Maybe To-later

It’s what my three year old nephew says when he doesn’t want to do something right away. I like it. Mostly because I’m feeling one hundred percent maybe to-later today. I have nothing for you guys: no epiphanies or spiritual awakenings. I have drained words of honesty to offer, but that’s about it. I’m always tired, but yesterday and today especially, I’ve been a walking personification of exhaustion. I’m on leg two of three for today and thank God this last flight to Nashville is only an hour and five minutes.

Since I relaunched my blog back in February, I’ve been dreading today. I knew it would come because it always does with me. My fingers are heavy as they graze over the keyboard, but I’m trying to power through. I had already halfway made up in my mind that I would skip out on posting today. I have no material, not much time to come up with anything, and I know the moment I get to my hotel room, I’m going to pass out.

But if I allow days like today to defeat me, I know I won’t make it very far. Days when I think I’m too tired, lacking in energy, depleted of mental capacity to do the things I’ve committed to. I promised myself that this time I would prove to myself that I can be consistent. Reliable. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are the days I post on “Soul Bare.” Period. If I don’t post today because I don’t feel like it, I’m taking ten steps back that I’ve taken too many times over again. Even though I know the WordPress community is not going to protest, or even notice if I don’t post today,  it’s still important that I do. I’m doing it for me. Hashtag selfish.

I only have eleven minutes and thirty seconds left on Chicago O’ Hare’s complimentary wifi, so I’ll wrap this up. Today’s post means nothing and yet, for me, it means so much. It means that I’m learning to fight past my feelings and emotions. I’m pushing beyond my boundaries to do the things I know need to be done regardless of if I’d rather do them later. This feeling of wanting to skip out on my commitment will reemerge, but I’ll have the ammunition to combat it. I’ll have today. I’ll remember that I didn’t feel like it, but I did it anyway.  When I wanted to fall asleep I forced myself to stay awake and do the work.

Maybe some of you feel the same way today. You want to abandon responsibility and slip away into a deep sleep. I hope this post will at the very least, encourage you to push through. I know you’ll be glad you did. What’s funny is that, as lethargic as I am right now, writing you all (and myself) has given me a boost of energy I wouldn’t have thought possible had I chosen to dismiss my commitment today. I think that’s part of the answer. We have to teach ourselves to ignore emotion and find the strength in doing it anyway. I know, easier said than done. But true.

To-later is the easy way out and it feels good for a little while, but when tomorrow arrives, later becomes regret. My three year old nephew doesn’t know any better and I pity him on the day he realizes that some things have to be done today. We however, have expired the luxury of tomorrow.

The answer is today.

Alone in the Know

Focusing on the people filing in and out of the box size Pizza Hut is all I can do to keep the tears at bay.It isn’t working though. Defeated, I hang my head to hide the tears that sneak their way past my defenses. I immediately erase the evidence from my cheeks, but behind the shield of my glasses, my eyes remain wet with pain. I know no one will notice; I’m in an airport. Like a train station, there’s no acknowledging here, only coming and going. I’m grateful for the lack of attention. All I want to do is get my personal pan pizza and leave. I wish I could forget this feeling behind in the pizza shop where it can reside completely unnoticed. But as I make my way to the next flight, the aching solitude remains. I try to outsmart it by taking in deep and slow breaths, but that isn’t working either. The emotions return, overwhelming my ability to control them. I suck in a mouth full of oxygen, holding it until my cheeks begin to burn and the need to breathe becomes uncomfortable. Finally, I swallow the air. It rushes down my throat carrying the threat of a breakdown with it. 


There. It’s gone. For now. 



The suffocating dread of loneliness overtakes me at the oddest times. One minute, I’m fine, the next I’m falling apart. Lately, this feeling has been hounding me more than usual. Like a lion stalking its prey, loneliness lies beneath the surface of everything I do on some days. It hides in the corner of my smile or just beyond the soft sparkle people see in my eyes.
Loneliness is an opportunist. It launches its attack when we think we’re safest: amidst people.
As I  walked out of that Pizza Hut in the Denver Airport, I thought back to what had triggered the sudden loneliness.


