The pandemic has brought many things to the surface in our society and in our own hearts.
In this posting I am sharing a blog post a friend of mine has written. It shares the inner turmoil of thoughts and feelings that have come in focus for her during this time.
After reading her thoughts I began to feel a lot of things, at the forefront of these thoughts is how we as the family of man, and even more so as a “spiritual community” need to stop and listen to these thoughts and feelings, and learn about others, about ourselves and about the culture in which we live.
As a “spiritual community” we need to ruminate on what love looks like and sounds when encountering these feelings of others. How can we listen without defensiveness? How can we listen with love, acceptance and empathy?
The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 speaks truth into the “spiritual community” and set a guideline for how we listen and how we respond.
- “ God’s purpose was that the body should not be divided but rather that all of its parts should feel the same concern for each other. If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts share its suffering. If one part is praised, all the others share in its happiness.” 1 Corinthians 12:25-26
My friend’s intent was not to cause us to think about spiritual principles, but more for her to write a blog about the importance of community and building into one another. I added the scripture thought because I believe we need God’s wisdom as to ways to love one another. As you read my friend’s thoughts and feelings, think about how you can suffer with her.
Becoming Your Best Self Doesn’t Mean You Have To Do It Alone
A lesson I’ve just been learning on my journey to becoming my most authentic and best self is that I don’t have to do it alone. When we think of inspirational people like Michelle Obama, Oprah, or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, we think of them as a single entity. In reality, there are many people working behind the scenes to make them shine. The truth is everyone has a team, who’s on yours?
At a Crossroads
Lately, I’ve been struggling with my identity. The past eight years, my identity has been shaped by my faith, but now I find myself at a crossroads. I’m so deeply troubled by the racial turmoil that has taken over the U.S and the rest of the world. I find myself questioning if I can indeed be a Christian and an African American woman all at the same time. How does my faith that preaches being humble, patient, kind, compassionate, and peaceful, live in the same body of a tired, angry, sad, fearful African American woman? I wish I had the answer.
The church I’m part of has begun waking up to the issues of systematic racism and inequality in the world today against people of color. I’m grateful that collectively there is a church movement to be more culturally inclusive and address its past negligence and ignorance. But it feels really late.
On the flip side, I’m dealing with the resurfacing of suppressed trauma of blatant racism I’ve encountered that I’ve never dealt with. I’ve had to bottle it up because that’s what black people do to survive in a world whose fundamental core is rooted in oppression.
I’m at a place where I recognize how white the world is and the power that the white majority has over our government, education, economics, media, etc., and I’m sick of it. I’m no longer going to conform but to educate others and myself and take actionable steps towards equality and liberation.
Yesterday, I was able to get some in-person (social distancing, of course) time with two of my closest friends. Those two conversations didn’t give me any solutions to the internal dilemma, but they did help me realize I can’t do it alone.
To protect their privacy, I’ll call them Louisa and Lena. Louisa is an older woman who has been in my life for the past five years. Lena is a few years younger than me and has been a friend since my undergrad days at Salem State. They were both there for me when my mom was going through chemo and became the family I needed when she later died.
Louisa helped me to see outside of my pain. She gave me an objective perspective and was also willing to ask questions to draw out my heart. Lena reminded me that even though our life circumstances are different, I can be vulnerable and real even if she couldn’t fully relate to everything I was going through.
Find Your Tribe
We all need a support system. If you don’t have trusted advisors, friends, or family helping you along the way, you miss out on reaching your fullest potential. It’s nearly impossible to become your best self on your own. Make sure you choose people who not only love you but strive to push you towards growth. If they aren’t afraid to tell you the truth, especially when you’re stuck in your own way, even better!
So, I urge you to find your tribe, those who will love you on this journey of becoming your best self. You deserve it. You need it. And the people who you’ll meet and impact along the way will be blessed by it.