Do the Work

 Photo by Carl Heyerdahl  on Unsplash . Photo by Carl Heyerdahl  on Unsplash .

“No one is coming to save you.”

My pastor’s words hit me so hard, I stopped dead in my tracks. Do the work. I thought. You have to do the work.  

My 2017 wasn’t ideal, I got laid off, again. I entered a long distance relationship for the second time, something I swore up and down that I wouldn’t do again and honestly, I entered 2018 with no idea what the hell I was going to do.

The thing that no one makes clear when you’re in college and growing up is that you are literally on your own. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a support system, but at the end of the day, you are the only one with the power to determine your destiny.

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I’m not sure I believed that just a few months ago. That I had the power to do whatever it is that I dreamed of. I blamed my current reality for the reason I wouldn’t get to where I wanted: getting laid off, moving back to Indiana to live with my parents, not having bylines in recognizable publications. I thought wasn’t going to be able make a career out of writing because no one would give me a chance, because the media industry only wants my ideas, but not my body because they’d rather profit off my pain.

When I sat down to goal set for 2018, I wanted a mantra, a word, something I could say and easily remember. Something that would signal to me to keep going. I chose “do the work,” because it was the exact opposite of what I’d been doing since I graduated college. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been working, really hard sometimes. But for the most part, I’ve been waiting for someone else to see value in me and what I can offer so that I can make enough money, get a book deal and pursue my dreams.

In all my waiting, I’ve been laid off twice by companies that didn’t value me and were able to replace me quite quickly; I’ve been tweeting about wanting a book deal, but have done little to query my book, or try to get it published myself (besides my recent Kindle Scout campaign); and I’ve been saying that I want to move out of Indiana and Missouri, but haven’t made the money moves to make that a reality. Most importantly, I’ve been praying for all of these things, but putting very little action behind them.

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The scripture from Sunday’s sermon was from John 5:1-9. For those of you unfamiliar with the word, here’s the synopsis: A disabled man is trying to get to this pool of water that has healing powers. He’s been waiting near the pool for almost 40 years. Every time he thinks it’s his turn, someone jumps in front of him. He doesn’t ask for help. He doesn’t tell those (some of whom are also disabled) to stop getting in front of them. He just waits. He lets his situation engulf him and take control, which is why he’s there for 38 years.

Jesus sees him and asks “Do you want to get well?” the man says yes, but gives all these reasons of why he cannot get to the pool. Jesus stops the man and says “Get up and walk.” The man gets up and is able to walk, no longer needing the healing powers of the pool.

I’ve been like the disable man in this story. I want a book deal, I want to get married, I want to work for myself, but I’m focused on why I can’t do it: I don’t have enough saved, books with black protagonist rarely perform well, I’ve been going to gym for almost two years and progress is slow. My devotional today called this being a “powerless person.” Accepting that my current situation is how it’s always going to me.

But your current situation doesn’t determine your destiny. Your faith and determination do. No one is coming to save you because God already did that when he gave us His only son.

As Lent begins, I’m thinking about what it would look like for me to keep my 2018 goals and mantra front and center. What do I need to be doing every day to get me closer to my goals? I think the answer will be different each day. What matters is that I do something.

If you’re struggling to figure out the path you’re on at this point in your life, give it to God. Go to Him and just talk about what frustrates you and scares you. Then, get moving. Pick one thing you want to do and just start. Shifts don’t have to be grand, but they do have to be intentional and consistent.

Do the work, trust the journey, you will get to where you’re meant to be.

What will doing the work look like for you this season of Lent? Share your thoughts with me below!

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