Although March was a rocky road, I did enjoy my birthday month when I was with friends. I wasn’t in the mood to do all of the things I wanted to do, neither did I have the energy or finances but, as usual I made the best of it and I remain grateful for all that God has provided and will provide.
I accept the challenge to grow in this life. That being said it’s not always easy or simple. Apparently, it’s difficult letting God work out the LOGISTICS because I “secretly” am afraid that it won’t work out to my vision and what I hold deep in my heart. There…I said it. And I LOVE BEING HONEST WITH YOU ABOUT LIFE, THE JOURNEY, THE PROCESS. I have to share my struggles to encourage you, shed light, to free myself, and to…GROW and to help us. So this secret fear is rooted in FEAR itself and the lack of TRUST. FEAR of abandonment. Fear of making the wrong choice again. Trust God? Ok. Trust myself concerning this particular situation…uh given my track record, not so much. I’M GOING TO WORK THAT OUT TODAY. THAT’S A DEEPER WAY OF WORKING OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION (FREEDOM).
Affirmations to get me through the day (from my friend Alicia):
I’ve been reading this book, The Sacred Yes, and it’s one of those books you have to read a little at a time because it’s so mind rearranging, you must sit with it. In the book it talked about moving from the DESIRES of your HEART to INTENTIONS. This in it self is powerful because while desires give you visions to hold onto, the also can keep you wanting, longing, and yearning. When you move into intent, a determination to do your part to assist in the manifestation of your desire, or when you move to an attitude of “No matter what it looks like, no matter what is going on, it is going to happen.” then you began to generate energy on another level. Intent is action and attitude.
It took me a moment to grasp the concept of intentions in the area of love and relationships. I’m still tweaking it. But, that is not my biggest challenge. In the book, it says we get boggled down in the “how and when” of things. We even try to tell God, the Creator, the Universe how to do things and when to do it. I found myself guilty of this and surprising guilty of this when it comes to love and relationships. God is the one that handles the logistics of our desires and intentions. The logistics is the detailed coordination of a complex operation involving many people, facilities, or supplies. You can also say it’s the detailed coordination of a complex operation involving many things WE DON’T CONTROL.
Shouldn’t we be relieved to know that? I was. I also found myself wrestling with changing my ways of trying to control the logistics. I also found it difficult to change my attitude from “I see this and look at that! Oh no, it’s not going to happen. I must be wasting my time. No way after that situation am I in the right place or getting what I desire.” It’s been a challenge to stand in the face of something that looks nothing like progress or promise and say, “It doesn’t matter what it looks like, it will happen. It is happening.” I don’t know where the line of wisdom is at times but, I do know how to ask for wisdom. I have to check to see if it’s my intuition, Holy Spirit, or fear telling me what to do. How do I check? I become still. I pray. I meditate. I mess up. I learn. I ask for signs and directions. I look for signs, too. I also try not to read too much into things and just remind myself God is handling the logistics, I need only do what I am led to do and what I need to do. I don’t have to orchestrate anything. Whew, what a relief.
Voluntary Transparency: This morning I had to deal with some FALSE GUILT. I didn’t know it was false guilt at first, I was just feeling really bad about it. But I thank God for the tools in my toolbox. Some put there before birth. Some put there by life experiences. Some put there by spirituality and religion. Some put there by education. Some put there by a therapist. Why do I feel so bad about this? It must be wrong because I feel so bad about it. Why do I feel so bad about it? Man, I don’t feel like doing this. I have to make myself do this. No, no, I am not. I cannot. Ugg. Just do it anyway. Why do I feel so guilty for not wanting to do this??? This is so negative. “It’s bad Nicole. You are not a good Christian if you keep doing this. People can’t believe you have a problem doing “that”! Shame on you!” This is the dialogue I have with myself. Take the clothes out. Put the clothes up. Take the clothes out, look at the clock, put the clothes back.
Why do I feel so guilty? Wait. WHY DO I? WHERE IS THIS COMING FROM? This morning I received a text to come to church to so that I could help. I ignored it because I did not want to tell the person I did not want to come. I really wanted to tell them to stop asking me because it is not a pleasurable experience for me when it comes to a certain part of the service. I literally must prepare myself to go mentally, and I often lament over it the night before and the hours before. Pushing and dragging myself. Sitting through that segment of service is torture for me so why did I feel so guilty this morning for not responding and not going?
I listened to a TedTalk about authenticity. That helped a little bit. Then I turned to affirming myself: “I am not going to HELL for not attending church. It is okay not to support something or someone that I don’t believe is right. I can still love them but, not support them in wrongdoing. It does not mean that I do not believe in God. It means I have a strong dislike and distaste for falsehood and fakeness. It is a part of me no matter what or who perpetuates hypocrisy. I don’t expect perfection, I do expect truthfulness, honesty, and one that is truly trying to live the life they portray.”
