I’ve been feeling like God has been playing Kendrick Lamar’s hit “Be Humble” on repeat as the soundtrack to my life. Expletives and all.
I’ve had to face my brokenness like a head-on-collision in the past two weeks. And the side effects have been pretty similar to that of a car crash: shell-shock, depression, and the kind of pain that comes with such a shattering of bones you are told you may never be able to walk again.
Please do not take this as an opportunity to reach out via text, email or show up in the comment section to remind me of what there is to be grateful for. I know I am blessed. I can acknowledge and appreciate the good in my life while still feeling defeated and desperate. The two feelings can and do co-exist. We live in a world of duality.
The same way that, yes – some people are born and live with chemical imbalances in their brain that require medication to neutralize. And some people have lived through trauma and disaster that require more than just prayer. Some people have no control of their circumstances or the cards they were dealt.
But other people put themselves in predicaments. They see the flashing lights, hear the wailing sirens and keep walking in the direction of danger. There is struggle and stress that we bring onto ourselves when we don’t trust God fully with our lives.
I am the grand prize winner of both. DING DING DING!
And while I can’t speed through the process of therapy to work through my trauma, I do have the power to control my thoughts and focus. I need to stop worrying so much. I see that now.
I worry about finances. I worry about health. I worry about the trajectory of my professional career. I worry about my marriage. I worry about the timeline for my life. I worry about what other people will think, what other people already think. I worry about everything.
Worry hasn’t helped a damn thing get any better. In fact, worry has corroded my quality of life.
So I went ahead and looked up all the verses I could find in the Bible about worry, fears, and anxiety. The message felt universal. God promises peace if you humble yourself, admit your needs and weaknesses and pray. Praying once or twice in the middle of a breakdown won’t’ do the trick. It’s got to be quality prayer done with consistency.
It’s important to note that the peace that God promises is not a brujaja kind of magic that makes your worries disappear. God doesn’t walk around singing Hakuna Matata.
I am reminded of a story my father shared the first time I watched him preach in a small Spanish church in Bushwick, Brooklyn:
Two artists were asked to illustrate peace. The first artist painted a tranquil ocean with birds soaring in the sky and the sun shining brightly overhead. The second artist painted absolute and complete chaos. In the small right-hand corner of this chaos was a small bird singing.
That tiny bird singing is peace.
Society tells us that peace is like the first painting, that peace is the absence of conflict. In actuality, the peace you get from God, the peace we need in this world, is peace in the midst of all the chaos, being able to sing when everything around you is falling apart.
So I am sitting all the way down today. I am humbling myself and admitting that I am poor and in need in many different areas of my life. And I’m shifting my gaze upwards to the heavens in the midst of the chaos.
Are you there God? It’s me, Nia.
***This is essay 27 in the #52essays2017 challenge created by Vanessa Mártir.