I remember… 



My flying partner and I were talking about relationships. Typical girl stuff. I told her that I’d never had a boyfriend, and she had the same shocked reaction as everyone else. “What?!” She exclaimed turning to look at me as if I was some sort of enigma. “I’m just surprised. You’re cute and you have a great personality.” I shrugged and smiled, tickled by her confusion. I told her that I thought one reason why I’ve never dated is because I’m too deep and it pushes people away. The conversation then transitioned to the topic of marriage and divorce. I told her that I wanted to be married one day but revealed my concern about the number of marriages resulting in divorce in our culture.

“The scariest part is the uncertainty. If so many people have failed at marriage, how will I succeed?”


“Wow Celestial, you are deep! I’ve never heard a young person talk like that or acknowledge those types of things!” 

“See, I told you!” I laughed. “I don’t mean to be that way, I just am, and I don’t know how to turn it off.” 

“Well, as long as you’re comfortable with yourself, that’s all that matters.”


“I am.” I assured her
.

And I am, but my mindset often makes me feel disconnected from others. I don’t think my ideas are novel. I know they’re different, but I don’t believe they’re difficult to grasp. When I talk to people, it’s like they’re studying me, instead of trying to understand me.

I love connecting, understanding, and seeing life through the eyes of others. However, I don’t feel connected to. There are times when I’m having conversations with people and I realize (after it’s too late) that I’ve gone off on some tangent into the depths of my thoughts. I’m always having to reel myself back in. And while people are generally intrigued by my perspective, they’re not necessarily creating a bond with me.

I’ve always been told that I’m wise for my age. It’s a compliment, yes, but I certainly don’t view myself that way. I know my mindset is different from most, but I hadn’t realized the burden that came with it.

Sometimes, I daydream about my brain having an off button. How wonderful it’d be to think of nothing. Or to have a thought without picking it apart and over analyzing its meaning.

Then, there are days when I just want to be on the same brain wave as everyone else, just so I can feel at home in the world.
But, that’s just it- I’m not made for this world.

God instructs His people to focus on the things of Heaven, not of Earth. Romans 12:2 says

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” 

Even in my bouts of loneliness and disconnect, I am ultimately thankful for the way God has molded my perception and protected me from the deceit of this world.

We all know what it’s like to feel alone and misunderstood, but the worst disservice we can do ourselves is abandoning what makes us unique, for conformity and false acceptance. We need to use our individuality to promote God’s love in a world that’s rapidly closing in on itself.
Sometimes, we don’t know how to accept the aspects of ourselves that set us apart. That’s okay. We don’t have to know it all right away, we just have to be willing to embark on the journey to discover the unique gifts God has embedded in each of us.

The reason we often feel alienated by society is because many times, we are. Our thoughts, beliefs, and spirits are not made to connect to the carnal, but when we try to force it, we are met with rejection. Truthfully, none of us are meant for this world. God wants us all to depend on Him regarding every aspect of our lives. But, it’s a free world and God has not made us slaves. Therefore, many of us have created our own ideas and beliefs, and have decided to live our lives in ways we deem appropiate.

When we accept ourselves for who God created us to be and embrace our differences from the world, feeling out of place won’t be such a bad thing. As long as we’re in place in the eyes of God, that’s all that matters. We have to choose who we want to please and who we want to allow control over our lives.

We aren’t doing the world any favors by denying it the beauty of our authentic selves. It’s okay to cry a few tears and feel a little out of place sometimes, because truly, we are.

Hearts, Pins, and Likes

I have a horrible habit of saving things for later. The problem is, I never seem to get around to later. For example, Pinterest, one of my favorite websites: I literally have thousands of pins saved for things I want to do and places I want to go. And while I obviously can’t go everywhere all at once, trying to find a cool place to visit on my travel board sometimes gives me a headache. It’s too much.

When we let things pile up for too long, they get lost and we forget about their importance. Even here, on WordPress, there are so many posts I like with the intention of going back to comment and interact on, but as the days pass and new posts file in, the old ones sort of get lost in time.

