Prompted: Who or what have you hidden from?


Sometimes I hide from God.

Usually it is after a failure, a short coming or a complete 180 because I am not perfect. And although I know he does not need me to be, I can’t help but feel conviction.

So, I hide.

Day in and day out, sometimes for months at a time, until He catches up to me.

I hide in the mornings when I’m running late. I run around in circles and forget to say a prayer to thank Him for giving me another day to even decide if I should run or bow down.

I hide on my lunch break in between bites of my sandwich and social media surfing. If I’m distracted, I don’t have to face the fear that I will never have the consistency He deserves.

I hide in moments of frustration so that I will have an excuse to be petty instead of patient. I use the pain as a pretext to retaliate. I use it as the scapegoat to hold a grudge.

I get home and hide from my reflection because I can’t look at all that He made me and handle the idea that I’m not living up to it.

I hide behind accomplishments, hobbies, titles and make check marks in my head as if it adds more or less value to my identity.

I hide behind the people who I love and take in their opinions of me like oxygen.

And then I hide from them because I’m not always who they think I am. I’m not even always who I think I am and that scares me.

In my weakest moments, I hide from God.

I fail then hide. Then when I’ve hidden long enough, I continue to hide because I realize that there was no reason to hide in the first place! I hide because I knew better than to think He wouldn’t love me in spite of me hiding. I understand what Adam and Eve felt because it is a never-ending cycle trying to expose yourself to God then feeling so ashamed that you try to cover up.

Sometimes I hide from God in a garden, behind a tree, covered in fig leaves to distract the world from my vulnerability.

But he knows exactly where I am. He knows exactly where to find me. Hiding.

unnamed

* Apply it! What or who are you hiding from? Leave a comment below!

Advertisements

8 Things You Need To Hear After Graduation

1. You don’t have to know right now

I’m serious! It feels like the entire world is dying to know what’s next for you! “What jobs do you have lined up?” “What grad schools did you apply to?” “What are your plans?” Ugh! It can be so nerve-racking! They want something that you can’t give them right now. I want you to know that you don’t HAVE to have all of the answers! They don’t. They may have an idea but the truth is, no one knows what God has planned. Yet we spend so much time trying to live in the future that we can’t even be proud of today. Relax! It’s okay not to know. We’re all stumbling around trying to figure it out.

2. Rejection is a redirection

So, you’ve applied for quite a few positions that you thought you really wanted? Maybe you applied to a few back ups just in case your initial plan fell through. However, it didn’t make much of a difference because they all said “No.” Ouch! You know you’re more than qualified! Maybe you were an honor student. Maybe you’ve accumulated an excessive amount of internship hours. Maybe you’ve got connections in every zip code. For God’s sake, the job posting only called for a high school diploma to begin with! So why did you receive that “Thanks for applying but we regret to inform you…” email? I’ll tell you: Yes, your degree has value. Yes, networking can be quite useful. Yes, having field experience is a plus! It doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough or that you didn’t do enough. It doesn’t mean that you chose the wrong major. Here’s what I found out the hard way: Sometimes it’s not about what you know or who you know; it’s about what God has for you. The worst thing that God can do is give you what you desperately think you want. The rejections could be pouring in right now, but pick yourself up, brush yourself off and know that it’s all apart of a bigger plan. Be patient.

3. Don’t force it

Don’t try to talk yourself into something that you aren’t passionate about. I know it’s scary not knowing what’s next and I’ve heard the saying “If the door doesn’t open, it’s not your door” but you don’t have to take any and every opportunity presented to you either. Be picky with where you invest your time and energy. I know that it can be hard to stay true to yourself but don’t jump into something just to say you’re doing something. It may sound like a no brainer to start a grad program in the fall to hold off on making payments on your student loans. I mean at least you’ll be working towards something, right? But, you know what you’ll find at the end of that graduate program? The same situation that you put off. You’ll still have to face some rejection. You still have to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life. You may still feel lost. I’m not trying to change your mind about furthering your education. You can never be overeducated (or overdressed.) However, I am telling you to make sure that your decision isn’t just a last resort. The same goes for jobs that will be presented to you. Every time I got rejected, I would find another position that had nothing to do with my interests or the position I had previously applied for and go through this process of trying to convince myself that this one was “the one.” I talked a little about this struggle here.  I applied to be a claims adjuster, software trainer, cellphone retail sales specialist, bank teller, management trainee… and the list goes on. What did all of these jobs have in common? Nothing. I just wanted something to show for my degree. I thought that something was better than nothing. I was absolutely, positively WRONG. If you’ve found an open door, I’m not trying to convince you to turn it down. I’m just telling you to consider what you want and what they have to offer you. Consider who you are and use Glass Door to see what others have to say about the company culture. Consider the position and whether there is room for growth. Otherwise, consider yourself a sell out because if you take just any door, the longer you stay, the harder it will be to walk through it.

