In a world where depression, pain and suffering is on the increase, there becomes a need to help Christians find their way through their identity in Christ, so that they are not overwhelmed with the cares and painful initiations of the environment. This is why Adesewa Greg-Ighodaro speaks with Christian Transformation & Lifestyle Coach, Toyin Oladiran in this interview. We expect that beyond your present heart state, this conversation would help you through the questions of your heart and provide food for your soul.
Hello Coach T. Please Let’s meet you.
Hi there. Happy to be doing this. I’m Coach Toyin, Christian Transformation & Lifestyle Coach. I’m also the founder of The Narrow Gateway which is an online source for everything you need to help entrench you into your Christian life and your sustained transformation into the character of Christ.
What does it mean to be a Christian Transformation & Lifestyle Coach?
I’m a Christian Transformation & Lifestyle Coach, which means that I work with people to help them identify the need for, and achieve measurable growth and transformation in their Christian lives. I am passionate about helping people to discover, experience and transmit God’s Supernatural Life, or as I like to call it, “the God-life” that we were created and saved to live.
How did you get here? What was the inspiration behind becoming a Christian coach? What’s your passion?
Hmmm … My journey spans most of my conscious life, from my pre-teen years till now. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been passionate about getting deep into people’s lives and helping them to identify and work through the things in their lives that are keeping them broken. I’ve also been a conscious Christian since my pre-teens, so of course, while going deep into people’s lives and helping them with their issues, I would always bring in the element of God, Christ’s redemption work etc. Anyone that knows me now, or that has known me in the past would confirm that no matter what is going on in my life, I’m always keen to come alongside people to help them to identify the brokenness in their lives and to reach for wholeness and healing in Christ.
Behind the scenes however, as I was going through my pre-teens and teens, I was experiencing a lot of defining moments, or “fault-lines” as I like to call them; experiences that shape you into your identity and choice of lifestyle. Some of such experiences were that my family left Nigeria when I was 11 years old and we moved to Cape Town, South Africa, where I had an amazing life and childhood, but unfortunately experienced a lot of racial and societal rejection. In my teens I was plagued with a sense of ‘belonging to no one’ and this formed what I like to call a ‘secret hole’ in my life (a place of brokenness in your heart that is caused by a heart-breaking life experience that you have not healed from).
Sadly, a secret hole formed in my life as a result of this and other experiences I had had growing up, and instead of running to the Lord for healing, I responded to my ‘secret holes’ by looking to ‘belong to someone’. In those years, though my soul still yearned for the Lord, and my spirit cried out to His Spirit daily, I consciously chose a lifestyle of trying to heal my broken heart through ungodly romantic relationships and the other stuff that comes with that.
The seeds of my salvation were deep though and the Lord did not let me go. Wow! That statement is such an understatement when I think of how the Lord kept coming for me in dramatic ways! He did not allow me to remain in the gunk and dirt. He kept calling me out, and after a few years, I responded and found myself back to my knees before His throne. Hallelujah! Tears in my eyes even as I say this! God began a restorative and transformative work in me and I have been on that journey for a whole bunch of years now. Along this path of transformation and restoration, the Lord began to remind me of the passions and stirrings I had had from childhood; my natural inclination to help people to identify and work through their own brokenness. He began to spotlight the different ways that in, through and in spite of my own life wanderings, He had equipped me to do something about my passion – to help people break free from sin and brokenness into a life of wholeness and completeness in Christ.
And then at God’s time, the Lord ignited me and said, “It’s time. Step out!” and He even gave me the name of the calling He was ushering me into, in this season: Christian Transformation & Lifestyle Coach … and here I am today.
How long did you nurse the idea of being a coach? Did you like the idea or was it something you always wanted to be?
I always had a passion for helping people to identify their areas of brokenness and reach for wholeness of identity in Christ. This has been a huge part of my personality since I was a pre-teen. In fact, anyone that knows me even partially well knows that I thrive when the conversation goes towards personal issues of inner healing, identity, past hurts etc. So that aspect of coaching has always been part of my personality.
However, regarding being a ‘coach’ specifically i.e someone that comes alongside you to help you to identify and achieve your goals in a specific area of your life, I went through a season during which the Lord was clarifying His specific calling for my life in this season. I had an idea that He wanted me to work with people but I did not know it would be coaching. The Lord gave me the specific name for my calling: “Christian Transformation & Lifestyle Coach”. He also gave me instructions on the specific coaching programs that He wanted me to create.
So for me, it was a mixture of receiving instructions from the Holy Spirit, and also going in accordance with the gifting and passions that the Lord had woven into my identity and personality all along.
As Christians, I believe there is a need to always do a heart check. However, not every Christian is aware of this. What do you think?
