Can’t stop, Won’t stop

Right before the blessing comes the battle.

I feel like my dreams have been very vivid and chaotic lately.  Chaotic as in there’s too much going on.  Scenarios with too many people with too much conflict.  The scenes overlap with another, too.  It goes from one problem to the next, and the problems don’t even belong in the right environment. For example, in one dream teacher at school wouldn’t let me teach my gym kickboxing class because he needed to keep the students in his classroom.  I was a bit frustrated because I enjoy teaching kickboxing and he wouldn’t let me…. and let me clarify, I like teaching kickboxing at the gym, not at school.  The gym and school are two separate worlds, and I like it like that. In dealing with this particular teacher in my dream, anger and frustration started to stir up within me.  A tactic to get me to lose my peace… my patience.

In my last entry, I mentioned I felt a newness on the horizon.  A knowing that a nice change is coming. I am holding on to this.  I can’t let these dreams get to me.  I still wake up at 4 am and read a chapter from the bible, and head to the gym.  These two activities keep me on the “up and up” and give me peace of mind.  The dreams haven’t been every night but every now and then they come up.  In the past, dreams like that would’ve paralyzed me.  I would stay in bed or hold on to that “chaotic” dream throughout the day allowing it to absorb all of my thoughts and put me in a very low, depressive state.  I would call a close friend or cry it out and muster up some strength to talk to God.  “Why can’t I be neutral?” “Why am I constantly being attacked?” “What did I do?”  “How do I stop this?” I didn’t understand why I kept getting hit so hard when I felt like I didn’t deserve it.

It was like I was in a boxing ring.  It kept happening over and over again.  Yet, somehow in the hits, I kept getting back up.  Images in my dreams conjured up confusion, anger, and sadness inside me and they made no sense.  After a while, something within me clicked.  This is all an illusion. This is all a lie.  This mindset pushed me to get up every time I got knocked down with more momentum.  Each time I got up, I became more… powerful.  The constant attacks made me stronger.  With each hit, I had to get right back up.  Before it would take a few days to get my confidence back up, but now… well it doesn’t keep me down.  I mentally jab, hook, slip, and kick and keep it moving.  I see the enemy’s tactics clearly now.  I see now the enemy creates false scenarios in order to delay my blessing, it worked in the past so it should work now… yet, the enemy doesn’t quite understand that I have gained knowledge in how to fight without even making a fist.  When these dreams happen, I only observe and take notes.  I don’t immerse myself with emotions but only say to myself, “This is not real.”

So now, after some experience of being knocked down and getting back up again… and taking notes on some sermons… IT WON’T STOP! There is a constant battle for your soul.  The enemy will continue to use tactics to steal your peace, steal your joy, but the key to winning to is keep in mind: You have already won.  You have to be confident…have faith! You must only maintain your relationship with Christ, and hold on to the promises that He laid before you.  God also speaks in dreams.  Hold on to those dreams and know that they will come to pass.  Maintain inner peace and grasp pure joy, which is thanksgiving and praise to God.

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 MSG

 

 

 

 

Something Different

I decided to write out goals for each month.  I did one for July and for August so far.  I plan to do one each month. But as we are nearing the end of the month, I got a bit side-tracked and forgot about one of the goals for this month, to write an entry in my blog.  I have decided to make it a goal every month because last year, and the few years before, I kind of fell off.  I would only write when I felt like it.  I didn’t create the discipline to make time to write.  I had made time to get a pedicure, 5am workouts, and even time to scroll social media, but never made time to hone into something that I felt called to do.  Spending my money on training shoes with no hesitation, but then felt the need to second guess spending money on writing workshops.  Quick to emerge myself in retail therapy instead releasing my deep thoughts on paper, or in this case a screen.  I avoided the very act that gave me solace and peace.  Why?

