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Clari-Tea (clar·i·ty)

Several years ago, I decided I'd try to be deep and tendered my resignation from being an Israelite. I just absolutely refused to keep going around the same mountain year in and year out.

Complaining about the same problems that I more than likely created. Frustrated about the same cycles that I subjected myself to. So I quit, effective immediately and then, yip, you guessed it. I was still in that same wilderness, only going in a different direction.

And then it hit me, like the acme anvil, "Raquel, you quit a whole lot of things and don't follow through—except you do an exceptional job holding on to the people and things that clearly want to let go of you." Woah!

That realization and admittance was my first step in seeing things clearly. Last week I talked about how I lacked focus, and here is why. I, like many other people, kept the spotlight on the wrong things. For example, I was more concerned about aesthetics (how something looked) as supposed to if it functioned.

To see anything distinctly, you must first acknowledge it for what it is. I am me, and you are you. Even if we were twins, we are not the same. I had to learn this, as with many of my lessons, the hard way. Just because I bend over backwards for someone doesn't mean they'd do the same for me. If 'dude' or anyone for that matter says, something was not done because they didn't want to. Believe me, that's precisely what is meant.

I searched high and low for a definition of clarity that would explain exactly what I want to say next. did it justice and defines the word as: free from obscurity and easy to understand. So to be clear, one must be able to first see and then understand.

Secondly, gaining clarity calls for being in control of your thoughts. Research shows we have anywhere from 50,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day! How can you tell anyone else what you think if the things you're considering don't even make sense to you?

There were so many things that I wanted to do before I turned 30. I mean, ya girl had plans. Married by 25, not that it was a preference, but some things come with the territory. So, first kid by 27, next one by 28, 29 the latest and then bam, have it all wrapped up with a bow before 30.

Seriously, I've only had eleventeen-hundred jobs. And like most people, jobs for me only was good for those first few months because, let's face it, either you like what's new, or you're terrified by it. After the novelty wore off, I was again staring at the wall of unfulfillment. And while nothing rewarding was actively happening on the career front, I was miserably failing at relationships on the backend. Jesus, take this case, 'cause this 'bout to be long.

Besides that, I was front and center of the praise team, and everyone who knows the truth behind that knows I wanted to quit. And by quit, I mean like every day. I've served in other areas too, and it wasn't that I couldn't lead, most days; I just didn't want to. Hmm, maybe I was on to something when I finally admitted that to myself.

I'm sure from the outside looking in; my life looked a mess. I mean, don't get me wrong, it absolutely was. The truth is my thoughts were so all over the place; it was impossible to have anything materialize that looked sensible. Maybe homeslice was right; I was consistent at being inconsistent.

One could get whiplash trying to keep up with me. One day I wanted to be married; the next day, I'd say, "Nah, everything cool, just give me a Steadman, and I'll be Oprah!" Ya know, get me a forever boyfriend. Sometimes it was, "Give me a steady job with the good benefits!" Then other times, it was, "Hey, let's try entrepreneurship on for size!"

One day I could settle for being a soccer mom but without the kids (feel free to insert confused emoji). Then at some point, I was amped and figured, "Yo, lemme just go APE for Jesus!" Golly, I'm getting dizzy just thinking about my own wishy-washy-ness.

One thing, if nothing else, became apparent, my life was quite reflective of my prayers. I wasn't asking for anything succinct, nor were the prayers consistent. It was literally like a roller-coaster—no wonder God didn't know what, better which version of me to answer. I mean, if my life were a box office hit, it would be titled "Ray Charles & Stevie Wonder, please read the next line!" Cause really, how can you gain clarity if you refuse to see things as they are and not how you wish them to be?

Clarity is being able to see something for what it is and articulate what you see. So now the question becomes, "What exactly do you see?" Is it realistic, or are you off in some la-la land of shoulda, coulda, woulda?" It's one thing to say I see myself being successful but now what does that really look like? If you can't answer that, you are not clear, and no one can make it clear for you, other than you.

To have clarity, you need to have enough focus to zero in on the target. With that said, I just have one question, "How do you know what to ask for if you don't even know what you want?" It may seem trivial in the larger scheme of things, but you know how annoyed a fella must be when this scenario plays out? A man asks a woman this simple question, "What do you want to eat?" And she responds, "I don't know!" He suggests ten things, and she turns them all down, only to tell him to choose. He then chooses, and voilà, she turns her entire body 180 degrees and stares out the window (he sighs—deeply).

He pulls up to a spot and asks yet again, "What do you want?" And she says, "Anything!" So, he orders and then returns with both plates. Only now, this chick is mad all over again because he should have known she wanted what he ordered for himself. Real talk, that's irritating. So I suggest if this is you, start small. Know what you want in the little, seemingly meaningless things. Get into the habit of being decisive.

Having a clear perspective can help us comprehend our experiences more deeply and provide wisdom, allowing us to learn about ourselves and grow. However, if you're never acknowledging where you are, when you are wrong, or if you're constantly casting blame, nothing will ever be clear to you. Stop for a moment and think about all of your experiences. Analyze them, and not from the viewpoint of what the other person should have done differently.

If 2020 wasn't the year of clarity, I don't know what is. Looking at that number itself, I couldn't help but think about 20/20 and how it symbolizes visual acuity. For many of us 2020, was the year of an awaking. It was the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate life.

Often we think clarity is seeing the other person for who they are, and we tend to justify that thinking by using Mya Angelou's words: when a person tells you who they are, believe them. But what is your life telling people about you? If 2020 has taught me nothing else, it showed me the value of first looking inward. I think Michael Jackson would have phrased it, "I'm looking at the man in the mirror, and I'm asking him to change his ways." Stop requiring from people what you are first not willing to do.

As women, we have these long laundry lists of things we want in a man, but are you a woman who the man on that list would want?

Clarity then requires the looker to clean their viewing apparatus. Before you are consumed with gaining clarity about anything or anyone else, you must be confident of yourself and not be constantly distracted by the actions of others. First, secure your footing before trying to position others.

I can always count on Matthew to set it straight. He puts it all into perspective by saying this: "And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, 'Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First, get rid of the log in your own eye; then, you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye. (Matthew 7:3-5 NLT)

Translation: Sweep your own doorstep first! I mean, how many relationships have ended over the course of your life that you can only detail what the other person should have done differently but not you?

Know this; someone else can't create your happiness as you see it. When you have true clarity, you won't stay in situation-ships that contradict what you envision for yourself. When you know what you want, you won't accept anything less—and I'm not talking superficialities. Be resolute about your own life before you try to modify someone else's. Clarity, like charity, begins at home.

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