Knowing Me

The chemistry of fear

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Moving to a city that is filled with people who not only know who they are but also know what they want while you are just getting used to the sound of your name is probably not the brightest idea ever. July is coming to an end and I’m still asking God why He brought me here. Just as I start to settle in He rattles my heart with a truth so solid it cannot be ignored. I don’t understand why I have to be broken in the midst of people who are so willing to redefine me. They almost give me no choice. “This is who you are.” And I’m left searching for any speck of truth in their words.

The will of the Lord is a beautiful thing to live in when things are going good. It is by far the hardest thing to align yourself to when things are chaotic. The simple activity of saying yes to His will seems impossible when all of a sudden what was left is right and what was right is left.

It has taken me two months of no longer meditating on God’s word, a month of short rushed prayers, four Hannah Brencher blog entries, two “I need to drink myself to a stupor” attacks (that never prevailed) and a sermon about Ruth to get me to realise that I am slowly but surely sinking in the battle between God and culture. It has taken all of that to get me to realise that God has been quiet because I’m officially being tested and so far, I’ve just about failed every section. It has taken me all of that to get me to realise the truth in Philippians 1:21. Truly, for me to live is Christ.

Normally I describe myself as an adapter…I’ve always found it easy to gel into a new environment. But this time… When I unpacked my bags in the middle of February, I assessed the environment. I caught sight of parts of the ecosystem that could easily be avoided. I also however saw parts that posed a great threat to my spiritual life and those parts could not be avoided. Naturally, my body had to make a fight or flight decision. Without realising, I had gone on flight. Autopilot.

I have been running away from who I am in this city. I have been running away from fixing parts of me that would help me survive the unsurvivable. I’ve been running away from conversations that would force me to be fully present. I’ve been running away from the present straight into the more attractive arms of the future.

The problem with running away from the present is that your life gets put on hold. The truth of the matter is that we will forever exist in the present. If we are continuously running after tomorrow, we’ll never win because there’s always a tomorrow. The race would never end.

Singleness is one of the realities I have been running away from. When everyone around you is either promised marriage, working towards marriage or finalising preparations for marriage, the fact that you are only 23 years old fades into the pressure of having a pimped out left hand. Culture. Whenever my age comes into question, it is followed by a remark that is leaning towards marriage. It is an ideology that has been drilled into my head for as long as I can remember. Don’t get me wrong, I want to get married, I really do. But I have come to the realisation that life doesn’t start upon the commencement of Holy matrimony…it continues.

It was my mother who, not so long ago said, “Know that in every aspect of your life, you are a single woman. Own it. Live in it. Marriage will come but for now, embrace being single.” I had so many questions. I still do. But right now, those questions could go unanswered and I’d still be fine. I have missed so many chances by being in flight. I have missed chances of being a friend, a sister, a church member…I’ve missed chances of being the stranger that God used to speak life into a dying situation.

I have missed chances of being a vessel all because the married me seemed more attractive and more useful than the single me; the married me has greater purpose, says deeper and more meaningful prayers, but most importantly, she’s a size 6 woman who is as in love with the gym as she is with her husband, who eats all she wants without putting on weight, whose job is incredibly great and has all the money in the world. She is everything I should start working on being now but am too caught up in the clouds to pick myself up and push. Million dollar dreams with a minimum wage work ethic…

The thing about the response to fear is that we don’t consciously trigger it or even know what’s going on until it has run its full course. My fear of spiritual disability or even death due to my present status triggered the longest marathon I have ever run. My geographical location is part of Gods plan. My marital status in this particular city at this particular time in my life is all part of Gods plan. Tomorrow still seems more appealing but knowing that there will never be a moment like now again keeps me present. There will never be a moment like this. Never will there be a breeze so gentle. Never will there be sun rays so poetic. It takes being present. It takes showing up. It takes fighting to stay present and stay aligned to the will of God. After all, the will of God existed before the chemistry of fear did.

