What was darkness: Step into light

Photo by kilarov zaneit on Unsplash
How did darkness become a place to hide out in fear of the light? Why do you avoid the light?
-Xholiwe

Hello crowned Royals, Happy new month! We made it to the 5th month of the year and we probably can agree that for some it feels like a century, but we can only pray that God sees us through it all. I have been doing a lot of resting and I must admit that it is time to get back to writing before rest turns into laziness. This blog post is going to be heavy before it gets light, so brace yourselves and let us unpack this together. To get us started, I want us to think about the times as kids when we feared sleeping in the dark and preferred the lights stayed on. How did the darkness make us feel? and why did we prefer the lights stayed on? I personally feared the dark because I believed monsters would get me and I was unsafe, but the light made me feel secure and safe because I could see around me. My reasoning as kid and as a grown adult about light has not changed because the light indeed makes me feel secure and safe. While I am proud to say I can sleep in the dark with the lights off now, it doesn’t mean that I did not overcome the kind of darkness that requires more effort than a flick of a switch. You know what am talking about right? The darkness in our lives that may have come into our life in many ways. It could have been through loss, sin, abuse, abandonment and the list goes on. Because this requires a whole lot more effort, we settle in it despite the fear and uncertainty we feel. What happened to being in the light? How did darkness become a place to hide out in fear of the light? Why do you avoid the light?

When darkness settles in your life

On a normal day to day we always know when darkness is about to settle, the sun sets, and the buildings around us light up. As you walk or drive you notice the street lights come on and the drivers on the road turn their lights on because darkness is settling. It almost happens naturally and because we are used to it, it becomes second nature to turn lights on once darkness settles for the night. How about when darkness settles in our lives? Can we tell that it is about to happen? Most definitely we can! We can tell that the toxic relationship is turning into darkness when we have been emotionally or physically abused once too many times. We can tell when we lose a loved one and depression kicks in that darkness is about to settle. We can tell that it is turning dark when we have repeatably committed the sin we have been struggling with for quite a while. So why do we decide to stay in the dark then? There are several reasons we refuse to turn on the lights, one main reason being that a lot of things that happen in the dark always come with a couple of other things. Things such as shame, hurt, anger, bitterness, regret, guilt just to mention a few literally push us into further darkness. We then fear the light because we fear our truth, not realizing that very truth is what will lead us to the light after darkness settles. Understand that living a life in darkness is tragic whether you believe in God or not. I was listening to an old sermon by my pastor and he asked this question, do you know how expensive living a life in the dark is? You pay for it with you peace, rest, joy and destiny. You can’t afford it! Don’t allow for darkness to settle. It is time to find the light.

Finding the light

Can we be honest? We all have at one point got so tired of the darkness and wanted to find the light. The question is not where do we find the light. It is who is the light? The light is found in Jesus and the word of God clearly says it several times. There is one of the many verses that let’s us know Jesus is indeed the light;

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8 v 12 NIV

Because we often look for where the light is instead of who the light is, we continue to stay trapped in our darkness. We may find temporary light that will never last you as long as the light of life from Jesus. With Jesus as you light, even when darkness comes upon you, his light will quickly see you through. You no longer have to feed off the light provided by man when God becomes the light of your world. Find your light, not in the “where”, but in the “who” and that is Jesus!

Stepping into the light

If you ever tried to step into the light after a long time of living in the dark, you can probably agree with me that it does take a lot. The decision to step into the light can simply be you being tired of the dark and realize it is taking you nowhere. Other reason could be;

  • The word of God that is spoken in truth and proven that darkness wasn’t meant to last forever.
  • Godly assigned people that help you find the “who” in the light and pull you out of darkness.
  • Your own desperation to leave the darkness.

Realize that stepping into light takes a ton of readjusting. Just like the human eye readjusts itself even exposed to light after being in the dark for long, so does the spirit reform. Somethings may feel foreign until the spirit readjust to the light, but that is part of the process.

Walking from the dark into the light will expose you, but the key is to be transparent. My pastor said in one of his sermons that living a life in the dark is living in a life of falsehood and people who live there fear being exposed (John 3 v 20). He continues to say you can not be powerful if you are not transparent. The absence of transparency keeps a person longer in the dark. In the dark you nearly forfeit all power and allow the devil to have authority over you, but it is time for you to step out now.

One thing that we should also prepare for as we step into the light is the shadow behind us also known as our past. As long as there is light, there will also be a shadow. What do you do when you come face to face with your past (shadow)? Well, now that you are exposed to the light it is clear to see your past in the light. It is no longer a giant form of darkness that consumes you and makes you believe that your life is over. Be rest assured that your past (shadow) will go with you, but that is no reason to be ashamed, but rather let it be your testimony. Someone battling the same form of darkness needs you to tell your story!