4. You’re right on time

The absolute worst thing that you can do in this moment is compare yourself to others. When you hear about the luck your friends are having, the places they are moving to, and how they seem to be finding themselves, be happy for them.  Everyone is on a different schedule. It doesn’t matter if it took you 4 years or 7, if you graduated with a 2.5 or 4.0 or if you have 10 job offers or none. You’re doing just fine, kid. Just like a seed being planted, you can’t always see the progress, but the product will be beautiful. You’ll never be late to the party because you can’t rush greatness.

5. Money isn’t everything

If you have to choose between your passion and more money, please choose what you love. Your bank account can be full and your spirit be empty and it will show in the work you do. Don’t burn yourself out for a buck. Trust me, I get it! You’re a poor graduate with a stack of student loans and bills that have to get paid. But, life is also about more than just surviving. If you can’t do something that makes you happy now, just make sure you find time to do the things that make you feel alive.

6. They’re still proud of you

When you are at your lowest, remember all of those smiling faces that cheered you on as you graced the stage with your presence. They love you and want the best for you. But sometimes, you can put a lot of pressure on yourself to keep everyone else happy. They have expectations that you’re afraid you won’t be able to meet. Maybe they have expectations you have no interest in meeting at all. And if you don’t, it can feel like you’re failing them. You’re not. You’ve already committed to something huge and saw it through! It’s time to live for you. There may come a time when you realize that what they want for you isn’t what you want for yourself. In those moments, you’ll have to be your own advocate and it probably won’t be an easy thing to do! Maybe you want to be an artist but they want you to be an engineer. Maybe you want to be a social worker but they’ve always pushed for you to be a politician. Maybe you want to write…. I say do it. Don’t let other people project their lives and dreams onto you. Be brave, be bold, be honest with yourself but, above all else, be ready for the criticism and doubt that is to come because nothing you want badly will come easy. You will have to fight for those dreams. And don’t worry, even if it’s not what they want for you, they’ll continue to be proud of you (even if it’s in secret) because they’ll know, deep down, that they taught you to stand up for what you believe in. The time is now. You are responsible for the life you want. Go after it.

 7. This isn’t the end

This is where the plot gets interesting! You are standing on the edge of  adulthood and the possibilities are endless. You have the freedom to be whatever and whoever you want to be. You have the right to leap, run, walk or crawl but whatever you do… don’t stop! You’ve got work to do, a life to live and for the first time ever, you call the shots!

8. Don’t forget to breathe

You only graduate from undergrad once! This chapter came with a whirlwind of emotions. You’re in disbelief that you made it, sad about leaving your friends, excited about your next adventure, afraid of what’s to come… But just for one moment, do yourself a favor and BREATHE. Take a day off to take it all in. “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” – Matthew 6:34. This moment belongs to you and only you. You earned it.

So, once you walk across that stage, know that the work has just begun and that you are walking onto a battlefield for those dreams of yours. If you put them off, they will let you. If you slow up, they will let you. If you give up, they will let you. No one is more accountable than you. You are responsible for your own happiness, your own potential, your own life. Congratulations! You deserve the world! But first, you have to believe that you can conquer it! 

unnamed

When Your Sunken Place is a Person… GET OUT!

