“Remember to look up at the stars not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up” – Stephen Hawking
Y’all, this is legit my favorite S.H. Quote. Like, LEGIT LEGIT!!! It holds such a powerful hope encourager (I’m not sure if ‘hope encourager’ makes sense but I’m using it anyway). And the last line has been on my mind a lot over the last couple of weeks. I’ve said it to myself over and over again for, to be honest, no reason sometimes. Cool thing, though, is where the conscious thinks it’s for no reason, the subconscious always knows why it’s doing what it’s doing. So, while I’m trying to figure out the relevance of this line to my season I figured why not share my thoughts with you…
It matters that you don’t give up on love
“What’s Love got to do with it? What’s love, but a secondhand emotion?” Or not? Y’all, we are called to Love regardless of the atmosphere around us. I found myself in a challenging position election season 2016 and had to realign my call to Love with my feelings of hurt. Nah, I’m not going to go into detail here, but one book that’s spoken volumes to me on Love (second to the Bible of course) is “Braving the wilderness” by Bréne Brown.
Let’s be honest, hate (or even indifference) is easier than choosing love. It requires no work, just existing. As full human beings, I truly believe that it is our mandate to choose love overall. That we are called to make the world a better place by loving the unlovable and choosing love where we have been hurt by those we thought loved us in return. I know that sounds a little cliche (and it’s borderline a call to hurt and heartbreak tbh) but Love can exist alongside choosing to “guard our hearts”. After all, we’re choosing love, not naivety!!!
Now, hear me when I say (or write. Hehe) this. Love is a radical act and comes at a cost but the reward is great too. Bham, I just got deep with Y’all!!! Hahaha… I say this from a place of struggling, too… I have, countless times even, failed at loving people well and have had to go home and have my mind continuously remind me of my failure. It may be responding negatively to a friend or coworker, internally responding with profanity of distaste as a manager or colleague says something – while keeping a smile on my face – #winning. Sometimes it’s been ignoring friends because of things that I justified in my head, or refusing to acknowledge my shortcomings when it comes to expressing love to family and those closest to me. Sometimes, I’ve failed so much at friendships that I simply figured it wasn’t worth the effort; that “if they cared they’d reach out too because it’s a two-way stream”. Shout out to you if you’ve thought this way too (of course this is not a good shoutout, shame on us!!).
What I’m getting at is this, giving up on love means giving up on a relationship with those you care about… So don’t do it!! It means giving up on the hope that all people- whether dear to you or nah – are deserving of love. Now, just because you love others without expecting reciprocity (which would be nice Y’all) doesn’t mean you open yourself up to manipulation – ain’t nobody got time for that!!! There’s a thin line between loving boldly and allowing yourself to be manipulated so watch out for that line, please!! IT MATTERS THAT YOU DON’T JUST GIVE UP ON LOVING BOLDLY!!!!
It matters that you don’t give up on your goals
Picture this: you’ve got an event right? You’ve set yourself up to wake up at 9 am to get yourself organized, you know you’re going to leave the house at 11.30 so you get there a few minutes late (because fashionable late right?). You get yourself ready and jump into the car but the car won’t start. You check for uber and the closest one is 25 minutes away (Y’all know uber does the most when you really need it!). So you’re like, whatever I’ll use public transportation but now you’re waiting at the bus stop for forever… Your goal for the day’s been tarnished… Or, better yet, imagine there’s a game of sorts (football, soccer, basketball, cricket or whatever) happening on the other side of the world. So you KNOW you’ve got to get up at 5 or so to watch this game… You get up alright, watch the preview a bit and just as the game starts there’s a glitch and you lose power… So you’re like, maybe I’ll just do it on my phone but you didn’t charge your phone the night before so… No game watching for you OUCH!!!
