Last week, I told you guys I was getting a little personal with my next few blogs. I’m not going to burst into tears or anything ( if I do, at least you can’t see it) so don’t fret. But I do feel like this “Trusting the Process” thing can make a playa emotional. So many of us claim to live by this motto. However, when we think about it, this saying comes with different sets of lessons that most of us don’t truly grasp until we actually HAVE to implement the statement in our daily lives. This DPTaughtMe series explores those lessons. And here is lesson number one:
Trusting the Process means: Finding Beauty in the Struggle (BEAAAUUUTY….BEAUTY! Any J.Cole fans? No…just me…okay.)
When I originally thought of this blog topic, J.Cole’s “Love Yourz” immediately came to mind. At times, when I find myself struggling with “my struggle”, this line does it for me every single time:
Let me tell you why this line is so important:
ugliness in the success
Over the past few years, I have been trying to establish my version of “success”. Traditionally, my definition has been tied specifically to my employment and salary (as most people tend to do). The past 3-4 years, I have held 3 jobs, each containing a different set of responsibilities, fantastic coworkers (I love them), increased pay in salary and more opportunities to spotlight my talents. Sounds good, right? Yeah-that’s part of it. But, that also came with long nights and early mornings at the office, awkward- sometimes heated disagreements with supervisors, defusing tense situations between co-workers, feeling inadequate and stupid when my knowledge or skill sets lacked, experiencing rejection when my “great idea” got shot to hell, or having a “great idea” hijacked by a job-bum in higher places. I mean, there have been days of “WHY ME LAWDS?!” doused in ” I WISH A ____ WOULDS!”, doubt infested thoughts, and hot tears on pillow cases, office bathroom stalls, corner cubical floors. Hell, anywhere a sista could cry by herself, I was there. And the struggle still continues. As of recent, I have been feeling naked and alone as I reinvent myself in order to transition into a new career/industry I have little to no traditional experience in. It may seem trivial to you, but for me, this uncertainty has been tough.
I don’t know why I thought post-collegiate life would be smooth sailing, but I did. “Adulting” looked so different. Sort of like when I first looked into my sorority. Everything just seem to run seamlessly. Relationships were perfection and the events went off without a hitch. I had this illusion that once I got in, I’d instantly turn into Miss America and it’d be peace on earth, goodwill toward men and eternal glo’ups for everyone. I pretty much saw a unicorn. And even though great things came out of me joining, the process pre and during my collegiate years were trying. It was hard-work. Correction – IS hard work. Learning new info, being “tested”, establishing and reestablishing relationships, juggling a bajillion things, following through on numerous responsibilities, being talked about for no reason…Greek life aint no piece of cake.
And yet, through all of that, I prevailed. My chapter prevailed. I won Member of the Year from our council. I received Light of Zeta award from my chapter. I gained a plethora of “job experience” by elevating our brand in a consistent and prominent manner. I made it.
Don’t be sleepin on your level…
In the same way, through all of my tests, even in my current transitional period, I have testimonies to tell. Each experience has served as a stepping stone, a support system, a distinct reference point and guidance counselor to how to make it through. Every-single situation has thoroughly prepared me for my next level. At the time I didn’t see it. Had I skipped all of the hard stuff, I wouldn’t have the knowledge, the know how, the connections and the position I have today. The process taught me how to be think strategically and creatively. The process taught me how to collaborate when needed to get the job done. The process taught me that I don’t know everything – but in not knowing, it gives me a chance to learn. The process humbled me: softened my pride and strengthened my wisdom. It taught me how to be resourceful in unexpected circumstances. It taught me to see every obstacle as an opportunity. That’s the mindset that makes successful people. I mean, think about it.
In Greek life, typically, there is more respect for people who have “been through something”, right? We feel like they’ve “earned” their letters and understand what their Founders and mission stands for. In the same way, when we think of stories of “successful” people, it’s not particularly the money and fame that allures us. It plays a part, but it’s not the defining factor. The people that we admire and respect are those who “go through a process”. Those who have been the rose that grew from concrete. Those who have been Jonah in the belly of the beast. Those who have struck by every lightening bolt heaved at them, but still managed to get up and continue. Those are the people we deem successful because we can see ourselves in their struggle AND we can see ourselves succeeding through it.
There’s beauty in the struggle
And that, my friends, is the beauty in the struggle. Each downturn has an upturn. Each dark tunnel has a light at the end of the exit. Each misdirection can lead you back to the road of your destiny. The journey is what makes your story. I went to a church conference last week, and the guest pastor framed it like this:
God is constantly taking you on adventures. Adventures are full of ups and downs, thrills and terrors, wins and fails. But at the end of the day, the endurance of the protagonist is what makes the hero in the story prevail. As the protagonist in your story, will you answer the call and take the journey? Or will your story be tossed in the trash because you refuse to develop your character?
The Bible teaches us about this in Romans (I call this chapter “Romans’ Revenge” because it has so many strategic tactics on guarding yourself from the Devil’s attacks…anyway..sorry. Thought I’d share)
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Here are some other useful scriptures that help me:
For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;
Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. …
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
No matter what you’re going through, no matter if it’s self inflicted or life hurled it at you, there is love in the lesson you are learning. Your experiences are unique to your success story. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t be doubtful. Wish and work for better, but learn to appreciate the present lesson. As Cole said “No such thing as a life that’s better than yours…”
Next week, we’re covering persistence & preparation. You won’t want to miss it. If you can relate to this blog, or you’d like to share your story, share with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter! We’d love to hear from you. Have a blessed one fam!