Day 19, 2019

Deliverance from Old Ways and Bad Habits

Author: Melissa Barber

Happy Nineteenth Day of Thanks Everyone!

Good evening all, I just realized that I sent the wrong version of Day 19 to you all by accident.  I’ve been having trouble with my laptop and had to switch between phone and laptop several times to complete this day. In my hurry, I must have copied and pasted the wrong version. I guess no one realized that it wasn’t complete. (Please forgive me and receive the corrected version.)

Today, I give thanks for deliverance from old ways and bad habits. I thank God that I am not the old Melissa I used to be; I’ve been transformed so much that I almost didn’t remember (actually, completely forgot) who my old self used to be.   

For all you parents out there, have you ever had a moment when your child(ren) behaved in a certain way and you ask yourself “where in the world do they get that from?” Then, God gives you the side eye and starts laughing and gently reminds you that their wratched behavior comes from you. I recently had one of those moments. 

My beautiful, sweet, kind, lovely Ms. Diva (Delilah Christina) has a serious temper (that turns into rage quickly!) when someone makes her upset. Her upset usually occurs during her menstrual cycle time or when people take her food from her and tell her that she can’t have food.  She will deliver a serious whipping on somebody in that fight-now-talk-later kind of way that will completely take you by surprise. And she is no respecter of persons when it comes to serving up that dish of “whip butt”.  After I learned about one of Delilah’s most recent episodes of serving up that dish, I asked God, frustrated, where in the world does she get that temper from and why does she act like this? God’s reply was, “You, of all people, don’t know from where she gets her temper!” 

Admitting my truth, I can say that I used to have a really bad temper that would go from zero to one thousand amps (in a second) too.  But, in my defense (if I even have one to stand on), my temper existed way before Delilah was born and she has never seen it. (Talk about generational curses being passed down a family lineage!) I was delivered from rage about three or four years before Lilah was even born so we are talking about the “old Melissa” of at least twenty years ago.  It’s quite intriguing that Rage was something so long ago in my past that my new self completely forgot that my old self existed.  It was only through a recent encounter that I had with a particular person that reminded me that the “old Melissa” was trying to surface and destroy my livelihood.

Recently at work, I had an encounter with my boss that was very verbally and emotionally abusive toward me.  In the first part of the encounter my boss spent 30 min yelling at me at the top of her lungs in her office with another staff person there, trying to convince me of a point that she was trying to make of which I didn’t agree.  I stayed quiet and only spoke very softly to interject that she should not put words or thoughts into my mouth that I had not expressed.  Half way into the incident, when she would not shut up but kept screaming, I started to see red. (That’s when I knew that if I didn’t leave her office things would take a really bad turn for the worse.)  I finally had to let her know that I was done tolerating the yelling and had to get back to finishing a report I had to send before my work day was complete. Pissed off, I left her office which is down the hall from mine and went to finish my report. Ten minutes later she left her office and came to mine to start round two of her yelling episode. 

I could not believe that she was provoking another encounter for a second time, literally ten minutes later. I tried to stay calm. She was yelling much louder, she was moving much closer to me and she was now in front of other staff and a new pregnant intern that we had just received. I was livid! I knew things were really bad when I started having an Ally McBeal moment and started to calculate if she was close enough for me to grab her by her neck and start ripping out pieces of her throat before I did the real damage I wanted to do. During her yelling fit, the last straw for me was when she made a few verbally abusive statements about my intellectual capacity (or lack thereof) and accused me of not being a “team player.”  In a real calm voice, I told my boss, “I’m going to need you to get out of my face and stop yelling at me because this is no longer going to go well.”  When I’m really angry and I remain really calm and talk in a calm voice, it means I’m in the worst stage of rage, which is attack mode.  At that point everything in my psyche says to me that I am in a hostile, threatening environment and I need to at all cost protect and preserve my life. (It’s a real dangerous place for me and the other party involved because my reaction provokes and reaches the point of no return.)

In that moment, I literally started begging God to help me not to do something that would put me in prison for the rest of my life. I mumbled the prayer, “Please send your angels to hold me down to this chair and put a force field of your presence to surround me so that I can’t move from where I am and hurt her.” I love it when God answers prayer immediately. In that moment, I felt his presence and a peace so strong just surrounding me. I was able to calm down and rest in that presence for a few minutes and tune out my boss’ yelling completely.  But fifteen to twenty minutes into that second encounter, I said to my boss, “I’m done. I don’t want to hear any more.”  She started to say something else but stopped herself and said, “No, I won’t say that.” My reply was “Thank you.” I turned away from her to my computer screen and proceeded to finish my assignment. At my designated time to leave work, I picked up my things and left.  It took me almost three days to calm down.

Although I was angry, I was so proud of myself. I passed the test! I remained calm. I didn’t react violently or hurt anyone. I didn’t quit my job.  In my time of trouble, I called on my rock and He delivered me from my trouble and all my fears. (Whew! That was close.) The most breath-taking part of this experience was that it literally took place two days after I asked God from where Lilah got her temper. God had to show me who I was and what I was capable of doing.  And how, by God’s grace and mercy (and, of course, my willingness), I am a new (transformed) creature in Christ. Old things have completely passed away. 

I learned some valuable lessons from this experience. First, I needed to be reminded that my deliverance from rage was real and that I wasn’t that old person who responded in the same way.  Second, I had to practice my faith and forgive and release my boss for the wrong she did to me. Since I did not want to waste energy on harboring anger or holding bitterness, I had to run to the feet of Jesus and ask Him, repeatedly, to help me to release the anger that I felt about the situation to forgive her.  I have since forgiven my boss. (Later, we were able to talk about the situation and I maturely and professionally warned that it could never (and would never) happen again.) Third, I became aware of the generational curse of Rage that was handed down to Lilah, without my knowing it.  My mother has an issue with rage. I was delivered from rage about twenty years ago. And here Lilah was having the same issues with it too. (Talk about curses being passed to the third and fourth generation!) I now know that I have to do the work of renouncing the spirit of Rage and getting it out of Lilah’s life so that it doesn’t become part of her life’s normal fabric.  She as well as her generations will walk in total and complete freedom! (Amen.)

Just so that I knew my deliverance was solidified, several weeks after this incident, I had another situation with someone else that involved her treating Lilah inappropriately (really bordering on abuse). Again, everything inside me screamed to react because someone messed with my baby. But once again, I stayed calm and handled the situation maturely.  Another test passed!  (I love having victory over the enemy!)

Today, I’m not going to highlight an organization but ask that you reflect on the many great things you have been delivered from.  Get excited and have your own gratefulness dance break. (Praise God!)  

Love Ya,Have A Great Day of Thanks!

Published by: Dream Without Borders

Artist| Scientist| Creative Entrepreneur| Activist: working at intersections of arts, health, healing, and activism, my practice focuses on the performance and performative articulations of vulnerable bodies, exploring and examining expressions of identity and belonging. I hold particular interest in the lives and aspirations of African Diaspora/Black Atlantic bodies in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Categories Melissa's 2019, Melissa's Thanks, Notes From The People