This morning as I was leaving my apartment, I saw a little boy “pretending” to play basketball on the tennis court. I stood and watched him for a while as I walked to my car. He was dribbling, running up and down the court, and then he was making 3-point shots in his “imaginary” hoop. I wanted to laugh but I thought to myself I am a pretender, too.
How many times do we “pretend” our way through life? Growing up really shy (mostly bashful), my imagination was like a best friend. I remember one time when I was “pretending” to be a teacher in my bedroom, my Dad walked in and caught me. I was so EMBARRASSED! At the moment, I was talking to my pretend students, who were my stuffed animals on my bed (they were very engrossed in the lesson, I might add). I was using the wall as my chalkboard and my versatile-hairbrush (microphone/telephone/magic wand/chalk/weapon against monsters) to write on the “board”. How could I explain to this no-nonsense man what I was doing? He looked at me, closed the door, and backed out of the room slowly into the hallway. I still wonder if he laughed or thought I was crazy as he went back downstairs. I could only imagine what he was saying to my Mom downstairs, “Char (short for Charlene), Shayla really needs to….”
A similar situation happened at work. This time I was pretending to be a “singer”. I was in the copy room making copies for the next day. I thought I was all alone….so I started to belt out the words to this worship song that I have been working on. Behind me I could hear footsteps and a voice saying, “Ms. Gordon….you sound beautiful!” Who was it? My principal!!!!! Omgosh, how embarrassing! He is our new principal and everyone is trying to make good impressions and I am singing at the top of my lungs in the copy room. (In truth, I think he was just as embarrassed as me. He thought he was alone…what would he have done….hmmm…) I’ve lived it down (because we are a small school) but now I check to see if anyone is around.
Today, I continued the “pretending” game as I walked to the sales counter of Best Buy with my purchases. The sales lady asked me how I was. I said, “I’m fine.” I lied. I wasn’t fine. I gave her that casual smile, the one that I have perfected over the years. I responded with, “How are you?” We made small talk which did bring a “REAL” smile to my face but as I crossed out of the double doors and walked to my car the waterworks started again. There have been so many emotions going through my mind these past three weeks. Most of the time, when I go places I feel like “I want to be anywhere but here.” I’m usually a pretty happy person and a smile is genuinely spread across my face. Not everything in my life is perfect and I don’t have a pretentious attitude. This is just my temperament. My Mom said I was a really happy baby…I don’t know. But most recently, I have just been feeling really down and I’ve been “pretending” my way through life. Do I feel like this all the time, all throughout the day? No. Just when I start thinking about situations, circumstances, or people that I have been emotionally wounded by. I really believe that God is taking me through some emotional healing and forgiveness.
I’ve known this for a while. I am a carrier. I am a carrier of “soft emotions”. My Dad, the Jamaican Spy, was the first to bring it to my attention. When he would reprimand us he would say, “I’m not doing this to be hard on you but…..” and then he would go through with the consequence and his “Mike Brady” stories of when he was younger. God, love him with those STORIES! In the midst of sitting there crying and scared about what will happen next he’s telling me that he loves me and what I need to do better. I, the contagious giggler, end of laughing even though I’m getting a consequence. It is so comical…I don’t understand why I respond that way. Lately, my “soft” emotions have been getting the best of me. After a while of processing and praying, I feel a lot better. I understand that this is just a season. Today during my quiet time with the Lord, I really felt joy starting to seep back into my heart. Even now as I am writing, I feel so much better. He is teaching me something.
Right now, I am understanding that that there are things happening for me and NOT against me. Yes, even the painful things. I saw this picture on Facebook showing my ideal plan for my life vs. God’s plan. My plan was smooth sailing with no bumps in the road and the Sun shining. God’s plans had so many hills, valleys, a river with a boat…I had to agree with the imagery of the artist’s perception. In my mind, I see everything so clearly and working out and then I remember that “His ways and thoughts are higher than my ways and thoughts.” I understand that if I don’t allow time for these wounds to heal properly, forgive these people (openly/in prayer), and work towards reconciling broken relationships I will be a bitter person and not a better one. Did I expect for a series of events or comments to make me feel this way? No. But sometimes when the root of bitterness sets in it tries to poison everything else.
I love what it says in the Message Bible for Isaiah 43:18-19:
He says: Forget about what has happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert. Be present. He’s about to do something new. It’s bursting out. Don’t you see it!
Sometimes when I am so stuck in this world of hurt I am not able to recognize what God is doing in the NOW. A new thing is something that I have never seen before. Satan wants me to see the negative. He wants me to be hurt, offended, and upset with people (even the people that I know truly love me) Satan always tries to use something to try to keep us from our destiny. (David Gibbons) These same people that I have allowed a door to emotional wounding may be the same people that the Lord is calling me to help bring into the Kingdom, receive something from for my benefit as a person, or a friend for a lifetime. God knows. The enemy can see what is up ahead in my future and will try to do any means possible to cause it now to work out when I believe the lies. God has been doing some really surprising and NEW events for me. I want to experience them all with a joyful heart! Wherever He is taking me, I want to be ready, confident, and secure.
I don’t want to be a “pretender” anymore. I don’t want to pretend to live when I am really hurting. God uses people who have baggage. He knows my heart and loves me the same. I may not like it but God is into to “messed” up folks. 🙂 He chose me that way; soft emotions and all. So I have been exposing my hurts to Him and He has been helping me to see clearly what is happening and/or how I need to respond. First step, is the choice to walk in forgiveness, love and reconciliation.
Friend, wherever you are…whatever you are dealing with…even if it is a little like me…choose love over hurt. Choose love (God) over being broken. He is with you in your brokeness. He knows the source of the pain and how to heal you over time. Most times, try not to build your world around your pain so that it is all that you see. Will I never experience hurt again? No. Am I learning a better response than pretending that “I’m okay.”? Yes. I’ve included a song that makes me smile. It talks about Love being the right place. It’s titled, “Love is the Right Place” by Bryan White (not the actor, the country singer. Yes, country. I think he has one of the best voices in country music! soulful, brings you there–you know what I mean.) Also, I’ve included a song that teaches a continuous lesson about FORGIVENESS! by Tenth Avenue North. A prayer to God to help me to forgive even when it is easier to be bitter. I’ve included the video of this song because I feel like it helps us to see that this is a “human” thing. We all wrestle with these emotions whether we are initiating, receiving or retaliating. Also, it makes me smile at the end with chorus sing loudly in the background. I love the rap! 🙂
“Losing” by Tenth Avenue North
If you know me or are my friend or follower on social media, please know that if I have responded to you about anything it has been with genuine emotions. I know that I am a better person when I am honest (even if it is embarrassing) because I never know who God is helping through my brokeness-joy, failures-successes, or insanity-saness! Lol! This season has a purpose! God is on my side (reference to Wasteland–by NEEDTOBREATHE. Find their new album, which released this week).
It is empowering to come face to face with those struggles and say “I’m an OVERCOMER!” even if it seems and feels unbeatable. Anyway, I love you all (genuinely) and want you to know that I am a real person. My Aunt told me that sometimes the strongest people are the ones that cry behind closed doors. Well, I cry in the open and closed doors…what does that make me? Stronger than I was yesterday!
Thank you for sharing this MOMENT with me!! I look forward to sharing more moments with you as you meander through my little snapshot of the world!