***This was written about 2 months but I was going through a phase of crippling fear to post anything. Now I’m back 🙂 and I pray that the Lord may continue to use me to touch your hearts. Be blessed.***

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Knowing Me

#Truth

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Knowing Me

#Truth

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Knowing Me

Look at the sun

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“Oh do you need me to move honey?”

That moment felt so real. His eyes were smiling at me when he called me honey. In a matter of minutes I had moved from friend to honey. Not knowing how to answer, I turned away from his luminous gaze and shifted to make space for people I was sure were my FRIENDS.

An hour into that moment I realised he was only being sweet and playful. If only I could explain that to my hormones which were having a rager. I wasn’t upset with him for doing that, for setting off alarms that would take hours to silence. I wasn’t upset because I realised that I too did that every now and then. I too find myself having blurted out the words “babe” or “honey” to the opposite sex. I’ve never thought ill of it until it was done to me. I was tugged without cause. I was forced into a real moment then later told it wasn’t real.

I walked out of that lunch break wishing for all sorts of things. One simple word changed the way I looked at him, the way I spoke to him. It was weird. It was all still the same but all so different. With much hesitation, I decided to pull myself towards myself and live in the reality that is our friendship; nothing more and nothing less. I struggled to maintain this decision, mostly because my mind had already drawn up a perfect picture of what wasn’t but could be. Feeling rather pathetic I stuck my head in a stack of work and tried not to look back but even that was difficult. Sometimes I think my eyes control me more than I control them. You know how you look away from something either disgusting or distasteful but always seem to take a few peaks as if to ensure truth. So I kept looking back, figuratively, at what had just happened.

After unmentionable seconds I came to a place of realisation. There aren’t a lot of people that see me and I don’t mean see with the natural eye. I mean beyond the natural eye. Not many people see beyond what they see when they look at me and so when someone does see me, my background song changes. It is a feeling that I struggle to put in words. It’s like when you bump your funny bone; you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It’s like (and only women will get this) taking off your tummy tuck tights after a full day of being tucked. Being seen is an art. It’s abstract in a literal way. So when I’m seen, when someone takes the time to actually squint their eyes and try to focus in, when they look at the sky and I happen to be the star they fix their eyes on, I naturally feel the need to love. I feel the need to open up and give all the love I have.

It took a very long time for me to see myself. It took even longer to notice that God sees me. There is a level of vulnerability that comes with being seen. It’s almost as though you’re standing naked; so uncovered that nothing you say or do comes as a surprise. I don’t want to lie, it is one of the most beautiful and poignant moments that life has to offer. So beautiful that it makes the world around you more colourful. It tattoos a smile on your face. It makes the butterflies that so often float around your tummy feel like eagles. 

So instead of allowing myself to have these waterfall/spring water like moments, I think I’m choosing to veil myself until the one who is supposed to see me sees me. I pray that I have enough wisdom and discernment to know when he comes along. Being compared to something as celestial as the sun is amazing but it sucks when it comes from those that hover in the space of not yet. 

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Knowing Me

John and Matthew

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My head is full. There are about a million thoughts that I am processing every second. It is so full that I think I might just throw up…or maybe that’s the result of having seconds for dinner tonight. Oddly enough, I cannot find the right words to use to describe the storm that is brewing in my head. Bear with me…

“Until now you have asked for anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” John 16:24

I woke up to that verse a couple of days ago. I was surprised and overjoyed. Surprised because I had been asking God for a very particular thing quite religiously. Happy because I had hope that He wanted to give me what I was asking Him for. So I sat up that morning and started asking God. I asked Him for things that are so personal to me, typing them would seem like shouting them out on a rooftop. You know when you’re in church and everyone is praying out loud and shouting out how awesome God is but when they get to personal things the volume goes down drastically…this was that type of prayer. I received it and I thanked God for it in advance and I got ready for work.

