If it’s one phrase or statement I’ve heard a lot over the course of the years it’s that one and “you don’t talk/act black.” Also, if it’s one phrase or statement that has annoyed me the most over the course of the years, it’s that’s one.
I’ve dealt with this ALL of my life. In fact, growing up this was probably the phrase that I heard the most. I learned code-switching at an early age, which meant that in school and in professional environments I talked different than I did around friends and family. You would almost never hear me use a double negative in a professional or academic environment unless I felt comfortable in it. Why? Because my mom always told me that we have to work TEN times harder than people that were born with opportunities. I have to work ten times harder in professional environments to show that I’m capable of doing the same work as someone that perhaps grew up in a different environment than me.
I could go on a rant, but I wanted to talk more about what God reminded me of just a few minutes ago. Even though that hurt (as it always has), I was reminded today to focus on what God says about me. God calls us sons and daughters and has adopted us into His wonderful family of believers. At the end of the day, why does it matter what he or she thinks about the way that I talk if God says that I’m precious in his sight? (Isaiah 43:4)
What does it matter what another human thinks or says about me when they aren’t the ones judging or controlling my life (thank God for that!)?
Ultimately, I cannot spend too much time focusing on that. Yes, it was offensive and it hurt, but I cannot hold that grudge against them. I cannot allow people to create disdain in my heart for something that was done or said, because it’ll keep me from focusing on God. I don’t want anything hardening my heart towards the Lord and if it means forgiving this individual for saying a mean thing then I will with God’s strength.
I will die a second death trying to live for people’s expectations of me. God is the only judge. I want to live for Him. I want to breathe Him and I want to serve Him forever — even when my flesh tries to fight against it. I will not lie and say it did not bother me and that I almost didn’t say something smart back, but what good would that have done? What purpose would that have served and how would that have glorified God?
The last question is one that I need to ask myself more when dealing with things in the world. Would this action, this thought, or this response glorify God or my own selfish desires of the flesh? Would it bring glory to God or to myself as some sort of higher-up?
God comes first.
Regardless of all the mess that occurred today (most of which I have not mentioned), I have to remember to focus on God and not on what I’m feeling. God is concerned with all of that, so why should I be? He’s fighting my battles and as much as for a while I wanted to fight back with words (because I was triggered back into YEARS of being disrespected, devalued, and having my blackness recanted by people that have NO idea what I’ve experienced in my life to say that I’m not “black enough”), I had to focus on that. I had to focus on the fact that even when I feel like I’m on the battlefield alone, I’m not. God’s in front of me, behind me…he’s all around me! He’s preparing a way and guiding me through the process. For that I am BEYOND grateful to have Him in my life. I love God and I don’t want to imagine my life without Him.
He’s so faithful and deserves praise, even in the storm.
I wish I would’ve realized this sooner and not allowed myself to get so offended for at least an hour or wanting to break down (in addition to something else that happened later), but I thank God for reminding me of that later in the day.