I recently wrote about my presentation at my church small group. Part of the expectation is not only to introduce our business but to also explain how that connects with our spirituality.
My business (which is kind of a secret right now, but I’ll introduce very soon!) is a “company” version of myself, but not limited to my own talents and products and brands. The beautiful thing about the model I’ll present is that there is always room for more creativity at the table — not just mine. I want to elevate others with similar platforms, too.
I nearly ran out of breath listing the sorts of products my company will offer — both entertainment and retail — not only because I was on a clock and I was talking very quickly, but also because of pure passion and excitement to put all of ME out there in a marketable way.
When someone in the group asked about my spirituality, I suddenly stalled. I had a hard time spitting out the words that were on my heart. But finally, I boldly went for it. “I feel like I’m called to redefine the face of Christianity,” I said. Wow. It felt weird enough saying it out loud then but it absolutely feels just as strange and fresh typing it here. I’ve actually been avoiding completing this post for a week just because I was afraid of this…confession.
It’s so jarring to me because it seems like a very heavy burden to carry: How could one person reroute what’s been ingrained for more than two thousand years? Well, with one little drop of me, being myself and doing what I was created to do. What if your greatest call to worship, your purest form of prayer, and your most genuine communication channel with The Divine was by simply being yourself?
What if your greatest call to worship, your purest form of prayer, and your most genuine communication channel with The Divine was by simply being yourself?
The Grand Canyon wasn’t formed over night. Maybe it was one tiny pebble that diverted trickling rain water just enough to make it into a river. And maybe every rainfall that river grew a little bit wider. And after millions of years of H2O molecules passing and leaving their tiny impressions, an enormously stunning landmark was carved into the earth.
Not one of those molecules said, “Today, I’m going to make The Grand Canyon.” No. Every molecule simply existed.
Water has been teaching me a lot over the past several months. I even referenced water in a Facebook live event I hosted, reading a piece of The Hibouleans and debuting the first track in The Hibouleans book score.
Skip to around 6:50 — water doesn’t strive for perfection. Water is gonna do what water is gonna do. The water doesn’t ask permission to be there. Water is. The journey I shared here was that I’m learning to accept (my)yourself in not only what (I)you do, but in each phase that (I)you do it.
So as I spoke to my spirituality, I offered this — that my faith is woven into every fiber of my company because I touch every grain of my company with my rawest most unfiltered gifts and talents. My quest to cultivate my passions and share them out of love and pure positive intent, not only shines my gratitude and adoration into those around me, but it is also a mirrored reflection of what is shone into me from The Divine.
I cannot separate my spirituality from my work. It is impossible to unbraid worship from my craft. Me being true to my gifts is my most authentic form of worship.
I don’t have a big conversion testimony. I can’t tell you the day Jesus saved me. I can’t tell you the moment I heard God speaking to me not from above but from within. But I can tell you that God speaks. God exists. God is love so great and abundant our humanness cannot even begin to quantify it.
I can also tell you that my faith is not a product — I’m not in the ministry “business.” But I do have a calling to be the sort of Christian that makes people reexamine spirituality, Christianity and truly living the way Jesus — and others — showed us: let everything you do come from a place of love. Not superiority. Not judgement. Not hatred. Not condemnation. There is no other to judge — only us.
You see, when you recognize offering yourself — your gifts, your skills, your excellence — as a form of worship, it eliminates all the mechanics of doing it right. You’re already doing it right! Another reason why I love praise dance, or just playing my cello for the pleasure of making a joyful noise: I’m eliminating the limitations of conscious planning; I’m circumventing the human process of articulating and opening a direct channel between myself and the heavenly plane. This meditative, hypnotic, trance-like state, I believe, is what prayer is. Prayer, perhaps isn’t an action, but a state of being.
…when you recognize offering yourself — your gifts, your skills, your excellence — as a form of worship, it eliminates all the mechanics of doing it right.
How many times have we all gotten caught up in interpretation and rules and words and how we might sound or look to other humans? Our worship isn’t for them — it is for above. And that gate deserves to be fully opened without fear of imperfection, shame, humiliation or ridicule.
You are a gift to the world. Shine through your positives and in doing so, you honor God, whatever you perceive God to be.
I can’t wait to introduce you to my new company! Coming in just a few more weeks. Stay tuned…
People. I am still reeling from Detroit Festival of Books 2018. While I’m riding this wave, I wanted to reflect on the experience.
This is why it was incredible:
- It was my first appearance as an author in my hometown. I have been a Chicago resident for 12 years but The Hibouleans is based in Detroit, where I was born and raised.
- It was my first event featuring Volume 2 in my series, The Hibouleans.
- I nearly sold-out – I brought 40 copies with me, and left with only seven!
- Anu Prakash from WXYZ Chanel 7 stopped by and told my story; on Facebook alone, it reached more than two thousand views in one day.
I am honored and thrilled to be a woman of color envisioning other brilliant brown girls to the forefront of sci-fi/fantasy epic adventures.
The Hibouleans is not only a part of my soul and a child of my imagination, but it is also my dream of what the future could be…I hope the America that my sons inherit has a new, evolved, inclusive and openhearted baseline for what is normal.
Here’s why The Hibouleans matters:
- Ethnic representation matters, period. Brilliant brown teenage girls are the heroes of this adventure. The Hibouelans is an addictive commercial fiction piece, featuring African-American Taryn and her best friend Priya, of Asian Indian decent – the heroes of the story are the kind of people that look like me and my friends – we’re seldomly featured, and if at all, we’re not even close to being the focal point.
- Gender representation matters, period. The male characters in The Hibouleans support, encourage and respect the leading ladies. In The Hibouleans, strength, bravery and ability is not only shared and received, but expected equally across genders.
- STEM and creative representation matters, period. Taryn and Priya are the ultimate magical geek heroes: they don’t shy away from adventure, they’re equal parts artistically and mathematically creative; one of them has telekinetic powers and the other is a shapeshifter.
The Hibouleans is not only a part of my soul and a child of my imagination, but it is also my dream of what the future could be. I hope to normalize brown women paving the way in fearless adventures, sound leadership and groundbreaking scientific advancements. I hope to see more men that love — and are not intimidated by — strong women. I hope the America that my sons inherit has a new, evolved, inclusive and openhearted baseline for what is normal.
I’ve designed The Hibouleans as a series of novellas – if you consider one novel to be an entire season of a TV show; each volume in my series is comparable to one episode – which I release every few months. The first 10 volumes are already written and I cannot wait to put them in your hands!