Pushing the Boundaries

So I did it! I did my first live stream this past weekend and I’m going to be honest, I did not hit it out of the park. I wasn’t necessarily planning to hit a home run here because if you know anything about me then you know I am terrified when it comes to doing something new, in particular something new that terrifies me in the first place. I’m never eager to fail at anything but I have been doing some growing these past few years, both spiritually and mentally, so I get that in order to succeed at anything there are going to be a few failures along the way because perfect is not a realistic goal. Could it have gone better? Yes! Do I regret doing it even though I feel I could’ve done much better? No! Just in the way that I felt terrified when I started my YouTube channel about being on camera to begin with but then gradually adapted to it and even liking it.

Sometimes doing things that we don’t necessarily want to do can end up being the best thing that we’ve ever done and if we just focused on the fact that it scares us then we would never much of anything.  It’s scary to grow past the box that you have learned to maneuver yourself in. You get accustomed to things being just the way you like them and in a way that doesn’t require you to have to learn anything new or do something you’re not used to doing and in my case, someone who has extreme anxiety and OCD and a nearly paralyzing fear of change, it can feel pretty good to know what to expect out of every day.  But then you never end up growing if it stays that way and to succeed in life with anything there has to be growth.

It’s something that I’m learning along this journey and something that definitely makes me feel uncomfortable. I suppose we all have two choices in the ladder of success. We can hold on to the rung that we’re on with the knowledge that as long as we hold on tight we won’t fall, we’ll stay right where we are. Or, we can have faith that if you just carefully move forward and grab one rung at a time, even knowing that there is a possibility of falling, that God will always be your safety net, thus remaining cautious yet still in motion. 

We can’t hold on at the same level forever, not if we ever expect to get anywhere. Success lies in the ability to reach for the next rung of the ladder and having faith that you won’t fall and if you do that God will be there to catch you and get you back on track. We can’t live in our comfort zones forever, and I’m not sure we should really want to even if we could.

Until next time… #BeBold #BeCourageous #BeBrave

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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The Patches in Our Quilts

I was listening to an old Tyler Perry acceptance speech that talked about his grandmother’s quilt and how at first he was ashamed of the quilt his grandmother had left him because it wasn’t appealing to the eye. He spoke about learning how to eventually appreciate the patches in his grandmother’s quilt because he had to come to realize that every patch that went into making the quilt she left him told a story of an area in her life and her quilt was the overall story of her life and she was leaving that to him. Initially he hadn’t even understood the enormity of the legacy she had left him. It made me think about whether or not we always understand the value of our patches.

I have often at different points in my life of course, felt shame for some tough lessons I had to learn the hard way. I’ve felt regret for opportunities that I have been too afraid to take and for decisions that I couldn’t take back.  Now that I have just crossed into my forties and I have spent the last few years growing both spiritually and mentally, I have come to believe that those moments in my life that I used to want to take back have made me who I am, for better or for worse.

While I would have loved not to have learned some of the lessons I’ve learned the hard way I wonder if I would have ever learned them otherwise.  Would I have ever been pushed forward without the hardships that I’ve had? If I hadn’t been knocked down so many times would I have developed the tenacity and persistence to be able to keep getting back up and pushing harder for what I want?

All of our experiences in life give us something to take into the next phase of our journeys’. They prepare us and toughen us up for what will undoubtedly be a bumpy road to the success you’re striving for.  The failures that you’ve had in life are not what you should dwell on because those failures mean that you actually tried. One thing is for certain and that is that you can’t succeed at anything without ever having tried. 

My mistakes are what have strengthened me and they are patches in my life’s quilt. I am very proud to sew them together and see just how far I’ve come even if I still have quite a ways to go.  I hope to be able to pass the quilt of my life down to my daughter so that she can then be able to know my story. Perhaps she will add her own patches to the quilt to pass down to her kids in the future.  Everyone needs to be proud of the patches that they have in their quilts and not just proud but understand the value in every single patch.

