Wikipedia defines it thus “Confidence has a common meaning
of a certainty about handling something, such as work, family, social events,
or relationships. Some have ascribed confidence as a state of being certain
either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of
action is the best or most effective”.
So many people started out the year with strong confessions
of faith and a joyful expectation of great things. Their confidence was most
probably based on the truth that God is faithful and able to do what he
Fast forward to the second half of the year and the
confessions are beginning to wane. Not as bold and strong as in the first and
second or even third month of the year.
Just like Peter, many of us are looking at the wind; but can
one see the wind? Yep! When you look at
the boisterous roiling of the sea, you are “seeing the wind”.
But how can I not cast away my confidence when the bills I saw
in January are still staring me in the face?
How can I “cast not away my confidence” when it seems like I
take one step forward and two backwards?
What is happening? Do I not have enough faith? Have I not
trusted God enough? Am I not working hard or smart enough?
I have a word from God for you today….
Do you know that the hours
before morning are usually the darkest?
Cast not away therefore your confidence for it has a great
recompense of reward! For you have need of patience that after you have done
the will of God you might obtain the promise.
Having done all to stand; STAND!!!
The patience you need now is not the literal dictionary
patience of putting up with a situation. It is rather the bible patience of
staying consistent with what you believe. It is standing firm on that promise
that God gave you without “looking at the winds”.
You started out the year standing on God’s promise; stay
steadfast and unmovable on it. Do not be like the first grade child who planted
a bean seed and kept uprooting it to see whether it was growing.
You have planted the seed of your confession, it’s time to
water it with your praise; even the sacrifice of praise. Your tears are part of
the watering but only if they are cried in praise and worship and not in
complaints and bitterness.
Lift up your head! Look above the winds; look up! The one who gave you a word is faithful (Numbers 23:19…Take out 5 minutes daily for seven days to meditate on this verse).
Welcome to the second part of my treatise on peer pressure. If you haven’t read the first part check it out here.
Every human being is born with the need to belong; there is
a longing in everyone’s heart to be part of “something”. That’s why children in
a family need to know that they are an integral part of the family. In the same
vein, the new kid in school wants to be accepted by his peers. So also the new
staff works hard to be accepted as part of the team.
Nobody wants to stick
out like a sore thumb in any environment. Fitting in is the easiest thing to do
at all times or is it? Sometimes the cost of fitting in is by far steeper than
the pain of standing out.
It’s true that the natural inclination of any rational man (generic)
is to tow the path of least resistance. But do you know what I’ve discovered?
No one ever made it to greatness or significance in life by towing the path of
Before we go far in this discuss, let’s consider the book of
Romans 12: 2
King James Version
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by
the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable,
and perfect, will of God.
Good News Translation
Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world,
but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you
will be able to know the will of God – what is good and is pleasing to him and
GOD’S WORD Translation
Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change
the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really
wants–what is good, pleasing, and perfect.
The Message Bible
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit
into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be
changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and
quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down
to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops
well-formed maturity in you.
I always like to give us bible verses in different translations so that we can have a broader understanding of the verse. You can go a step further to do a study of this verse on your own.
What is God’s Will For Us?
From the forgoing, we can infer that God’s will for every
one of his children is to think like him. That means being holy and being holy
means being set apart; one of a kind.
So when you refuse to be ruled by self image, status symbols
or worldly values, you are being holy. When your idea of an ideal mum or dad or
how to conduct yourself as a mature single woman is not from Instagram or
social media; when you’d rather obey God than live by the rules of society you
Holiness is not defined by the cloths you wear, your jewelries, accessories or hairstyle (those are more like expressions of your personality and or upbringing).
In these days of social media popularity and fronting, a lot
of people would love to be seen as standing out. They post contradictory
messages and attack whatever seems to be a norm. I’ve seen many quotes that get
thumbs up and likes just because they sound deep but sadly are not scripturally
Standing out and daring to walk alone doesn’t mean
condemning people or their way of life. It doesn’t mean being a social
miscreant or rebel. Neither does it mean causing strife and sowing seeds of
discord wherever you are.
