God Asked Me To Give Up My Relationships With Men

Her Voice

Faith breeds obedience. And obedience to the right thing (God), leads to peace.

The most important thing I've learned through my trials and tribulations over the past two years is that the valley between where I was and where I wanted to be could only be crossed through fully committed faith and obedience. I had to take a leap of faith to believe that whatever God was calling me to, was far greater than my current situation of comfortability.

My first test of obedience was the hardest. The first thing God asked me to give up was the thing I least wanted to – men. I don't mean that God asked me to excommunicate myself from the world, but he asked me to give up any romantic ties, relationships, or “situationships" that I had with anyone possessing a Y chromosome. This of course included giving up sex, but deeper than that, God asked me to let go of my false gods:

My worship like infatuation with love (or the idea of it), and the need to be validated and wanted by men.

After men, God asked me to remove everything else that I had put before him. For me, that included social media and secular music. Although these were both difficult to abstain from, the funny thing about obedience is that shortly after you begin to be obedient to God, your obedience is rewarded. It's not rewarded in a worldly way, like the way we reward children by giving them medals or candy if they do something well. It is rewarded in that soon after being obedient, you begin to see why God asked you to do something or stop doing something in the first place - to move you in the direction of God's purpose for your life.

After giving up the key things that pulled me away from God, two things began to happen: 1) I begin to realize WHY those things were damaging me and, 2) I began to hear God more clearly. I'm sure God was always speaking to me throughout the day, but I was now able to feel his presence more distinctly. It was like listening to someone talk through a closed door for years, and then finally letting them in the room.

Once I got good and clear about what I needed to STOP doing to hear God, He began to tell me what I needed to START doing in my life to build a closer relationship with Him.

Simply put, He wanted me to seek Him and Him alone, with everything in me.

Specifically, He told me to pray more, read His word (the Bible), and begin volunteering my time in the service of others. For the first time in my life, I wrote down bold prayers for myself. I prayed for others. I wrote down lies that I had believed for years, and next to them, I wrote the truth of the scripture that invalidated those falsehoods. I gave my time without expecting anything in return, and in return, I was humbled by realizing all God has blessed me with that I never had to ask for.

Although I still fall short daily, I look back in astonishment at what God has done in my life. This year alone, I've received two new job offers, a raise, formed new lifelong friendships, learned to really respect and value myself, and most importantly, learned to surrender and trust God with every little detail of my life. The peace that has brought me was worth tenfold everything I left behind.

Faith breeds obedience. And in the end, this faith and obedience to God is the only mode of transportation to take you from where you are right now, to where you need to be.

LeNette Battle is a teacher by day, writer by night, Jesus lover all the time. She resides in Houston Texas, home of the greats (Queen B), and loves to empower others through writing. You can follow her on instagram at @lenettemb.

Featured image by Shutterstock

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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