Last night, Studhubs and I got invited to a pre-screening of Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never” 3D movie.
I tweeted about it, thinking very little of the words I had just sent out into the world wide web—until my @reply box almost blew up in about a minute. The instant backlash on twitter was at first amusing, and then heartbreaking. The word “HATE” was being thrown around like popcorn popping in the microwave. People were screaming at me through ALL CAPS, insulting me for doing something as innocent as going to a movie, and hurling knives and stones. The Jonas Brother side slammed the Justin Bieber side, then the Justin Bieber side slammed the Jonas Brother side. And when I say they hated each other, you could feel the ooze pouring through the screen.
From what I gathered, both sides were being fiercely loyal to their artist, which was awesome. Latch on and support people you love. It’s a good quality to learn. However, slinging mud back and forth only did one thing:
It slimed everyone involved.
You couldn’t avoid the mud. It was being hurled back and forth, back and forth, until everything was dark, black, and just downright dirty. Nothing felt happy or positive—it felt toxic and depressing.
I wonder what would happen if one person—just one person—stopped the slinging. I wonder what would happen if one side decided to take the last verbal sliming, and turn it around and bless where they had just been so rudely cursed. What if for every harsh, nasty comment someone gave you, you threw the comment away and returned it with a compliment, a blessing, or a kind word?
I think it’s very interesting how most people think they have to agree with someone’s political views, religious orientation, or core values in order to love them.
There are countless scores of people in this world that I believe differently from. We all do. No one can agree with everyone all the time. It’s what makes the world unique and colorful. There are disagreements on religion, race, slavery, abortion, government, lifestyles, sexual orientation, and it seems like both sides go at each other like two girls scratching away in a cat fight.
I’m finding in my own life, however, that if I reduce my affections to those who agree with me on every issue, then love ceases to be love.
Because Love….TRUE love….is unconditional. (Yep, that’s a hard pill to swallow sometimes).
un con di tion al |ˌənkənˈdi sh ənl; -ˈdi shnəl| adjective
not subject to any conditions : unconditional surrender.
But love never gives up.
Love cares for others more than you care for yourself.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut around in pride.
Doesn’t have a big head.
Doesn’t force itself on others.
Isn’t always “Me First.”
Doesn’t fly off the handle.
Doesn’t keep score of the wrongdoings of others.
Doesn’t revel when others grovel.
Takes pleasure in the flowerings of truth.
Puts up with anything.
Always looks for the best.
Never looks back, but keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.
I’m learning that for me to love people—to truly love them—I have to love them regardless of our differences or what they do or might have done. I have to love them when they spit in my face, and when they curse my name. I have to turn the other cheek, bless them when they slam me, and stand solid in my commitment to love when being hated.
I want to be that kind of a woman—who walks in deep, unwavering love. I want to build the foundation of my life on it. I’m not there quite yet, but I’m not going to stop moving forward towards knowing what it means to truly love those around me.
Just as I have been loved. (:
LOVE you guys….and I mean that.
I’m Still Here
The storm, the wind, the rain have met me once again
And interrupted blue
The sky turned grey, turned cold, turned winter once again
And interrupted blue
But I’m here for now, Yes, I’m here for now
Though storm, though wind, though rain have met me once again
And interrupted blue
I’m Still Here
& of course, I had a few answers.
And touring with the Jonas Brothers.
(photo by www.breezybaldwin.com)
We all believe lies. It’s impossible not to.
And by definition, the word ‘deceived’ means…you don’t know when you actually are.
When I was a little girl, America was fed the lie that if the package said “Fat Free” it meant the guilt-free and potentially “expanding-jeans-syndrome-free.” We all sat around joyously—inhaling entire boxes in one sitting with goofy grins on our faces that our biggest dream had come true: cookies were the same as vegetables.
A few years later, we found out that “Fat Free” didn’t, in fact, mean that the fat wouldn’t accumulate on those notorious wobbly bits we love so much, and switched to “No Carbs.” We gulped down things that tasted a bit like plywood (or sand if you were lucky), and found our bodies void of energy, nutrition, or substance, for that matter.
When I was in middle school and the most popular boy in the school said that I was a dog and neither he, nor any of his popular, studly friends would ever ‘go’ with me, that was a lie. It was a nasty, ugly, bold-faced lie.
I chose to believe it.