Standing out means learning to walk the path that God has
ordained for you. Following God’s blueprint for your life whether single or
married, raising your children according to God’s purpose and being all that he
has ordained for you to be.
Note that every individual has a blueprint from God; he knows our end from our beginning. He is the manufacturer who has given us the user manual for his product and that user manual is the bible.
God’s Blueprint/User Manual
If you want to be totally free of peer pressure, the most important tool is the renewing of your mind. We know from Romans 12:2 that the renewing of our minds would help us access God’s will for our lives.
When you consult your manufacturer’s manual regularly, you
would understand what to do and what not to do. That’s the process of renewing
Most user manuals
would include the following sections:-
The name of the product and other identification
information (may also include materials used in manufacturing the product)
The features or characteristics of the product
How the product functions and what it can do
Instruction for installation, Use and
Precautions, Safety code and other related
Frequently asked questions
A section that gives technical support for
Do you know that the bible contains all these sections about
your life? You are the product, God is the manufacturer and the bible is the
Let me give you a fun challenge; look at all the sections of the above sample table of contents of a user manual and use it for a bible study plan.
For example; day one would be a study on number one on the above table of content. So I would go online and look for bible passages that define who I am (what did God call me when he made me?). Then I would go on to find out who I am in Christ Jesus; I would type in “bible verses about who I am in Christ Jesus” etc.
From there I would move on to item two on the list. Try this
and you’ll be amazed at the treasures you’ll uncover. Furthermore, you’ll be so
engrossed in this challenge that you’ll not have time to check out what other
people are doing with their lives. What’s more, you’ll be delivered from the
pressure of keeping up with the Joneses.
I started out this piece with some ideas that I wanted to
share about practical steps on how to combat peer pressure. Little did I know
that the Holy Spirit would steer my thoughts the way he did.
I invite you to join me in exploring our user manual; get in on the challenge today!
Whenever we hear the phrase “peer pressure” our minds go to
children or teenagers. We think that its only teenagers that experience peer
pressure. But can I announce to you that peer pressure is a lifelong phenomenon?
Before we go on, let
me give us a formal definition of peer pressure: –
The above definition confirms my earlier assertion that we
are never free from peer pressure as long as we live.
That being said, it is pertinent that we understand the characteristics of peer pressure. For only then would we be able to combat or withstand negative peer pressure. And then we can go on to help our kids, mentees or people in our sphere of influence deal with it too!
7 Telltale Signs of Peer Pressure
Sometimes people wake up and decide to do something and they
feel that the decision is solely theirs. Not so! There are subtle influences
that informed that decision. So whether you are a teenager or midlifer, these
telltale signs would alert you to peer pressure.
This is not totally negative; sometimes these adjustments
may be for the better. There are people who make you want to be a better
person. Some others influence/inspire you to seek God more; others challenge
you to be a better spouse and/or parent… the list goes on
But how do you determine when these adjustments are negative? Here are some pointers:-
Anything/person that makes you go against God’s word is a negative influence. This is also true of anything/person that makes you go against the grain of who you are
Let’s come down to “mundane” issues. When you start behaving
in ways that people who know you don’t recognize then there’s a negative peer
pressure at work.
Case in point:
A friendly woman who goes out of her way to be friendly with
everyone she meets; says “hi and how are you today” to the janitor, or chats
with the waiter at the restaurant/cafeteria at lunch time. Then all of a sudden, she becomes this aloof
person who now has an understanding that she’s a management staff who shouldn’t
fraternize with the “help”.
Hmmm! that’s not really who she is; can it be that some
persons have told her that successful career women carry themselves with an “air
of dignity? This by the way is just a very shallow example but I trust that you
get my drift.
A Feeling of Not Belonging (Low Self Esteem)
When a person feels like they don’t belong in a place, then there’s
a subtle peer pressure to make the person fit in.
