I’d been struggling to sum up the lessons 2016 taught me when @Mr_Wrightaway’s tweet tumbled down my timeline. It was the perfect synopsis of my 2016.
Last year was probably the hardest year of my life. Nothing bad happened to me per se, but somehow the universe orchestrated a radical scheme to bring all my past resentments and disappointments to the surface. I came face to face with every negative thing that I’d spent the last 17 years ignoring, burying and suppressing. It was draining, overwhelming and frustrating. I wanted to run…but I couldn’t. I had reached a crossroads. I could either continue down the path I was most familiar with, doing what I’d always done with the same results, or a could choose the treacherous path in hopes of better results.
I wish I could say it was a choice. But in reality I felt forced down the treacherous path…a path that required me to not only self-evaluate (I’ve always been good at examining myself and recognizing problem areas and flaws), but also commit to doing the work to fix my problem areas and flaws. So I stumbled along the “fix yourself” path, often resistant and always praying that God would just miraculously fix the issues so I could move on to reaping the rewards and enjoying life. God wouldn’t.
For a long time a fought God on this. How could you treat someone who loves and serves you like this? How can You call Yourself a God who is love and allow me to struggle like this? I cussed. I screamed. I tried to walk away from God…but God refused to let up. And one day, in the midst of tears and snot and struggle, I asked God, “Why would you bring me back to this place?” A place I thought I’d escaped eight years ago. A place I thought an all-loving God would protect me from. A sad, depressing, hopeless place I never wanted to see again.
God’s answer was so clear to me in that moment. “I brought you back here to heal you…to get you past this place forever.”
Cool! This is my woman with the issue of blood moment. This is when I touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, get up and walk into a brand new existence of peace and serenity. Wrong. This was actually the beginning of work. Endless, tireless, expensive and draining work to renew and heal me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I’d been praying about these areas of my life for years, but my healing didn’t come courtesy of my prayer closet. My healing came when I got up off my knees and started doing the hard work myself.
Lessons from 2016
Do the work. Stop waiting on miracles and get off your ass. Pray like it all depends on God, but work like it all depends on you. Prayer isn’t your get fixed quick scheme. It’s a communication tool that enables you to get direction from God. You should get off your knees with instruction and action items. Stop using God, prayer and “waiting on miracles” as an excuse to do nothing. Do your part, and I promise that God will meet you and increase you.
Ignore fears. When you’re doing something new and/or something big, fear will always be present, but it’s up to you to decide not to allow that fear to paralyze you. There have been so many occasions where I’ve allowed fear to immobilize me and stop me from even attempting to do what’s in my heart. I can’t continue to let fear hinder and control me, so going forth, I’m operating as if fear doesn’t exist. I’m acknowledging that I feel fear, and then I’m releasing it and moving forward. I’m not pondering or meditating on my fears. I’m not giving my fears power over me. I refuse to allow my fears to make decisions for me. I’m simply going to operate as if my fears don’t exist.
Trust yourself. I’m a bundle of dreams, visions, instincts and doubts. I always question what my intuition is telling me. Despite having been accurate time and time again, each time I have a new unction, my immediate reaction is to question and doubt it. However, 2016 taught me to trust myself, my dreams, my visions, my instincts and my intuitions. If my heart is submitted to God, I have to trust that the Holy Spirit is guiding me and the desires given to me are God’s desires for my life.
Forgive people. Yes, I want to punish you. I want you to know that you ain’t shit, that I’m fully aware that you aren’t shit, and that you don’t deserve my time or presence. I want to keep reminding you of the wrong you did, how you hurt me, and how that makes you an awful human being. But I won’t. Because that doesn’t serve me or my greater purpose. It actually hurts me and hinders me from living out my full purpose. When I acknowledged all the resentment that was living in me because I wouldn’t forgive people, I had no choice but to let it all go. Because I deserve to be free and happy and at peace, and I can’t do that while carrying the emotional baggage and anger associated with not forgiving people who I don’t even like.
Let people go. Relationships are like fruit. In season they are fresh, nurturing and filled with vitamins that make you better. But out of season they are either bitter and small or forced to grow with hormones and poisons that will hurt you. It’s okay to let people go when their season in your life is complete. And you don’t have to be rude, hateful or dramatic about parting ways. Relationships don’t have to end negatively. Let people leave. And don’t be afraid to leave people behind. Stop fighting for what has ended. Stop dragging along what’s not supposed to go forward with you.
Be kind to Kia. When I see a problem, I want to fix it immediately, but that’s just not always realistic. We are human. We make mistakes. We take two steps forward and then fall or step backwards. And that’s okay. Growth, change and healing don’t happen overnight. And it’s easy to be extremely critical of yourself when you fall or step backwards. Don’t. Be kind to yourself. Love yourself. Encourage yourself. And forgive yourself. Two years ago this quote was said on OWN’s Super Soul Sunday: “This being that we call God or the divine is just love. It just loves us for who we are. It’s not in judgment of us. It doesn’t require anything from us. It’s always just quietly whispering to us, ‘I love you.’” Learn to love you like God loves you…without judgment or conviction and with constant and continual, reassuring love.
You are growing. I know it feels like you’re stuck and nothing’s changing. But it is. You are growing. You are changing. You are healing and fixing the broken areas of your life. Just keep pressing forward. Keep doing the work. One day soon, you’ll look back and won’t be able to understand how you made it so far so quickly.