I was never the right color. Colorism is real, Y’all. It’s sad that people of color will subscribe to the systematically racist notion that someone is more or less beautiful because of their skin pigment. Light skinned people, dark-skinned people, and folks in between can […]
Month: June 2017
“If you don’t want to be fat… do something about it.” This statement has followed me from my childhood. It’s one of the most unproductive, frustrating, infuriating, discouraging, and hurtful statements I have heard. Since I was a child, a normal sized little girl, I […]
I was a painfully shy child. I wasn’t outspoken with my peers, with the exception of my best friends. In elementary school, I didn’t really have friends, but when I did get “friends” was bullied a lot by them and it made me think something was wrong with me. As a child, I often was told I was too nice. People would tell me not to let people walk all over me if I refused to get in a fist fight or tell someone off about something. No matter how mad I was at someone, I just never saw getting in a fight as a solution that would have a fruitful outcome. When I said that to folks I got variations of this look:
Because seriously, what kid gives responses like that? I got called scared, weak, and lame all because I didn’t stand up for myself the way other people thought I should. My nice demeanor was often taken as weakness and I struggled to have people take me seriously if I smiled too much. In high school, I got called “friendly” which if you don’t know, isn’t a positive thing depending on who says it. Even my attempts to be “mean” and be taken seriously were laughed at because they already knew that I wasn’t a mean person.
There are only a handful of events when I was overtly mean to someone and those were always because that person has done something awful. In college, I finally learned how to start walking in my truth and even how to set boundaries.
The truth was, I wasn’t really nice, I was permissive. I did let people walk all over me, especially people close to me. I wasn’t good at holding my ground if there was something that I didn’t want to do and I thought that people would be mad at me if I even told them “no”. I’m sure you can tell how damaging that was in relationships. I didn’t have good boundaries with people and I didn’t know how bad it was. The misconception I learned was that in order to have better boundaries, I needed to be less nice. The truth is, in order to have better boundaries, I just needed to have better boundaries. One is not contingent on the other, and it’s not wisdom to think that they are, here’s why.
When I gave my life to the Lord, He started showing me that being nice is all fine and good but that’s not what He called me to be. God calls us to walk by His Spirit so we do not carry out the deeds of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). He showed me that when the Holy Spirit lives in us, our lives produce the fruit (notice that fruit is singular) of the Spirit. Before I was walking with Jesus, my life produced “bad” fruit, an impurity in thoughts and deeds, idolatry, which is a lot more common than people think, hostility, selfish ambition, and distension in relationships because of my permissive attitude. I always looked at the fruit of the spirit as individual items that I had to strive for or “get better at” one by one. I often hear people pray for peace, joy, self-control etc. What I have learned is that even though the “bad” fruit of my life, from my sin, manifested in different ways, were and manifested at different times, and for different reasons, the Holy Spirit produces something in us that is active all at once, all the time. That means, though I once believed to deal with the issue of being too nice by being mean, the truth is that by the power of the Holy Spirit, I can tap into His truth and be empowered and regenerated at the same time. I can be loving to friends, joyful in my spirit and demeanor, peaceful at heart, patient when someone frustrated me, kind and good to everyone, gentle with those who don’t understand me, all while having self-control that causes me to set proper boundaries and walk in it confidently. The good news is that if you have accept Jesus, the Holy Spirit can and will do the same for you.
When we allow the fruit of our lives to be the all-inclusive Holy Spirit power, it changes us completely. The false identities that we once made agreements with fade away in the light of the identity in Christ we have found. If you feel like you are struggling to access the fruit of the Spirit, check your heart today, and see who or what is leading and guiding your life (Galatians 5:19-25). God is jealous for His own children to truly be His own. If you belong to God you will know by what the fruit of your life is.