I’m not exactly sure what to title this post, although I am sure that it will come to me at some point. I got inspired to write again while reading other peoples truth through their own words, and recognizing that I also have a gift of making words flow on paper. Its just hard to admit some of my truths from time to time because it forces me to deal with them. Once I started reading other blogs, I realized what freedom it brought through their honestly. My hope is that I can do the same through mine.
This all started while finding inspiration for a speaking engagement I have coming where I have to tell my testimony and my contact with Christ on my mission trip this past summer in Asia. Once I accepted the invitation, I immediately started to think of ways I could tell my story while preserving my strength as perceived by others. I have been struggling lately with wanting to tell my story but, not at the expense of others walk with the Lord. Sometimes I have to chuckle at Gods way of bringing forth our areas of darkness.
I have experienced people who desire to hear my opinion, others who are happy to call me friend, happy to be around me, and parents who are happy to call me their daughters coach.Humanly speaking, this is flattering but also, causes a tremendous amount of pressure on my part. If I didn’t have a “keep it together” face before I have definitely mastered it now. I often wake up asking myself, “How do I NOT fail today?” “How do I NOT cause someone else to be disappointed?” And ending my day wandering “how in the world was I able to keep it together?”
What I really want to shout is, “I have many flaws!” ( I must admit that took a lot for me to type that) I don’t always have the right words to say, I can be mean and judgmental at times. I cry more than I would like to admit, I have silent heartbreaks more often than anyone would ever know, and I have feelings of loneliness and deal with fear of rejection thoughts daily. I oftentimes wander if people would still want to be my friend if they saw me “unmasked.” My acceptance in the past(according to my own perception) has been because I was a talented athlete. Looking back on my life, everything was performance based, so the better I performed, the more people wanted to be around me. Which is why, I struggled for so long letting sports go. So, beyond that, who was I? It was a question I often wandered myself so, although it hurt when people left my life I also found myself understanding why they would.
What I wanted the most in life is also the thing I feared—-companionship. A friend/partner who would recognize my absence, understand my silence, and recognize my truth. The thought of having a best friend for life was exciting to me but, the responsibility of keeping one was frightening. I almost wanted to push them away to prove that they weren’t there to stay anyway but, on the other hand, I longed for them to stay. Maybe it was because I was use to things ending or people walking away that I was caught off guard when people took a genuine interest in my life. I am and have always been a person of purpose and I realized that not everybody thinks this way. So, instead of being vulnerable for friendships or relationships I closed myself off under the label of Independent.
Because I understand the vibes I give I understand the “why even bother” mentality of those around me but, it doesn’t take away the sting. I keep thinking they need to change but, I know change has to come from me. Before I can truly appreciate genuine friendship and a meaningful relationship I must be whole in my relationship with God. My role is to complement not complete.
My ugly truth that God has shown me is that my pursuit in him has served as a judgment amongst the people I’m around, instead of a loving compassion on their souls. Counting my loss in friends as a sin problem on their part instead of a judgment on my part. Pursuing God is not a badge of entitlement to blessings but, permission to love my neighbors as myself. I even found myself taking satisfaction when things do not go according to plan for the “sinners” and getting angry when he dares show them favor. I have struggled at times praying for those who are not pursuing God because God might actually bless them. ( I felt like Jonah) and the truth is, I didn’t want to stand watch while someone else gets blessed while I’m still hurting. But, I am tired—-so tired of trying to be perfect!
For the first time in a long time I feel like I am getting back on track with God. Like it says in Psalm 27:8 “…Lord, I’m coming.” when I detour away its as though my training wheels are off with God and I’m saying, “Lord, I got it from here.” But once he lets go, I lose sight of where he was leading me. God has moved me into a place of contentment with my singleness. I am learning that singleness is not a label that causes “complacency” but, a label that allows me free time to grow and learn.
Lord, I thank you for pointing me back to you even in the midst of my “dark heart”. The truth is, is that I long to be loved, I long for a lifelong healthy friendship and a marriage that will continue Gods purpose and plan for our lives. I understand that my heart needs healing and I thank God that he has given me the tools to get better. My pastor said something to us long time ago that still stays with me, He said, “we should not be content in our sinful state. We should at least wrestle with the fact that we are not right.” And I can honestly say that although you are reading this blog thinking how selfish, jealous, and evil I may be, I can tell you that I have wrestled with this unspoken truth for way too long. I am bringing it forth to God and asking for his help. So, in return I pray that you do what I am struggling to do. Pray for me that God will have favor and grace over my life even if you feel I am undeserving. I can tell you that God is dealing with me and I am not content with the state that my heart is in. Its slowing me down and blurring my path and purpose that God has called me to do.
So, I conclude in saying that yes, I, Iyhia McMichael has accomplished many tangible things, broken many records, been recognized for my athletic pursuits but, the pursuit that has been the most challenging is my relationship with Jesus Christ. Its one that I will always be “training” for. But like Paul says in Philippians 3:14 ” I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.” My title of being a Christian (although jaded at times) is one of my greatest accomplishments and I thank God that he continues to work on me for the higher calling on my life.