Believers, Encourage Yourself, Uncategorized

Renewed and Ready?

Today is Sunday – my favorite day of the week (until about 6pm, when it really sinks in that I have to report to work the next day). Don’t get me wrong, I love Saturdays. Saturdays are wonderful, but often busy with errands, chores, and other responsibilities. Sundays are supposed to be chill: church, a good meal, a few hours of relaxation.

desk-keyboard-typing-8264When I woke this morning, my plan was to write out my schedule in my planner, post to each of my blogs, read Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead and start my Camp Nanowrimo writing. It’s after 8 PM and so far, I have completed none of those things.

Today, my pastor told the congregation to be doers. At the time, I took it as “go do something,” but I think he meant more than that. I think he meant, become a doer. It felt like my pastor was saying, do something consistently and your reputation for doing will proceed you.

This year, all of our sermons have been about real change. This blog was supposed to reflect that. I’m trying. My hope was to work a  little bit by little bit, one word at a time, one decision at a time. Luckily, it’s not too late to start. I can still win Camp Nano. Today’s only the 8th. I can read a few pages of Gilead before I turn in for the night, and I’m typing my post now. I’m doing something. I’m moving forward.

Believers, Time Management, Uncategorized, Writing Goals

Write the Vision

My uncle just sent me a text that said “Write the Vision.” I’ve been told that by different people more than three times in the past two weeks.

I have several apps that are supposed to help me do just that: goal apps, to-do apps, habit trackers. You name it, I have it.

There’s gotta be some truth to the advice. I listen to several productivity podcasts, get a half dozen motivational emails and texts, and they all seem to come back to:

And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. (Habakkuk 2:2 King James Version KJV)

Which leads me to ask, “Am I supposed to be running?” Until I copied that verse into this post, I’d never noticed the second part of the scripture. I don’t run!

I tackle my to-do lists a little at a time. I procrastinate. I linger over the checkboxes on whatever app I’m using and do little. WHO KNEW I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE RUNNING?!!! And I bet it’s a long race. The Bible is big on endurance.

For the record, at the time of writing I feel tricked, bamboozled and downright lazy. I’m out of shape. I wasn’t ready to run. I was barely ready to walk fast and now the stakes are higher! THE STAKES ARE HIGHER!

I’d better order some running shoes. I’d better learn how to stretch myself.

Believers, Uncategorized

Failing to Reap

A pastor once told me, “You don’t want to change. You like the idea of change, but the truth is, change scares you.”

At the time of said declaration, I’d been praying to get married for several years. I knew I wanted a husband. I wanted a family. I thought the pastor had it wrong. What I didn’t realize until years later, was that though I wanted a husband, I didn’t want to become a wife. I didn’t understand that if I was going to experience a shift, that shift would have to first occur inside my mind.

Nine years have passed since that pastor challenged me with the truth, and instead of wanting less, I want more. I want to write. I have a desire to start my own business. I’d love to be debt-free.

None of those desires will manifest unless I change.

I’m writing this to check in with myself and I’m challenging you to do the same. How have you changed? How many of your bad habits have you put aside in the past six months? Galatians 6:9 (the Amplified Bible) says: Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap if we do not give in. How many good habits have you committed to? Are you writing daily? Are you working out, meditating, praying, reading? Did you start a good habit and “faint” before it became muscle memory? Did you give in?agriculture-backyard-blur-296230

I believe that in Galatians 6:9, God isn’t only saying that you’ll get what you want when you do good, but that you’ll become what He wants. We won’t just reap good outside of ourselves but within too. If I write and don’t give up, I won’t just have written, but I’ll become a writer. I won’t have only given love, but the love inside me will take root and I’ll become one who loves.

It took me all of these years to see that true and lasting change comes from not giving up and now that I know, I don’t want to waste any more time. Join me. Let’s commit to doing the work.

Uncategorized

Failing People

I am an introvert! Let’s just put it out there. And not only that, I’m busy introvert. There’s a strong possibility I may be busy with things I don’t need to be doing – but that’s beside the point.

This week I’ve noticed my patience with others has waned to nil. When I’ve been in the zone, any attempt to get me out has been met with annoyance and frustration. Every chatty telephone call has felt like a personal attack. It’s felt like my loved ones are personally trying to distract me from taking care of business.

And I know that’s not true.

