I’ve always had a plan about how my life would be. Even from a young age, the details were perfectly worked out in my mind – happily married, young cool mother, successful business woman with a comfortable lifestyle, living my version of the American Dream. I thought I would have this all by the age of 25, but no matter how hard I tried to force it, life and my plans never quite seem to be on the same page.
I grew up in a conservative, Pentecostal, West Indian home, which meant there wasn’t much room for negotiation when it came to how life was lived. My parents were always involved in ministry so for my sisters and I there was not much of a social life outside of church.
As a child, I always had an independent (my parents might call it defiant) spirit in me. My mother always tells the story about me arguing with her to the point of tears over what shoes I would wear with my outfits. Here I was, no older than four or five years older, and insisting that I wouldn’t leave the house until I looked perfect from head to toe.
As I got older, that stubborn…I mean strong willed attitude got even worse. But because I knew the consequences would be severe, I figured out quickly that it would be in my best interest to play by the rules, even if it meant faking it. And that’s what I did.
For most of my teenage years I lived a double life, pretending to be the perfect daughter and devout Christian on Sundays. I carefully covered my not so godly behavior until I was out of the house for college.
Being away at school meant I was finally free to start living life my way.
There were no rules. No restrictions. No one to answer to. No more mandatory church attendance.
Finally, I was in control of everything and wasted no time in working to create the life I was sure would bring happiness.
I tried all the things that were supposed to fill the void my soul had been craving throughout my teenage years but nothing worked. I bounced from one unsuccessful and dysfunctional relationship to another, leaving each emptier and more broken than the last. I became so desperate that I accepted anything even if it had the slight chance of leading me to my dream life.
Occasionally I would feel the urge to return to my church-girl roots but that feeling would quickly subside.
Every decision I made backed me further and further away from God. And it wasn’t long before I found myself shattered and alone.
By the time I turned 25, I had exhausted all of me. All my efforts, my plans – none of it worked.
Deep down, I knew all of my brokenness could be fixed in Christ but I wanted to do things my way. Still wanting to be in control, I gave myself a time frame on when and where I’d start going back to church. Thankfully, God graciously went along with my plan until He got me to the place where all I could do was surrender.
My journey has been far from pretty or perfect.
In the quest of living life my way, I’ve had to learn most of my lessons the hard way.
Although I would have rather learned them differently, they are lessons that will never be forgotten. Because of my journey, I am relearning who I am as a woman, how I manage everyday life, my thinking patterns, my approach to love and relationships and parenting as a single mom – all according to God’s will.
My journey is teaching me daily to give up my need for control to someone who is far more qualified than I am.
I’m learning that even when things seem out of control, God is still very much always in control! He is present in every moment and knows well in advance how it will all unfold.
I hope by sharing my journey – the good, the bad, and the in between moments, that you too will surrender your life plans to the one who is most capable of bringing them to past.
The goal isn’t perfection, but simply remaining committed to improving our lives one decision at a time.
So here’s to a bright, fun, sometimes unpredictable and complex, but overall worthwhile journey; to a more emotionally whole and content version of ourselves!