• Kelli Mize Ellard

Warriors don’t retreat, they reload!

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

Have you ever wondered why it is that it’s so easy to see the small negatives in the midst of the numerous positives? Are we wired to see the lows and overlook the highs? This has always baffled me. It’s something that I’ve struggled to come to understand. Maybe it’s because at one time I really didn’t like myself, who I was. Is it partly to do with how I was programmed as a child to think, act, and react? I was a shy little girl with not much self-confidence due to some struggles that I faced early on as a child with learning disabilities. And because others around me seem to grasp things easily and understand what was happening in the classroom, I always felt confused, dumb, different from everyone else. The fact that I was a tomboy did not make making friends easier either, that’s for sure. I felt like I just didn’t fit in. This weighed heavy on my mind, consciously and subconsciously, it carried over throughout my teenage years and into my young adult life without me even realizing it. The wounds it caused penetrated me deeply. It not only affected the way I spoke to myself, but it also affected the way I spoke and related to others. Though my parents are not to blame, they did the best they knew how. There was not a whole lot of positive reinforcement to off seat the negative voices all around me. Because of this, I guess you could say I was a little hardheaded and at times hard to handle; I was hot-tempered, and a little defiant.

Kids called me dumb, stupid, retarded, because I couldn’t read. And I let their words, and their ignorance, penetrate my heart and my mind and become my reality. They did not just hurt my feelings; they broke my heart and my spirit…. And eventually, I let them and their opinions of me define me. It was not until the summer before my fifth-grade year started that I learned how to read thanks to a dear sweet friend of my Memaw’s. One summer day while I was there visiting my Memaw in Tyler TX, her friend Victor notices something about me that others had missed as he sat and watched me play and draw in the sand. He noticed the dyslexic tendencies that I had when I would attempt to draw numbers and letters in the dirt. It was something he recognized because he faced the same struggles. He called me over to him and set me in his lap with a book and orange cheesy, Cheeto-covered fingers. He broke down words into letters combinations that my brain could comprehend and within a few short days, Victor taught me how to read. That’s something which the school system failed to do over the past five years and surprisingly this sweet, amazing man, was able to do it in just a few short days. I can still see that Cheeto stained book today when I close my eyes.

He gave me positive reinforcement, something that I had not had a whole lot of. He told me then that I was indeed smart and what took most kids months and years to learn only took me a couple of days. He went on to tell me something that truly impacted me and that eventually changed the trajectory of my life. He said that the way you think about yourself and the words that you speak in your head, matter. At that time in my life, I did not realize the wisdom that he was speaking into my life. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until many, many years later those words ring true for me, and the way I thought about myself and spoke to myself began to change. It wasn’t until after experiencing years of struggle and heartache, pain and failure after failure after failure that I heard his words again in my heart from so many long years ago. “Baby girl, the way you think of yourself, the way you see yourself, the way you speak to yourself, all of that matters so never say ugly things about yourself or anyone else because your words become your reality “. And that is so very true!

We have all struggled in one way or another. Whether it was because of something we were born with, something that was self-induced, or due to something that someone else did to us. And maybe it’s a combination of things that have caused pain and caused you to see yourself as less than what you truly are. All that old, reinforced programming of negative self-talk and self-worth, the tendency to focus on negative instead of positive may have served you well at one point in your life. It may very well be what got you through those hard times. So please understand, I am not discrediting it at all, but let me ask you this…. How is it serving you today? Maybe it’s time to start looking at things from a different angle, a different point of view. Maybe it’s time to stop seeing things as setbacks and start seeing them in a positive light. As a setup, to strengthen you and get you ready for what’s to come. You see for me, that setback, that learning disability, was simply a setup for something great for me. It prepared me to be who I am today. It taught me to be a warrior. It taught me how to fight through my battles so that I would get the victory. It taught me that when things get hard to keep my gaze ahead and my eyes on the target. To fling an arrow in that direction, to reload my bow and to send another and another and another. To never give up or give in. It gave me strength, tenacity, and courage to overcome! It took years for the warrior within me to awaken… But I’m Woke! And if there’s anything that the struggles in my life have taught me is that warriors don’t retreat, they reload! The battle that you're facing today is preparing you for the victory of tomorrow. When your struggles seem like weakness, I encourage you to stand strong, keep your gaze ahead, keep your eyes on the target and let your battle arrow fly! Then reach in that quiver and reload your bow, because sister, you’re a warrior and warriors don’t retreat! We stand firm, we keep our eyes on the target and we reload because the victory will soon be ours! Your focus, your end goal, the target that you’re aiming for, that’s what matters. All the distractions, challenges, and trials are only there to knock you off course, to distract you. Don’t let that happen. Don’t retreat. This setback is just a setup for the greatness that’s deep within you, waiting like a caterpillar deep in metamorphosis to emerging into the beautiful butterfly that you are. So my warrior princess, stand tall, spread your wings and soar!

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