Well . . . since I spent yesterday describing my evolution, I suppose I need to explain how I got through the really tough times. I mean, the nights when I couldn't sleep but knew I need to avoid the kitchen because there were knives there, I had to really call on Jesus.
That's the truth. That's why I just can't for the life of me imagine renouncing or converting from my Christian faith.
Now, let me say I did avail myself of counseling/therapy. If you feel you need to talk, but don't have think you can afford it, you probably can. Do some calling around and there is probably a mental health facility in your county that provides services that, depending on your situation, can range from free to your insurance co-pay with no upfront cost.
Then there're a few scriptures that helped me out, too.
When graduation came and I had no plans, hadn't applied to grad school or for any job, hadn't even taken the GRE, Jeremiah 29: 11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (NIV)." Now, I place emphasis on what really spoke to me at the time I needed it. The fact that God knew the plans he had for me meant that . . . I didn't have to know. What's said in the Black Church is usually, "I don't know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow." Eh . . . that didn't quite do it for me at the time. I was freaking No1KState and I was supposed to have plans. I was supposed to be on my way to a PhD. Not knowing what "tomorrow held" just "won't getting it."
But one day, I was reading that verse expecting "plans to prosper" to soothe my anxiety. It didn't. But every time I read through, "I know the plans I have for you," my spirit calmed. And that finally did it for me. I knew I had to quit fighting God on the issue and just let him have his way (By the by, Hezekiah Walker has a song that says exactly that. I listened to it endlessly. Can't find it online, but I'll keep looking.). I had to, as David says in Psalms 131, stop worrying about things I had no control over, and just trust God like a child trusts her mother (I paraphrased.) And honestly, that kept me from . . . Let's just say it kept me. (There's a song with those lyrics, too, by the way.)
Then, as far as finally receiving God's love for me, well, the involves all of the book of Ephesians as well as some other New Testament passages, and most especially a book by Robert McGee titled, The Search for Significance. I strongly suggest you read the book yourself and get the workbook, too. I most confess, the college staff member of The Impact Movement who was assigned to UNC gave a group of us all the book with workbook for free my second year. I was so full of myself then, I really didn't pay it much attention. I "graciously" went through it with the rest of the group because really . . . I'm No1KState. I felt I was the very definition of "being significant."
Er . . . uh . . . yeah. That kind of pride will lead to a bit of a battle with God. Hence, perhaps, the whole episode prior to graduation of not having any plans.
It was till just a few years ago that I read the book seriously. To say it changed my life would not be an overstatement. It helped me open myself and my heart to love. It helped me reject the lies I had believed about myself. Oh, I'm still working on trusting God with my heart. But, I used to respond to the staff member, who is now I dear, dear friend, saying "I love you," with a disbelieving shake of my head. She would tell me how I was such a sweetheart, and I would respond that she really didn't know me. She would argue that she thought she did, and I'd just let her win. I didn't see the point in a needless argument with someone who didn't know me.
Now, I can say, "I love you," first. This morning even, I told my parents I loved them. That's a big deal for me! I mean, it's not that I didn't love people the way Christians are supposed to love everyone, I just didn't hold anyone in any special affection.
Except my little cousin who's my "little sister."
That's part of what I love so much about my church family Palmer Grove. You know what, this is my blog, I'll tell you exactly what happened. I heard a woman call out my name, I just smiled and waved in the direction of the voice. Then Minister Thurman grabbed my shoulder and asked if I knew who she was. I didn't. She explained who she was and how she knew me, and that's when I realized that there were people who held me in special affection . . . just for me! Granted, folks were always impressed and sometimes proud of my accomplishments. But, it wasn't till that moment that I realized she was showing affection to me, not because of my family connections or accomplishments, but because of me. I mean, lots of people were greeting me because I had just joined the church. But the look on her face when I confessed I didn't know who she was (because I previously didn't care - she doesn't know that), let me know she was interested in me. Me. Not No1KState. Not the lead soprano or trumpet player or the basketball player or the genius. Me.
And guess what? Me, myself and I am sweet. I am a sweetheart. A number of people, strangers, have told me I have a beautiful spirit. At a group of young adults meeting together to minister to each other, a woman just all of a sudden hugged me tight and kissed my head. Once, a visitor at church pulled me aside and said he just wanted to speak because I had such a beautiful spirit. Apparently, that means just in my presence, people feel loved. That's what the strange hugging lady explained to me.
That's the truth. That's my truth. If I've accepted you as a part of my "circle," I do love you; and, I love you strongly and unconditionally. That has always been the case. I have always been willing to fight on behalf of my family, even if that meant I'd get beat up. And excepting God's love for me has made loving others all the more easier.
I'll end with this verse: Zechariah 11: 4 "This is what the LORD my God says: "Pasture the flock marked for slaughter. 5 Their buyers slaughter them and go unpunished. Those who sell them say, 'Praise the LORD, I am rich!' Their own shepherds do not spare them. 6 For I will no longer have pity on the people of the land," declares the LORD. "I will hand everyone over to his neighbor and his king. They will oppress the land, and I will not rescue them from their hands." 7 So I pastured the flock marked for slaughter, particularly the oppressed of the flock."
Yeah, few people actually get to the part of the Bible. (I'll save my thoughts about Evangelicals and Fundamentalists for another post.) But, that's what inspires and prompts my quest to change the world, to fight racism, sexism, capitalism, and other oppressions. And now that I'm broadening my horizons to international issues, nationalism. At first, it was just American nationalism that bothered me, but now that I've learned about Turkey - I'm taking that on, too.
So, basically, I'm still celebrating turning 27. It's my own tradition to celebrate my birthday for at least a couple of weeks. Especially since my brother thought I was his early birthday present, I take the liberty of extending my own celebration past his. I'm not sure I'll be blogging about my personal growth again for a day or so, but. :sigh: My next posts will probably be about some political or international issue. It's just that, I'm so proud of myself for how far I've come. I'm thrilled that I'm finally receiving sufficient treatment for my CFIDS. I can hardly contain myself. I mean, of course, I have to. My health can't take a lot of hoopla, no matter the cause. But, I'm just excited about another day and another year.
Listen. Life is an adventure. I'm on this adventure with Elohim, another name for God, which, by the way, is Hebrew feminine plural, and a couple of other friends. I'm finally living life to the full and I love it! I wish you the same peace, contentment, and anticipation I have!