If we go about trying to bookmark life, we’ll never get around to actually living it. As we well know, tomorrow holds no promises. We have to learn to live in the now. Of course we all have responsibilities that don’t afford us the luxury of being able to go on spontaneous vacations. But, we can plan to do those spontaneous activities. Which, I know is an oxymoron, but hear me out.

Saying we want to do something or liking a pretty destination on Pinterest is a lot different than putting a plan into motion to actually do it. I think that’s the key, deciding how badly we want it. So maybe you can’t afford that European Cruise this year, but you can commit to setting aside money every month to go next year. We must commit ourselves to the things we want to achieve!

It makes me sad when I hear people say, ‘I wish I could’ do this or go there. We spend entirely too much time wishing and dreaming, when we could be doing and seeing. Yes, there will be obstacles, but so what?! To someone who is determined, the purpose of an obstacle is to be conquered.
Truly and most sincerely, the only thing standing in the way of our happiness is ourselves.

Happy tough love Monday:)

Looking forward to catching up with you all on Wednesday!

Celestial

Olives 

Have you ever found yourself suddenly attached to something, then- without the slightest notion- lost that connection?

Not too long ago, I lost my will power to a craving of olives. They were all I wanted, all the time. Then, about two months later- on a day not unlike any other- the fixation was over. 

Like the last grains of sand funneling to the bottom of an hourglass, its time was up. 

We are often left feeling sad, disappointed, sometimes bitter when relationships or circumstances don’t pan out the way we expect them to. But what I realized following my affair with this delectable, salty fruit, was that, for everything, there is a season.

Are we saddened by the transformation of the lush Summer leaves, into the vibrant orange hues of Fall? And are the Spring blossoms any less beautiful because of their absence from the Summer soil?

As unfortunate as it may seem at times, not everything is meant to last forever. 

Just as the Earth takes on different seasons, so must our lives experience change. Some people enter our lives to stay and some are simply passing through. Where we are in our lives right now is not where God intends us to stay. 

If we remain when God says go or leave when He says stay, we only rob ourselves of the opportunity for Him to bless and excel our lives to new heights. 

Many times we prolong transitory relationships or situations out of fear of the unknown or losing control. 

But isn’t that the point- to give God complete control of our lives?

He may call you to leave a secure job to do His will elsewhere. Maybe he’ll ask you to minister to someone who wronged you or volunteer when you don’t have the time. Who knows what God may call us to next? What matters is that we go. We can’t allow fear to keep us complacent. 

The funny thing about my brief olive obsession, is that, I hate olives. A few years ago, I consciously stuck a fork into a jar to see if I liked them. They were gross; I decided then that I could live out the rest of my existence without ever having another one. Yet, for that period in my life, I loved olives. 

God allows people and conditions into our lives to complement whatever stage of our journey we may be in. It doesn’t always feel like it’s for the best, but sometimes it is the storm that makes way for the rainbow. We learn and grow through that which is most uncomfortable.

My prayer to God is that He would conform my desires according to His will for my life- not the other way around. I don’t want to place God within the limits of my mind; His plans far exceed my own. 

Of course, I have aspirations and  goals I want to achieve, but they are not deadbolted behind an impenetrable door. I’m flexible…I try to be flexible. And yes, it is scary. But I can honestly say that the times in my life where I’ve had the least control, have ended up being the most rewarding. 

Give God full control over your life. No matter what season you’re in, if God has put you there, he will bring you through. Do not grow weary, for Winter is not everlasting. It is only a stepping stone that leads to the bounty of the summer.

Everything from God produces goodness, so we need not fear the mystery of our seasons. For in life, He is good. In death, He is good. In both sickness and health,  He is good. In times of hardship, He is good. In our prosperity, He is good. Never has there ever existed a day, where God has not been good. 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I’d Rather Be His Fool

​Being a Christian in today’s society is no cake walk. Fearing the world’s perception,  some of us have even abandoned ship. But for those of us still riding out the waves, I want to encourage you- remain steadfast friends. 

