Friday, February 26, 2010

Speak. {Part 1}

For most of my childhood, I thought that my voice was either insignificant or incompetent. I grew up as a soft-spoken soul in the midst of a loud family who needed to shout to get their point across. My peers and I, in grade school, held the belief that the people who talked the loudest/most were heard/reverenced more. I was neither. However, my silence gave me maneuvering abilities. I was able to observe without being noticed, and I witnessed many truths and life lessons. I literally learned through the mistakes of others, and that gave me a bit of wisdom that most teenagers did not have. In a way, it made it easier to stay out of trouble, because I was close enough to see where some paths lead. Superiors and mentors in my life began to take notice. And suddenly, I became an "ideal" teenager; with a clean lifestyle and wisdom, conjointly. Through my silence/docile nature, I had finally been given a voice.

Somewhere around my 21st birthday, I became more and more vocal. Confident in spiritual matters because I'd been groomed to be the leader. The fault-less standard of holiness that others could look up to. The one who not only lived above reproach, but made sure she told everyone else how they should straighten up. I became less afraid of speaking up; and caring less about the consequences. It was liberating, truly. Considering that I was forced to keep silent; be seen and never heard, I took most opportunities to open my heart and mouth and use it as a method to teach and educate others.

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. Even so, the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.   --James 3:1,5

 The moment I was given a voice, I also accepted the tendency to be judgmental and haughty. I assumed that I'd been given a gift of oversight to correct others. I was, unknowingly, using a vehicle of condemnation; calling it a gift of teaching. Meanwhile, I myself struggled with correction, and was more condemning to my own heart than anyone else. "This is the way that it has to be, right?" "People won't change unless you give them hard truth and pierce through their emotions!" I think this passage in James says that those who wish to teach must have a clearer sense of grace, empathy, and humility than those they teach. Teachers will be examined more thoroughly, because of the responsibility attached to carry truth to others. If the teachers misuse their role, then people may not receive truth.

Let everyone be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger because the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. -- James 1:19-20

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Likes & Dislikes

  • Ihop's International Free Pancake Day
  • Naps
  • Candid pictures that capture emotion
  • Doggy bags from restaurants
  • eBay
  • Struggling to stop laughing
  • Cult films that represent Black culture (e.g. Coming to America, Black Dynamite)
  • Learning something new about him
  • Feeling the peace of God immediately change my attitude
  • A good quote
  • Feeling rushed
  • People who constantly take but never try to give
  • Seeing a sweet kid shyly smile at you and then the frustrated mother snatch him away
  • Getting up extra early to finish homework
  • Crying from frustration
  • Pushy, ungrateful people
  • That one person that usually messes up the chill vibe in a room
  • Double standards
  • Going too long without reading my Bible

Monday, February 22, 2010

For Michael. [Rememberance]

 11 years and still I feel aching. 
Not a sorrowful aching, though. I don't wish for you to leave Paradise to reacquaint yourself to mortal flesh; taking back on its limits and sometimes repugnant tendencies. 
Keep your wings. 
Spread them, fan the Glory of Heaven closer to where we are. Where we wait, in anticipation. The Lord has been faithful to mend the wounds caused by the suddenness of your goodbye. And He will keep our hearts steady. Everyday. Especially today.

I miss you. 

Michael Bradley Jeter
August 1, 1979 - February 22, 1999

Food Lion+Ingles+Kroger = My Rodeo Drive.

Everytime my mother calls, she'll ask the same question:"You got enough food in your fridge? You getting enough to eat?" Lately, I find myself fussing over my boyfriend more and more when he tells me that he hasn't eaten all day. The first thing I do when I travel back home to my parents' house (after resting my bags in my old room) is look in the refrigerator. And not necessarily because I'm hungry, but it somehow helps me guage how well my parents are doing financially.

I'm starting to notice a trend...

I connect a sense of well-being with the amount of food I have direct access to.

I am not proud to admit this...but the last month and a half of the past fall semester, I stole food from the dining hall on campus. Because of the campus dining plan I chose, I could only visit the dining hall 5 times a week. Plus, I had ABSOLUTELY NO MONEY. Granted, I had shelter, hot water, electricity, and a warm bed. Thankfully, I didn't owe my university any money. But the miniature fridge tucked underneath my bed had a jar of applesauce and a couple bottles of water in it. Life, momentarily, sucked. However, it's strange to me that the moment I received a bit of money, the first thing I thought of to buy was food. I was elated that I could go to the grocery store and get groceries to last me a whole month instead of a pair of cute boots...or skinny jeans from American Eagle. And whenever my fridge was stocked to capacity, with a overloaded bin of snacks sitting next to it, I could care less that the bottoms of my AE ballet flats are starting to wear thin, or that my jeans are outdated. Or that I can fit my entire wardrobe in one suitcase, even.
In the smallest amount feasible, I understand what it's like to not know where you're next meal is coming from. But there are people in other countries, children especially, who go days...weeks without food. Americans see economic status based on the types/quality of clothes a person wears, but true poverty is found within a man. Also, there are almost 13000 McDonald's running in America, with 2000 more than open every year. Americans are the most unhealthy, wasteful people as a group. 25% of the food Americans eat is thrown away.