I know we have all found ourselves at one time or the other in this position. Maybe you didn’t/don’t speak with the same accent and inflections or you didn’t/don’t have the same fashion sense. Your case may be that you didn’t/don’t live in the same geographical location (every city/state in the world have “bourgee” locations) or you don’t have a certain pedigree.
We can all totally relate to that feeling of being the odd
one in a group. And why is that? It’s because there’s an unwritten code that
some influencers are pushing and you are subtly feeling the pressure to
Trying new things is one sure sign of peer pressure. Again,
this may be either positive or negative. Peer pressure can help you become more
adventurous with your fashion sense, relaxation/fun, exercise regimen etc.
It can also lead you into bad habits; yes even as a midlifer!
Don’t be deceived into thinking that it’s only teenagers that pick up bad
I know a number of
married women who went wild and broke up their marriages after they turned 40(Most
of them got married in their 20s). Those I spoke with told me that they’ve been
in bondage all these years but have now “woken up”. Do you think they started
trying those new things or going wild on their own? Definitely not!
Once a person becomes overtly conscious of their image or status, then they are succumbing to peer pressure. You are a pawn in the hands of social influencers when you live by a “code of conduct” that has no scriptural or moral bearing or that exalt image above reality.
If you can buy clothes and other fashion accessories on
credit just so that you look the part, you are a victim of peer pressure. Same goes
for those who misplace priority for status symbols; flashy cars and a fancy
house instead of a good school for the kids or college funds, expensive
vacations instead of regular mortgage payments… and the list goes on.
Whenever you find yourself comparing yourself with someone else, you are responding to peer pressure. Whether you do so to feel good that you are better than others or you feel inferior to your contemporaries. It’s all one and the same; it does you more harm than good.
2 Corinthians 10:12
New International Version
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some
who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare
themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
New Living Translation
Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as
wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are
only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of
measurement. How ignorant!
English Standard Version
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some
of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one
another and compare themselves with one another, they are without
Doing Things Just to Please Others
Have you ever attended an event just to please someone? Or
have you worn something you didn’t particularly like just because it’s
trending? These are simple examples. Let’s
What of those situations when you have been pressured into making life changing decisions that didn’t resonate with your spirit?
All of us can testify to having done something that we didn’t
like just because of peer pressure or other forms of pressure.
Performance at Work or Other Life’s Endeavor
Peer pressure affects people’s performance either negatively or positively. Some people become overachievers while others become underachievers. Others yet are inspired to become all that God has ordained them to be.
“Success is something that everyone strives for, but is it
ever possible to work too hard to reach your goals? Overachievers are people
who do great things, but still need to accomplish more. Even though they attain
more success than the vast majority of people, they are never satisfied and
always strive to accomplish more.
While this behavior can lead to professional and academic
success, it can create a huge imbalance in a person’s life. An overachiever may
neglect his or her own needs or the needs of family and friends in order to
Achievement is, in most cases, a good thing. After all, who doesn’t want to reach their goals? The problem with overachievement is that it involves reaching these goals at costs that outweigh the rewards. People often sacrifice their own health, happiness, and relationships in order to chase a target that is always moving beyond them”. https://www.verywellmind.com/are-you-an-overachiever-4580606.
There are so many definitions of an underachiever but in the
course of my study/research this write-up on the link below caught my attention
It explains who an underachiever is and what makes you one. This discourse goes to corroborate my assertions that we are driven to certain actions and habits by peer pressure.
I deliberately brought these links to you so that you can do a bit of further reading and hopefully learn more from these write-ups.
I’m sure some of you are wondering why this post is not replete
with bible references as is my style but not to worry. This is just the first part
of my thoughts and findings on peer pressure.
Please stay with me
as I bring you the conclusion of this treatise in subsequent posts.
Many singles have woken up one day and discovered “wow! I’m
40 and single; how do I cope?
There are many reasons why one may still be single at 40.
Some of the most commonly known reasons are as follows:-
Death of a spouse, Never Been Married, Divorce, Health or
Truth be told, 99.9999% of single people out there
(especially women) never saw themselves single at 40 or beyond.
