Surrender

After a long and weary road of being Jonah, I have once again (finally) come to the conclusion that surrender is, after all, a beautiful thing. Whether we run away from God because of hurt or pain or apathy or anger or whatever other reason, we only end up hurting ourselves in the process. Surrendering to God always brings intense relief, peace, contentment, and a sense of grounding. The floor is no longer shaking beneath my feet-it’s solid and real.

I don’t know why I keep doing this, but either way, it’s good to be back in His arms. It’s not safe, and it’s not easy, but it’s the best and most peaceful place to be. The most secure.

A while ago, I wrote this poem, and I’ve shared it a few times on this blog. But I keep experiencing layers of it, and today is yet another day when Like a Dance is relevant, so here it is once again. Happy Monday, everyone. xxx

Like a Dance

I am not interested in the mediocre.
Destiny, breathless, alive, fire.
These are a few of my favorite words.
I am not interested in living on the edge;
I am interested in jumping off it.

Let me fade, let Him grow clearer.
Where I am, I am in the way.
Where I walk, I walk in the wrong direction.
He is a breathless symphony;
He is the beat in my heart
and the fire in my chest.

Where I am mediocre,
He is extravagant.
Where words fail me,
His song always prevails.

He is adventure; He is love.
He is raging fire; He is a silent wind.

Being with Him is like a dance;
a dance none of us know,
a dance we once knew
and now must learn.

He leads and we follow;
He goes and we go after,
into places strange, unseen.

God of mountains, God of seas
God of the tempest and the firestorm:
take me there.

#FeesMustFall: An Open Letter to the SA Government

Dear South African government and South African Police Service,

The events of yesterday, October 21, 2015, will go down in history. At least a thousand students and workers of all races and colours marched peacefully on parliament to demand that you fulfill your promises and bring education to all. The youth have woken up and will no longer swallow lies and excuses. Those students will go down in history.

But you, too, will go down in history. You’ve already made your decision as to how you will be portrayed. You will go down in history as the government that brutally suppressed unarmed, peacefully protesting students who embodied what Ubuntu means and what you supposedly want South Africa to look like. They sang the national anthem, with its several beautiful languages, in the face of your brutality, while you pushed them back with flash grenades, batons, pepper spray, and riot gear.

People will speak about you in the same way people now speak about the apartheid regime. People will view you as the oppressors, the traitors. You have chosen to be on the wrong side of history, and nothing you say or do now can ever undo the events of October 21, 2015. We won’t forget, and we won’t cut you any slack. You’ve made your decision. Now you will live with the consequences.

When education is freed and we achieve our goals, you will be held accountable for your actions. I just thought you should have some perspective and realize that, however long it takes, you are fighting a losing battle. We will be free.

Signed,
A 24 year-old privileged white UCT postgrad student who wants the next generation to have the freedom promised to South Africa 21 years ago.

The Tempest and the Firestorm

We want so badly to be free. To roam and explore and grow and breathe and live.

What do we need to be free from? Aren’t we in control of our lives? Perhaps we want freedom from the mediocrity that always threatens to invade. Because along with responsibility and routine (which are not, of course, bad things in and of themselves) comes the difficult-to-resist tedious day to day sameness, which has a numbing effect. Before you know it you are stagnant, unmoving, unchanging, living life with your eyes half closed and doing everything mechanically. We have to be intentional about living – not the surviving part, but the thriving part. We are meant for so much more than simply breathing in and out.

Are you surviving? Or are you alive?

I am not interested in living on the edge;
I am interested in jumping off it.
-from “Like a Dance” in Take Me There

You Are Beautiful: Part 2

I don’t have flaws. Ha! What a freeing thing to say. I don’t have flaws, I have differences. Let us not be another generation taken in by the world’s flawed definitions.

I will be real. I will be the beautiful that I am.

Instagram filters, photo editing, lighten exposure and add contrast. Why do we spend so much time taking away the things that make us human? That make us look real? Photography as an art is one thing, but must we edit every selfie, every profile picture?

