I Can’t Control What I Can’t Control

The world has gone crazy and everyone is losing their mind. Well not everyone but you get it, you know what’s going on. More recently things have just gotten even more unbearable for the vast majority of people and there are a lot of people who are completely stressed out. I’m not saying that I don’t feel the frustration or the stress and worry but I will say because I have tapped into more spiritual sustenance I am not pulling my hair out (like my sister is lol) and panicking. I stay reading my devotionals and the Bible, praying and talking to God and I know that it sounds a little simplistic but it has been working for me and I feel an incredible sense of peace.

Someone asked me recently how am I not freaking out and going crazy and my response was simply “I can’t control what I can’t control” to which they replied “huh”? Basically there are things that I can control but there are far more things that happen in this world that I just have absolutely no control over. Those are the things that I can’t control and I just am not going to worry and stress about what I have no control over.

When it comes to what is happening in the world of politics right now, which my sister is literally freaking out over and reacting to every news sound bite and news story that comes out about you know who and this election, while I am also worried and concerned for the state of this country I just can’t give that amount of energy to worrying about something in which the only bit of control that I have is to be at the polls on November 3rd (COVID be damned) and stand in line for however long it takes to cast my vote. That is the only thing I can control unless I had any plans on running for some sort of political office (which I don’t).

However, this mantra that I’ve enacted for myself I am now trying to also apply it to my writing as well. I am really hard on myself when it comes to all things writing because I want things to be perfect, or as perfect as possible, and there are so many things that I want to be able to do and I don’t want to have to give up any of the project ideas I’ve had for any reason. That said, when it comes to the ever present procrastination that I have done and am currently doing, it stems from things that I just have no power over.

I hesitate on putting my work out and sometimes stall the process, yeah because I want things to be as perfect as I can possibly make them, but more so because I’m afraid if they are not perfect in the audience’s eyes that they won’t buy my work and I won’t become the success I’ve dreamed of becoming since I was a little girl. The fact is I can’t control whether someone purchases my books or any products I might put out and when they do purchase it I also have no control over whether or not they will like it. If I query to agents and publishers I can’t control whether they will like or buy into my work.

I can’t allow myself to stress about those things any longer because the only thing that worrying about it has done was kept me from actually attempting any of it. People certainly can’t buy my work or products if there are none that are out there to buy. Agents and publishers can’t even have the opportunity to reject or accept my work if they never see it. I have to work hard at the things that are within my grasp to control otherwise I will drive myself crazy, like really crazy, all over what is not in my power to change.

So all of that was to say I know that things are hard right now, and not just in the world of politics but probably in your normal everyday life, with your job or career. Don’t let the fear of what may or may not happen consume you. Don’t let the anxiety that you feel over things that are out of your control, take time away from focusing on the things that you do have control over. Be careful where you put your focus right now and let God take care of those things that make you a little restless. Until next time… #BeMindful #BeOptimistic BeGrateful

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

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Use This Time Wisely: A New Season is Coming

It has definitely been a crazy time for this world in the last several weeks, or is it months now (I’m losing track of time), and it’s safe to say a new normal is on the way. I will admit that I don’t follow the news of what’s going on minute by minute like a lot of people I know are doing. As a person who is prone to suffering serious heavy bouts of depression and who also has severe anxiety on top of that, anxiety which has drastically increased in the last 4 years (you know why), I just can’t feed my mind with the news on a constant loop. I stay informed, I get the notifications that are specific to my state, or the state my sister lives in (Oklahoma) and I may catch a Cuomo briefing here or there but I don’t watch the daily stats or that daily circus that happens on a grand stage. It’s not good for my mental health and I have to take care of that if I am going to survive this thing and come out better than I was when it started.

What I have tried to do is find the positive in all of this mess and I know there is nothing positive about anyone dying but there are lessons and things that you can take away from any tragic situation in order to make it all mean something. Back when the social distancing was implemented and we couldn’t got to church services anymore, for our very first live stream church service my Pastor said that he believed that this pandemic was going to be a reset for a lot of people and for a lot of communities. I think that he was right. I see a lot of people spending time with their families now, time that they claimed they didn’t have before. I see a whole lot of communities actually acting like a community and helping each other, helping out the small businesses in their communities, buying small items from people who are just starting their business because they want to be supportive.

I see people taking the time to be more kind and decent to their neighbors and actually asking the people around them are they okay, do they need anything from the store, do they just need someone to vent to so they can get their feelings out. There are also people going through financial hardships who are getting a major reset in terms of maybe they are having a debt that was interfering with their credit history forgiven, or maybe their getting a reprieve from the expectation of being evicted from their home and not having to deal with the possibility of being homeless while all of this is going on. I’ve also seen a lot of people taking the time get back on track spiritually and working on their relationship with God during this time.

