#406

“What’s on your mind 406?”

Do you really want to know, Mr. Samuel Lee aka Adam Hulme? I got woken up twice by the cries of a baby on someone’s laptop in the wee hours of the night. I slept on a gym floor. I got woken up for the final time and it was still dark outside. You guys served us cold (flavorless) oatmeal with no utensils and it tasted like paste. I’m cold and you have me running an obstacle course from the pit of hell SEVERAL TIMES today, along with going into a sketchy looking pond and an ice bath if I fail to memorize 8 verses and a mission statement.

But none of these were what really bothered me, because quite honestly I could do it all again without complaining (but not anytime soon)

The problem wasn’t that I was teamed up with some amazing people who kept telling me that I was doing great and that they are so proud of me, it was that deep down I felt like I was constantly failing them. I had driven myself to the point of tears because I wanted to sound that air horn and leave the event early, but not when it felt like I was leaving them to do this on their own. They were my team, my friends and my support and I didn’t know how to take in all their words of encouragement and reassurance because of my own insecurity. I saw those horns around the leaders necks as failure to complete the assignments given to me and I wasn’t going to walk out looking weak to my classmates. Their [false] thoughts of me as an individual would haunt me for the duration of the school year and I wasn’t sure if I could handle that.

But now that I’m home and it’s just me and my thoughts in this living room, I realize that I was staying so long because of false assumptions that I believed was set in people’s minds about me.

One, I shouldn’t have viewed the success of my day based on what other people thought of me. But how do you change something that you have done for the last 25 years?

Two, I shouldn’t have thought of myself so highly that I saw people’s success of their day based on whether or not I was there.

And three, I need to believe and understand that just because I don’t think so highly of myself in certain areas doesn’t mean that everyone will or is already believing it too.

It’s crazy how I’ve swam in the ocean of pride without realizing it. I’ve always thought of myself as a somewhat humble person when it reality I’ve long since dipped my toes in the water; I’m practically down at the bottom with the Titanic just chilling.

It’s emotionally and physically exhausting to be this way and I can’t express to you enough how much I wanted to crawl back to my team while I was walking away from them at 5:08 pm Monday evening. But I don’t want to live another 25 years and beyond living up to false expectations of my friends and family.

I want to live the next couple of decades of my life perfecting the art of going to bed every night knowing that I gave my 100% without thinking about everyone else.

Because in the end, my greatness shouldn’t be determined on whether you care enough about me and your greatness shouldn’t be determined if I’m there or not.

I Am Onion

great

I’m here. In Atlanta Leadership College. And I absolutely love it. It feels good to be here, it feels right. But it feels even more amazing that I get to rush my fingers across this keyboard and tell you just a snippet of what I’ve experienced.

I miss blogging.

Orientation week was a rough one for me. I met all the staff for the school, met a few of the staff at my church (because I knew pretty much everyone else) and met all of the ladies in the school and went to the Capitol youth service. Very overwhelming for someone who is naturally an introvert. By the second week (last week) it wasn’t as overwhelming. We started getting into the groove of things and it’s not that horrible.

After hugging and shaking hands with staff members at the meet and greet over donuts and coffee, we all began to part ways. I wanted to get my hands on a cup of coffee before heading into orientation, so I walked over to one of the tables and started making myself a cup. I said “hello” to the husband of wonderful woman in the church and he said hello back with a confused look on his face. Once he realized who I was, we talked about me being at ALC and how he already thought I had done the program, given my age, and that I was on staff. I clarified that I was not on staff with the church but I had always wanted to be and he said that he would love to have me there. That, ladies and gents, made me smile. He began to ask me why I never bothered to work at the church and I simply told him that I had applied several times before, but I never got an interview. He then asked me what I had been doing in the mean time  and I told him that I was involved with Celebrate Recovery for the past couple of years and that I was on the prayer team at Fusion and occasionally volunteered for events. This man nodded at my words, stirring his coffee and when I was done, he responded.

“Let me give you some advice. If you want to be here, don’t play the background. Don’t do all these little things behind the curtains. Get out there and show yourself and be excellent at it. Don’t be afraid to be great.

If my face were ice, it would have been melted off the bones by his words. I kept what he said in my heart and it wasn’t until last night during my time with the first year girls that I really unpacked them.

Being great. What does that even look like in my life? I had no clue because I realized that the things that I could be great in, I fled from. I fled from doing music in college because I couldn’t sight-read. I fled from ministering to people in the streets because I didn’t think my words would be enough. I fled from trying out for the dance team at Fusion because I felt that I couldn’t dance as well as most of the girls that were probably there. I fled from making good grades in school because I didn’t think I was smart,  so I didn’t bother to try in high school or in college. And this past Friday, I feared auditioning for the worship team for ALC, so I spent the majority of my time listening to all my new friends audition outside of the doors.

Insecurities and self-doubt lied to me and told me that I couldn’t and shouldn’t do it because there were people who were way better than me and that I can’t make a fool of myself and do what I desired. And I listened. And I missed out. So I’ve been playing the background, letting everyone step out ahead of me. I became content in it because I believed that being in the shadows was where I belonged. And over the summer, before starting school, I heard God tell me to not get comfortable being in the background, and my dear friends, that scared me. But now, it makes sense. And last night, I cried thinking back on the years where I feared stepping out to sing and dance and speak because I felt so small and not gifted enough.

I think this is why I am here. Or at least one of the reasons why I am here. This is only the third week and God is already peeling off the things that I’ve allowed to cover me, to reveal who he has created me to be. I can’t lie to you right now, I’m slightly afraid but excited. For a while now, I’ve only wanted to live my life in excellence for God and myself and now that I know what’s been holding me back all this time I’m curious as to what the future will hold now. But God is so in it and I thank him for opening my eyes to more things.

Let the peeling continue!