I started this blog to show myself as authentically as possible, but I bet you are asking, “Well, who is this Danielle?” And throughout our lives, we all search for our identity. Some search their whole lives trying to figure out who they are and never figure it out; however, at the age of 23, I found out exactly who I am. This absolutely did not some easy.
Around Thanksgiving last year, 2016, I went through a seemingly abrupt downfall. I was always known to be this strong, happy, luminous person, who had to all together to others and even myself. No matter what hardships I was facing, I seemed to always be optimistic and positive. However, at the time, I all of sudden cried out to my friends verbatim, “I’m not good… I am not OK.” I was living on my own. I was able to support myself with two jobs, that I was doing well in. Living a physically good life. Yet, I sobbed publicly at one of our stops; that I did not feel good, I did not feel like good person; that I was not good enough; that I should be and am capable of so much more, but I did not know how to go about it. Basically, I felt beyond lost and I wanted to run away from San diego, my home, and my current life. My friends comforted me and one of them even told me, “Run. Run while you still can.”
So, I did.
I bought a plan ticket to New York and five days later I left, running away from the chaos and deep darkness I felt in San Diego.I spent three full days in New York looking for silence and answers. And man, I experience so many emotions in those three days.
Immediately upon landing, there was an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders. Then within my first two rainy days I began to feel a great sense of unworthiness to call myself a dancer and performer. I watched a couple of insanely incredible broadway shows and instantly thought, I am no where near good enough to even think that Broadway or performing was something I am capable of doing. I spent majority of my time just walking around the city aimlessly, contemplating my career as a performer and even why the hell I was even here.
My last day there, it finally stop raining, so I decided to go out and walk around Central Park. I found random spots on rocks, swings, rails, bridges, and benches to sit and journal, asking myself why am I here in New York. In those moments of silence I found some answers to why I did not feel enough. Some being from clouded judgements and expectations of those near and far from me, but it was mostly my own undoing and destructive thought. I continued my walk in the park and came across a circle of seemingly secluded benches. I began to journal, then immediately dropped my journal and began to dance in the park. I spent an hour dancing on my own and that was it. I found my purpose for being in New York. It was as if someone yelled directly into my ear as I was dancing, “You are meant to be here.”I left the circle benches smiling with the knowledge that I will be moving to New York within the year.
I came home, back to San Diego, uplifted and smiling knowing my challenges, having some questions answered, and knowing that New York will soon be my home.
When I came home from my time of silence in New York, I still had something lingering on my heart, and again something spoke in my ear. I asked my friend, Nicole, to go to church with her the following Sunday. I came into church that Sunday very tense. I grew up going to church, but I stopped going and had not gone for almost 7 years. But to my surprise, that sermon was about how God is with you in your silence. I left church weeping. I went to a local harbor where I sat and thought that this could not be a coincidence. I came back from New York, where I went looking for silence, and here is a sermon on silence. I took this as a sign to come back to God; however, I definitely thought I was not ready or “good” enough to come back an call myself a Christian again. But, I did make a conscious decision to start a relationship with God by just talk to Him everyday and see what would happen.
Throughout the rest of that week, I spent time everyday at one of look out spots talking, praying, to God, and everyday I felt a sense of peace as I did. I felt my heart filling with so much peace that I wanted to cry. Then that Friday, at the same harbor I weeped after church, I was fighting God that I wanted to be apart of Him, but I did not feel ready or “Godly” enough to do so. Then in the midst of my arguing, I just stopped talking. I felt a shift within my entire body. It felt as if a gust of wind blew sand on the beach to uncover a seashell. I then, spoke out, “I’m ready.” I was ready to give myself to Him and uncover Him. I instantly felt an overwhelming sense of peace, and even love, in that exact moment
I text Nicole immediately, crying, that I wanted to deepen my relationship with God. Together, we began a journey of discovering God through scripture. I then, on my own, went to a bookstore to get a devotional book I researched online. To my surprise, they did not have to book I wanted, but came across a book by the same author. The book, “Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist, was about silencing yourself to God. Like what?!?! The topic of silence as come back to me. Again I thought is not a coincidence, but calling. A sign. I then started to regularly go to church, read my devotionals and the book.
As I read the bible and especially my book, I practiced silencing myself and taking out of my life to room for God as my priority. Within this, I felt myself change. I saw myself actually become the luminous person that I thought I was. I even saw my relationship with my parents become something healthy and something I actually wanted to delight in. My feeling of peace grew immensely.
After a over a month, I finally finished my book, “Present Over Perfect” as was so filled with delight; however, that same I week I finished the book, I immediately got caught up in my three jobs and fell out of my practices with God. I even missed church that week. I felt so drained, broken, and that the world was too big for me. When I finally had a moment to breath, I decided to go to this coffee shop and watch the sermon that I missed.
And surprise, surprise.
The sermon I missed, was about how we can not live this life without the Holy Spirit. That the world is too big for our human bodies and God is the only one who can lift the world off of your shoulders to relieve us. The only way he can do this is by believing and delighting in the Holy Spirit.
I cried as this filled and hit my heart. For the first time since the day at the harbor that decided to give myself to God, that week I did not feel peace or even love. I felt done. So in that moment I knew that everything that I heard so clearly in my ear, that filled my heart, that made me want to cry in joy, within the past month and half was the Holy Spirit. That I can not live without God, and mostly importantly that I did not want live without Christ. I emailed my pastor, crying of course, telling him that I wanted to be baptized at the next baptism in a few weeks. And while I was writing that email, I heard clear as day, “Why wait?” So, then asked to be baptized that following Sunday.
So on January 29, 2017, I found my new identity. I found exactly who I am.
I, Danielle Macatantan, am a daughter of christ. I am a product of pure love, grace, and sacrifice. I am unworthy of anything, yet worthy of everything. I am not alone, nor will I ever be. I know that, my life has a purpose and is greater than I can every imagine. I know that no matter what I am doing whether I become a professional dancer, an accountant, or even if I am flipping burgers, that it is all apart of something so much bigger than me.
I know this sounds so crazy, but that is the beautiful of it. To be apart of something, someone who beyond understand.
I pray, that as you read my testimony to becoming myself, you were able to have an understanding of who I am and believe in me as I continue to write to the world.