A few weeks ago my mom texted and asked me if I wanted to go see Iyanla Vanzant live in my home town with her. I whipped open my calendar to see if it was a weekend I had Abe. As a co-parent, that’s how I live my life now. There are certain weekends I can’t even consider doing something single-y. Sure, I could get a sitter, but it’s a weekend I have my son. I want to be with him!
But good news, it was a no-Abe weekend, so I immediately told her yes yes yes!!
If you don’t know Iyanla, she had her debut on the Oprah show 12 or 15 years ago as a hilarious, Brooklyn-attitude who wasn’t afraid to quote the Bible and tell you to get over yourself in the same sentence. She had a falling out with Oprah, and with life, and within a year lost her marriage, her TV show, her daughter, and all her money (she filed for bankruptcy). She slowly and gently gave herself time to just be, and after a “What ever happened to?” interview with Oprah a few years later, she’s back to doing what she loves: writing and speaking and helping people.
Going to see her speak left me with a MILLION things to blog. She was funny and entertaining and reminded me of so many things I know but forgot. I decided I need to share the main echoing theme that I wrote down so many times during her two-hour “conversation” with us. (That’s what she called it: a “conversation.”) When asked, “How do we begin to heal ourselves and be happy?”
Tell the truth.
Iyanla went on and on about telling truths. She looked at us, her audience, so many times begging, “Ladies! Gentlemen! TELL THE TRUTH!” Sometimes I don’t even think we know how to tell the truth. And it’s impossible if you don’t know what the truth is. How do you figure out what the truth is!? I guess by stripping back what you slowly recognize as NOT being true. For example…just recently I realized that I don’t like breakfast. I’m a health and fitness coach for Beachbody, I work out daily, I read articles and magazines concerning health and general well-being, and EVERYTHING tells you that breakfast is incredibly important for metabolism. EVERYTHING. FROM EVERYWHERE. And I’m just not hungry in the morning. So I never. eat. breakfast. In fact, sometimes I don’t eat until lunch is almost over. I still get in all my calories…it’s just not before noon.
It might seem like a silly, almost DUMB truth. But it’s not the size of the truth that counts (and we’re only talking about truth here, ok?). It’s the slow and gentle reveal of who you truly are, and sometimes that starts with something as simple as breakfast.
How many things in your life have you done for YEARS, and you don’t have a good reason for it? I NEVER go to the grocery store in the evenings; it’s always during the late afternoon. There’s no good reason for that. It’s just a habit. And we can’t tell our own truths until we begin to deconstruct our habits and tease apart the things that serve us from the things we’ve just always done. In there, in between those two things, are our little truths.
Get a couple of little truths going, and you may notice some bigger ones. I’m not a very good navigator. I screw up reading the maps and I’m constantly missing my exit. If I only get lost twice on the way to a new place, it’s a huge success. Bigger truth? I try to control people and situations. I try to set up my life so that I don’t have to experience discomfort, and sometimes I do it at the expense of others. I’m not malicious, and I would never knowingly hurt someone, but I do prefer to know that the odds are (ever) stacked in my favor. It’s a human thing, it’s a shitty thing, but it’s a truth.
Tonight I was putting away the groceries from my EVENING grocery shopping trip (very liberating, by the way) and listening to Pastor Furtick. He said quite suddenly, “Until you face it, faith can’t fix it. Faith can’t fix what you won’t face.” He was saying exactly what Iyanla was saying last weekend. You cannot live in the dark and be happy. Living by faith alone is not enough. If you don’t face your truths, faith isn’t even going to work. Pray your debt away, go ahead. Do it. But FACE your debt, and you’ll make a plan to pay it back. Pray that your husband buys you flowers and pays more attention to you. But FACE your husband and tell him you feel lonely and begin to find ways to fill your day with things that eliminate that loneliness with your husband. It’s only when you tell your truth, FACE your truth, that you can begin to heal it.
Start little. Tell the truth. Do you even like breakfast?!