The Picture Isn’t Always Perfect

Nothing is Picture Perfect 2

Oftentimes we like to paint a picture for people that things in our world are running smoothly. We like to put a smile on to pretend that things are perfect even if they aren’t. We like to highlight the things that are going well and leave out all of the mistakes that we have been making as we go. It’s the whole fake it until you make it syndrome. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have positive self-talk and to tell yourself that you can do this or that, even if deep down you are unsure of your capabilities. But to leave out the things that went wrong in your journey sometimes does a disservice, not only to you but to the people that you hope to inspire along the way.

If you think about it, there are no real mistakes in life. Everything that happens to us or even for us is by design and has already been mapped out by God. Even the slight detours we take are to teach us something, to show us what we are made of when we start to lose sight of the true depth of our purpose. It is in the failures that we truly triumph because we learn perseverance and it forces us to get back up again even when we don’t feel like we can.

I’ll admit that it feels good when you are presenting yourself to people as if you have everything all together and figured out. Particularly in the instances where you want to impress someone who impresses you, you want to seem like you can make all the pieces to the puzzle fit perfectly. Sometimes you fake it so well that you may even start to believe it yourself and it kind of gets you motivated in a way you may not have been otherwise.

The problem with faking it is that in leaving out the mistakes that you have made you also tend to leave out the lessons that you have learned from those mistakes as well. The people that you want to inspire and who may be looking to you for guidance are being mislead by this false perception of what success looks like and that really isn’t fair to them or you. There is no such thing as a flawless road to success and trying to pretend that there is only makes things look pretty on the outside, but it doesn’t change the reality of how messy the journey really is.

Stop trying to make everything look easy to everyone else because by doing that you diminish all of the hard work that you have likely put into your journey. Your path has more substance because of the obstacles and failures that you have had as you have walked along it. All those times you fell that you would like to instantly forget are important because they taught you that you are not a quitter and that you can get back up again. The detours on that straight and narrow road that you had planned to take likely gave you something that you needed at those particular times. Don’t leave out what you believe are the bad parts of your journey because odds are the good that came out of it wouldn’t have happened any other way.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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An Agent of Change

agent of change 3

There’s something about myself that I readily admit to people but that I am not entirely proud of. I absolutely do not like (strongly detest) change. I like things to be a certain way, I have a routine that I follow, pretty much to the tee and I don’t particularly like to deviate from that routine. In my mind it keeps things balanced, it keeps things flowing smoothly and it keeps a sense of order. Well at least that’s what I had convinced myself of.

I’ve been working a lot more over the last couple of years on my spiritual growth and on improving my relationship with God. I’ve been steadily working on following God’s instructions for my life and the direction that he wants it to go in. It’s a path that has brought me so much peace and joy and it has helped me rediscover who I am again. I hadn’t even realized that I had somehow lost who I was and forgotten what it was I was supposed to be doing, my purpose.

Sitting in church the other day as my pastor talked about growth, and that change equals growth so if you hate change than you can’t grow. It was a moment of clarity (one of many I have had recently). He spoke about how if you’re listening to God’s instructions for your life and following the path he wants you to be on, which is not always the path you had intended to take, then you have to be willing to open yourself up to something different, something new. You can’t hear the instructions for your life and then, because they don’t exactly fall in line with your daily routine, just not take action on the instructions that you have been given.

I’m a creature of habit and I had always led myself to believe that it wasn’t entirely a bad thing that I had set plans, set times in which to do things, set days in which to work on this or that, that I knew what I would be doing any given day at any given time because it would be the same. I call it routine but some might call it being stuck and unmoving. They would be right. I had never thought of my growing habitual routines as being afraid of changing but I can see now that it was exactly what I was afraid of doing.

If I changed things what if something bad happened. If I changed my routine what if the outcome was a bad one. I think I had gotten to a point where I had just made it so that nothing would happen that I didn’t already know was going to happen. That way there would be no bad outcomes, there would be no rejection, and no one could say no. I didn’t realize that it also meant that nothing good could happen either, and that no one could say yes. How could I say I was open to new opportunities of any kind if I was unwilling to change?

It’s not going to be easy to dial back my need for having a habitual routine. It’s opening myself up for an outcome that I don’t know and the thought of that is downright frightening. However, if I truly want to grow and reach new goals, and soar to new heights I have to be willing to change.

