Some Lessons from the Journal Entry
Steve Maraboli said, “It’s a lack of clarity that creates chaos and frustration. Those emotions are poison to any living goal.” I couldn't agree more.
There is a level of clarity, understanding, awareness, and mindfulness that comes with time spent voluntarily in solitude. In fact, when you begin to taste the level of knowledge you gain in stillness, it almost seems unpleasant to come out of that level of alone time. ( keyword is the alone time, not loneliness) Of course in due time the lessons you've gained in solitude will need to be exercised by coming out and applying what you've acquired.
While I've been spending my time learning more about my experiences, where I am presently, and what I want for my future, I have learned about myself in ways I never knew was possible. What I'm going to be sharing does require that I expose myself, and I consider that to be growth in itself. So here we go:
Courting vs. Dating
My mom used to ask me the difference between courting and dating in America. I would tell her that it's the same thing because I believed that dating was the modern-day version of courting. I've learned that they are indeed two different approaches in which I'd like to clarify. Since dating is quite broad and has just about no boundaries in how people approach it, I think I'd rather talk about courting.
See, courting is actively building a relationship between a couple in which they seek to determine if it is God's will for them to marry each other. This approach is under the protection, guidance, and blessing of parents, faith leaders, and mentors. When you seek to court someone, you are deepening your friendship with them which may lead to marriage as you are discerning each other's readiness for marriage and God's timing.
Courting is purposeful with intentions of marriage and none other. There is accountability to authorities and not just the exclusive individuals, which in turn decrease exposure to temptations, abuse, and pleasure of self. Courting focuses on God (your individual relationship with the Lord as well as your mutual relationship) and his kingdom.
After understanding more about the differences between dating and courting, I've learned that dating isn't for me. Dating has very little to no accountability, you begin to seek a relationship based on attraction or self needs instead of discerning if the connection is the will of God and is pleasing to the Lord. With little accountability and more focus on self-gratification instead of the Lord, as a believer, I've come to realize that courtship is the approach that the Lord would prefer for me when I am ready. (I said for myself because God speaks to all of us quite differently.) In learning this, I recommend reading The Wait by DeVon Franklin and Megan Good.
Learning About Soft Spots
Time alone taught me a couple of valuable lessons about myself. When you go through life-changing events such as loss of loved ones, breakups, career changes, and even environmental changes, you can come out of it hurt and feeling broken in more ways than one. These are the tender moments when you can take an honest look at yourself and understand what part you played in the tango. I'm a firm believer that it takes two to tango. Every person you date, every situation you're a part of, is a reflection of yourself. Your decision to make yourself available to certain people exposes many facts about who are as a person at that moment and areas in which God wants you to allow him to work on with you.
I learned that:
I harbored much self-doubt and was a people pleaser which made me susceptible to accepting love bombing, gaslighting, manipulation, lack of self-control, and vulnerable to emotional and psychological abuse.
Our souls and hearts can sense dysfunctionality and due to my self-doubt and ignorance in how God sees me, I questioned when the Holy Spirit told me to step out of certain situations or remove myself from places that were harmful for me. I didn't believe in the me that Jesus fought for when people didn't agree with me, and I learned that I must stand firm in what the Lord is telling me despite how I may feel about people and situations.
I learned that your partner is not there to take on your responsibility for your lack of self-love, self-worth, and your need to care for others. You can care so much about a person that you end up wanting to take care of them and their every need. This causes you to be vulnerable to psychological and emotional suffocation because you're not respecting them by allowing them to grow from their toxic traits and you’re not respecting yourself by how you’re playing a part in a codependent relationship. Everyone has some baggage, and that's not a secret. However, I’ve learned the sense of self-worth and self-love I seek could never be satisfied by anyone but Jesus + me. The love I was seeking after was one that God wants me to give to myself, and no person could give to me. This love is my responsibility in which God has given me to take care of; this my spiritual responsibility. We don't always need to take care of each others‘ problems for one another; this provides us with the opportunity to grow, and God may just be wanting you to grow with him on your own. God has commanded us to love one another as we love ourselves. However, everything we mistaken for love isn’t us loving ourselves and our neighbors (watch the short clip attached in this post). We are meant to be there for one another and love but to give each other the safe space to grow, learn, and heal the way God wants us to.
This time alone has helped me realize what traits I possess that were toxic to me. I had a tendency to be drawn to codependent relationships because I'm a giver and takers are drawn to my desire to give psychologically and emotionally which in turn empties me and draws depressive signs out of me because of the lack of self-care and love I was giving myself while giving to them. I enjoy taking care of others because growing up, I was always responsible for myself and culturally was taught that serving others is part of being a kind person which has been a desire of mine. However, the one I needed to take care of the most was myself, not others. The secure and healthy approach is to allow others to take responsibility for their emotional, physical, and psychological needs while I love them for who God made them to be unconditionally.
Your Inner Child & The Holy Spirit
Every person can hear from their inner child ( the younger version of you) and the Holy Spirit. These two voices are within your soul, and they are highly sensitive. I believe that as we grow older, we begin to ignore these voices and allow logic and reasoning to dictate what we do entirely.
Logic and reasoning are essential however if we're able to listen to the child within us and stay sensitive to the Holy Spirit, we can understand our triggers, why we feel and do things in specific ways, and areas of which needs work.
Your inner child knows about the things that occurred in your childhood that have manifested themselves in your adulthood. This voice in your soul can help you become a better person as you grow in ways acquired education and logic cannot.
Never doubt the purity of your inner child and the truth that comes from the Holy Spirit.
Take Your Time
After observing Clay Harbor's ending on Bachelor in Paradise, I came to the conclusion that my stance on the concept of 'taking your time,' is still valid. Clay taught me that despite what your gender may be, when events happen in your life, it is imperative that you give yourself the necessary time to heal, learn, and grow.
When you are making decisions that involve people, your career, or other important life choices, clarity is imperative, and lack of it only hurts others, yourself, and it halts your growth in ways that can be detrimental.
You're not missing out when you're in your healing stage; instead, you're ensuring that by gaining clarity and understanding, you're able to follow the path that is best for you, God's will.
Everyone's healing, grief, and growing processes are different, and your journey gets better as you learn to be attentive to your soul and the Holy Spirit so that you can process properly. Trust me when I say that the last thing you want is to go through the same situations over and over because you refused to heal and take your time.
There are many lessons that God has been sharing with me through this process. If only I could share them all within less than 2,000-word count, but this is already a lot as it is. Hopefully, I'll be able to share more as time goes by.
Until next time…