– August 7, 2017: Relinquishing the reigns. –
Progress. Evolution. Revelation. Faith. Hope. Healing. Humility. Vulnerability. All things I’d been praying to God for. Seeking and asking Him for. The last 6 weeks of my life have been the most exhausting, terrifying, challenging, rewarding, trying, beautiful days of my entire 21 year old life. I’ve spent majority of my summer as a camp counselor at Kids Across America III, a Christian sports camp in the middle of NO WHERE, Missouri, where I was responsible for leading a cabin full of inner city girls from all across the map to the love of Jesus every week. From Sunday to Friday every week, I was without my phone, without my family, and without anything really familiar. Just love. And in that, my entire views of love matured and evolved.
Prior to going to kamp, I had no clue what I was doing. My music had been flourishing and people who knew Vitamin Cea loved her. Yet I didn’t know who Charity Hicks was suppose to be. I didn’t have the time or energy to fully focus on my artistry because my mind and heart were both under reconstruction in this place of just unfamiliarity. I was trying to figure out what the heck I was doing. I had no clue how I was supposed to be a counselor in my place of spiritual instability and emotional chaos. But even throught it all, I asked God to show me what I needed to see, let me experience what I needed to feel. I knew that I didn’t know what I needed. But I asked him to grow me and to stretch me. And He was like “bet”. That’s when the challenges came. God began pushing me to do so many things that I wasn’t worthy of or ready for. But then I realized: you’re never really ever ready for growth. But that doesn’t stop it from happening.
During kamp God used me, in my most inadequate and unqualified state of mind, to reveal to me that any position he allows me to have favor in, he will also equip me to prosper in. HE will equip me. I’ve often found myself relying on my own will, my own power, my own strength. And each time, I finish my tasks exhausted, drained, and disappointed, wondering why God would just watch me struggle and hurt. Then, it became clear: it was MY fault. God doesn’t owe me anything but he wants to give me everything, and still, I didn’t know how to depend on God.
Being independent in the physical world had warped my ability to rely on God in the spiritual realm. I’d been so used to taking care of myself and holding things down on my own when it came to things of this world; paying bills, making moves, getting business done. However, I felt like I was doing that on my own. I wasn’t really thanking God for the undeniable favor He’s placed upon me to acquire so many blessings. So, in me not depending on him and leaning on myself, He allowed me to do that. Which in turn caused me to lose all the things that I felt I’d worked for. My financial stability, my internal peace, my family’s perception of me, my logical way of thinking. All those things that I was convinced I’d acquired on my own, *poof*. Gone. I felt so defeated in making foolish decisions and allowing my heart to take over my mind a lot of times. I was so confused and hurt and trying to pinpoint where my downfall began. Then, I saw that my downfall began in the moments that I began to give myself the credit for my greatness. I decided to carry my blessings and burdens alone.
It took a lot of tears, a lot of studying, a lot of silence for me to figure out that I was never meant to live and prosper alone. None of us were. I said I was a Christian, I said I knew God, I said that he was my Lord, however, I had never fully relinquished the reigns of my life over to Him. I was silently holding on to everything on my own. My bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, hurt. All the pain that my mind had learned to ignore, all of it resurfaced. I was telling the girls I was placed with that Jesus was the answer to them forgiving those who hurt them and betrayed them, but I hadn’t even done that myself. And the saddest thing about it is that I didn’t even realize it until I was in these moments. Because of my vulnerability, I went through a process of being torn down, broken, and humbled in ways I wasn’t even aware could happen.
I met 6 groups of amazing, brilliant, troubled, terrified, fascinating, unique, remarkable teenage girls who’d all come from different walks of life, all of them having a different story, different scars. I took on the pain of some of these girls while not even knowing how to effectively handle my own and I found myself running right into God’s arms, begging Him for help. Begging Him to keep me sane. Begging him to heal me. I was completely defeated and weak. But it was in my own weakness that God revealed his strength. It was in my own hurt and pain that God revealed his ability to heal and mend like no other. I had an encounter with His undying, unconditional, unfailing love for the very first time in my life this summer. With that, I also realized how unworthy I am. How broken I am. And how I can only be whole through Him.
This task was hard but it wasn’t impossible. But I know for sure that I couldn’t have done it by myself. Trust me, I tried. But through God’s grace and his grace only, I made it through. I met some of the most amazing people that this world has to offer, people who became family to me in the most divine ways. I met girls who inspired me in ways they could never imagine. And I finally, truly met the God I serve and felt His love abound.
My goal is to relinquish the reigns and to stop holding so tight to the control I’ve convinced myself I have. I want to just enjoy the ride and allow God to drive because that’s what He’s been doing up until this point anyway, even when I didn’t realize it. It’s just up to me as to how comfortable I allow the ride to be. I can either ride kicking and screaming or I can just trust him and relax. I choose to relax.This is going to be a great journey. God, I trust you.
Thank you for reading. I love you. God loves you. Peace and light to you all.
– March 26, 2017: Finding joy in the midst of noise. –
So, first blog post. It’s lit! First, I just want to say thank you if you’re even reading this. I’ve learned over time that regardless of how you act, live, and treat people, they aren’t obligated to like or support you. So I greatly appreciate you.
I guess I want to use this space to explain the idea of JoyFull Noise a little more in depth. In all honesty, I haven’t been exercising my joy very much lately. School is difficult, life is difficult, and people are difficult. Hell, I’m difficult. Life is just really really crappy sometimes and in those times it can be almost impossible to find a silver lining. JoyFull Noise is supposed to embody the idea that your Joy can truly remain Full regardless of the chaotic Noise of life. But only if you allow it to. It was hard for me to understand this and even more challenging to apply my own philosophy. In all honesty, I’m still in the trial and error phases. But I know that it’s possible, and I know that divine joy is way more abiding than feelings of happiness granted to us by wins or losses in the physical world. If I can master the art of joy, divine happiness gifted by God, then my outlook on life and my attitude would not be so easily altered by the bad or even good things that transpire in this physical realm. But that’s just the idea.
During the last few months of creating the project, I was spending significant amounts of time with my musical family, Remedy. Not so much my family at home. I was trying to pull inspiration out of anything, but I didn’t feel like I’d be able to pull anything more from home, a place that I’d resided uninterruptedly for 20 years. I’d never moved, I didn’t leave for college right after high school like all my friends did. I felt stuck there. Jackson State provided the change of scenery that I needed in order to seize being stagnant. In that, I reconnected with joy. I reconnected with the idea that even though things aren’t perfect and idealistic, I’m still blessed beyond measure. I learned that I only needed to leave home to be able to understand and appreciate it more. Really, to understand and appreciate me more. Home is the foundation. Sometimes that’s secure and sturdy, other times it is shaky and unsettled. Either way, home is the place where you began to become who you are and who you will be. From home, I remember love and joy and peace. Even when my parents didn’t know if we’d have enough money to keep the water on or gas up the car. We found joy in each other and in God. It was all love.
So what I hope to capture in this project is the concept that things will never be idealistic. Life is going to continue to throw unexpected tons of horse poop but there will also be rainbows and happiness as well. Through it all, however, we continue to grow and become greater. Life becomes easier once you begin to embrace the good and the bad. Keep living, keep loving, and be great.