After  completing my devotional this morning, I found myself flipping my Bible to 1st Corinthians. As I read, I could feel God relieving me of baggage that I had long assumed was mine to carry. 

As a Christian, I’ve always felt that I had to justify my beliefs to the world. Especially now, during a time when the human race has deemed itself totally self sufficient. 

I’m sorry, but I have no desire to be a part of a self governing people who believe themselves to be the answer. Time and time again history has proven that we cannot save ourselves, yet we continue to try. 

To the world, I’m a fool: I believe homosexuality is wrong- so I’m a judgemental bigot. I don’t agree with promiscuity- I’m not a forward thinker. I don’t believe that we should act on every physical impulse- I’m ignorant and uncultured. 

It’s tough, having people assume who you are before being given an opportunity to make an impression. Honestly, it doesn’t bother me to be considered uncultured, ignorant, or someone who isn’t a forward thinker. But, having to prove that I am capable of loving someone who is different than me, is an insult to my heart. It saddens me to think that someone who is not in accordance with my beliefs, could think that I don’t love, care, like, or have compassion for them.

As a Christian, I find myself having to prove the very foundation of my belief: Love. Always treading lightly, biting my tongue, making sure that my posture toward God is not offending the world. All the while, existing just as flawed as the next soul.

No more can I conflict myself. It’s exhausting. I am not responsible for how people perceive my love for God. What I am responsible for, is making myself pleasing in His eyes, obeying His word, and loving people the way He has taught me to love.

1st Corinthians, chapter 2, verse 14:
“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”

 I encourage you to read the  first three chapters of 1st Corinthians. I pray that it will encourage you as much as it did me! 

Love you all.

Of Like Love

​As much as I love my nomadic life, there are some luxuries it simply does not afford me. Consistency is no longer an expectation, but in small doses, a welcomed sense of belonging. Waking each day to the embrace of a new dawn is invigorating, but sometimes, it’s familiarity that I crave. It’s like the stillness of a Sunday morning: Having that steaming cup of coffee and watching a sleepy sunrise rouse the resting grass. It’s in those moments of recalibration that life almost seems to make sense.  

This past week, I stumbled upon an opportunity to realign with my church community. Since regular attendance has proven nearly impossible, I’ve been forced to create alternatives. I typically get by on T.D. Jakes and worship music, but it’s a different sensation to be in the direct company of like minded people.
The music played Wednesday night during worship was foreign to me, but it didn’t matter. My heart swelled as I joined in with a chorus of believers as we poured our spirits out to God in song. It was a relief being surrounded by people who didn’t  make me feel like I had something to prove. 
There was a point in the service where we were instructed to make physical contact with the person next to us. I joined hands with the stranger to my left and placed my right hand on the back of a friend standing to my right. As one body, we continued our declaration in song. Together, we were stronger and our voices brimmed fierce with confidence. Carrying the hand of the woman next to me, I raised my arm toward the ceiling. In that moment, I felt her. This stranger, connected to me only by God’s grace for us both. I felt her worries, her faith, her fear, and joy. 

Knowing that this woman was running my same race and fighting a fight not unlike my own, made me want to be better. So that if I could run harder and exert a little more energy, maybe she wouldn’t  have to fight as hard. I left the service that night feeling whole and a part of something greater than myself.  All of my senses were revitalized and I felt complete.

I’m sharing this experience with you all because I want to stress the importance of having a foundation in a community that promotes the core of who you are. Diversity is what makes our world beautiful, but if we aren’t grounded, we may find ourselves trying to be something else. 

For example, myself: I want to be a writer. Therefore, I created a blog and joined a community of people with shared goals. I couldn’t very well strive to be a writer by taking up a ballet class. While ballet may be a beautiful expresssion of dance, there are limits to what it can offer an aspiring writer. You all have no idea how much your words and talent push me to be a better artist and go beyond my self imposed limits. 

But I get it, sometimes life gets in the way and we don’t have time to recharge. Despite the dwindling 24 hours, I implore you to intentionally make time to seek refuge in communities you find uplifting. We are a dependent people who rely on the love, support, and encouragement of one another to remain afloat.

