Doing More than Just Enough

“Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.”

~Deuteronomy 5:33

So this Sunday’s message was about restoration of one’s soul, healing from all of the hurts in order to be in the position where God can use you for his greater purpose. One thing that the pastor mentioned was being obedient to God’s word and the direction that he gives you for your life. I don’t necessarily struggle with wanting to be obedient to God’s word. My struggle comes in the form of my inherent nature to question and second guess literally everything.

It’s not that I don’t trust whatever God would have me do. I guess the thing I tend to question most is whether or not the direction that I am hearing is from God or just subconsciously something I want to do myself. They say sometimes that the way you can tell the two apart is because when God instructs you it is usually going to be something you don’t want to do and something that will put you out of your comfort zone.

Another thing that I am working with that my pastor touched on was that we tend to obey the parts of God’s word that we want to and pretend not to hear the parts that we don’t agree with God about because we can’t see the bigger picture. We cherry pick the way we’re going to adhere to God’s will but that’s not what the Bible says that we are supposed to do. There is a difference between doing ALL and doing JUST ENOUGH.

When my pastor said that I had to rethink a lot of things regarding that statement because there are times when God will tell me to do something, or to ask someone for help with something and because of my doubts, or fears and anxiety, or because it might make me extremely uncomfortable, or even worse, because of my pride, I only half way do what he has told me to do. I convince myself that it’s okay because I’ve almost done everything God wanted me to do and I rationalize that he would understand because he knows me better than anyone right.

The thing is when we are asking God for ALL that he has in this life for us and we are walking in faith that he can do exceedingly and abundantly for our lives, we can’t then say well I’m just going to do half of what I was told to do. We are supposed to be doing God’s will, not ours, because his plans are always going to be better for us than the one’s we have for ourselves. It’s about having trust in God knowing what is best for us and not relying on our own interpretation of his word and his direction for us.  

The thing is that I hate being uncomfortable. I have a routine and a list for nearly everything. I don’t like surprises (unless they are good one’s of course lol) and I always question whether I’ve made the right decision or not, often times second guessing myself out of something good. A lot of the things that God instructs me to do, things regarding all of my dreams and the purpose I feel I was put here to achieve, are things that make me very uncomfortable and anxious and I try to skirt my way around them doing the parts that I feel okay with and leaving out the parts of the instruction that make me almost have a full blown panic attack. However, that is not what God said for me to do. He didn’t say do things halfway. I know that I don’t want just half of his blessings that he has for me. I can’t ask God to do all he can for me if I’m not willing to do all he asks of me. That means ALL, not JUST ENOUGH. Until next time… #BeObedient #BeFaithful #BeUncomfortable

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Even If It’s Not Broken, It May Still Need to Be Fixed

What has God been able to teach you lately? That question was one that my pastor posed to us yesterday and it was a very thought provoking one. To put it in context, he was talking to us basically about getting out of the comfort zone of the things that we know and start walking in the path of the things that we don’t know. I love how the things that I had already been processing in my own mind for myself, when I hear them from another wiser and more experienced person it just makes that much more sense.

I am one of those old fashioned people who can’t really stand the drastic changes in technology and the way that we communicate today. I am much more “comfortable” doing things the way that I know how to do them and the old adage of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is my personal favorite mantra. My pastor preached to us yesterday about learning how to evolve with things and being willing to gain new knowledge so that it could help us take the skills that God has blessed us with, that we have always had, and nurture them and grow them into something even better and bigger with the power to do more good within this world.

When I heard those words I thought about all of the limitations that I have been placing on myself and my dreams just from the shear inability to allow my mind to expand and let myself learn new methods of doing things that just might actually allow for growth and exposure to something better. It’s so odd for me because I consider myself such a student of life and a person who just loves learning overall but when it comes to doing things in a way that’s unsure I just stop there.

I suppose my writing career could be in a far different (and better) place right now if I had been more adaptable to change a long time ago. New can be scary for me, especially if I had gotten so used to doing things in a way that seemed to be working so well but the thing is sometimes you do things the same for so long that you can’t even see when they stop working. You’re too blinded by the familiar and you keep walking in what you know because it feels right to you.

When you finally realize how much you haven’t grown it can be a jolt to the system and one that can either cause you to crumble or to kick it into high gear and get moving in the right direction. I guess you could say I did some crumbling first. I suppose I just have to keep reminding myself of how good change can be when I start to regress and back away from something new. The fact of the matter is that what God wants me to do with the gifts he’s given me, what he wants me to pour into this world is far more important than my wanting to remain ‘comfortable’. I have work to do and I don’t get to complain about being uncomfortable!