So I became aware of this over the summer which pushed me to create the goal to write an entry every month, and top of that submit my play.   Summer vacation, along with this pandemic, has caused me to really do some inventory. What am I called to do? What do I do next?  I am hoping in writing more clarity will start to spring up because although I am not too sure where this is leading, this push to write more, but I do know it will lead something new.  I have been feeling the desire to do something else, to change up my environment because things are starting to feel complacent.  My whole routine is getting old and I’m itching to go elsewhere.  I just want something new.  Something else.

I have never seen myself as a “stay in one spot for 8 hours” person.  When I lived in New York I worked at a children museum, nanny for a few families and had some acting gigs.  A freelance contractor.  It was fun and freeing at the time, but as I am writing this I am realizing I was in my early twenties and wasn’t ready to be tied down to anything.  So yeah, at the time it was AMAZING!  But, I am now not in my early twenties and want more security.  A few years was fun and living in New York was… well, I have no regrets, but what led me to leave The Big City was a yearning to be still.  I wanted stability, I didn’t want to grind anymore.  I wanted to take vacations without feeling the need to cut them short because if I wasn’t working, no money was coming in. I had to stay working to make sure everything was paid for.  I needed to work to build something for myself.  Although it was freeing, I felt trapped.

Right now, I just want something different.  I want a change.  If that means going in a different industry I am open to it. I want to create projects that are lucrative, but I don’t want to be stuck in a place for most of the day either.  I want something that offers security, but gives me freedom. I have faith. God will show me… I feel the tug to go elsewhere.  I’ll wait for the next steps.

 

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”

Genesis 12:1-3 NIV

 

 

Little Girl, Get up

Ok, I had an interesting dream last night… I can’t remember the exact details but I do remember being in my old childhood home.  I have had numerous dreams in my old childhood home and usually, it doesn’t end well, something dark and weird ends up happening.  In the past, those types of dreams would get the best of me, conjuring thoughts of anxiety, loneliness, feeling weak, helpless, just everything not good.  I would wake up and not want to deal with the day, having this dark cloud over me most of the until my busy day would cause me not to think about it…but then, as I would lay my head down that following night… well, hoping to have decent dreams… no, the cycle continues.

Dreams are symbolic right?   Rarely do I get a step by step, or a real storyline in my dreams.  I only see glimpses, short scenes that don’t really develop into something I can fully understand.  After I wake up I try to make sense of it, trying to remember the big stuff, the key ingredients that stood out, and try to make sense of it by googling dream meanings or creating my own meanings.  But yeah, as I have gotten older I realized God speaks in your dreams. God guides you, inspires you, and even encourages you to have faith in showing His promises in your life.  I’ve had dreams that transpired into my reality.  Things that didn’t even make sense to me… Like teaching fitness classes.  I had a dream years before that I was teaching at a gym, tons of people with bright colored leggings and tops. I couldn’t believe it at the time because I was terrified to be in that role, feeling like I was inadequate, but God saw more.  I even have dreams about other people, people I don’t even know that well.  It was like God was using me as a conduit to reach this person.  So, at the time, I was a teaching assistant at a fine arts elementary school.  I was still unsure what was next in my life.  The best choice would be to go the next step and become a certified teacher, have your own classroom, get the teacher clothes, whatever… but I just wasn’t in it.  I had NO desire to decorate a classroom, or to be back in any educational institution.. (side note: my previous job was at a children’s art museum. not a school. SO DIFFERENT.) ANYWAY, this message in my dream wasn’t even for me, a co-worker.  In the dream, we had a conversation and I told her to get back to her art, visual art.  She was a fourth-grade teacher at a fine arts school.  That must of been torture: to be around the arts but nowhere near it.  So, of course, the next day at school we cross paths.  Did I run to her with excitement to tell her about my dream… Ummm no! I wasn’t even sure how to bring it up.  I was hesitant, and kind of was like, “God, are you kidding me? I don’t know her like that.” I was kind of like a little kid shaking my head, internally of course, “I’m not doing this.” But boom, there we were just the two of us in the teacher’s lounge, “No, you didn’t.” So I approached her, and said what a normal person would say: “Don’t think I’m crazy or anything but I had this dream that you should get back to painting.” She was in shock because she had been really thinking about it and to have it spoken out loud to her from me, a co-worker, that’s it… well, it spoke volumes.  I like it when I have dreams like that… but yeah that wasn’t the dream last night.