Even with the insanity of this world, I refuse to relent in my belief that we were all created with love, in love, and for love. Regardless of religious, political, or social differences, the one thing that we all have at our core is love. 

If we can decide together, to find our way back to love, maybe we’d be more tolerant of one another. Maybe we would be less judgemental and more understanding. Who knows, maybe over time, we will learn to like one another. And I can only pray that one day, maybe we would all truly love each other.

If you’re feeling out of whack or off balance, consider the last time you interacted with a community you feel support by. Maybe you’re due for a checkup. Also keep in mind, those of us who may not have a grounding community. Let’s extend our arms and invite each other in. 

A Selah

​A moment of homage for humanity. A pause to acknowledge the pain. Silence to pray for this nation. A recess from everything we feel we need to say.
No different than anyone else, my heart is aching for my country. Our cries compose the perpetuated tragedy of America’s song. Afraid of the silence, we’re  all looking for the right thing to say. Words everywhere, are filling the space where compassion should be. 

I am not without opinion on the two shootings that took place over the last couple of days, but there’s something greater than my opinion at work.  Tonight as I wrapped up my discussions on the incidents with my family, I heard God whisper the word Selah into my spirit. 

So I did. I stopped, reflected, and really allowed myself to comprehend the state of our world and nation. In that moment of silence, I pushed everything aside: the controversy, the opinions, the politics and all the formalities that come along with these situations. 

This world needs God, but we look for answers everywhere else, except in him.
I wanted this post to be eloquent. I wanted so badly to say the right things. But the time has passed for the luxuries of merely words. Now is the time for us (individually and as a community) to return to the basic instincts of humanity: love, compassion, and soul. 

Let us take a selah for these families and communities. 

Out of Love

Out of love, we hate.
Opposites attract, yet they take.

Or did we give our heart away?

Did it slip out the door, crying love don’t live here anymore? Did we even try to stop it or did we just empty our pockets?

Like a thief in the night, love ran off with our light.

Out of love, we ache. Barren of hope, we stray. Things too incomprensible, we mistake. Out of love, we stay.

If we were captured in a frame, would they believe us to be sane? Killing each other for personal gain. Out of love, animosity  reigns.

Screaming hope at the top of our lungs, voices louder than everyone. Baritones, deeper than broken souls. Sopranos screeching high above the woes. Whispers stretching far and long. Beneath their hush, broken hearts drum.

Out of love, we’ve purchased graves. Shame is the price we continue to pay. Hiding our eyes from one another, out of love, we’ve blown our cover.

If love is patient and also kind, why does judgement run rampant and keep compassion confined.
We blame it on religion, casting down our worldly visions. But if I were to be the judge, I’d say this whole world is out of love.

Remember when it happened, that night it walked out the door? And on that very eve, love became a chore.

The biggest actors, telling lies that we care. But every time we need us, out of love, we’re never there.

Our stomachs empty, craving love for lunch. Famished, we munch. But it’s ourselves we hunt.

Let’s recreate love. Sketch hearts without condition. Repair broken souls. Assign love to God’s vision.

More things

image

I wasn’t looking forward to anything in particular during my layover in Minneapolis, other than catching a few z’s and doing some writing. Being locked in a hotel room with nineteen hours to myself was all the excitement I needed. With this kind of solitude, productivity was bound to creep out.

Here, there, distractions everywhere! Right across the street and a short stroll from my hotel was Mall of America. I’d completely forgotten that this nationwide  jewel existed in the most random city of these United States. Okay, probably not THE most random, but I’m going for affect here.  Anyway, I had to check out the hype!  Plus, I’m pretty sure it’s saved to my bucket list on Pinterest, so it had to happen. I made the adult decision to head directly over to the mall as soon as we got in, so that I could get back early enough to complete the aforementioned productivity.

