Stand in everything you are as a human being. So many of us accept labels that don’t embody all of who we are. We are all walking contradictions, originating from complicated situations. Don’t let anyone define you. You’re not a box to be labeled and then put on a shelf. “You’re tall so you must be a basketball player.” No, I must be a CEO. “You’re a financial advisor so you must be good with money.” No, my spouse handles our books. “She’s a billionaire so she must have an answer to everything.” No, she’s lonely and afraid of the world’s judgement of her inherited wealth. I’m a gay pastor, a good father who never had a one, a loving wife who could never keep a boyfriend. I’m a successful, highly regarded, and world renowned alcoholic. I’m a blonde hair, blue eyed white suburban kid who claims a gang. I’m a privileged, private schooled black male who still gets harassed and profiled.
I’m not defined by where I grew up, who hurt you or who promoted me. You’re not defined by what I read, who sat next to me during my commute, or what my tribe says you are. Stand in you. Stand in your awkwardness, your stutter, your oddities. Stand in your lack of understanding and capacity to understand at times. Stand boldly in your black, brave and beautiful skin. Stand in your love of someone who looks and serves a different God than you. Stand in the feeling of wanting more than what is being given to you, and it being labeled as “enough.” Stand in being the first, second or third generation of your bloodline. All that look like you and share your history need you to. Stand in being privileged. Honor it, acknowledge it, and most of all, use it. Stand in being poor, hungry, and driven. You’ll never be outworked. Ever. Speak truth to your power.
I make me, not you. I move flawlessly between your created class and societal infrastructure. I define who I am. Not what I wear, where I went to school, where I come from, or what I do. I define me by what I say I am. It’s not for you to believe or to accept, but to be 100%, authentically and unapologetically me. Stand in who you are. At all times. In all situations. The world is barren of our realness. Dying for those of us who are sheep to raise our hands in a room full of wolves. Thirsty for the story of our successes, our failures, and our love of self.
“After you’ve done all you can, you just stand “ -Donnie McClurkin.