Before I can fully engage you with my thoughts from the premiere episode of “The Same Room,” I must first layout how much of a full circle moment this is for me. Six years ago I attended an event called “The Merge Summit” in Los Angeles where I was first introduced to a man name Toure’ Roberts. He was a guest speaker at one of our opening morning sessions and with every word he spoke it was like he was speaking directly into my life. From that day on I’ve been a follower of his ministry called One Church LA (now known as The Potter’s House at One LA and Denver).
Just about 4 years ago I moved to New York and became a listener of his podcast. I would listen to his sermons daily just to push me through the scariest, most uncertain time of my life. One day I selected a sermon and to my surprise it was a voice that I hadn’t heard before. It was a woman named Stephanie Ike who was a guest speaker at One Church LA. I ALMOST immediately skipped it because she wasn’t someone I had heard of and let’s face it, she was like the substitute teacher. But then I thought that if Toure’ thought so highly of her to have her fill in for him while he was away she had to be pretty dynamic. So instead I listened intently and it wasn’t that long before I was completely drawn in. She had voice, she had a presence, and she most certainly had a Word!
Fast forward to present day and I see an IG announcement that this same woman who has since stood in for Toure’ on many occasions is now the host of a new web series called The Same Room created by the founder of drum roll… The Shade Room! The Shade Room?? I went in full judgmental mode (I admit!). The Shade Room had very little to do with uplifting and inspiring people. A few well meaning quotes here and there but the majority of it is by-the-minute updates of all the celebrity gossip on who did what, said what, and wore what. I gave a quick side-eye and then I had to side-eye myself because the reason I know all of this is because I follow The Shade Room and find it very resourceful at times (haha)! So if I can appreciate faith-led content and shady entertainment then why can’t the founder split her talents between both pots? Conflicting messaging? Possibly. But hey I was here for it and it did not disappoint!
So many toes were stepped on that it almost felt like I was sitting smack in the middle of Adrienne Hougton and Angelica Nwandu. I’m just going to list a few of the quotes along with my reactions in hopes that there’s someone out there that appreciates transparency and the truth that believers don’t always have it figured out! Our lives aren’t different because we don’t experience the same hurts, fears, and uncertainties. Our lives are different because we know we don’t face them alone.
“I was getting tired of trying to do everything right.” – Angelica Nwandu
I can’t be the only one that wanted to give a standing round of applause at this statement! Christianity will have you borderline paranoid sometimes when it comes to “living right” especially when you have even a small platform. Joining the “Bold & Fab” years ago gave me such anxiety because the thought of openly talking about my faith and possibly being judged was nothing I would ordinarily sign up for. I mean what if I was caught with a glass out at a party or giving someone the business in a fit of road rage or a number of other things that would be categorized as “God’s still working on me.” As a more mature Christian, I know that with time God changes your heart towards things so that it’s not about following a laundry list of rules but rather developing a relationship where your desires become synonymous with His desires so that people see an authentic life and not a miserable one.
“Acknowledge there’s a weakness” – Stephanie Ike
Whew… I’m from the school of: “Never let ’em see you sweat.” I ALWAYS “Got this!” I never wanted to ask questions in class that I thought I should just know. I never wanted to say “I don’t know.” I had to have it together because…. the truth is I have no idea where that thought process came from. Definitely something that I’ll need to meditate on but I’m happy to say that I’m fully aware of my weaknesses and I express them often in prayer. Moving to NYC will humble you real quick. I knew nothing! I didn’t even know the job that I was promoted to do. Something about being taken out of your comfort zone that will have you looking at the reflection of all your weaknesses. However, the important piece is knowing who to turn to to heal them. It’s a process!
“He was keeping me from ruining myself and the promise He has for me.” – Angelica
Listen… this had me pause and rewind. At this point in the discussion Angelica and Adrienne were sharing stories of love lost, or shall I say, removed. You can’t really lose something that wasn’t meant to be yours anyway. Having survived a failed engagement myself I know the extreme pain and embarrassment that takes place. I know the anger that you have towards God for not allowing your “happily ever after.” Constant questions of, Why not me? What’s wrong with me? And so many other questions! But when you get through that cloud and get to the other side of grief it’s a game changer. Your gratefulness will be off the charts knowing that the thing you thought was punishment was actually protection.
“God why do you feel so far from me.” – Adrienne Houghton
There’s nothing more unsettling and nerve racking than when God seems radio silent. After moving to NYC I was and, in full transparency, STILL listening for guidance. What’s my next move? God it can’t be to remain here! Currently, God seems far from me and I’m to blame. Relationships take two parties to commit to constant communication and I have let the hustle of life take over hours and often days without spending time with Him. I’ve recognized that and I’m correcting it as we speak.
“Until God removes the desire there’s still hope.” – Adrienne
I desire a God-ordained marriage where my husband is my purpose partner so that we build a life and legacy together that surpasses our time here on earth. I desire to birth a child and have the energy to keep up with him/her. I desire to write for a living and create content that merges faith and entertainment in ways that have yet to be seen. Those desires are still very much alive and despite how destitute it may look, I still have hope.
I can’t take the desire away from you because you wouldn’t seek me as hard.” – Angelica
So when I heard this, this was my response to the computer and to God: “No, no, no I have many desires so if you take one away we can still be homies! I promise!” But really, that hit home and there’s undeniable truth in it. Just let it sink in and watch how a sense of peace fills you up just knowing that out of all of your millions of desires, His one desire is to commune with you.
“Would your spouse take you away from why you were put here on earth.” – Angelica
All I’m going to say here is “Choose wisely.” So what he’s fine. So what he’s rich. So what he has “potential.” If he’s leading you away from your purpose it’s a “no” fam!
“It doesn’t show you when the big bear is released.” – Angelica
I saved this one for last because it was just that powerful of a statement. When Adrienne mentioned this image I immediately knew what she was referring to as I’m sure many of you do. Question: how many of you wondered how long it would take for Jesus to turn over the big bear after she gave up the little one?? I can say for sure it never occurred to me that at the moment she handed over her bear that he wouldn’t immediately exchange with the big bear. But when Angelica brought attention to the fact that in real life there’s usually a waiting period after your sacrifice I was stuck! This photo took on an even bigger meaning. You see Jesus has it in his hands out of sight but still in his possession. There’s no effort at all on His end to make the exchange happen. So why does He make us wait?? Because he wants us to seek Him. He wants us to get over the small stuff and believe for bigger. He wants us to mature in our waiting and grow in patience.
I titled this entry “The Little Bear” because every one of us has had or is currently holding on to a little bear. Something that we can’t imagine being without but is outside of the will of God. Similar to the little bear, it doesn’t have to be harmful at all. It’s just not meant for you. God wants you to have what’s yours and His promises are far greater than our desires.
Now if I was able to pull out all of that from just the first episode I can’t wait for episode #2! If you haven’t checked it out yet I encourage you to do so! Be sure to check back here for the next episode recap!