I’ll admit I didn’t do my nightly prayers because I was binge-watching this series on my phone… So yeah, I get it…bring on the weird dream! So, my old house, an old childhood home where my fears were amplified in every area of my life.  That phase in my life when my self-esteem was hit hard, my true self hidden from the world.  God does speak in dreams, but the enemy also speaks in dreams.  The enemy uses your sacred time with God to counteract HIS every move but creating scenarios that are far from the truth to cause you to lose faith in HIS promises.  The same promises he has shown in your dreams… but like I said after learning this through sermons, conversations, bible study, I have learned to rise above the nonsense.  It will happen repeatedly, the enemy uses the same tactics, thinking they can still work even as you get spiritually stronger each day.  In the childhood home last night, it was dark and this strong wind went through, a scary thunderous wind, it was scary, and in the dream, I screamed out JESUS, no sound but I woke up saying HIS name.  Thanking Him, praising, and asking for his protection.  Oh, before that wind, I saw my “pseudo grandmother” who was so mean to me and pushed me aside, and she was coming down this cluttered, dirt staircase.  It was all so… NOT TRUE!  It was far from reality.  I could see right through it. The enemy didn’t want me to get up, and do what I was called to do. Just lay in the bed, look at IG for hours, and stay put.  The enemy didn’t want me to fight back. To get up! Get up and keep at it!

After I woke up saying  Jesus and praying out loud,  I laid there.  Meditated for a bit and fell asleep.  My dreams were much better, beautiful even.  His promises were shown to me once again, which in turn pushed me to GET UP!

 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

Ephesians 6:10-11 NIV

 

What Are You Doing?

I saw this written on my middle school’s girl restroom wall.

In my last post, I declared that I was going to make time for prayer before bedtime.  Did I stick to it? Kinda.  I started journaling.  I feel like I get more clarity in my writing.  Different from the blog because in the journaling I create affirmations for myself.  I am… As to cultivate positive and motivation towards my goals.  Also, in the journaling,  I am more aware of what my goals actually are.  As I mentioned before, I can easily get caught up in the gym, work, and gym again routine so this pushed me to hone into my gifts.  Also, that fact it is now summer vacation, I can make this more of a habit because now I have created my own schedule for the day, so I don’t get caught up in social media or anything else that can take up most of my valuable time.

It’s funny I have to make this a habit, journaling, when I was younger that’s pretty much what I did all the time.  I think this act of writing came from taking creative and journalism in my eighth-grade year.  My dad had put me in those classes, I guess he saw something in me before I even knew I would find solace in this craft.  Back in 8th-grade writing found me… now I teach middle school.  Is this is a coincidence?  Is God trying to bring me back to where it all began?  Middle school.  The phase of my life that made no sense to me. A phase that brought on so much confusion, insecurity, and change.

I had so many journals from that time in my life. Spiral notebooks, leather-bound journals, and journals with brightly colored designs on the cover. I had a plethora of journals, it was something I looked forward to.. what was going to be the next journal to hold all my secrets.  When I came back home from living in New York, fast forward 10 years from middle school, I think, I reread those same journals and realized they all held the same theme: depression.  Every entry seemed to be steered towards confusion on what I wanted to be when I grew up or dissatisfied with my appearance: there were quite a few meal/ workout plans conjured up in my journals. After reading each journal, my immediate response was to get rid of them… and I did.

There was something in me that knew I had to change my thinking, even in my writing.  the writing had to be the origin of this change.  Those negative ideas could be acknowledged but I needed to counterpoint them with a positive.  As a way to heal the wound that I was constantly picking at in my head.  Writing could cure this.  I feel it, see on the paper, then create words to ease the pain.

Sermons help for inspiration to ease the pain, yet somehow as I write the answer appears on the paper.  God still speaks.

