This piece is a part of a series entitled “The Greatest Love of Story of All” — one where we celebrate Valentine’s Day by learning how to love ourselves.
My friend Raven Roberts is easily one of the most attention-getting women you’ll ever meet. And she knows it. No matter where she goes, people notice her, even though she doesn’t want to be noticed.
Knowing Raven over the years, I’ve always admired how incredibly “herself” she is and I wanted to see how we could learn about falling in love with ourselves through her story.
Own your light wherever it is
Raven is tall like a gazelle, gorgeous, with a beautiful afro that you can spot a mile away. She’s hilarious, is intensely passionate about uplifting Black communities, ending colorism, and is a genuinely bright, kind, and loyal friend.
Over the years, Raven has had to accept that she would always be in the spotlight. People notice her and God was calling her to step into that space, despite how she felt about it.
“Even though I want to be in the shadows, I also want to be at the forefront. I stand out. I’m a girl who is noticed.”
As a woman who has struggled with truly owning the vibrancy of my life, I know that sometimes it can be hard to accept that you are called to be in the spotlight. Loving yourself means acknowledging that God may want to give you a position. He may call you into spaces that are outside of your comfort zone.
Loving yourself looks like owning where you can make a difference, even if it makes you feel that you’re out of your element.
Quieting the voice in your head
I met Raven many years ago at a small church group meeting. I knew instantly that she and I had to be friends. Being extremely gregarious, I reached out and asked her to dinner.
Raven has said on several occasions that she didn’t understand why I asked her to dinner. A voice inside of her insisted it would be strange to dine out with a woman she barely knew.
That night marked the start of what I hoped to be a lifelong friendship, and I know Raven feels the same way. God had called Raven and me to lift each other up, encourage each other in our personal and professional pursuits, and be trusted, mutual friends.
If Raven had allowed that voice in her head to get in her way, I am not sure if we would be friends today.
She is a public figure whose livelihood depends on being out there and sharing her life through social media. She battles social anxiety. For a long time, she didn’t have the words to describe the overwhelming anxiety and pressure that she carries with her on a day-to-day basis.
Her insecurities have weighed on her throughout her life. As a dark-skinned black woman, Raven experienced prejudices because of the shade of her brown skin. She carries real insecurities about her story that impact her choices and where she puts herself every day.
Raven’s lifelong journey will be learning to silence that voice and trusting that she can live in the wholeness of who she is. She doesn’t have to second-guess herself — God has called her to accomplish big things.
In God, you are enough
For her to live in God’s truth, Raven has chosen to rely daily on the foundation that God has made her enough. He has equipped her for every situation — during that day and in that moment — with everything she needs to handle whatever she confronts.
Sometimes, we have to take a leap of faith. For Raven, that’s looked like going to dinner with someone she barely knew. Other times, it may look like getting in front of a big crowd or taking on a job that may seem unachievable.
In all these things, God may put opportunities before you to make you trust in yourself. To show you that, because He loves you, He is leading you toward new vistas.
Don’t let that discomfort keep you from loving yourself resolutely. Learn to embrace it, to ignore the noise, and know that the journey of loving yourself begins with leaps of faith into the unknown.