You’re good but not great.
Yeah, you wrote a book, but what have you written lately?
You’re funny but you’re no Issa Rae.
You don’t even write and pray every day. How can you call yourself a Christian writer?
It’s Wednesday morning. I sit at Panera Bread soaking up their AC and free wi-fi while gulping down a cold Arnold Palmer. It’s my day off and I realize I am more productive when I’m out of the house. It’s time I write the truth about my journey this summer. It’s been a week since I gathered with the group of women who changed my life forever. It’s been a week since I’ve witnessed firsthand the value of one’s community. The value of forming relationships with friends and strangers who are just like you, one way or another. It’s been a week since I reaped the rewards of obeying God’s words instead of listening to my very own.
Like the ones above.
Far too often, thoughts ravaged my mental space forcing me to moonwalk out of so many blessings, so many discoveries, so many victories. Months after penning an essay about killing my own negative vibes, I still struggled.
“The goal is to walk with self-love and confidence, ridding ourselves of negative thoughts, little to no actions, and decide once and for all that it’s time to walk in our greatness.”
Those were my words written for the world to see. Yet, I was still the pot calling the kettle black.
Until they came along.
Week after week, these women, of all ages, and paths, trusted me with their fears, loves, frustrations and goals. For six weeks, I sat at the head of the table, sweaty palms and pits, leading them down a road to freedom. A road where they would come face-to-face with everything I’ve battled with all my life. We embarked on the journey together, and I am eternally grateful.
Knowing the journey almost didn’t happen, I remember tilting my head back uttering words to heaven when it was all over. God, I thank you. I would go on to send texts to two leaders turned friends who encouraged me to “say yes” to the idea of hosting a small writing group at church I happily coined “She’s So Writeous.”
Just before coming to Panera, one of them sends me a podcast titled “Victory Over Anxiety.” I flashback to my group’s first few meetings. I was filled with excitement and cotton mouth. Though my notes were sloppily written in a journal, my thoughts were all over the place. Every word I spoke, in the back of my mind, I questioned. I didn’t know if I should sit down or stand up, if I should do the writing exercises with them or just observe. I looked into their eyes wondering if I was making sense, wondering if I was an authority on the subjects at hand, and then it happened.
They wrote their truths. They stepped beyond the shadows and shared their stories with one another. They conquered. They returned. They bonded, connected, and more importantly, they were used by God to speak to me. Loud and clear.
Before each meeting I would recite 2Timothy 1:7: For God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind.
As each word rolled off my tongue, it was like I was wearing noise cancelling headphones. I knew the scripture. I needed to believe it. And when I did, God did the rest. Showed up in our space of sisterhood and did more than I could with the stroke of a pen.
I was too busy being a stubborn Moses and not an anticipating Adina.
“But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.”
Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord?- Exodus 4:10-12
By the end of it all I had no excuses left to give. God looked me in my eyes and smacked down every I can’t and I don’t. He lifted my chin, and reminded me that I had nothing to fear. That life takes trust and obedience. “It’s like telling your significant other, ‘yes, I trust you, but let me see your phone’.” That’s what I told the group one day. I am grateful for that step forward. Because of it I feel whole, alive and full of purpose. I know that I am all those things. I can no longer hold on to voice, whether my own, or someone else’s riddled with anxiety, fear, self-sabotage, insecurities, and other limiting behaviors. Listening to the right voice in my head, God’s voice, can take me further than I ever imagined.
See you in the fall?