Well, it’s that time of year again. What time, you ask? The anniversary of emergence from the womb. Or my birthday if you want to be not weird about it. This year of my life, more than ever, I am learning to shed the things that do not serve me in an effort to live my best life. In the last month, I’ve realized that, as much as I have grown, there is still much work to be done. And while I’m ok with that, I am also more determined than ever to life my life in fullness.
As of late, I have come to terms with the fact that there are still a lot of things I apologize for. Not with words, necessarily, but with the choices I make. Over the years, I’ve certainly gone to God about my past issues that lend to this because, listen, I got issues ok. Maybe you don’t, congrats, but a lot of situations – all the way back to my child hood – have lent to me feeling like I must shrink to maintain status quo and comfortability for those around me. Well, I’m still going to God about it, but I’ve also resolved – beginning now – to simply stop apologizing.
Here are 7 things I am now, henceforth, refusing to be sorry for. I hope you will join me:
1: Being Fabulous
Listen, you’re probably pretty cool. The fact that you’re even reading this speaks to the apparent dopeness that resides within your soul. From your style to the way you talk to how you treat your friends and even the way you treat people you don’t particularly enjoy. You’ve got it going on. There are some things about you that need to change, and you have the courage and self-awareness to address them. And there are some things you’ve learned that have made you a better person. You’ve struggled. You’ve fought. You’ve cried. You’ve made it. (pure gold Job?) You are cool. It is ok to know that, accept it, and act like it.
2: Being Confident
Galatians 1:10 – if my goal is to live for God and have everything I do point to him anyway, that’s whose opinion I should be worried about.
1 John 3:1 – the gifts and talents and the way God directs you might be odd to the world. That’s ok. It’s supposed to be. Do what you do in the knowledge that God has given you the ability to do it and He does nothing short of excellence. Therefore, if he has given you the ability, He’s included with it the ability to be excellent at it. Find your natural talents and gifting and put in the work to develop them. When the results of the work show up you do not have to apologize for them. You do not have to apologize for being skilled at something. Your gift, used correctly, points to the loving Father who made you that way – that’s nothing to be sorry for.
3: Being Happy
Your joy is completely independent of anyone or anything else. Sometimes people try to make you feel like your reason for being happy or excited isn’t a good enough reason. Or they will bring up all kinds of reasons that you shouldn’t be happy. Forget all of that. If you’re in a joy moment, revel in it and be ok if other people are choosing to be miserable. Share the joy, certainly, but let those folks choose which moment they’d like to have.
4: Being Unsure
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned this year is the value of saying one key phrase that, if you are a leader in any capacity, is usually frowned upon. Something you’re not supposed to utter or think. That phrase? “I don’t know.”
“I don’t know” is one of the most unused and powerful phrases at our disposal. It opens us up for learning, for hearing different perspectives, for taking the weight of assumed knowledge off of our shoulders and letting ourselves appear human – which is a good thing. Don’t be sorry for not knowing something. The only thing there would be to be sorry about is refusing to use that as a learning moment.
5: Being Assertive
I feel like we (as women and Christians) are taught that to prefer our neighbor and love our enemies somehow equates to silence. And that asserting our needs or thoughts is, somehow, not very Jesus-y. This could not be further from the truth. Listen, especially my ladies, it is totally ok to say what’s on your mind, even if it makes someone angry. Making people mad is not a sin and really, as long as you say your piece in love, their anger has nothing to do with you – they are responsible for their own feelings. As much as it is our responsibility to say things in love, it is their responsibility to respond with it. Operating in love does not mean being a push-over. It means making sure the place your grievance is coming from is a place of humility and grace – but there are graceful ways to say what you need to say without insulting someone or acting like you don’t have any home training (though in certain situations – especially if your safety is at risk – that may be warranted, just sayin).
6: Being Creative
I love being creative – expressing myself through hair (grown or purchased), clothes, music, dance, makeup, words, and all the other things. For a long time I let people talk me out of my creativity because they were uncomfortable with it. I’ve come to a freeing realization that I want to share with you – no matter what you do, someone is not going to like it. There is someone walking around right now who, upon hearing your name, rolls their eyes with abandon. And you know what – that’s ok! In this season of my life, I’m cultivating a sense of self that doesn’t wait for other people’s approval to come through. So if one day you’re hair is in braids and the next day you’ve got a gray wig down to your waist, why not? Life is short, girl. Wear the hair. Write the book. Create the content. Your freedom in exercising who God made you to be may inspire freedom in someone else.
7: Loving God
This one has never been to much of a problem for me. I love Jesus. He is my homeboy. I go to church. Serving the house of God is a priority. I say no to many things so I can have the time to do so. For free. This confuses people sometimes. They suggest that it’s not fair that I give so much of myself to my church without compensation. For me, I just feel like with what God has brought me through, this is my reasonable service. It is an honor.
There are certain conversations I will not have, words I will not say, places I will not go, etc. because I want to make sure I live a life that honors God. And I make zero apologies for any of it.
You have the right to love God as big as you want to and carve out the adequate space in your life to act on it.
I hope you will help me celebrate my birthday by being the you only you can be and being ok with people not being ok with it. What else should be on the list?