I love people. I love my family. Relationships are important. Where I think my struggle lies (besides taking everything personally) is in the assumption that everyone knows how important my activities are to me; and that they understand that as a full-time employee, single mother, and student, every free moment is precious because free moments are rare.

This week, I have to figure out how manage my relationships or I may go nuts. I need help. I need more sensitivity. I’m failing at nearly every relationship besides the one I have with my son. I need time-management help. I need every kind of help there possibly is.

Check-in, Uncategorized

Reviewing Your Goals

I am a fan of the Success Wiz app. I’ve mentioned it before. It’s a great app for identifying and organizing goals.

It was recently brought to my attention that I wasn’t as focused as I thought I was. I didn’t know where I was heading but I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go or why. Because of prayer and the Success Wiz app, I can now see what I am working toward and have identified some of the steps I must take in order to get there.

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One of the greatest parts of the app is that once a month it notifies me that it is time for me to review my goals. Do I still want to accomplish what I wanted the previous month? Why do I still want it? Is it still a priority?

Until recently, I didn’t realize that the act of wanting requires work. I can’t call a dream a goal and expect a return on it. I have to think, plan, make progress and review. Reviewing is important.

Last month, I deleted some of the goals I’d outlined because, after thinking and hearing from God regarding them, it was clear that it wasn’t in the right season to be productive in those areas. If I hadn’t stopped and created the space for God to help me see how better to focus my attention, I’d still be wasting much needed time and effort.

I urge you to do the same. You don’t need an app to do a monthly review. Grab a pen and paper and set aside ten minutes to reassess your plans. Make room to hear and be honest with yourself. Focus only on the goals that fit this season. Don’t lag behind or jump too far ahead. Trust me, this is the season to be intentional. Every season is.

Encourage Yourself, MFA, Time Management, Uncategorized

Out With the Familiar

The first quarter of 2018 is almost over. Unfortunately, I’m not surprised that I failed in my daily writing challenge. Meanwhile, my monthly MFA packet is due this weekend. I’m playing catch-up. I’m tired, I’m cranky and disappointed in myself for procrastinating once again.

Today, I listened to a new podcast. It was called Forever 35. It’s a health and wellness show about self-care. During the episode, one of the hosts confessed that she feels good when she procrastinates. Her co-host explained that the bad behavior felt good because it was a familiar feeling. She said that the familiarity was comfortable, not the procrastination.

I was blown away! Just yesterday I spoke with a friend about my battle with waiting until the last minute to do everything. I hate it because it makes me crazy and irritable, but I can’t seem to stop doing it. However, now that understand why I procrastinate, I believe I have the power to stop.

Matthew 18:18 says, “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” God has given me the power to bind and loose! I can bind the familiar spirit of procrastination and loose the spirit of commitment. I can change what makes me feel comfortable! I am empowered to change.

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I know this is a blog about failure, but won’t be discouraged. The first quarter may have ended without my having accomplished all I wanted, but the second will begin with a plan for attack. It’s time to try faithfulness. It’s time to let go of the spirit of procrastination.

All Christians know that faith without works is dead, so every day I will work. I confess with my mouth that I will work even if I am uncomfortable. It may be a good time to feel a little uncomfortable. Out with the old and in with the new.

Uncategorized, Writing Goals

Wrestling With Discontentment

If I judged by my Twitter feed alone, I would think the entire world was trying/working/hoping to rise above their station, to do their dream work, to create. I know that’s not the truth. In my real life, I am surrounded by content people, the sort of folk who only seem to wish the world would stay just as it is. I would call people like that satisfied.

I often wonder why I’m not satisfied.Why am I so unhappy working for someone else? Why do I believe that work should bear more fruit than just enough money to keep me where I’ve always been?

I listen to a lot of podcasts while I’m at my nine to five. They’re a great way to diminish the distance between my work day and my outside goals. They encourage and motivate me. During an episode of Goal Diggers, a podcast hosted by Jenna Kutcher, the host asked listeners why they want whatever it is they want?

It was a good question, a question I don’t have the time to figure out in this post. But if I did, some of the things I would want to work out are: What is my end goal? What would a perfect work day look like? Where do I see my career in ten years? How do I truly define success?

Right now, as I wrestle with discontentment, I’m beginning to understand that in order to move beyond it, I have to figure out what it stems from. I’ll need to know if I’m trying to move towards something or just trying to escape from something else. I’ll need to know what my motivation is, and maybe the understanding will help me figure out what I need to do next.

