Shadows… many of us have lived in them.
By Steven O. Allen
Learn to love yourself.
A shadow is merely a dark misfigured representation or image of a physical object or person. A shadow never stands upright, nor is it made of any “real” substance. It can only exist where there is low level or no lighting or illumination. In this article, this illumination represents true self knowledge and perception and the darkness represents the lack there of. A shadow’s only characteristic or influence is the darkness it’s identified by and that the least bit of light dispels and overpowers any shadow. Many of us have lived our lives as shadows or hiding in shadows or vague misrepresentations and mis-figured images of who we are really created to be just to become someone that’s accepted amongst our families and peers. More often than not, this so called acceptance comes at the expense of the real essence of who you are not being embraced, only your emotions.
To my sisters out there (wives, mothers, girlfriends and others), first of all I want stand up and apologize on behalf of all the men that have been a part of your life that have mistreated and mishandled you. This mishandling has come as a result of our own shadowy issues and personal dysfunctions. I see you everyday strong woman striving to maintain your elegance in a not so elegant society. You’re special, even though I see the struggle behind the smile. I hear the hurt and pain that’s in your heart as you speak and the temporary escape when you laugh. I see the fear and insecurity that’s in your pretty eyes. I see the passion in your pursuit for something better. Know that you are not alone. There are many like you around you everyday. I understand your pain and the pressures that are on you to perform. I know that you get tired and feel like no one understands or even cares at times and yet you still press on. Just for the record, you are not an island that has to be isolated and left unto yourself to continuously be slapped by wave after wave of the constant pressure that erodes away at your borders. I see you exerting your strength with the strain of motherhood. I see you in a self-guarded state, desperately determined to not be the next victim or prey of “Mr. Wrong”.
Though these may be the facts, the real truth can always outweigh the facts. The truth is, you’re more than just a mother (and father in some cases) of your children. You are the mother of humanity. God has so equipped you and entrusted only you to carry in your womb and give birth to all generations of the human race. The truth is, you are more than just a sister or an aunt. You are the nurturer and care giver of the human race. Even if you’ve aborted a child (in which God has forgiven you), you’ve not aborted your mission to nurture and care for humanity the way that you do. Truth is, if you had given up or had failed, mankind would have failed. Our very existence has been carried in your womb, replenished from your bosom, carried in your heart and touched by your hands. The truth is, you are more than just a home maker or just a spouse. You are the essence of love and warmth. Without you, home would just be another house, an outer shell void of the kind of love that bears life within. It would be like an orchard in the spring without the sweet fragrance of ripened fruit or the beautiful presence of flowers. It would be like an autumn season that’s without the breath-taking array of colorful leaves and foliage decorating nature to the “umth degree” or the summer without a breeze. It really doesn’t matter what background, race or culture you represent. It really doesn’t matter where you’ve been. It doesn’t even matter where you are right now. The only thing that matters more than the facts is the truth. Truth is, when God made you he was really showing off. He saved his best for last. He had to prepare the rest of the world, adorn nature, and decorate the universe first, before your arrival. He even designed a special place in a special garden to design you in and bring you to life. You were created with a word, but have developed and evolved into a song, an enchanted melody. It’s no mistake that you were created on the 7 th day. The number 7 is the biblical number for perfection and completeness. The world was not complete without you. Creation was perfected when you entered the scene. God himself poured so much into you that after he made you on that 7 th day he rested. He did not rest until the work in you was finished.
Even on your worse day you should roll your shoulders back and hold your head high. Not because you have a certain look, size or status. Not because of who your husband is or children are. Not because you have obtained a certain desirable position or social status. Not because of where you live, what you drive or how you wear your hair or your dress. Truth is, who you are goes far beyond this. I take nothing at all from any of this, you’ve earned it I’m sure. Truth is you should roll your shoulders back and hold your head up just because you are you. Girl you’re bad! You’ve walked through hell and back and haven’t even broken a sweat. You’re at your very best and strongest during adversity and you probably don’t even realize it. You’ve been baptized by fire and still find a way to smell good. Not even a hair on your head is out of place, nor a chip in your nails. Who else but an awesome creature like you could withstand this? You’ve been mishandled and rejected to the point that you’ve even rejected yourself and even others that remind you of you. Of course you’ve made mistakes and poor choices but haven’t we all? Keep on living and you’ll make more but you’ll bounce back more… Forgive yourself. It’s not your fault that someone else didn’t recognize the valuable treasure in you. How can they recognize it in you if they can not first see it in themselves? Truth is, though you may have been ostracized and raped by society and even dogged, misunderstood and mistreated by your own, you’re still surviving. Look at you now. You are a fighter and survivor. You’ve been an overcomer in every situation that the world has ever thrown at you and you still thrive. You’ve been hurt, healed and re-hurt and you still find it in your heart to give even more. Let me tell you something, don’t you ever second guess or sell yourself short another day as long as you live. Your destiny is so much bigger than where you are and what you may be able to see right now. Your best is truly yet to come. Truth is, you are a very special breed and you are unstoppable. Whenever you get focused and determined, you are an awesome force to be reckoned with. God built you with a lifetime guarantee with a warranty that you would be able to carry and withstand the weight and responsibility of all humanity. Gravity can’t even hold you down. Truth is, your past does not represent or dictate your future, your present from this moment in time forward does. It’s what you will do from today forward that
Learn to love yourself. If you love yourself learn to love yourself even more until you can do so wholeheartedly. Accept you just the way that you are. You’re special no matter what your issues, circumstances, brokenness, failures, wounds, complexes, fears, insecurities, or short comings are. Start from now and charge forward. You are special and you can do it. You owe it to yourself. If someone has hurt you, find a way to forgive them. You may even have to ask God’s help everyday until you can, but it’s vitally important that you do it. It’s not for the other person(s) that hurt you; it’s for your sake. When you release them you release their power over you and their influence in your life. Living in unforgiveness gives he person(s) power over your soul (mind, will and emotions). Walk in forgiveness, peace and love as best as you can. Where you fall short, allow God to work in that area of your life to straighten it out. It will free you from the weight of the burdens, baggage and the bondage that comes with unforgiveness. No matter what it takes, find a way to forgive and release them (and forgive yourself too while you’re at it). Let God do what only he can do in and through you. Guard your heart with all diligence. Out of it are the issues of life. You have come so far. You can never give up. If you have already given up, it’s because you’ve really given up on yourself and on God. All of us have felt like giving up at one time or another. It was during those times that your true strength was manifested. Your time to shine is coming. Ever wonder why the same wind that blows out a candle or match actually fans a fire? It is because where others give up, you’re just getting started. You go gorl! Know that you are loved.
Keep on keeping on,