 

 

After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.  Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

1 Kings 19:12-13 NIV

 

 

My Father’s Business


I have decided to hunker down and change my focus.  I need to come back to where I left.  My routine of gym, work, and sometimes gym again has been missing something.  I look forward to going to bed early so I can get up at 4 am and do my cardio, leg day, and/ or upper body routine.  I come home and get ready for the next day, preparing my lunch of clean food, gym and work picked out for the next day.  I am constantly preparing, moving… but still stagnant.

I do pray but it’s usually in the steam room, after my workout, within a small time so I have enough time to shower and head to work and get there at a certain time.  Or I sneak in prayer right before bed but I end up falling asleep.  I am not a total heathen, though. I listen to sermons every morning while working out.  TD Jakes, Steven Furtick, and John Gray are my go to’s. And on my way to my early morning workouts I am listening to KSBJ or Air One, to set the tone for the day… so I am in the mode of acknowledging God, but something is still missing.

Actually, one of TD Jakes sermons prompted me to write this entry: The Turning Point.  It was this past Sunday’s sermon.  I didn’t get to it Sunday, because I taught my gym class that morning, and spent most of the day grocery shopping and doing meal prep.  By the time I was done with everything I was ready to decompress and watch a Christmas movie, “Godmothered”.  It was a wholesome movie but not very spiritual. So I spent my Sunday focused on the gym and preparation for the following day.  Even on Sunday, I was caught up in my own business.

So there’s my dilemma.  I need to create an intimate time with Him.  I need to sit still and just pray.  I need to sit still and breathe.  I need to acknowledge His presence.

Now, I need to take action steps and create a solution.  First things first, decrease my time on social media. I know my weakness: Comparison.  I can spend hours on Instagram…hours and hours! I get caught up in seeing what others are doing, looking at what they have… and something within just gets a little down.  I get frustrated about my current situation and see what I don’t have and start to act a certain way.  I may take it out on my family or just have this feeling of… just a negative mindset.  I am not content with my current situation.  I have to admit sometimes that’s my reason for not praying, talking to God but I don’t want to talk about what I really want transpire… kind of like I’m in denial.  If I just avoid the whole conversation, then it won’t be a problem… but that doesn’t seem too healthy…

Next, I need to create a time every day, the same time every day in which I just sit in prayer, meditation.  I may have to do it at night time, 9:30 or 10 pm.  30 minutes. I should start tonight… I will start tonight.

 

And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

Luke 2:49 NKJV

 

 

 

 

Vision


I created a vision board a while back… maybe 2 or 3 years ago and a few things actually manifested.  I got a jeep, did a headstand (didn’t stay on my head that long though) I teach kickboxing, and at one point had abs for days… corona put me back at square one.  As of right now, cases have gone down, restaurants and places of businesses have opened up.  Things are starting to seem somewhat normal, although wearing masks has become the norm.  It’s starting all to settle down a bit, yet there is also an election in the midst that’s causing some tension.  2020 is definitely been the year of labor pains … in the hopes of a beautiful miracle on its way… which may arrive in 2021.  Today is Kobe Bryant’s birthday.  I felt like that was the start of many heartbreaks, pain, struggles in this tumultuous year.  This year has proved to be the year of inner-work, self-discovery, and most importantly, in order for those first two to occur, a move to be closer to God.  I have found myself on many occasions, on more occasions than ever before, begging God for guidance.  What do you want me to do God?  Should let this go?  Should I let him/ her go?  How do I do this God? Tell me what to do God.  I need a clear direction.  Don’t be vague with me, God.  I need you to give me a vision.  I want what you want for me.  I need your help!

I thought I had the surrender part down pact but this year has proved to be surrender-mode all day, every day.  I had things I would do throughout the day.  I had a schedule: gym, work on my play… well I had things to do …but every day I would ask the same question: “God, what do you want me to do today?” I became his servant.  I wasn’t always obedient…it’s hard to deal with living with your parents… to be in such close quarters and really deal with their presence.  This year has proved that saving needs to be a priority and I need to focus, pick a location, and move out!  I mean be smart about it but yes, it has to be done now!  It’s time to get out! But if I was really honest with myself,… I think my subconscious knew I wasn’t ready to be on my own just yet.

