“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” — Mike Tyson
That quote could not be more accurate when thinking about how my 2021 has played out.
To begin the year, I had a list of goals I wanted to accomplish, only to find myself in the midst of a storm in September.
How did I end up here?
Looking back, this was the first year that it became apparent that I'm not in control.
The past 12 months have potentially been the most difficult time of my life.
It started almost exactly 1 year ago when my parents decided they would divorce. Although divorces have become common, this is something that I never expected from my parents.
We used to take family vacations to different parts of the world, go out to eat together on weekends, and travel to different cities when I was competing in AAU.
We were as close as a family could be.
All that has changed.
Now, my parents barely talk, and my individual relationship with each of them is different.
My foundation has been shaken.
Shortly after the announcement, I found myself in a strange relationship with an older successful woman who was there for me when I needed someone to speak with. She allowed me to vent, and seemed to truly understand me.
Little did I know that she had been plotting all along.
The relationship ended up being unhealthy, and it put me in a dark place for months to follow.
After months of struggle to overcome temptation, God presented me with an idea which seemed like a way out.
It seemed like God was rewarding me for my obedience and my faith in believing that even though the temptation was strong, and the possibilities were enormous, God had a better way.
In a time when my family was going through struggle, God had another family open their arms to me for the entirety of the summer. Each weekend, the family allowed me to stay with them in East Hampton. The experience has been one I'll never forget. The exposure, knowledge, and love developed over the course of these past few months is something I will forever be grateful for.
At the same time I was blessed with this experience, things have also been trending upward in my professional life.
I was promoted 7 months early, placed on a major account, and found a team that was happy to have me join.
But things were not all rosy.
Early this year I was diagnosed with Keratitis, which then turned to Chronic Dry Eye Disease.
For those that take their eyes for granted, you shouldn’t.
This has been the most discomfort I’ve been in for an extended period of time ever in my life. The condition is described as debilitating, and has a direct correlation with anxiety and depression.
Whilst I experienced major blessings so far this year, I feel as though I have not been myself.
The condition has caused me to be more conservative and insecure, and even isolate myself from those that care about me.
In my head, this has caused me to miss out on opportunities, and not maximize my experiences.
That brings me to today.
Yes, I am dealing with a situation that is debilitating, and I have no estimated timetable of when I will overcome it, and the doctor visits have taken a toll on me financially, but will I let this stop me from living my life?
I’m in this position for a reason.
Despite not feeling like myself, God has still blessed me with people that care about me, and experiences that not many people get.
Instead of having this condition isolate me, I want to use the condition as part of my testimony.
Numerous times in the bible, God showed us examples of those that were anointed going through times of struggle. So long as they remained faithful and obedient during this time, God exalted them when they were meant to be exalted. When they did not obey, their destiny was prolonged.
I have a decision to make.
Will I fold now? Throw away all I’ve worked so hard to obtain just because I’m going through a difficult time?
Or will I obey God in this season of my life knowing that he has plans to prosper me?