life is unpredictable. there’s no way around it. you can plan out what you’d like to happen: the places you’d like to go, the friends you will keep, the love you plan to nurture, the career path you’ll follow, but there’s always a chance that some humongous monkey wrench will be thrown right at your head and toss you off your square.
but you don’t have to be moved from your square, honey. oh noooooo, you can stand firm in your spot and deal with all of the mess with strength and courage to get through it!!
i know because i’m living it.
the past several months have been the roughest of my life, no doubt about that, but i’ve learned a lot about myself and gotten lessons throughout this season that i wouldn’t have acquired otherwise. so i ain’t mad. well, that ain’t true. i’ve been mad a bunch of times, but i absolutely refuse to moved from my square.
i always thought of myself as a pretty tough and strong chick, but now i know that without a doubt. there’s no question in my mind about being able to push through insane obstacles in my life. i know that i can, i will, and here’s why:
1. honey, my faith in the Lord is strong. i am not responsible for my strength, it all comes from the Lord. no doubt. i got to a point in my struggles where i just became tired of trying to do things my way. my way was not working and it caused a tremendous amount of frustration and stress. oh, the stress. the stress was thick and choking the very life out of me. it was time to let it go.
exodus 14:14 says, “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
hello!! that was it for me. it was time to wipe off the war paint and put my guns down. this battle was not for me. i decided to give it up to the Lord. i’ve stayed in deep prayer over my life, started a prayer journal and the whole nine and guess what? although i wouldn’t say i’m stress-free, i have a sense of calm and peace that i haven’t felt ever during a time of heavy mess-ness.
2. i had to accept some things about myself. i am not perfect. i have said and done things that have caused pain to people i love and i had to recognize that. doing a self-examination is not comfortable. it ain’t fun. in fact, it’s pretty funky to look at yourself and say, you know that thing i do…it’s a pretty wack way to be, but it’s something that has to be done. self checks are important. but recognizing my ugly stuff was only half the story…
3. change. recognizing your ish is one thing, but changing how you move about life is necessary. especially if you know how you have behaved in the past had a negative impact on people and situations. own your mess and change it. simple as that. as an adult it can be difficult to change your ways because, well, you’re grown and you’ve been a certain way for a long time. but hey, it can be done. i’ve looked at some things in my life and said to myself, “now niki, you know, that wasn’t cool…next time, this is what we gon’ do. how we gon’ handle that type of situation.” and i’ve been doing it ever since, haven’t looked back once.
4. if your behavior has hurt anyone, apologize and ask for forgiveness. they may not be able to accept your apology or even offer you forgiveness, but at that point it’s out of your hands. ain’t a daggone thing you can do about that because it’s not on you. it’s on them. your part is to be honest about what you’ve done and sincerely ask to be forgiven in the situation.
5. forgive those who have offended you for whatever they’ve done to you. and i mean, whatever. this is a tough-y for a lot of people. but as i wrote on instagram a while ago we tend to think that forgiving a best friend, spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, parent, child, boss/coworker or whoever is about granting THEM a gift, but the true power in forgiveness is about YOU. it’s really not about the person who has offended you.
forgiveness allows you to kickstart the healing process of your heart and you grow as a person because of it. harboring hate and anger towards another person is stifling in our lives no matter what it is they’ve done to hurt you, but releasing those ill feelings is freeing.
mark 11:25 says, “and when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
6. know that forgiving and asking for forgiveness may not change a darn thing about your situation. if a person is unable to move past a negative situation, there’s nothing you can do to change their mind or heart. ya heard? nothing. you can apologize but what you can’t do is go back in time and erase whatever you’ve done. it just ain’t possible. you could offer them the moon on a platter with five unicorns with skittle necklaces dancing around it and it ain’t gonna change the past. and you can not change a person’s heart or what they feel about you or the situation, and if they choose to dwell on the negative then so be it. it’s okay. you’ve done your part.
7. understand that you can’t change people. you can only change yourself. there will be people in your life who will do or say things you may not like and it may cause you a lot of pain, but ultimately you have no control over what they do or say to you. but you can control your reaction to it. how you react is totally up to you. we all have the capability of making choices for ourselves and whether you choose to respond positively or negatively is something you have to weigh. and if it’s negative, just know there’s a great chance of you having to deal with the aftermath of the decision you made to respond in a non-healthy way.
what i’ve learned during this rough season in my life is to be still before reacting. be still and pray if necessary on what your response should be. whatever you do, don’t respond out of emotion. been there, done that a million times. it doesn’t work.
8. watch your words. you know the old saying, “if you don’t have nothin’ good to say, don’t say it?” yeah, pretty much. the Bible even speaks on the power of the tongue.
matthew 15:11 says, “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
i’ve always been the type of person to say what’s on my mind, especially out of emotion and in a heated argument, but most of what is said in anger is not true for most. you’re coming from a place that’s heated and emotional and most of all, you’re trying to hurt the person who’s pissing you off. so don’t even go there because once it’s out there it’s a done deal. you can’t take your words back. choose your words wisely and watch yo’ mouth.
9. don’t dwell on the negative. look, we all go through tough times, it’s just a part of life but you can not sit in the muck of it all and bathe in every wrong thing that has gone wrong in your life. i’m not saying to thug it out and not be sad, but don’t let that sad feeling overtake you. there’s life to be lived, you can’t be under your comforter soothing yourself with pints of ice cream for weeks on end crying streams of tears and singing woe is me. child, please…
address the issue, give yourself a little time to cry it out or whatever, but brush yourself off and get back to business. ’cause you best believe, the world is not going to stop spinning because you’re going through some mess. and if you’re down because of a person, nine times out of ten, they’re not nearly as affected as you. they’re laughing and hahaha’ing and having a grand ol’ time in life. so why aren’t you, dear?
10. stop wasting time and brain space on the negative!! dig deep into your passions, travel, pick up a new hobby, ride a bike, take a class, play your favorite records, dance with your kids, go see a movie, take a walk, hang out with your girls, travel, read a book… set some goals for yourself. make some dreams come true. take the tags off that special dress you bought for some special occasion that never happened and rock it down to the coffee shop. buy a new lipgloss, dust off your heels and be as beautiful on the outside as you’re now feeling on the inside.
basically, don’t let your current situation bring your life to a halt. life is far too short to not be able to move through the bad times into the good days. your life may take some turns you hadn’t expected, but go with it. change can be good. choose happiness and rock it out.