A long time ago, I discovered that I was not comfortable saying negative things about people that were not true and out of context. Being human and flawed, I attempt to practice this as much as I can. I always hoped the same would be done for me. What I found out over the years, was that the reliance I placed on those I loved (family and friends) to explain me to those who did not know or understand me, resulted in a lot of misunderstanding and deep seated albeit well hidden resentment on my part.
I discovered that whereas I had no problem defending those I loved, they were not so quick to defend me, rather, informed me by way of story how they watched while my name and/or action was maligned. I vocalized indignation but quietly kept the feelings of sorrow and betrayal to myself. What I did not know, was that in part, I was beginning to see myself in my loved ones’ depictions of me. I have a very strong character however, and learned to tell myself from a young age, the things I believed in myself, including my capacity to think and do good as much as possible unto others. I also always believed I was born to be great.
I control as much as I possibly can, because I decided a long time ago to forgo the trust I placed in people to help define and explain me. I was tired of hearing through grapevines the criticisms leveled at me behind my back by my relatives, disheartening character portrayals from my nuclear family and misappropriated stories from trusted friends. Most importantly, I was tired of acting as though they did not hurt me, so, I worked on controlling my environments as much as I possibly could.
My God is good because in my time, I have helped those who spoke ill of me, who abused my generosity or did not first consider the words they used with me among others. I have and currently do, apologize to those I have un/intentionally hurt or said/behaved inappropriately to. It was, has and is a pleasure to do these things. As much as I plan to walk away from people or throw past hurtful things in their faces, I find it hard to do because I believe in the power of thoughts and words to inform and shape lives. I also do not know how not to care and the times I have made the conscious decision not to, hence thrown my life at the devil, the results have been catastrophic to say the least. As good as I can be, I can also be that bad and that truth can be said of anyone.
The defining moment in my life where my will comes into play, is between the end of March and the beginning of April 2011. One night I remember thinking about, and being hopeful of a promotion that I had applied for, thinking of the ways in which I would benefit from my acquiring it. A voice kept asking me step by step how I would feel about the increased monthly income, the responsibilities, job title, work location and people I would be working with, for I knew a good bunch of them.
To all the questions I did the math, thought my answer through and replied myself, feeling more confident yet a tad bit sad. The sadness had to do with the cut throat madness I would be walking into. I had previously tasted a little of it and knew that with my aggressive, go-getter mentality I would fit right at home in this position. I did not necessarily want this part of my personality to be more honed than it already was, and knew that in a few months or years, after mastering what was there to know, would be staring at the wall thinking, okay, what next.
I remember a voice in my head asking me how I planned to deal with the dissatisfaction portion once it kicked in, for in my world, money and material things have never been my motivation. Finding purpose, contributing something that is not material, imparting value in lives I meet, enjoying myself to the fullest and choosing my attitude have always been my motivating force. I agreed in my mind that I would in fact eventually become dissatisfied with this position after a while, and would be searching for the next great thing.
The voice then asked me to choose. I could choose this wonderful promotion and all the perks that came with it, I would be very successful in the reality I lived in. I could see in my mind’s eye just how successful I would be, and could hear myself speak with others over cocktails after work. I was then told of the second choice, which would not compare to the promotion I sought, rather, it would be a service position, my compensation would not be that great, however all my needs would be taken care of and most importantly, I would be imparting value and living with purpose as I have always wanted all the days of my life. Not material purpose, for those things bore me, but a challenge to all my faculties, gifts and talents that would mean all of me was truly alive. In my mind’s eye, I saw the instant ridicule, misunderstanding, ill will and judgment, my own fear of stepping out and simultaneously, pure un-filtered unadulterated joy.
I did not have a response to this persistent question, knew where this conversation was headed and was dying to get out of it, so I resorted to begging my mind to quit with the questions, I wanted to sleep. My mind would not let me sleep and I found myself tossing and turning in bed, in tears, trying very hard to avoid answering the question asked. I felt very, very afraid for I knew that my reply would change the course of my life forever. I knew that all the changes that had started taking place since around October of 2010, was only the beginning of something greater, and whilst I was eternally grateful for the amazing things that had fallen into place in my life since then, was not very ready of what felt like the next step taking place.
