Your Box.

People will always have an opinion or idea about who you should be and what you should be doing, so you better have a clear understanding of who God says you are and what you should be doing or you could be derailed and destroyed by the opinions and ideas of others. Don’t miss an opportunity because it doesn’t show up in the box others have designed for you.

For the majority of my life, I’ve stayed true to myself. I’ve been unapologetically me for years. I like that about myself. I like it even more about myself as an adult because of the freedom that comes along with being able to be yourself and not defined by other people’s idea of who you are. As a teenager and even into my early adulthood, I was influenced by voices of influential people in my life who made me feel negatively about myself.

Laughter is good for the soul. I love to belly laugh. Like deep joy bursting from the inside out. It’s my personal goal to be a joy bomb for the rest of my life. This has always been my perspective on sharing stories and jokes and making people laugh. Other people have twisted this characteristic into my need for attention. Dramatic. Center of Attention. Selfish and self-centered. After being called these words for years, I began to believe these things about myself. Year by year, I became more insecure wondering if other people saw me that way, too. I didn’t want to be annoying, so I began to blend into any crowd I was in. No one else may have thought this way about me, but ONE negative voice caused me to box my joy and laughter.

My dating “preference” hasn’t exactly thrilled certain family, friends, and community members over the years. I’ve never seen color or culture “boundaries”. I love big, and I love hard. I’ve dated a variety of people in my lifetime, partially because I’m not afraid to step outside the box and try different things, but mainly because I’m drawn to souls. Time may have revealed that these souls I synced with were not beneficial to my life, but ultimately, I wanted to find someone that I could make the happiest person in the world. This has been my perspective my whole life, but all it took was ONE negative voice to convince me that there was something wrong with me- physically and mentally for being drawn away from “normal” I was also convinced that I was sinning and that I was in rebellion for dating anyone outside my race. YEARS. Years I battled feeling like I couldn’t be forgiven for this sin and rebellion. For 7 years, I lived my life selfishly with no regard based around the lie that I was knowingly a sinner and couldn’t be forgiven for pursuing relationships outside my race.

After buying into the lie that no one “decent” would want to be with me after the “reputation” I created for myself, I found the perfect box that pleased everyone around me. I carried that box. Posted pictures and cute captions with this box. Built a life around the image of this box. Pretty. White. With a big bow and monogram, because we’re southern, ya know? It looked like a dream on the outside, but this box was empty and didn’t contain my gift. He may be a prize for the next and maybe he brings her fullness of joy, but he wasn’t my box.

I’ve finally found someone my heart leaps for every time he walks in the door. There’s such a beautiful freedom I dance and sing into my hairbrush with. I don’t secretly wish he was someone else. I don’t have to wonder what if I had followed my heart. Someone recently made the comment, “I just pictured your Boaz as a beautiful, white man riding up on his white horse and you riding off into the sunset.” But because this black man rode up on a brown horse, it was hard for her to picture him as my prince. How easily it could have been for me to let another negative voice derail and destroy my opportunity for genuine joy and happiness!

After years of forcing myself in someone else’s box, I’ve broken free of public opinion- this time with a softer heart and meeker attitude. I can say that as a teenager, my approach was not honorable. My attitude was “savage” even though my heart was gold, but that wasn’t the attitude or posture of heart God requires us to have as Christians. So now, as an adult, I’ve learned it’s okay to be yourself, but it’s imperative to search the scripture and respond to resistance with the gentleness of Jesus. Take heed to Godly counsel and wisdom, but make sure the counsel is biblical and not rooted in culture or personal motive. We are responsible for our own soul. God made you uniquely you, and there’s a purpose in every difference. There will be people in your corner of the world that only you can reach with your joy and love. Have the confidence to step outside the box. Maybe the box you’re carrying is a mindset, insecurity, or forced happiness. Maybe you’re carrying a box with a hidden talent, gift of ministry, and purpose far beyond anything you can comprehend. Maybe it’s a box someone else has placed you in. Maybe it’s a box you’ve crawled in. I encourage you to break the boxes of darkness, and open your box of light. There’s a purpose only you can fulfill, and the Lord predestined it for you before the foundations of the world- Ephesians 1:4.

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