The struggle is real. I couldn’t think of any other way to start this post, except for stating the obvious. I’m struggling with how much I should share in this post, but I believe there’s beauty in transparency. Let me start by saying this: the last two years have been a complete struggle. I was just going along living everyday life, when one day it dawned on me, I was struggling. I wasn’t contributing anything to my savings account, because I couldn’t. Ever seen the movie “FRIDAY” starring Chris Tucker and Ice Cube? Remember when Chris Tucker’s character Smokey was in Craig’s (Ice Cube) kitchen and said “Ya’ll don’t never have two things to match. Peanut butter, NO jelly. Ham, NO burger.” Yep, that pretty much summed up my grocery visits. I would daydream of the day I’d go grocery shopping without a small budget, still do. Then it got really real. The lovely people of Student Loans decided it was the perfect time for me to pay back my student loans, voluntary or involuntarily, smh. Seems like enough right? Nope. My car died on me, forcing me to drive my mother’s bi-polar vehicle that literally has a different issue every two weeks. Ugh. So this is my so called life?
In the midst of feeling sorry for myself and attending every pity party I could, something beautiful happened. One day I put up a honest Facebook status regarding everything I was going through. I’d become tired of trying to live up to a fake facade. I went to college, obtained my degree, work a full-time job at a non-profit organization, and I still struggle. I wanted people to know that everything isn’t always what it seems. Not only did my honesty free myself, but I believe it freed others as well. With every like of my Facebook status it dawned on me, I wasn’t alone.
I know we live in a media driven society that’s dominated by reality tv and Instagram, in which everyone is living a glamorous life, but where I’m from the struggle is real. People are living from check to check, standing in food pantry lines, hoping for a quick come-up, thrifting because it’s the only option, and praying for better days. I’m not one to rejoice over one’s misfortune, but it helps to know that people are just trying to make it as well.
My situation hasn’t drastically changed, but things are looking up. However, there are a few necessary steps I had to take:
- Repent – Unfortunately I wasn’t raised in a household that taught me to value and save money. By the time I entered college I’d developed a horrible relationship with money. I needed God to forgive me. Forgive me for being only concerned with how I looked on the outside and what people thought, instead of being a good steward over my finances. Forgive me for being so frivolous with the resources he’s blessed me with. Although the struggle is real, I had to confess my contributions to making it worse.
- Execute – There were plenty of times I made plans to be better, but failed. I’d purchased Dave Ramsey materials, knew the importance of making my own food throughout the week, etc., but it meant nothing if I didn’t execute. It was time to take advantage of the resources available to me, which surprisingly are free if you simply do a little research.
- Make a plan, be patient – Maybe some changes need to be made in order to have a better life. It may be time to go back to school, or take a few courses. Whatever it may be, plan to do it, and have patience. Things aren’t going to change overnight, but trust me, they’ll change.
In the meantime keep your head up. You may cry, feel discouraged, and regret this thing called life. I’ll leave you with this:
Don’t cry to give up, cry to keep going.
Life is hard, but God is good.
All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
Your cousin Nikki