I know that there are a lot of bad things that we can pluck out this pandemic that’s happening and we could allow ourselves to get stuck and dwell on them. But why do that? Why not allow ourselves to rest in the good that is coming out of this tragic situation. Again, as I stated earlier, I know that there’s nothing good about anyone dying, of course not. But doesn’t it make you want to make your life mean that much more. Doesn’t it make you want to treasure the time that you do have and do what you were placed on this earth to do. Whether you know what it is or not, we all have a purpose that God put you here for and if you weren’t sure what that purpose was before then now is as good a time as any to figure it out.

Don’t waste this time worrying about things that you simply can’t control. Of course you have to be cautious and make sure that you and your family are staying safe but don’t forget to cherish the quality time that you are getting with your loved ones and spend time on being productive and fulfilling your purpose as well. Also, last but certainly not least, don’t forget to take care of yourself both physically, and mentally. The time for a new season is shifting into place so, in every way you can, get ready! Until next time… #BeSafe #BeProductive #BeGrateful

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

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Don’t Lose Sight of Hope

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7

We just celebrated Resurrection Sunday (Easter) and my Pastor (via live stream of course) talked a lot about having Hope in Jesus and allowing that Hope to shape your thinking and your attitude and how you go about things. He talked about having confidence in the outcome of God’s will, whatever that outcome may be. As he was preaching this I actually realized that I had finally gained that sense of Hope and that inner peace that I’ve always wanted. It is interesting when you start to notice changes within yourself taking place (usually you are the last one to actually notice them) because even when you are working on yourself and your personal growth for that very purpose, it often feels like you’re the same person you always were.

I found it odd that when the current world crisis that we are in hit that I wasn’t as freaked out about it as a lot of people around me were. It’s what I would’ve been doing years ago. I would have been overly paranoid, overly worried, and my OCD would have went off the charts. But I’m not doing any of those things, at least not when it comes to this pandemic. I feel an overwhelming sense of peace and calm and I think that is attributed to this journey of spiritual growth that I have been on.

I knew at the beginning of that journey that I wanted to get to a place where my anxiety and depression didn’t have such an overwhelming hold on me and to where, even if I felt a little bit of worry over a particular situation (because I’m still human) and even when I’m staying cautious about certain crisis I can still feel gratitude and still trust that ultimately God is going to do everything that he said he would and that includes all of the promises that he made over my life. God said in Jeremiah 29:11 that his plans for me and my life are to prosper me and not to harm me and to give me hope and a future, and not just any future, but an abundant one. If I believe that and if I trust that then there is nothing to worry about or to panic over.

I never used to get it when people told me that even when all hell was breaking loose in their world they felt at peace and they were as happy as they could be because they knew God had them. I didn’t get it before but I get it now because that’s how I feel. Things still aren’t great for me right now, financially or career wise, but I have so much to be grateful for and the fact remains that I still have each day that HE wakes me up to get it right and to get things on track. I have confidence in the outcome, whatever that outcome may be because God’s will is always going to be done no matter what. So let’s not lose Hope in a time when it is very easy for us to lose sight of how much God loves us. Until next time… #BeHopeful #BeConfident #BeinFaith

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

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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 

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

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No Prayer Is Too Big

No Prayer too Big post

So I’ve been reading Joel Osteen’s “31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life” over the last couple of weeks and it has been an enlightening experience just to read and declare these bold promises and pray these even bolder prayers over my life and my journey. This past week in particular it felt vitally necessary for me to read them, and not just once, some of the declarations I had to read over several times just to let the words and the message seep into my brain.

I often times think that I can’t ask God for all the big things that I want in life because I think of so many other people that are far worse off then me, that need far more than I do, and that frankly may need God to do bigger things in their life than what I need. I don’t want to be selfish or too, for lack of a better word, greedy with my prayers. But then I think about the book of Genesis in the bible. Now I have some work to do when it comes to reading my bible and I admit I have not read the whole entire bible in it’s entirety and certainly not straight through but I have read the first few chapters of Genesis straight through.

When I think about all of the big, bold, and wonderful things in this world, in this universe that God has created and all of the beauty in this world that he gave us, all in different areas of the world, and all at the same time, it reminded me of just how big our God is. He can help a homeless person sitting on the streets of Los Angeles or Chicago and still come through on the prayers that I have for him, all at the same time. There is nothing too big for him.

In the words of my good friend, Ms. L that she spoke in her recent podcast episode (God, You Missed a Word), I have to will joy into my life. And that goes for anything that I want to invite into my life, I have to not only pray for it, and believe that it will be so, but I have to will it over my life as well. I trust my relationship with God and I trust the dream that he placed in my heart and I trust that he would not give me this vision and bring me this far just to have me be too afraid to pray for everything he has in his plan for me. If there’s nothing too big for him to do in our lives then there’s nothing too big for us to ask of him.