I know, I know! That was a looooong analogy (or two) *insert shrugging woman emoji here*. Here’s the truth, it’s so easy to get into this same thread with the goals we’re trying to accomplish too. You know you’ve worked hard and given your best: you know you’ve planned as much as you could have. Then ish hits the fan and it seems like your plan comes tumbling down. Yea, me too buddy!! Been there, done that *insert struggle bus emoji here*. Sometimes that’ll happen a couple of time and you’re on some “let’s build this thing back up” but sometimes we get to a place (particularly mental space) where we’re over trying…
Don’t do it fam!! Don’t get over trying!!! You’ve got to keep going!!! There’s so much joy that comes with accomplishing something and thinking maaaaan, the number of times I had to restart to get here!! It gives you a story to tell!! It allows you to inspire others to do the same!! More than anything, it allows you to grown and become a better version of yourself. Isn’t that what we’re all trying to do? If you think about it, the numerous failures allow you to fine-tune your master plan. They allow you to recognize, from a distance even, what works and what doesn’t. Isn’t that cool? By the time you achieve your goal – and ultimately your goals – you’ve eliminated everything that doesn’t work and are left with “only the best possible plan of action”. So, say it with me, IT MATTERS THAT I DON’T JUST GIVE UP ON MY GOALS!!
It matters that you don’t give up on your Faith
I know, I know, some of y’all just zoned out there. It’s ok, you can skip over to the next one. Faith is a core value to me, Y’all, and boy do I struggle with faultless living!! Sin ain’t cool but it sure can taste good *insert monkey hiding face emoji here*. I’m just tryna be honest Y’all, that’s what you get in reading these blog posts. I KNOW I’m not the only one who struggles, too, hence the sharing over here. Haha… Sometimes we set ourselves up for success and vow not to do this or that because we know where it may lead our fallible selves, and it works… For a while… Until we get too comfortable (and confident) in our ability to contain us then it’s back to square one… (Also, my Pastors been talking about how demons will return 8-fold if they leave and come back so a lot of things makes sense now… I’ll edit the verse into this post once I find it in my notes so Y’all see what I’m talking about).
Sometimes my fallible self will justify sin!! Some of y’all are like, what does that even mean…. Let me tell you… I’ve gotten so good at using Grace and Freedom to justify CHOOSING to sin… Stop!! Don’t look at me like you’ve never consciously chosen sin you hypocrite you! Haha… I am pretty sure we’ve all done it… Let me show you… That time you DECIDED you were going to hold a grudge against someone? Or, when you went to sleep angry? Ooooor, that white lie you told? Ummmm, I’m coming to your door, that time you said you were sick just because you didn’t want to go to class/work/out with friends? Yeaaaa told Y’all!! We’ve all consciously chosen sin at one point or another… I’m learning that, while freedom and grace exist, every action performed in freedom will have results and grace is merely redeeming (without eliminating the results)… So, while I can’t promise that I’ll never justify sin again, I vowed to myself a long time ago that -where I fail- I’ll pick myself up real quick. So, Y’all, IT MATTERS THAT WE DON’T GIVE UP ON OUR FAITH!!!!
It matters that you don’t give up on you
When all is said and done, YOU are the most important part of the puzzle… When we’re called to “love others as we love ourselves” the statement assumed that we love ourselves already… Where we’re told to “do unto others as we would like them to do to us” it is inferred that we want only good things done to us. When we are mandated to “make the world a better place”, how can we make something better if we ourselves are not better? “Better” people make a better place…
Listen (or read, haha)! I’m not advocating for selfishness but self-care. We get to these places where we are on some “suicidal thoughts and actions” place because we forget the value that we bring in being our authentic selves. We assume that the best we can give is succeeding in our goals, being stellar believers – or nonbelievers- in our faith, being intellectuals if academia is where we’re at, or being great professionals or entrepreneurs or whatever because that’s what we perceive to be the core value we bring to the table. No Mami, you’re the most valuable thing you bring to the table… Hey there Mr., while we appreciate your “connecting beard” or whatever YOU are the most valuable thing you bring to the table!!! Y’all, EVERYTHING ELSE IS SECONDARY
I get so frustrated sometimes when I listen to people talk themselves down because “they haven’t achieved this and that”! You’re alive, you matter and you’re going to do great!! That, in itself, is enough!!! You are enough, I am enough!!! Giving up on you might mean giving up on your dreams, on your health, on your goals, your education, your mental health, your internal peace… The list is endless. Giving up on you is simply giving up on the things that make you come alive and become a better version of you; it is giving up on who YOU want you to become and letting who OTHERS want you to become define your trajectory… IT MATTERS THAT YOU DON’T JUST GIVE UP ON YOU!!!