Until next time… #BeBold #BeFearless #BeGateful

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

https://write-2-be.com/

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We Can’t Judge Someone Else’s Walk

When someone dies, celebrity or otherwise, there is always a slew of prayers and condolences going out to the family and a wave of Rest In Peace’s throughout social media. It’s the ordinary person’s way of expressing their sadness for the loss of life and I think it’s wonderful that we show that expression of sorrow and compassion for the family and friends that are left behind. What I don’t understand is those who will judge that person’s lifestyle and assume to know what their relationship may or may not have been with God (thus making ignorant claims that the person isn’t going to heaven because of the life they’ve lead) as if they were somehow privy to all of their private moments.

One’s relationship with God is their own and seemingly private and I think that it annoys me when people quote parts of the bible without remembering some of the other crucial parts of it. Now I will admit that I can not quote nearly any of the bible other than some of my most favorite scriptures but I know that in the bible it makes it clear that God loved both sinners and saints equally and that he is unbelievably forgiving to those who have been deemed “unredeemable” to the rest of the world.

I don’t make a practice of trying to figure out what someone else’s relationship with God is, for one because I’m still working on strengthening my own. I know that each person will have their own special bond and only God knows what’s in someone’s heart. I just question where some get the nerve to judge the life anyone has lead and determine for themselves where they are going when their spirit leaves this earth. I also distinctly remember the bible saying (and I’m paraphrasing here) ‘judge not, lest ye be judged’ so I think that we should spend more time concerning ourselves with our own walk in life and making sure that what we’re doing is what we perceive is the right thing to do for us and our own journey, spiritually, personally, and professionally. 

We spend far too much time judging other people for things that we can’t possibly know and frankly for things that have absolutely nothing to do with the path that we are currently on. I think I spent far too much time myself, in my younger years, worrying about what everyone else was doing in relation to me, instead of just focusing on my journey, and what I was doing and how I was going to get to where I needed to be. We get sidetracked trying to determine what other people are doing with their lives and where they might go at the end of it and really it’s not for us to say.

When we lose someone, or when someone we love or admire and are inspired by passes on I would hope that we focus on the wisdom they imparted and on the gifts they gave to the world (I don’t mean material or monetary gifts) and how they enriched our lives. I would hope that the worst things or mistakes we’ve ever made in our lives would not be the way that others judged the legacy that we leave behind. We should always strive to remember the best that someone had to offer this world, never the worst.  I hope that you always think before you judge the walk of another person.

Until next time… #BeMindful #BeEncourged #BeGrateful

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

https://write-2-be.com/

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Its Always a Good Day to Have a Good Day

I have a plaque sitting on my new desk that says ‘It’s A Good Day to Have a Good Day’ (I added always in the title of this blog for emphasis on remembering this fact) and I knew when I say this that I need this for my office because I need that daily reminder. Since I’ve been on my spiritual journey and deepening my relationship with God I have tried to keep a positive attitude about everything and to even find the silver lining or the lesson in everything that happens. I truly believe that while everything that happens to us in life won’t be good and may not have been planned or what we wanted to happen, it is our reaction to the things that happen that will inevitably allow us to pull through any given obstacle thrown our way. 

I’m having one of those days where I needed to be reminded of the fact that I make the choice of whether it’s going to be a good day or not and where I have to try to figure out the lesson in the obstacle. I can choose to brood all day and complain about what happened and how unfair it was and how it wasn’t handled correctly by other parties but ultimately I still have to look at what I should have done to avoid the obstacle.  What good is complaining about something for the rest of the day when those complaints will not change the outcome? The only thing that will change it is to handle it, rectify the issue behind it so that it doesn’t happen again, and move on with the rest of my day and what needs to be done.

I’ve been that person who has complained all day and then the rest of the day ends up being wasted because I choose to sit in that one bad moment of the day and allow it to bloom into the rest of the day. I have worked really hard to change that way of thinking and I suppose today was a testament of that.

I am choosing to make the rest of this day matter and to make it, not only a good day, but a great day. I am alive, I am seemingly healthy (well I need to lose some weight but I’m working on it), and I have a rood over my head. I am blessed beyond measure and that alone makes it a very good day. So no matter what happens in your day, in your week, in your month, or in your year, make the choice to have a good day. Life really is what you make it!

