“I’m stupid” - that is what I believed when I left school, mainly because that’s what most of my teachers told me.
I would read the chapter of a text book and have no idea what it said. Dictation exercises were torturous, I was lost after the first sentence. Being made to study a second language was crazy as I hadn’t grasped the grammar of English. I was put in remedial English classes. Computer studies we not one of my options because I was told my English wasn’t good enough. One of my school reports said ‘Matt won’t come to much’.
There was one teacher who motivated me. Not exactly sure how they did it. I remember them being kind, they were encouraging with their words and they seemed to believe in me. When I submitted a piece of work they would give me feedback and the opportunity redo before finally submitting. They motivated me and I even got an pass mark in the exam.
A few years on I’ve authored 16 books, write for The Times newspaper and coach 50 people a year to write and then publish their books!
So what happened in between that made the difference?
Soon after leaving school I met a bunch of people my age who talked about Jesus as if he was their friend. I found it odd and rather uncomfortable but there was something undeniably real about it. So after a bit of a internal battle with myself I decided to give it a go - and I’m still journeying with Jesus today!
People often talk about Jesus loving us and he does. What has made the biggest difference for me is knowing that Jesus actually likes me! He likes who Matt is because he made me. Now that has helped me love and accept myself and be confident about who I am.
So I’m now a global speaker and preacher who is confident to stand in front of small and large audiences alike and inform and inspire them. I also began to write books.
My first book happened when a friend said, “You’ve got a book in you”. He didn’t just say those words he reached for his telephone and dialled his editor and asked them if they would publish my book. Then he passed me the telephone to discuss my book - I nearly wet myself!
Now I help other people to have the confidence to write the book that is in them. There are so many questions people have when it comes to writing their book… Where do I start? Would anybody be interested in reading my book? Hasn’t everything that can be said been said? How do I find the time to write? How do I secure a publisher?
I get a lot of excitement and satisfaction out of authoring and publishing my books. However I get an even greater buzz and sense of fulfilment helping other people write and publish their books.
For years people have asked for my help when they want to write a book. To make things easier for myself I thought why don’t I run a ‘Writing My Book’ course so I can help people with their books in groups and save myself time. Every year I am now a book coach to more than 50 people.
By the way I have discovered one of the reasons why I struggled with some things at school. I am dyslexic. I don’t see dyslexia as a disability but as a special ability. Dyslexia is a God-given gift, it enables me to think differently, make connections that other people don’t see and get things done!
It took me a few years but I no longer believe “I’m stupid” I believe that God has made me smart and I want to use what he has given me to help others.
Jesus is alive today and has the ability to change lives and enable us to do things we never thought we could.
First published in ARISE (the magazine of the Overseas Fellowship of Nigerian Christians) and Connect (the magazine of Kingsborough Family Church)
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