As 2012 brings to close another year, I wanted to take some time to reflect on this past year. I must be honest this has been a very difficult year for me in probably every aspect from physically, spiritually, emotionally, health wise, you name it! I believe that this was a year of development for me and let’s just say it was not a very fun process but a very necessary one. I can truly say with every difficulty came a lesson learned and I just wanted to share a few things that I learned in 2012.
1. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
This took on a WHOLE new meaning for me in 2012. It is so easy to say “I can do anything as long as I’ve got King Jesus” when you are not going through anything! Anyone can talk a good game when the game is going good but let that bad boy take a left and it is a whole different tune. I can truly say that I learned that I am a lot stronger than I ever thought I could be in this year alone and it was not because of my own strength but because of the strength of Christ. One the hardest things I dealt with this year was losing my Bishop. I just knew that man would live to be the same age as Moses and Abraham :) and no one could have ever told me that I would lose him this year. It was like I lost the closest thing I had to a father figure...That was a big change that took place that I honestly wasn’t prepared for and I didn’t really know how to go forward after it.
This year I also had to deal with a lot of personal battles within myself and within my family. I lost a lot, I cried a lot, I was confused a lot but when I look back what I see is that I got through. A lot of the things and people that I thought I needed so much were stripped away from me. I was kind of forced to deal with me and everything that was really dealing with me. Being saved does not exempt me from tests, trials, tribulations, etc. But the perk in it is that I have Jesus constantly walking with me and helping me along the way every single step. When I read Philippians 4:13 now, it takes on a completely new meaning as I truly realize that my help comes from the Lord. How can I give up when I have the One who is willing to be strong for me! I was reminded that I don’t have to carry the cares of this world on my own. First Peter 5:7 reminds me of this when it says “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (NLT). When I learned that my strength lies in the hands of the Lord, things didn’t seem so heavy anymore and I could rest in His peace regardless of what was going on.
2. I need God daily.
I can honestly say this has probably been one of my hardest years spiritually. I have never cried so much, prayed so much, studied so much, and gotten frustrated so much lol all at the same time sometimes! Bottom line is I cannot do this thing called life being weak in my spirit. I need to spend time with God daily, no if, ands, or buts about it. Do I spend time with God every single day? NO I have not and that’s exactly how I learned that I needed Him daily! I learned that spending time with God daily is not a “requirement” or a habit but it has to be a desire from within. When you’re hungry you want food and to satisfy your hunger fix you eat. If you go long enough without eating after awhile you’re not really that hungry anymore. It is the exact same thing from a spiritual view; if you don’t spend time with God daily, after awhile you no longer desire Him anymore. I had to learn that I will want what I give my attention to. I have to feed my spirit daily. God showed me that I have to be intentional about my walk and that I have to desire spending time with Him from my heart and not simply from a place of obligation.
3. I am not my skin OR my hair.
Earlier this year I had to have surgery that left me with scars that let’s be honest didn’t leave me feeling the most secure or confident about myself. This was probably the most insecure I've felt in myself. That was a huge reality for me to accept that I’ll be honest I’m still somewhat learning to deal with. Although I hate to admit it, it showed me how vain I was and how focused I was simply on my outward appearance. In 1 Peter 3:3-5 it says:
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves…” (NIV).
My outward appearance is not what is of importance point, blank, period. God doesn’t even care about it; He cares about my inner appearance regarding how my heart reflects His. Beauty, scars, and everything else will fade away one day, but what will I have to offer God when that is gone? I must say this ties in with learning to spend time with God daily because once I put my focus on Him I had less time to be focused on miniscule things that are not relevant to helping me grow in Him.
Lastly, a change that I made this year was the decision to go natural. I had actually stopped getting perms back in 2011 but I was just flat ironing my hair so I never really wore my hair curly at all until this year. So many people have made comments about my hair, some positive some negative, but at the end of the day it does not define who I am. I am not my hair; my hair is simply a reflection of me. It taught me to be bold in decisions that I make regardless of those who don’t agree with my choices. It reminds me that I cannot waiver or change my opinion about what I think or believe in simply because someone doesn’t like it or agree with it. My hair is not a fashion statement or a part of a trend, it is simply my choice to be free.
Of course this is not everything that I learned in 2012 but I just wanted to highlight a few things. I’m constantly learning and growing and I hope to continue to do so daily until I’m out of here. Here’s to a blessed 2013!