Unplug: Rest For A Weary Soul.

This is just something that has been pressing on my heart lately and a post I made on Facebook sparked me to just write a quick blog post on it. The post read:

“For the sake of my sanity,  I mentally block a lot of current events out. When something happens and it’s all on my TL, I graze over the caption and 9/10 I scroll by it. I do this not to NOT deal with whatever it is, but because if I take all of it in at once, I’d lose my mind. So, I take a little in at a time so that I can regulate my emotions and properly process things mentally. I challenge you to do whatever you have to do to take care of your mental health. If you need to delete apps, turn off the TV, turn off the radio, block people, or whatever, do it. The world does not need anyone else who does not have control over their own mind.”

This, for the past three months, has been my philosophy. I live by it, swear by it. I thank God that as this year progresses, I am learning everyday how to control my mind and learning how to do whatever is needed to preserve my mental health. It is so much going on today and as a black woman and as a Christian I feel like I am having to dodge so many darts being thrown my way and if I am honest, some days I am just TIRED. Tired of trying to balance being black, being a woman, and being a Christian. Trying to figure out how to respond to different current events has become such a chore. If I went with my first thought I would be angry every. single. day. Every day. Not a day would go by that I would not be angry because every day SOMETHING is happening. And I mean, I guess that would be fine if it did not go against the Word that is in my heart. So, now there is this battle for my soul taking place between Anger and God. To know that I can be sitting here, seemingly calm on the outside, but on the inside I am SCREAMING, is a scary thought because I wonder just how many other people are out here on the verge of losing it?

I wish I was able to just not care. I have actually tried. I failed. It is just not in me. I am learning that the way God has made me, I tend to feel things deeper than most people, I see things differently than most people. No one even knows this about me but I cry so much. Not even for myself. I can handle the things that life throws at me, that’s cake. I cry because every day I wake up I see someone else that is hurting, someone else whose heart is hardened towards that person, someone else who feels the hurt of that person but is allowing anger to consume them, and then others who just do not care, and I do not know what I can do to fix it. So, then it becomes this burden that I am carrying around with no one to really talk to about it. A lot of times, I cannot talk to another black person about it because many of us are turning away from and are positioning ourselves against the God I serve, and I cannot take that counsel. Just like I am unapologetically black, I am unapologetically a believer in Christ and anything against that, I am against. I feel as if I cannot talk to many other Christians because unless it has to do with homosexuality, we have quietly resolved to just ignoring it. The world knows where we stand on that but when it comes to the gross injustices that are plaguing our nation, all we can come up with is, “Trust in the Lord, He knows all” and have resorted to victim blaming and it’s a cop out. So here I am stuck in the middle and I am tired. So very tired.

But it’s in that tiredness that I hear ever so sweetly…

Unplug.

*deeply sighs*

Oh the sweet relief that comes from simply unplugging. No phone, no social media, no people. Just candles burning, tea infusing, and listening to music and videos that speak to my weary soul. The time that I spend unplugged is time spent decompressing and sitting at the feet of God while my heart cries, “Abba, Abba.” It is Him that I look to for answers because I cannot find them in people. It is in Him that I find my strength, and it is in Him that I find rest. Now more than ever I am finding out how important it is to pull away because if I continue to try to process the happenings of this world on my own, I will eventually succumb to the ever present emotion of anger. My soul will become weak and mentally I will become fragile. He is teaching me how to set up guards and mentally block out things in order to filter them through Him. As I do these things I challenge you to do an evaluation on how you have been feeling lately. How are you mentally? If you are feeling drained, tired, or emotional, join me in just unplugging for a moment. Whether it be a day, a week, or however long you feel that you need, be intentional about taking care of your mental health. Do whatever you like to do that you feel centers you and calms you. Take time for you.

Peace & Blessings…

P.S. I’ve been reading and meditating on the entire book of Habakkuk and James 1 (1 is so good that I cannot seem to make it to chapter 2). There is a lot of wisdom in both and I can honestly say that they both helped me to look at things differently.

 

Are You Happy?

I firmly believe that the album, Losing My Religion by Kirk Franklin was written just for me. From the beginning to the end, he sings and writes what my heart has been crying for years. With every riff, every high note, and every melodic crescendo, it’s as if I’ve been cracked open and every hurt, fear, and moments of doubt have been poured out and intricately woven into these beautiful ballads of faith. When I listen to it, I imagine that all of those tears that I have cried over the years are being used in this beautiful watercolor painting that details the journey that I have been on. It tells of many highs and many lows and there are a lot of grey areas. At some points you see me walking, at others you see me just standing. There are even points where you see me crawling and the colors take on a dark tint marking the depression and anxiety that I have felt at certain times. Then, the colors start to brighten and the hues start to deepen and you will see me get up. I start walking again but there is still some grey up above. But that grey starts to dissipate when “Wanna Be Happy?” begins to play. It is that song that marks a very pivotal moment in my life. It is that song that you will see me standing at a fork in  the road very unsure of which way to go, doubting my ability to make decisions, and too afraid to even take a step forward. But, it was as if that song started to clear the fog and the tears that rolled down my face as it played washed the scales away from my eyes and I could see clearly.

This year on January 7th, I turned 25. And for my birthday I made the confession that I was going to walk in all that I was purposed to walk in. That I would become the woman that I dreamed of becoming and be who I am, unapologetically. What I did not know was that in order to do that, I would have to deal with secrets that I had been keeping, decisions that I had been making, and wounds that ran deep. I thought that I would be able to just start from that moment forward and build from there. But I quickly learned that it would be impossible for me to even come close to fulfilling my purpose if I didn’t deal with it all. And the very first thing that I had to deal with was the fact that I was a hypocrite.