Before all of this…I kept myself pretty busy and rarely found time to quiet my mind and just deal with the hurt I kept inside me.  I felt rejected, I felt unworthy, I felt unloved. I held so much from past relationships. I held so much from past relationships that… well, could I really embrace the new?

I am still in “labor mode because I still feel pangs here and there, anxious for it all to end.  Anxious to see the reason for all of this… not just within me but in all that’s happening in the world.  I don’t want to worry but only hope it is all for something beautiful….hence the labor metaphor I keep mentioning.  The pian will not last.  It will manifest into something beautiful. Until then, I’ll run to the father again and again.

 

God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day.

Psalm 46:5 NIV

 

His Peace, His Love

George Floyd Rally. Houston, TX.  June 2, 2020 

2020 has definitely proved to be a year of … awakening… on a personal and global level.  I think the first tip-off was Kobe’s passing.  He was such an influence of our day and accomplished so much at such a young age that he was admired by many and his absence is greatly felt.  Then in just a few weeks, Corona spread across the entire world.  It came and changed the way we interacted with every individual we came across.  It made us stop and be still.  It pushed us to cling to something bigger than us… it pushed us to come back to God.  It became a time to create that space for Him and acknowledge and understand His will for us. We longer had the control… or rather, we had to let go of the illusion that we were in control.  We had to release our tight grip and let it all go.  Our plans, our agendas had to be put on hold… and we had to look within to see if that agenda aligned with our true selves.  Our routines of work, gym, sleep had to stop.  We had to make a real connection with those we lived with instead of just passing by.  We had to talk again.  We had to mend what was broken… or what was left unsaid.  We had to come face to face to those inner demons and let go of traits that stemmed from past hurts and pains… and make an effort to heal.

Healing… purging of what’s not aligned with my true self has been my agenda these days. I no longer want to be surrounded by anyone that makes me feel lesser than myself. And I certainly don’t want to be the culprit of anyone feeling lesser than themselves.  As Corona starts to decline a bit, the fear and the cases, the incident with George Floyd springs up.  All eyes on this incident, no sports, concerts to cloud our sensories to this explicit scene of racism.  George Floyd, a native of Houston, hit close to home.  The men in my family could have been George Floyd, and the incident with Breonna Taylor… well that could’ve been me.  Creating personal narratives pushed the whole nation to fight for justice for all those black lives that were ended because of racial discrimination.  Black dead bodies continued to increase, while those that killed them were still alive and free.  What is this?  I’m not one to stand up with a microphone and speak, I avoid even speaking up in my faculty meetings but this incident ignited something within and I couldn’t just stay at home and watch Netflix anymore.  I needed to do something.  I spent quite a few days crying over all of this… I was overwhelmed with social media newsfeed, posts, and IG stories.  Yet something hit me and I realized I didn’t want to cry anymore… I needed to do something, even if it was simply being present at the rally for George Floyd. It just seemed right… I needed to do my part. I am not a politician or celebrity… but a human being.   What was done and still being done is inhumane.  You just don’t treat people like that… and the origin of all this stems from skin color… hate… wickedness.

I watched the funeral of George Floyd and I was truly moved by Al Sharpton’s eulogy.  He recited the following scripture:

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12  KJB

He explained there is plain out wickedness within individuals that execute these acts of hate.  He reminded us that the physical actions stem from something more powerful, the spiritual.  I had heard the verse before and but in these times the scripture weighed heavy on me… I needed to cling to the spiritual in order to fight this.  I needed to look within and have Him search me… is there darkness in me?  Do I hold any prejudices?  I need to seek him and ask for His guidance in every area of my life… and love like Him.  The spiritual fight must occur before the physical fight…. extend HIS peace and HIS love to ensure the physical fight is won.

