A Word on Walking Away

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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

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A Word on Value

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…

A Word on Jamal Bryant and Shit

I have come to a place where I fully embrace my shit. I’m not talking about metaphorical shit  – I’ll get to that later. Right now, I’m talking about actual shit.

I’ve had stomach issues my whole life. It wasn’t until early adulthood that I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and realized that my issues with shit were connected to my physical, mental and emotional health. Anyone who is in my intimate circle knows that I’ve struggled much of my life with managing this part of my health. There are plenty of stories of Roze running to find a restroom in public places or having to pull over on the side of the road. My brother affectionately refers to my issues as insane bowel syndrome, because in his words, “That shit’s insane!” You are probably learning more than you ever wanted to learn about me but all will soon be revealed… As someone who has had lifelong issues with shit, I’m not embarrassed to talk about it and have spent a lot of time thinking about it.

In prepping for this post, I reached out to a doctor friend of mine to get some facts. I learned that we have to shit or else we will die of sepsis. If our bodies do not expel waste, the shit will literally enter our bloodstream and infection will occur leading to multi organ failure and eventually, death. How about that shit?

I’ve also learned that there is a correlation between how bad our shit stinks and our diet. Because it’s waste, shit will always stink, but there are some of us whose shit (and farts) can literally clear a room. This is caused by bacteria that is present in our waste. The odor however is exacerbated by our diets. The worse our diets, the worse the smell. What we put into ourselves, the things we ingest, will literally show their true colors AND smell when we expel it.

Enough about actual shit. Let’s talk about metaphorical shit.

Continue reading

A Word on Violence – Part 1

 

“Any act of violence is a negation of life and humanity.” – Rev. Ken Wheeler

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I live in the city of Chicago. Anyone who pays even the slightest attention to news headlines knows that Chicago has a problem with violence. A Google search on gun violence in the city will return a link to Huffington Post that lists a variety of stories on violence in Chicago. The Chicago Tribune also has a page dedicated to Chicago crime statistics and interactive maps to help residents figure out what crimes happen in various communities.  Now that the weather is warmer and young people will be out of school for the summer, many of us lament the fact that there will be an increase in violence. It’s a fact – warmer weather = more death in Chicago.

Continue reading

A Word on Pain & Growth

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I don’t think growth happens without pain.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think pain is something that is prescribed in this life. As a person of Christian faith, I don’t believe that God desires us to go through painful situations, nor do I believe that God causes pain in our lives. I believe that pain is an inevitable part of living because we are human, we are broken and we care.

That being said, it is been my experience that times of growth are painful. Continue reading

A Word on Authenticity

you-are-lovelyAuthentic is a word we use a lot nowadays in progressive church circles. We talk about people being authentically who they are. We talk about authentic relationships. We talk about authentic ministries. It truly is a buzz word in the communities I get to hang out in. And I like that it is.

Authenticity is defined as something or someone who is of undisputed origin; genuine. Some synonyms for authentic are genuine, real, bona-fide, truth, veritable. I believe that we are first and foremost to be authentic people. And I also believe that this is where so many of our human problems lie – many of us walk around being inauthentic and being unclear of our origin. We don’t know whose we are, who we are or why we are. This lack of knowledge leads us to live lives that are a facade as we try to be what we think others want us to be instead of doing the work and taking the time to be authentically who we have been CREATED to be. Continue reading