And I’ve frequently found myself desperately chasing after my crazy expectations because of it.
Some days I feel like my head will explode.
Most days people never even knew I was suffering with an ungodly amount of unhappiness and disappointment.
I became magical at pretending. Served a better poker face than Lady Gaga.
And it doesn’t help that other people are constantly in my face about my life too.
“When are you going to move out?”
“Have you found a bae yet?”
“How’s that job search coming along?”
CAN YA’LL GIVE ME 50 FEET.
I tried to drain out the dreaded questions I received about my life but they never seemed to stop.
Even in my own head.
I knew that I wanted to be somebody. But how could I fill a desire that didn’t seem like it was coming true?
It became draining to hope and push toward my future self when my right now was tore up.
I bet you go through this too.
It’s frustrating to look yourself in the eye when the pressure you put on yourself is driving you crazy.
You know, the pressure to make it big. Or the pressure to make your parents proud, and prove the haters wrong.
The pressure to pay your bills, remember to floss, renew your license, drink water, to never go Eric Benet AND find your purpose?
I had become the queen of convincing myself that I wasn’t doing enough. So I pushed harder, stayed up later, grinded it out, and still woke up each day as lost as ever.
I believe that there can be good and bad pressure but clearly my dose of it was unhealthy. And if you’re still with me, then I bet you are out of pocket too.
Through my daily struggles, there were 5 main stages that I discovered we go through before we break free of the pressure in our lives:
The Overly Confident Stage
You’ve practically told everyone who would listen your plans in the world. In fact, I’m pretty sure you used a megaphone to make the announcement.
This stage sets you up to fail every time. Although you should be excited about your dreams, you shouldn’t yell them to everyone prematurely.
Hustle moves in silence and quite frankly you are too loud.
You are more worried about the bark than the bite. More worried about the applause than listening to God for the plan.
Too bad life starts to hit. No doors are opening and even more are closing. You’re sinking. Sinking right into…
The IDGAF Struggle Bus Stage
By this point, you just don’t care. I call this the rebellion stage because you are tired of believing in the goals you once had.
Nothing is working, so what’s the point?
Every time I hit this stage I abandon all of my goals and ambition. This last time, I stopped working out, I ate incredibly bad (so, SO much bread), I started obsessing over relationships, and truly settled for whatever life threw at me.
This is the most dangerous stage because your mind and heart are wide open to be targeted with bad influences, tainted opinions and ultimately the enemy. He’s ready for the slip ups to convince you that settling is far easier than trying.
You start reasoning with your bad decisions and avoiding correction. It gets pretty ugly here.
You eventually make up your mind to crawl out of destruction, because success keeps whispering at your heart. But even still you are hit with…
The Confusion Stage
After you slowly start to come out of the rebellious stage, you sit there confused. A hot mess. Just in limbo.
It becomes paralyzing because you don’t know what step to take next.
I was stuck in this stage this entire summer. I wrote goals down but they would constantly change. I became unsure of myself.
More insecure than Issa.
I would get to everything “tomorrow” so that I could avoid the fact that I was lost in something scary, unfamiliar and hard.
I was reading this book by Joyce Meyer called “Battlefield of the Mind” and she described this stage as your logic fighting with your spirit.
You’re so confused because you are trying to make sense of things and ideas that God never intended for you to understand.
That’s why we are supposed to have faith. To not lead on our own understanding.
But we settle for being confused until are brain hurts until, BOOM…
The Wake Up Call Stage
I got my wake up call this week actually. Let me tell you real quick.
I had had enough of feeling so run down and unproductive so I got a hotel room to gain clarity and spend needed time with God.
Excited to be by myself for the first time in forever, I turned up some Party by Beyonce in the car and rapped Andre 3000’s part as loud as I could.
I felt free. Ready to focus. In my zone.
Little did I know that seconds later my car would crash right into the back of another vehicle that had been sitting in the street, waiting to turn.
The driver immediately hopped out and started cussing me out. His name was Duane so you can imagine what type of cuss out a Duane with a U could dish out.
I was shaking. It took everything in me to stay calm so that he would be calm.
When we drove away I immediately felt the enemy tell me that I wasn’t good enough. I made it to my hotel room and laid in the bed and cried.
Why couldn’t I get things right? What was wrong with me? Why do I feel so stuck?
But in the midst of my despair I heard a soft and quiet voice whisper “you need to slow down.”
I realized that I had been doing so many things out of God’s plan.
And it all came from the unnecessary pressure I have placed on my life to perform.
I was so obsessed with not being a failure that I was driving speeds ahead, distracted by busyness and fear. If I would just slow down, I would be able to avoid those crash and burn moments.
There’s an unexplainable peace after the wake up call because you finally enter…
This is the only stage that matters.
When you are operating in your freedom you don’t get stuck in the other stages for long. Unfortunately, many people spend a lifetime in the first three stages and ignore the many wake up calls in stage four.
That ain’t us though.
The ONLY way to reach this breakthrough is to admit that you haven’t been authentic to yourself.
And as much as you play the pity game, you aren’t clueless.
You know when you don’t have peace. When you’re unsettled. When you stress over and over.
You don’t trust yourself; or God for that matter.
I dare you to make a list. On one side write the things you absolutely love to do and on the other, list everything that doesn’t bring you peace right now.
For example, one thing I wrote that I love to do is dance. So today, I coughed up $15 that I would have spent on something dumb and bought some Zumba classes.
They more you chase authenticity, the less self-inflicting pressure you will put on yourself.
Your Future Is In Your Hands
You are fully capable to have a bomb life.
And I understand that the dream comes with the pressure to do everything right and make every right move.
But freedom is knowing that you’re allowed to mess up and it STILL won’t mess up the incredible success ahead.
The only thing that could stop it is you.
Your destiny is already laid out. Blessings on top of blessings ready to come at you. All you have to do is remove the fear and boldly trust that you can do this.
Because you can.