Unlearning behaviors and truths I’ve accepted as standard or normal has been crucial to my growth and development. Some things that I’ve been taught such as being manipulative or sneaky no longer serve me and I must admit, it hasn’t been easy to shake these behaviors. I also learn more from experiences than from hearing a sermon or reading. Most of the time, it takes living through something in order to learn a lesson.
To be fair, I wasn’t able to put a label on these behaviors or even identify them for years. It wasn’t until I became self-reflective and spent time identifying traits and ideals that no longer served me that I stepped back and called a thing a thing. For instance, I knew that withholding parts of a story was lying but failed to acknowledge that it was manipulative as well. This has had negative implications being that I often try to control or predict the outcome of situations. Instead of letting things play out and let them be, I try to figure out what I can do to gain a favorable outcome, one that I want.
How Did I Get Here?!
This had become so ingrained that I didn’t even realize I was doing it until I adopted a regular writing practice. As I wrote, I would be so focused on getting to the desired ending, that I would short change the story. I became frustrated because I felt as though I was rushing the narrative and my characters weren’t developing. Then I thought: how much character development did I miss out on because I kept trying to control the story and manipulate God’s narrative? I had been holding on so tight to the reigns that I missed some things that God had been trying to show me. It’s fascinating that God will reveal things to you if your heart and mind are receptive. We’ll save that for another day, though.
But the good news is that me being that person was always part of God’s plan. He made me who I am. He also showed me who I am and whose I am.
God knew all along that I would try to control my life and chase down plans He never intended for me but He gently pulled me back and showed me His face and His grace. I remember when I first gave my life to Christ and how pressed I was to become like the more seasoned saints. I was ready to start laying hands, speaking in the Spirit and of course, quoting scripture the next day. But I wasn’t nearly as spiritually mature then as I am now and my ministry shouldn’t mimic anyone else’s. Just imagine if I would’ve been running around bible beating folks. My goodness.
What Does It All Mean?!
It’s not all about learning what’s bad and what’s good or right vs. wrong, however. I believe we do what we’re taught and adapt to our environments for the most part. Our behaviors, the things we consistently do are what we identify with during this period in our lives. However, we must adjust accordingly otherwise we will never grow. We’ll be on a hamster wheel going through the same trials and tribulations because we refuse to abandon the behaviors that no longer serve us. We stunt our evolution.
After a few years, God showed me the importance of my journey. I’m able to reflect on where I’ve been and how much I’ve grown and how much growing I still want to do. I learned that my life isn’t my own and this journey isn’t for me. It’s to help and inspire women I encounter. One thing I know for certain is that the whole point was to get on the journey. I had to start in order to grow. We are all constantly evolving and growing. The final destination is heaven. And I’m not dying anytime soon so I may as well relax and let God do His thing.
I have so many things to unlearn but the best part is all that I get to learn. I’ve adopted a spirit of learning so that I remain curious and open minded. This starts by observing my thoughts and behaviors and not only addressing if they’re problematic but deciding whether or not they still serve me or those around me. I kept being manipulative out of survival but I no longer have to live like that. I know that God has me. I’ve established a foundation that stays with me so that remain grounded when I want to run or fly away from difficult conversations and situations. I can stay off the defense and learn new ways to exist and navigate the world.
As always, take what you need and leave the rest.