Molly Peach-Dancing In Flower Fields

10 Ways my Faith Taught me to POP OFF

I wrote my first faith-centered article last semester, and people seemed to enjoy it, so I am back with another. Woo hoo! For this article, I have decided to recount the lessons I have learned through faith over the past few months. Here are my drops of wisdom for the day:

 

1. We have to focus on the good and the bad simultaneously.

Confession… it’s one of those things that starts out with small things and then leads to big things. The first time you go in, you tell the priest that you were mean to your brother or sister. (I don’t have any siblings, so my first confession was probably a real snoozer.) Then, once you get older, you’re confessing the big-time stuff and hope that your list isn’t long enough that you or the priest have to take a bathroom break. I’m not a teary person, but confession makes me cry every time. I go in the box with a pack of tissues and five layers of deodorant to combat the pre-box nervous sweats. In my most recent trip into the confessional, I cried a bit more than usual. I think the priest felt bad that I was basically running dry of liquid to come out of my eyes, so he told me one thing that stuck with me: “You seem to focus a lot on what you do wrong. Maybe you need to start focusing on what you do right.” Oh, SHOOT! He was right. While focusing on what we can improve upon is good sometimes, we also need to give ourselves an elementary school-style pat on the back for what we do right.

2. People are going to judge, but whatever.

I’ve felt judged by some people during my time on this earth. I’ve seen self-righteous people judge others. All I can say is that God knows what I’m up to, God forgives me for my mistakes, and it’s not for anyone else to judge. We all make mistakes, but we also get to choose whether we will judge others for their mistakes or embrace them for just being themselves.

 

3. Vulnerability is powerful.

A couple of months ago, something happened that really crushed me, but I decided something good had to come out of it, even if I literally had to force it out. If I’m being real, I am growing to dislike Instagram more and more because it is so freaking fake. No one’s teeth are that white. No one’s waist is that small in comparison to the rest of their body. If you are really trying to convince me that you don’t have one single stretch mark or a cubic inch of cellulite on your body, I just simply do not believe you. I decided to have a little moment and be real on the ‘gram. I can’t be FAKE! I posted something that really showed my true feelings because I felt I was being called to be honest, even though it felt uncomfortable. Once I posted it, I was surprised to see all of the supportive and caring messages that people wrote. People who I thought wanted to trip me down the stairs in high school even had nice things to say. Vulnerability is scary, especially for a person who isn’t big on tears, but I will say that it sure does rally the troops.

 

4. As long as God and I know the truth, then I am fine.

Ah, the rumor mill – a dangerous place. One of my former friends began to tell people that I was spreading a cruel rumor about her. When I first heard about it, I was really upset because I most certainly would not make a statement as bold as she was claiming I had made about her. Let me just say: I understand that I can be great without crapping all over everyone else. While people have tried to tell her that I did not say anything like that, she continues to believe that I am a cold-hearted snake. Even though it bothered me for a little while, I know I didn’t say it, God knows I didn’t say it, and that’s all I need. God didn’t make me a mean girl. I can sleep at night. Jealousy is a disease, get well soon!

 

5. Don’t just expect, DEMAND the best.

If there is one lesson I have learned this past year that I should get tattooed on me like a Posty face tattoo, it’s this one. God created me for some big things. If I’m not being treated right, it’s time to move on. You deserve the very best, and so do I. I’m not stopping until I find it. I refuse to accept mediocrity because I was made for more than that. This goes for all kinds of relationships, my friends.

 

6. I have the ability to be strong as hell.

This year has made me realize that I am more persistent and resilient than I ever thought I could be. Us humans are stronger than we think. I found power in myself through God’s strength to heal and become stronger than I was before. He reminded me of what I do well. I just had to believe Him.

 

7. Sometimes personal growth takes time.

Personal growth can feel like the slowest moving train because I’m not the conductor. However, I’ve come to learn that personal growth is about direction, not speed. As long as the train is moving forward, then choo choo onward.

 

8. Practice habits of both self-care and soul-care.

I sure do love some self-care. I greatly enjoy putting a face mask on, painting my nails, and watching The Bachelor. It gives me an hour where I don’t have to answer anyone, and I love that too. However, I have grown to love my soul-care too, perhaps even more than my self-care. My soul-care includes journaling, reading books I actually want to read, telling God about my misadventures, and attempting to do some good things for society. These things make my heart happy and allow me to vent. Whether I am writing in my journal about my day or getting my butt kicked in checkers by a seventh-grader I tutor in reading (that’s embarrassing – I probably shouldn’t tell you that), I am happy and content. We all need our time to recharge and just be.

 

9. I am who I am for a reason.

One of my friends loves personality tests, so she convinced me to take the Myers Briggs test. I am an ISFJ. I do not know what fresh hell that acronym means other than I am an introvert. I am not going to lie; I have always disliked the fact that I am an introvert. Coming to college especially made me wish I was some bouncing-off-the-walls-type extrovert. Events like orientation felt like the extrovert Olympics. I thought that being extroverted would make me more likable and interesting. However, I have come to learn that I am who I am. God made me an introvert for a reason. Something that this personality test reminded me of is that I am patient, loyal, and an observant listener. While I may not be able to carry a conversation until the end of time, at least God made sure that I love to listen. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

 

10. I look different than other people – and that’s okay.

Dare I say it – I have a unique appearance. I challenge you to find someone else who has the last name “Sousa” and also has red hair. I’ve had a few random moments in my life where people (including a “card reader” in-training on the beach) have commented on the fact that I have facial features that apparently follow a traditional Portuguese template, if you will, and I also have two features that may lead to a little confusion – red hair and freckles. I have grown to embrace my appearance because it is unique. One of my friends recently told me I am “demi-thick,” which was an honor. My self-love motto for 2020: We are all sizzling in our own way.