I always sensed that my schooling was preparation for my destiny, but it wasn’t until this year that I concretely knew. In 2008 I graduated from high school on the east side of Chicago, in 2012 I graduated with my bachelors degree in English, 2014 a Masters, and in 2018 a PhD. However, this year I became increasingly uncomfortable with my life. While I’ve been teaching at a college level for 3 years, writing and publishing for a while, I never quite hated it until now. Maybe hate is a strong word, but that’s the raw emotion attached to my process.
I remember I told myself that I wanted to publish 5 academic articles by the time I graduate this time. That was my goal, it was the way I would measure my success. God let me reach that goal just to show me that I really didn’t care about publishing, having people know my name, being productive, or having an impressive CV. He gave me everything I wanted just to prove that I really didn’t want any of it. I was searching for status because I didn’t value myself.
So the story goes, towards the end of 2015 I noticed a slight shift in my life. It wasn’t anything major or noteworthy–like a pillow out-of-place. Generally insignificant but nonetheless noticeable because I do a lot of introspection. Anyway, in the beginning of 2016 it was more noticeable. I started to feel that school was an inconvenience though I knew God sent me to Alabama. I became restless, wanting to drop out not because school was hard but because I felt it wasn’t what I wanted to do anymore. It became a burden, one that I no longer wanted to carry but I didn’t get clearance spiritually to leave.
So what did I do? You guessed it, I threw an adult tantrum. Here is what it looks like: hanging out with people I know weren’t good for me, entertaining relationship/friendships because I was bored and/or lonely, gossiping when it’s never my style to double talk, complaining about how horrible my life was, murmuring, not listening to my spiritual tugging, slamming the door on light, etc. I was acting out though I knew that the things I was doing was contrary to my purpose.
In essence I wanted God to give up on me, revoke his decision about my walk and give me a break. I wanted him to say “you’re disqualified” but secretly still wanted his promise. I was double minded and wanted immediate gratification because I’ve always lived a delayed gratification life. Yet, there were moments where I felt that the consequences of my ill actions were better than the pain of maturing as a christian. I reasoned that no one my age was living right anyway. Why can’t I be a “normal”black woman who liked to chill and enjoy her 20s. After all I’ll have all of my 30s to get it right.
But in the midst of my tantrums, when I’d turn on myself and participate in my destructive behavior, I’d wake up and quickly come back to reality. I’d face myself and ask myself why? For what purpose? How long will I do this to myself?
When we become mature we have to stop living from a place of victimization and more towards a place of victory and ownership. As long as I had a victim mentality, that everyone was doing something to me, I even was doing something to myself, I couldn’t overcome. I would always have the inability to tell the truth on myself and allow myself to grow.
What I learned is that I can’t completely sabot ash my destiny, I can prolong it, take the long way through the woods which would make me uncomfortable and tired but eventually I always surrender.