I want to take a minute to thank God for a few things:
1.) I am not the same person I used to be. I’m better.
2.) He gave me the grace and mercy to grow –to change–to evolve.
3.) He spared me from some of the disastrous choices I was making that had the potential to destroy and derail my life COMPLETELY.
4.) Even though my life was far from perfect, He kept me, (and as the old, Southern Baptist testimony taught us to add) “clothed in my right mind.”
You may ask what brought on this impromptu, blog testimony service. Well, I’m glad you asked.
I came across a college photo of myself and my friends the other day. I texted the photo to my girlfriends, and I asked them a simple question: “If you could go back and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?” The texts started coming in, and every response boiled down to one of these things: wisdom and insight, self-love, self-correction and confidence.
As I began to think about these things, I asked myself, “How is it that we have those things now?”, and here’s what I came up with:
1.) I gained wisdom and insight through two teachers. The first teacher was found in older people lending me advice that I often ignored. I, personally, chose to lean into the second teacher who didn’t love me as much as the first, but her lessons were still tight and right. That teacher was life. Some things I had to live out to learn.
2.) I learned what self-love was by not being loved or by being loved wrong. I took what I was offered instead of realizing that I had the power to set the standard for how I would accept to be loved. I had to realize that I was responsible for setting the standard. It took time to realize that love from anyone and everyone else was not enough to sustain me. I learned that I had to love myself fully and completely because the world is faithful to point out what’s not to love about me.
3.) I learned how to self-correct when I learned to look in the mirror and see the role that I was playing in the drama that was happening in my life. Reflection taught me how to slow down, take ownership and control what I could control –myself. It’s a hard thing to check yourself, but when you do it, you become a better person who is, in turn, better to people.
4.) I learned confidence by having to stand up for myself. Standing up looks different on all of us. For me, standing up meant walking away. It meant taking my power back. It meant refusing to allow others to belittle me while I remained timid and silent while being abused by words and actions. Confidence taught me to step up when others thrived on my standing down.
Here’s the thing: the road –my life–was not easy, and the path was not always clear, but I am grateful to report that I am alive, and I’m still here–CHANGED and a better version of myself.
I wish that for you too.
I wish you all love, peace, prosperity, and, of course, the audacity to keep growing gracefully!