From a Different Perspective

I have been working on my spiritual growth for the last few years now, trying to get more rooted in relying on God’s word and not worrying about things that I have no control over. This journey has not been an easy one, particularly because it is my innate instinct that when things go wrong I worry and panic relentlessly, almost bringing about additional health issues that are caused by the stress of worrying. One of the main things that I truly agonize about is what I am going to leave behind in this world as my legacy (aside from my daughter of course) because I just want to do good for other people. The problem is that I have been going through so many of my own struggles recently and I still haven’t gotten back on track and it’s so frustrating. It bothers me that I am still not in the position that I need to be in to be able to help other people.

Then I gained a new perspective on the struggles that I am going through and it clicked with a message my pastor has been preaching on lately. The gist of the message is that the struggles we sometimes go through are oftentimes God’s way of working on what needs to be fixed or repaired within us in order to get us ready to be used for the purpose that he has for us. Whatever I am going through is going to prepare me and strengthen me for the next level that God is getting ready for me to walk into. There is so much that I want to do in this world, not just for my child and the children I know but for other people’s children, for people less fortunate, for people in need of help that get overlooked so often.

I want to take some of the struggles that I’ve had over the last couple of years and help others with those same struggles but I have to first finish preparing myself to do that. So in seeing these struggles in a new light, as preparation, it makes me take a look specifically at the lessons to be gained from them and what each issue has to teach me. I don’t believe that God would allow me to go through anything that I can’t handle and armed with his guidance and his word I will get through these struggles and I will get myself into a firm position so that I can fulfill the purpose that I am here for which is helping others using my creative gifts. What lessons have your past struggles been able to teach you? Until next time… #BeOpen #BePrepared #BeinFaith

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

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There May Not Be a Tomorrow

So unless you don’t own a television or have a Facebook account, or any other form of social media, then you have heard the devastating news that legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant and his beautiful talented daughter died in a helicopter crash on Sunday along with two other teammates of hers, their parents, the pilot, and the assistant coach to the girls’ basketball team. The news was, to put it mildly, shocking and honestly when I first heard it I had to ask was this another one of those death hoax things going around on the internet. Sadly the news was true and surreal.

Any time someone dies it sends your mind into overdrive thinking so many different thoughts you can hardly keep them straight. However, in instances like this with someone of this stature, someone who seemed almost invincible, and who had such a huge impact on the lives of so many people that he had never even met, it just hits a bit differently. You look at the legacy of someone like him and you start to think about the inspiring words he has said and the amazing things that he has done and the things that he still had on his heart to do. You almost immediately can feel how big of a loss this is for his family, his friends, his fans, and the lives that he had yet to touch.

There are many things that can be said about Kobe Bryant, whether you were a fan of his or not, and that is that he had tremendous work ethic and his ambition was certainly something to strive for. He definitely lived his life to the fullest with purpose and with intention. For that very reason, while I’m sure there are many things that he wanted to do with his second act after retiring from basketball, I don’t think he left this earth with any regrets as to the legacy he was leaving behind because he never let any grass grow under his feet. He had a plan when he was younger about what he was going to do with his life and he committed to that plan and much the same way he planned out his basketball career at a young age, he had planned out his retirement as well and he made strides to accomplish those goals with every decision he made.

We all think that we have forever to do something on this earth with our lives. We have these massive plans for what we want to do years from now but the truth is that we don’t even know if we’ll get tomorrow, let alone years from now. We all have loved ones that we may not talk to on a regular basis or that we hold some kind of anger towards and are withholding forgiveness for some distant time in the future when we can forgive them at our leisure but what if that day doesn’t come.

We don’t know how much time any of us has on this earth and at any moment our time could be up. Don’t keep putting off until tomorrow the things that you want to accomplish in your life and more importantly don’t keep waiting to tell the people you love how you feel about them. It shouldn’t take moments like the death of someone who even after accomplishing so much still had such a promising future in order to get people to stop letting the grass grow under their feet (myself included) and putting things off until some tomorrow that may never come. You are here for a purpose so stop planning for a big future and start living today. Stop thinking people know how you feel and just tell them. Stop saying I’ll forgive them later and forgive them now. Until next time #BePresent #BeMindful #BeinFaith

Jimmetta Carpenter

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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

Writer/Editor

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Time That Is Not Our Own

It’s a brand New Year, in a brand new decade and I don’t know about you guys but I have no more time to waste. I’ve been thinking a lot about the time that we spend doing things that do not lend themselves to the purpose that we are placed on this earth for, whatever that purpose may be for you. We let our presumed obligations and even our loving hearts guilt us into giving time to things that will not eventually bear fruit and often leaves us with unfinished goals.

I use to believe that to think of myself first would be completely selfish and just not being a good servant of God and the purpose that he has for me. However, in having a recent conversation with a friend of mine, Ms. L., I remembered something very important. She reminded me that I am God’s child too. I mean it’s not that I don’t know that already but sometimes I forget that focusing on me doesn’t mean that I suddenly don’t care about others. Oftentimes we are more worried about tending to someone else’s needs (especially if you have children) and having compassion for what other people might want that we forget about what might be best for us.

When it comes to following our dreams and living out our purpose, we tend to put time into things, and often people, who take us away from what it is we are supposed to be focused on. We feel like we owe them that time, our time, when in reality, we don’t owe anyone else our time. In fact our time is not even ours to give away. The time that we have here on this earth is God’s time, in which he is entrusting us to accomplish certain goals and tasks, at certain intervals of our lives, for the betterment of an end result that is not even for us to see.

