The well known phrase “If I knew then, what I know now” is one of the truest sayings I’ve heard in my life. I often look back at my past and I can’t help but shake my head. I know I’m not the only one but it still amazes me all I went through. Although it helped mold me into the woman I am today, so much of it could have been avoided or handled differently. Yet how could it when I didn’t know who I was? I entered college as a teenager and matriculated as a young woman and mom torn, still struggling to find her true identity, and a lot of it had to do with insecurity.
Like a lot of people, I grew up in the church, encouraged to live a christian lifestyle. Attending my small HBCU, Huston-Tillotson University, I was able to surround myself with other young women seeking to find themselves. I would attend the women’s bible study, learning and leaning on those around me going through or having been through similar situations, only to allow myself to get off track when I was in a relationship. I never stopped praying and talking to God but I would never remain consistent. Most importantly, I would never do more than the occasional, quick prayer of thanksgiving or praying majority for my wants. It took some time but I realized that I was searching for love, instead of focusing on knowing and loving myself.
In the summer of 2015 I attended a Women’s empowerment conference that changed my life. 4 years and a nasty break-up later, I knew I needed to focus on my spiritual walk instead of trying to live as a perfect Christian, the thing that stops a lot of women from reaching their full potential and purpose. I began writing my thoughts out on paper, reading devotionals, and focusing my energy on quotes and things that brought me encouragement. I realized that I didn’t just want to be a Christian, someone that focuses so much on doing right that they look down on others, but I wanted to strengthen my walk spiritually so that I could understand myself, my past, and my purpose in life.
The moment I decided to do what made me happy was the most terrifying and freeing experience at the same time. I struggled for a while on my decision because I was a mother to a 2 year old so it wasn’t just me I had to think about or make a decision for. I was so caught up in what I didn’t have growing up, and what I thought I should do, that I was willing to risk what I knew deep down was best for us all. It was tough; I cried a lot, went back and forth on if I was truly making the right decision, and wanting to just give in to the easier option, but I couldn’t. I stuck with my decision, and although it hasn’t been easy, it’s been the best decision I could make it, especially because I know I’m following the plan and purpose for my life. For the longest I battled with who I thought I was and made decisions with good intentions but led by the wrong focus and source. Once I let go of what I thought I needed and was right, that was the moment I began to realize who I was. I found me.