Welcome back folks!!
This is part TWO of A Guide to Savvy Suffering. If you’re confused as to where part one was, please click here. However if you don’t feel like reading it, here’s a quick recap:
- Face the Facts…With Faith– Own up to what you’ve done, but have faith that God will use your mistake for your good! Don’t let the guilt and shame overshadow God’s plan to turn it around. He still loves you and wants to work with you ♥️
- Pick Your Posse– Choose carefully 2 to 3 people who are your first responders as you go through the depths of your self-inflicted suffering. Don’t overcrowd your life with advice and people. Not everyone needs to know everything. Let the rest who care deeply pray for you and with you, if you so choose.
- Trust the Process, Don’t Rush the Process– God is teaching you a lot during this time of suffering and it will not be a quick process, but it will be worth it. Let emotions pass and as they do, bring them to God so you can healthily process them.
Alright!! If those were helpful for you, please continue on to the next set of practicals!
4. Live a Little
As you process all you have done and its consequences, it can seem like sulking and being ashamed is the only thing you should be allowed to do. We can even be fooled into thinking that it’s noble and mature! IT AIN’T.
Just because you made a mistake does not mean your life is over. Do you realize that? I certainly didn’t at first. Now say it out loud with me. “Just because I made a mistake does NOT mean my life is over.” Isn’t that relieving and wonderful to know? Now, that doesn’t mean you should act like nothing ever happened. That my friends is called denial. Don’t be in denial. What I am talking about is lightening up some of the gravity of the situation so it doesn’t destroy you.
Within the first week of me being back in the U.S. I had a small board game gathering at my house. Something simple, fun, and low pressure that took my mind off of all that was going on. There were like 5 or 6 of us and we smiled and laughed while playing Spot It and Munchkin, two hysterical games in their own right. It was effective in helping me realize, “Anijah, it’s not the end of the world, life can still be beautiful.” It didn’t fix everything, but it made it more bearable by far.
Engaging with lighthearted people will work wonders. Just the other day I was helping my older cousin prepare her house for the twins she’s about to have (SO EXCITING) and midway through our time together her husband brought home their 3 year old. Maaan me and this little lady had a blast dancing to the Trolls soundtrack while folding newborn clothes for her future brother and sister. We had such a good time in fact, that she asked her Mom to schedule a movie playdate with me! Yes you heard me right, schedule. Few things make you feel cooler than a kid giving you their stamp of approval.
“A time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance”
It’s funny, I used to look at this scripture and think these “times” where separated by months or years, but a lot of the time they happen throughout the day or in a given week. Usually my mornings and evenings are characterized by deep prayer, but throughout the day there are plenty of opportunities to just enjoy life.
My point is, do not try and punish yourself, but don’t be idle either, it’s harmful and ineffective. Take a walk, play games with friends, serve the homeless, work on a small project or maybe dance down a grocery store aisle like I do. Life has not stopped, lighten up and live a little 😃
5. Soul Diet
Coming to terms with your sin and the suffering that has resulted from it is a bit like a spiritual heart attack. Your soul, mind, and heart are going haywire and the Spirit is like, “ALERT ALERT ALERT!!! TURN AROUND!!!!“
Once that event gets your attention, hopefully, you switch direction and make the necessary lifestyle changes needed.
In attempting to get healthy, whether folks admit it or not, nutrition is over half of the battle. Everybody knows the drill; no candy, no soda, no smoking, limit alcohol, limit sugar, etc. We always know what not to do, but are a bit more hazy on what the replacements are.
Similarly, our spiritual health is deeply affected by what we allow our minds and hearts to partake in. For me, lately I’ve been trying to feed myself with Scripture, wise council, and positive messages.
Reading the Bible daily is pretty easy, but keeping the Scriptures on my heart throughout the day is difficult. As soon as I leave that time of focus in the morning, the worries of life bombard and distract me from God’s promises. To remedy the situation, I do this trick a wise wallaby taught me. I set silent alarms in my phone, as many and as frequently as I need, with various verses from the Bible that pertain to my situation. Here’s an example of what it looks like when an alarm pops up:
It’s funny because each verse pops up riiiight when I’m starting to doubt if I’ll ever overcome then BOOM encouragement! I love it because it takes over my entire screen so I can’t miss the message. A handy tool indeed.