This is in no way me saying that other people don’t matter. In fact it is quite the opposite. Sometimes what we are supposed to be spending our time on will eventually better the lives of someone else who needs it. However, if we are not in the right place in our journey, at the precise time that we were designated to get there, then we will have missed that opportunity to be the blessing in someone else’s life that we were supposed to be, all because we devoted time to something else that was not even our mission to begin with.

We shouldn’t be made to feel guilty if we can not devote time to things or people the way that we might have been able to when we weren’t sure what our purpose was. Time is precious and it’s not promised to anyone and we have to be careful with what we do with it because there are important things that need to be done while we are still here to do them. The time that you have been given is the time that God has given you in order to do with it what he wants you to do with it. We don’t owe that time to anyone else. So this year, let’s start placing the focus back on ourselves and let’s not waste anymore time that isn’t ours to waste in the first place. Until next time… #BeFocused #BeMindful #BeProductive

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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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

Writer/Editor

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Moving Away From the Comfort Zone I’m Stuck In

Hello all!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. This year has been a very trying one so far and I have truly been struggling with a lot of things financially and with my writing. The things I’ve been going through lately have brought on another bout of depression and along with it a layer of anxiety as well. It has become a bit of a hindrance to my writing on many levels which is frustrating to say the least. The past two weeks in particular had left me in a place that I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen, I simply just had to pray about it, ask others around me that cared about me to pray for me, and leave it up to God.

My mother made a statement questioning why God would allow me to go through what I’m going through and why would this be happening right now and my only response was that HE has a reason for everything and honesty the situation was probably more of a result of all the times that I tried to do things my own way and not HIS way. In fact, I think that’s what this particular feeling of rock bottom left me with. I was trying to gain understanding as to what the reason was and I figured it out, or at least I believe I figured out what HE was trying to get me to understand.

I have all of these gifts and talents and plenty of ideas as to the ways to put them to use in order to provide the things that I need but I keep waiting for things to be perfect before making any moves to attempt any of those ideas. I have books that could have been published but for this reason or that I didn’t feel like it was perfect enough to put out there. I have an idea for a line of T-shirts that I have been told by multiple people would be a great idea and that they would love to get one when I put them out there but because I can’t get one thing perfect for them I won’t put them out there. I’ve been told and have had the feeling several times that it’s time to take this blog and my magazine to the next level and start a YouTube channel or Podcast but because I don’t consider myself camera friendly (mind you that’s my assessment, not others assessment of me) or because I have a fear that people won’t listen or that it won’t be helpful to others like I want it to be I haven’t even moved towards making that idea a reality.

All of these things that God has placed on my heart to do, quite frankly because they pull me out of my comfort zone, and I haven’t done them because I keep having this notion that they’re supposed to be perfect. I think that this most recent situation has made me realize I have to stop ignoring what I know I’m supposed to be doing and moving towards because it’s uncomfortable and because things won’t be able to be perfect because logically I know that nothing is ever going to be perfect and if I’m really honest with myself, some of the most beautifully constructed things are made beautiful by the imperfections that they possess.

Now I don’t enjoy rock bottom by any means, but I have to say that this experience has taught me something about myself and just reaffirmed my faith in God and the path that HE is getting ready to take me on. I’m not out of the woods just yet (in terms of the current situation) but I truly believe that I can see HIS footsteps much clearer now, guiding me out of troubled waters. Until the next time… #BeFearless #BeinFaith

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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In the Moments When You Think You’ve Failed

 

 

failing post

I was having a moment the other day. Actually I had a few moments over the course of the past weekend. You know those moments when you just question and second guess every single little thing that you’re doing because you’re not sure if you’re really doing anything right. There were some things that weren’t going right in my actual writing the other day so it made me question whether I’m even still any good at this writing thing I love so much or am I just wasting my time. I looked at my numbers (my stats)on my blog posts and on the posts on the magazine and even though they were going up the increase just wasn’t matching up with the effort that I was putting in so it made me wonder if I was doing enough or was I just not good enough in that department either.

There were some other little personal things that I was having issues with which I’d rather not go into detail about that were making me question myself as well. Then my daughter and I had a, how shall I say, difference of opinion on something that made her upset with me (when I felt like there wasn’t any reason for her to be—typical teenage stuff) and because of all of the other little moments I had been having I was already feeling on the edge of having my emotions spill over so that moment with her just made me feel like I was now failing in the mom department as well. I’m not going to lie, I shed a few tears this past weekend because I just felt like nothing I was doing was good enough or right and I felt like I was literally failing at everything.

Then I went to church Sunday and my pastor’s message was about being ready to (fittingly enough) deal with adversity in life. He talked about how adversity makes you stronger and how nothing you ever achieve in life will be achieved without going through some great adversity. He talked about trusting in the relationship that you have with God and in the fact that while it may often times seem like things aren’t going right, that they aren’t going just the way you think they ought to go, and even how sometimes it may seem like the path you’ve chosen is wrong because of the turmoil or hard times you may be going through, that you have to not only trust God through the hard times or the uncertainties, but you have to trust that the relationship that you have built with God is strong enough to get you through those times until you reach the light on the other end of what seems like total darkness.

It’s not the ease of life that is what lets us know that we are fulfilling the purpose we are here to fulfill, but rather the strength that we discover in ourselves when we have come out of the hard times. That strength that propels us forward and allows us to keep moving, battle scars and all, to the next level is what lets us know that in the end we only fail if we never put up a fight. So even though I had my moments where I felt like I was failing at everything that I was doing, I realized on Sunday, that as long as I was still trying, still fighting to get my message out, fighting to fulfill my purpose, fighting to be a good mom and raise my child in the best way that I possibly can, I may not do everything perfect and I may make a lot more mistakes along the way but at least I’m fighting. That alone means I’m winning!

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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