When I was a child, I told everyone I wanted to be an author when I grew up. I penned my first story at age 8 — about a young girl who befriends and alien girl. (Guess I do have a bit of sci-fi in me) I went on to write this tale about a girl who moves down south with her dad after the death of her mother. It was epic. At least in my 12 year old head, it was. I tackled a couple of subjects – death, love, teen pregnancy (not the main character, but her friend), marriage, etc. My last story in my childhood years was about a girl who wanted to have a first love experience when she turned 16. She had never been kissed. But she was hopeful that every day would be the day she meets her first boyfriend. I was about 15 when I started it. I never finished it. Matter of fact, I wouldn’t write again for seven years.
Why? What happened that made me put down my pen? Allow those three “masterpieces” to disappear from my parent’s house and my life?
I started hearing voices. We’ve all heard them at some point. The ones that fill you with doubt. With fear. Make you question your destiny. These voices said I couldn’t make it. Being a writer is not a real job. That I can’t expect to make any actual money doing that. It’s a pipe dream. Give it up and get a real grown-up job.
So, I did. I got my degree in information systems and stepped out into the corporate world. I also started writing again in my free time. Three years later, I had been released from that job when there wasn’t a permanent position to match my skills. I went on to get another good job, just to be job eliminated two months later when they decided my position wasn’t necessary. Then there were several more jobs of varying skill and compensation, but none were the right fit. They would never be a career.
Then almost three years ago, I did something spontaneous. At least at the time, I thought it was, but it was really God-led. I enrolled in a vocational school to become a patient care technician. And I loved it. Really loved it. Saw myself putting on cute scrubs and walking into a hospital every day. That training would be the stepping stone to my new path – nursing. I breezed through the training, got a coveted externship spot in a hospital’s emergency department, and graduated with high honors.
I also decided that I did want to finish my book. Ignore those voices — I was determined to finish a novel. Somehow, I was able to find the time for family, work, school, and writing. It wasn’t easy, but doable.
My school offered to pay for the CNA exam about three months after I finished my externship. So I got my test date set up (which took a few months) and even interviewed for an “as needed” position at a hospital as a nurse tech. I just needed to get my CNA license. I sat for my exam roughly six months after finishing my externship. I was out of practice, but thought I could still pass. I passed the written portion, but when I went on to the clinical piece, I made two “critical” errors and was dismissed from the exam. I bombed. I failed. I would have to retake it.
I tried to shake it off and told myself I would throw my energy into school and just concentrate on the RN process. I enrolled in school to start on my pre-requisites for the nursing program. Unfortunately, I was consistently late to my science class because the campus was too far from work and I wasn’t allowed to leave early. I had a hard time finding time to study. Three weeks in, I walked into class late and it was a test day. I have never forgotten a test. I went ahead and took it, but dropped the class the following week. Never saw that grade.
Then it happened again. The voices came back.
“What are you thinking?“
“You really don’t want to be a nurse, I thought you said you wanted to be a writer.”
“So, why are you even going through this nursing process anyway?”
“This nursing thing isn’t going to work out. Just give it up.”
So, I did. I recommitted to writing. I took a literature course and a writing class the following semester. Joined a writing networking group. I thought I was finally on track, but every effort I made with my writing stalled. I hit issue after issue. I was frustrated and couldn’t understand what was happening. If this is my purpose, why do I keep getting knocked down?
Easy. I was out of position. For the second time, I had talked myself out of my destiny. I’d let the failure of the CNA exam and that science course deter me. And detour me. I was on the wrong path, yet again. It took a random conversation with a coworker to get me back on track. She was talking about an LPN program. I revealed that I had thought about nursing. She goes, “Why don’t you? Because you can.”
Those words put everything in perspective. I got discouraged and gave up. I went back to something I had been praised for doing, thinking it would be easier, but was stalled in my efforts to finally become published. I thought I had to choose. But I didn’t. I had everything I needed in me to do both, but because I was out of line with one, I struggled in the other. No one ever said to me that I couldn’t do it. In fact, there are several who fully believed I could become a great nurse AND an excellent, published author. I just didn’t believe it. I was the only one in my way. I let the voice of fear and doubt overtake me and turn me from what I was purposed to do. So, I re-enrolled for the science class I dropped. I will take two more prerequisites next semester. I also will retake the CNA exam.
But all things work together for the good. My tech school will allow me to take their CNA review courses even though I graduated over a year ago. I never took humanities while at Howard, and the literature course I took while on “detour” can be applied to the BSN. The writing course was not a waste of time, either. It stretched me creatively and led me to write a novella that was a bit different for me. Today, I’m doing pretty good in school and my desire to write is as strong as it was when I was an eight year old writing about aliens.
I reveal all of this to say we have everything we need to fulfill our dreams already instilled in us. We should not allow the opinions of others and the voices of defeat, fear, and doubt talk us out of a good thing. We’re not meant to be mediocre. Nor are we meant to settle for less. Scripture says that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) So, if the Word says it, then it can be done. If you have a dream or vision in you, you can do it…whether it’s going back to school, starting that business, launching that new career. Everything you need you already have.