Change can be scary but it’s critical in order for us to grow. We can’t get so hung up on sticking to what we know and what our routine is that we miss the opportunities that are waiting for us right outside our little box. The box is good at times and we tell ourselves that the box protects us but does it really? Or does that box that we try so hard to keep ourselves in only hinder us from reaching our fullest potential? Our greatest accomplishments and our highest of heights tend to lie beyond the confines of the box of comfort that we trap ourselves in.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Patience Through the Struggle

Patience Through the Struggle

Lets talk about patience! I remember sitting in church a few Sundays ago listening to my Pastor talk about having hope as we go through life. He talked about how suffering doesn’t always necessarily mean a negative experience, but simply just an experience. Then he said something that really struck a chord with me. He said too often we get impatient and we tend to walk away before the experience is through and before God has a chance to bring us through to the other side of it.

It made me think about my level of patience (which admittedly I have very little of) and had me questioning myself how many times have I walked away from something because it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, or should be. How many times have I just thrown in the towel because I got told no and felt the sting of rejection was just too much to deal with. How many times did I give up on something I dreamt of because I was just too frustrated to tough it out.

Then it made me realize that I am in this place I’m in right now, behind on my goals and my dreams, stuck running in circles, because I didn’t stick it out and I didn’t let God finish doing his part. I guess you could say I ran out of hope, either in myself or in the purpose that God had for me. It’s almost as if I was right there, right at the goal line, just several feet away from my destination and then I would chicken out and later I would have to start over again.

Fear has always been my Achilles heel and it’s the biggest flaw that I have. Now while I know that nothing is really worth going after without a healthy dose of fear, I have been reacting to the fears that I have rather than remaining hopeful and just pushing past those fears. I had lost hope in the reality that God would never allow me to experience something that didn’t serve a greater purpose. I had lost my patience in the fact that he would never leave me and will always bring me through whatever challenges I meet along the way.

So no matter what experiences you are currently going through on your journey, remain hopeful. Don’t lose sight of the fact that God is never going to leave you and you just have to be patient so that he can bring you through to the other side.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Published in: on February 16, 2018 at 1:09 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Let Yourself Be Great!

Let Yourself Be Great

Let’s talk about greatness! There’s a quote that I like which says “who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” I like this quote because it reminds me that God gave me a purpose, and with that purpose he gave me certain gifts that he intended for me to use to fulfill that purpose. With the knowledge of that in mind I know that no matter how big that purpose may seem and how much work I’m going to have to put in to achieve it, this is not something to take lightly and this is what I need to accomplish to achieve the greatness that was predestined for me.

Sometimes I get afraid that I’ve been given too big of a purpose and I start to think, well who am I to say I can do this or that but then I stop and wonder why not me. I start to think about the fact that no one would ever change the world if they ever had the notion that they might not be good enough to actually be the one to make those changes. If they opted out of even trying to fulfill their purpose imagine how that could change the course of someone else’s journey whose life they were supposed to touch.

If we stop to think about how big the objectives that we are taking on actually are we may just talk ourselves out of going after those goals to begin with. We have to give ourselves permission to not only dream the biggest dreams that we can, but also to fulfill the purpose that God gave to us. Not only do we have to give ourselves permission to live the life God meant for us to live but we have to truly believe that we can.

Being great requires that you believe in your purpose and in your abilities. You can’t be great if everyone else around you has to convince you that you are. You have to find it within yourself, for yourself. It may not be easy if you are pulling yourself out of a dark place but if you give yourself permission then you can not only tap into your purpose but you can truly be great. After all, who are you not to be!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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To Thine Own Self Be True

To Thine Own Self Be True 1

Let’s talk today about checking in with yourself! Sometimes in life things can get very crazy. You’re busy taking care of the kids, taking care of your significant others, you’re checking in with your friend’s needs, your tending to your business and making sure your customers are always satisfied, and if you have a day job then you’re making sure your boss is satisfied as well. While all of that is very important to maintain, all of that would get neglected if we forget to take care of ourselves.

It took a long time for me to learn this, to even learn how to love myself it took more than half of my life so I still struggle with making sure I’m good. I have to have conversations with myself at times to make sure I’m okay and that I’m happy and that I’m at peace. That doesn’t always mean that I have everything I want or even half of what I need. It just means that I have to make sure that no matter what crazy thing is going on, what things would normally stress me out, that I have to have peace within myself to be able to deal with everything going on around me.

What I am learning, the older I get is that even when you have the things you swear up and down that you need, if you don’t have happiness and peace within you that having those things means absolutely nothing. There’s nothing wrong with having alone time with yourself. Time to reflect on things, to do some reading, to do some writing, time to meditate and talk with God, time to take yourself out on a date and just be comfortable being with yourself. Every now and then you have to remember to have a conversation with yourself and to make sure that while you are trying to take care of everything and everyone else that you are also taking care of you.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Your Vision Is Not for Everybody to Understand

Not everyone sees your vision

I once was one of those people who got so excited about their dreams and their vision that I would tell any and everyone who would listen. I thought that if I was excited then surely the people that I hold near and dear to my heart would love to hear what goes on in my cluttered mind of ideas. Now I’m not saying that I didn’t have supportive friends who understood that I had a vision and I’m not even saying that they wished me any type of failure or anything but as I’ve gotten older I slowly (and I mean really slowly) have realized that everyone cannot see what it is that you see.