At the end of every chapter of my book, I’ve added a ‘Your Turn’ section. I didn’t do this because I thought it might make it more popular to turn it into a workbook or because I needed to bulk more pages to the content. I added it because of this:
If you don’t take what you have read and actually APPLY it to your life….your behavior will never change.
You might have lightening-bolt moment of, “Well, that’s profound.” You might actually empty a box of tissues and promise yourself that you’ll always remember. But until you go to war and retrain that brain of yours (that has had YEARS and YEARS thinking a certain way), you will never see lasting, permanent change.
A lot of you have read my story. You’ve followed my blog, read the book, and joined me as I traveled back into the deep dark of my past. But my past didn’t bring me to freedom. I didn’t just evolve and eventually roll out of the pit with age, time, and experience.
I had to fight. And so do you.
I’ve been going through and ‘Restoring my Foundations,’ so to speak. I want to know what the foundation of my house is built upon, and if there’s any cracks that have seeped in that might need to be refilled and solidified again. So this morning, as I was going through a few of my negative beliefs that might need a bit of tweaking, I came upon a few that were so ridiculous, I laughed out loud at them. They might seem ridiculous (and you might feel ridiculous for believing them), but the fact that I still believe them means I still need to discipline myself to FIGHT them as they come up—until the belief system changes.
So for the next 30 days, Studhubs and I have a list of our lies and we’re declaring to change them. We’re praying through them (because that’s what we do since we know we can’t do it on our own), actually HEARING ourselves say the words (because words create) and committing to fight until we see change.
And how will you know when your mind has changed? Your behavior will change.
Here’s an example of one of the big, fat doozies that still haunts the corridors of my heart from time to time:
LIE: ”My value is in what I do. I am valuable because I am successful.”
Nasty, isn’t it? Abso-freaking-lutely disgusting. And yet, most of our world lives under this deception. We find our value in what we drive, what we wear, how we look, who our friends are, who we’re going out with, what job we have, what our parents do. We think we’re worth more if we have more credentials or win more accolades. But if my worth and value are in what i do, then what happens when I stop doing it? And if my emotions and self-esteem are riding on my performance and success, then how exhausted am I going to become striving to replicate the drug of success? What happens when if the success stops? Do I cease to be valuable?
I know many, many people who have believed this lie, and because of it, when the success stops….they fall off the deep end.
I don’t necessarily believe this lie the way that I used to believe it, but there’s still little bricks here and there in my house that strive for success for a sense of worth instead of because I know I was created to help people get free.
But I want this Nasty Monster OUT.
So for 30 days, I’ve written the opposite in my journal and will declare it over my life every, single morning—without fail.
The TRUTH is:
“I am valued because I am loved. I’m a daughter of the God of the universe—and He loves me JUST as I am—no matter if I win or if I lose. I AM LOVED which makes me EXTREMELY valuable.”
What lies might you be believing today? Just work on ONE of them today. Ask your heart some hard questions. Ask yourself what belief might be crippling you, keeping you in fear, keeping you from love, keeping you in addiction. Don’t just be passive about it—get angry that it’s defining your life!
You’re the only landlord you’re ever going to have. You’re the only one who can kick-out unwanted squatters.
It’s time to clean house. (:
The holidays are over and the sweets have been devoured. Football games were watched, fires have been burned, naps were taken for no reason at all….and so far, our car has clocked over 3,000 miles of driving to see family and friends since December 9th. Sounds like a productive Christmas/New Years to me. (:
What an interestingly colorful year 2010 has been. I’ve published a book, released my first full-length album, toured the world, moved to LA, and learned more about myself than I ever have before. In fact, the last season could be described as anything but a pleasant walk in the park. It was HARD. Hard, hard, hard, hard. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong getting this book into your hands—and when I mean everything, I mean everything.
But. It’s done. (Long, deep, sigh followed by ridiculous looking dance). And in the midst of the burning flames of life, I get the most precious gift I could have ever been given: I get the opportunity to see ALL the junk still in my heart….face it, embrace it, and GROW from it.
I’ve learned in the hard times to ‘Embrace the suffering,’ so to speak. Let me add an excerpt from Chapter 9 in my book, the final chapter, that better explains what I mean:
I’m not legally qualified with a diploma as a psychiatrist or a counselor to help others. I don’t have my master’s or PHD. I haven’t read books on the brain or studied what scientists and doctors have researched. What qualifies me to help others is simply this: I know all about trial by fire. I’ve been through the ringer and come out on the other side.