 

 

Faith

So after “The Holiday Disconnect,”  I feel freer and lighter.  I don’t have this heaviness on me anymore… more at peace.  I posted this pic last weekend, and I have to admit I checked the post quite a few times to see who liked it.  I went back to my old ways.  I decided I would ration out my time on social media, only check it on the weekends.  It was kind of weird to be totally disconnected to everyone.  Every now and then I would ask my sister about a few people, we have over 300 mutual friends.  But overall, I was okay not knowing the play by play of people’s lives.  When I heard from them via text or saw them face to face I caught up with them then, and I was cool with that.  I needed this time to work.

I made some strides too! I finished the play I started and actually submitted it to a play festival.  I spent most of the time editing the play: printing it out quite a few times to use my red, flair pen to add dialogue or cross out unnecessary details.  In those edits, I was able to build, refine the characters a bit more, and raise the stakes a bit more.  Along with editing my play, I came across a play that was similar to mine.  The subject matters were not at all the same, but the layout… Yeah, I guess, the layout of the whole piece was quite similar.  Characters were doubled, and the lines were somewhat in code, holding a deeper meaning.  The movement of the play was very much in movements, not in Acts, or scenes… but in physical shifts.  The piece did have the technical parts of a play: a plot, rising action, climax, and resolution, but not a clear linear story… similar to mine.  So, it was kind of refreshing to see that this play was published and has been performed across the world.  It gave me hope that maybe I had a chance.

I read my play aloud to my sister and the first thing she said, “Hmmm that’s sound familiar.”  I just laughed and said, “You write what you know.”

I saw the latest version of the Little Women movie (I prefer the older one featuring Winona Ryder) while I was in this whole editing phase, and more inspiration came about.  The character Joe had this drive to write so badly that she would stay up all night to finish up one of her stories.  I don’t think I ever had that drive, but I did feel like I had work to do and it was now time to start.  I had been sleeping on this for too long. God constantly surrounded me with writers… oh, and one of my writer friends actually called me during this whole break.  We met in New York while working at the same art museum.  He had always had his writing in tow and did quite a few writing residencies.  After ten years, we have still kept in touch.  When I moved back home, ten years ago, he stayed over my parent’s house when he and his wife were moving from NY to the west coast.  And just two years ago when I was in Orlando for spring break, I spent some time with his family… they now live in Orlando. In the course of our friendship, he has managed to publish quite a few of his works and make a short film.  We kept in touch through emails and a phone call here and there… he’s not on social media, which I now understand.  It just gets in the way sometimes.

It’s crazy because when I was younger, writing/ reading was like second nature.  It was therapeutic and my coping mechanism for anything and everything I went through.  Although, I did throw away quite a few of my journals when I moved back to Texas… they were a bit depressing… as if a black cloud was hovering over me.  I’m glad I used my writing to get it out of my system at the time but I had no need for them now.

Inspiration kept me coming, and it helped a lot especially when I had to revisit those dark places.  Even when tears came down my eyes I knew I needed to keep going.  My past served as my inspiration: the old conversations turned into dialogue and old relationships transformed into characters.  I saw my life transpire through the pages and saw the hidden messages throughout my life that lead me to be vulnerable… softened … as if to make me more malleable…

As timing would have it, I went on a cruise for my friend’s birthday … the cruise amplified this disconnect even more because I had no access to the internet for a few days.  I wasn’t going to pay an extra $20 a day just to check a few emails/ texts.  I was going to be just fine within a day or two when we hit land to make the appropriate replies.   It was the four of us and we seem to have the same agenda while on this cruise: Relaxation, positivity, and peace.  There was no drama in our interactions.  We listened to each other, we waited on each other, and we were patient with each other.  We even made time to do a bible study one morning.  One of my friends was reading a book while we were on the cruise and shared a few passages with me.  The book: What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa Terkeurst.  I ordered the book on Amazon when we hit home.

After the trip, I decided to start my day with a new chapter from the book.  And slowly, but surely it has motivated me to continue the work.  To have faith and just move from there.

 

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. 

