Honoring the Legacy and the Purpose

honoring the legacy

So on this day, a day in which we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who was the very definition of courage and living fearlessly, it makes me think about the things that we take for granted. I’m not talking about just being grateful for our health and our family and the luxuries we’ve been able to afford for ourselves. I mean those things are definitely nothing to dismiss in any way. But there are other things that we sometimes don’t appreciate the way that we should like our gifts and our purpose.

Everyone has a gift to be used to fulfill their purpose in this world. I don’t believe that there is any one person that doesn’t have a reason for being on this earth that is not solely specific to just them.  When we waste so much of our time resisting those gifts, questioning that purpose, and second guessing whether or not we are properly equipped to carry out the mission that we were given in this life, we are taking for granted our opportunities to make this world a much better place.

Just think of what it would be like if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had resisted the gifts that God gave him, or questioned the purpose that God gave him at every turn. Imagine if he allowed any fears that he might have had, not just for himself but for his family, do the deciding for him in whether or not he took on the fight that he did. What if he had allowed his doubts to win and let the purpose he was given go unmet. I would hate to think of what this world would be like had Dr. King not honored his gifts and his purpose.

What Dr. King managed to achieve in his short time here on this earth is more than most people accomplish in a lifespan of a hundred years. If we just stop doubting ourselves, our gifts, our purpose, and be appreciative for the opportunity to fulfill that purpose then what kind of change could we continue to make for this world. How many lives could we possibly affect if we just let go of the second-guessing and be grateful that we were equipped with the gifts necessary to make a change in this ever so crazy world. So when honoring Dr. King today remember that he was a man about taking action and go act with purpose!

Jimmetta Carpenter

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The Journey Doesn’t End at a Closed Door

on the other side of the door

As I started this year with all of the excitement and anticipation of anyone dead set on taking their dreams to the next level I sat and thought about something that my pastor preached about a few weeks ago. He talked about not just asking God for what it is that you want out of your life but believing and knowing that God will do for you all that he promised he would do. The important part of his message that he spoke about was how sometimes we allow our impatience and our discouragement hold us back from getting all of the things that we’ve been asking God for. We want what we want right at that moment and somehow we think that if it doesn’t happen on the time table that we had in our mind that it means that it’s never going to happen at all.

I think that that’s what I have been doing, unknowingly of course, but I’ve been so impatient. It sounds funny saying that when I think about the fact that I’ve been at this for over a decade now but if I think back there have been so many moments where I felt like a breakthrough might have been coming but then an obstacle presented itself. Instead of holding steady and pushing through that door which was simply stuck, I turned and went backwards trying to trace my missteps to figure out what I missed that would have made the door open easier and quicker. The truth is, in those moments where I turned and tried to see where I went wrong my energy would have been better spent trying to push through that door that was just stuck, not locked, simply hard to open.

There isn’t a set time where everything is just supposed to magically come together. Just because the results aren’t immediate or as fast paced as you think they should be doesn’t mean you’re not making progress. Everything that is worth having has been won in a struggle. We have to stop putting a time table on our dreams and making it as if they’re not worth striving for if they don’t happen at the precise moment we want them to.

There will always be a different door at the turning point of any moment in your journey and what’s on the other side of it won’t always be easy to access but we can’t give up and we can’t turn back trying to create our own do-over. Now it’s true that there are some doors that were meant to be closed in order for others to open but we can’t confuse what’s not meant for us to open with what just appears to be too hard to open. We have to just push through, no matter how hard we have to push, until we knock that door down. Don’t walk away before you finally get everything that it is you’ve been waiting for. The journey isn’t over just because you have to stay in the same place for a little while longer than you initially planned. Keep pushing through those doors because the next level is coming!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Don’t Over Plan Your Way Out of Opportunities

Missed Opportunities

I woke up today and realized something. I waste entirely too much time planning. I have always been a planner, one who has to have a list for everything and everything in its place before I go for the end goal. When I was younger it worked for me and my love for being the list maker and the consistent planner grew. But as I got older the plans and the lists began to hinder me because what I never accounted for in all my planning and goal setting was life just unfolding as it was going to, as it was inevitably meant to.

I have a tendency to plan so thoroughly that by the time I am done with the plan the opportunity to actually follow through with any of those plans has long passed me by. I will think of something, have a vision for something if you will, and by the time I have worked through all the lists and plans it ends up being too late and someone else has presented something to the world far too similar to mine for me to move ahead with it.

It’s like the story where the man is waiting to be rescued from the sinking boat he’s on and every person that is sent to rescue him he tells them that he is waiting on God to rescue him and to take someone else. When he drowns he asks God why didn’t he save him and God tells him that he sent three different people to rescue him and he refused them. Essentially he sent the opportunity that he needed and he missed it. I feel like I might have missed far too many opportunities that were sent my way because it didn’t fit with the plan, or undoubtedly because I hadn’t finished planning for that opportunity and I was blinded to what was presenting itself right in front of me.