Of all the reasons for being single, one that poses the
greatest challenge is that of never being married. Am I saying that other
reasons are not as daunting or challenging? Nope! But sometimes society
Coming to Terms With Being 40 and Single
Navigating the waters
of being single after 40 differs from one person to the other. But the constant
factor that must anchor every Christian single is the bible.
Although many physiologists have a lot of theories on coming
to terms with singlehood after 40, nothing beats the word of God.
To come to terms with your single status, you have to believe God’s word and hold on to it, come rain or shine.
Don’t roll your eyes just yet. Let’s consider these scriptures:-
1st Corinthians 7:17 The Message
And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone
else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love
and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. Don’t
think I’m being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in
all the churches.
Ephesians 1:5-6 New King James Version (NKJV)
5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ
to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the
glory of His grace, by which He [a]made us accepted in the Beloved.
Ephesians 1:4-6 The Message (MSG)
3-6 How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the
Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing
in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had
settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.
Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ.
(What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the
celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
Practical Ways of Dealing With Singleness
Free yourself from societal expectation
So many single people live in constant fear of what people
are saying about them. They are taunted by the ridicule and castigation of
I have first hand experience of it here in our African
society. I’ve also heard about the experiences of my sisters in other climes
From the snide remarks at weddings, baby showers or other
family gatherings. To the insinuation that something must be wrong with you if
such a pretty and intelligent woman can’t get anyone to marry her. Or the
admonition that you should please tone down your intelligence and assertiveness
so that you wouldn’t intimidate potential suitors… the lines are unending.
For the guys, I’ve heard it said that a guy that’s still
single at 40 and above must be irresponsible. In some circles, they say that
there must be something wrong with the man physically (in reference to his
sexual health/ abilities). In this day and age some people even go as far as
questioning the person’s sexual orientation.
It can be exhausting I know but we all have to learn to cope
Tips for coping
Let me share some of the coping mechanisms, I’ve adopted
over the years
Before going for any gathering that I know may trigger
pressure, I meditate on some scriptures. I call this my spiritual fortification
I keep emphasizing the fact that the bible is an anchor for
our souls. Please don’t trivialize this fact or take it as cliché.
These scriptures work for me and I believe they’ll work for you too. Let me share some of them with you . They are Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 29:11, Isaiah 49. You can still find more for yourself.
In addition to meditating on scriptures, I pray in tongues for a bit. This helps to keep me grounded because I could become caustic if aggravated. I’ve noticed that this helps to fortify me and keep me calm no matter the jabs, innuendos or aggravations.
In addition to meditating on scriptures, I remind myself
that life is an adventure and not a plan.
When I was coming to earth, I didn’t come with a plan. I was just born! I had no say on who my parents were going to be or about any aspect of my life. So there’s no need to stress myself over any situation
This is not a “Que será, sera” attitude but a paradigm
shift. Build up a stronghold in your mind that you are complete in Christ and
that nothing is wrong with you.
Marriage is not a reward for good behavior neither is
singleness a punishment for bad behavior.
I would not be bamboozled into fulfilling anyone’s
expectation of me. I would be courageous enough to trust God’s plan for my
Please note that these affirmations and fortifications is
not a one off exercise but a continuous exercise. Trust me, the more you engage
in this exercise, the calmer you become and more equipped to ignore all that
society throws at you.
Avoid Pressure triggering situations
Try to avoid those situations where you are always put under
I’ve had to delete some numbers from my contact. I don’t
attend every program I’m invited to (especially by long time acquaintances) I’m
not saying you should cut off everyone from your past but learn how to evade
too much proximity that leads to comparison.
Case in point; I was
invited to the wedding of one of my Sunday school kids (she’s 20 years younger
than I am). I knew most of my old acquaintances would be there and the first
question out of their mouths would be “when would we attend your own
wedding? Or why don’t you want to get married?
So I called the bride-to-be’s mum (who happened to be an old friend) and
asked for the bride’s account number (this was after making the requisite enquiries
and congratulatory speech).
