Already getting better


I’m the type of person who doesn’t ask for help until it’s too late because I’m smart, I’m resourceful; I should be able to figure out whatever “it” is on my own. Charge it to pride, fear of embarrassment, not wanting to have my life and career choices thrown back in my face…

“See, that’s your problem. You try to do everything yourself. Don’t you know you’ve never done anything by yourself? You only have what you have because people are praying for you. You don’t have what you need because you don’t pray.”

My dad says some version of this every time we talk. Every single time.

It’s been years (a decade plus?) since I went to church or read my Bible with any regularity. And I’ve struggled over the years with guilt over the idea of turning to God when I’m in a bind, because I’ve not been faithful. I don’t wanna be the spiritual equivalent of the friend you only hear from when she needs to hold a little sumthin’.

But I really need to hold sumthin’.

So, I’ve been working over the last months on shedding that guilt and repairing my relationship with Him, and asking for help, and trusting that it will come, and trying my best not to ask “when?” and “how?” Because Matthew 6: 25-27:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

But it’s a struggle. There are so many things that need fixing.

I’ve been going to a new church, and on the first Sunday I visited, the pastor’s sermon was entitled, “I Know God Can Do It. But Why Won’t He Do It For Me?” It was to be a three-part lesson and spoke to exactly where I am in life. It kept me coming back and it reminded me of the song below, that my friend Jason sent me a few years ago when I was really sick.

I believe it’s going to get better, that it’s already getting better. And I know, with Him, it’s never too late. In case there’s anyone else who needed to hear it, this is for us:

On tonight’s episode of Exhale…

We talk faith and religion and I come off like a total heathen.

I’m not actually — or at least I don’t think I am — but I definitely haven’t been a regular church go-er all my life. I grew up in a very religious household. My dad was a deacon and Sunday School superintendent in our church. My mom was a deaconness and a missionary. I sang in the choir, was involved in youth leadership, I helped run the video ministry. I was at church several days/nights a week and my church family was, and still is, family. But something changed when I went to college. I didn’t quit believing, but I did stop going to church as regularly. I was “grown” and since there was no one there to tell me I had to go, I didn’t; I guess that was my way of asserting my independence. The funny thing is no one forced me to go to church when I lived at home. It was expected of course, but I genuinely enjoyed it. At first, I felt really guilty about not going, but the more Sundays I stayed home, the more comfortable I got staying home. In the years since then, I’ve been through periods where I went to church every week for months and stretches where I didn’t go at all. I ask grace before I eat, I pray before I go to sleep, and I acknowledge and thank God for my victories, but for much of my adult life I’ve been out of fellowship.

I hit a really rough patch a couple years ago. I was emotionally and financially depleted; I was close to losing my home. My first instinct was to turn to God for help, but I felt unworthy because I was taught that it’s wrong to just call on Him in bad times. Kind of ironic that the guilt I felt for being out of fellowship is what prevented me for so long from going back when I needed it most. Thankfully, after talking with family and a few friends I began to seek guidance and slowly but surely things started to change. Though I’m not quite where I desire to be, my life and my attitude about life are a million times better. I give Him all the credit for that, but my relationship with God is definitely a work-in-progress. And I know it’s the same for a lot of folks, which is why the Faith & Religion episode was one of my favorites. It’s the first episode we shot (yeah, we dove right in on Day 1) and I loved it because we covered so many viewpoints. So often in the Black community, when we talk religion, the question is “Where do you go to church?” and not “Are you a believer?” And I believe that if Black folks don’t want to be viewed as monolithic when it comes to politics or our portrayals in the entertainment industry, then we must also acknowledge that we don’t all share the same views on faith. In this episode we speak with Dr. Sikivu Hutchison, a black female Atheist and author. I could have talked with her for hours. She was amazing, just so impressive and though I don’t share her (non)beliefs, I respect her opinion and the respectful way in which she shared it.

I really hope you all enjoy this episode. I hope it makes you think. And I hope you’ll log onto Twitter tonight at 8pm Eastern at #ExhaleTV and join our conversation. See you then!