A heart check is so, so, so critical for every Christian. Its all part and parcel of being sober and vigilant … or being WOKE, like I love to say. Being a Christian and constantly transforming is not something that happens naturally in the context of our very carnal world. As Christians, new creations in Christ, we have to intentionally put off the ways of the ‘old man’ who was crucified with Christ when we became saved. We have to intentionally ‘reckon ourselves dead to sin’. We have to intentionally ‘set our minds on things of the Spirit’ and understand that we are seated in heavenly places with Christ. If we are not intentional about keeping a tight check on the true state of our hearts, we will be at risk of being influenced by the carnal and broken world we live in.
In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul instructed the Corinthians: “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.”
Constant heart check is a must for a Christian!
Man is a spirit, living in a body and has a mind. How do we understand this concept so we live as better Christians?
Ahhhhh! The understanding that we are spirit is EVERYTHING! What has really helped me to grow increasingly in this understanding has been to study the Word of God and immerse myself in the Holy Spirit (because He is the One who helps me to understand the Word of God and He is the One who speaks to me what is on the mind of the Father). Every new (and old) Christian should go through a Foundations course that grills you on creation, the fall of man, the fallen state, the plan of God for redemption of man, life after redemption. This is how we will understand that we are spirit and that we can only truly experience God when we begin to live a life of walking in the Spirit.
Hmmm do you know that in several places, the Bible describes the physical body as ‘clothes’? Meaning the real YOU is your spirit and the body you have is just the ‘clothes’ that you need to wear as you operate in this earth? Our bodies, the physical realm, the experiences that we have from our senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing etc were not meant to be our primary defining experiences. We were created in God’s image and likeness, and before man sinned, we lived within Him, communed with and within Him, had our identity, framework of life, understanding and being within Him, we had perfect communion with Him, we lived supernaturally, and absolutely engaged in God’s purpose and plan for and through us. We engaged as spirit in and between the heavenly and earthly realm, and our bodies were simply the tools that we used to operate in the earth.
However, when man sinned, our “eyes were opened” just like the serpent said that they would be (Genesis 3:5) and the very first reaction that Adam and Eve had to this was that they realised that they were naked, they were afraid and they sewed clothes to cover their physical bodies and hid from God’s presence (Genesis 3:7-11). Isn’t that so telling? Sin tore them (and all of us offspring of theirs) out of their natural habitation, being in spirit in God’s presence, and made their physical and emotional experiences their primarily stimuli and context.
I could go on and on here but let me cut this short by saying that every believer should certainly be taken through a strong and in-depth study of the Word to understand creation, the fall of man, God’s redemption plan and life after redemption (because when you are saved the old man is crucified with Christ, and you are restored to being a ‘new man’ who is born again by and into the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah!)
I believe you are passionate about restoring Christians to the knowledge of their identity in Christ. How does one embrace this, in a world where depression and suicide is gradually becoming a norm.
The devil is very upset when he loses yet another soul to the Kingdom of God. However, I believe that the devil quickly recovers and puts into gear a ‘plan B’ that says “okay if I cannot have his soul, I will deceive him, tempt him, accuse him and distract him so much and so intensely that he will think he is still in shackles in my kingdom, and he will continue to live like a slave to me.”
This is why Jesus declared to the Jews rather boldly in John 8:32-36, “Abide in My word … and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free … therefore if the Son of Man makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” Hallelujah!!
You see, God’s people perish because of lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). The greatest tragedy is that there are so many of us Christians who come to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, but we do not follow it up with the study of the Word of God so that we can get to know who we are in Christ and exactly what kind of supernatural power, life and glory we have been delivered into. And when we do not grow in the Word, we are prey to the enemy’s lies and temptation. We are a new creation, yet we live sometimes even in a worse state than we were before we got saved!
A few years ago, I was worshiping the Lord and the Holy Spirit said to me, “Toyin, everything you need is right here in My presence, in My Word. This is the power seat.” Jesus came to set us free from captivity in the kingdom of darkness. The freedom He gives is complete, nothing missing, nothing lacking. If we are not experiencing the freedom of Christ in its totality, it is because the enemy is tempting, distracting, accusing, confusing us into remaining in a state of captivity, and the way we overcome that is by dwelling in the presence of God and going deep into meditating on His Word, so that we can discover and embrace our identities as ‘new creation’ and we can walk in it!
Thank you for your time this week, we look forward to discussing old habits hindering our new life in Christ on next week’s episode of MID YEAR SOUL CLINIC.
I cannot wait! I’m so excited. This is my life’s passion, and God’s passion for His children.
Please leave us with a word for someone who is troubled in their heart about something.
My dear broken-hearted and troubled friend, never ever believe the lie that in your pain and brokenness, the Lord Jesus is standing afar off with His arms folded, looking at you with disinterest or disdain. Don’t even settle for thinking that He is standing close by and looking at you with pity. No friend. The Lord is within your personal space, kissing your tear-stained face, whispering sweet nothings to your ears: “Child, this is why I died, and this is why My Father raised Me up from the dead and from hell! I came to destroy the works of the wicked one in your life. Turn to Me! I came to yank you back into ‘the God-life’. Turn to Me!”
Please respond to Him today. If you do, make sure you write to us so we can give you some material to help you to make this a reality in your life.