Moving Forward

‘The Year of Shaniqua’

The end of the year is getting closer and closer, which always puts me into reflection mode.  If you know me, you’ll probably know that I never reflect more than when my birthday and the end of the year come around – for some reason, they always feel like new chapters.

If I was gonna give a title to 2018, I’d call it ‘The Year of Shaniqua’.  As much as I prefer to put others first, this year was about me and putting myself first, particularly through the second half, which I haven’t been doing a whole lot of in recent years.

A few months into this year, I came to the realisation that I had been seriously struggling mentally and emotionally for a long time, but had rarely given my mind and heart time to catch up.  Looking back, I can now see how broken I was, meaning that I was not giving the best of myself to others.  If I wanted to truly make a difference in the world and find my love for Young People Insight again, I needed to take time out and give myself the opportunity to heal.

I took a two month [semi] break this year, which was exactly what I needed.  I was able to enjoy time just being ‘Shaniqua’, rather than being ‘Shaniqua the Activist’ or ‘Shaniqua the Facilitator’ or ‘Shaniqua the Youth Advocate’.  I was also able to spend some more time developing as ‘Shaniqua the Poet’, which was amazing, as well as having more time to be ‘Shaniqua the Friend’.  It was great, although I would have loved a little more alone time, but you can’t always get everything you want.

Having time out made me realise that I need to take moments away from all I’m doing when necessary, which may mean cancelling a meeting when I’m feeling mentally unwell or putting aside work for an afternoon when I’m feeling emotionally drained.  I am just important as the people I want to reach.  I also decided to remove my Yahoo Mail app on my phone for good, as I did not want to be consistently checking it anymore.

I also wanted this to be the year of the ‘Single Shaniqua’, after coming out of a toxic relationship at the end of last year.  He came at one of the worst years of my life, when I was unknowingly incredibly broken, and still not over Charming, who I had really fallen for and had broken my heart.  It was like he was preyed on my brokenness, which enabled him to exploit my vulnerabilities and weaknesses, causing me to behave like someone I’m not – I never want to be that person again.

It was a horribly negative experience, which put me off relationships, but it was also a learning experience.  I learned how much I do enjoy being single and that a full-blown relationship really wasn’t for me at this time of my life.  I have so much going on that I want to apply my heart, mind and time to, without the addition of having to give so much intentional consideration and love to a boyfriend.  I also knew that I had a whole lot of work to do on myself – and also get over Charming – before I could even consider getting into a relationship again.  Although I have had some involvement with guys, I can happily say that I am still ‘Single Shaniqua’.

More than anything though, I’ve grown a lot this year and been able to move forward in a lot of ways, which was necessary after an awful 2017 and very trying 2016.  I’ve learnt a whole lot about myself, mainly through looking over my prayer journal and speaking to my amazing God, which has enforced how resilient I am and reminded me of how much I’ve achieved.  I’ve come to see that I need to be a lot less hard on myself, which I’m still finding difficult, but am working through.

I’m also continuing to ask God to help me work on my other negatives.  I’m trying to eliminate my frustrating inner narcissist.  I’m still fighting against comparing myself to others.  I’m continuing to work on being more patient, managing my time better, and most of all of, being more temperate and consistent with eating healthily, exercising and going to bed early.  Consistency is seriously one of my biggest vices.

This year may not have started off 100%, but it’s been a good one as a whole.  I’ve enjoyed 2018 and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2019 brings, which I am already coining as ‘The Year of Young People Insight’ – I am definitely taking my baby to the next level in the new year.

However, despite it being ‘The Year of Shaniqua’, there have been amazing people that have contributed to my year and it would not have been the same without them.  Of course, there are always too many to mention in one post, which is why I plan to do something I haven’t done in a while and write a series of posts about some of the beautiful people who have played a special part in my 2018.  Keep any eye out for them – you never know, I could be writing about you.

Trying to Forgive

When studying my Sabbath School lesson this week, one of the Bible passages I read made a strong reference to forgiveness.  This made me think back to a post I wrote in the past on the topic of forgiveness and how I realised that I need to forgive some of the people in my life.

Reading Luke 6:20-49 was just what I needed during this week and as I meditated on the verses, it made me again realise that I had not really forgiven some of the people I have been associated with in my life.  This lack of forgiveness means that I still have issues with them and I find it difficult to give them a chance, making me cold, distant and uncomfortable around them.

I don’t want to keep holding on to any bitter feelings toward these individuals, as it does not bring anything positive to my life and it halts the process of moving forward.  It also means that I am holding on to the problems of the past, which I would prefer to remain in the past.

I know that part of the problem is linked to certain issues not being fully resolved or talked through, but I need to accept that this sometimes happens in life and we might not always get the type of closure we want.  However, learning to truly forgive may be the solution.

I’ve prayed to God about this on numerous occasions and I will continue to pray about it, because I really want to be able to forgive and move past whatever has happened, just like God does with us.  Like I keep saying, I am still a work in progress.

Get Behind Me Satan

Over the past few days, I’ve really felt the devil coming for me by trying to launch a fresh attack.  He’s obviously seen how much God has been helping me, guiding me and blessing me, which has allowed me to finally start moving forward in my life and he’s doing all that he can to set me back.

The devil has had fun playing with my mind over the years, so it makes sense for him to try to plague my mind with negative thoughts from my past at particular times in the present.  He knows that these thoughts have the capability to make me feel worse about some of the people and relationships in my life.  It also feels like he is trying to lead me back to a bad place that I never want to return to by causing some old feelings to resurface on certain occasions, just like my recent feelings of loneliness.

However, I could see through his pathetic little games and I refused to let him win this time.  He has been beating me down for years, but I’ve finally let God take control and it is His mighty power that has fought the devil off.  With God’s strength and support, I have come this far and I now have a winning chance.

The devil has had a foothold in me for far too long and I refuse to stand for it anymore.  I’m going to sit at my Jesus’s feet and give it all to him, because I know that He is handling it for me and with Him I have nothing to worry about.

I am not going to let my past define my present and I refuse to ever return to that dark place I was once in again.  I can’t allow the things that get me down to control me and I am not going to let negativity have a hold on my mind.

So I’m saying right now, “Get behind my Satan”!  I will not give you the satisfaction you so desperately want.  My God has got my back and He is stronger than you will ever aspire to be.