Cue the Aladdin theme song, because what I walked into was a whole new world! My mind is still boggled at how a legitimate theme park is lit-er-uh-lee inside of a mall. I was honestly just trying to get some seventy five percent off perfume from Bath and Body Works, but a girl encountered so much more. I stumbled around looking up at the rides, mouth agape in awe. Before my eyes was my childhood (and let’s be honest, my adulthood too- I still watch cartoons). I phoned my bestie in utter joy, and tried to recreate with words every magnificent detail my eyes were privy to in that moment. Desperate for her to share in my excitement, I even sent her a super pixelated video of the theme park! I wanted to make history and she agreed that it was my destiny to buy a wristband and get on the rides: Avatar, Ninja Turtles, Soongebob, Rugrats- heaven!

Here’s where my story goes downhill.
Shortly after recovering from my state of shock, my friend had to get off the phone and I was left to fiend for myself. My plan was to explore the rest of the mall for a bit and then return to the rides for a finale. As I sauntered throughout the four stories of shops, I noticed all sorts of pairings: families with children, couples, friends, grandparents chasing after grandkids, I even saw two boy scouts. Then it dawned on me- it was Saturday. The day where people do their best to make time for one another. And like a punch to the gut, I realized that I didn’t want to get on those rides by myself. From the moment I stepped into the mall, I had harbored the fact that I didn’t want to do any of it alone. My eyes welled as I slowed my pace to a somber drag. Embarrassed, I quickly flung the tears to the floor. I knew I was feeling sorry for myself, but I was over it. I committed to getting food and getting the heck out of there. I knew that once I was back in the confines of my hotel room, it wouldn’t feel like a Saturday and I wouldn’t want my family and friends as much.

Problem was, I couldn’t get out of the mall without being tempted by all the trendy stores. So what’s an American girl to do when she’s feeling down and is lost under the covering of a building with hundreds of stores? Money or not, she shops. And so I did.  I mean, you can only go as crazy as the two digit sum in your bank account, so how much damage could I really do.

Retail therapy is for reals, but it’s results are short lived, which prompts us to indulge in buying more and more things. I bought makeup to enhance my looks, perfume because TSA threw mine away at the airport, pizza because there’s never not a time, and Nestle Toll house chocolate chip cookies for comfort food. The purchases gave me something to look forward to, but what they really did was suppress real feelings and emotions I should’ve dealt with. I did pray initially and I knew that I was just having a moment, but I still felt like I needed something physical to appease my emotions.

So many people have so many things, but wake each day to hearts filled with anger and sadness. The more things we acquire, the more we feel we must live up to silly social standards. The parts of our lives that need to be addressed are buried so deeply beneath our materialism that we believe the only way out is to buy more. Eventually, the weight of everything- material and mental- will cave in on us. If the human experience embodies nothing but love and freedom, it is all it was created to be. But we must clear out our superficial ideals of material happiness if we wish to be liberated.

The cookies were good and the perfume smelled fine, but it wasn’t until my (other) best friend returned my call, that I truly felt at ease. She kept me company as she worked to finish an upcoming project. The ease of conversation, the outbursts of laughter, and listening to her try to keep up with her husband’s video game, all made me feel like I was home. For over an hour, we spoke and not once during that time did my bag of things attempt to comfort me.

BRB Month 2

Two months absent from social media and it still feels great! I anticipated a mental time drag with this challenge, but surprisingly, I haven’t been counting the days. I don’t miss it, and I don’t feel like I’m lacking some major part of life without it. Sure, I miss keeping in touch with distant family and friends, but overall, I’m fine. Actually, I’m better.

I’ve gained clarity, perspective, and focus. Facebook in particular was baggage for me- the place where everyone’s mental dump ended up. Social media has provided us with several platforms of expression, but in doing so it has inadvertently given us a pass on action. We post monologues on Facebook about our beliefs, political views, and outrage, then never think of it again.

My hiatus has made me want to do more and say a little less. So much so, that my Facebook will remain deactivated indefinitely. I’m enjoying having the mental capacity to improve myself in various aspects.

So…
I do stalk Lana Parrilla on twitter and YouTube because I have an annoying habit of obsessing over people. So, in all fairness, I am cheating. My consolation lies in knowing that Facebook was my biggest nemesis and I have remained committed to my abstinence from it.