Damn, it feels good to be back! I honestly cannot believe the last time I spent intentional time reflecting and writing was two months ago, because SO much has happened since then. I am happy to share that I have finally embraced the city of Indianapolis and happily call this place home. In September, I traveled to Boston to see Drake and the Three Amigos and witnessed one of the greatest concerts ever. Additionally, I completed my second half-marathon in less than ideal conditions – 35 degree weather (10/10 do not recommend!) I have also become a health and fitness coach to assist others in their journey to become their best selves and achieve their own body goals.
A few weeks ago, my brother asked me when I planned on writing my next piece and it was in that moment that I realized I had been neglecting a practice that gave me peace. Yes – I have been extremely productive fulfilling my work responsibilities, training for a half-marathon, and maintaining long-distance friendships, but I can never be too busy to reflect on the grace God has covered me with especially when I don’t deserve it. Unknowingly to Brian, I began to think about what the last several weeks has taught me and it all came down to three words: reclaiming my time.
Made popular first by Maxine Waters, “reclaiming my time” is more than just a demand for equity and respect. It is a phrase I have adopted to echo my unapologetic journey to clearly define my identity, beliefs, and relationships. This process has included a series of intentional choices to prioritize and focus on myself, while aligning my decision-making with God’s promise for my life. As a result, I chose not to attend my alma mater’s Homecoming this year, which was one of the toughest decisions I have had to make in years. My journey has also made others around me uncomfortable because change is rarely seamless. Nevertheless, I am grateful for this season because it has given me full reign to address personal insecurities and shortcomings so that I can become the version of myself, the person God called me to be. Below I have described three takeaways I have experienced and would love to share with you:
- Good intentions, limited ability. I have written countless times about the importance of a village and it is no secret that life is influenced by your relationships with others. However, I have learned that although I lean on meaningful relationships, people will always have limited ability to provide what I need from God. This was an eye opener for me because I used to assign unrealistic expectations on my friends to be perfect and played the victim when they could not support my needs. It wasn’t until I made the conscious choice to align my mind and spirit with Christ that I realized I was seeking approval and support from the wrong sources.
- The Power of Interpretation. My students at Ohio State will be the first to tell you I had three rules as a team. Though there will be times when we will be anxious, tempted to argue, or rattled, “we will not stress, we will not argue, and we will not panic.” I believe this is an important distinction because it mandated we reshape our perspectives before encountering challenges and failures. Positive framing is important, but it is void without critical reflection to find purpose in our defeats. We can only be undefeated if we choose to be, and that starts with creating time for ourselves to interpret what has happened, why it has happened, and proactively prepare for the future.
- Everything Must Go. “Anything that is keeping me away from recognizing what God can do through me has to go.” After hearing these words from Sarah Jakes Roberts, I was reminded to live a life free from energy that was not faithful, loving, and courageous. It has become easy to identify and remove cancerous relationships from my life. My challenge has been holding myself accountable for what I think, hear, and say. I talk to myself more than I talk to anyone else on this planet, and if I am not speaking life into myself, how can I hold others accountable to do the same? (see unrealistic expectations above). Sarah also said, “bitterness feels like warmth when you are afraid of trusting other people.” I am still working on learning how to trust myself so that I can truly be vulnerable and trust others, to create and sustain purposeful relationships.
The messages above have helped encourage me to live interdependently, but to always depend on God. I know I am not perfect, and I have made countless mistakes. However, I can honestly say that I have turned a corner and am becoming a better Timothy. The past 11 months have been tough and I almost lost hope at times, but I am still here. I am thankful for my unconditional relationships and am excited to take the next step forward to reaching my destiny. I may not have everything I want right now, but I do know I have a sound mind that will carry me a long way.
Encourage somebody to be great today!