Getting Out of My Way

There are these amazing moments in life when we give birth to ideas and dreams we have been nurturing for years.  Last Saturday was one of those moments for me.  Honestly, I cannot begin to articulate the feeling of standing strong and tall having risen above the persecution, the agony, the pain and defeat of the burdens that led me to release my first book “The Love Project”.  In one word … VICTORIOUS.

In fact, I was telling my mother I felt like a super charged version of myself standing on that stage last weekend in Atlanta looking over the sold out room of women who’d come to celebrate with me and hear my story.  In terms of my life’s Top 10 moments, it will certainly rank right up there alongside my wedding day and the birth of my niece Kyla.  The power of the moment was truly indescribable.  The tension of that moment followed by the release … Absolutely FREEING.

What has followed since has been beyond my mind’s ability to conceive.  You see those years and years of grappling with the story I knew God wanted me to tell; struggling to find my voice amidst the pain; removing my ego and embracing the vulnerability it would take to share without fear of being judged… Yes that was the work I’d done to prepare for the moment.  What I hadn’t prepared for was the response.  The aftermath that would ensue.  The lust for love so palpable it would bring me deeper into the eye of God and give me clarity and help me understand why my suffering was a necessary sacrifice needed to arrive safely at this point in my life’s journey.

I am now grateful for every last bit of struggle, pain and agony endured over the last 12 years. God has used every last bit of it and made it wholly useful and good.  He has woven the story into a beautiful tapestry reflective of the healing power of His love and the redemptive power of His grace.  And for that I am truly humbled and honored to be the vessel He chose.

As I sit here this morning a full week later reflecting on last Saturday, I am amazed to see how God is already using this little story of mine to break chains, open hearts, heal the broken and create a platform for meaningful necessary dialogue about the condition of our hearts and His call for us to stop living from our wounded painful places and embrace His promise of victory.  But as exciting as it is for me personally to see God use this story to help others, I am continually reminded of his directive to me to simply write and tell.  It was an easy enough ask and I did what He told me to do, but just like that I’ve gotten distracted.

As the phone calls and texts have come, as the requests for more stories and opportunities to meet up have been shared, I’ve been fighting the “do-er” in me who wants to react, respond, give, help and fix everybody.  That’s not about Him.  That’s about me. And it’s just more of my messy stuff bleeding through.  I’m serious. By mid-week I had completely abandoned my personal to-do list for the year and had created a list of six or seven events I was ready to plan and activate in response to the apparent need of the women I am called to serve.

And then… a funny thing happened.  I was reminded of the truth of the matter. I was reminded that I wrote The Love Project for me.  And just like that I had to stop myself dead in my tracks.  Get off of Facebook, pull back on social media, re-center myself and STOP. IT.  *Cue screeching car here * And just like that I returned to the beginning of my story… And reminded myself that this journey is not about fanfare, fixing the broken, saving others or being an expert.  It’s simply about loving myself the way I love others.

So I stopped, picked up my pen and decided to write. I decided to stop doing for others what I will not do for myself and started loving myself first by honoring the essential need of my soul to pour out my words. It was then that I realized the heart of the matter.  This loving myself thing … Yeah… It’s not going to be easy at all for me.  But now more than ever, I’m convinced that it’s absolutely, positively necessary for me to live and enjoy my best life.

xoxo,
Shani

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