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DEBELLOTTE  Design

DeBellotte Design

DeBellotte Design

Embrace SELF-care Not SELF-ishness

Updated: May 7


Sometimes, ‘self’ can come first.

 

‘I can’t wait to get out of here!’


‘UGHHH!!’


‘Can’t someone else do this?’


‘Why am I the only one?’


These are just some of the many thoughts I had before college. These thoughts started circulating towards the end of my junior year. I couldn’t handle my environment anymore. Life was just a never-ending cycle. I went to school during the week and church on Saturdays. Being at home wasn’t a joy, and church stressed me out the most due to my many roles. I was the audio/visual team leader, assistant treasurer, and everyone’s go-to person when they didn’t or couldn’t do something. I was stressed by my roles and the people I interacted with daily. I was the people with whom I interacted, surrounded by too much negativity in church and at home. Most of the time, it wasn’t directed at me but at others.


Everything was hindering my personal growth.


I was about 12 when I asked to help in the A/V room. At the time, the leader needed some help and asked if I could lend a hand. I didn’t mind because I got to work on the computer and help in service where others were lacking. I learned the technical side of things, similar to my church brothers before they left our congregation and my dad. Also, I could have gotten away with not standing and participating in the services week after week. I enjoyed my new position. I was a fast learner. Three of us were at work, and we each had our roles. Eventually, I was left alone to handle all the A/V functions and the backlash from the members week after week.


Week after week. Year after year, what I used to love was becoming a burden. I developed a bad temper when the members didn’t do certain things—for example, leaving the mics on when not using them, hitting them if it was on, etc. After many prayers and coping skills, I could calm down and let things be. I asked the members if they complained if things were out of control. It didn’t matter to me because things happen. However, this wasn’t the end of the solution to the overall problem. Not many could do what I could, or at least were left. A few could, but they weren’t as focused or dedicated as I was. One thing about me: I was and still am on point, projecting the words and scriptures on the screen. My timing is on point when to move on to the next slide.


I’m not perfect, but the majority of the time, I’m on point. When others help, they are busy doing other things, talking, not paying attention, or not knowing my techniques. Of course, if anyone messed up, the members looked into the room to see what was going on or who messed up the flow of the service. The majority of the time, they preferred me because of my skills. I didn’t like the idea of the members relying on me to project the words and verses on the screen when each should have their hymnals and bibles at church. It’s understandable for visitors but not for members who have been Christians for over 15-20 years. I have had moments of neglecting to put up the words because it wasn’t the beginning of service or I was asked to do something else.


The downfall is that passing the bar on is hard when you set it high. No one can meet your standards and the expectations of others.


 

Everything and most people were physically and mentally growing as life continued, especially me. Outside of life maturing, my church was at a standstill and decreasing. All the youth left, members stopped coming, and service became a bore. My will to go to church diminished. I was only going because it was a ritual, and I had no choice. I had positions to fill, and if I wasn’t available to do my A/V job, I knew I would experience the repercussions when I returned the following week. I didn’t feel like I was building a better relationship with God and was attentive during the service. I felt this way not because I was obligated to pay attention but because I knew God was fundamental in my life, and I wasn’t coming to church for anyone but to worship God. Week after week, I wasn’t getting spiritually fed, which developed my motto:

The Sabbath should be a day of REST, Not STRESS.

My weekly Sabbath routine was:

  1. Reach church by 9, 9:15

  2. I took a nap until the clerk arrived to do bulletins.

  3. Helped clerk with bulletins, especially if there were computer or printer problems

  4. Sabbath School ended, so I headed inside to prepare for the service. Made sure the schedule was incorporated into Easy Worship in its respectful order

  5. Divine Hour started. When it was time for the sermon, I was either on my phone or napping.

  6. I’d walk up when they were closing and being ushered out.

  7. While the congregation was leaving, I waited until about 90% cleared the sanctuary. Then, I hopped on the keyboard and played a little.

  8. I barely joined everyone in the fellowship hall and went straight to the treasury until AYS or whenever we finished.

  9. After treasury and church were over, I waited until everyone was gone or the majority was gone. My dad would lock up, head to the bank, and then head up.


Throughout my entire schedule, I barely had time to breathe or relax without doing something. When I could relax, I passed out somewhere in the church. I didn’t want to continue living like that and being stressed. I desired to get back that connection because the positions I took and helped out within the church were to give glory to God, not to please the members. I was stressed with my roles, and the members were always complaining about something, either about the dull and dry service, someone else, or nothing at all. It was annoying hearing the same complaints over and over again when each person knew how things were going to be. It was like they put themselves in those situations to complain instead of doing the mature thing and just taking a break, walking away, or not showing up. My Sabbath just became a never-ending cycle of negative perspectives and stressful roles.


If you are unhappy where you are, don’t always complain. Either find a possible solution or walk away.


Like myself, the church was going through emotions. I could see where I was at fault in my personality and behavior and asked God to help me. I noticed my growth, but the church was still in the same situation they were years ago when I was younger. I wasn’t seeing any personal or spiritual growth. If I continued to attend this church, I wasn’t going to grow or reach my full potential spiritually and mentally. Thankfully, I was finishing my last year and a half in high school, and college was just around the corner. I started to do things differently until I left, but sometimes, it became overwhelming that I needed a break.


 

Life at home wasn’t a picnic either. I didn’t feel like I was living my life; I was living for someone else. I was taking or trying to take care of everyone else but myself. Life is never easy, but going up was tough. I lost my mom at ten years old, surviving our car accident with my father and little sister. It wasn’t easy, and even though we didn’t handle things the way we should have, we all managed but in our way. Over the years, what I thought at the time was that I was taking care of them. Once again, I was going through the motions but not living for myself and taking good care of myself as a growing young lady. On top of trying to keep the family peaceful, there was too much negativity in the house. Certain things had to be done one way, or it was the highway. It became so unbearable that I also needed to separate myself from it before it took hold of me. There are things I could have done differently until leaving for college, but I was adjusting to life on my own.


Applying for colleges became a no-brainer. I just needed to get out of the house, my home church, and place myself in a completely different environment to help find out who I was and how I wanted to be outside of my family and life back home. When choosing, I thought about how I would pay for it, but I mainly wanted to go to a lovely city and get away. I knew what and who I would be leaving behind. I knew I would have been greatly missed, mainly because of the duties I was doing or just because of the high expectations. Of course, there were sad moments, but I was only and had to think of myself. If I stayed in the city, I would have suffocated, but if I had left, it might have consumed me all, and who knows where I would be today and the type of person I’d be.


I decided to go to school in Boston. I left New York, joined a new congregation, graduated, and started my new career, leaving New York in my rearview mirror. Every day, I look at my current life and the life I left behind, and I have no regrets. I know God’s hand was presently active from my decision to my current state because he has and is continuing to bless me. Also, I am grateful I decided to choose myself. This time, I chose to be a little selfish and put my mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health to grow and better help others in the future. Sometimes, it’s just better to put yourself first, but hopefully not at the expense of others, just enough for it to be a blessing and not a curse.

Make yourself a priority once in a while. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary. Karen A. Baquiran

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