“Ye know not what ye ask” Matthew 20:17-23

Standing next to my kitchen counter, I read that verse and I froze. It’s from TD Jakes sermon…I know this because I read the verse from a photo he shared on Instagram. I froze. If you know anything about the battle between Instagram and data usage you would know that I or anyone cannot afford to freeze while on Instagram. I froze. Having gathered myself I decided to move my post dinner body from the kitchen to my bedroom. I tried not to think about what I had just read but it kept flying across my mind…making me really want to throw up. What does He mean I don’t know what I ask??? Seriously Dad? Seriously? I couldn’t have been more precise if I wanted to. I stated what I needed and the reasons why I needed it. Can I please receive it so that my joy may be made full!?

I’m not angry…not in the least. I’m lost. I’m lost somewhere between Gods will and mine. I’m lost and I don’t know where I got lost. “God will never give you something that will take you away from Him.” My friend said that years ago but it’s like I can almost hear her voice utter those words right now. I didn’t know what I asked would take me away from Him…I actually thought it would bring me closer. I’m lost and the worst part is that my GPS (bible) is right next to me but I don’t know which coordinates to punch in…I don’t know where I am.

Outside the sky is pitch black, perfect for me to write on with some chalk. If it’s the words that come out of my mouth that made You say I don’t know I ask for then let me write it down because sometimes there’s a disconnect between my head and my mouth.

Dear Jesus

I’m not sure what You want from me anymore. I keep giving and giving but it never feels enough. I’m not tired yet, I’ll still give. I’ll give. But I need you to give me too. I need You to search my heart and let me know if what I’m asking for won’t glorify Your name. Everything under the sky belongs to You. I don’t doubt Your ability to give, I don’t. I’m asking with a heart that has no other option. I’m asking with a heart that knows that this can only come from You. I’m asking with a heart that is willing to receive correction if it be that my request is not Your will. I’m asking with a heart that’s lost but knows that You are good enough to come looking for me. Please Lord, hear my prayer. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

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Knowing Me

9am Sun

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It’s 09:57 on a Monday morning and I’m still in bed. Freedom Day. That’s what today is. Today in South Africa we are celebrating 21 years of democracy.

You know how your mind gets super busy in the morning… Like I think of one thing and then another comes up and it links itself to another ‘til I don’t know where I started. That’s me right now. I’m trying to figure out where I started; I’m trying to figure out how I got here…

I’m sitting in an awkward yoga position on my bed (which is now starting to cramp my right leg) facing the window letting whatever sun ray gets to me hit me on the face. I figure that’s enough of a distraction to make me not focus on this hollow space in my heart. It’s been there for a while and I’ve been trying to get it filled with something or someone but I keep getting distracted and I keep letting myself get distracted because somehow I know that figuring out how it got to be so empty and hollow will hurt. I don’t want to hurt. I’ve been hurt a lot in my short life and today I really don’t want to be hurt. Not at 9am.

I used to be a dreamer. I used to dream that I’d be rich in my early 20’s and that I’d live a life filled with adventure and that I wouldn’t need anything but I’d be a giver of everything. And then I grew up and realised that though it doesn’t cost you to dream, disappointment will come knocking at your door once in a while. I don’t like disappointment. I don’t . So for a long time I stopped dreaming and just started living. Until I realised that I had to dream again in order to live with purpose.

There is so much that I want to accomplish but sometimes I just don’t know where to start and sometimes I’m just plain scared. Scared of starting and not finishing. Scared of starting and failing and not getting the courage to continue. Scared of starting and being rejected. I’m scared of being rejected. I’m scared of putting myself out there and not being good enough. I’m scared of exposing myself only to be turned down. I’m scared. Heck I’m petrified!

Last year September I packed my bags and moved out of a city that had become so dear to me. I fought countless battles in that city. Some I lost but some I was victorious in and having won the last battle (by the grace of God), God saw it good for me to move. I didn’t want to go. Moving meant starting over. I didn’t want to start over. Ironically, a few months before I moved I asked God to let me start over. I shared that with a friend of mine. I wanted to move and go somewhere where nobody knows me so I can start over. I wanted to run away from a can of worms that I had opened and couldn’t deal with any longer. I wanted to escape. I forgot about that request. And when the time came for me to move I didn’t want to go.