578317_10201177694108591_22046003_nGuess what: I’m a human being. I have blood in my body. When I blush, when I’m warm, when I’m experiencing some beautiful human emotion like love or anger or happiness, my cheeks redden. I am healthy and I am able to perspire – let’s call it what it is – sweat. My face can have a healthy glow. It’s not excess oil, it’s being alive and able to get rid of toxins.

And speaking of excess oil: know where it comes from? When you’re a teenager, it’s caused by your hormones. Your hormones. Not things to be hated or suppressed, but the things that enable you to grow and develop. They’re good and healthy and are a beautiful part of the human experience.  Why do we insist on hating our own natural assets?

Where did your definition of beauty come from? I’ll tell you. It came from the TV, the magazines, every media image all around you every moment of the day. Because when you look at a mountain, it’s jagged, but you never think “if that crack was gone or it was smoother, it would be really beautiful.” No, you don’t even question its beauty. Why do you question yours?

406663_10200470189861427_1229666087_nWho decided what a flaw is? Who decided that the things that make me stand out from you and you from me aren’t unique beauty marks, but flaws? Who decided that a good way to get people to embrace their own beauty is to say “Your flaws are what make you beautiful”?

I don’t have flaws. Ha! What a freeing thing to say. I don’t have flaws, I have differences. Let us not be another generation taken in by the world’s flawed definitions. We aren’t flawed, their standards are. Be healthy. Be real. Be the beautiful that you are.

Click here for Part 1.

You Are Beautiful: Part 1

Today I caught myself thinking, “I wish I was beautiful.”

But then I did something I would never have done in the past. I caught the thought and held it and looked at it, and then I sat down with myself.

“I am sorry,” I said, “for all the times I let you think that and didn’t object. I am sorry for all the times I allowed this thought, these words, to roll like a movie reel in your mind. That’s my bad.

“And I need to tell you the truth today, because this thought won’t go away. It’s a fact of life today, with all the movies and TV ads and magazines, blah blah blah. You’ve heard this before, but never from me. This thought will come again, and again, and again, and it will continue to assault you when you’re not feeling 100% – or even when you are.

“So I need to tell you the truth. ‘Beauty’ is totally skewed. They way you think of beauty is wrong. It’s defined by the world, and yeah, the world can be pretty convincing, but you have to have the real definition of beauty lodged in your mind. It doesn’t matter what you think guys are thinking when they see you. It doesn’t matter what you think girls are thinking. What matters is that you know, to the core of your being, that you’re beautiful.

“You’ve heard this before, but not from me. Beauty isn’t perfectly plucked eyebrows or long, shiny hair, or even the color of your eyes. Beauty isn’t tall or short or skinny or fat (or in between) or long fingers or short fingers. Yeah, that’s right, I’m telling you what you’ve heard from other people, but haven’t heard from me. Because there’s always the possibility that other people are being insincere, but I’m not. I’m you. I can’t be insincere with you. Duh, you’d know. So now you’re hearing it from me: beauty isn’t any of those things.

1497765_10202861333120050_251278528_n“This is what beauty is. Beauty is the innocence it takes to show the world who you really are. Beauty is you coming through your skin, your eyes, your mouth, your hair. Beauty is when you respect yourself and love yourself and then that love overflows to the people around you. Beauty is you embracing you and not restricting or constraining yourself anymore. Beauty is the opposite of fear, and fear can’t handle beauty because it’s so steadfast and so strong and so solid and immovable. Beauty is when you begin to realize the truth: that you, with all of your “flaws” (i.e. things the fashion people photoshop out of pictures to make you feel inferior) are unique, individual, human, striking, lovely.

“And I’m going to show you tough love. I’m not going to let you get away with thinking ever again ‘I wish I was beautiful.’ I’m not going to let you get away with thinking ‘I wish I looked like that’ or ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘no one will be able to love me.’ Every time you think that, whether it’s in the middle of a lecture, or in traffic, or at home at night in your bed, I will stop everything and sit down with you and tell you that the definition of the beauty you’re thinking of is the wrong one. And that you are beautiful, and that you don’t have to think these things ever again.”

And then I hugged myself, and the only regret I had is that I didn’t have this talk with me a long, long time ago.