Stop Apologizing for Who You Are

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Have you ever said, “I am sorry” for pretty much no reason at all? You get so used to saying the phrase it just comes out of you like second nature. Before you realize it, you are even apologizing for bumping into a chair as if the piece of furniture gave you an appalling look of insult!

I have always been one to apologize for everything. But during my divorce and then becoming a single parent, those words, “I am sorry” have suddenly become this barrier I throw up in defense. It is reflex that I developed into a terrible habit that almost too a point I am apologizing for my very existence. I even said those exact words!

I was blessed with a rare treat of a night out without my children. What also made this night even grander was it was an art show I was in with several of my other close artist friends. There were many artists from all walks of life going to be there, and we all shared a love for God. After months of painting, touch-ups, and meetings, the night came, and I put on my new outfit I had purchased for this specific evening and my bright yellow 4 inch, strappy, heels. I looked in the mirror, and for a moment, I felt good about myself.

The night started out amazing. I was able to meet and fellowship with new artists and catch up with old friends. I was able to share my art and tell the stories that inspired them. It was one of those nights that every exhausted mom needs to refresh herself.

However, like many of these social situations, eventually, the topic of my divorce and being a single parent comes up. And while this topic can sometimes inspire and be the very subject of my art; it is often the topic I struggle to speak about as I am not always sure of myself.

I found myself in a conversation with a sweet artist about our work and what inspired us. The conversation turned to my kids and I, as part of that inspires my work. And with a good attempt, I tried to keep it brief. But my complex divorce story is difficult to keep simple. I found myself beginning to feel vulnerable, and eventually, I struggled to try to sift through the doubts in my head. Was I talking too much? Why would anyone want to know about my divorce? Do they think I am a bad Christian? Shouldn’t I be more confident? I am probably talking too much! Soon, I did what I normally do when I lose my confidence; I awkwardly smile and start apologizing for rambling.

A close friend of mine, being aware of my little problem of apologizing too much, quickly joined the conversation. We made a joke and laughed, but then I said the words I regret. “I am sorry I apologize so much. I pretty much apologize for my existence.”

When I said that, it struck my heart. The conversation continued with laughing and fellowship. The rest of the night went wonderfully; however, that feeling lingered on as I went home.

It was like a truth God brought to light. What I said was true. I have this terrible habit of apologizing for no reason. I pretty much apologize for my very being. Here I was a part of this celebration of hard work and art showing parts of our passion and souls, and I apologized for who I am, feeling that is was something shameful.

The sad part is, is it not just this night. When it comes to any point for someone to see the most vulnerable parts of my life, I start apologizing as if they would be insulted. My most vulnerable part of me is me being a single mom and taking life on alone. The brokenness of my divorce is still healing. Yet, these are not things I should be ashamed of and apologize for. These are aspects of my story, and they are part of creating who I am today.

Apologizing outside of honest mistakes and mishaps almost take away the whole meaning of apologizing. Instead, it builds guilt and shame that shouldn't be there.  In no way should anyone feel the need to be sorry for being the person God is creating them to be. Being a single parent is not shameful as it is a brave undertaking. Feeling the pain and being vulnerable from divorce and breaking a part of a family; it is what makes us human.

If anyone has the habit of apologizing because we feel the vulnerable parts of lives might offend someone, it needs to stop. It may be hard, but we need to work hard to try and not say, “I am sorry,” when we did nothing wrong.

Instead, we need to lay our worries and doubts before a mighty God who can carry it. We need to remember we loved, redeemed, and made by a wondrous Creator who cares for us deeply. And even if our journeys as a single parent is difficult and leaves us vulnerable, we should never feel ashamed.

NaTacia Z. 

See more blogs from her at her site https://blessedsinglemom.wordpress.com

Halfway There

Starting another year. Resolutions not meet or even made this year. Already wishing the year was further along and yet time slowly passes. I bring myself back to the present as I find myself wishing away time, stopping my mind from drifting further along into future dreams or dilemmas. There in the future, is where my anxieties are heightened. Where fear sets in and takes my present, latching a hold of my joy and faith slowly diminishing in the confidence I once knew. All reminding me that it’s the middle, the “halfway there” point where I find myself, forcing myself rather to keep going. It’s at this point I feel the options; do I persevere or succumb. 

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I know the exhilaration well that comes with new endeavors and drives me forward. I remember times such as starting my career, buying my house, having a baby. All beautiful things, but can I just say none of those things fill like much fun right now. I feel like I am in the middle of life looking down both directions thinking I remember how I got here, but when do I get to be “there.” That place where I don’t feel so stuck in my present or dreaming about the future. I love every day, and I am beyond grateful for every single thing the Lord has brought me through. But man, this girl is tired. And it’s now, more than ever I feel the Lord reminding me, “You are half way there, just push a little further.” So I keep pushing, pulling myself back into the present. Casting fear aside because his hand is reaching for me if I just keep pushing towards what He set before me. Time might be moving slowly, but praise the Lord it is moving, and movement means I am closer to Him than I was yesterday. So I persevere. And it’s there in the middle I find that halfway is my “There.” It’s not about what’s to come, it’s what is right before me. 

Writing this entry, the image that is engrained in my mind is of Peter in Matthew 14:29, when Jesus calls Peter to walk on water to him. Peter got out of the boat with no fear and began walking towards Jesus, but in the middle fear set in and he began to sink as he called out “Lord, save me!” and “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.” Jesus was right before Peter if he could have seen Jesus for who He was. 

I feel like Peter, having the Son of God before me as a life preserver and I am crying out “Lord, save me!” Jesus knew before he ever called Peter onto the water that Peter would doubt, yet he called him anyway. The Lord is not surprised by my calls for help, He delights as a father would when He is needed. He knows my place, my halfway point and he delights when I embrace that if He is here, I have already arrived. He is reaching for me at every point. Past, present and future. My halfway is my  “There.” 

Daisy