“Whatever you run away from will always be around to chase after you.”

I can attest to that. Though the last battle was won in Port Elizabeth, not all of them were. And the ones that were not conquered are now sticking their heads out trying to signal their existence.

There was a boy. There’s always a boy. Handsome young man full of zeal and potential. There’s something about potential that makes me go weak in the knees. I buckle at the sight of potential (help me Lord). We never dated, never even tried to even though there was something there. His nature was very broad; very loving yet stern, very childish yet manly, full of intent yet soft. Reading him was never easy. But in my heart I knew that there was something there. I couldn’t put my finger on it but there was something there. But because there was no way we could date, I never made it obvious that his presence made my stomach have a million knots.

I never made it obvious that his mere existence gave me hope. And because I knew the type of woman he goes for, I made it my mission to disqualify myself. I made it a point to look in another direction when he would come running my way. I made it a point to not allow myself to be disappointed. Sadly that is one of the battles that I am yet to conquer because as much as he didn’t exist 100% in my space, he had shares to my mind and my heart. So while running away from him physically was successful, mentally and in my heart he is running towards me and I don’t always have the strength to take my eyes off him and look in another direction.

My dreams have changed. I’m no longer focused on just being a billionaire. Things changed. Things happened and made my dreams change. Now I dream about freedom. I dream of the day when I will look back and think “Thank God for grace and mercy.” I now dream about listening to other girls speak and my heart smiling because I not only know what they’re talking about, but I also know that it can be conquered. I dream of the words “I used to”. I dream of a flourishing heart, a prospering mind and the purest of spaces behind closed doors. I dream. And that’s a good thing; that I’m dreaming again. 

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Knowing Me

Mapping through The Plan

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What do you want to achieve?

I had to ask myself that question before I started writing this. I had to know what I wanted to achieve by writing this so I wouldn’t go off track. I had to make a mental mind map of where I would start and where I would end off. I had to because I don’t normally write about this; in fact this is my first time writing about it. My thoughts therefore had to be gathered. My mind had to be focused. My heart had to be open and preferably on my sleeve.

The picture above has been lingering in my phone for the past four weeks…there’s a story there, it just took me a while to get the words to tell it.

I am without a prince. And while this is my own choice, it is a decision that I have to remind myself of every day. I’m turning 23 in about 5 weeks and I should be getting married soon…well according to The Plan. The Plan. You know The Plan…the one you made when you were 10 or 13 or 16 years old…that plan. I made my plan when I was 14. The plan was to study journalism (I graduated with Business Management and Economics last Friday), become either a club DJ (though it was short lived, I thank God for taking me out of clubbing) or a radio DJ of which I am neither; I am an Auditor. I was then supposed to meet someone and get married at the age of 25 (which was later reduced to 24 then reduced to sooner rather than later) and become, and I quote, “An indispensible part of someone’s life.” Poetic.

The Plan has not unfolded the way I thought it would. I was never shaken by the school and career path change; it has always been as a means and not an end. However, I am starting to feel the pressure of being one with someone. Oddly enough, I find it very strange how we can plan such. I mean it’s not like when the opportunity presents itself, I’ll go down on one knee and ask this fairy-tale of a man to marry me. I may be 23 but I’m old school. I have to wait. If only I had written that down as part of the plan…

“The biggest block to our surrender is not our appetites and our wayward desires but our addiction to running our own lives.” Gary Thomas

Waiting wasn’t such a struggle when I was in varsity. It was easier to surrender then. It was easier because I knew that marriage was not going to happen until I finished my degree. It was an easy surrender. It was a logical surrender. But it was a surrender that had an expiry date. I now have to surrender everyday. I have to remind myself that my life is in the Lords hands and that His word promises that if I delight myself in Him, He will give me the desires of my heart. I now have to align my sight with God’s vision. It’s difficult. Sometimes I am tempted to get off the wagon and start dating and sometimes I just want to flirt.