We think that being blessed is what we drive, wear, and possess. Christians, even, think sometimes that what Jesus meant in John 10:10 equates to material possessions. Granted, He never clarifies, but I'm sure it wasn't physical wealth. There are many people in this world, on a daily basis, that go without basic needs.  We should be content (which is not the same as settling) with what we have.

There is no greater satisfaction than a full stomach.

*Dedicated to broke college students.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Wants & Needs

  • skinny jeans & an external hard drive....still
  • more money
  • an amazing photo shoot with the best friend
  • to know who my real friends are
  • a vacation
  • skinny jeans
  • more discipline with the money I have
  • intentionally make mental pictures of quiet moments with the best friend
  • treat everyone with respect and dignity, whether they deserve it or not
  • more moments to rest my mind

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How I Feel.

In the immortal words of Shug Avery:
"Ooo, Miss Celie...I feels like sanging!"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Learn The Lesson.

"Life is a long lesson in humility." -- James Matthew Barrie
We live in the age of the Hater, where we place emphasis on having victory over odds and others. From birth, we are taught to pursue what we want in life, and that the most important opinion is our own. The toughest heart is girded to hold to the belief that you can only count on yourself. You are all you have. Even religious-minded people hold similar thoughts: "Trust no man, only God." " Only God can judge me."  Circumstances, which are meant to chip away the hardness of our hearts, only add to the boulder on our shoulders. Overall, it's puzzling to me why we end up choosing to grasp tighter to ourselves, instead of letting go. Is it that we think we'll end up losing ourselves at the end of it all? But that's impossible.

We are who we are.

When God created us, He didn't just mold our outer shells. He also placed an inner nature deep inside. That, which is "in His image". But, as the story goes, we believed a lie and took on another, false nature. True love is self-sacrificing, but we are taught that love is indicative on how a person makes us feel. We weren't created to deny our feelings, or be led by them. Yet, God knew that a passionate heart, tainted by a sinful nature would equal disaster. Which is why we, as human beings, are in a constant, ever-abounding need of an ego check.

All of us. From Hitler to Mother Theresa.

Our society desires to keep us occupied on the dissension that lies between us, instead of the real battle that's going on. I'm not downplaying hurt, rejection, or any of the other forms of heartache that one can endure in a lifetime. However, we are taught that the remedy is to increase your self-love. That if you'd simply love yourself more, it will help you make sense of all you've been through. But, that is incomplete.

It's amazing the point of reference you have when you take the stance of a servant.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love's Day. (A Letter)

Dear Everyone,
You are Loved. Always have been, and always will be. 
Celebrate, on this, your day.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Friends, Acquaintances, and Other Folk.

I've had an especially fierce burden on my shoulders for my friends recently. Most of them are involved in a wide array of circumstances, and I've actually been able to slow down enough to watch their turmoil unfold before me in a slow-motion fashion. I remember having significant moments like that in high school, and I'm sure it means the same as it does now:

God is intentionally pointing something out to me. To learn from and to pray for. In these moments, God tends to teach me about the ways of people. Certain people, at times, but usually its a general lesson about humanity. I'm broken by the sabotage we allow to go on in our relationships with others. It's natural to have dysfunction...because we're humans. But it's almost as if we have this itch for utter destruction to happen ever so often. People have become indispensable, and we don't value others enough to look past our own needs.

You see it everyday, divorces happen. Childhood friends fall out of sync. Family members hold life-long grudges that affect generations. And we'll choose, instead, to hold onto this immaterial pain that makes our hearts more feeble and colder. Or worse, we'll fill our lives with numerous shallow, unproductive acquaintances...and think that it will fill the place that God reserved for those that will add to our existence. Vulnerably speaking, I wish not to surround myself with drones of people who aren't looking out for my benefit. Those who won't help me stay true to my standards, convictions, ...myself.

Life is too short to try and go at this thing all alone. And I'd rather have two or three in my corner than a crowd of people spectating in the stands.

Figure out who your real friends are. And treat them that way.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Interlude: Re-Introducing.

Brittney S.
Age 24
In pursuit of a more intimate walk with my Lord.
Explicitly Black.
Graciously Woman.
I write. everything.
Presently being equipped to go back & save our children.
Heart of gold that beats outside of my chest.
Lives for the stage but deaf to applause.
Secretly building "my castle made for two"...