Hey Good People! I was gone for a minute but now I am back at it. I watched a video on Facebook titled Are You a Broken or Whole Black Girl/Woman the other day and I just watched Serena Williams’ acceptance speech for the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Award. I have been contemplating this one question for the last 3 days, “at what point do we stop creating and embracing the struggle narrative?”. Now I am not talking about the Romans 5:3-5 narrative. Because suffering does produce endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. I am talking about the struggle that produces an “S” on our chest, the struggle that makes heart disease the #1 killer of black and white women . Just so that I can make this statistic real for you lets take me and three of my best friends (Quian, Andrea and Courtney) heart disease says that 1 out of the 4 of us will die. Now think about your circle and apply the same math. It just got REAL, REAL QUICK. The struggle that makes us put everybody else first and our self care last. The struggle that says if I am depressed, I still have to show up and show out as my best self when I don’t even know who “she” is. The struggle that makes you sing How I Got Over by Mahalia Jackson and No Happy Holidays by Mary J. Blige all in the same day. Yeah, that struggle. That’s the struggle that makes me mad.
So now that I got that off of my chest, let me tell you what my fellow employee of Jesus (Courtney) and I talked about today at work. I told her about my issue with struggle and as always we brainstormed together how to define this issue. Then it hit us, we had an AHA! moment.
The question really is how do we struggle with stride instead of stress? See, the definition of stride(n.) is a long, decisive step or a step or stage in progress towards an aim. The definition of stress(n.) is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. When we struggle with stride we know it’s spirit led. We can refer back to James 1: 2-4 knowing how we should call it all joy. However, when we struggle with stress we can be sure that it is flesh related. Your flesh makes you angry, anxious, tempted, scared, sick, and a whole gamut of other negative nouns, adjectives and verbs that literally make me want to gag. Stress contributes to sleepless nights, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, gastrointestinal issues, alzheimer’s, asthma, headaches, depression, accelerated aging and premature death. When you struggle with stride you know who holds your future. You can leave it all on the altar and let Jesus fix it. You can seek out the help you need when you are at the end of your rope and you know Jesus needs some physical help in the earth realm to assist with your issues. Seeing a therapist is not shameful, it’s life changing.
This badge of honor that is masked as resilience, tenacity, and fortitude is heavy. I want to rip this “S” off my chest just for one day and not be strong for anyone else but myself. Yeah, I know it sounds selfish. Possibly downright self-centered. But there comes a time in your life where you MUST…YOU HAVE TO…IT IS IMPERATIVE to put yourself first. You must Replenish. Reconnect. Recommit. Reward. and Re-examine your reason for the struggle. What is your why? Who is your why? And if YOU are not attached somewhere in the answer I advise you to go back to the drawing board. Your health is worth it. Your life is worth it. Your sanity is worth it.
You, my dear are worth it.
Start making strides in your struggle, not stress.
Watch your life change one long, decisive step at a time.