Until next time… #BeGrateful #BeMindful #BeBlessed

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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Have You Picked Up Your Broom Yet?

One of my best friends made a Facebook Live video yesterday with a message from God that was on her spirit to share and it was an amazing word that we all need to hear and be reminded of. She spoke about (I’m paraphrasing) blessings and God bestowing many blessings upon us but that they may not always look like what we thought they would.

We tend to have these expectations of what we think God should bless us with (me included) and if they don’t look almost exactly like what we want we get the notion that God somehow has let us down and didn’t keep his word to us. But His word didn’t say that he would give us exactly what we asked for in the form in which we asked for it. He said he would bless us exceedingly and abundantly but he never gave us the exact method in which those blessings would be bestowed.

Sometimes He says yes to our prayers and He opens a door that we were waiting on to be opened. Sometimes He says no and He closes a door that we had been hesitant to close on our own (which is still a blessing, trust me). Then there are other times where He simply says WAIT, and He gives us a broom and tells us that we need to sweep our front porch and get our house in order first before he can open that door and heap the blessings he has stored up for us. It’s that waiting period of time that challenges us the most because it’s not a yes and it’s not a no either so you tend to think that you’re in limbo, this holding pattern so to speak, without any answers. But in actuality it is an answer and very much still a blessing.

See, God doesn’t have to give us that broom to sweep our front porch with. He doesn’t have to give us a chance to even get our lives together because let’s be honest, hasn’t He given us countless chances already. If God is giving you a broom and you’re in the waiting room recognize just how blessed you really are because he is giving you time.

He is telling you that He has something special for you and He wants you to have it but you need to be ready because He has a purpose for you. It’s a purpose that He’s not entrusting to anyone else but you. Don’t just let your broom sit in the corner and just let time go by while you keep wondering where your blessings are. Pick up that broom and get to sweeping because He’s waiting on YOU! Be thankful for the broom!

Until next time… #BePatient #BeWilling #BeReady

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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With the Mountains Comes the Valleys

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

~ Psalm 23 (KJV)

I am terrified of heights and yet I still desire to reach the top of the mountain. By that I am specifically speaking of the mountain of success. The thing is that I would really like to skip all of the rock bottom parts of the journey, along with the valleys and pitfalls that you are going to inevitably go through in order to get to the top of said mountain. I basically just want to zip line my way to the top (no, no I don’t because zip lining is extremely high up lol) and say I made it. I mean don’t all of us wish that we could just go from dreaming really big to completing the dream in a nanosecond? But of course that is not the reality that we live in. It is also probably not the best way to be a well rounded human being and serve a purposeful life.

I read something in my devotional the other day that made a really good point that I think we should all try to keep in mind when we start to get frustrated with whatever journey we are on. It referred to Psalms 23 and talked about going through the valley in order to get to the mountaintop. The hard times that we go through are what help to produce even greater results.

God gives us many battles along our path in order to strengthen us for the ultimate purpose that he has for our lives. Those obstacles that we encounter are what will build up the overall strength that we’re going to need once we reach the top of that mountain. Keep in mind that reaching the top of the mountain (i.e. reaching the level of success that you’re aiming for) in no way means that the hard work is done. Often times the hard work is only just beginning once you get into fulfilling your actual purpose. It just shifts into a different kind of work and the goal posts for what you want to accomplish usually changes.

So just remember that those valleys that you (and yes me too) keep trying to avoid walking through, the parts of the path that you keep wishing away, those are the tools that you need for when you reach the top of that mountain. You can’t get to the top of any mountain without first walking your way through the valleys. Until next time… #BeGrateful #BeMindful #BePatient

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

https://write-2-be.com/

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Are You Willing to Stand Out?

