I woke up this morning, Thursday, July 7, 2016 at a loss for words. I’m a writer and a public thinker. I contribute to public discourse by providing commentary on events and happenings. I tend to do this using a theological lens and I rely heavily on my Christian faith to make sense of and peace with things as they unfold. Many times this takes place on my Facebook page, but I also write longer pieces and publish blogs on Embracing My Shadow and The Salt Collective. Today, however, I had no words…
Do you remember the first time you had to walk away from someone – an intimate partner or a family member or a friend – because they did not serve you, care for you or respect you in ways that you needed them to?
Do you remember the first time you had to walk away from a way of being, from a reality that you wanted for yourself but wasn’t what God wanted for you?
Do you remember the first time you chose unhappiness over happiness because you thought that duty and obedience meant being miserable rather than experiencing a life of joy and freedom? The first time you bought the lie that suffering and sacrifice should be a norm for your life?
Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy. – Robert Tew
When was the last time you walked away from that which no longer served you, grew you or made you happy? Continue reading
I struggle with being in the moment. For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be somewhere I’m not or know something I’ve yet to learn. I was never satisfied in the moment and this led me to constantly seek out new moments without paying attention to the life that was unfolding around me. I often missed signs and messages because I was so focused on what was to come instead of what was…
One of my favorite quotes is, “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me what you do and I’ll tell you what you value.”
There’s an image that always comes to mind with this quote. It’s winter in Chicago. The ground is frozen and the winds are fierce. I’m walking from the train station home and I encounter many people walking their dogs. These pets have on coats and booties to protect their paws from the icy ground. In the same moment I pass by a person experiencing homelessness who is huddled under blankets, with newspapers stuffed in their coat to provide insulation against the bitter cold. Here is an image that greatly troubles me and reply grieves my spirit – the pet that is provided care and the human who is ignored.
Show me what you do and I’ll tell you what you value…
I’ve been thinking a lot about value recently – value as defined as the amount of meaning we give to something on someone; how we understand and demonstrate one’s worth and importance. I’ve always struggled with feeling valued, with wondering if I am good enough to be worth it – to be worth loving or worth spending time with or worth committing to. This is something I continue to work on, but there are days and moments when I wonder about my worth.
I often say that the things you hear people talk about most often are the things people struggle with on a regular basis. Well, I consistently talk about self worth and self love, two things that I am desperately trying to figure out. While I intellectually believe that I am a child of God and that this identity supercedes any other identity, my heart wonders why this designation isn’t enough; why I still seek value from things and people who are external to me.
And this is the rub – I cannot control those things and people that are external. Any attempt I make to seek meaning from that which is outside of myself will continually end in disappointment. We cannot seek that which can only be given by the Creator from those who did not create us. My work, my relationship, my friends or my family can give me the sense of meaning, worth and identity that I do believe is given to me by God.
On some days this is easier said than believed. I’m realizing that my actions towards myself have to continue to point back to my belief that I have been created in the image of the Divine and my worth is not based on anything or anyone else. It’s not based on anything I do or say or don’t do or say. It’s based on who God is and the fact that God breathed life into me and gifted me to show up in the world as a participant in God’s plan of restoration.
I’m still struggling with how this knowledge translates into belief and action. I want people to see what I do and say, “Rozella is a woman who values herself, honors the Divine within and loves all whom she encounters.” I’m not quite there yet but I’m working on it.
Show me what you do and I’ll tell you what you value…
Today would have been my 8th wedding anniversary had I not divorced. Eight years. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I had stayed married and I’m aware that the melancholy that overcomes me at this time of year is directly related to this fact.
In August of 2011 I separated from my ex-husband and plunged into one my most severe depressive episodes. At that point we had only been married for three years but I knew that the life I was living was not the life I desired. We were both miserable and that led to resentment and heartache and pain. Making the decision to separate and subsequently divorce was one of the hardest decisions of my life. Continue reading
One of my hopes for Embracing My Shadow is that it becomes a platform for people to not only share their stories of sadness and despair but also to share stories of survival and hope. It is my deep desire that it becomes a space where people receive encouragement, support and the knowledge that they are not alone.
In 2016, I will be featuring guest posts, some of them anonymous, so that more voices might be heard and stories might be shared about peoples’ journey of embracing the fullness of who they are. As we all seek purpose and meaning, it becomes so very important that we stop running from and fearing the darkness in our lives. It’s time for us to confront our shadows and to seek help, healing and wholeness and we grow in our love of self.
This is not an easy task; it is one that requires vulnerability and shouldn’t be taken lightly. I remind all that engage this space that I am not a therapist and if you or someone you know is contemplating hurting themselves, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255. Seek help before it’s too late.
Below is a post shared by a fellow Shadow Lover. I applaud their courage in putting their story in writing and I also encourage them to seek support.
TRIGGER WARNING: ***The following article contains imagery and language that might be a trigger for some. If you struggle with suicidal thoughts, please seek help and know this article might be a trigger.***
2015 has been a year! A year of friends and fun; of weekend get aways and smiles, selfies and drinks; of working out and healthy eating. At least that’s what my Instagram would lead you to believe…
In reality, 2015 has been filled with challenges, massive depressive swings, loneliness, doubting my self worth, and suicidal thoughts. But no one knows. Continue reading
I am an incarnation Christian – my faith in the Christian story begins with God becoming human. For this reason, Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It reminds me the importance of being present and embodying themes like peace, love and joy. It reminds me that God is love and that this love is present in the world, despite what we may think. This love is a living, breathing, transforming force that overcomes hate, fear and anything that would seek to thwart God’s promise of abundant life for us all.