By AYANNA CLARKE
“But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” (Psalm 3:3; NIV)
So I joined this book club. I had always wanted to, so when the opportunity came, I jumped at it. Suffice it to say, the book alone was powerful enough to make me see even more positively the potential in this year. In addition to that it made my own goals seem more attainable than I had even imagined.
The book made me, in one word, unapologetic.
Not a fancy, romantic or lyrical word, “unapologetic”; doesn’t bring to mind feelings of whimsy, or frills. In fact, if spoken by the wrong individual, it can come off harsh, intense, or even “biggety.” And you know what? I don’t mind at all.
I purport that it is time out for shrinking back into the tapestry, or blending into the background, pretending we have no greatness on the inside of us. In fact, this is what I am now saying every chance I get: Expressing your greatness gives others in the room the permission to be great also. If that is not the case, then you’re in the wrong room.
To be able to say this means that I have come a long way. There was a time, not too long ago, when I did just the opposite of what I am sharing now. I tried my best to shrink back, blend in, fade away. But it did not work. Instead of becoming comfortable with myself, I became really sad. Why, you may ask. Well, I believe wholeheartedly, it was because I was forcing myself into a mould that did not suit me at all.
Pretty soon the sadness turned to misery and that misery turned to depression. By this time, I was hiding myself from public view, finding solace in only my work, convincing myself that my only duty was to remain a bystander in my own life.
(I pause here to say that the worst experience I think we can ever have is to dream of greatness and not have that dream fulfilled. I was certainly of all men most miserable).
What rescued me from a downward spiral of dejection were three basic things:
I acknowledged that I was emotionally unhealthy.
I sought the professional help I needed to get myself mentally back on the right footing.
I began to live intentionally; planning and pursuing the vision I had for myself before the sadness began.
It can be difficult to stand up and say, “This isn’t enough, I want more from myself...” or “I’ve tapped out at this level, I desire to go further.” In the right circles, this trend of thought would be celebrated. However, in some circles, you are seen as ungrateful, complaintive, combative to even voice opinions such as these. These types of thinkers presume that we are against God and His providence by saying we want more. But nothing could be further from the truth.
There are many amongst us who may not live up to a fraction of their potential because of the fear to express their passion, talent, or skill. But I believe we do God, and our Christian faith, a disservice when we fear to explore just how high we can go; just how much we can do or achieve.
Because God shields us on all sides; grounds our feet, and lifts our heads high, we can celebrate our strengths, and prayerfully use those.
God bless you this week!