By Yaminah Ahmad
As a writer I’ve often run into people who want my services but don’t have the money to pay for it. Sometimes a person will offer some sort of trade deal where they give me tickets to something, have a designer create something for me, comp me a dinner and reimburse me for gas mileage, that sort of thing. But what I realize is there are some people who have no intentions of honoring my fee, they just want access to my creativity.
While some of these folks are just plain hustlers trying to get over I think the majority, especially African Americans (sorry, this is my experience), have created this collective belief that there’s not enough money to pay for what they want so they need to conserve it and find other alternatives.
It occurred to me one day that if I participate in an exchange based in fear then what I’m saying to myself and to the Creator is I don’t believe I’m worthy of my creativity to be paid for it. It’s no wonder why I kept attracting people in my life who didn’t want to pay.
I talked to one of my lovely friends about it and she made an interesting point. She believes the trade thing started post-Civil War when food, clothing and shelter were no longer taken care of by the slave master. Blacks had to learn to survive on their own. One person may not have had the money to pay their neighbor for some crops, but they might have had a skill-set they could use.
Sometimes I think that time period was about preserving our right to live and I think mortality always trumps money. Times have changed. Our fear of not having enough? Not so much.
I remember a few years ago a friend called me and she asked how I was doing. I said something like, “Giiirrrrl, I don’t know.” She laughed. I guess I thought things were so bad I didn’t know how to put it into words. (Woomp, woomp, woomp) I asked her how she was doing. She said, “Struggling to survive. Struggling to survive.” When she said it I had this out of body experience! I knew in that moment, my way of thinking was the reason why I was broke all of the time. And every time I spoke to this particular friend we would have these “broke” conversations. It was always about how bad things were, how we don’t know if we’re going to make it, but oh, how we’re walking in faith. Too funny.
After having several more “broke” conversations I banned myself from answering the “how are you?” question with anything negative. I sounded pathetic. Who wants to hear that crap if they’re having a good day? Not me.
But it’s such a normal conversation for a lot of people. You hear it all of the time. I see how those conversations kept me in my comfort zone of lack and limitation rather than encouraging me to stretch my faith. What I do know is if you want more you’re gonna have to do more. And what I mean by “do more” isn’t always physical or intellectual labor, it’s mostly spiritual labor. WE GOTTA STRETCH OUR FAITH.
We know, at least I hope we do, that there is an abundance prescribed to us. It is our divine right. We’re not acting in what we believe when we ask someone to give us something because of fear that we might not have enough to pay for it. And I’m not acting in what I believe if I accept trade because it’s better to have something than nothing.
On the flip side, that means I have to pay for what I want and know that God will provide for everything. I don’t have to rob Peter to pay Paul. There is abundance for me. So, UTC people, I’m stretching my faith, again! I’ll let you know how it turns out!
BTW – the friend I used to have “broke” conversations with is no longer in my life. This really taught me that it’s okay to let people go when you see God removing them. If they come back and are aligned with your path, GREAT. If not, pray for them like you pray for yourself and keep moving. All is well.
Until we connect with each other again…
UTC readers: In all that we seek to be or do or have, we humbly realize that in the Presence is our power to think, our very thought of aspiration, our will to commence, our strength to keep on, our power to achieve, and the glory of all our accomplishments. This is the Truth and it is now done. ~ A prayer from “Discover the Power Within You”
Envisioning you with much love, light and fulfillment.
Yaminah Ahmad is a Goddess pursuing her life’s purpose. email@example.com.