I had been involved in a relationship with this guy for a while last year and got caught up. I’m talking ALL the way up. To this day I still don’t know where he came from or how he got here. All I know is that he was fine. I’m talking FINE. The fact that he was only 5’10 did not matter when I looked at the fact that he was chocolate, had a beautiful smile, lived in the gym, was African, and his native language was French. I was like, “YAAAASSSS!!” And then to top it off, in the beginning, he always “prayed” for me. (I learned later that he was really PREYING not PRAYING. Big difference.) He even cooked for me and he is the reason why I now love plantains and Afro-Pop as much as I do. All of that should have been indications that he was the devil lol. He was just TOO perfect. For the longest I was looking for hints of flaws and could not find a thing. Nothing. He always smelled good, looked good, and felt good. I should’ve known better lol.

As I think back and replay the relationship in my head, I can clearly see what was there all along. But more importantly, I can see how the relationship seemed to suck the life out of me. I see the decline spiritually and how I went from being in such a wonderful place in God to where I was trying to do everything I could to stay out of His presence yet seem like I had it all together in front of people because I did not want to be exposed. The relationship was parasitic and I had gotten so deep into it that the only way for me to get was exposure.

My father had been hinting for a few months that he felt like something was off with me but he just couldn’t figure it out. He had expressed his concern with the relationship but of course I played it down like it was under control. The whole time I was in the valley of decision about ending things but every time I tried to, Mr. Him would do something to make me second guess my decision. Honey, he was smooth. It’s like he could sense when I was about to walk. The conviction would be so real and it felt like there was such a weight on my soul. But Mr. Him and his charming self could charm the pants off of me. Literally. Let me stop here and say this… Ladies, you cannot. CAN. NOT. walk in purpose tied to a parasite, double minded, and dang near schizophrenic because you are laying down with a man (illegally because you’re not married) and in doing so, taking on his personality, who he is, and his being. It’s impossible. You’ll end up spending valuable time sifting through what is you and what came from him. It’s even worse when you already do not know who you are and now you have these foreign beliefs and perspectives deposited in you and you have to fight just to keep yourself together.  There is a reason why you should not have sex before marriage. But that’s for another time and day.

So, eventually I ended things with Mr. Him after a month or two of going back and forth. We just stopped talking. It went from talking everyday, all day to one day not a single call or message. And I can honestly say that I have not thought twice about it. I was quite happy actually. But the exposure I mentioned earlier did not happen until after the relationship was over. One day I was supposed to go somewhere with my family and instead of just saying that I did not want to go, I lied and said I was going somewhere else. Why? I don’t know. But I did. My dad knew that I had lied and knew that I had been lying about my previous relationship for a while and the next morning confronted me about it. It was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. I was upset that he had told me how much I had hurt him, but I was even more relieved to have everything out in the open. Even though I was not the one who brought the truth out, I was able to take the moment to be honest about things. It was then that I realized that healing can come from exposure. It was as if that weight that was on my soul had been lifted and I could now start pulling off the layers to start discovering and revealing who I am. It opened the door to a lot of deep rooted insecurities that I had and it forced me to deal with things that I had suppressed for so long. Dealing with them did not feel good whatsoever but it freed me.

I spent a lot of nights by myself replaying past events from years ago and analyzing decisions that I have made I realized that where I am in life is a direct result of those decisions. Whether good or bad, it is on me.

A lot of times as Christians, we want to blame our problems and issues on other people and the Devil when in reality it’s not them, it’s us. Me. You. But we don’t want to hear that. We can get so spiritual and say that, “the Devil is busy” when he was not even thinking about you that day! We have made him the scapegoat when things go awry in our lives and it has paralyzed us from being able to take responsibility for our actions and in turn has turned us into one of the most irresponsible group of people because we can’t even be honest and say that many of the things that have happened in our lives are direct results of the decisions that we have made. I’m not talking about things that are out of our control, but things that you have direct control over. Things that you can actually do something about and we choose not to. Things that you KNOW what the end results will be yet choose to continue to do them. I was one of those people. I was the worst kind because I knew better. I was a fraud and a hypocrite and I was not happy. My soul was split in two and I felt like I was going crazy. But that moment of exposure brought an end to it all and I’m honestly not the same person that I was just 5 months ago.

I know most people will say that 5 months is not a long time and there is no way that someone can have a complete change of heart and mindset but I would say that it can if they make a decision. All it takes is one moment with God. I have been saved for many years and for all these years I have been “trying to live holy” and I have been failing miserably. But one moment with God did what I had been trying to do for years.

“I just wanna be happy
But if I keep on doing the things
That keep on bringing me pain
There’s no one else I can blame
If I’m not happy
Wasted time but now I can see
The biggest enemy it was me
So I’m not happy”

It was this song, this verse that led to a lot of sobs and snot bubbles because it broke me down. It put it all back on me. I was abusing Grace and had the nerve to blame the devil for it. For that, I thank God for Mercy. For not giving me what I definitely deserved. And I thank Grace for allowing me another opportunity to make a decision. How many of you are ONE decision away from beginning to walk in purpose?

This post is way longer than I intended and being posted later than I originally planned but I just wanted to make sure I was being honest about things and honestly it was a struggle because no one wants to admit these sort of things. But nevertheless, I pray  it blesses you. Peace and Blessings.

Remember, no matter what, Life is good…