“You can’t stand out unless you are willing to be outstanding!” ~Bishop John A. Cherry II   

The message from my Pastor this past Sunday via live stream church service was about setting things in order in our lives. He stressed that in this current time we should not only be using our time to get things back on track in our everyday lives (that is of course if you entered into this Pandemic with things being off track—as I did) but he also spoke to the efforts we must consciously make to keep them moving forward and in the right direction to fulfill your purpose. A part of those efforts have to include being willing to stand out and a large reason as to why anyone stands out is by doing something worth noticing.

I desire a career that will give me a platform with the ability to use my words and other creative talents to make big and bold changes, not just within the literary world, but in the hearts of people in general. Yet I spend a lot of time trying to not be noticed, to not do anything that any one person can single me out for. I try to separate my personal from my professional, often times hoping the two will never meet but that is not because I don’t in fact desire to change this world in a big bold way. It is because I fear that I won’t change this world with any real significance and if I fail to be of good use to this world somehow, then I can’t be singled out for not fulfilling my purpose. As if God wouldn’t automatically know that I was too busy trying to hide my light instead of focusing on doing what He called me to do which would directly place me into the path with the most light.

I was asked once why I don’t share certain things that I do on my professional pages, onto my personal social media pages and I didn’t really have a good answer for them. I suppose I’m too afraid that I’ll fail and that way if you see the Author version of me fail it’s not like you saw the real me fail. If you see my magazine fail, it’s not like you saw me fail. There’s also the thing about me being apprehensive about asking people I know in my personal life to support my professional endeavors. It’s not by any means because I don’t want their support. It’s because I’m afraid I won’t get it anyway and if I don’t ask I don’t have to hear someone I know personally, someone who I might have thought was for me, and wanted me to succeed, blatantly refuse to be supportive of my art. I guess it would be a little hurtful and thus I don’t ask. However, I leave out all of those who would by doing that.

Now I can’t promise to change this practice overnight and suddenly merge the personal side of me with the professional, because we are in fact one in the same. I will acknowledge that I need to be a little more willing to share my light and not be afraid of the result, whatever that may be. I do want big things out of my life. I have a big, and bold legacy that I would like to leave behind for my daughter and any children she may have in the future. I also want to be someone who empowers others to live out their dreams, especially because I didn’t really have anyone to empower me to live out mine. But I can’t do any of that if I am too afraid to stand out. If I’m not willing to do anything outstanding, then how can I ever truly inspire others to be? So if you are dimming your light for the sake of someone else, don’t! Let your light shine bright and be the outstanding and amazing person that you were always meant to be. The world needs your light! Until next time… #BeBrave #BeBright #BeOutstanding

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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Reflection In Isolation

I know this quarantine has been hard on a lot of people and now that things are seemingly getting back to business as usual (which I don’t feel that it should be by the way) people are beginning to go back to how they did things before the global pandemic. I find it difficult to believe that anyone can go through all of this, the experiences that it has put us through as a country, the emotions that we have felt watching some many people’s lives senselessly lost, without being changed in the way you do things and the way that you react to situations and just the way you treat people in general but I know that so many people will go back to just being however they were beforehand, unchanged and seemingly un-phased.

For me this quarantine has been a time to reflect and get things in order, or at least in better order than they were when we went into lockdown. I have been on a spiritual growth journey for a while now and I realize I still have so much more to learn and discover on this journey, not just about myself, but also about my love for God and more importantly about God’s love for me, his child. This time of isolated reflection has allowed me to really truly focus on the important things and to do things that I was letting fear stop me from doing before.

I was made more aware during this quarantine of all of the gifts and talents that God gave me that I wasn’t using for the purpose that He wanted me to use them for, or even to the best of my own abilities at the very least. I had been wasting so much time and all because of being afraid of the possibility of not having enough time to begin with. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? The old me, who I was before going on this spiritual journey and experience of discovery, would have been crippled by this global pandemic. I would have been overly paranoid, even more cautious, and honestly, given the financial situation that I was in before we went into quarantine, I would have sunken into yet another bout of deep depression and holed up in the bed barely taking care of myself.