They’re not going to express the same level of excitement, or have the same ambitious drive to stand by you while you struggle to achieve that dream. However, I do think that there should be a certain level of support that is there whether they understand or not and that the people around you shouldn’t constantly try their hand at talking you out of your dream or worse, trying to shape your dream for you into something that they can accept. I don’t really reach out to people like I used to anymore. I have some select people in my life who I hold very dear to me but still, even to these very important people I will not ever go into detail about my dreams or my vision because I’ve grown tired of people giving me the what if’s and trying to either talk me down from my dreams or shape my dreams for their own comfort.

I read a quote once that said to stop letting people who weren’t given your dream and your vision talk you out of yours because they were never meant to see what you see. God gave the vision and purpose that you have for your life to you, not them and sometimes you have to protect that vision. Granted I didn’t adhere to that quote when I first read it, I certainly do now. It can be a little lonely at times, keeping all of these visions for my future to myself and I did have a friend I was very close to who I was able to share those things with because she got it, she really understood, but life happened and she got married and her journey began to really propel forward while mine stayed stagnant and we drifted apart, but I wish her well and I am still cheering her on from the sidelines.

All of this was to say that if you are feeling down because you feel like no one understands you or your goals, don’t let it get you down, let it make you work harder. Your goals and your dreams aren’t meant for others to understand because they’re not for them, they are for you. Sometimes you have to go after your dreams quietly so you don’t lose the focus and the drive that you need to make things happen the way you want, or rather, the way that God intended for things to unfold for you because truly, God’s plans for you will always be bigger than yours are. Don’t feed into what others think you can’t do, or how people may think your dreams are too big to be possible. Be quiet about your moves and let your results speak volumes!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Published in: on January 8, 2018 at 9:48 PM  Leave a Comment  
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I May Have Been Down but I was Never Out

Down but Not Out

So let’s talk about failure! I hate to fail and what’s ironic is that though I hate to fail I seem to be doing a lot of it. Granted, I don’t view everything that has happened in my life as failures but I have failed enough times to make anyone want to just lie down and give up. In fact, I think that a lot of this past year and half long bout with depression was pretty much just that, me being so tired of failing that I just wanted to lie down and accept defeat.

Writing is definitely not for the faint of heart and rejection is a part of the package that comes with this career but sometimes it can feel so jarring to one’s self-esteem and confidence in their own abilities. I’ve been shopping my novels around to different agents and while I’ve had some of them ask to see the whole novel, which in itself can be cause to celebrate, in the end I have not been received with the kind of acceptance that I crave and truly thought I was talented enough to get. Logically I know that being rejected by a publisher or an agent is not a personal attack on my abilities but as most of you writers know, your novels tend to feel like your babies and my work is personal for me because I always add a touch of myself into my characters (well my main characters anyway).

But I’m learning, or rather remembering that my failures are not what is going to define my eventual success. In reality, my failures are what is going to propel me forward into my destined prosperity. These are the moments that will build me up and make me stronger so that I can be better and excel further than even I thought possible. I’ve always heard that when we plan, God laughs and he must be really laughing it up at me because since the age of ten I’ve had some pretty big plans for my life and career. I had milestones, in my mind, that I just knew that I was going to hit at just the time I envisioned hitting them, some I even thought I would hit earlier than I expected. I couldn’t have been more wrong and being that wrong is just plain hurtful.

However, if some of those plans had come to pass there would be a lot of other wonderful moments that I wouldn’t have had happen, mainly my daughter being born, and I could never regret her. Failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be, in many cases, what protects us from a disaster right around the corner. In other cases it can just be the sign to let you know that while you may be going in the right direction, you’re not quite ready just yet. There are lessons in the failures that we go through but sometimes what matters is not the actual act of failing itself but rather what those failures can add to our overall story.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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The Better Version of Ourselves

The Best Version of Ourselves

I’ve been thinking a lot about purpose and how to fulfill our purpose in life, what God put us on this earth to do. In order for us to truly fulfill that purpose we have to be the best version of ourselves. The problem is that we waste a lot of time trying to be some version of what others want us to be, or what we think others want us to be, or what we sometimes feel we should be, that we lose a sense of who we really are.

