My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Archive for July, 2011

Relationships: Stop or go, can we read the signs?

I had no songs that night, the cold was nipping at my ears and seeping through my clothing. I had finally finished my evening class at The Art Institute and as I sat on a MARTA bus I was feeling tired and miserable. My face was expressionless, my lips unmoving, but inside I was throwing a major spiritual temper tantrum.

After two years of living in the U.S. I was feed up, like the children of Israel I was telling God how much better it had been before. “… You know I never wanted to move here,” I murmured to God in my spirit, “my life back home was fine — I can’t stand it here!  At least back home I could afford to go on a vacation every year.  You know what, I don’t care what you say, and I don’t care who it is, but if anyone asks me to go to a cabin where I can curl up in front of a fireplace, I’m GOING….”

A figure got on the bus, walked pass me, turned back, sat down in the seat next to me, and this stranger said, “You know what would be nice, a cabin in the woods with a fireplace. I have access to a cabin…”

Stop or go? Can we read the signs?

A few years later in a conversation with my second mom, I said, “I’m tired of men who act like lambs, I want a lion. Someone who is not intimidated by me, confident and knows where he wants to go in life.” Following our conversation this guy who I had gone out with the previous day, for the first time, dropped by and asked me to go out again. When I told him I would not go out with him again he said he wanted to pray about it. I do not remember the prayer except as he ended he said, “…Lord, help me not to be like a lamb, I want to be more like a lion, bold…” I had showed him to the door and bid him a good night. Some of my friends said that was a sign that God intended us to be together – was it really a sign? How do we learn to read them?

It’s sometimes difficult to understand how God works, and we can cause chaos in the process because we want easy solutions to our questions and speedy deliverance from our challenges. But seemingly God-sent signs that may give us the answers we want to hear but are contrary to God’s teachings of patience, discipline and wisdom may not be signs from God at all.

Did I go to the cabin? Of course NOT, I’m not crazy.  I talked with the guy afterward from time to time and he even wrote me a most beautiful poem, but I never went out with him. Years later I ran into him and was shocked to my core, he was ill. I thanked God that what he was carrying I had never put myself in a position to get it.

So why didn’t I go out again with the lion-want-to-be? The day I spent with him at the festival he had stopped at every store front glass, admired himself and talked about how good he looked. He had a one-liner that he worked into every conversation, and with an audience of one or two he would climb upon his imaginary podium and proclaim “The problem today is that people don’t want to get to know people on their FEETS they just want to know them between the SHEETS.” I understood and even agreed with the message but I recognized that the messenger was way too wrapped up in himself. Was he good-looking? YES – HE- WAAS! But that has never been able to sustain any relationship.

Growing in the hair and now

Protective style for my natural hair
Listen to your hair

One of the things I could have never anticipated on this journey of under-standing and loving the natural texture of my hair are the life lessons I’m being awakened to. So much of life is intertwined, natural principles can help us grasp the things we can’t see or touch, like the emotional and spiritual.

One of the lessons I learnt recently is to listen to the sound of my hair. The test is to take sections of my hair, apply pressure by gently rubbing it together, and just listen. Even though its appearance may not indicate it, if my hair is lacking moisture it produces a dry, louder-than-usual brittle sound, which, if left untreated will eventually cause damage to my hair.

My aha moment? Listen carefully to my words, spoken and unspoken when I feel pressured. Listen not only to what I say but how I say it.  As important, listen carefully to what the people in my life are saying and how it is being say. There is a lot of hurt that can be hidden beneath humor.  A lot of anger can be stuffed in silence. Unappreciation and frustration are sometimes unleashed in sudden, unexpected outbursts… and if we are not listening, we can miss the signs that something is lacking in our lives or in the lives of the people we love.

Growing in the here and now — that is , accepting the challenge and learning from the places, people and situations at the moment– suggests we listen and then discipline ourselves to take action when we hear that loud, brittle sound. So I applied a deep conditioner “Deep SOULutions” from Natural Girls Rock to my hair, slipped on a plastic cap, then for about 4 hours I allowed the conditioner to soften and restore moisture. I then fixed my hair in a protective style — twists, to minimize its exposure to daily wear and tear and help facilitate growth.

If we endeavor to grow, our journey will provide us with an abundance of opportunities.  I challenge you to take this simply hair lesson and apply it now to those brittle-sounding areas in your life.

A matter of the heart – Are you fit to lead?

How does one choose a leader? What would you look for if you were choosing your king?

Here is a story of two kings:

When Saul was chosen as king he was described as “an impressive young man, with none his equal, taller than everyone else.”

When the prophet was sent to anoint David, God said “…I’m not looking at the outward appearance, I’m looking at the heart.

For the work at hand God had to shift Saul‘s heart. David, while tending sheep had been cultivating intimacy with God and was described as “a man after God’s own heart.”

When it was time to make Saul king, he was afraid and was found hiding among the baggage. Before David was made king, with courage he challenged his troubles and was a lion, bear and giant slayer.

The first indication of Saul as a worshipper was after he became king – he built an altar. Even as a shepherd, it was noted that the Lord was with David, and before his battle with Goliath, David boasted about the might of his God.

Saul thought he could do God’s business his way, he did not keep God’s command, so his kingdom was taken from him and given to David.

After Saul sinned, he denied it, shifted responsibility, justified his actions, and sought to be spared the embarrassment of sin’s consequences.

When David sinned, though he tried to cover it up, when he was confronted by the prophet, in humility he repented. Though forgiven, David still had to endure the consequences of his actions.

In challenging times, when leadership is needed, what if God could find, already about his business, men and women after His heart.

The journey to hair – REthink beauty!

Natural hair, fro, kinky curly hair

There's a journey to appreciating the "different"

A black woman’s hair is very much like her nature — misunderstood by many — even her own. In its natural state, without knowledge of its nature, it may appear to be coarse and stubborn, hard and inflexibly, lacking beauty and dignity — Think again! There is a journey to the love of natural hair – that space of enlightenment and appreciation.

In the right hands, with the investment of time and care one will find that natural hair is not stubborn at all — but soft and yielding yet strong and enduring, with the ability to flex, bend, twist, change, adjust.

It has a uniqueness and beauty all its own — it is distinct — yet it recognizes the beauty and uniqueness of all others even those unlike itself.

Because it appreciates the beauty of variety, in wisdom it asks — what if every flower were a lily, every tree an oak, every fruit a mango, the only color red, the only texture curly…  what if everyone looked like you… or me?

Take the challenge and REthink beauty!

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