Tosin Olukanni

I haven’t known Tosin very long, but one thing I’m sure of without a doubt is that this girl is on fire for Jesus! She has such a child-like spirit, with the genuine desire to just love God and go deeper with him that I love so much.

So Tosin, introduce yourself. Who are you?

I am 21 years old. I'm a British Nigerian, born and raised in the UK. I'm currently on a gap year out of uni, looking for a job. In this waiting process I'm just learning to trust God. It's incredibly hard because you don't know what this season is going to look like. You genuinely don't know how long the wait is going to be. I'm applying to go to uni in September, but in between now and then I want to build something and get something for myself and to just walk with God, you know? I think it's really hard because, it's not as if your parents aren't there, they are, but there is a walk with God where it's actually you holding God's hand and it's just you two. Your parents have helped you thus far. And when you decide to say, “okay God it’s me and you", God is listening now, and he wants to see if what you're doing is related to what you're saying. People say, “Tosin you don't sleep well" yeah, because I'm praying in Tongues (laughs). But yeah about me, I love singing and I love worship because it gets me to places I can't get to on my own. 

Could you elaborate on that?

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It gets me to places that my works and efforts can't reach. It's like, if you want to get to a place with God, you can't get there on your own. It's not about how many times you go to church, it's about actually getting your spirit to be quiet enough to hear, your eyes focused enough to see where God is calling you to, and for you to respond accordingly to that. Don't get me wrong, go to church and spend time serving, that's all a part of it. But that's a very small percentage of actually getting to a peak with God in worship. You want to get to a place with God in worship where there's an encounter that you have and you come out changed. There are parts of worship that God wants to heal. He wants the worship movement or the worship leader to be able to be led in a way that people allow God in to let him heal them. Worship has to do with the heart in the sense that you allow God in. You don't resist him and you're not restricting him. Everyone can be free, but you can actually restrict yourself in worship. So I feel like with pressing in, in that place of worship and praise, let it just be levels, you understand? Allow yourself to actually climb higher. Worship can get you to places your works can’t.

100% I agree.

So, you’re a worship leader and minister. Tell me a bit more about that. When did you realise that you had this calling on your life?

I recognised I had a calling when I was applying for musical theatre schools and I wanted to be a full time singer, actress and dancer. Not for Jesus, for myself. I applied to Sylvia Young and I remember getting a rejection and crying my eyes out. My mom explained to me that it’s not an environment that God wants me to be in. I wasn’t listening to her, I didn’t even understand what she meant. I just wanted to be there because academics were a bit challenging for me. Fast forward down a couple of years, I applied to Tring and sent my application in the post. I didn’t even get an audition, they sent my application and my money back. I was shocked. My mom sat in the kitchen and she said, “you know Tosin, I have something to confess to you. I said to God, ‘if that’s not what you want for her, don’t let them give her anything.’” I noticed that the doors began to close. Even when I got to A levels, one of the girls got into National Theatre, and I remember looking at her and was like, “God you know my heart”, because it was actually painful. I wanted to excel in that area because I was good at that. How can you want to be good at something knowing that that’s not going to happen for you anyway because it’s not God’s will? It was very hard for me because singing was also therapeutic while dealing with my studies which was hard for me. And I remember God saying to me, “there is a greater purpose than your own will and your own desires.” God was putting me in a position where he was saying I can’t do this thing [singing, acting, dancing], and all those doors were just knocked down.

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There was one night I would never forget. I was with my mom and God spoke to me. Whilst God was speaking, my mom’s face was literally glowing. And God was saying to me, “I’m commissioning you, I’m sending you out, I want to use you. Will you go for me?” He said I didn’t have to rush, I could think about it. And I told God yes. But it wasn’t really that night [that I realised]. I would also get words of knowledge; people around me would tell me there’s a calling upon my life. As a teenager I literally lived in church. It made me understand why I was bullied in primary school. I didn’t have any friends, I was pushed out and didn’t fit in. So the uncomfortable moments, the rejections from schools, the rejection from people, just marked me [as being set apart]. My childhood was not fun and games. It was rejection, it was tears. 

My mom would prophesy to me and God would talk to me through her. Even when I would get back home from school, I would always spend 30 minutes with God. I knew I had a calling when I actually reflected and I looked back and I was like okay, so that’s the reason why all of these things happened. But that night, when my mom’s face was glowing, I would never forget it, ever.

You know one thing I really liked about what you said? You said God asked you if you wanted to do it. It’s kind of like, at the end of the day, God never forces us to do anything. He presents it to us, and whatever he has for us is always the best option, and he knows that it’s the best option for us, but he will still never force us. He will always ask us. He’s just loving that way, he’ll never force you to do anything. He wants you to want it as well.

So, you have the gift of prophecy and other gifts. You’re someone who, even though you don’t know everything in your future, God has given visions of where he’s taking you and what he’s called you to do. So what would you say to someone who’s still struggling to find their purpose?

