I rolled over in bed at 9 AM this morning to my obnoxiously loud alarm labeled “Wake up Sua & Thank God (prayer hands emoji)” and I must have hit snooze about a million times. I felt physically paralyzed. Normally I wake up, thank God, look out the window and get on with my day. But… There was something different about today. I could not move from my bed. I was furious with God that he’d managed to wake me up to a new day, only it didn’t feel so new, as I had a lot of work and errands waiting for me to tackle this Monday.
My life has changed a lot over the past couple of years, particularly this last year. Actually a year ago today, I was baptized. This was a huge stepping stone in my life. I’ve been a Christian for as long as I can remember, initially I just inherited my father’s faith, but as I grew older I personalized it and really developed my own relationship with God. I’ve also been a Sinner for as long as I can remember. From stealing 25 cent packs of Big Red gum from the store as a child to drinking and smoking into adulthood… yeah, I’ve always been a sinner. But this past year was different. I felt renewed in spirit. I felt alive. I felt free. Most importantly, and for the first time in a long while, I was genuinely happy. I’d grown closer to God in these brief 12 months than I’d ever in my 22 years of breathing.
But as I woke up to a terrible morning, generally dreading the day, feeling similar to how I’d felt not too long ago when I was living in dark times… I realized that though I’d strengthened my relationship with God, went to church, prayer meetings & even read His word on a consistent basis for the past year; I also hadn’t turned away from the sinful habits I’d normalized for years. And this lack of change has halted my spiritual growth. Has left my heart feeling heavier. And I only just had this lightbulb moment after talking to my best friend, Shakila, about God as our strength and joy. I realized I don’t feel as happy and renewed as I did a year ago. Though my mentor told me she’s seen more “light in my eyes” after returning to DC to finish school. I believe that light has now dimmed. So I ask myself “Why?”
Well see, real change is incredibly difficult. Shakila once told me that living a sinful life when you were trying to walk with God is like having your left foot pointing to the west and your right foot to the east, and still expecting to be able to walk. You can’t! But of course, I’m young and I’m learning so I figured if I dabble in a little of this or that… God would still love me. My old pastor told me that real repentance and forgiveness came from “turning away from old deeds and committing to a personal change of habit/actions in order to live a better life.” All this time I’d thought if I kept screwing up, If I apologized and asked for forgiveness when I prayed to God, I’d be forgiven. But then I’d eventually do it again after promising “that was the last time.” I feel like this is really common behavior. And the intentions may be good but I’m learning that it’s just not sufficient. I have to be diligent. I have to be consistent. This is important to me.
So after being able to identify where I’m lacking and in an attempt to re-sustain my spiritual strength and happiness regardless of the circumstances or obstacles life will throw my way, I introduce to you “Heaven’s Hotlines.” Heaven’s Hotlines is a series of poems, ramblings, stories I’ve committed myself to writing every Sunday of the past year. I really dedicated myself to this fairly consistently but sometimes I write them in my composition book, phones notes, sticky notes, margins etc. So I just want to create one space where they will all be. Also so I can keep record of my spiritual growth. In this series I’m completely vulnerable. My idea for them is to be as transparent as possible and just real. I just write about how I feel. If you we’re hip to my old Blogspot, expect them to be similar to my “Cool Story Bro: Rambling” posts. In my mind, this is what I’d imagine it’d be like if I could call heaven and have a conversation with God or at least an angel about life, doubts, struggles, successes etc.
So here’s to an introduction to me. This side of me. Many of you know me as a writer, but this will provide a more specific and more focused lens into my life (also my writing has gotten heaps better since blogspot days). So all are welcome to join me on this journey, get to know me, laugh at me, laugh with me, learn from me, learn with me. I’m really excited about this!
And this is just the beginning.