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Work Work Work

*Super long post alert, but the end!

So rather than working toward my goals or what I desired, I was working to maintain the thing that made it look, made it feel like what I desired was already mine. In the long run, I ended doing more work, but it was the wrong work.

So, what, then, was the right work? Remember that goal, desire I asked you to grab a hold of two days ago. Call that to mind again. Now, take a quick accounting of yourself. Are you prepared for that goal, for what you desire? Are you prepared to flourish in that position?

What I mean is have you addressed feelings of insecurity, imposter syndrome, have you learned self-care, how to soothe yourself in times of trouble? Have you learned to address feelings of frustration in positive empowering ways? Have you learned to manage anger, even when folk work to provoke? Are you ready to thrive in the position you are dreaming of, praying for?

If you desire a relationship, a love with which you can enjoy companionship, have you exorcised past pains, so they don’t strain your new relationship? Have you done the internal work required, so you can first love yourself like no one else can love you? Are you prepared for the commitment, the work, the toil that goes into learning someone, appreciating all they have to offer, even when that learning takes you out of your comfort zone, even when that learning doesn’t seem to be getting you close enough to your goal?

So, here’s another very vulnerable moment. In 2016, I desired wholeness. I wanted and needed peace. Even though everything looked great in my life and I felt peaceful/accomplished most days, there was this needling, this feeling that something just wasn’t right. The peace I believed I had just didn’t feel real, like it could be shattered at any moment.

Still, I convinced myself I had peace in my 21-year marriage, so I worked to keep that. A couple of years before the marriage ended, my heart knew it was over, but my mind couldn’t, wouldn’t agree. In retrospect, there were signs, so many signs, and I just couldn’t see them. I no longer blame myself for that because I now know I wasn’t meant to see them. If I had seen them, I would have focused on them and I would have worked to change them. I wouldn’t have focused on the work I needed to be doing.

That work was Laurie falling back in love with Laurie. That work began with a word, I believe that came from God, which said, “Run.” Not from the marriage , but find yourself a treadmill and start running. You see, running had always been a source of shame for me. When in the military, I struggled to pass the PT test and with more than twenty years separating me from my military service I still carried the shame of what I deemed failure. So, I heard that word and said okay, I’ll run.

Wouldn’t you know the next day, I found a fifty-dollar treadmill at a yard sale and could barely go over two miles per hour for fifteen minutes without huffing and puffing. But I did it. I ran almost every day and I got stronger. Day by day. Then I found another treadmill, that allowed me to go faster, that made me even stronger. And while my ultimate goal, desire was continued peace in my home, in my family, I began to find peace in myself, on that treadmill, with my gospel music blaring. Then I heard another word. “Hey, that story you were working on that you never considered publishing, write on that just a little today and send it out. I know you don’t think it will get accepted but do it anyway.” And I did! Sometimes the articles were accepted and sometimes they weren’t, but It didn’t matter. I was getting stronger, running and writing. I was falling more and more in love with this Laurie who was learning herself, who was loving the work that she was doing.

Then came the day in which the peace I believed resided in my marriage was yanked and then we all stood there naked, not knowing what to do. The thing was all the work I’d done beforehand, all the little steps I’d taken, all the instruction I had received in those two years had strengthened me so, I was ready. Ready for the pain, the rain, ready for the days the sun would shine in the midst of the pain and rain. Y’all, it hit me, but it didn’t knock me over, not even a little bit. In the middle of what should have been chaos, I had what I had always desired: peace. True peace and it wasn’t attached to anything or anyone outside of me.

Then came the opportunity of a lifetime, work at Hampton University, a goal I’d abandoned long ago even though I’d worked so hard to reach it. The crazy thing is I did not finally reach it; it finally reached me and once it showed up at my door, I was ready, I was so ready, y’all I couldn’t even recognize the Laurie I had become. I was doing things, managing things I never even knew I had the strength to do. I was so proud of myself because I was standing in the middle of a number of tornadoes, tall.

So, when people ask why I am so driven, how I am constantly on the go, it is not that I am chasing my dreams or running to get to the finish line. Rather than working, running, rushing to the goal, I am working, running, rushing, preparing myself to be ready when the goal gets to me. And I know it’s coming y’all, ‘cause those words keep getting stronger and stronger, and those instructions are becoming more varied, and I know what is on the horizon is rushing toward me and it is not even my goal anymore. I don’t even know what it is. I just know it is purpose and if I do the work required of me I will be ready.

So, think about that goal, that thing you desire and LISTEN. Listen for that voice, that word that tells you to do something. It may be a small thing or a big thing. It may make sense and fit perfectly into your list of things to do in order to reach your goal or it may be random. Just work at getting better at hearing the word and then moving.

I had no idea I was going to spend three days writing on this post, but this exercise was one of those words I got, so I did it and now I can get on with my day. Have a great day on purpose, y’all and as always, “To the work!”


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