…I also realized that people still need hope, even in isolation. I think this can be really hard for people who are already dealing with depression and suicide. Being as though, I have walked through the journey of these dark paths, I can say that if the pandemic came back when I was in my sufferings, It wouldn’t have been good for me. Isolation isn’t good for the mind when one battles with depression. I have learned to keep my messages of hope coming now more than ever because there are people who don’t have emotional or spiritual support.
With the success of the vaccines, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel of this difficult period in our history. But before we jump back into the routine of the normal life that we lived in 2019, it would be a shame not to pause to reflect on what we have learned during this time. The social isolation caused by the pandemic really was an opportunity for a collective pause, and a global self-assessment about who we really are, and what we really want in life. With that in mind, I created this series called “5 Things I Learned From The Social Isolation of the COVID19 Pandemic”, and I had the pleasure of interviewing Sierra Coleman.
Sierra Coleman is a purpose-driven millennial who teaches this generation how to practice faith over fear. Founder and managing director of Sierra Coleman Ministries, Coleman has taken the internet by storm with inspirational and motivational messages.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers like to get an idea of who you are and where you came from. Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where do you come from? What are the life experiences that most shaped your current self?
Well, I currently live in Dallas, Texas, but I am originally from Baltimore, Maryland. Growing up, I had a pretty good childhood. Being raised by my mother and grandmother, I was raised to be strong. My troubles really began when I turned 17, I ran the streets, did drugs, went in and out of rehab and I’ve spent some time in juvenile detention centers. I battled with depression and suicide really heavily and I even went into mental institutions. Through it all, I made it out alive through the grace of God and I have chosen to dedicate my life to the work of ministry. My purpose in life is to save people from spiraling down that dark path that I experienced at such a young age. Going through these life-changing events motivated me to speak my voice and to teach others that they can also come out of a dark place.
Are you currently working from home? If so, what has been the biggest adjustment from your previous workplace? Can you please share a story or example?
Yes, I am working from home. I spend my days recording online ministering to people to remain strong during these difficult times. The biggest adjustment for me is not being able to do public speaking in open settings like I previously could. For example, before the pandemic hit us, I would host church services in-person in church buildings, doing this I was able to pray for people, hug them, walk with them, and have more of a personal one-on-one approach with them. Now, I am only able to reach people online, to make sure I am safe and the public also.
What do you miss most about your pre-COVID lifestyle?
I miss the people! I love interacting with people. I am more of an affectionate type of person, so not being able to see, touch and give others love is a real problem for me. I really miss being in groups, whether it be in restaurants, churches, conferences, events, etc. I also miss not wearing a mask because it can get stuffy sometimes if your out in public places for hours.
The pandemic was really a time for collective self-reflection. What social changes would you like to see as a result of the COVID pandemic?
I would like to see people giving each other more room to breathe. I honestly think that we should have been social distancing even before the pandemic. I think we can be more safe and effective if we make social distancing a requirement and enforcing it instead of just placing signs all around about it.
What if anything, do you think are the unexpected positives of the COVID response? We’d love to hear some stories or examples.
Well, one unexpected positive I can speak about is people are now taking their health more seriously. I see people who are going to the doctors for more regular checkups now and that’s a definite positive for me!
How did you deal with the tedium of being locked up indefinitely during the pandemic? Can you share with us a few things you have done to keep your mood up?
One thing I found to keep myself on the up and up was writing. I have notebooks where I “free write everything”; this has helped me to express emotions that I needed to release. During the lockdown, I realized how much it helps to write down my dreams, my goals, and my desires in life. After writing, I feel like I have gotten a load off of my chest. Especially considering the fact that my family lives 12 hours away and I am in a state with little to no family.
Aside from what we said above, what has been the source of your greatest pain, discomfort, or suffering during this time? How did you cope with it?
Well, I had a baby right before the pandemic hit and the part about that was not being able to fly like I want to see my family so that they could meet the new addition to my life. Being isolated in another state had really taken a toll on me, but I learned to cope with it through my prayer group and virtual church. I would call the prayer lines and just express my pain and how I felt uncomfortable and each time, I was strengthened in knowing that as soon as the pandemic slowed down, I could go visit my family.
OK, wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Learned From The Social Isolation of the COVID19 Pandemic? (Please share a story or example for each.)
One thing I learned from social isolation is that you will know who your true supporters are and who really has your back during times like these. During hard seasons in life, people tend to stick to what they know and believe in. For example, I had hundreds of people coming to see me minister at my last church but as soon as the pandemic hit, the people scattered and didn’t show the support online that they once did in person. Donations stopped coming in, people stopped tuning in for virtual bible studies, and so on.
I learned that you are all that you really have in this life so it’s important to take care of yourself and to put yourself first. For instance, someone close to me put everyone before herself and made sure that everyone around her always had protective gear, gloves, and sanitizers, but she ended up getting Covid19 and not any of the people that she was always trying to protect. This has taught me to keep my own health as number one.
Another thing I learned from this social isolation was to stay more up-to-date on the news and what’s happening in my city. As a millennial, I can honestly say that I have never watched the news long enough to know what was going on around me until the pandemic hit the world. Now, I watch the news literally daily to make sure that I don’t miss a beep on Covid19 cases n my city and state.
I also realized that people still need hope, even in isolation. I think this can be really hard for people who are already dealing with depression and suicide. Being as though, I have walked through the journey of these dark paths, I can say that if the pandemic came back when I was in my sufferings, It wouldn’t have been good for me. Isolation isn’t good for the mind when one battles with depression. I have learned to keep my messages of hope coming now more than ever because there are people who don’t have emotional or spiritual support.
Lastly, I have learned that no matter what happens in this world, I still believe in God and I will continue to keep my faith no matter what. Being socially isolated has taught me that when you don’t have all of these people around you 24/7 and all of the opinions of the world, you will begin to think more clearly and become more defined in who you are as a person. Growth is inevitable, but when you take time to learn yourself, without the interference of others, you will be more confident in your position and purpose on the earth. For example, I had a lot of people around me before Covid19, and I have always known to associate with opinionated people, now I am free from those opinions and I am in a better place within myself, which has caused me to realize that opinions are just that, opinions.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you during the pandemic?
Stay true to yourself, remain humble, and keep your faith no matter what. This was important to me during the pandemic because it allowed me to realize that no matter what happens around me, I know that I will always make it because my faith is in God, not in myself, not in doctors, and certainly not in any and pandemic. Remaining humble, keeping my faith regardless knowing that my life is in God’s hands.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
I would totally do lunch with Fantasia Barrino! I know she has faith in God, and her music got me through a lot of challenging times in my past. From almost committing suicide, almost giving up on my calling, and coming out of hurtful relationships. Fantasia’s music speaks to me and encourages me to LIVE!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I can be found on Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.