Proverbs 16:3 NIV

 

 

 

Holiday Disconnect

To keep the bad things away

So, I have decided to disconnect from social media for a while, at least during the holidays.  I’ll use it for my side hustle, teaching gym classes but I think my consistent strolling/ trolling through random accounts needs to cease.  It takes up quite a bit of time that could be used for creative purposes.  I have done this big disconnect before and it was like I was free… it was weird but I wasn’t bogged down by comparison and just lived my life.  It was a nice feeling.  Also, I was able to receive spiritual guidance more clearly.  I was able to make connections and gain revelation.  I was more focused on what was at hand, my circumstances and how to handle them.  Not that I’m a total mess when I am on social media, but I do tend to get clouded with confusion and doubt.

As a middle school teacher, I have noticed how social media can have an effect on children.  I never met so many insecure, anxious, depressed, confused demographic in my life… I have worked with high school and elementary, yet middle school is a totally different breed.  They are sneaky and manipulative, but sweet and full of compassion.  Some share there deepest thoughts with you and then others can’t say a word to you.  There is no common ground, the whole age group is hard to define.  I’m still amazed at how I can interact with them and get through to them.  So aside from their natural instinct to be hard to deal with, social media doesn’t make it any easier.  Likes, Stories, snap chat all do something to these preteens that I don’t remember going through when I was their age.  Yes, I was uncomfortable in my own skin, went through multiple friend groups, and was made fun, of and had my bouts with insecurities and still do now.  Yet, these kids today are on a totally new level, They are acting out their confusion, acting out their insecurities, acting out their anger in very non-constructive ways.  I try to find a level ground, of being a mentor and teacher, not a friend.  I have learned to create boundaries, and not give in too much because I’m not a licensed counselor, and there’s only so much I can do.  I am pretty strict as a teacher, there are rules in my classroom. I’ve learned to also ignore certain behaviors because really the student only wants attention because he/ she is not getting any at home… let me emphasize the behaviors I ignore are the bad behaviors.  Anyway, I could go on for days on the woes of middle school, but I have learned that these kids today, their confusion, insecurities have been heightened by social media.  There have been so many suicides, school shootings, fights that I had never witnessed when I was their age.  All seem to stem from social media, this need to promote self and this need to belong… this need to be feel valued.

My social media disconnect stemmed from obsessing over a boy.  Yes, my middle school mentality got the best of me.  I started to realize my light was getting dimmed every time I interacted with him. It is the start of our holiday breaks from school, and yesterday I realized after my morning chiropractor appointment, best friend from high school meet-up, yoga class, and talk with my spiritual mentor.. somethings not right with this “friendship.” Friends are there to encourage you, check in with you, this is all reciprocated on the same level of enthusiasm and love…there is no second-guessing their love for you.  I realized this friendship had come to nothing.  What was there is no longer there.  I was trying to force something that had run its course.  I was fighting for this friendship alone.   I was in this friendship alone.  Now, this is not my first rodeo.  I have been here before.   I could barely get out of bed.  My little sister had to drag me to church. And when I could finally get myself to attend service on my own… I broke down in tears, and stranger reached out to hug me. It was pitiful.  I didn’t want to let go but I knew I had to. That was years ago, much more stable now. Same situation, I don’t want to let go but I know I need to, yet this time around I actually have this newfound freedom.  A weight lifted. A knowing that I did all I could do… God will do the rest.  The big disconnect will only heighten my need to come back to myself.  The self God intended me to be.  To give out my energy to those that receive it with open arms. I wish him all the best, but I don’t want my light dimmed anymore, I want to create, accomplish all God has intended for me, and my light must shine…. even if I have to let go and Let God.

2020, is the year of vision.  I want to let go of anything that may hinder a clear vision from God.  I need HIS guidance in this exciting new year… I have actually received part of the vision… just waiting on Him.. or maybe it was actually Him waiting for me.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.   

2 Corinthians 5:17

 

 

Do You, Even If…

Accountability: Did you create today?