Jimmetta Carpenter

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No Risk = No Reward

No Risk No Reward 2

Children are fearless and their tenacity has no boundaries. It’s wonderful and exciting to watch a child get an idea for something and because they have absolutely no fear and no worries about rejection they go for any and everything. I wonder at what age we lose that fearless, tenacious spirit. Adults are far less likely to try new things, unlike children, because all of the fear seeps in. They wonder, what if I get hurt? What if it doesn’t work? What if someone else does this better than me? What if no one gets it? What if no one accepts it? Children miraculously don’t worry about such things. They just go for it! If it fails they simply get back up and try again as if the failure never happened to begin with. Why do we lose that as we get older?

In my more recent journey of becoming more spiritually grounded I knew that one of the things that I needed to work on within myself and that needed to be changed was my many different degrees of fear. I have a lot of defense mechanisms that have become sort of a crutch for me. One particularly bad one that I’ve been trying to break is one where I play out all of the worst case scenarios in my head when thinking about attempting something new or, in my case as a writer, submitting something. And while it is good to be realistic about the good and bad of something so that you can be prepared for either outcome, in my case dwelling on the possible negative outcomes have somehow held me back from even attempting things at all. It wasn’t intentional but I would find ways to talk myself out of doing something or submitting something because I had convinced myself that it was never going to be accepted anyway so why bother.

I have no idea when it happened? When I began to think about all of what made me afraid of going after the dreams I have instead of the wonderful things that can come from achieving them. I wasn’t always so fearful and I used to like taking risks but perhaps my risks were met with too many rejections and not enough rewards. But that’s life isn’t it. Looking back on all of the “failures” I have had in attempting my dreams I can ascertain the many lessons that came out of them. However, I am also realizing that some of the more recent “failures” I have had happened, not because of the risks that didn’t pan out, but rather because of the risks that I was too afraid to take to begin with.

A lot of times we don’t try new things because we can’t predict the outcome. We don’t want to fail so we think that it’s better to never actually try. Somehow it is more appealing to not put ourselves out there because then it means that we can’t get hurt, our ideas can’t get rejected, and no one can tell us that what we’ve poured our hearts into is somehow not good enough. However, that also means that our ideas don’t get heard at all and that what we have effectively poured our hearts into just sits around never being seen by anyone. If we never leave the place that feels comfortable for us, the place that’s safe for us then we miss out on so many things and we will never truly succeed. At that point we would simply be living in our fears instead of living up to our dreams. So, while our comfort zones may make us feel protected we can’t stay there if expect to get to where it is we are destined to end up.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Having Faith in the Bigger Picture

“No matter how steep the mountain – the Lord is going to climb it with you.”

~Helen Steiner Rice 

I am not a stranger to struggle.  I have been knocked down time and time again and even when I get back up sometimes I get knocked right back down within seconds, but I just keep on getting right back up. 2011 inparticular was a really bad year for me, quite possibly the worst I’ve had, but yet I find myself optimistic for the coming year of 2012.  I heard someone earlier say that this year doesn’t feel any different than the last year but I disagree.  For some reason, to me, this year feels like it will be the beginning of bigger and better things that are to come for me.  Maybe it’s just the optimist in me.  Maybe it’s just sheer faith in God and in the person that he created me to be.  

Every time I go through something my mom constantly asks me how I can be so calm and nonchalant and not be worried about whatever it is.  I tell her that I just have faith that God has got my back and that I’m not walking this journey alone as long as I am doing what he asks of me.  In reality what I want to say is that I am worried (terrified really) when things start going wrong and that I am not really calm about it, deep inside I am panicking.  However, I realize more and more that I have a lot more faith than even I thought I had.  Of course I worry but I don’t think that I am nearly as terrified about things going wrong as I probably should be.  

It’s because I have so much faith.  Not only do I have an enormous amount of faith in God, but I have faith that he knows where I will end up (it is his plan after all) and just the trials and tribulations that I need to go through to get me there.  Everything I come up against challenges me but it also strengthens me and obstacle by obstacle I realize that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be.  

For anyone who knows me, they know that I am not the religious type, per say.  I don’t go to church (although deep down I feel I probably should) but I am a very spiritual person.  I don’t always get why certain struggles have to be placed on my shoulders and I admit that I get frustrated because I am that person who likes to know that everything is going be alright and hopefully that it will have a happy ending.  However, because I can’t fully see what God’s plan for me is and I don’t know what will be the end result of his journey for me, I have no other choice but to walk the path that he has laid out with faith.  God has already brought me through so much already, so I have to have faith that he will bring me through the rest.  

My message today is for you to have faith.  Even in times of struggle.  Even if there is nothing that is going the way you want it to.  Even if nothing that is happening to you makes sense.  Even if you feel like you can’t get back up and you want to just quit.  Even when you can no longer see the bigger picture for yourself.  You have to have faith.  We are human and we will worry but in the end you should know that God will never let you down.  Until tomorrow…Have faith that you are stronger than your greatest obstacles!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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