You’d be crazy to sign up for the fire intentionally. No one likes obstacles, hardships or mishaps—going bankrupt, getting a divorce, or losing someone dear. We might like what the fire produces in us after it’s all over, but most people wouldn’t volunteer for a flogging unless they had a few screws loose.
For most of my life when I would get hit with a hard time, a tribulation, an addiction, or a heartbreak, I would do anything and everything to extract myself from the situation as quickly as possible. I’d run from the flames, call in the troops, search for the nearest exit sign, and find as many shortcuts as I could. The problem with this approach to the fire is this: you might not have learned everything you needed to learn in the midst of that trial which means you might actually have to go through it again.
My friend Tyson is an incredible man. At the age of 30, he’s been married, cheated on, left, and then divorced. He has three beautiful kids, teaches at a school, is a pastor, brings students into his home to live with his family, and is more highly revered by those closest to him than anyone I’ve ever seen. I sat in his class one day as he talked about the knife-gashing agony that divorce brings to the heart. His wife had left him for another man with little or no explanation, got pregnant, had another baby, and his once happy home shattered into shards of broken glass around him.
You would think that he would have all sorts of amazing tips about how to overcome heartache faster, or 10-steps to healing that will get you back on your feet in a jiffy. And while he is writing a book right now on forgiveness and healing after a deep betrayal, his wise words to us that day in class were far beyond his years.
He told us to embrace the suffering.
Now, at first, I flinched, as did most of the class. Embrace suffering? What kind of a masochistic teaching was this, anyway? What kind of person wants to go up and throw their arms around misery, and then give it a hug? But the more he talked the more truth I actually heard, and the more he didn’t sound so crazy after all.
I wonder sometimes how much further along I would have been if I had learned this concept sooner. What if during every hard season I would have stopped to ask myself the question, “Okay, what do I need to learn from this so I never have to go through it again?” instead of, “How the heck can I avoid this bullet and get the heck out of Dodge?”
I’ve been in lots of relationships, business deals, family feuds, friend betrayal, church back-stabbings, and countless situations that brought more agony than a dump truck full of cow manure being poured out on my head. I’m sad to say for most of the circumstances, I simply ran for my life. I’d leave beaten and torn, tattered and wounded—crawling through the mud for the nearest harbor. It wasn’t really until last year that I started sitting down in the midst of a war and learning how to rest. I started looking at agony, fear, pain, and misery and saying, “Alright, buddy—you’re here, and I’m not running. What character can I take away from this pain? What strength can I glean from remaining still in the middle of a storm? What power can I obtain by learning how to stand in the heat of battle?”
The moment I started practicing this principle, the trials didn’t seem so big anymore. They weren’t pleasant by any means, but I loved who I became in the midst of them, and I loved that I could always find something to be joyful about—even in the worst situation.
I used to wish for a magic pill to end the suffering of my eating disorder. Our country is one of the most medicated countries in the world, popping all sorts of pills that offer instant gratification for symptoms and not problems. I am not against the extraordinary advances in medication, in fact, I think it’s phenomenal how medicine has helped millions cope and find healing. I don’t, however, believe that medication for emotional issues should be seen as the cure—especially in terms of depression. They can be vital helpers that get you stable enough to then find healing, but they should never be seen a permanent solution to a deeper problem.
I always hoped that one of my fervent prayers would result in a bolt of lightening able to zap me into wholeness. I begged for it, cried out for it, even screamed at God to come down in a chariot of fire and rescue me from this horrific pit. And in His wisdom, He did help deliver me and illuminate truth in a way that I actually got to be a part of the process. He took my hand and walked with me out of the fire—three steps forward, two steps back. Three steps forward, two steps back.
I learned His kindness and mercy, His gentleness and faithfulness, and His power and strength in the process of extreme pain.
Oh, I totally believe He could have kissed my boo-boo and made it all better instantly, but instead, He led me gently into the past, into the dark places of wounding, and began to heal the trauma—one terrible memory at a time. I got to be a part of the healing and I changed along the journey.
