So, like everyone else, I've always been a little in love with setting resolutions for the new year. In the most recent years, I've narrowed my resolutions down to a word. I'd write a post at the start of the year about that word and all the reasons and ways I'd try to spend the next 365 days embodying it as best I can. Then, at the end of the year, I'd write another post about what I'd learned from chasing that word. All the lessons and craters and hills and hurts and laughs that came with it and why it was all worth it
For 2018, my word was Freedom.
I certainly had moments of Freedom in 2018, but it was also a lot of not-Freedom. A lot of finding myself stuck, actually.
2018 was a lot of looking at myself in the mirror and addressing my dirt. It was a lot of asking myself the tough questions like, "Why do you think it's okay to gossip about other people so often and so pointedly? Don't you have other things to do with your time?" and "When did you start cursing so freely and easily? Where did you even learn that?" and "When did you get so full of affirmation and compliments and approval that you forgot how to stand up without them?". Questions that sting. Questions I unknowingly asked God for when I prayed that "Lord, search my heart and show me what offends You" prayer.
Y'all, please understand that when you ask God to show you your dirt, He will show up and show out. All the way out.
2018 was a lot of a tears, hard nights and reality.
However, 2018 was also the year I pulled up my sleeves and really started the hard work. The heart work. The work of not just accepting that how I act on my worst day is "who I am".
I'm not a gossip, and I'm not a slave to my emotions. I'm made of tougher stuff than that.
2018 was the year I got brave enough to admit and declare that I needed to be on my own...not in that comfortable grey area of kinda being alone but still having that person to call or text at the end of the night. Really alone. Really single. Even when I wanted to grab my phone, open the Messages app and start a conversation, 2018 was the year I learned to stop, put the phone down and ask myself the tough questions.
I traveled a lot, ate really good food, laughed really hard with my best girl friends, had heart talks with my momma, found the magic in my southern city, learned to call my cute little a apartment a home and cooked with curry for the first time.
I lived a lot of real life, felt a lot of things and got more experience with trudging through the valley. The valley sucks, y'all...but you're equipped to walk on through it. I learned that too.
This year, I'm not making resolutions. In 2019, I'm not even picking a word. There are enough words and buckets of stuff in our world, don't you think? We don't really need more information or things to add to our plate.
In fact, we could all honestly stand to lose a few things.
So, this year, I'm focusing on the things I'm leaving in 2018. The things I now know, if I don't actively shake them off and sprint in the opposite direction, they'll follow me to every season and just take up space. Even worse, they'll suck the life out and replace it with anxiety, insecurity and stress.
These are the things I'm walking away from this year. I hope you'll consider ditching them too.
I'm not really sure when we, as a culture, got to a place where we aggressively tear ourselves down and pick ourselves apart, then laugh it off and call it self-deprecating humor. Worse, I don't know when we learned to call that humility.
I cannot tell you the number of times I've looked at myself before the start of a show or a live shot and grimaced, then made some off-handed comment about my hair, face, body, etc. Somehow, I think I figure that doing that is better than being arrogant. It's okay to make jokes about ourselves because it makes us seem down to earth and not full of ourselves, right?
The thing is this- jokes are funny. Laughing at yourself is cool if you've done something funny. It's a better way to live. That's true. However, there is a difference between being able to chuckle about how you say the word "orange" and full on ripping yourself a new one about how you look, talk, walk, act, love, etc.
That is not funny. That will never be funny.
What you say often, you start to believe. In fact, the Bible says that what you say is a direct product of what's in your heart.
If you "joke" about being ugly, dumb, fat, incapable of finding love and not special enough to to reach your dreams, trust and believe you will start to believe that. You will start to walk in that.
Making fun of yourself isn't funny or fun. It makes you a bully. The world has enough bullies; you don't need to join the ranks. Stop doing it. It doesn't make you humble. Honestly, it smells a lot like fishing for compliments.
I've read multiple times that humility is not thinking less of yourself; it's thinking of yourself less.
Stop talking crap about yourself. While you're at it, stop hanging out with people who think it's funny to constantly poke fun at you too. That's not cute, either.
Speaking like words don't matter.
Continuing that first point...YOUR WORDS MATTER. Every single one.
The words you speak to, and about, others. The words you speak to, and about, yourself. Scripture says the power of life and death lies in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).
That terrifies me.
I've whispered the most hurtful, devastating things about myself, to myself and people around me, when I've failed or fallen.Words the Lord never intended for us to ingest or even hear.
I've said worse things about people who hurt me, made me mad, treated me unfairly or let me down.
In 2018, I was smacked in the face with the truth, that I was never given the right to cut someone down with my words. Never. No matter how offended. No matter how upset. Never.
I was also never given the right to treat myself that way.
We all belong to the Lord. We were all made in His image. He takes us all very personally.
Taking it all to heart
And since we know people will let us down, I think it's really important to not take those let downs so personally.
We're all walking novels of hurts, joys, pains and experiences. Lots of us believe in bigger and are striving for better. Lots of us are not. Lots of us are just trying to muster up the strength to get out of bed and make it through the day. I'd say most have been there at some point.