SPOILER ALERT:

Since the highly anticipated debut of Jordan Peele’s, Get Out, an American comedy horror film that has surpassed box office expectations, earned a nearly perfect rating on Rotten Tomatoes and shed new light on age-old oppression, the buzz around the movie’s allegories and applications to reality have yet to cease. Upon its release, average movie goers and experts alike scrambled to pick apart the film and give their own interpretations of its hidden messages. Of their discussions, the most common speculation centered around the symbolic meaning of the “Sunken Place.” For those who have not seen the movie, the main character, Chris, is hypnotized into a cognitive state of mind, where he is wide awake but unable to move or call out for help; similar to sleep paralysis.

I’ve read so many different theories behind what the sunken place really is: the public education system, racism, slavery, etc. Peele even offered insight on Twitter, stating that we’re all in the sunken place:

FullSizeRender (6)_3

Still, I think what makes this concept so captivating is its abstract nature. It has the ability to take on multiple meanings and apply to just about anything. There is no right or wrong answer because each person has their own set of sunken places. For this reason, I would like to argue that the sunken “place” can also be a person or an unhealthy relationship.

Here’s what you need to know about the Sunken Place:

  • It happens so quickly that you don’t even notice until it’s too late
  • You are most vulnerable when you are cut off from friends and family
  • You are unable to live up to your full potential
  • Something prohibits you from getting out of it
  • The entry way is an insecurity or shortcoming
  • You feel stuck and like you have no control over the situation
  • When it happens, you make excuses for it instead of accepting it for what it is and leaving.

So how does this apply to a bad relationship?

1. It happens so fast…

When Chris comes in from a late night smoke break, his girlfriend’s mom, Missy Armitage, insists that they have a chat about the relationship. One minute she’s hitting a tea-cup with a spoon, probing him with personal questions and the next, he is lost in limbo, falling. This can be similar to falling in love. One minute, you are single, care-free, sure of who you are and what you want for yourself, then BAM! someone comes along and in an instant, everything changes! Before you know it, you’re in love and all you can see is them. You don’t notice the rising action at all; it isn’t until you’re in the climax, trying to figure out when it got so serious or so hard, that you see what its become. When did this stop being fun?, you ask yourself. When did this person become my life? By the time someone flashes a camera and you realize that something isn’t right, you’re in too deep. If it was called “stepping into love” then you would be prepared for it. But it’s not, so you trip and fall head first instead.

2. “Wait, something isn’t right…”

It didn’t take Chris long to pick up on the fact that something was terribly wrong. For starters, Chris remembered being hypnotized! Georgina and Walter were enthusiastically “off.” There is a scene where Georgina literally cries in front of him while reassuring him that everything is okay. The guests at the party treated Chris like he was on display at the zoo! Andrew a.k.a. Andre, the only black guy at the party, tried to give him a handshake instead of a dap. If ever there was a moment to prove his blackness, that was it and he failed! I promise you, no one had to tell a black person what Andrew did wrong in that scene! Finally, Chris’ friend told him to GET OUT! But do you know what he did instead?! He trusted Rose over his own intuition. He didn’t feel safe but instead of getting to the root of those feelings, he took her word. He let her talk him down because he loved her and believed she had his best interests at heart. Surely, she wouldn’t hurt him, he thought. He later finds out this isn’t the case. In unhealthy relationships, you can very well know that something is off. You know how you’re supposed to be treated. You can assess where your partner falls short. You can feel when you’re being lied to. You can tell when you’re not yourself anymore. You can see what you’ve given up to make it work. But instead of trusting your gut, you discredit yourself or make excuses because you think it’s easier to fix than it is to start over. You believe that your partner means well, even when they have had a hand in hurting you. I’ve seen things with my own eyes and got talked out of them! You can make up your mind about something over and over, but the wrong person will change it for you every time. Let me be the one to tell you: Love is not supposed to think for you.