I was trying to resist the guilt. The bad feeling. Until I remembered to listen to it. To explore it. To sit with it. To really think about why I was feeling it. I needed the source or sources. Guilt is a negative emotion or sad emotion. I came across this video that really confirmed what I was trying to do.
Why do I feel so guilty? I feel guilting because people say you should support your love one NO MATTER WHAT. EVEN if they are WRONG.
Where is this guilt coming from? We are taught not to tell people that we love they are wrong. We give them a pass because of their roles in our lives and we suffer under their continuation of wrongdoing. Yet, as Christians, we have scripture and an obligation to tell the ones we love when they are wrong regardless of their roles in our lives. We the freedom to not support something that we don’t like or believe in.
Should I feel guilty? Did I do something wrong? I should not feel guilty for something I have not done, or for someone or something I cannot control. I am not responsible for the actions of others. This is FALSE GUILT. I have not done anything wrong by not supporting this person in that area of their lives as it will compromise staying true to who I am and my beliefs.
What is it that I really feel bad about? I feel bad that they don’t love themselves enough to be okay with who they really are. I feel sad that they don’t know who they are, and they have to put on this cloak of falsehood. I feel embarrassed that they do not know that people are talking about them and that people can see straight through them. I feel bad that they have some people fooled. It is okay to feel sorry for that person, feel bad for them, but to also go on with my day, life, mission, and journey. Their life is not my life and it is between them and the Creator.
It is one thing to feel bad or sorry about a situation or a person but, it is another thing to carry false guilt! It’s an unnecessary weight we place on ourselves. It is a spirit that comes to us because we’ve been told how to feel about certain situations and things. We’ve been taught not to be loyal to the world and others that don’t look or think or feel or serve the same God we serve but, we have been taught to close our eyes to leaders that are not true, to parents that are doing wrong, to older siblings and family members even when what they say and do harm us and others.
It is okay to draw a line and to stand by it. It is okay if you stand alone. We can still meet at the dinner table. We can still spend time together. We can still live, laugh, and be merry but when it comes to that line it is one, I cannot cross. I cannot compromise my authenticity, my moral compass, to support something or someone I believe is wrong.
Last Sunday, I received a frantic phone call from my dad that my brother, Toney, was not breathing. I live next door to my parents where my brother was being cared for due to the aftermath of COVID on his body. I jumped out of bed and I opened the door I was greeted by police cars and emergency services. When I got into the house, it was chaos and the shrill of my mother’s voice. She had lost it and was inconsolable. Another one of my brothers was there on the scene. The paramedics worked on him, transported him to the hospital, but I knew he was already gone.
He is the oldest of six children. He is the funniest, also. Yesterday, we had his funeral and it was a beautiful Home Going Celebration of his life. He, along with my next to the oldest brother weren’t always the men they became. In their youth, they were wild and out of control. They game my mom and dad plenty of woes. But, eventually, years later, they both came to Christ and changed their lives. They both became the best versions of themselves and spent their lives making it up to all by being the best sons, brothers, relatives and parents they could be,
My oldest brother lit up any room he walked into. He always had jokes. He gave everyone a nickname. He would say things at the most inappropriate time and that is what would make it so funny. Even when he wasn’t the best version of himself, in the earlier years, he still was a devoted brother that would protect his siblings and care for us. My favorite memory is walking about 3 miles home from school in the rain, a cold day, or a snowy day with my youngest brother and when would get to the driveway, Toney would come out and greet us saying, “Come on in this house and get you something to eat,” He would have made soup, chili, grilled cheese or something he called “goulash”. We were always happy to see him on those days.
This Sunday morning is calm and beautiful. Last Sunday was chaotic, sad, yet it felt so good outside. I sat out and had coffee. He loved coffee, too. In fact, I gave him my old coffee maker that is at his home now. He passed away in the midst of having his second cup. Even in his sickness, he joked and laughed on his good days. On his bad days, he still managed to smile or to say something silly. He would apologize to the parents the next day if his behavior was not the best the day before.
Covid really did a number on him and exasperated his many underlying conditions. He was managing those conditions before Covid as he was a busy body. He could not be still. He was always doing something. Including being my yard man and maintenance man. I expected that to continue as I moved into my new home. He even said so himself. He use to do contract and construction work. He was a Veteran.