I would not fall asleep, even though I was trying to tell myself that I was tired and would not have enough rest to get to work the next day. I cried, tossed and turned before I finally said over and over again, the Africa job (I am African), I would take the poor, save the planet and people job, I would take that over what the other would bring. I was scared, didn’t know what I was doing or saying (wondered whether I could blame it on something) but I would take the Africa job. Peace and sleep came to me like a new born babe.
Since then, I have been struggling to figure out where my will (for I still have material plans and dreams such as doing well at work, moving up, marriage, kids) and God’s will meet. He got me started on this blog at the beginning of April through various means (dreams, thoughts, ideas, blogger/writer friend’s persistent suggestion), and the quotes I started posting on my facebook wall since October of 2010 increased. So as not to inundate and baffle my small circle of fb friends, I moved the quotes to a public facebook page and then opened (previously opened and shut a few)twitter account in May.
I still don’t know what I am doing and Every Day have struggles with Unimaginable temptations to go back to my old ways in thought (then deed) of choosing to ignore His direction. Every day in my life is incredible but I am still human. I have fears, hopes and dreams. I get hurt, confused, I am right, I am wrong. I am a work in progress.
I have been very hard on myself for not understanding and manifesting God’s will for me, for not aligning what I am physically doing with what I am now believing. I have and still want to be a lot of things. I don’t know about the whole preaching thing, yet everything I am doing and becoming seems to be heading in that scary direction. I love life and all it has to offer and don’t necessarily want to be locked up in a church doing God’s work, for God didn’t find me in church.
People like me didn’t go to church. We had mixed feelings on religion and dogma, “Christian people”, what was good and bad. People like me prayed in our hearts, tried to do good, gave into evil when our goals and dreams seemed not to materialize, bounced back from evil and so on and so forth. People like me could be reached in a party, a social gathering, activism event or a bar. I want to reach people like me.
I have plans on how to do this but I have been very hard on myself because I am trying to do God’s will without succumbing into an auto-pilot, “Ok Lord, lead me, I will simply follow, no thoughts of my own,” foolishness. I am a fighter and are constantly fighting to live my life to the fullest, but above all that, accept whatever God has planned for me. My biggest fight is in believing that He is not man, He will not let me down, He will not misrepresent or hurt me and my image for as long as I do His will.
Everyday I am gaining an understanding of this. The truth is, my desire to control has and is the problem. Christ is teaching me that to show I have complete faith in Him, I need to completely let go and where He asks (I still and always have free will) me to go, I follow. The word is follow because He will always lead me. By walking before me, He guides me. I am learning that unlike all those I rested my trust on to understand, define and explain me to the world, Christ is smiling and lovingly taking my hand off the wheel I am less stubbornly hanging onto and telling me, “Hush babe, you can let go now, you can trust Me, what I have planned for you is greater than anything you could have ever planned yourself. There is nothing to fear, for I am with you always”.
Giving up and submitting to His will means that I don’t know a lot of things. I don’t care. All I know is that if He adds nothing more to my life today, I will still always praise His name for He has given me everything. All I know is the promise that has been made to me, which is, ” The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forever more” (Psalms 121:5-8).
And that…is enough for me. What I know is to keep doing what I do and trust that He will protect and defend me. I have seen this already and everyday I see and believe that no weapon formed against me shall prosper. Everyday He speaks to me and even though I get tired and rebellious, He ensures that by the end of the day, I impart value in my life. He has big plans for me, bigger than you or I could ever imagine. I trust Him.
This is hard, for I am only human and have a lifetime of let-downs both by others and myself, but this is one relationship I am holding onto for life! because before me, He crafted a plan for me and called me by name. He loved and protected me throughout everything so that I could be saved. His plan is greater than anything I can imagine (and my imagination is huuuuuuge). I can believe that, for what in heaven and earth did He not create. So whereas this is hard, every step of the way, He gives and shows me my strength. I’m blogging about this aren’t I!?