I once had the opportunity to meet Maya Angelou at a book signing during college. It didn’t work out that way though because Dr. Angelou became ill and was unable to make it at literally the very last minute – like I was waiting in line for her when they announced that she wasn’t going to be coming. She graciously offered to autograph our books anyway though, if we just sent them to her in the mail.
So I wrote her a little note about how I wanted to be a writer as well, and now I have a copy of All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes with a beautifully penned note in the front that says, “Joy! And write on!”
And now, almost exactly 14 years later, I have done nothing significant with my would-be writing career, and truth be told, I haven’t even cracked open the book she signed for me.
Lest you think I am completely illiterate, I WAS reading a different Maya Angelou book today, and I found something that really stood out to me that I thought I’d share. She was talking about how she had kind of become an “acting agnostic… not that I had stopped believing in God,” she said. “It’s just that God didn’t seem to be around the neighborhoods I frequented.” Then one day she was introduced to the book, Lessons in Truth, and she had been asked to read a sentence from it aloud several times. The sentence was, “God loves me.”
“After about the seventh repetition, I began to sense that there might be truth in the statement, that there was a possibility that God really did love me. Me, Maya Angelou. I suddenly began to cry at the grandness of it all. I knew that if God loved me, then I could do wonderful things, I could try great things, learn anything, achieve anything. For what could stand against me with God, since one person, any person with God, constitutes the majority?” (Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now, p.75)
Lately, my mind has been swirling with the many directions my life could take right now. The lack of focus has been almost debilitating. And the main question is, will I choose to take the difficult path of the unknown, or will I settle for mediocrity and continue with the easier but unfulfilling and un-amazing route of the familiar?
It seems like the answer should be pretty easy. Of course I should take the higher road. Of course settling for mediocrity is not the answer.
But I’m telling you it is WAY easier said than done. The reality is that the familiarity of my current mediocrity (which I am quite comfortable, if unsatisfied, with) stares me in the face every time I walk down the hallway strewn with toys, unread library books, and shoes kicked off just a few feet from where they should be put away. And that’s just the hallway, nevermind venturing out into the rest of the house. It seems overwhelming sometimes.
Maybe what I need to do (and what we all need to do, I’m guessing, if we are trying to be live more amazing and purposeful lives) is remind ourselves every single day that God loves us. That we are amazing creatures with talents, skills, and abilities that God (or the Universe) gave to us to use. We CAN try great things and achieve anything. But the only thing we will achieve if we are content to settle for mediocrity is mediocrity. (Yes, I have a gift for stating the obvious.)
So. In an attempt to be more amazing myself and actually work toward my would-be writing career, I commit to write a short article within the next 30 days and submit it for publication. Somewhere.
Now tell me, what are you going to do to be more amazing? Or what I should say is, what are you going to do to tap into the amazingness that is just waiting there inside you?