Until next time… #BeUncomfortable #BeInFaith

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Is There Any More Space In the Writer’s Room?

writers room post 1

Caution: This post is more of a rant than anything prolific! I keep seeing all of these new but not so new shows streaming on Netflix or Hulu or whatever other streaming devices there are these days and I’ve noticed a theme. There are a lot of “reboots” or “remakes” of wonderful old shows or shows that are not quite a remake but just close enough to resemble an old show and it got me to thinking about originality in the television world. Has the well for creative and inventive writers run so dry lately that the executives at these television networks can’t come up with any original concepts?

I know that it shouldn’t bother me nearly as much as it actually does but I think that the reason for that is because I have so many ideas, new ideas for plays, movies, and even television shows that are burning a figurative hole in my journals (or my brain for the ideas that haven’t quite made it onto paper just yet) and yet they make it nearly impossible for anyone who didn’t start out in the television/film industry when they were twenty something to actually have their ideas seen or heard. I’m not saying that they should make it simple and yes I suppose people have gone the route of starting their own web series on YouTube or some other internet portal but there’s a legitimacy in having a television network executive look at your idea and getting as excited about it as you do and taking that idea and transforming it for the whole world to see. If most people are honest with themselves, it’s the validation that they really want.

It’s not that I don’t love the old shows that they are taking and remaking into something for this newer generation to enjoy but it just seems like emptying a well that didn’t need to be tapped into. If they need new ideas there are plenty of us writers out here who I’m sure would love to help them out in their writers’ rooms, or maybe that’s just me. It shouldn’t be as hard as they make it to get new ideas heard and to see new ideas on the screen instead of so many blasts from the past of the old concepts just with new faces.

There is talent out here and new wells with newer and more original ideas if they would just be willing to not cut the rungs of the ladder so short for the rest of us who missed the twenty something boat. Sometimes older, more seasoned writers can provide a broader perspective with a bit of wisdom added for effect. Writing rooms shouldn’t just be for those straight out of college or who have already been in the business for decades. There should be space for the writers in their thirties or even in their forties who had to live a little bit of life first before getting to go after their writing dreams because talent doesn’t just expire with age.

This is not a post condemning twenty something’s or the younger generation of writers who have been steadfastly working their way up for the last decade because I commend you and I truly wish I had been able to have that luxury. This is just me shedding a light that there are those of us who are not straight out of college or who haven’t been in the television/film industry forever who still can write and who can add something to this television world that isn’t just a remake of a show that already was.  

Jimmetta Carpenter 

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So About Oscar Night…

About Oscar Night 3

So this isn’t going to be a long post but I couldn’t let the day go by without acknowledging how amazing Oscar night was last night for women and people of color. The Oscars made history last night with the majority of the wins going to people of color and women, people who up until the last year or two were vastly overlooked when their work clearly deserved to be recognized.

It went from being the #Oscarssowhite a couple of years ago to being the #allinclusiveOscars this year. I must say that as a writer who had lofty dreams of one day writing my own screenplays and maybe even having a book or two of mine being made into a movie and winning an Oscar myself down the road it was definitely inspiring. I had put those hopes of an Oscar one day in my career to the side because frankly I couldn’t see them giving out too many Oscars to too many people of color because the Oscars has been considerably white washed throughout history ever since the Academy was created.

It seems that they are finally making room for a diverse group of artists to make waves and make a difference. It’s renewed my hope and even inspired a couple of new stories that I hope to tell over the course of my writing career. There’s something extra encouraging when you can see the possibility for your work to earn the highest honor an artist can achieve.

This is the type of encouragement that artists needed and I am so glad that the Oscars is finally catching up to including ALL artists in passing out distinguished honors. I hope you all are polishing up those novels and dusting off those screenplays that you gave up on because now’s the time to really get in the game.  There just might be an Oscar in your future yet!

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Accountability Measures

Accountability Measures

So I have said this year was going to be the year that I stopped making excuses for why I couldn’t do something. I acknowledge that I can’t just say an automatic yes to every single little thing but that doesn’t mean that I can’t make a substitute solution so that I can still stay on the right path to my end goals. For instance, one of my main goals this year is to stop waiting for a traditional publisher or an agent to say yes to my books and say yes to them myself by self-publishing them with the ISBN #’s I’ve been sitting on for literally over five years now. So I know that my budget is going to be an issue. To say that it is tight would be a gross understatement, but to get around the issue that I can’t exactly afford a professional book cover, I am going to use a special graphic program (as professional as I can get it) and learn how to do one myself (and if you knew how challenged I am in the area of technology you would understand what a huge deal that is for me lol). So my no excuses rule means I can’t focus on the lack of money to get a professional book cover, I just have to make a way to do one on my own.

Now there are some other things that I have been making excuses for and I realize that I am going to actually need to set some deadlines. Deadlines are what keeps people who second-guess themselves at every turn and can what if their way right out of an opportunity, people like me, held accountable for actually following through. I am supposed to start back at a hobby that I love and had to stop because I had gotten injured. I was supposed to had gotten back to it last year but I was feeling a little scared that I would re-injure myself. I told someone that I would finally get back to it this year but I left it open ended with no actual set time. It gave me a way out of it by not having an actual time pinpointed. That same person made me pick a date the other day and now that I have that date in my mind (it’s March 5th by the way), now I feel obligated to stick to it. I don’t have any excuses right?

