In 2015, I started this website. I got out of a two-year "situationship," lost a close friend in the process of grieving, and as if that wasn't enough baggage to carry, I decided it was the perfect time to start grad school, along with taking up more responsibilities in church ministry. None of this was entirely "planned," but I knew I had to say yes to some of the things God was calling me to do, and I've since realized that God has a strange way of calling me into things when I'm feeling ill-prepared.
That's been a lesson in and of itself, but add my uncertainty of self during that time of grieving to the complexities of what felt like a major life breakdown, and it was the perfect recipe for God to bring me to a place of total reliance on Him. What I realized in 2015 was a bit of what I shared yesterday, I had a very misconstrued understanding of who God is, and what that uncovered was my fear of embracing my femininity and understanding what it meant to be me and love myself.
Here is my truth, finding out that you are a sexual being with biological desires at 23 years old is not what I consider ideal. You might be shocked by me saying that so openly, but that's part of the problem, we aren't open enough about this reality in church spaces. There were many mistakes I made in my early and mid-twenties that stemmed from a misunderstanding and weak image of what it meant to be a Godly woman and a righteous one at that. So that misunderstanding coupled with the pressures of society and my Nigerian roots to experience x, y, and z by a specific timeline, had me so confused and just susceptible to making some very dumb decisions. Dumb decisions stemmed from trying to hit "pivotal life marks." Looking back that was stupid of me, but I can't change that as much as I can speak openly about it, and the reality is, I have countless stories of friends who have compromised their standards solely because they feared those decisions holding them back from finding love, or gaining a deeper understanding of self.
What I realized and what I write about in my first post on Chasing Proverbs (you can find that post HERE) is that I was living my life afraid to acknowledge the attributes of feminism and femininity that made me, me. And it was that fear that often times kept me in hiding when I wasn't living up to the standards I was raised to live by. Was it okay to have the feelings I had, to desire to be loved, shown affection, to dress how I wanted, wear what I felt good, shoot, sexy in, and somehow still represent Jesus? Surely, life and my relationship with God was more than those things, but I somehow couldn't figure out what that looked like for me, without hearing the voices of others, and worrying about what they might think. As I wrote in that post several years ago, "My femininity often scared me, and I was afraid of being "too pretty," sexual, or perceived as trying too hard." I now know that wasn't the heart of God (it's not God's heart for humanity). For me to worry so much about what other people think, as much as it was for me to develop an intimacy and a relationship that had me so wrapped up in how God saw me, that I couldn't see anything else. It was about the posture of my heart, more than my image, and if any desire to embrace anything or even myself, took my heart away from His light, and how He saw me, it wasn't for me. Taking it a step further, intimacy with God unearths who we are created to be and frees us from the burden to perform, and in that God gave me a new definition for femininity, and simplified it down for me. I'll reveal more of that tomorrow.