For example, quite a long time ago I had an idea for a show about women living their lives behind prison bars and about what they go through, how they get treated, how they maneuver their new lives. I started making plans and lists but it was never quite as perfect as I needed it to be and before I knew it I was hearing about this new show on Netflix, “Orange is the New Black” and (No, no one stole my idea, I never communicated it to anyone else) I watched it and felt deflated as I saw what I had been planning for unfold from someone else’s imagination. It was my own fault and my own neurosis that kept me from what could’ve been a breakthrough opportunity had I only not wasted so much time trying to make it perfect.

I say all this to say that if you too are like I was, like I have been, stop wasting so much time trying to make everything just right, and planning everything through to a tee. I’m not saying don’t plan at all, or don’t have your lists. I’m saying don’t focus so much on the lists and the plans that you forget the goal, the vision, and so you don’t miss the opportunities that can come your way while you’re busy planning. Sometimes the opportunities can be so small that if you blink you’ll miss it so pay attention to what’s in front of you before your lists and plans are all that you end up with. Until next time… plan less, live more!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Boxes on a Shelf

boxes on a shelf

I was watching a Joel Osteen Sermon this past Sunday and as always his message was something that I could really relate to and that resonated with me right at that moment. He spoke about having faith in yourself and in your abilities enough to ask God for what he already said was yours. You know we pray for the things we want out of life and finagle our way around obstacles in order to achieve them. But I think that perhaps if we were more sure about the fact that those opportunities that we want and that we see for our future are already in God’s plan and that they are already ours to grab ahold of we wouldn’t worry so much while we are praying about whether or not they are going to come to pass.

Joel used a metaphor that our opportunities are like moments that are all in boxes, lined up on shelves, in this massive warehouse in heaven, just waiting for the people whose names are on those boxes to actually ask for them. It made me wonder just how big my box of opportunities would be because I know that I am one of those people that while I am praying for my opportunities and wishing that they would come true, I am also crossing my fingers to cover all my bases.

Crossing your fingers is not a sign of true faith, and neither is worrying while you are praying. It’s so funny because I have no trouble believing in other people’s dreams and in the fact that their opportunities will come to fruition but when it comes to mine, it’s like I let all of those demons of doubt cloud what I know in my heart. I don’t want to get to the end of my journey and see my opportunities sitting in these boxes on some shelf just waiting, unclaimed, and unused.

There’s so many other things that I am unsure of in this life but my purpose, my desire to change this world for the better with my message and through writing and other media avenues, that’s not something that I am unsure of. So while you are seeking your opportunities and praying for the doors of opportunity to be opened for you are you crossing your fingers or are you surrendering in faith? It makes a difference on whether or not the right doors will be open or not.

You can’t receive all of the blessings and opportunity that God has planned for you with your fingers crossed because then you are not fully prepared to receive them. So try having absolute faith that what is meant for your life, the opportunities and changes that you have been waiting for, will come to you. And when you have that absolute faith, that unshakable belief, then ask for ALL of what it is that you want. Not some, not just enough to get by, not just one door and then you’ll worry about the next door when you get to it, ask for it ALL. Aren’t you worth EVERYTHING it is that you want?

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Divine Delays

Divine Delays

There are a lot of things that have been holding me back from taking my writing career to that next level but the biggest thing has been fear. I hadn’t even realized until recently some of the things that I was failing to go after because I was scared that I wouldn’t get it or I wouldn’t accomplish it. It’s funny because without the opportunity falling through that I spoke of the other day I may not have been pushed to begin to do some of these things for the betterment of my writing career that I had been failing to achieve. The reason that I hadn’t achieved them wasn’t due to me being incapable but just me being fearful.

It’s hard to look at a crushing blow as something that may be able to help you in the long run but perhaps that is exactly what that missed opportunity was able to do for me. Perhaps missing out on that one thing helped me open my eyes to the other things that I have been failing to do because of that damaging thing called fear. So perhaps this was a divine delay from God. Not one to hinder me and break me down completely (although that could still be in his plan) but rather to open my eyes to what I was failing to allow myself to achieve.

I suppose that there are some delays in life that are necessary and have to take place in order for you to continue to progress and to grow. We get stagnant sometimes when things are working out well and when things always turn the corner at just the right times. I guess every now and then God has to give us a jolt and a mountain of struggle to remind us that the journey is not over yet and that while we are to enjoy every moment of achievement, we can’t let ourselves get comfortable in the moment we are in because in comfortableness there is no growth. When you get comfortable you don’t want to move, you want to revel in the stage that you are in.

Being uncomfortable makes us move forward, it makes us grow stronger. It makes us press on to our destination instead of standing still. While it is easier said than done to be thankful for the hardships I am in a sense blessed for these divine delays. In some ways they protected me and in others they made me move forward even when all I wanted to do was stand still. So if you are being delayed in your blessing take a good look at whether you are really being delayed or are you actually being propelled forward. Stay uncomfortable and keep moving!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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I Was This Close To Just Giving Up

Was going to give up 2

I want to give up. I want to just throw my hands up as I am knocked down by life yet again and admit that I’m just plain tired and that I don’t have any fight left in me anymore. I want to just succumb to being average and stop trying to fulfill this extraordinary shit that I thought was my damn purpose in this world. I want to just stop having faith in the future that I can’t see ahead of me because how do I even know that any of that shit is going to happen anyway, just because I believe that is what is meant for me. I want to just say my mother was right and I am never going to amount to anything. I want to just say the hell with everything because I just can’t keep trying anymore and keep continually being disappointed every time I think everything is about to turn the corner and it doesn’t.

