Being in tune with God for your personal journey on this Earth is pertinent to living a COMPLETELY successful life. I am talking about prospering and being in good health (and even in that scripture there is a deeper meaning). There are seasons to your life. There are signs for you. There is a time that you should be doing something. There is a “rhema word” specifically for you and only you.
How do I know the signs, times, and hear what God is saying to me? Well, in order to be IN TUNE, one must DAILY COMUNE. Prayer? Yes. Often. Listen? Yes. Always. Look at the sky. Observe it. Stand there in the middle of nature. Feel it. See it. Find a tree that you see everyday. Look at it often. Watch it change. Nature speaks. Read. Read your religious book. Read books you are guided to at the appointed time. Sometimes I buy books but it’s not time for me to read them. It may be months or a year later. Sitting with creation is sitting with the Creator. Sitting in silence, meditative in your activities, is all communing. You only have to pay attention. Even exercising can be communing with God. After yoga, you lay there, and you give the body time to slow down. It’s the cooling off period so to speak. As the body settles down the mind does, too. Right in that moment, you can hear from Spirit.
God’s voice wasn’t in the strong wind, the earthquake, the fire, the gentle wind, after all of that, Elijah heard a voice. (1 King 19:12). Elijah heard, felt, and saw all of that and then he heard a voice. A calm voice I believe. I have no time to debate whether the voice was from without or within, in his head or heart. That is not for me to discern. I am only here today to tell you this, “In order to be in tune, you must comune.-Nicole Jackson”
“Only read the Bible and books by other Christians because you don’t want to become “led astray” or “confused.” I remember when I was in high school and one of my classmates was a Muslim. It was in various conversations I discovered there were many levels, simplicities, and complexities to exactly what that meant for him. It was one day in gym, a day where we didn’t have to dress out, when we had this conversation about some differences in our faiths. Two young people, discussing differences, without arguing, but to seek an understanding of “why” we see or believe things that way.
No insults were traded. No belittlement. Disbelief? Yes. Shock? Yes. Ah hah moments? Yes. Thought provoking and respectful. He said he would bring the Holy Koran to school since I had never seen one. I told my mom and she cautioned me as she had been cautioned. He brought it to school. I looked at it. I was like “Wow. Cool.” I mean what did you expect from a teenager. It was like an Indiana Jones moment. I came home and said, “Hey, Mom. Still Christian. Just letting you know.” She seemed to be relieved. I thought it was humorous.
The things is, I had been reading all kinds of books from Astrology to History. I am curious about almost everything and I lived directly behind a library. It was only natural to seek more information and explore ideas about God outside of my faith. Was I confused? Sure about some things. But, many things only confirmed what I had always thought about God anyways. Thank goodness I read other books, spiritually led to them, taking what is true for me and letting things in the books that were not, go. When you read something, that you are led to, you must learn to EAT the FISH and SPIT out the BONES. You do not have to believe everything in a book. If it aligned itself to my core beliefs, if it aligned itself to my spirit, I was good with it. I never thought about leaving Christ. Yet, I have thought about leaving Christianity in a sense of how it is viewed by those in it and those on the outside looking in. I hate to be constrained in any way!
I read. I read outside of my faith and it has created a freedom in me I can’t explain. It allows me to be respectful to others who do not believe what I believe and it has given me a command to not be in company with those who cannot respect my beliefs. This includes other Christians as well. Who are we in respect to the Creator? We do not know it all. We do not have it all. NONE OF US DO. I have no need to put you in a Heaven or Hell. Though, I do believe there are just somethings that must be accounted for…
So, I don’t apologize for the books I read. God put the quest in me to discover what God means and who God is to me on another level than just what is between 66 books. We don’t have all of that either. How can anyone have all of God? You do not own Spirit.
One thing reading has done is allowed me to appeal to the spirit of a person. I have no qualms about what you believe or not unless it is used to harm others. It has taught me that I don’t have to understand you, to respect you. I don’t have to feel sorry for you because you do not believe what I believe. I don’t have to make you believe what I believe. I don’t have to change you. Heck, I don’t have the power to change you. Only you can change you.
Deep calleth unto the deep. If it hasn’t called you, don’t worry about me.
Some of us grew up in loving and caring environments and some of us did not. Some of us grew up in loving and caring environments that were flawed on some level. Sometimes deeply flawed or sometimes tumultuous depending on the problems the parent or parents had. It could have been an ill parent, an unfaithful parent, it could have been arguing all the time, or the parent could be one that came and went. Today I want to speak to those that grew up with the Critic Parent. The one that ALWAYS had something negative to say or critiqued everything you did or every choice you made.
