the last forty days

41 days ago I was feeling pulled in all directions. I did not know what I was doing wrong, but could not make time for all the projects I wanted to do. I had no time to follow my dreams. It was draining just to live life because I never really recharged. Life just was not going my way it seemed.

That was when I decided to change something. I did not know how or what exactly needed to change, but I went on a fast from television. I figured I would pray and ask God for help instead of watching shows or movies. I started this no television thing forty days ago and told myself and God that it would be for forty days. I felt like what I learned may help people, but mostly want to share what happened to me.

I want to make sure that I am clear in my reasons for writing this blog. I am not writing it as a, ‘look at me,’ type of thing. I am sharing with you part of what did happen and not saying either way whether you should try this fast or not. This was helped me at this point in time and I have learned things from it. I am hoping to simply share what I have learned and not what I have done.

Now, what I learned first was within the first week. I realized just how much t.v. I was watching. I would get home from work and plop myself in front of a television or my computer. I would zone out, never really mentally resting but not active either. Television was not refreshing my mind or soul, but I was still watching hours of it. I would stay up late just to watch another episode or because the one I told myself was my last, was not a good one to leave off on.

You may watch a lot of television or a lot of movies over the course of the week. Or perhaps you have another hobby that takes up most of your time. What I learned from realizing how much television I was actually watching was that I had elevated entertainment to a level higher than most things in my life. I had always been a dreamer and a planner, but none of my plans or dreams were coming true. I was stuck, because I was actually saying, with my time, that television was more important than my dreams. Watching that much television told me that I either did not actually believe I could achieve my dreams.

Well, I really do believe that I can achieve my dreams and now I know it. I had a lot of time on my hands, after cutting television out. I have made three necklaces, most of a puppet (I just need two little things to complete her), have written multiple poems (some of which are up on this blog), have done a mini Bible study on proverbs 31 (again on this blog), and have written 37,147 words of a novel I had been putting off. All of this was within the last forty days.

Each of these projects taught me something different. First the Proverbs 31 one taught me that I must work hard and be strong in order to be a godly woman. This does not mean I do not enjoy my life. The work I work hard and long on is my writing, which I love to do. This piece of scripture is giving me strength and determination to follow my dreams full heartily.

The next project, the puppet, made me realize how much talent God has. He shapes us all and is focused on each detail. I hardly could get the face done and almost gave up multiple times, because the detail work was so hard. She is a tiny puppet and I just did not have the skill to finish her… Or so I thought. After putting her down and picking her up many times, I finally felt her face was finished. I then worked on her hands which again I almost gave up on. I could not figure out her tiny fingers. Again after picking them up and putting them down I figured out how to do the fingers. I realized after she was baked and ready to assemble that some connecting loops were closed. I had moved the clay too far down the wire that I was working on. I almost thought I would have to make a few parts over again, but found a way to save them. Finally yesterday I basically completed her. She is now wearing a black dress. I only need to attach her head, but need to buy something for that. So, now that she is done, I look at her and she looks like a real mini puppet. It took a lot for me not to give up on all the detail and during the process I kept telling myself that I would never do another puppet this small. Looking at her I bet I will do another one this small again, maybe soon.

I bet God looks at us the same way. People are more complex and hard to figure out than puppets, yet he has made billions and will make billions more. He does not give up on any of us, even when we do not believe he is real. He loves us no matter what.

The other project that taught me something was my writing. This includes my poems and my novel. I realized during the writing many things. One, God is with me while I write, so I should let him shine through. Also writing and becoming a full time author is my dream. At least the main dream I want to pursue at this time. Once I can survive as an author, which I know may be never, I may pursue my other dream as an actor. Right now I am only a write though. Right now writing is my main dream. This will be my focus. Yes I still love acting, theater, and movies, but what really is important to me is God, my family, friends, and writing. I need to focus on what is important. I stretched myself thin only thinking of the many different areas I want to make a career in. Truth be told I wanted seven careers at one point and I wanted to pursue them all at the same time. What has stuck over time, what I always did even before I realized it could be a career, was writing. I started writing when I was ten and never really stopped. I wrote stories, poems, novels (with no endings), journals, plays, and songs.

I love to write and love is its own reward. I do not need anything in return. I spent years without some one reading anything I wrote and it did not matter. I still wrote. I hope people will read my things now, but approval for this art form is not required.

As for the jewelry I made. That is a hobby, that I hopefully will make a few extra bucks at. I will be selling some pieces soon on Etsy (www.etsy.com/shop/tiffyjoy). This will not be my main career though. I enjoy it and if I sell enough I may think of making it a full time thing, but I will always be a writer at heart. If I can make a living as a jewelry maker and a writer I will be happier than I can imagine. It would mean I could just have fun for most of the day and make my own schedule. We will see though. I will not get ahead of myself, which I have a tendency to do.

All of these things happened during my forty days of no television. I realized and learned everything within those days, because I was opened to learning and could focus on what was really important. My simple advice for you, my reader, is if you feel stressed or stretched thin, if your dreams are not coming true and you do not see anything happening with them, ask yourself is there something I could give up or change. Is there something in your life that is taking up your time or not revitalizing you? Prioritize your time, work for your dreams, and know you can do it.

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