Listen to Your Heart

Love yourself enough to know when its time to walk away…

I know a woman who wanted to be in a relationship. The pressure from those around her was getting too deep. Friends questioned why she was still single and why she didn’t give dating a chance. Their judgment pierced her heart. She didn’t let them know, but it hurt. She felt perfectly fine discovering who she was spiritually, mentally, and professionally. She was making great strides in her life and she took pride in working her way up the success ladder. But all of that didn’t matter to them because she didn’t have a man to validate her.

One day, when she least expected it she met a guy. He saw her in the midst of a sea of women and wanted her. She was flattered. He wasn’t the type of guy she normally went for, but she was open-minded and his persistence was admirable. Turns out, he was exactly who she was looking for. He was educated, ambitious, and he understood her. It took a certain type of man to understand the type of woman she was but he did. Within a few months of talking, they knew a relationship was the next step and made it official. She was on cloud nine. Could this be her husband? Things were great until things weren’t great.

This relationship became a problem when she realized that he struggled with a problem. She went to his house one evening and his overzealousness was an indication that he had been drinking. Continue reading “Listen to Your Heart”

Asceticism

It’s been a year since I got baptized and the process has not been easy. I got baptized partially because I knew it was something I had to do to remain active in my church but also because I was ready to proclaim my relationship with Jesus Christ publicly. I was afraid. Apart of me felt pressured. I wasn’t ready to give up certain pleasures and behaviors. I didn’t know how to be the “perfect” Christian. The fact that I would think I had to become the perfect Christian once baptized is proof of my ignorance about its significance.

After classes and interviews to make sure that I was ready, the day came; it was time. I felt the presence of God during my baptism ceremony. An overwhelming warmth and burst of tears solidified he was there with me. Even before getting dunked in the water, I knew at that moment my past was forgiven and it has never haunted me again.

Yet, after my baptism, the tests and trials began. Everything that I have ever stood for came to a halt this year. I gave up on myself and gave myself up. I became weak. I became lonely. I gave into temptation time and time again despite the feelings of conviction I had. I didn’t know who I was becoming. I was a functioning wreck without self-control. I no longer knew how to defend my beliefs because I was confused myself. What did I believe in? Was I still an advocate for celibacy? Did I believe in saving yourself before marriage or did I only believe it because someone told me I should? I began talking to old boyfriends. Boyfriends I clearly left in the past because their beliefs did not align with my own. I resented singlehood. I began to feel lonely and unworthy of a relationship. I let thoughts plague my head about being alone and a spinster forever. I gossiped. Loved celebrity gossip too much and reveled in the latest “tea.” I had no self-control; no inhibitions. I did things in the dark hoping it wouldn’t come to light. I was far from the perfect Christian. I struggled more after my baptism than I’d ever done in my whole walk with Christ. I was a sinner. I am a sinner.

I’m not perfect. I believe we sometimes go through these things to have an amazing story to tell that would one day inspire others. I am thinking I went through these things to share with believers that it’s not easy. The more you step forward in the light, the more the devil tries to bring you back into the dark. The closer I got to God the further I was from him.

Asceticism is the practice of severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons. This is my overall goal in year 2. I want to practice self-disciple and techniques in defeating the devil when prompted to give in to desires and temptations. However, there are other compartments in life that can teach lessons on self-control and I want to build on that as well:

First I will start with food. I come from the school of thought where we only have one life to live, so why deprive yourself of good food. Yet, as satisfying as this mentality maybe, I have no self-control. I eat brownies in the morning and dinner after 10PM. If I create some sort of control in my eating habits, it will resonate with me spiritually as well.

Secondly, waking up in the morning. I am a snoozer. I will set the alarm for 6:45AM and will not get out of bed until 7:45AM. I need to start waking up when the alarm goes off, no excuses.

Lastly, I want to be intentional with the amount of time I spend with God. Sometimes we let the hustle and bustle of life get in the way with our relationship with God and that’s unacceptable. If I know I can’t go to bed without reading the word, marinating on his blessings and teachings and saying a prayer then I will carve out the time throughout the day to spend with God. No excuses.

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