I grew up with one. Every choice you made, there was a better one. When you did your chores, there was always something you could have did better or forgot. When you did things to try to impress that parent, they were not all that impressed. Each time you did your hair or got dressed, they would frown up at your attire or choice and I am not talking about the typical parent-child disagreement about clothes and hair. This is beyond that. This is a tear down of the child. A ripping of their power to make choices and to feel good about their choices and themselves. All of this is about that and the child needing to be supported, guided, and free to be an individual. I felt singled out from all of my siblings. The boys in the family didn’t have this problem, but the only sister I had said she would experience it from time to time, but as soon as she was able to she left the house.
The constant stares, criticism, correction, and questioning of everything I did, said, or chose literally destroyed my self esteem. I was already an outsider with my red hair as an African American child, my brainy self, my extreme shyness, and artys personality. I wasn’t accepted in many circles and to be home and not accepted was traumatic to my sensitive soul. Did you know, that those who are artists and creative types have a spectrum on the emotional scale as more sensitive than normal and that can swing to more depressed than normal? I had no idea until I started seeing a psychologist. My mother always said “If you just look at me, I would start crying.” I wonder if she created that insecurity within me or fostered it. I don’t know.
I second guess everything I did, said, and every choice I made as a young adult. It caused me to be paralyzed with fear. I had no confidence. If this is normal mines was twice as bad. Even after choices were made I worried that I was wrong, I didn’t know what I was doing, there you go again…not getting it right. I was surprised when things worked out. An even then, I was not sure that things would be okay.
Many things contributed to my bouts of depression and need to want to escape this world by suicide. I know this was one of them. I equated a wrong choice in anything I did as a reflection of how I could never and would never get it right. Even the simplest things. I was beyond self conscious and not just in the way I look, but in the work I did. Even now I have to say “Hey, it’s good enough. You did your best.” I also had to learn to not do what was did to me to others and when I had my daughter, I vowed to not utilize that aspect of my parent. I did take all of the good from that parent, which was a lot, and use it.
I believe there are many reasons a parent does this. I think we expect parents to be perfect or to know better, but the truth is they are not perfect and they do not know “how to” always do better. Hurting people hurt other people. When we are children we don’t know or think about the fact our parents have lived some type of life before us and has experienced some type of childhood…both of these things either good, bad, or traumatic. These things have an effect on the parent as a child, as an adult, and as your parent. Many hurt parents have know idea of the psychological effects of their behavior on their children and we grow up to think many of the things we experienced were normal and acceptable until we meet other children and other adults. If you can’t recognize the signs of your behavior as detrimental to the shaping of the child, then you as the parent continue to do what you do. The generation before me were not privy to psychology or child psychology. They were too busy trying to make a living. The way they dealt with things were to not talk about them. But, guess what? Buried feelings and events of our lives are still alive if they are not dead. However, we as the children who grew up in some sort of tainted or warped environment, now have the privilege of that knowledge that we may be better parents and better human beings. We also have the work of healing ourselves from these scars.
I am now realizing that I survived by learning through trial and error, my commitment to not repeat those mistakes by taking different actions, some education about parenting, my relationship with God, the wisdom of the Spirit, other wise souls, and yes, therapy. I survived by accepting the relationship I have with that parent, sometimes calling them on their behavior and holding them accountable, and other times letting it go. I survived by releasing my anger and hurt. I survived with knowledge of the effects of trauma on people who never admit or talk about what’s really going on, but instead choose to respond with some outward action or to remain silent and bottled up.
However, for this leg of my journey at 42, I am here to be liberated this year and to be legendary in my doings. I need to THRIVE and not just survive. I thrive by forgiving and by forgiving I am free (liberated). I thrive by realizing that parent may never seek counseling, deliverance, or healing, but my choice to not feed into it or to have some compassion for the hurt child inside that parent, is liberating my emotions to choose happiness even if they are miserable. And all of that is a legendary step for my soul’s journey.
I’ve seen the power of a pretty face and body work magic on men. I’ve been skipped over, looked over, pushed out of the way to get to the prettier girl. I’ve been not spoken to standing next to the prettier friend. I’ve been in mid sentence and a man sees a hotter option, a bigger butt (in my community), a smaller waist, longer or straighter hair, and rushed to end our good convo to get to what his eyes are attracted to. I’ve had men get my number and constantly ask me about my friend. Let me be real and raw, weak and emotional in the eyes of others and un-christian like for many…but that shit used to hurt and every now and then those pretty little daggers grazes my self esteem. Either being out right told you’re not cute, you’re cute, you’re “alright”, if only you had a bigger ass, did it’s wear and tear on how I viewed myself and how I allowed the misuse of my heart, body and emotions. Side Note: If you have this super self esteem and can’t relate then this article is not for you and you’re “I never felt that way” is not welcomed here.
