In the African American community, Kwanzaa is a holiday that celebrates three aspects that is the heartbeat of the African-American life: family, community, and culture so that we can re-affirm and restore our rootedness in the African culture. Kwanzaa is observed for seven days(December 26-January 1), each day is a principle that helps build and reinforce the aspects of the African-American heritage:
- Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
- Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
- Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.
- Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
- Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
- Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
- Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
With that being said, there are two principles that struck out to me lately, Kujichagulia and Nia. They have caused me to stop and reflect on my life. Kujichagulia has caused me to take some time to define myself as a person, my natural identity. The way how many people have define me throughout my life had caused me to depend on their opinions and thoughts and not on the One who made me. From reading Os Guiness’ The Call, I am to live for the audience of One, not many. Another author has mentioned that we are not to be a mere reflector of other man’s thoughts. Media has misrepresented the African community in various ways: twerking videos, Worldstar hiphop, Maury show, and other shows that give my people a bad name. I remember a time when I decided to dress a certain way and my dad had a fit, I wanted to dress like my peers. I did not want to look like anybody’s grandmother. Now that I am much older, I am thankful that he enforced me to change my clothes. I understand that the things I do, the clothes I wear, and the company I keep defines me. Yes, I know, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover or a candy bar by it’s wrapper, but first impressions are what matters. I want people to take me seriously, especially if the person I run into happens to be my future husband or employer. I used to think that in order for me to be accepted by others I would allow them to define me first. However, I was wrong. For the most part, I was being looked down upon. I wasn’t going to amount to anything. I felt worthless being somebody that I was not to impress others. Now, I define myself as a child of God, a daughter of a King (Heavenly and Earthly), a woman of virtue and class,
Today, the Kwanzaa principle is Nia, meaning “Purpose.” I was able to reflect what my purpose is here on earth. I remember hearing the older folks telling me that God has a purpose for my life. I wasn’t sure what it was, so I expected them to give me a hint or possibly “phone-a-friend” for the million dollar answer. It’s interesting that when you find yourself living without a purpose, life is meaningless. I realized that only God can reveal my purpose, and I have to go to Him because only He can help me fulfill my purpose in life. I may not know fully what it is but from hindsight, I have an idea where He is leading me. I know that I am created to worship and serve God with my whole heart. I know that God wants me to draw others closer to Him, and I know that He wants me to get to know Him more each day. It’s not an overnight thing, it’s going to take time for your purpose to manifest itself. The Bible tells us in Phillipians 1:6 (my Birth promise) “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Isn’t it amazing to know that God has given us a task and is willing to use us for such a time as this? He is not through with us yet. It may seem like you have messed up your life but God has plan B waiting to help you carry out your task. You are a living testimony of His unfailing love and mercy.
I didn’t realize that my purpose was to minister to the younger generation until this past year. God has been opening doors in my life to confirm it and He is still leading as we speak. This blog is the testament of me living my purpose. My purpose is to inspire and empower people like me who are striving to live in accordance to God’s Divine Will and Purpose for their lives.
What I am currently piecing together is to understand one’s purpose, one must understand their identity and to define themselves not by other people’s thoughts and opinions but by God’s thoughts. Therefore, when you think about Kujichachulia, think also about Nia. Both of these principles go hand in hand.
Forever Naturally Adorned,