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.
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
The sermon “Not By Myself” by TD Jakes takes a look into the life of Paul; specifically when he was on trial before of king Agrippa. I was struck by alot of things in this sermon and one of them was how complicated Pauls life got after experiencing God. When His name changed from Saul to Paul, a new creation was indeed formed but he was, unfortunately going to be judged as Saul as much as Paul.
Having obtained salvation, Paul was rejected by his past (Jews) but his future (Christians) was highly sceptical about accepting him which is understandable because he used to kill Christians. Have you ever been in a situation where who you were yesterday is making it difficult to transition into who you ought to be tomorrow?
One of my biggest regrets in life is not having lived up to my fullest potential in my studies. I regret allowing myself to be average. There is a brick wall of intelligence ignorance that came with the decision to be average and it is a wall that has been making my transition into being knowledgeable very complicated. So who I was is hindering with who I want to be and it’s all so complicated.
I found it odd for Paul to think himself happy when he was put before king Agrippa (Acts 26:2). But I’ve come to understand that Paul was given the opportunity to give his testimony to a man who came from a family of not so Christian loving people. Paul was given an opportunity to speak the truth that was his testimony to someone who had no reason to be compassionate to him. He was given an opportunity to confront that which would have been one of his past lifes highest moments and he thinks himself happy because he may have seen who he would have been and praised God for who he was.
As a new creation, that which truly is complicated is allows an opportunity for God to come in and glory. Therefore I stand before this brick wall of regret in my life and I speak the truth that is my testimony and that truth is that God loves me, He loves me He loves He loves me He loves, He cares, He loves me He loves me He loves me…and every time I confess that a brick falls off and another and another and another…because you see it may be complicated but my God is bigger than that! Jesus Culture put it nicely when they sing “I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves me.” Key word there being maintain; to cause or enable a situation to continue. Until you confess the Truth over your situation you are enabling it to continue. So when this brick wall comes and tries to stop me from being joyous and peace filled I have to stop providing for its existence and start confessing that no weapon formed against me shall prosper and that when the enemy comes like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.
Sometimes you look over your shoulder and try to explain to people where you come from but the only words that come out of your mouth are It’s Complicated. Sometimes you try to make sense of what just happened so you can pick yourself up and dust yourself off but all you can say is It’s Complicated. Know this one truth, it may be complicated but God is bigger than that!!!
Lately I’ve been listening to Jonathan and Melissa Helser. They’re beyond worship leaders and musicians…they’re people that have an understanding of what it means to have an intimate relationship with God.
About two weeks ago I got a strong and unexplainable desire to know God deeper, to dive deeper into His love, to know Him intimately. Then last week I found myself in a situation where had I not known that God loves me, I would have died…spiritualy.
Today I stand having obtained help from God. Today I stand a living, breathing testimony of Gods love. His love changes situations, it changes hearts, it changes what would have been. I wish I could stand on a mountain high enough for the whole world to see me as I confess about this Love that has not only given me hope, but a future. The simple fact that He has numbered the hair on my head is enough to show how much He cares. My heart no longer holds position at the shore but is going further and further into the vastness of Gods love. I’m going in over my head.
I must first confess. I am not a fan of skirts. Wearing them throughout my school life was more than enough for me. However, the A-Line skirt has caught my eye. I love the way it flows, the way it’s roundedness is is made subtle by the pleats. I love how it looks. I have not yet tried it myself but I’m getting there 🙂
Once upon a time I hated silence. The stillness of it was very uneasy. The eeriness that surrounded it was highly unnerving. I couldn’t stand the inexistence of vibrations that caused audible mechanical waves. No doof doof, chitter chatter or tweets…nothing. I couldn’t deal with how deafening it was. My sanity was often tested in moments of complete and utter silence; where the sound of a pin dropping feels magnified. But most of all, I could not (and I did not want to) cope with the truth that lingered in the midst of it. It’s a piercing kind of truth that makes you focus into it whether you like it or not.
God being God, led me to countless moments of such silence. Last year September, I was separated from my daily routine, my ordinary surroundings, my comfort people. After completing my degree in June, I lingered in Port Elizabeth trying to find employment opportunities. I was rushed, would’ve accepted anything really. In moments of great panic, I’d be cluttered with familiar noise; the voices of everyone besides the one that matters. Beginning August, God rocked me ‘til I was still and it was in that stillness when I found the overwhelming peace of what was to happen. When the time came for me to leave, there were no tears, only a smile that I could not understand.
When I got home, God was amazing enough to confirm words that He had given me. I felt a sense of relief but somehow, I knew that there was very little chance of me going back to PE. With each passing day, that thought started becoming more and more of a reality. All of a sudden, I had to start over again. Even though home was the same, everything else was different. People who, when I left, were proper rebels had found the redemptive fingerprint of God and were new creatures. While this was awesome, it meant compounded change that I had to adjust to. The noise started again.
“Your friends in PE aren’t lost without you. After a week everything will resume as normal.”
“You don’t really belong anywhere here…no one understands the language you’ve taken time to learn.”
“You won’t find what you’re looking for. Why are you still with this God? If He loved you, wouldn’t He have given you a job in PE already?”
I developed frustration, waking up every morning and having to think about how I’m going to spend my day. The noise got louder and louder. Everyday seemed to go by very fast but I had very little to show for them. But because God is a God that cares for us, the noise stopped escalating and started to mellow down. It was then when I would find myself looking forward to go to Wednesday prayers and Thursday cell meetings and Sunday church services. All I wanted was to be in His presence. And it was in His presence where I found answers to my life’s essay questions. It was in His presence where I found the truth about myself. It was in His presence where I was moulded; reshaped, redefined, refreshed. It was in His presence where I found understanding. I was led into silence. I was led into stillness.
I praise God for being an ever present help in times of trouble. There is nothing in and about our lives that He doesn’t see. When the devil was trying to cloud my faith with his lies those months ago, God was there, watching. He allowed it to happen so I can also stand and proclaim Him as a God who hears our cries; you know those cries in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep and He is your only source of comfort. I bless God for those moments. I love the silence now.