Be. Focused.

With the year winding down and the Holidays fast approaching us, it has certainly led me to reflect on what this year has brought me personally, but also what has it brought humanity. All of us together are finding our way to coexist and respect opposing views. You may think I’m only talking about politics, but to the contrary I’m talking about so much more. Let us not fool ourselves into thinking animosity between opposing views is new. Only that this election year has it decided to render its ugly face and rip us apart. I think it has done a good job so far at it.For Hispanics, it’s arisen fear and issues of immigration. Millions of our brothers and sisters nervous of what’s to come. For Muslims whom never seem to get a break, it’s only turned into further fear and alienation as a “peculiar” people group, oftentimes justified by how little we the west know and understand. I could go on and on about woman’s rights, LGBTQ rights, those dealing with mental illness, our fellow black communities and peoples with disabilities. But what I want to get to is you and I. What has this year done to us?

I know for me personally I have battled many fears and anxieties. I look back to the beginning of the year, coming out of a crushing relationship, wondering if I could ever be comfortable with myself. I look at the moment I started seeking not only spiritual care through my faith community but professional help as well. I remember the time of the year I started getting involved in church and all of the inadequacy I felt moving into helping plan pride and reaching out to my queer brothers and sisters. I look at the constant dialogue of sexuality with my own family and friends and the stress, hurt, love and encouragement all bottled into one. I think about the fear of loneliness and if I will ever be enough for myself. I ponder the faith of this year that at times seems to flow well with my day to day tasks, but then at others it seems to only press me with more questions, wondering and confusion. The various relationships I sought after and the subtle transition from one to the next all while learning how do I be a better person and how do I continue only loving myself more through what I learn when I interact with others.

I truly could go on and on about all the triumphs and struggles of the year. I could go on about the anxieties I have at the moment that will carry with me into the new year. Work, travel, singleness and church to name just a few! I would imagine I’m not alone on this chapter. Many of you I’m sure are dealing with your own obstacles. Relationships, money, death, anxiety, inadequacy, social justice, passion for human rights, impatience, loneliness. I’m sure the list could be longer than this blog! There are also probably those things we don’t want to quite recognize or admit to yet either. Things that we just don’t have the strength to press on in overcoming. The what’s next? How do I even try? What could possibly be better in that situation?

In light of recent events I see people saying, “hug someone today, support one another, let that person know you are there, find a little more respect to give out.” This is what we really need. When I head home from a busy day whether it be from work, church or a long day with friends, I sit down on my couch and maybe like me, your mind begins to wander. I have the “wonderful” gift to analyze everything of the day. The feeling to work through each event and interpret everything as meaning. What has this done to me? It’s eaten away at me. It only increases my anxieties and only adds more weight to my shoulders. Through my personal faith times I’ve realized that I need to focus on the present day at hand and be content with where I am. I need to be thankful of everything surrounding me not only at my home but in my life. At first I did this by sifting through social media, but that only made it worse! I found myself trying to live through others victories. While that was encouraging it only distracted me from forging my own victories. So now what do I do? I turn the tv off, I crank up the music and begin to remember all of the good things those have said in my life regardless how close I think they are to me. 

There is a lot of work to be done. I know I need to be comfortable with my own company. I know I need to continue focusing on my new career and dedicating my time there. I know that my faith journey has its challenges ahead but that I need to press on as a beloved, loved and blessed person of God. What is it for you? Maybe faith is not an important aspect in your life so what you read maybe doesn’t relate to you well. But I’m sure you can relate to many of the same chapters that I’m going through. I’m sure you can think of toxic things in your life that suck the energy from under your feet. How will you deal with them?

I challenge you and myself this Holiday season to trek forward and face those pesky obstacles in our lives. If you’re reading this and can’t think of anything at the moment, then be intentional on sending someone a message, making a priority to go and listen to someone’s story, to unconditionally love those in your life and let them know how you appreciate them. I know I can do a better job of listening and not just talking. 

My hope is that as I focus on the present that other things will fall into place. For me sometimes I grow to focused on wanting to be dating that I miss out on the joy of loving myself and discovering new opportunities. Or letting anxiety of the future bog me down only to miss out on the present. Or thinking that I can just analyze and fix everything in front of me, only to realize that the weight that I’ve allowed on my shoulders is exhausting. Will you hold me accountable to this during the holiday season? Will you challenge yourself to step out and be mindful? To love a little more? To donate just a bit more time to someone who needs it? We can’t fix the world in a week. We can’t heal our nation by our posts (but I’ve tried). And we can’t help others if we forget to love unconditionally and recognize where we are at on our own life path. But I believe in us. I believe in the people I have surrounded myself with and I have hope that my chapters to come will work themselves out. Amen.

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