When you experience trauma, a part of you stays right there, stunned by the experience, unable to grow and mature. I had fragments of my soul that were still stuck as that little six-year-old crying on the playground or the teenager consumed by rejection at the dance or the child who had been touched prematurely in a sexual way. A part of your soul literally stops growing in certain areas where trauma has occurred. Until you go back to the suffering and embrace the pain and ask for healing, you might stay that little six-year-old in certain areas.
But I don’t want my soul to be fragmented from the past. I want to be healed and whole in every area of my life. I’m truly becoming that woman every day.
And so can you.
2011 is going to be INCREDIBLE. You know how I know that? Because no matter what comes at me—no matter what good or bad come my way…I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I can rejoice in the good and grow from the bad. There are treasures in both extremes.
You just have to know how to look for it. (:
Love you all. Send me emails (firstname.lastname@example.org) letting me know what cities you’re wanting me to come to for book signings/shows. Can’t promise this year that I’ll be able to hit them all, but I’m going to try!
Thanks so much for your emails and stories of how the book has already affected you. I LOVE hearing your hearts. It’s the highlight of my days. And keep ordering the book at www.christablack.com!
HUGE HUGE HUGE Blessings for 2011. May your paths be dripping with abundance, crowned with goodness, and FILLED with identity. (:
I apologize for my absence from blogland the last few days. The lazy nature of the holiday season has hit me, and for some reason, all I want to do is lay in my dad’s massive feather-down chair, engulf myself in its pillows, and watch 80’s movies. I must admit, I don’t see this as anything to be ashamed of—especially after how hard we’ve worked to publish a book and cd in the last season. Feels good to REST.
Chapter 8 is one of my favorite chapters for one very good reason: I get to talk about Studhubs.
Since my brain is mush and I need to figure out what is about to happen to Marty McFly in Back to The Future II, I’ll let the book do the talking today. (:
It’s a longer section, but I promise…..it’s worth it.
As a single woman, I never had any problems in the “heart palpitating, butterflies in your stomach, attracted to anything cute that moved” department.
Every restaurant, airport, grocery story, and baseball game I went to, my hot-guy radar was on ten, constantly scoping out anyone who might fit the bill. I was always aware of what guys were looking at me, what guys weren’t looking at me, and my emotions teetered in the balance between the two extremes.
If they weren’t looking, I was depressed and felt ugly. If they were looking, I was nervous and had no idea how to act. I never seemed to be able to win on either side of the fence.
My deepest desire was to have a relationship with a man. The problem with this desire was that men had been the greatest source of my pain, from abuse to rejection to everything in between. It’s very interesting when the one thing you want more than anything in the world is the one thing that’s hurt you more than anything in the world. If that’s not proof that we’re wired for love, I don’t know what is—constantly wanting to play with fire, knowing you could get burned. After being rejected for years, I had finally convinced myself that I didn’t need men at all. This conclusion wasn’t what I really wanted. It was a crazy attempt to protect my already wounded heart from even more disaster.
I was driving my car one night, frustrated and broken-hearted that I was headed to yet another wedding while flying solo, and all of a sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I was attracting exactly what I believed that I deserved: nothing.
I went on one date in high school. He was a drug dealer who cut our date short to go make some money when his beeper went off. I went to prom alone, assuring everyone that I wanted it that way because my non-existent college boyfriend wasn’t able to make it. And I had fallen hard for a musician who loved keeping me up all night to talk, only to find out I was his emotional and intellectual crutch while he dated a blond who he’d rather not talk to. The two of them had make-out activities on the agenda.
Because I believed I wasn’t worthy of romantic love, guys weren’t seeing me in the romantic category. Because I believed I wasn’t very attractive, guys didn’t seem to be very attracted to me. Because I believed and prided myself on my fierce independence (how I could always carry my own suitcase, change my own tire, and do anything and everything any guy could do), they treated me accordingly. I believed I didn’t really need a man, so when a man isn’t needed, one doesn’t need to come around.
I did believe I was a good friend, so I had heaps of guy friends. I also believed I was just one of the guys, so I was always invited to hang out. But every time a cute guy would get close, my head and heart would scream, “Please don’t reject me! I know you probably will! Please don’t reject me! I know you probably will!”
It’s almost like they could somehow hear my thoughts as radio beacons projected into the cosmos, warning them of the landmines up ahead.