I haven’t really been able to grieve. Even after yesterday, it still just seems so unreal. I have never lost a sibling. I don’t know how to feel about it. Hurt. At peace that he is at peace. I understand death to be the doorway to the spiritual realm and I don’t believe he is LOST or DEAD or NO MORE. I just believe he exist in a different form and that yes, the body is dead. I can communicate with him like I communicate with Spirit. I can recall the many ways he brought us joy and laughter. The way he showed his love and his overprotectiveness. He was supportive. He showed up to church and showed up when you needed help at your home. I choose to cherish the joy and to feel what needs to be felt as I grapple with this huge change in my life.
It seems as though this week, this year has been filled with setbacks. Individual setbacks and when you look at it, setbacks across the nations. It seems as if we take a step forward and two steps back. It’s a push against some invisible force. It’s what I talked to you about in the beginning of the year. It’s the tearing down and building up. What’s it going to take to clear the debris of this year, or the last four years for some, is perseverance.
persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
I know you must rest. You must rest and get adequate rest in order to clear the debris. This is hardcore labor. This is blood, sweat, and tears, It’s ugly and you can’t be cute or handsome with this. You are going to need some perseverance. You need determination. Make up your mind and set your face like flint. This means: Whatever comes your way, don’t change your mind about the outcome. Don’t change your mind about the business. Don’t change your mind about education. Don’t change your mind about your goals and dreams. Set your face like flint. Get it done in the face of the harsh winds that may blow.
I was worried about my big birthday plans. I was worried about not being able to travel. I was worried about my business and not making money. I was worried about not being able to gather with friends. I HAD PLANS! BUT…
Thank God, I knew how to adapt. I knew how to adjust. I knew how to accept. IT WAS HARD. BUT I DID IT. YOU DID IT. AND NOW IT’S TIME TO REMOVE THE DEBRIS. I also learned what and who was really important in my “plans”.
I found out who I was this year. I found out who others weren’t. I found out what I was made of and I found out what I wasn’t. And now it’s time to clear out the debris. It’s time to wash away the losses and look at what has been born. What did you birth? What came out of this? What can you do with what’s left and what can be toss? What can you clear out?
Make way for the new. Take off the sackcloth and get on with your “it” in a NEW and PROFOUND way.
Me: Wow, God. There are mountains behind the mountains and in front of the mountains. I couldn’t see that on the first day even when there weren’t as many clouds.
God: And you can see even more mountains when it’s a clear and sunny day.
Me: They are beautiful. Majestic.
God: Yes. Your life is.
Me: You’re trying to show me and tell me something.
God within: Right & Write. Mountains Behind Mountains. What’s Your Range of Mountains? Mountains made beautiful. Mountains reflect the “Sun” and the “Son”. What you’ve been through. What you’ve learned. They are your pain and sorrow but ALSO your victory and your hopes for tomorrow. Some lower. Some higher. Some wider. Some smooth. Some rockier than others. I’ll hide your other mountains to get you to focus on a particular mountain. I’ll lift clouds a little to remind you that you can persevere. I’ll let you see the mountains on a wet and cold day to remind you that if it weren’t for the mountains, you’d be much colder. I know just how much to reveal. I’ll show you on a bright, clear sky day, all that you’ve made it through thus far in this life time and make those mountains reflect your greatness. Your strength. Your power. Your glory. Your dignity. Your reign. Your divinity. Your dominion. How you rose up from beneath the foundation through turmoil and stood mightily. Over and over and over, again and again.
What’s calling me isn’t church pews this morning or a Sunday morning “preach at” or struggle sermon. What is calling me is meditation, coffee, nature, the beach, fresh strawberries, and some way to express my thoughts and emotions. A good soul message is calling me. One that I can resonate with. Some yoga is calling me to the mat. Water is calling me.
The heart is yearning for a twin flame and soul mate wrapped into one but, spirit is saying patience. And by patience it could be days, months, and more years. Exactly how to be at peace with that is a challenge. You have to move forward with dreams and goals and life moves forward with or without you. This is fairly easy for some and not so easy for us lovers and romantics but, it is what it is. The heart is calling and the spirit is waiting.
Goals and dreams are calling to be written and carried out. The next step is blinking like a cursor on a blank page. It feels like a demand. The hows and whys for a person like me with anxiety and depression floating around make it very challenging to get it done or to do it in spite of feelings. I have to work around or press on and believe me that is tiring. I wish I had some help other than Spirit. I mean I wish I had support in the form of a mate. I am just doing what I do when I say that. I am sharing the private thoughts of some of us single people. Please, don’t try to correct us or redirect us. Not today. It’s our honesty that needs to be expressed and examined by us.
