"You take a loss, shit don't cry about it, just embrace it. Minor setback for major comeback, that's my favorite."
What if everything you thought was right was wrong? That question has been haunting me since coming across it in Conversations with God. God followed that up by saying, “when a scientist tests theory, and it doesn't come up with the desired outcome, he assumes everything he thought was right was wrong and start over.”
I have been working on my novel for the last five years. For every one of those five years, I have submitted my story to a competition. Every single time, I have confidence, sure that this time would be the one. I would experience the rush of emotions: uneasiness, doubtful of myself over the requirements. Pride and pure joy when I overcome those doubts; and intense anxiety during the "waiting period." Every time there was a rejection letter. The feeling would also be the same. A blank stare at the computer screen, the word "damn" slipping out of my mouth a dozen times. I followed that up with a shrug and "next time" as I exit out of the email. I'll go about my day pretending not to care until I have a moment of quiet. Then I would cry like a baby. I’ll doubt myself, question myself, convinced that I would never be a real writer. Each time, it was my ex who help pull me out of the pit, “It’s just not your time.”
Two things can be accurate at the same time. I could be a great writer, and it just not my time. Or I could be a horrible writer and still have time to get better. Both are win-win. But when you're amid rejections - it’s so hard to remember that. It’s hard to see the victory during failure. (I wrote a fucking synopsis! A SYNOPSIS!) As I sat in my car contemplating quitting my job and fleeting to Atlanta, "444" flashed across my clock. Since it felt like the message came during a pivot thought, I Googled the angel number 444, and the first thing that came up was, "you're where you're supposed to be."
Feeling like that was a clear sign from God. I canceled the plans to move to Atlanta. Now what? That’s when it hit me, why my writing “failures” hurt. It was because it was about so much more than a "win." A montage of all my magical thinking flashed in my mind, reminding me that my "win" was all about me leaving corporate America. It had nothing to do with my writing or my book. The book had become my exit plan from accounting. So, every time I got a rejection, it felt like it was the universe saying you're going to be an Accountant forever. I made my book be the answer to everything. But what if I'm wrong? What if there is something else?
What I know for sure is that I’m not smarter than God. I know that with everything in my being, but I can't help but wonder what will happen next. I think it's human. This entire time working on my novel, I've been looking for a way out of accounting. I wasn't just entering fellowships and scholarships. I was applying for writing jobs, publishing jobs, hell any job that wasn't in accounting. I was telling God that I didn't trust him and was "helping" him out along the way. But God doesn't need our help, advice, or assistance. He knows where we want to go before we even make up our minds. And yet, we doubt him. We are the only spices that can think and rationalize, yet we use these skills to do things we don’t want to do. We use these skills to justify ignoring our divine calling and imprint on our life.
I was listening to the Jemele Hill podcast featuring Niecy Nash. (It’s MUST listen). She told herself that she was going to become an artist by any means necessary. Her Plan B was to make sure that her Plan A worked. See, I prayed to God, begging for him to get me out of accounting, and he gave me the idea of this book. Yet, instead of working on this book, I've been trying to micro-manage God in the process. Listening to Niecy's testimony made me realize that my disappointment was self-induced because I refuse to trust God. I was determined to "help" God in the process. Like, God would suddenly forget that I hate accounting.
I don’t need a job. Nor do I want a job. What would happen if instead of thinking I know what’s best- I followed the plan that God gave me? Blind faith is terrifying. It feels foolish, but I think that’s what God requires of us. Blind faith. No doubt. No Plan B. God knows our hearts, mind, and spirit better than anyone in the world. He doesn’t want us to suffer or ever feel trapped. God only wants the best for us. So what would happen if we just trusted him? Hell, if I just trusted him? What if I started doing the things that "felt" wrong, to get to my right? What I'm trying to say is that you can know the 'universal laws.' You can read all the books and learn the information to take control of your life. But living it, surrendering to it, is something completely different. It takes a different type of mindset.
What was missing was my commitment. In the Alchemist, he didn't stop in the middle of the desert and say he will travel with a new clan. He didn't set off and leave the Oasis when they were instructed to sit there for safety. The Alchemist only had two choices, to go back home or continue. He didn’t randomly start a new adventure in the middle of his current one. Yes, he had to do several tasks to get to his treasure, but he was always committed to his purpose. He never steered from his path, and he never questioned where his journey was taking him. He committed to the task in the face of every setback, obstacle, and life-threatening situation. "Enlightenment is understanding that there is nowhere to go, nothing to do, and nobody you have to be except exactly who you are right now." I have to trust that I'm where I'm supposed to be until spirit says otherwise.
God has shown us time and time again that when you have a desire, he will answer your needs. We celebrate in the moment, but how quickly do we forget amid trails. If he came through for you then, what would be the difference now? Did he not led us to this very place, with the very thing you’ve asked? Things have to happen in order. What this entire process taught me is that I must have a completed manuscript to have a book to sell. I must create a business for anyone to invest. God was showing me that I was trying to leap over steps to get to the happy ending. But that's not what life is about; life is not about the destination, but the journey.
While sitting in my car, crying instead of saying, "why me?" I kept repeating, "I trust you." Because I do, I have no idea what will happen next in my life. I have no idea where next year will take me. This year I lost everything. Still, I stand here, firm in my faith with my arms outstretched, trusting God. This shit hurt, it sucks, it feels like it will never end. But tough times don't last, tough people, do. Before I got out of the car, I made a promise to myself; this is the treadmill I will die on.
For my book, there is no going back, scrapping the idea, or looking for a way out. The book will work. I'm going all-in- into writing, into believing myself and, most importantly, into trusting myself. I am going to finish this manuscript. I am going to get out of Corporate America, publish my novel, and become a full-time working creative. By any means necessary!
And it won't be because I “outsmarted” my way to the top. But because I trusted and believed that God would never give me a vision that I can’t fulfill.
What if everything you thought was right was wrong?