I feel like definitely taking time out to understand what that is [is important]. Before I went to A Levels, I had a year out. It was part of self discovery and I feel like when God gives you time, there’s a reason. I remember the Holy Spirit telling me then that not a lot of people get this time, and [I] could take this time to actually seek [him]. The funny thing was I actually had my first vision during that year, and I still remember.

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If there’s anything that I would say to anyone who’s struggling to find their purpose is take time out and don’t feel bad for doing that. But also know that the way in which God will do it will be in his timing and there will be a peace in that time of waiting, discovering and trusting. The funny thing is you don’t find your purpose in doing things randomly. You do it by being led by God, if that makes sense. You find your purpose in asking God, “why am I actually here? What have I been created for? It’s really simple questions like that. And then the Holy Spirit will begin to remind you, oh I used to do this when I was younger, and things like that. And God will use people around you to confirm what he has actually put inside of you. I got a prophecy one time and the man of God was like, “there’s a prophetic gift inside of you”. I was actually really confused, but I had remembered looking at the gift of prophecy [beforehand] and saying, “God, I would love to prophesy”. The man said the prophetic gift will come up at a later stage, at around 23. I’m 21 now. Between 19 and 23, there is a process in me discovering what prophecy is like. I’ve been watching a lot of videos on the prophetic, and I’m now coming to know that prophecy is what God is saying about something. If God shows you a cup in the spirit, that’s not prophecy because you still don’t know what God is saying about the cup. So when it comes to somebody discovering their purpose, prophetic words [from others] help. But don’t allow comparison to set in, eradicate that. And to anybody who is being consumed by comparison, I pray that God will show you your purpose. No-one is created by mistake, no-one is the age that they are now by mistake, there’s a reason for it. Trust that God will reveal [your purpose] to you. And don’t believe that God is waiting for a special time. We don’t receive because we don’t ask. So, you have to say, “God show me to me, reveal me to me. Why am I here?” You may even know your purpose, but you need to ask God why. I’m a music minister and not just a singer by the grace of God. God had to shut doors so that I can realise that there is a deeper and a larger purpose to me actually having the voice that I have. You may like to paint. Ask God, “why do I like to paint?” It’s questions like that.

Finding your purpose is sitting before God and finding the time to discuss your purpose. Yes, we all have a universal purpose to worship God, our lives are supposed to give glory, that’s standard for everybody. But people function in different mountains (check out the seven mountains of culture here for reference).

You were in uni for a year before you left. How was that? Everyone’s university experience is different. A lot of people find God in uni, but you already knew God before uni, right? So was there ever a wild Tosin?

There was none of that! I hated my uni, I spent my freshers in my room. I was basically just hanging out in the food courts most of the time. 

So now you’re not in uni, and you’re waiting to go back in September. How has that been for you? I know that you initially wanted to go last year September. 

Yeah, I wanted to go last year September, then January, now this year September. 

Has this tested your faith in any way?

Yes it has tested me! When people were praying for me on my birthday they said, “Tosin I know it’s a season of uncertainty for you right now, you don’t know what’s going to happen, but God is going to be with you.” I know that God wants to use this season for a reason. But it’s hard because I just want to go to uni now. It’s tested my faith because I don’t know what is going to happen. But despite this, there is a peace that God is giving me that I’m choosing to remain in. The bible says he will keep that man in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on him (Isaiah 26:3). At the end of the day I can’t push anything along on my own, God is the only one that can do that. So you just have to trust God. You being frantic or afraid actually doesn’t do anything for you.

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Also, it’s tested my faith because I know it’s a process. People don’t like processes, we just want to speed things along. We feel like processing is a waist of time, but processing is a time to grow and be matured. It’s a time to gain wisdom, to discover who God is. Trust me, that time is so beautiful, and we really need to take advantage of it and actually use that time to spend with God. The funny thing is a lot of us expect to seek God and then get something, but if you’re seeking God for a long time and nothing seems to be moving, that’s faith tested. But it’s in knowing that you’re going through this process for a reason. The bible says in Ecclesiastes that under the sun there is a season for everything. There’s a time to harvest, there’s a time to mourn, there’s a time to rejoice, there’s a time to seek God. A lot of us think, “yeah I can just go into the presence of God”. Yes, the presence of God is free, but there are times where God may want you to increase the search. There’s seeking, but then there’s seeking him a bit harder. There’s a process. You start from somewhere, but then the seeking continues. We need to know how to seek God in different environments, different atmospheres and different temperatures. There’s a time to worship God collectively, there is also a time to take time out and seek him on your own. The process is an advantageous thing, and I really want people to know that. The process is beautiful, but not many people see the behind the scenes so it looks as if you’re struggling. I’ve had people know that I’m not going to be in uni, know that I don’t have a job and feel sorry for me.

Wow, I love that so much. On the outside people could look at you and think you’re struggling, but they have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes with you and God. 

Thank you so much Tosin for all your responses! So for the readers who would like to find you on social media, where can they find you?

You can find me on Instagram @_txsin_ and my Facebook is Tosin Olukanni