Well, Nikki, what did you do? It’s a long story, but basically after a series of bad relationships, mistreatment, emotional and mental abuse, via the Holy Spirit and God, books, positive women, self will, I slowly built my self esteem. Last year, I excavated my authentic self and boy did that take my self confidence to another level. Look, I just stopped by to tell you that you really do have other things to do than to be weighed down by if you are pretty enough or pretty at all. Like, who gives a damn. Are you dressing your best, are you doing the best you can with your hair (permed, weaved, or natural), are you a good woman, are you a positive being, are you going after your dreams, visions, goals? Are you building others up, clapping for their success? Are you not letting a man mistreat you and take you “down through there” (southern for drag you down a very bad road filled with heartbreaks aches and turmoil)? Are you choosing life over death? Are you a great mom, friend, sister, auntie, co worker, etc? You got “stuff” to do.
God made me perfect. God made me beautiful in every way. God made me beautiful inspite of. God also made me strong. God also gave me an assignment. I had a friend who was extremely beautiful. She said to me one day when I asked her why did you sit by me in class? She said “Why not?” This was college. I replied, “I thought maybe you would want to huddle up with the prettier girls.” She laughed. “I thought you were smart and I am smart so I wanted to be around the smarter girl. The one that was asking questions and writing down notes because that is what I do. Pretty girls that are stuck on their beauty can be ruthless. It’s not all that it’s cracked up to be being amazingly beautiful.” Later I learned about her being in a relationship with this guy. She talked about how bad he treated her. She said, it doesn’t matter how fine I am, men still cheat. When you are in that group of fine girls who only care about looks, it’s all about competition. Then you have to deal with women thinking you want their man. I’m only in my 20’s and I am just like every real woman. I want to be seen for my heart, my mind, and not my body. You’re prettier than any of those women in that group in class. I saw how they flocked to me and I was like…nah…I’m just gonna come to school and go home.”
When a man is looking at my boobs and not at my face, I understand. When he talks about my body parts more than he talks about my brain, my geniusness, my dreams and goals, the current state of America, or about getting out and enjoying life, etc…it’s an automatic turn off for me. So, as the pretty little daggers sometimes hit, mostly miss these days…I am reminded…I’ve got so much more to do than to be weighed down by pretty or beautiful. My heart is fiery. My brain is wicked.
Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and not do it. -James 4:17
Even if you are not a Christian, and I say this because some can’t respond to truth unless it’s under their faith, you could read this scripture and understand it. Recently, when correcting someone about doing something wrong, I was told by them that they were grown and could do what they wanted to do. I immediately noted the immaturity in this statement because grown as in size and age, is no indication to grown as in maturity. We use all kinds of excuses to continue to do the things we want to do whether it is breaking our own spiritual laws or the laws of the land in which we live. I guess for some it is the only way they can feel powerful, but in reality the need to violate spiritual laws or laws of the land to feel powerful is a sure sign you are not. At the end of the day, per my religion, when we have full knowledge of right and wrong, and do not do what is right…it is a sin.
This week I battled a robin that wanted to build her nest on the rafters of my carport. When I first saw the formation of the nest, I knew it had to come down before it was complete. So, the maintenance guy got it down. The reason that it could not be built there is because if the bird lays eggs it’s illegal to remove the nest and if it builds it where I park my car my daughter and I would be in danger of an attack from a bird protecting her young. And I guess you can say, I was protecting my young as well. It was sort of a woman to bird, mother to mother, type of situation.
Within an hour she was back building again. I was back to stop her. This went on for hours. The night came and when I woke up the next morning…she had started again. We went at it for about an hour and a half. I realized as my arms begin to hurt and my shoulder swelled, I couldn’t keep doing this but, I couldn’t let her build there. Also, the stress elevated my blood pressure. At physical therapy, the PT said “Hey I had that happen to me. I read up on it just like you and I put a plastic owl where the bird wanted to build and it never came back.” So, I thought about the creepy owl I bought for winter decor and when I got home I put it in the rafters. Since Friday, I have not seen the bird. I pray she has found somewhere to build and lay her eggs. I am assured by the wisdom of Matthew in the Bible: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them…”
When it comes to problems in our lives, whether it be an illness that turns your life upside down or financial choices, a work situation or a life situation, somewhere in the daunting task of persistence there is a solution. There is a happy medium. There is a method to the madness. And as I trudge through one of the most difficult times of my life, if God takes care of the birds of the air, feeds them and clothes the flowers of the field…how much more will he take care of us? Our angels sends advice, we look up a solution, we try different things, we realize what is not working and soon the solution surfaces. The outcome may not always be what we want at the time, a temporary solution until the a permanent one arises.