Thereafter, I made my excuses and expressed regrets at my
inability to be at the wedding. Then immediately wired a cash gift to the
account. This was a case where I could avoid the event. But in a case where you
can’t avoid the event, you fortify yourself before attending.
Anyway, that’s my personal opinion and experience. You may differ or have a better way to handle this… I’d love to hear from you.
There are so many other pressure triggering situations and
events. Learn to identify yours and ask for divine wisdom on how to avoid them
or at best cope in those situations.
Surround Yourself With A Positive Support System
Be An Active Member of A Church
As the saying goes “no man is an island”. Everybody needs
someone; that one or two persons that you can be vulnerable with and not feel
judged or condemned.
As a Christian, it is pertinent that you have a church
family. This is so important that we can’t gloss over it. We need to emphasize
this point especially in this day and age where one can be a member of a church
by proxy. Do not assume that logging on to a service and joining in the chat
room conversation is the same as physical attendance and membership.
Remember Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to forsake the assembling
of the saints. When you meet with other believers, you are encouraged and
exhorted. You receive fortification to face the pressures and storms of
life. Additionally, you get the right
kind of support!
Proverbs 27:17 says that iron sharpens iron….
Some may say that church folks have done them more evil than
good. Hmmmm! Stay with us; we’ll discuss the purpose of the church in later
Have Friends of Like Faith and Values
In building a positive support system, you need to bear in
mind that they have to be people of like faith and values. Amos 3:3 says “can two walk together except
they agree? Do not surround yourself
with people who scoff at scriptures. Or those who tell you to be real (that is
suggesting that scriptures are fluffy but worldly philosophies are real).
Case in point:
Me: My hormones have been running wild lately; I need some
TLC(tender, loving, care).
Happy go lucky, church going friend: I can hook you up with
a cool bloke. No questions asked. After all God knows we have needs.
Same scenario, spirit-led friend: Let’s go take in a movie
or go for a Zumba session. You’ll be fine.
Who do you think I should hang out with? The one who affirms
my sexual frustrations and proffers one night stands or friends with
benefits? Or the one who helps me find healthy
alternative outlet for my frustrations?
Every human being is a slave to something; no one is
actually “free” in the true sense. But thank God that we can choose our
chains! Ponder this:
New International Version
Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as
obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey–whether you are slaves to
sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
New Living Translation
Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you
choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can
choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.
The right kind of support would not only keep you away from
sin but would also build you up emotionally.
Don’t be friends with negative people. Don’t be friends with
people who love comparison(2nd Corinthians 10:12b NIV :When they measure
themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not
wise). Don’t be friends with people who sap you of spiritual or emotional energy.
Don’t! Don’t!! Don’t!!!
Your support group should be people whose values mirror
yours; people who would look you in the eye and tell you the truth in love.
Learn To Play And Have Fun
When you hit age 40 and above, tendency is that you have become set in your ways. You go to work, come back home, eat and sleep.
Some folks are fortunate enough to love exercise or have developed an exercise regimen. So these ones may hit the gym or exercise routes twice or more times a week.
Other folks who are active in church or ministry would also invest their energy in church or ministry activities.
At the end of the day you find out that life seems to become a chore or burden. But it shouldn’t be!
Find activities that excite you! Make out time to play and have fun with friends and family (minus pressure triggering events; the keyword is fun. If it aint fun or healthy, stay away!).
Do not isolate yourself!
Life should not be all about responsibilities and obligations.
Stop and smell the roses. Enjoy life; everyday that comes is a blessing from
God. He has freely given us all things to enjoy.
Determine today to enjoy life in your single status. Whether
single by choice, never married or made single by circumstance remember that
your status in life does not define you.
You are already accepted in the beloved and you can do all
things through Christ who strengthens you!
The truth is that you do not just have to cope with being 40
and single; you can be 40, 50 or 60 and above and still flourish.
It’s not over until you draw your last breath; if you are
still here, then you’re not done.
I’d love to hear from you. Reach out to us in our comments section; we’ll be glad to respond.