And because my head and heart were a complete rejected mess, my actions would immediately follow their lead. I believed that I would eventually get rejected, so any time I got wind of a possible rejection, I would beat them to the punch and reject them first. In fact, you could always tell when I was into a guy. I would turn into a complete ogre—picking on everything he did, making fun of his every move, and cutting him down at every possible opportunity. My crushes definitely felt crushed, over and over again. If for some reason he did stick around after all my knives had been thrown, I would usually just run away as fast as I could or disappear completely.
My experience with rejection as a kid was defining my love life as an adult, even though I was a completely different person inside and out. I was still letting insecure, pubescent, pimple-faced bullies determine everything about my romantic future. I was letting terrible things that happened long ago continue to dictate what was happening in the present, and because I approached every guy through a lens of rejection, rejection was exactly what I got.
It was time to make a change.
In my car that evening on the way to that wedding, I tilted my tiny rearview mirror down so I could look into my sad, lonely, exhausted green eyes, and I began to speak.
“Christa Black, I believe you are worthy of love. I believe your heart is worthy of holding. I believe you don’t have to be so independent anymore out of fear. You want someone to take care of you, and I believe you’re worth taking care of. I believe you can do most things on your own, but you don’t have to do them on your own anymore. I believe you’re an attractive woman. I believe you’re not just the best friend. I believe you will be married someday to someone you want to be married to. I believe someone will love you—because Christa, you love yourself.”
The air shifted. I literally felt a peace fall in the atmosphere as I drove along. The cloud that always rained on my parade and blurred my vision instantly lifted, and every hair on my arm stood on end as if I was in the middle of a moment so important, breathing might be seen as an interruption. I felt life pouring into my soul—life that I had longed for—as an ancient paradigm moved towards a greater truth than the one I had been a slave to.
As long as I live, I will never, ever forget what happened the very next day. I walked into the same coffee shop I always walked into, wearing the same old dress I had worn a million times, with the same hair cut, same face and exactly the same weight. But this time as I walked through the front door, every single guy in that place looked up and stared at me. (And I am not exaggerating). For a minute, I thought maybe I had tucked my dress into my underwear again. It wouldn’t have been the first time. But they weren’t looking at me because I was embarrassing, ugly, or wrong. In fact, I could feel their admiration and not necessarily their lust. My newly confident demeanor noticeably turned head after head as I walked to the counter to stand in line and order my usual coffee.
I had started to believe I was beautiful, so I felt beautiful, so in turn began acting beautiful. When you act beautiful, people see you as someone beautiful. When you act like you’re someone of great worth, people treat you like you’re someone of great worth. Spirit, aura, persona—call it what you like. But I was literally projecting something unseen into that room, something stronger than my natural body, and I watched as every boy heard the new message loud and clear and responded accordingly.
Absolutely nothing in the physical realm had changed. I looked the same, I sounded the same, and my circumstances were still the same, but I definitely wasn’t the same. My heart and my perception had illuminated and been transformed. I had started believing I was different. I had started believing the truth. And because I finally believed I was someone worthy of love, in the humblest words possible, guys couldn’t seem to keep their eyes off of me.
You will attract what you believe that you deserve. If you believe the guy you want will never want you back, then he won’t. If you believe you’re worth being beaten up on, then you will continue to attract the same low-life who will hit you. If you believe you’re always going to be the friend and not the lover, then you will continue to be the friend. If you believe you can’t get a guy to love you unless you have sex with him, then you’ll get sex and not always love.
The person you see in front of you, possibly coming after you romantically, might be the exact definition of what you believe you deserve. They might be amazing, loving, and kind or maybe they’re cruel, demeaning and harsh. They could be faithful, or they could be a cheat. They might be supportive and protective or abusive and damaging.
If you don’t like the person you see sitting across from you, you might need to look in the mirror and do what I did. You might need to start speaking the opposite over your life—to find out the truth and release it into your heart and soul.
You might need a perception makeover.
You’ve got 4 days to order your signed copy of the book/CD bundle before Christmas at www.christablack.com! Thanks to all who came to the show/book signing last night. It was SO GOOD to be playing my own songs. It’s been a LONG time. Too, long.
Beautiful friends, you’re worthy of love. You have to believe that you are, which means, you have to allow yourself to be—and it begins inside your own heart. Give yourself the best Christmas present you can give yourself…and accept and love yourself at this VERY moment—right where you are—even if you need to change.
Love you all.
XOXO, Sista Christa