However, the person that I have blossomed into has allowed the knowledge that I have gained spiritually through reading my Bible, my devotionals, and my every day conversations with God, to provide me with the peace that I need to know what I need to do in any given situation. And for the times that I still don’t know what to do, the peace of knowing that God does and that he will guide me and would never let any harm come to me that he didn’t think that I can handle. I know that it sounds crazy given the times that we’re in right now but I really do feel more at peace now than I have ever felt in my life.

It’s not that I don’t worry deeply for those who have suffered loss or for the safety of all of our children and family members because I do. It’s not that I don’t have any deep feelings about the social unrest that is taking place and the state of the black community in the midst of this pandemic because I do. I feel so deeply that I can’t even watch the news anymore on a constant loop the way that I used to because I like feeling at peace and I like not being in a reoccurring state of depression and what’s best more me mentally is to not see it every single day. I know that some people see that as turning a blind eye but I have my ways of doing my part, ways that God has led me to and guided me towards, but I have to maintain my peace and sanity to do it.

I have gotten so much out of this time of isolation and reflection and I want to take the nuggets of wisdom that I have been gathering along with the peace that has been residing within me and I want to encourage anyone who is not okay and who is heavily burdened with worry and fear and struggling to feel some sense of peace to seek that peace in the knowledge that God already knows how everything is going to turn out. In essence whatever is going to happen was always going to happen and as troubling as that may seem there is nothing that you can do to stop what was already predestined. What you can do is figure out what part you are going to play in the solution and in the aftermath. We all have our roles to play but we shouldn’t waste time on anything that doesn’t aide our purpose and that role. Until next time #BeInFaith #BeatPeace #BeEmpowered

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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There Is Reward in the Waiting

I know that this quarantine has been especially difficult for quite a number of people. It’s been stressful and uncertain and I’ve heard a lot of people saying that they have had a hard time focusing, on anything. I truly sympathize with them and I can understand those feelings of insecurity in these times. However, if I’m being honest, this time has been not only a wake up call for me in regard to my entrepreneurship, but a time of reset and of shifting.

In truth if not for this quarantine I would have been homeless by now and it wouldn’t have been anyone’s fault but my own. I wouldn’t have had the time that I needed to refocus and to essentially hit the reset button. God has truly been blessing me throughout this time of isolation and reflection. The more time I have put into my spiritual growth and my devotional and prayer time with Him the more he has started to guide me towards my purpose and show me that He will always provide me with what I need when it is time for me to have it.

I have been more driven and focused in terms of my own business endeavors and getting my books ready to be published soon. I have started my own YouTube channel, which I can honestly say I might not have put aside my fear long enough to do but for this quarantine experience. In fact a lot of my fears (which are still present by the way) have been courageously overcome because I had no choice but to get past them. It was almost like my hand was forced and God put some extra courage inside of me to help me fight the anxiety and panic that I would normally feel when trying things I don’t feel comfortable doing. I have begun to feel some degree of comfort in things that I thought I would never bring myself to do. I have also caught up on some past debts that I had before going into quarantine and I am restructuring things, with some spiritual guidance of course, so that things can remain in a good place and continue to get better.

The message this past Sunday by my Pastor on the live stream reminded me that it is usually when things are becoming settled and seemingly in a good position when the temptation comes in to either get complacent or even to get too content and not push further towards my goals. There’s also the possibility that a wrench could get thrown into things and I could become tempted to quit or give up. Those moments will be the moments that I will need to hold onto my faith and trust in God even more.

I have held onto my faith and trust all of this time and I’m not going to lie and say that the desire to throw in the towel wasn’t strong at times but I am just starting to see the benefits to waiting on God and being patient in knowing that my timing isn’t always what is best and to rely on the timing that he has already preset for me. And because I know that God only wants the best for me and he would never allow me to go through anything that I can’t handle or push through then I know that even if today I were to suddenly be on unstable footing again then there must be a purpose for it and God must have a designed plan and that everything will be okay because HE said it would.