I recently went to a bible study led by one of my closet friends from college.  It’s crazy how people come into your life…some stay for a season and others stay for a while.  Those that stay for a season teach you something about yourself  and those that stay, witness your growth and walk alongside you through your transitions.  The ones that stay for a season, may encourage you from a distance or may back away from the “new” you, or rather the authentic you.  Lately I’ve witnessed and gone through some changes with friendships. One, in particular, shocked me because a newfound friendship has now come to nothing.  I had hoped it would have somehow blossomed into something beautiful.  Yet, in time it died into nothing.  We communicate but only online: texting and social media.  I have tried numerous times to see this friend face to face, IRL,  but it doesn’t seem to happen.  I am now at the point of letting go.  Not so much of letting this friend go, but my effort to connect “offline” is no more.  I don’t want to disconnect entirely from this friend, because on paper we are a pretty nice match.  We have the same interests, goals, values… yet, it is very much standstill right now.  This friend actually inspired me to go beyond my work environment and hone into my talents…  Not directly but simply being in their presence.  This friendship pushed me to grow in the arts, to create those opportunities and work towards them.  This friend was in the same ordeal as I was.  We both had this job that was in the arts but yearned to do something on our own… to build an empire.  We had even talked about building something together… I’m kind of hoping we can still build this empire and both put our egos aside.

I have also witnessed friendships changing.  A friend, who started out as a co-worker.  My relationship with this co-worker evolved when we both experienced a loss of drive in our day jobs, we started to seek joy elsewhere.  At first, we hit the pavement looking for new jobs, even open to the possibility of going back to school.  Yet, nothing panned out.  We were struggling to find peace.  Our frustrations were very vocal in conversations, and a newfound friendship started to form.  I started to get back to writing and she began a podcast with a mutual friend.  I started reading, working out, praying more… I was discovering my self outside of my work environment.  In time we both were getting our feet wet in this exciting place.  This place did not have a consistent paycheck, nor any money at all yet it brought us both joy.  We made a commitment to each other, more an accountability agreement.  “Did you create today?”

Time passed and we finished our small projects here and there and encouraged each other along the way.  I started to pull back from outings and people just to own this time to create.  Small breaks from social media did the trick… the need to compare became obsolete… well, it wasn’t so prominent as before.  Soon, co-worker/friend decided to create together.  Similar background in theater/ visual arts leads us to create a film.  In all this self-discovery, old ideas started to strip, and I started to pull back from certain people.  My desire to create became stronger… and my desire for Him, pulled me to seek moments alone.  I wanted to know more… ultimately I needed His inspiration. Also, I felt like no one could give me that clear direction… I had to do this on my own… at least for that moment. In this phase, it was hard especially when I would get a glimpse of everyone on social media.  I got distracted and put my work aside.  I had these moments quite a bit.. and in these moments I had some episodes… crying… wondering why it was not clicking for me.

The summer went by, me-time on full blast and the dynamic of friendships changed… but surprising I stayed afloat… and I managed to finish a play I started a year ago.  In finishing that project, I changed churches, (I haven’t joined this new church but the new environment is giving me that strong spiritual foundation I need right now)  and my desire to “gain access to my door beyond” has become stronger. This goes back to the bible study I mentioned at the beginning of this post.  That was The Word: “Gain access to your door beyond.”  We were asked to write down three words that came to mind after hearing that phrase.  My three words: outside of school, play, writer.  It was now time to seek beyond… to open MY door.  In breaking down the phrase, we came to the conclusion that the door is there, has been there, it was only waiting on you to open it, this door opens up to endless opportunities/ possibilities… this door is behind our fears, insecurities, doubt… access to this door takes faith, courage, and Trust in God.  It is now time for me to open this door not only to experience newness outside of myself but open this door to my authentic self.  To let go of fear, insecurities, and doubt and fully embrace me, even if I am alone for a while, even if people pull away for me, even if I am scared . It is now time to be who I was created to be: outside of school, play, writer.

 

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

Jeremiah 1:5 NIV