Can I be real? Sometimes the struggle to stay single until marriage isn’t about wanting a partner; sometimes it’s about wanting to feel wanted and attractive and important to someone. It pains me to say this but sometimes knowing God loves me isn’t enough. And this is not because Gods love is not enough, it’s more than enough, but it’s because there are areas in my life that I haven’t let God be God in. That’s where I am. I am opening up every door and every window in my heart for God to enter and fill me with His complete and unending love. Everyday presents a chance for me to weigh my options…would I rather a man told me he loves me or God? God stays winning.

That is the reason behind staying single until marriage. I believe there is a level of intimacy I have to reach with God before I reach it with anyone else. So The Plan in this case may or may not come to pass but I am filled with faith and hope that even as I write this, my prince is being prepared for me just as I am being prepared for him.

Photo credit: Daniel Faro

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Knowing Me

India Arie – Beautiful Flower

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I first heard India perform this song on the Oprah Winfrey show and I couldn’t help but shed a tear. The song reached down and tugged at a spot in my heart I thought was buried. That’s when I realised that things had to change. I had to change the way I saw myself and thought of myself. I hope these lyrics help you the way they helped me.

This is a song for every girl who’s
Ever been through something
She thought she couldn’t make it through

I sing these words because
I was that girl too
Wanting something better than this
But who do I turn to?

Now we’re moving from the darkness into the light
This is the defining moment of our lives

‘Cause you’re beautiful like a flower
More valuable than a diamond
You are powerful like a fire
You can heal the world with your mind

There is nothing in the world that you cannot do
When you believe in you, who are beautiful
Yeah you, who are brilliant
Yeah you, who are powerful
Yeah you, who are resilient

This is a song for every girl who
Feels that she is not special
‘Cause she don’t look like a supermodel Coke bottle

The next time the radio tells you to shake your moneymaker
Shake your head and tell them, tell them you’re a leader

Now we’re moving from the darkness into the light
This is the defining moment of our lives

‘Cause you’re beautiful like a flower
More valuable than a diamond
You are powerful like a fire
You can heal the world with your mind

There is nothing in the world that you cannot do
When you believe in you, who are beautiful
Yeah you, who are brilliant
Yeah you, who are powerful
Yeah you, who are resilient

Yeah you, who are beautiful
Yeah you, who are brilliant
Yeah you, who are powerful
Yeah you, who are resilient

Yeah you, this song is for you
Yeah you, this song is for you
Yeah you, this song is for you
Yeah you, yeah you
You are brilliant

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Knowing Me

Love this – Tracee Ellis Ross

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Knowing Me

#SpokenWord My name is Woman

I responded to your awkwardly timed invitation
you called it a booty-call
well you aint tappin this booty so you better call
someone else

I was broke, you asked me out
you called me a gold digger
not knowing that the only thing i was diggin was
your mind

I kissed you on our first date
you called me a hoe
I refused to lay with you on our second date
you STILL called me a hoe
Now hold up
Is your vocabulary stuck?
Does your mind move like a truck?

See I’ve been called so many names I dont know
which one is worse
Your ‘manlynes’ had me thinkin being a woman
was a curse

I’ve been the female canine that carries everydogs child
The nice girl who’s body was a bed and her skin linen sheets
I’ve been the fat girl everybody bounced on
The black girl nobody could see through
The tall girl nobody could get to

I’ve been

But thats not my name
My name is in the thickness of my hair
The flavour of my skin
The extensiveness of my dream

It’s in my breasts and my thighs, curves that no
car can get around
It’s in the choreographed wisdom that my voice carries out
The complex simplicity that my emotions speak about

Your stiffness does not entice me
However, you intelligence excites me
I’ve beseeched the heavens to let me breathe the
same air as you
Not the trifflin you but the God fearing you
But you STILL dont know my name

So, im the girl with diamonds in her stride
Happiness in her speech and independence as her ride
I’m the one with goldness in her touch
Truth in her dwelling and confidence as her pen.

My name?
My name is Woman.

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