Wise council comes from all over the place. The ladies I’ve chosen to be in the trenches with me have given a lot of support and advice. Also, the sermons I hear at church are helpful for my growth. Outside of that, I just finished listening to this amazing sermon series called Relationship Goals and boy howdy!! It has taught me a lot about embracing my singlehood and how to view stages of life and relationships through God’s eyes and not the world’s. Check it out here, but be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart! I also recently started reading Disappointed With God by Philip Yancey, thanks to a lovely Bostonian who lent it to me believing I might need it. She was right. I’m a third of the way through and it’s been mind blowing. In my humble opinion, I think everyone should read that book as soon as they can.
Beyond Scripture and wise council, I try to surround myself as best I can with positivity. I follow the Special Books by Special Kids page on Facebook, which is a welcome detour from the negativity people post in my newsfeed. I have decided to unfriend or unfollow those who post more divisive than unifying content. I read uplifting articles about various topics and listen to songs that simply make me happy. Like…how can you not feel positive about the future when “Defying Gravity” is blasting through your speakers as you belt it along with Kristen Chenoweth and Idina Menzel?
Just me? Okay…we’ll just move on to the last point of the post then.
6. LEARN Something From This
The title of this point comes from arguably the single greatest moment in reality tv history. On April 13th, 2005, the world, well at least America, saw a whole new side of Tyra Banks during an elimination episode of America’s Next Top Model. From which came the beautiful quote, “Be Quiet Tiffany!” If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please watch this clip.
Not gonna lie, I pretty much know this entire exchange by heart. When I first saw it as a middle schooler it was shocking and entertaining. But as I listened to it again while working on this guide, I found it to be super cutting to my heart. Looking at my own mistakes and how everything went down in Australia, Tyra’s tirade (or TYRAde, sorry😂) is applicable.
I relate to Tiffany more than I would like to admit. I’ve tried to blame shift, make excuses, and accept having a defeatist attitude, but God wants so much more for me. Shout out to those God placed in my life who had to do a Tyra-like shutdown for me, but in a much kinder tone. I feel so loved and I now know that I have the potential to learn and grow!
Don’t misunderstand though, people can give you pep talk after pep talk, but change will not happen until you decide you want it. And I really hope you do!
“One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’“
This verse has always been fascinating to me because I tend to think, “Duuuh why would he not want to get well?! I thought you knew everything Jesus!” Then I realized, as humans, if we do not want to learn something, we will not learn. Not meaning that we will never learn, but it affects what we will be able to perceive in a given situation.
For instance, a student could go to class every day and not learn a single thing if he chooses to not humbly accept the teaching from his professor. And that professor could have loads of knowledge, clear presentations and an incredible curriculum. But it doesn’t matter if the student does not want to learn. Yet the student could argue, “WELL I’M IN CLASS AREN’T I?! OBVIOUSLY I WANT TO LEARN!!” But does he really?
I see my life is a mess, obviously I want to change.
I show up to church, obviously I want to grow closer to God.
I’m letting you give me advice, obviously I’m humble.
God strongly desires for us to get well and to no longer be stifled by the sin that torments us, but His power in our lives can be severely limited by the condition of our heart. It’s sobering. However, He will not stop sending warnings and wake up calls due to His love for us. God is very patient. Once we decide to turn to Him, He is THRILLED and rushes to restore us and teach us new things.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
Just ask. Humble out and ask. God is waiting for each of us to cash in on the riches of wisdom and understanding in His storehouse! Personally, God has been revealing deeper truths to me about gratitude, sin, forgiveness, and healing. On a greater scale, I have learned incredible things about God’s heart and mind which has been crazyyyy. But if I didn’t go ahead and let God teach me in this time of suffering, which I’ve honestly done many times in the past, I’d be like this horrifying proverb:
“As a dog returns to its vomit,
so fools repeat their folly.”
Gross huh? So in the passion of Tyra, I urge you don’t be a fool and…
Expect the Final Post of A Guide to Savvy Suffering soon! I hope it has been helpful so far!
Moore Awaits ♥️