Joy Akut is not your average blogger. Not by any standard. Her blog is a prime example of the impact that a writer and a person, who truly seeks to add value to her world, can make, regardless of where they are. Her articles and stories have freed people around the world from addictions, stirred others into purpose and given many others a reason to live where they had lost hope. Amazing stuff, especially since a vast majority of the blogs run by young women center around gossip, fashion, beauty and self-promotion/worship. For those of you weary of slay queens and tired advice on how to wear or look whatever, Inyamu’s El-dorado (www.inyamuakut.com) will be a refreshing break from the norm.
In this interview, Joy; author-blogger-speaker-role model-trendsetter-convener and all round awesome babe, opens up to us on everything from faith to fashion to finding your purpose in a world full of convenient distractions.
ON WHY SHE WRITES: “Life inspires me, thus I write on everything: fashion, politics, nature, entertainment……God is a good God who is constantly speaking to His people in diverse forms. The world looks like it’s in chaos, and He will not have His children give up on life, on self… He wouldn’t have us lose hope and live with the escapism mentality of running to heaven because earth is hard. That’s why He shows us hope in everything. He gives me words through a mundane task as bargaining in the market, or a childhood memory or my love for shopping and holidays. Nothing is off limits… He speaks, I listen, I dig out for more on what He’s saying and I share the polished treasure. I have come to realize that this is bigger than me…There are just so many reasons for doing this in the mails I get and the things people say to me. Both the old and the young have something to draw from it. I put the truth out there… that there is a God who loves you, who died for you, who isn’t angry with you, who is looking out, waiting for you to come home, ready to throw His arms around you and give you the signet ring, there’s another chance to do better, failing doesn’t mean give up…. There is more in Christ. I speak the truth and God handles the rest. There is hope, there is more, there is purpose, pain can be conquered and refined and used for something beautiful, God loves us eternally.”
ON FAITH: “……I lean on God knowing He carries my weight, because He loves me; the weight of my dreams and expectations… those big enough to fill the world, and sometimes small enough to not matter. I dare to dream and see a possibility of every vision coming to life because I know God loves me. That’s what faith is to me, leaning on the finished works of Christ (His death, burial and resurrection)… and the finished works translates to love. I believe everything is anchored on the love of God. If God did not love, there’d be no sacrifice… and if there were no sacrifice, I would not have the audacity to believe in impossibilities… to have faith! Faith is me stepping out on the blueprint my heart paints, not knowing how I’d do it but trusting. Sometimes, I do it with my heart beating, with questions of my certainty lurking around… but even in the midst of it, there’s a blind trust, that I am covered, I am leaning on a trust that cannot be shaken, even when it doesn’t turn out the way I want it to… I know my wedge has not been moved. I’m being perfected even in this work of faith. You can’t achieve and truly step out on what God’s put in your heart if your faith isn’t without borders. It doesn’t make sense as a woman to wear heels and hold a walking stick for support, it’s quite ridiculous. So why wear heels at all? That’s faith with borders. Sometimes heels may be uncomfortable, but that’s the price you pay for style. Sometimes faith may seem uncomfortable, but that’s a price worth paying for doing the seemingly impossible. If you can’t walk in heels then take off the shoes and wear flats, don’t give God support with a walking stick.”
ON FINDING AND FOLLOWING PURPOSE: “I may have stumbled upon my purpose in my love for writing… but however I came into it, I’m in it and I’m living it and getting confirmation as I journey through it. Just getting to that place of walking with God led me in directions, doing things I may never have dreamed about in my own capacity. I am using what I have to glorify God which is a summary of what purpose boils down to for me. I am using my dreams and visions… things my heartbeats for to glorify God. I love to hear people sing, I love good music, and so I use that to glorify God by hosting worship meetings. I love to write, and so I use that to glorify God… through the blog, books and whatever public space I can write down a word or two (Facebook, twitter, Instagram) I love kids and so I plan on doing something with that to glorify God. My purpose is glorifying Him with my life, with my gifts, and it gets clearer as I continue to walk with Him and serve Him my gifts…Sometimes following purpose may not make sense to those around you… but only you can see from the start that even if you don’t know where the path is taking you, it holds something more, that’s why your heart beats in confirmation when you move in that direction. Just like the wise men followed the star to Jesus, even when no one else did, only you can see the star shinning, only you can follow where it leads you and when you do, you’ll find Jesus and worship Him and serve Him your gifts. I believe that’s what it’s like for every one… whatever talent or passion you have… a banker, a teacher, an entrepreneur, a fashion designer… You have to follow that path that shines in front of you even when no one else sees it… you keep going even when it makes no sense, till you get to the feet of the master, and find your purpose serving the King with your gift, for His glory.”
ON FASHION: “I’m not a follower of trends; I just like to look good. I mentally picture what would look good on me and go for it. I don’t get lost in fashion, or ruled by fashion. I don’t make much effort with fashion. I grew up seeing my grandma, my mum and her sisters look good, so I guess it’s just something I got from them. For me, comfort is key. Being comfortable in what I’m wearing gives me confidence to be myself. I see nice outfits on my friends and I admire and move on because I know what suits me, what I’m comfortable in and what feels just so wrong for me to be seen in. I have learned to embrace thrift stores and high-end stores and hold on tightly to high street stores and the tailor down the road. Many people feel expensive outfits are parallel to style. But you can buy the most expensive items and not look good. It’s great to look good, but I don’t get lost in it. I have refused to be a slave to trends because I want to be accepted or seen as cool. I am confident enough to do me especially when some of the fads of the moment border on ridiculousness.
Your beauty is not validated by following the crowd. Wanting to be tagged as sexy because of the outfit you wear is high level form of mediocre; don’t cheat on your mind and mar the beauty of your aura by using fashion to desperately seek for attention. Most times you will get it, from the wrong people, and for the wrong reasons.”
ON BEING A WOMAN OF VISION…. “I have been blessed with a family that has responded to the dreams and visions in my heart by letting me be and supporting me whenever they can… and I believe this has been a tremendous help to me. Having to fight your loved ones to pursue your dreams, or feeling alone in your pursuit can be distracting and most times aid in aborting a very beautiful vision. They let me be when it was time to resign my day job; they support me through seasons when it looks like silent moments in my life and maybe I should think of doing other things. There are questions of what if you fail? What if it doesn’t work? What if no one comes for your meetings? What if no one buys your books or cares about what you write? Well, what if it does great? What if lives are changed and transformed by the words I am inspired to write? What if all the words of the Spirit that have been whispered in my heart truly manifest? There’s more chance of my success, a hundred percent chance of it than failure, so I take the hundred and I just keep doing it. I shouldn’t wait to get married to do all I have to do because if I do too much as a single woman, I may scare the men away. I have heard suggestions that I may be too much for a man… why? Because I have big dreams, and I’m not scared to chase them? (That’s why God wouldn’t bless me with a small-minded man) But why should I allow one man’s insecurity with who I am or who I have been called to be to stop me from being? If he doesn’t get it and refuses to get it, then we probably shouldn’t be together, and the fear of being alone shouldn’t imprison me in a hub of regret. I would wake up years later wallowing in grief as I see the tombstones of great dreams buried with the voices of public opinion. I believe women out there have conceived time and again, and over and over again they abort the beautiful dreams with just the thought of how it/they would be perceived or the fear of family and failure. Being a strong woman isn’t a weakness, being determined isn’t a minus, failing at it isn’t a failure, its just a reason to try again, being a dreamer is a gain… when you refuse to quit and succeed at it, you’re giving a boost to others coming behind you. You’re creating something that would outlast you, and give you satisfaction in life.”