The+Next+Reel+-+Get+Out+37

3. You become less of who you are…

In Get Out, there is  a scene where Chris, a talented photographer with an “eye” for detail and an athletic build, is being auctioned off to the highest white bidder with bingo boards! It turns out that Rose, the girlfriend, was luring black men (and Georgina) in so that white people could harvest and steal their bodies! While Chris and Rose take a walk to discuss the anxiety he is feeling, Chris is sold off to a blind man who covets his keen sight. Undergoing a procedure of this caliber would mean that Chris would no longer be himself. His body and life would no longer belong to him but instead to the blind man who bought him. I know you’re probably saying, “This is an extreme example!” But, is it? In an unhealthy relationship, you’ll find yourself becoming less of who you are and more of who they want you to be in order to keep the relationship. It’s called COMPROMISE. Your plans begin to center around a future with them even if that means that your own personal goals aren’t anywhere in the mix. Their life becomes your life because you’re desperate for a life with them. Little by little, you’ll compromise the parts of you that make you who you are. You’ll give up the dream that gets you up in the morning. Instead, you’ll live for them. Then one day, just like Chris, you’ll see a face in the mirror that’s familiar, but it won’t be you at all. Someone pointed out that the definition of sunken is literally “at a lower level than its surrounding area.” When a person is your sunken place, you’ll settle for a life that is only half as good as the one you could really live.

4. “There is strength in numbers” and weakness in solitude…

Although love can be blind, we have to account for what made Chris a seemingly easy target from the start: family. Or really, lack there of. He revealed early on that his mother died in a hit and run and that he never knew his father. On the surface, what would this mean to the Armitages? I’ll tell you: it meant that if he went missing, it was unlikely that anyone would look for him. Outside of the perceived physical advantage, this is probably another reason why Rose victimized black men. The wrong person will make you feel like you have to choose between a relationship with them OR the relationships/friendships that you had before them. Sometimes it isn’t voiced but instead, implied. And you may never say you’re making a choice but your actions will tell it all. You’ll start to leave out parts of a story, neglect them, become disconnected or uninterested or even feel as if you have to hide the relationship from them altogether. The worst thing that you can do is box out the people who know and love you because these are the people who will come looking for you when you’re lost! They will show up and go to war for you.  These people will notice when you’re not yourself. They will sense that something isn’t right and they’ll love you enough to tell you! Sometimes you can lack perspective in the middle of a storm. They can save you from yourself but to do this, they would have to know that you need help! Luckily, Chris’ saving grace was his best friend, Rod! Even though he had already done his part by warning him that something was off, he still went looking for him when the communication ceased. When you isolate yourself, you’re an easy target because you’ll be convinced that they’re all you have left. You need to know that your family and friends would never stop looking for you.

5. Flaws are open windows…

Have you ever heard someone describe fear as paralyzing? It can stop you in your tracks and hold you in place. However, there was another technique that was used to trap Chris. I want to point out that Mrs. Armitage would never have been able to make Chris “sink” had it not been for his underlying issues. She figured out that his weak spot was the guilt that accompanied his mother’s death and like a scab, she picked away at it until it was wide open. Once she got inside of his head, there was no escape; he could only suffer through it. In any relationship, you’re bound to be vulnerable with your partner and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! But in a toxic relationship, this will be the thing that exerts control over you. We all have skeletons in our closets. We all have things that we don’t talk about for fear of being judged. You have to be careful about who you open up to because the wrong person will remind you of these things to keep you stuck. Your insecurities will be used to gain ground. There could also be mistakes OR a situation that you go through as a couple that can make you feel like you owe them. Seeing the dark parts of you and abusing them is a clear sign that they are not your safe place. There is no light at the end of that tunnel. I would also like to argue that Chris was a sitting duck from the start! She could only use something that he hadn’t forgiven himself for. Exploitation happens when you don’t come to God exposed. As long as you don’t believe that you’re forgiven, you won’t forgive yourself. Here’s a tip: when someone shines a light on those dark parts of you, when your flaws feel as paralyzing as fear and when you feel yourself sinking…Forgive yourself so that you can free yourself.

If after reading this you come to find that your sunken place isn’t really a place but instead, a person…

If you keep discrediting your intuition and calling it “trust issues”…

If you feel like you can’t share your love with the people who love you..

If you’re molding your future to fit around someone else’s life…

If you feel paralyzed by the things that you haven’t forgiven yourself for..

and there is always a voice to change your mind…

get out