Step Out and Rise

Sitting in P&W (Praise and Worship) as a freshman, God kept repeating the phrase, "live uncomfortably." This phrase has been a constant theme throughout my time here at Northwestern and has pushed me to start SOAR, a poetry club.

My passion for poetry began my freshman year. I went through a tough season in my life where I felt alone on my wing. During that time of loneliness, I began to seek God like no other as I started to write prayers and reflect upon my life through poetry. In these moments of loneliness, God showed up, and He began to reveal Himself to me like never before. He would push me to share my poems, so I began to show them to some friends back home. They would read these words, really be touched, and encourage me to begin to reach out to others with my poetry. I gradually began to read them with my RA, Mica,  as I opened up to her and began to share my story. 

The next year, I remember feeling led to do even more after one of my friends said I should start a blog. I thought, "That's not a bad idea. Maybe I'll start one over the summer." I had no intention of sharing it so soon until my mom called me on the phone and told me a story about this lady at a women's conference. God told her to start a blog in January and share it with people around the world, so that's exactly what she did. Because of her obedience, she is able to bless many ladies all over the world. During that phone call, my mom told me the first person to pop into her head was me. I just knew at that moment that it was a confirmation from God, telling me to start a blog. Little did I know, this was another step God placed in front of me so I could choose to live uncomfortably.

As time went by, I began to share my poetry through spoken word at iclub (International Club) coffeehouse every year. I performed Christian rap with my brother and some spoken word by myself. I shared pieces of my story at this event, sometimes scared out of my mind, but this didn't stop me from allowing God to use my voice for His glory. I constantly saw how God was helping me live uncomfortably through even spoken word.

As I continued to share poetry on my blog and through different events, Mawuli (a senior) and Nayley (a recent alumni) told me I should start a poetry club my sophomore year. I gave it much thought, and I began to really dwell on this idea over the summer. I would wrestle with this internally as I felt a strong tug in my spirit from God. I know God was speaking, but Satan kept repeating, "You can't do this, you can't be a leader, you're not good enough." Then I felt this push from one of my pastors back home who really transformed my mind when he mentioned, "If God places a dream in your heart, then just do it." This really caused my mindset to shift, and I knew I had to start this club.

A few months later, I went to school and talked to my advisor. I finally felt led to 'just do it,' after I talked to a friend of mine, Lauren Spranger, and Rahn Franklin. I turned in my paperwork, created the poster for the club fair the night before with a friend, and eventually started SOAR. I finally took that step, as I did what I truly believe God pushed me to do during this season.

It's amazing how God has moved through me during this time, and He's given me an even greater story through poetry. It's awesome to see how God placed people in my life for such a time as this. The club not only pushed me to live uncomfortably, it has also become a part of my life story. SOAR stands for: step out and rise. I gave it this name because I desire to see men and women become the confident people God created them to be, and so I can continue to do the same. I have constantly been pushed back because of fear. The devil comes to kill, steal, and destroy. He has tried to steal my peace, he has tried to steal my mind, but he's done trying to take my voice. I have come a long way, and I believe that bondages of fear have been falling off my life as God's been gradually working on me. I truly long to see God break chains of fear within the lives of the people He places in this club, as we begin to step out and rise together.

-Jahdai Dunk