“But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’. Anything beyond these is of evil” (Matthew 5:37 NASB).
This year, I cut my hair (dramatically). I changed my name (both professionally and among family). I honored myself with a gift, in the form of a declaration of independence that I had desired for more than 30 years. Many of you may not recognize this version of me.
I have risen to the call of Matthew 5:37; no longer yielding to anything misaligned with the leading of the Holy Spirit as I understand It moving within me. You might find yourself a bit off-put by whom I’ve become, and that is your right.
I am being transformed.
I Began the Second Act of My Life,
bravely embraced risk and change, largely NOT of my own choosing. I have been sad; I have been happy. Living my life subject to the whims, expectations, and gaslighting of others left me exhausted…and now, I am done.
For all the years I talked about my evolution, this is my inflection point. The momentum is irresistible. What happened for so long in darkness and isolation has broken into the light.
If We Do Not Learn From What We’ve Been Through…
well, you know, “those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” (George Santayana) How many times have you had to suffer the same punishments before you learn the lessons?
Here’s What I Know.
Seasons change. People die. Kids grow up. Relationships, connections, and transitions happen. Everything changes, whether you’re ready or not. In the words of the ancestor’s song, “I want to be ready.”
In the second act of the musical “Dreamgirls,” Effie White sings “I am Changing” choosing to leave her mistakes behind in favor of evolving into the woman she was created to become. Like me, the character is in transition.
Like Me, She is Evolved.
I find immense, soul-deep satisfaction in the well-known but often misinterpreted passage Jeremiah 29:11. In my experience, few people approach the verse in context. I find a deeper and more satisfying message reading the entire chapter; when God, speaking through Jeremiah declares, “I know the plans I have for you.”
Why? Because, on the journey to your spacious place, God’s going to take you through hell first.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
I have arrived at that place where transitions move around me, but do not knock me off my feet. I dance through the wilderness knowing my way is made.
I am Learning the Value of a Firm “No” Offered in Love,
“…like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8 NKJV
Transition, Evolution, Means Learning New Habits;
some physical, some spiritual. Among my newest habits is disruption. Every time I feel a spirit of anxiety or doubt, I disrupt the thought process with praise. That practice does not always come naturally; a lifetime of complicity in my own suppression is not easily overcome. Yet, nothing worth pursuing comes without struggle. I am committed to pursuing the things that draw me closer to God over those that like sirens’ songs, lead me away. Heed my warning; it is not always a trick of the enemy that seeks to distract you. Sometimes, it is merely a blessing NOT MEANT FOR YOU.
I am changing. The mechanics of disruption, for me, are clear; upon recognizing an old pattern of fear or being reactionary, I now do something new…nothing. There is for me the sacrament of the sacred pause, Selah, which has been translated as “stop and listen.”
As I am nothing without God, there is nothing for me to do, beyond trust and wait. All I need to do, all you need to do, all we’ve ever needed to do is: