we let go of the steering wheel; we almost lose our lives. When we keep shifting our boundary lines, our control line in order to either accommodate our personal interest or those of others or any time we go against the grail, my friend we are losing control. The moment we become a full blown ‘out of control’ then it becomes impossible to manage or to control and even go back to our original position. I know you have that list maybe that New Year resolution you vowed to see materialize. It can be spiritual, personal or even academic. 

My questions to you are: how far will you go to see that you live within your stipulated terms? Are you willing to sacrifice? How long will it take you to rise up after losing control or are you going to sulk in the iniquity and stagnate? Losing control is one thing, recovering from it is another altogether.

Picture the prodigal son, he left his father’s land and went to a foreign land where he lost control (he wasted all his inheritance) with prodigal living. Consequently he got to feed with swine. After some soul searching he saw it wise to go home back to his father. God who is our father is willing to forgive us, the prodigal sons and daughters. Regardless of the sin committed the extent to which we lose our control or how grievous it is if only we repent and ask God’s forgiveness. God is eager to welcome a prodigal son back, and in fact is happier at his return than with the fidelity of those in no spiritual danger. This elaborates God’s love to us.

In Luke 15:3-10 Jesus gives the parable of the shepherd who had 100 sheep. As he is tendering to his flock he discovers that one is missing. The man left the 99 in wilderness and goes for the one that was lost. On finding it he puts it on his shoulder and in rejoicing invites his friends and neighbors to celebrate. In verse 10 Jesus says

likewise I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Lost control? Worry not, you can change it. How? By acknowledging our shortcomings, inviting God back into your life, trusting him fully and holding steadfast to your virtues.

© Eunice Kilonzo

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