Often times when growing up and participating in certain extracurricular activities, I often found myself being the only African-American female is the group. Softball. Check. Piano Lessons. Check. Even at my very, very tiny high school, I was usually one of no more than two Black people (and that two included myself)!
Some may not understand the significance of this, but when you do not see anyone else that looks like you, that you can relate to, especially growing up, it can cause you to feel like an outsider. Kids can be particularly vulnerable to not being included simply because they look different.
Now that I have a teenage daughter of my own, who is very much coming into herself, her passions, and her future goals, I have often explained to her that she will at times find herself being the “only one.” This has already occurred in her fifteen years of life–whether that was when she took swim lessons, played in her piano recital, or simply the only one in her group of friends who loves musical theater as much as she does. This, I tell her, makes her unique and amazing!
Being the only one takes courage and a level of boldness that can feel extremely uncomfortable. This may not always be about physical characteristics, but it’s also the case when it comes to your passions, purpose, and goals.
God has given each of us a unique purpose that others simply may not get or understand. I’m a firm believer in staying as far away as possible from “dreamkillers.” These are people who, intentionally and yes, sometimes unintentionally, kill our dreams by repeatedly stating why we “shouldn’t” and taking it upon themselves to tell us why we should perhaps choose another path.
Often times, when moving towards your purpose, you may find yourself on an island of one. The obvious thing that comes with that is loneliness. Yet, if you explore that island a little bit more, something amazing happens. The loneliness doesn’t feel as uncomfortable and you find a uniqueness there tailored just for you.
Every part of me wants to live within my God ordained purpose and I’m passionate about encouraging others to do the same. I want nothing more than to see my daughter live in the purpose that God created just for her. I truly want the same for every person I have the privilege to teach, mentor, or befriend.
One last thing I think is important to know. You’re never truly on that island alone. The One who created us is always there waiting for us to allow Him to help guide us in our purpose. I personally think that’s the best island to be on.
If you can stand the silence, the distance, and yes, the loneliness at times, I guarantee you that your island of one will be worth it!
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 NLT