If our purpose in this life is to contribute something to this world before we leave it then can we really do that by trying to pretend we’re something that we’re not. We would like to be flawless but do we really want to be that person that appears perfect with no weaknesses and no oddities about us? It takes a lot of time to pretend you are someone you are not and to have to put on a show for this person or that person so that they can think that you have it all together when in reality you don’t.

In truth what feels like our biggest weaknesses can sometimes become our greatest strengths but if we waste so much time fighting those weaknesses then we often don’t figure that out as soon as we should. There’s this saying that God gives his toughest battles to his strongest warriors and when you put life’s challenges in that perspective then it almost makes you want to tell the world to “bring it on”. It is the challenges that God throws at us that show us what we are really made of but he uses those weaknesses that we try so hard to cover up or ignore that we have to shape us into the very best versions of who we are meant to be.

I was struggling in the beginning of this year and I am finally starting to get my focus back and my writing is getting back on track. I’ve been working really hard on being that better version of myself. Not perfect or flawless, just better. I think that because I have been focusing on how to be the best version of myself I can better see and focus on the purpose that I have been given.

You can’t contribute all that you have to offer this world if you are trying too hard to be someone you are not. Think about what you were put here to do and what only you can bring to this world to make it better and be the best version of yourself and make that happen!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

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Published in: on August 13, 2015 at 11:43 AM  Leave a Comment  
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The Magic Starts When You’re Willing to Change

magic happens when you allow change

By nature I am resistant to change. I have a routine, I plan things out, I make to-do lists and I try my best to stick to them. I am one of those people that practically pulls their hair out when things don’t go according to plan. I firmly believe that routine is good. However, as I grow in life, in my experiences, in my occasional reluctance to fail, and my oftentimes irrational fear of everything outside my comfort zone, I realize that change is something I desperately need to succumb to.

Most of the time I never realize how good the change would be for me until I have no choice but to allow the change to happen but I wonder how much better the change would be if I didn’t resist it so much to begin with. In my last post I wrote about how I need to learn how to just trust the answers that God gives me and not fight him on it. The same can be said for the changes that he continues to try and bring in my life that I am so adamant about not accepting all because they weren’t in my plan, or in my schedule for how things are supposed to go.

I think I really need to keep reminding myself that just because I develop and formulate a plan it doesn’t mean that it is in line with God’s plan, and his plan trumps mine. I’m starting to realize that a lot of the obstacles and struggles that I have had, or am still having, in building up my career, my life, in the way that I want it to go is because I place those obstacles there myself by not listening and not allowing the things that are going to change my life for the better to just happen.

I push against what I don’t know, against what I don’t plan, and I couldn’t be more wrong in doing that. But I am on a journey to learn from the mistakes that I’ve been making and to do better so that things can be better. Change is inevitable and to fight it is just resisting whatever good will come along with it. I realize that the magic starts when you just let change happen!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

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Published in: on July 31, 2015 at 12:55 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Ask and You Shall Receive, Just Maybe Not In the Way You Might Think

Ask and You Shall Receive

About a month and a half ago I posted about trying to get unblocked and trying to get my focus back on track with my writing. I even sat down and asked God to help me get my focus and ambition back and to get back to making progress in my writing career. Slowly but steadily I have been feeling more and more in tune with my creative flow and the inspiration is coming back. More importantly, the desire to write even when I don’t feel inspired is coming back. Also I think I am becoming even clearer about my purpose and getting that kind of clarity is a wonderful thing.

Someone gave me a book called the purpose driven life by Rick Warren which is all about a person’s spiritual journey and helping you discover, or in my case re-discover, your purpose. Both, in reading the book and in refocusing on myself and my writing career, I have gained quite a bit of clarity about even the most recent of situations. Just recently a person in my life was removed from my atmosphere (not by death, don’t worry) and I couldn’t understand why this was taking place and I resisted it at first but I had to really sit and process what God was doing for me. I asked him to help me get my focus back and I am starting to realize that the removal of that person has allowed me to really get my focus back on track.

Sometimes we fight the signs that show us that God is listening and we do our own thing and are so resistant. We have to learn that when we ask him for help and for answers we have to be prepared for the fact that the answer may not be at all what we envisioned it to be and may not even be something that we like or wish to go through but stepping out on faith is a process and it’s about listening and not questioning.

If we could just remember that wherever our destiny lies, God already knows the end result so we have to trust that whatever path we are on is the right one and the one he directed us to. I’m just thankful that he doesn’t give up on us even when we sometimes give up on ourselves. Welcome back focus and creativity!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

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Published in: on July 23, 2015 at 12:34 PM  Comments (4)  
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