“Another post about New Year Resolutions!?”

Just about everybody hates posts about cutting off fake people, changing dietary restrictions, and promises to stop toxic behavior are the worst part of the close of each year. I understand why. We treat the new year as a chance to reinvent ourselves like we did when we started High School for the first time or the first time we stepped into a new job.

Contrary to the memes you see making fun of people who say this every year, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with change. Change is a requirement for survival. To those people who make those post, know that I’m proud of you because at least you are changing.

If you know me personally or follow my social media, you know that 2018 brought about a lot of challenges and tragedies for me. I spent several months soul searching and begging God for clarity on why He allowed all these terrible things to happen to me at one time. Just like He does…he answered. He showed me five things every human needs to have engrained in them to succeed. Some of these are lessons that He has been trying to get me to understand for years. So, you know I had to share this with my internet cousins.

1.Weakness vs. Strength

Issue: The enemy convinced me that because I am emotional, I am weak and have no control over my situation and circumstances. 

God’s Solution: In my situation, God allowed many terrible things to happen to me at once to break me down to the point that I was desperate for him. At first my response was to ignore my weakness and push away the help he sent for me in the form of people that cared for me and mini blessings. I allowed the devil to convince me that he was going to kill me but what I came to realize is that it was the opposite. The enemy likes to pretend he’s strong but because God sees such great value in me, He had his hand of protection on me the whole time making sure the devil never got too close. It wasn’t until i hit my breaking point that I realized this. I always considered myself a strong, independent, black woman and 2018 showed me that I’m also weak…and that’s okay too because no one always has it together (except Michelle Obama). It is when we are weakest that God smiles because He gets to take over fully. He became my only source for food, shelter, taking a shower, etc. There were times when I would get random food delivered to me that I didn’t ask for. Or I would get a phone call from the right person. He even gave me confirmation for dreams and ideas I had long ago. Even if you are not religious or spiritual you will find that when you are at your lowest point is the when if you just keep going through the storm things start to get better. We have to wage war against the things that distract us and try to kill our purpose. Prayer and praise are the best weapons. The devil doesn’t respond to guns and knives. You can kill him with those things. But your praise to God causes God to fight battles for you in which the enemy is defeated.

Lesson: We have lied to ourselves to believe that strength is holding in emotion, having big muscles, or being unbothered when in reality weakness is where you find your strength.

2. God My Father

Issue: I equated the inadequate love my biological father gave me to the type of love God gives me.  

God’s Solution: I’ve never had a good relationship with men. They always leave my life, my biological dad, my step dad, boyfriends, etc. so it was always hard to see God as a Father. In my experience, fathers leave eventually. I thought I could earn His love and adoration to make Him stay. I thought the extent of God’s love for me stopped at how you love your next door neighbors you say hi to but don’t know. Instead I found out He cares about my emotions and the small details. Why else would he know the number of hairs on my head? My own mother doesn’t care about that. I used to be envious of people with good dads and people who had good relationships with men-folk in their family. I saw dads that were supportive, protective, make you laugh, loyal, and chase boys away. I thought those kinds of dads were rare and I personally would never experience that. God has done (and continues to do) all those things for me and more. He’s the ULTIMATE proud dad baseball cap and all because He has the actual ability to change each and every thing I cry about. He keeps every promise and answers all my prayers.

Lesson: I am God’s child. He loves me the same way you love a painting, food dish, or song you create from scratch. He cares about all the small details in/about my life.

3. Control Your Triggers

Issue: Trying to be different but exposing myself to the same things are counterproductive. 

God’s Solution: So many things I want to change but I wasn’t going about it the right way. I still had wishy-washy friends, drinking heavy, ignoring my problems, etc. but I was expecting my life to magically change into something more appealing. I had to learn my triggers for bad behaviors and eliminate them. What was the root cause for my drinking? What was I attempting to hide and who were the people that enabled me instead of corrected me? I had to recognize that emotionally I was not the same person I was a couple years ago so the things I used to cope had to change. If I want positive results, I had to find positive coping mechanisms. When I did an inventory of my heart, I found things that I forgot about. Topics, issues, and events that I thought I properly dealt with. After seeing those I made a list of them and the things I was doing, saying, & seeing that brought those negative emotions to the forefront. I learned to listen to my body and vet what goes in it whether it was food, music movies, or people.

Lesson: Self control is self love.

4. My Purpose

Issue: I had no idea what my purpose was or how to figure out what it was.

God’s Solution: This is a big issue for a lot of people. A lot of people think their purpose is in what gets them the most praise and recognition from people. They think that because they are naturally good at something that this should be their career path. But I learned that purpose and career are two different things. I learned that if God cannot receive the credit, then all you are doing id people pleasing at a high level which will eventually end in your demise. If your main motivation or source is the praise of people, you will not last long. It may take years or decades, but people’s interest in things always fade and simmer eventually. The only thing that is sustainable long-term is the affection of God. If you follow His will you will never be drained or feel discarded. I had to find out what that looked like for me. For two weeks I shut everyone out. I didn’t answer my phone, email, or texts. I removed myself so I could hear His voice clear as day. He showed me. He showed me the mountain top (the end result) of my purpose. He didn’t show me the road to get there and that’s okay because through that, it taught me how to trust Him. If that is what He said will happen then I can’t worry about how because he doesn’t break promises or lie. 

Lesson: My purpose is more than just what is in front of me right now and affects more than just me and my family. There are people dependent on me to live the way God has asked me to.

5. Give the Grace You Get

Issue: I had no grace for myself or others

God’s Solution: When I mess up, make a mistake, or embarrass myself, I get mad when people don’t have sympathy for me. What I have found is that that is typical. We as imperfect humans do not give each other space to be imperfect but we expect to get that same grace for failure when it is us who fail. We blame the person who has a drug relapse but we think an apology should suffice to our spouse after we cheat or we cheat on our diet or take credit for someone else’s work at our jobs. None of us are good all the time. So why are we so hard on each other? In trying to truly understand The Lord’s Prayer, I found that He wants us to truly forgive the people who have caused us pain. The ones that are sorry and the ones that continue to do it. We have to be willing to see someone make a mistake and not write them off. Be open to the fact that even the most evil people in the world have a good qualities about them. It has been said many times that Hitler was one of the best fathers. He loved his family more than anything. How is this possible? We are not all good or all evil. We all have a little of both and if we take bad/evil actions and give people grace, maybe those same people can change to have more good than evil in them. That is what God sees when He sees us mess up or sin or cause harm to people.

Lesson: When you get hurt, forgive, love, & move on. That simple action can change the heart of the wicked and inspire the heart of the kind.

These five things I learned the hard way. This is not a list of things I’m trying to change because of the new year. These are not resolutions. These are the five ways to protect your peace not just in 2019 but every year/season going forward in your life. Peace is the greatest/most valuable thing you can own. Getting peace is a gift but keeping it is a CHOICE!

k, good talk