Believers, MFA, Uncategorized, Writing Goals

The Weight of Glory

In December of 2018, if all goes as planned, I will have earned my MFA in Creative Writing. I’m excited about it. I’ll have finished something I didn’t know I wanted until God lead me to it. It’s hard work, but I know it’s worth the effort.

The truth is, I’ve never felt this tired or worried or more unsure in my life. The emotions associated with being overwhelmed are hard to manage. I was thinking about ways to cope when I came across this scripture:

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17).

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Most mornings I log into Instagram and Twitter. I like to check up on the people I admire. When I do, I find that Roxane Gay’s been up all night writing or reading. Ava Duvernay has posted pics on a set during the wee hours of the morning. Shonda Rhimes has posted something about one of her many projects (projects that she’s running simultaneously!). These women are always working or traveling or preparing and they never seem to rest.

Now let’s go back to the scripture. It said that there is both a weight of glory and a light affliction. Does that mean that if I compare the weights of my affliction and glory, the affliction will prove to weigh less? Does that mean that my glory will be heavier to carry?

I feel like I am failing at keeping up with my responsibilities. I realize that my failure is due to my tendency towards procrastination and my deep desire to rest. But I have to give up both of those things and now. I have a good reason. I need to build up my muscles. If I can’t carry the weight of the affliction, I surely won’t be able to handle the glory.

 

Starting a Business, Time Management, Uncategorized

Untitled document

I am not a full-time writer. Truth be told, most days I’m not even a part-time writer. Most days I’m a writer trapped in a full-time employee’s body. Most days by the time I get home from work I can’t imagine turning on my computer. I can’t imagine doing anything other than stare at Youtube.

Today on Myleik Teele’s Instagram (she also has a podcast called MyTaughtYou ) she reposted a question, “Are you willing to let go to grow?”

Catch me on a good day, maybe a Sunday right after church, and I would say yes. I would yell yes! I would shout it from the rooftops. But when I think about my full-time responsibilities: my job, my son, our bills, I know I can’t let go to grow. We have to eat. I can’t chase my dreams with the determination and singular focus of the entrepreneurs who run the podcasts I listen to or bake the cupcakes I treat myself to once a month. Right now I can’t afford it.

However, while I will continue to spend precious writing time volunteering at my church and helping my entrepreneur friends; while I will continue to devote as much time as I can to my wonderful, brilliant son, I will also commit to letting go of my comfort zone. I will let go of my fears. I will lose a little sleep.

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Maybe I can’t let go in the same way other women can, but I can move at God’s speed. I can stay in sync with the flow of His Spirit and leadership. I will do what I can today and look forward to the work I CAN do tomorrow.

I will let go of my fears and leap a little at a time.

Believers, Encourage Yourself, Uncategorized

The Fear of New Levels

My pastor said once, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you need to go to another room.” It’s true. We do what we see. Even Jesus said, “Verily I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19-20) What my pastor understands is that if we stay in the same room, we stay on the same level. When we change what we see, we change what we strive for.

I personally believe God offers us access to environments where people operate on levels higher than ours, not because we should waste time with jealousy and envy, but so that we can see living examples of what we should strive for, and then learn how to emulate them.arm

Recently, I’ve found myself in all sorts of spaces where others operate at a much higher level than I do. I listen to podcasts and read articles where people share their testimonies and both inspire and teach others. While listening, I often feel like why am I listening to this? I can’t do what he or she is doing. But I listen anyway. I take notes.

It’s interesting because two things have happened since I starting seeking new influences. Number one, the people who are still in the old space are shaken up. While they hated that I was a leader in the old space, they still don’t want me to leave. They see that I don’t yet operate on the next level (and work hard to consistently remind me of that fact) but are just as afraid that I will.

Secondly, switching rooms involves a lot of fear. When a person who was once the teacher becomes the student, his or her ignorance is on full display. It can feel like everyone is moving faster than they are. It can feel like they don’t deserve admittance. Doubt may set in… unbelievable doubt.

But none of this matters. It doesn’t matter if we feel good enough. It doesn’t matter what people say. It doesn’t matter how little we know when we first start. What matters is showing up. What matters is doing the work. What matters is that we continue to strive and press, no matter who we make uncomfortable in the process. Even if the person we make uncomfortable is the person staring at us in the mirror.