Pushing in is sometimes the only way out.
I sat there with a huge lump in my throat. Why was this happening to me? I take pretty good care of myself. I mean I’m not a saint, but I at least try and eat healthy. Why would this be my diagnosis? Wait, she’s kidding, right? I don’t have diabetes, not me. The nurse practitioner showed me the results and proceeded to give me a prescription for a drug to stabilize blood sugar. She also gave me a prescription to pick up a blood glucose meter, a device to keep track of my blood sugar.
I left the office with tears in my eyes, trying my best to remain strong. Once I got in my car, I let it go. I was shaking and crying like a baby. In an instant, my life had been turned upside down. But after all the tears, when I allowed myself to be quiet and listen, a voice said, “Go deeper.”
I knew what that meant because I had been asked to go deeper before. In the summer of 2007, my husband, Wesley, and I relocated to the metro Atlanta area with our eight month- old daughter. I spent the summer enjoying motherhood and getting acclimated to our new surroundings. One night, I was awakened around 3:00 a.m., an hour that would soon become the regular time for my spiritual encounters. I lay still. I don’t know how else to explain it, but I knew who it was that wanted my attention. He spoke to my spirit. It was as if He was preparing me. The time He was preparing me for was going to be hard and rough. I could feel it in my spirit. I was scared. But I knew that if I listened and remained close to Him, everything would be fine.
A winter season of my life started in the fall of 2007 and the spring would not arrive until July 2013, almost six years later. During that multi-year cycle, I hit the lowest points of my life, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. By the winter of 2007, I was at the doctor with heart palpitations, stress being the culprit. Full-time work, full-time doctoral pursuit, a young daughter, and another on the way leaves little time for a young married couple. My marriage was suffering tremendously, and I couldn’t see a way out of it. Then in 2010, I quit my job, a decision I made because the alternative might have sent me into a nervous breakdown. It was halftime; this was my chance to take it back into the locker room. I was getting my butt kicked out there! And it was in that moment that I started to go deep. I started to listen to those subtle nudges at 3:00 a.m. He would say things to me like, “Soften,” “Listen,” “Pray,” “Relax,”, and “Wait.” And I started to pay attention. He had been speaking to me through the world. I just hadn’t taken the time to listen. It was in those moments that the world started to come alive, and I was ushered into my purpose. My experiences were no longer the harsh realities of life. They were a catalyst for my own evolution.
By the spring of 2013, my spirit knew that winter was over. I shed my layers, closed the chapter, and for the next six months or so, I just enjoyed life. Then one evening in early 2014, I got the 3:00 a.m. wakeup call again. He said to me, “It’s time.” I didn’t know what that meant, but I shared it with Wesley and told him that I felt like God was ready to use me. In the summer of 2014, when I sat in the doctor’s office hearing my diagnosis, it all came back. “Go deeper.” This is it. This is what He wants me to do. After that diagnosis and a few days of self-pity, I pulled out the big guns. I opened the toolbox God planted in me during the winter and used it to heal myself. In the process, I realized that all of the gifts He instilled in me, the experiences I had, all came down to a system, a lifestyle, a way that I approach life. This is my purpose: to inspire, to heal, to listen, to support. It’s all encompassing; it requires all of you. But the transformation is deep, it’s authentic, it’s real, and it’s lasting. To get it, you have to go within. It’s your only way out.
Title: Become You
Author: Toneka R. Etienne, Ph.D.
Genre: Self-Help, Personal Development
Ready to create lasting transformation in your life? Become You reveals a practical lifestyle blueprint for the modern day woman. Begin your deep dive transformation by turning an honest, but loving mirror on your belief systems, habits, and spiritual life. This book will help you create a balanced lifestyle so that you can passionately pursue your goals and dreams without losing yourself in the process.
Toneka R. Etienne, Ph.D., is a Psychologist, wife, mother, Huffington Post contributor, and creator at www.tonekaetienne.com. Toneka is a self-love advocate encouraging women to balance their daily lives with the ambition to continually pursue their dreams. Her calling is to fully support women as they call soulful purpose and intention into their life and business connected to their deepest and most authentic selves. When she’s not holding sacred space for women’s transformation, Toneka can be found doing her favorite things: spending time with her husband and two daughters, traveling, reading, connecting with like-minded visionaries, and looking for divine inspiration.