I don’t know where I am going today but, I do know where I am not going and what I am not doing. I do have to do a better job at communicating this to others who are making demands on a life and time that do not belong to them.
Wednesday we headed up to Iowa to visit extended family and my nephew. We spent half of our time in Oskaloosa and the other half in Cedar Rapids. Today we are on our way back home to Memphis, TN. I’m always excited when I get to travel and when it’s to certain places because of what it offers. Although, traveling to me has been a challenge since Rheumatoid and Fibromyalgia, I still enjoy it. Some places offer shopping, outlet malls, great places to eat, all forms of entertainment from concerts, plays, and museums to live sporting events. There’s the party atmosphere, site seeing, and adventures to get into. And some places, I look forward to simply do much of nothing while gaining much. Oskaloosa is one of those places. A very small town with character. Here I gain perspective, introspection and seem to re-center easily.
I don’t know many who would pick this place or many who have heard of it but, there are numerous of hidden gems and sanctuaries of peace and quiet all over the earth including the United States. What I like about visiting with my brother, his extended family that became mine is the way it pulls you into a slowed down way of life almost immediately. There is no business to take care of and there is no busyness. There is no party to get dressed up for and not a stitch of make up needed. I was in my jeans and 49ers T-shirts every day. There is no hustle and bustle of city life, malls, and outlets. But there are thrifts stores and consignment shops to take your time (my brother may disagree) to stroll and sift through. There is no real agenda or itinerary. We eat with our family and after most meals we play a board game. We sit and watch sports. We have silly and meaningful conversations. We try to put puzzles together that are on a board (I rarely have luck with that.)
The one thing I really enjoyed this time is that I wasn’t obligated to anyone. I was too far away to hear or care about the drama and nonsense of church business, power trips, and antics. I am just being as honest as always and exercising MY decision to be transparent for helpful purposes. It’s okay to be tired of religious STUFF and the business of it. I felt free while I was away and now that I am back, I still feel free. In this small town, I felt off the grid and kept my social media to a minimum. I like being in my room in their house on a comfy bed of quilts with a big tree to gaze at in the day and opened blinds with the moonlight seeping through at night. I liked existing without millions of things to do. It was like an extension of a Saturday evening from my childhood for three days.
When I was younger (because I am still young!), I use to abhor hearing the words, “It’s going to be alright or okay.” Why? It wasn’t comforting to me at those stages of my life. For one, I couldn’t see how. For example, how could being talked about, made fun of, and being bullied ever be okay if I had to go back to school the next day? I couldn’t imagine how things could possibly get better if I had to go to school until I was 18 and people would do this to me in the 2nd grade! I had a long way to go I thought. I had no understanding, perception of HOW! It’s going to be okay.
I couldn’t get past what I was feeling easily. As a child, teen, young adult I was feeling things I hadn’t felt before or something entirely new. A heartbreak. A heartache. A death. A disappointment. Are these things going to keep happening? I feeldeeply many things. Maybe your feelings go 2 inches into the heart but, mine probably go 10 inches in. You’re not thinking about the clerk that got an attitude with you by the time you get home. I am still thinking about it the next day. Don’t tell me it’s going to be okay, tell me you know how it feels. It’s going to be alright.
I couldn’t see how because I had not lived long enough yet to gain the many more or similar experiences that would surely come. Many even greater than a junior high school crush breaking your heart and many NEW ones that would knock me off my feet or onto my knees. I had not lived long enough yet to LIVE through these things. AND it would take many more years to understand that just having more experiences without gaining understanding of self and others is the reason many still don’t understand or like hearing, “It will be okay.”
Life building blocks such as faith, trust, understanding, knowledge of self, others, and your beliefs come through living and experiencing life. I did not truly know it was going to be okay until I lived through it by days, months, and years. I did not know that it was going to be alright, until I was in fact, alright. I guess, when I now see others going through things and I am the one that has to comfort or lift up, I try to at first acknowledge their bewilderment of how and why and feelings.
When talking to those who have been through so much and so many things over and over, I try to help them to see the knowledge gain, the insight of self and others, to help them shape their hurt into healing and their knowledge into wisdom and their wisdom into stepping stones or rocks to lean on in the future because there is more to come. If we live this life haphazardly, in the shadows of others, or with defining and redefining it for ourselves, we will never gain some stability. One of the many ways we learn is by repetition, here a little, there a little, and situation after situation. We even learn by the mistakes and mishaps of others if we so choose.
These building blocks of life are already in us when we arrive in this earth. We come into awareness of them and then we use them to build our lives. Therefore, offering us the stability we so much need in a volatile environment.
9 “Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts.
10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little and there a little.”