If you are feeling tempted to quit right now, to just give up on all of the dreams and plans that you have, or that you feel God has called you to, don’t. He would never give you a purpose and a gift for it to never be used. He doesn’t give you a destiny that He doesn’t intend for you to fulfill. You just have to remember that it’s not in your time, it is in His time and you can’t be tempted to give in just because your dreams require you to have a little bit more patience. Are you willing to “Wait For It? (and yes that was most certainly a Hamilton reference lol)… Until next time…#BeinFaith #BeDiligent #BePatient

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

https://write-2-be.com/

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The Why Isn’t Always Our Business

In figuring out what your purpose is, what God wants you to do with the time that HE has given you here on this earth, sometimes it’s hard to know the reasons why. Not necessarily why HE gave you the overall purpose, but in terms of the steps that HE guides you through along the way in order to reach the overall goal, you tend to wonder why this step.

I discovered the Author Tube Community on YouTube a little more than a year and a half ago but I wasn’t really sure it was something that I was going to entertain being a part of. I watched other people’s channels and I loved watching how they navigated their writing careers and how their writing routines made them more productive and of course the writing advice they had to give but it was never going to go past me just watching a few channels here and there. At least that’s what I thought anyway.

I kept feeling pulled to that Author Tube community and since I didn’t really have a solid group of writer friends to interact with (just one or two people spread out) it seemed like a good way to get that fix I needed for having a sense of writing camaraderie with others. Even then, I had no plans on actually making a channel and putting videos up there, even though I had been told countless times before I discovered this authortube that I should for other creative purposes. I just wanted to watch, comment here and there, gain some knowledge and perspectives other than my own, and that was that.

Now I know this is going to sound weird but I truly felt like God was telling me that I needed to start an AuthorTube channel of my own, that I needed to put in some real effort towards the inevitable goal to making this a part of my platform. I didn’t understand it. After all, doesn’t God know that I have stage fright and how uncomfortable I am in front of people, even if they’re not physically there in front of me? Doesn’t God know that I break out in a panic just being behind a camera and knowing that someone somewhere is going to see this? I kept wondering why God would want me to embarrass myself on camera like that (because I stumble on my words when I’m nervous) and how that could possibly lead me to my purpose.

Well if I can remind you all here, for those who have been reading my blog for a while, that one of my main goals that I plan to do in the future is to develop an anti-bullying program, that of course will encompass a series of children’s and middle grade books centered on the topic and will also involve public presentations and seminars. That means some way or another I was going to have to end up getting comfortable speaking in public right? Okay so back to starting up this YouTube channel that I was extremely resistant to doing. I kept being led to do it and it sounds silly because it’s a YouTube channel right so why would God have that specific plan for me.

As I was telling a friend of mine the other day, I’m not saying that it was specifically about the YouTube channel per say, but rather it was about getting past those fears of being on camera, those panicky emotions about having people see and hear me and dreading the results. I think it was about the fact that God was trying to figure out how HE was going to start moving me in the direction to possibly speak in public if I couldn’t even manage to get around speaking on camera, with no one actually in front of me, just the knowledge of the fact that people would see it. So I was finally obedient and I did it and I’ve been on there for a little over a month now and my channel is growing, slowly, but it is growing and oddly enough, while I thought no one would actually care what I had to say, there are people there that really like my channel. I’ve even recently been placed on a couple of different authortubers list highlighting smaller channels that people should watch and I was delighted.

In just such a short time I am really starting to feel my confidence growing in getting behind the camera and while the panic is still there at times, it’s not quite as debilitating as it was that very first time I sat down to film. It’s done so much for me and my growing ease at speaking on camera already and I am grateful. I am thankful that I stopped asking God why HE wanted me to do something and instead I just did it.

Sometimes we just have to stop asking a whole bunch of questions that we’re really not ever going to know that answers to until we actually complete what was asked of us. It’s not our business to always know the why of it all. If you are being guided by God to do something (make sure it’s really by God first) don’t put your energy into a million and one questions, just do it. He asks that we trust in his guidance and have faith that he would never steer us wrong so just trust that the one who has given you your purpose is the best one to show you the way. Until next time… #BeOpen #BeWilling #BeinFaith

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

https://write-2-be.com/

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