Welcome back !!! Catch up on part I here.
It’s very important for me to be honest with myself and acknowledge the consequences of my past hurt and trauma on my young adulthood. My prayer is that while you read about the impact these things had on my life, you will be able to identify your own and be set free. I obviously can’t talk about everything in detail ’cause this post would be 20 pages long and nobody got time for that. I will focus on 2 specific areas of my life: self-image and relationships.
See, like many of you, I was aware of a lot of things but I never really let go or moved on from them. I was only able to truly overcome most of it this year (thanks quarantine), which is why I can talk about it freely. Old things have passed, God is making all things new.
As I was saying, I moved out here at 16, freshly saved, away from my parents. I didn’t move to ATL and become a stripper guys, I was a child of God in university (yaaay, lol!). God highjacked my life. I started being a real church rat. I was in church ALL. THE. TIME. Although I was building my prayer life and relationship with God, I was still fragile and working through some issues. I obviously had a very negative self-image and when I got saved, I still had this feeling of being dirty and disgraceful, so I tried to overcompensate by the way I dressed or carried myself. I was performing my christianity. I hid behind my clothes for so long because I thought wearing loose clothes, long dresses and skirts would make me more respectable, more christian, more pure, more holy. I have pictures but I will only post one cause guys… I use to wear jeans under dresses that were above the knee and called it a look. Like? I’m actually crying…
In my first year of uni though, I started taking care of myself, exercising, changing my diet and that’s how I started developing a healthier relationship with my body. Listen, prayer is great but we also have to be practical. If you don’t like something that you have the ability to change, do it. Lose the weight, change your hairstyle, up your fashion game etc… I lost almost 25 pounds at the time, only to find out that I didn’t like the skinny version of me. Today, I’m 8 pounds heavier than I was after losing all that weight, I enjoy my food, I exercise, aim to live a healthy lifestyle in the long run and I really couldn’t care less about looking like an IG baddie. I like the skin I’m in.
But besides my self-image, one thing in my life that was terribly affected was my perception of men. I just had this thing against men for the longest time, but I never really understood why. I didn’t like them, they annoyed me and because of what I went through, saying no to every guy that showed interest made me extremely happy. It was my defense mechanism. I don’t know why, but it was like taking my power back. I needed to feel in control when it came to my relationships with men because when I was younger and those things happened, I was powerless and helpless. My no meant “I won’t give you the chance to hurt or disappoint me”, and it felt amazing. So, at my big age, I never had a boyfriend, nothing but silly ridiculous short crushes. Do I feel like I missed out? Absolutely not but it did cause me to feel a lot of shame, as weird as it may sound. I was always wondering why I couldn’t get in a relationship like everybody else, and the devil would whisper that I am dirty and unworthy, but all this time, I was the one saying no to relationships… Make it make sense. The devil is such a liar y’all.
Truth is, I was too afraid and traumatized but I didn’t even know it then. I was always questioning their motives. Do they just want to hurt me or destroy my life? Disgrace me? Did the devil send them? What’s their agenda?, which caused me to be constantly confused and torn. My heart was just not open, but I didn’t even know it (which is dangerous), so I kept turning them down. I always found an excuse: too quiet, too loud, too short, too nice, too skinny, too light skinned, too tall, you name it.
(When I was 22 though, I finally came close to getting into something. Everything seemed to finally be adding up for the first time in my relationship life, until it wasn’t. Imagine finally opening yourself to the idea of something you’ve been putting off for so long only to end up crushed. We’ll get into that another day because it’s a whole story and I think I’m still picking up the pieces, if I’m being honest).
Then came the season of my breakthrough. I met this young man and it was the wake up call I needed. He wasn’t much of a church guy but he still went to church. He pursued me. He was straightforward, romantic, sweet and a great listener, he did everything right, followed protocol, but something was off. Still, I didn’t want to walk away because I never had anything like that before. At least I knew this one was going to treat me like a queen and respect me. Shouldn’t that be enough? NO. The answer is no. That’s the bare minimum.
My main issue was that I felt like I was going to have to choose between a relationship with him and my relationship with God, which is crazy. So, despite him being really great, I chose not to pursue a relationship and that was the beginning of my freedom. Choosing me and choosing God over everything that came with that potential relationship, was me finally accepting and acknowledging that I do deserve the things that I am praying for. I had to check myself, remember who and whose I am because I cannot and I will not go through life accepting and glorifying the bare minimum. I deserve a lot, a whole lot and I’m willing to wait for it.
It was right then and there that my whole perspective changed and I had to pause for a moment. I talk about it in detail here, but although I felt disappointed and ‘relationship dumb’ for a hot minute, God really opened my eyes – I was a danger to myself because I hadn’t come to the full realization of who I am. I didn’t see myself the way God needed me to see myself at the time, so He did not allow me to enter into any type of relationship, it would have been to my own detriment. God knows what I would have done, I would have been a very toxic girlfriend. He had to make me face all these things or else, they will follow me in my future relationship. God allowed me to go through these situations that triggered me and my emotions, to make me more aware of who I am, grow, gain wisdom, and heal. He used my weaknesses to bless me. Facing these things forced me to be more prayerful and pushed me to learn more about God and have a deeper relationship with Him, because I knew I would be in trouble if I didn’t have Him!
It’s not uncommon for women with similar experiences as me to go through phases of promiscuity, toxic relationships etc… but by the grace of God, He did not allow me to go through it, not because I’m smarter, wiser, or better, He just did not allow it, I don’t know why and maybe I will never understand, but I am grateful. God probably shielded you from situations you could have found yourself in too, so be thankful.
Today, I can say that my heart is in a different place. I’m not afraid anymore, my heart is guarded. I built gates around my heart, not walls. I am waiting on what God has for me and I’m unavailable to anything else because I know what I want and deserve. No dates, no hanging out, no good morning texts, no nothing. I don’t need it, I don’t want it.
I hope this is a reminder that it’s never a loss when you go through it with God. Whatever IT is. God can and will use ANYTHING to your advantage. No matter what you went through, there’s nothing God can’t turn around. No matter what your past looks like, no matter how far you went, He can still work wonders.
But all of this happened between 2015 and 2020, while many other things were going on in my life. I went through some of my darkest seasons, facing failure and disappointment. God put my life on pause for a while… but taught me so much. You can read more about it here and next post !
Stay tuned for the finale, I have a very special announcement !