But I was reminded by a friend yesterday (we’ll just call him Mr. J) that I can’t think that way. I can’t have a defeatist mind set. I have to just accept what has happened, or the changes that are occurring, especially the changes that aren’t good, determine the solution, and then fix the problem the best way that I can, the best way that I know how. He reminded me that you can’t just let life knock you down and then lay there and not get back up. If I were to do that, then the devil wins and he is smiling because he knows that he overpowered my will to serve out my purpose.

The devil has been extremely busy with me these past few weeks, hell months, and I’ve been told that when the devil is really busy with you, that not only means that you are doing something right but that you have a hell of a victory coming your way. If that is in fact true then my victory is going to be unbelievably sweet. It’s hard when you fall to not just want to stay down because getting back up is hard, particularly when you keep getting knocked back down before you can even catch your breath and get all the way back up.

I couldn’t have wrote this post yesterday because I felt completely defeated and everything in the first paragraph of this post was what I was feeling and what I was going to accept. However I reminded myself this morning that I am not average, nor am I meant to live anything but an extraordinary life. I am not a quitter, I am a fighter by nature and I could never look at myself in the mirror if I didn’t give this absolutely everything that I’ve got and nothing less. My mother is most certainly not right about me because I will amount to everything that God has predestined for me. And I may not have complete and total faith in mankind and the man-made obstacles that are going to fall in my path but I do have absolute faith in God and his power to remove those obstacles when he sees fit.

I would say that I picked a profession that lends nothing but struggle and rejection (at least in the beginning) to it but it was what I truly believe I was placed on this earth to do. It picked me, or should I say God picked it for me. I just had an opportunity that I felt would’ve been changed a lot of things for me, for the better, pretty much snatched away from me. It was made even worse by the fact that the friend who came to me with the project (admittedly because she knew it could possibly be a game changer for me) didn’t fight for me to stay on the project, as I felt she should have. Everyone wants to say that perhaps that was God’s way of saying that opportunity wasn’t meant for me and I’m still very far off from believing that this opportunity wasn’t meant for me but I will say that I am not going to let this new fall keep me down. It is their loss, not mine.

So if you too have been thinking about giving up this week, or this month, I am here to say I understand exactly how you feel. I also know that if you do, you will never forgive yourself and you will always be left with this feeling of what if. The wondering will end up crippling you because you will forever live in the past trying to guess what would’ve happened if you had just hung in there a little longer. Just don’t quit. Don’t give up. Keep fighting because it won’t always be this hard (I have to believe that) and on the day when everything starts to fall in place you will look back on this time period where you had the crazy notion to give up and be thankful that you didn’t. So just hang in there, the victory is coming!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Leaders Must First Learn To Follow

To lead you must first follow 2

I know that you’ve heard the saying “Be a leader, and not a follower” a lot, probably more often than you even care to count. This saying is particularly used towards those who are aspiring to run their own businesses and striving for successes of great measure. I always believed in that saying, for the most part and have always tried to steer clear from ever being put in the category of being a follower. However, I recently have come to a realization that you can’t really be a true leader if you have never known what it is to follow.

I mean following is essentially being a team player. Learning how to work within a setting where it is not just your opinion that matters and things don’t just rely on what you say but on what others say or do as well. After all, once you reach your leadership status, you are asking others that are working for you to be that team player right, and follow you on your journey to help build your dream and your legacy up. Is it not only fair that you, the leader, would have some knowledge of what it is like to be a part of a team, to work with others to form a well working collaboration, to in essence, follow.

How can you blindly ask people to do something for you that you have never at one time had to do for anyone else? You can’t. In all actuality, unless someone was just born into wealth and an already built legacy, you have to follow for quite some time before you ever get to lead anyone. So where did this saying come from? Where did people get the idea that following at some point in your life, is a bad thing? Yes you have people who are natural born leaders but they too must first be followers before they can learn how to lead anyone.

I think that sometimes people get hung up on this saying and pass up on many opportunities that would allow growth within themselves because they don’t want to be labeled as a follower. I myself have done that. Passed on something that would mean I am helping someone else build up their dream but yet taking away from working on building up my own. Not even realizing at the time that those whose dreams that I help to build can then show me the way to in turn build up my own. I may have not seen certain situations for the opportunities that they truly were, all because I didn’t want anyone to ever see me as a follower and not the leader I know I was destined to be.

But see the good thing about getting older and making certain mistakes is that you also get wiser and learn how to work smarter. One of the bigger lessons that I am learning now is that in order to lead you must first learn how to follow. It is the lessons that you learn while following others that you can then take into your journey of leadership. So remember that before you turn your back on opportunities that require you to follow all because you don’t like that label. All leaders were once followers. Stay focused and pay attention!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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