So with my book, that’s supposed to release soon (I know, very vague right lol) I had made the commitment to publish a book but I just didn’t say when. I suppose I did that as some sort of safety net just in case something went wrong with the whole process. With no deadline, I wouldn’t have to explain to anyone else why it didn’t happen. But that pretty cowardice right? So I’m setting a deadline hear and now that the re-release of my book, The Diary: Succession of Lies, is going to be released on March 1st, 2019. So you heard it hear first and now I have to no choice but to do it because I have no excuses! So deadlines are the thing now! It’s what I need to hold myself accountable—my new accountability measure if you will! Do deadlines work for you? Let me know how deadlines have helped you in your life?

Jimmetta Carpenter

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The Creative Circle We Keep

Creative circle post

I had a wonderful, much needed conversation last night with one of my fellow creative friends and it gave me the extra boost that I was in need of. When you’re a creative it’s not always easy to find other creative people that will get you and your (sometimes out there) ideas the way that you do. I don’t need a lot of people around me, it goes against my solitary, anti-social (more like socially anxious) nature, but what I do need every once in a while is someone to throw ideas around with, preferably someone who isn’t just going to tell me something is a good idea because they can feel the sheer excitement that I have for it. I need someone honest, who’s going to tell me if it’s any good or even if it’s just so out there that it might actually work because chances are that I would otherwise second-guess myself right out of it.

Last night I got some clarity on a few things I was thinking about and she even gave me some perspective on some ideas that I wasn’t even viewing as broadly as I should have been. She’s a really good person, who understands my neuroses (because we’ve known each other for over a decade) and how sometimes the overload of ideas can drive you up a wall because she’s a creative too and she takes risks every day within her writing career. Today, carrying the words of our conversation in my mind, I was definitely more focused and I was a little more confident in taking a few risks I had been holding back on before. I felt inspired and I felt ready to inspire others!

I think that all creative people, especially writers, should make sure they have someone in their life, in their circle that they can help give them some kind of clarity on the ideas they are thinking of. If you’re anything like me, you need someone to keep you from second guessing everything wondering if this or that is going to work because inevitably there’s always going to be someone that isn’t going to like what you do and you can’t let the thoughts of those few that won’t like it and won’t get it detract from the hundreds, or thousands, maybe even millions of people who you could help or motivate or encourage with what you desire to put out into the world. If you already have that circle in place, treasure it and nurture it because it is precious and it is not always easy to come by.

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Are You Really As Ready As You Think You Are?

are you really ready 1

I was thinking about what it means to actually be ready for the things that you dream for and that you say you want. My Pastor preached this past Sunday about what being ready really meant. It’s not just speaking into existence what you want for your life. It’s not even just knowing exactly what it is that you say you want. Those are important factors but what it really means to actually be ready to receive your dreams is about much more than that.

Being ready is about being knowledgeable and skilled in the things that you will need to do to prepare for your dreams. It’s about being attentive to the things and details that need to be addressed and the distractions that need to be removed so that you can be ready when the time comes. It is about being in the position that you need to be in, in order to make sure that when opportunity presents itself you are able to invest what’s necessary in yourself and your purpose. Being ready also means that once you have properly positioned yourself and you are rightly focused, you are then willing to put in all of the hard work that it will take for you to actually attain your dreams. Most of all, I think that to be ready means that you have to be available to receive your dreams, and fulfill your purpose. If you are too busy focusing on the things that aren’t going to get you to your dreams then you aren’t really ready.

You see there are so many things that we often times think that we are ready to jump into and it’s not that we don’t truly think that we are. It’s more often than not that we don’t truly understand exactly what being ready means. When I had my first book published back in 2008 I thought I was ready for what came next but because I was naïve as to all that it encompassed to be successful at being a published author things didn’t exactly go as I had envisioned them going. The book didn’t sell well and I was overwhelmed with the other side of what being a published author meant (the business side) and although I thought I was, I was not ready for that.

When opportunity comes knocking to make our dreams come true we always like to think that we are ready for whatever comes after. We don’t always properly assess things and what’s worse is that we find that we hadn’t properly prepared for what it is we said we wanted. We end up not being as ready as we thought we were. This is why we have to make ourselves ready. It’s not enough to just want the dreams we have envisioned to come true. We have to begin preparing for it long before the opportunity comes to knock at our door. So the next time that you say that you are ready to finally get all that you’ve been dreaming for, think about whether you are truly ready and properly prepared. Think about whether you have assessed everything and the amount of diligence and tenacity that it will take for you to see it through. Think about whether you are truly ready and more importantly, are you willing to step into your purpose and fulfill your dreams with the gifts that God gave you!

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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