Living in the light

Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! My last words are that stepping into the light is the best decesion you would ever make in your life. Here is what the light does for you;

  • You see clearly
  • You are refined
  • You are made whole
  • You heal
  • You are set free
  • You walk into your destiny

Those are some nice things to have right? Sound like a perfect recipe for what we call “living my best life”. So why not make the choice to trade that darkness for the light? Let’s do this! It is time for us to take our rightful place. It is time to trade thorns for crowns.

Much love,

Xholiwe

Normalizing Hurt: There is liberty

When will it all get better?

Some time ago I remember having a conversation with my dear friend in the UK while I was hurting and I asked her, when will it get better? I remember saying that I needed to catch a breath, but when I tried to, it just seemed like I was under deep waters again. She quickly hit me with the word of God that served as a great reminder when I needed it right before I was out there thinking being hurt should be my lifestyle.

When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.

Isaiah 43 v 2 NLT

Real talk though, have you ever felt that way too? That feeling where you feel like God just healed from some hurt and then soon enough some other hurt finds it’s way to you? You ask yourself why do I find myself in hurting situations and question if there is something wrong with you. Yup! been there and I know how it feels. If not dealt with, It does get to a point where you normalize being hurt all the time and if you don’t get out this mindset that normalizes hurt you may find yourself hurting all the time. Hurting all the time is not normal and if you are a child of God, you certainly will not have to constantly be on an endlessness hurt marathon.

As we journey through life we need to understand that hurt will come in many forms and how we approach it will determine how we will overcome it. I will let you know that if you want to play a victim from your hurt, you are well on your way to an endless hurting marathon. However, if you play a victor from your hurt, you are about to get through life with a better understanding that hurting should not be normalized. You will have the knowledge to look at hurt as a place of growth versus it being a death sentence. Do you know how many people die thinking that constantly hurting was normal for them. I am guessing a lot of people, unless you think other wise. Understand me when I say that hurt should not be normalized in your life. You should not get so used to being hurt that it starts to feel like a lifestyle for you. No one wakes up in the morning everyday looking to get hurt, but have you ever just thought about what environments you allow in your life that can easily get your hurt. The people in your life, are they people that encourage you and see the greater worth in you? Are they people that treat you well and speak kindly to you without hurting you? Are you able to speak up to them in a respectful way when you feel hurt by their words or actions? If your answers to all these questions are no, then it is most likely that this is where you are experiencing some of your constant hurt. When it comes to people we fall under the obligation to keep them around even when they hurt us because they are family, they are friends, they are co-workers and we forget that toxic is toxic. Day after day the people around you find ways to hurt you and eventually it becomes normal for you. In this case, I would like to tell you that there is nothing wrong with giving yourself permission to avoid toxic people and enjoy some peace for once in your life.

Truth is that not every person in your life or people you meet along the way are out to hurt you, but if you have normalized hurt, you will be looking to get hurt because it seems normal for you. Your normal has become crying all night, your normal has become hurting others with your words because you are hurting and isolating yourself in the fear of being hurt again. If you don’t cry, you will want to find a reason to cry, so what do you do? Go back 10 years ago to some major hurt and cry the whole night because that feels normal. I beg to differ, our hurt can either make us or break us and that solely depends on how we normalize it. Learning from your hurt and overcoming helps you realize that hurt is only but a stepping stone that helps you grow.

Some of you would probably tell me that you have been hurting since childhood and if you were honest with me and yourself, you would say you feel like it has been an endless series of hurt. Hear me when I say that I am not ruling out the fact that we all have experienced some major hurts in our lives. For some it may be death of loved ones, divorce, heartbreak, betrayal, rejection and the list goes on, but that doesn’t mean we should expect death, constant rejection, heartbreak etc in the entirety of our lives. We need to work on that mindset that has made us believe that it is normal for us to be constantly hurt that when we feel happy we get suspicious. There is freedom that comes from overcoming that mindset that tells normalizing hurt in your life is the only way you should live your life.

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

Romans 8 v 18-21 NIV

I love how the book of Romans in this particular chapter makes it so clear that we as the creation of God will be subjected to frustration, which in other words I can call hurt, but we are to liberate ourselves from it and experience freedom! It is possible to be liberated, but we have to put in the work. We have to decide that hurt should not be normalized in our lives and we should be seeking liberty from this type of mindset.

I leave you with these last words, you are not a victim of hurt, you are an over comer. I urge you to break away from the mindset that has made you normalize hurt that you don’t know any other way to live your life unless you are hurting. It is possible to live a life where you are not constantly expecting to be hurt. Let’s put in the work! We are shifting from Thorns to Crowns!