We can only do and be who we can in any given moment. There's a good chance, we'll have many moments that aren't great and gracious. We'll respond too harshly. We'll cut someone off in traffic, even though we're the ones who woke up late. We may even break someone's heart.
I know our world is all about getting people back and making it all fair, but sometimes it's just not worth the energy. I'd say most of the time, it's not. I think it's a really worthy battle to learn to let stuff go. I think that's easier to do when you take time to remember that we all fail people, even people we love.
Please hear this- Most people do not deserve your festering. As you get closer to where you're meant to be, you'll find a lot of people have a genuinely hard time being happy for other people. A lot of people will not clap for you from a genuine place of support. People get jealous. People compare. People will want what you have- even if it's just the light in your eye, the passion you walk in or the hope you have in the vision God's put on your heart for the future. Those things are ugly, have nothing to do with you and will show themselves differently. It will only hurt and exhaust you to take those things to heart.
Know who your people are. Take them to heart, and try to shake off the rest. However, even the people who are close to you will let you down. When they do, forgive quickly. The biggest lesson I'm learning as I enter into 2019 is how to take a deep breath and forgive quickly.
If you were not abused, violated or physically hurt, I think you should let things go. Huffing and puffing about petty things is a waste of your precious air.
Going back-and-forth about the unnecessary
Let's all give three cheers to Lil Duval and Snoop Dogg for creating the most ratchet, yet necessary anthem we've heard in a while.
Stop wasting your time, joy, energy, livelihood, words, thoughts, peace, syllables, eye rolls...all of it, on things and conversations that are unnecessary.
Being right isn't as important as being sane. It's also not as important as being at peace.
I want to live my best life in 2019, so I'm no longer in a season of goin' back-and-forth.
You got a lot to be smilin' for. So, stop wylin'.
(If this went over your head, look it up. Look up the CLEAN version haha.)
Trash dating situations
I think we've really started accepting and normalizing nonsense when it comes to dating. I really do. Everyone's doing something different, wants certain things and is in different places, so I won't harp on this too much. Honestly, this deserves a whole post on its own.
I will just say this. As I get further along on this journey of refining and falling in love with myself, and more importantly, who I was created to be, I am a a little heartbroken about some of the things I've accepted or just rolled with when it comes to dating.
I'm just going to leave this here: You are worth effort. At the very least, you deserve effort. People will do what you allow them to do and get away with. Make your excuses. Fight your friends about it. Rationalize it out late at night in your room. Do what you want, but know that the small sick feeling that it's not right and you're worth more won't go away. It's also not wrong.
It's a scary thing to be so afraid of being alone, so hungry for companionship or so comfortable in a certain spot that you learn to be okay with not feeling special, loved, wanted, cared for or even respected.
Ladies, I really think we'd be doing ourselves a solid by refusing to chase guys who have made it clear that they're not all that interested. Personally, I don't think we should be chasing guys at all. I don't believe chivalry is dead. I think that's a cheap excuse to settle for less. It also doesn't work in our favor. It really only benefits guys who don't want to put forth effort.
I think it's a wise thing to realize there is a difference between someone being interested and keeping you around as an option. I think we'd block fewer blessings if we were more honest with what we want, believed people when they SHOW us who they are and what they want and walked in our value.
How you are willing to let someone treat you says a lot about what you think about you. I know that's not fun to hear.
Also, even in 2018, I still believe there are lots of men who are MEN. Not boys, but men. Who text back, plan dates and understand the word "no". I've met them, worked with them, talked to them and picked their brains. They're out here. They're worth the wait.
Ignoring my passions
I think I spent too much time last year talking myself out of making big steps toward some things that I daydream about. I've explained to myself why my hands are too small, I don't have enough time and they'll never work. One of those things is this space here.
I love writing this content. I love cooking the recipes, digging through scripture to find the lessons, reviewing the books and styling the outfits. I LOVE it. I have so much vision for it. I have so many hopes and plans for it.
However, despite God showing me so many people balancing things like this with careers, blessing me with visions of what it could look like and the way my heart explodes over little things here- I've allowed myself to believe I just can't.
I'm leaving that in 2018.
Every single thing attraction, device, product and event we love came from an idea. An idea that took hope, vision, work and effort. It took someone throwing their hands up and exclaiming, "This is a good idea. I feel it in my bones, and I'm going after it with everything I have."
Now, I don't know if that's exactly how it happened. I don't know if the person who invented the straw had a moment that dramatic, but I like to think so.
Go after it, babe. Go after what gives you butterflies. Someone needs you to go after it and give it what you've got.
I hope this year is full of joy, love and honesty for you. I hope it lacks insecurity, lies and ugly words.
I believe 2019 will be your year. Even if it's gotten off to a rough start, please know it can turn around. Know that as long as you're breathing, it can all turn around.
With Love & Glitter,
PS- Please send me prayer requests for 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. It would give me joy to life you up in prayer.