Last week during a class that I have the pleasure of instructing, I invited the students who all happen to be in their 20s, to ask me anything about my life during my 20s. I extended to them the opportunity to ask questions from a book we are reading that encouraged discussion about career and life decisions. They elected instead to ask their own questions. Let’s just say that nearly 90 minutes later, having bared all my soul, it was time for a break! As someone who is past her “20s,” any one of my life events during that decade was more than enough to make one stop in her tracks; but collectively, I surprised myself at everything I encountered. Bottom line, I survived! But I did so by the grace of God!
During my 20s, I graduated from college, assumed my first job with benefits, enrolled in graduate school in a different discipline from my undergraduate degree, moved out of my home state, rededicated my life to Christ, got pregnant (did you catch it?), got married, moved to another state as an expectant newlywed with no family or friends, enrolled in another graduate program because the previous one lost accreditation, cared for my then husband through a brain tumor and cared for myself through the subsequent divorce, became a single parent and began working on my doctorate degree. I believe all this took place between the ages of 22 and 27. Woo-sah! Can you imagine what my timeline would have looked like on social media? Imagine if I had to introduce every piece about myself with “real talk?” Or, would you have introduced the detailed accounts of my life on your timeline with “no shade?” What would have been the implications?
Unlike Bey, I didn’t wake up flawless! And 20 years later, I’m still striving for “less flaws” as I rise. In fact, if not for the grace of God and new mercies, I would not have opportunity to try to get at least one extra thing right as compared to the previous day; or better still, one less thing wrong. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t have time to post up about your life – I’m too busy tending to my own. If anything, I’d rather spend my time sharing my narrative in an effort to enrich someone else’s, similarly to what I did in the class. If there was one thing that I shared that could deter someone, influence someone, or encourage someone, then the journey was worth it. We are often reminded that certain pieces of our life are not necessarily for us, they are instead for someone else, and in the end, God gets the glory.
The language of implication refers to conclusions that can be derived from something, but without the explicit details. The beauty is that the power rests within the hands of the object of the implication. Whatever has been spoken over you as a result of your circumstances, whether it be an intentional mistake or mishap you made or a result of the just being in the land of the living, the outcome is at your disposal. Ecclesiastes 12:13 reminds us to hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Therefore, the entirety of a thing can not be determined by one step, or in my case as I referred a series of missteps. God has the final say!
Here I stand, 20+ years later. I’ve been a resident of the state I moved to when I was expecting for 21 years. That baby raised by a single mother is in her third year of college. That doctorate was completed 11 years ago and has provided access to avenues I only dreamed of. Although my first marriage ended in divorce, God has blessed me to a union with a man who is not only my husband and father to my daughter, but my friend. Most importantly, above all, each and every occurrence experienced during my roaring 20s and trying 30s and now formidable 40s has strengthened my faith and relationship with my Creator.
When asked by my students what would I do differently as I reflect on my roaring 20s, I responded, “To be more forgiving; not only of others but of myself.” I shared with them that Iyanla Vanzant always says, “Forgiveness is the gift you give yourself.” I spent a great deal of time questioning myself, and responding as the prosecuting attorney, the judge and jury to decisions I made. Are you guilty of the same? Do you carry the burdens of shame, disappointment, discouragement and despair? You’ve got to want the good and pleasing outcome better than your opposition desires for you to fail. What distinguished the roaring 20s from other decades is a break from traditionalism. What might you free yourself from today? In the end for me, everything worked out. The same may be true for you. Roar on!