Much Love,

Xholiwe

Accepting your truth; letting go of denial

Just like Peter, we too have denied the truth in fear of being condemned
-Xholiwe

Can we take a moment to address the elephant in the room? Can we talk about living in denial and how it has some of us disillusioned to not accepting our truth. We all know that one person who denies having an anger issue, everyone confirms that the person has an anger issue, except the person with the anger issues. Another way of looking at denial is when everyone at the restaurant tells you that you got food between your teeth and you choose to deny it until you go to the bathroom and take a look in the mirror.

Denial by definition is the action of declaring something to be untrue. Before you come at me with your theologies and defense tatics, I want to let you know that denial has a two way approach. First, you can deny bad experiences that were spoken in falsehood about you and defend yourself because those bad experiences are indeed untrue. Secondly, you can also deny bad experiences that actually happened and you were part of it either voluntary or involuntary and defend yourself because those bad experiences were/are your reality. Lets get the cat out of the bag, I will spend my time talking about the second approach of denial because it has had many of us fearful to face our truth.

I am not a psychologist so I don’t have big psychological terminology that will convince you that you are living in denial when you should be facing your truth. However, what I do have is experience, I have had a couple of bad experiences that happened in my own life that were true, but it was hard for me to face my truth. I tried to sweep it under the rag like most of us do and pretend that I have it all together. I can go all day telling you about my bad events that I chose to deny, but there is no experience in my life that is compared to the lose of my mother. My mother passed away in 2012, and let me tell you that her death changed almost everything that I thought my life should have been. I was in total denial about her death for a very long time. I could not accept the reality I was facing, but I was good at putting up a brave face because everyone expected me to be strong. I often could not face the fact that I was orphaned of both my parents and being an only child didn’t help me much. If you know a thing or two about only children you will understand what I mean. My reality was that my mother was no more and that I had to figure out life without her, move to a different country without her, graduate college without her, get married without her, have children without her and that was not easy to accept. So I fought with my thoughts at night and wished everything that just happened was just a dream, but it was reality that I could not face at the time. So your question would be, how did you accept this truth and face it? I had a crazy man I call my brother William that made me speak my truth and call me out on my denial. This was not an easy process because I was in full denial mode. Despite of the constant defense of my actions, I got to a place that led me to accepting my truth. All truth, not just my mother’s death, but a whole lot of my other mistakes and regrets. I can’t stress enough the importance of having truth tellers in your life, people that will tell you the truth no matter how it hurts because they want to see you walk free (read my blog on freedom).

I can tell you that ever since I started to accept my truth, it is so much easier to live my life without denying my reality. I don’t know what you are struggling to accept right now and it is your reality, all I can tell you is that the quicker you face it, the quicker your peace of mind. Do not feel like you have it bad because if we look back to the bible, Peter denied Jesus, not once, but three times. Peter denied ever being with Jesus (the truth) because of fear of being killed too. We too have denied our truth because we fear being judged, judgment feels like death because people are constantly judging others like it is a competition. Truth is that we should be talking about what we are struggling to face because the more we talk about it, the freer we get from it and hence we start to accept our reality.

It all starts in the mind, our thoughts can ran our lives for us if we do not take charge of them. It is very easy to make an illusion that fools people into thinking your life is sunshine and rainbows, meanwhile you still carry around pain that happened to you as a little girl or boy. You are still pondering on the mistakes you made as a teenager and beating yourself about it. You lose sleep over regrets that happened when your not mature enough to tell who was genuine in your life. I know this because I have been there, but I am not allowing myself to stay in denial! I am accepting my truth and learning my lessons. (read my blog: L’s are for Lessons). I would hope the since you are on my blog, you are looking to accept your truth too.

There is no shame what so ever that comes with accepting your truth, it is actually a blessing to speak your truth and be free!

It is time to turn that mess into a message, you have a lot of people waiting on you to face your truth so that they can learn for you and live a life free from the fear of being judged.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free

John 8:32

There are some of the approaches that I use to help me deal with denial that I think can help you too;

  • Revisit all the bad experiences in your life that you know for sure that you continue to deny till this day; some of you might have to revisit your childhood, teenage years and most recent events in your adult life.
  • There may be some tears as you revisit some of these events, but that’s okay, tears heal the soul.
  • Talk to someone you trust; a family member, a friend, a pastor, a counselor about this because you don’t have to go through this alone
  • Write down the feelings that come with those bad events and ask yourself why those feelings are there
  • Forgive yourself and others that were involved
  • Spend time in prayer; fast if you can!
  • Remind yourself that you an overcome despite all that happened you are still alive and strong!
  • Face your truth because there is no need to be in denial when you have a whole life to live!

With that said, My prayer for you all is that God who is the truth steps into our lives and helps us realize soon enough that there is no profit that comes from denying our truth. To all that read this, let us accept our truth and let go of denial!