"YOU DON"T GET WHAT YOU WISH FOR; YOU GET WHAT YOU BELIEVE."
Here's a photo from Oprah's The Life You Want Tour yesterday in Newark. THANK YOU with all my heart to everyone who showed up to my "hometown" event in New Jersey…oh my heavens, it was a crowd of angels in that arena!
And I wanted to share this quote, which Oprah said during her speech on Friday night: "You don't get what you wish for; you get what you believe." She followed that line with the observation, "A lot of people out there are just wishing…"
She spoke about her own journey out of 1950s aparteid-era Mississippi. She said she never believed anything that her external circumstances said about her life. She never believed that she was poor, that she had no value, that there was no place in the world or the media for someone who looked like her…she never believed anything except that she was a child of God, with a calling and a mission, and that her world was hers to create.
What do you believe about yourself, as opposed to what you simply wish for?
I was thinking about this yesterday — thinking about the years when I was an unpublished writer and a diner waitress in Philadelphia. Nobody would have envied my existence then, but I loved those years, because I was on fire with excitement about my own life. I believed in my own path, my own vocation, my own work. (Nobody else did, mind you, but I didn't much care.)
I believed back then that I was a writer, despite having absolutely no external corroboration to back it up. This is not to say that I thought I was a GREAT writer, but I knew I was a writer. And I knew I would never stop walking that path. In fact, I was walking my path ALREADY, because I wrote every single day, and with passion. The fact that I had to work 8 shifts a week bringing people their eggs and hashbrowns was just incidental, just what you gotta do to pay the bills. I was already a writer. This was what I believed, despite my pile of rejection letters, despite coming home from work smelling like kitchen grease every day. I believed it with all my soul, so I never quit.
Years later, I ran into a woman who had once been a customer of mine at the diner. She said, "I can't believe you were my diner waitress and now you're this serious writer!"
All I could do was smile. Because I knew what she could never have known — that I had ALWAYS been "this serious writer." All she had ever seen was some random chick in an apron, refiling people's coffee. But I had seen something else. I had believed something else. Always.
I became what I believed.
"Be careful what you wish for," people say — and maybe they are correct, because the wishing isn't enough, and the wishing can distract you from the BEING.
Lay your wishes aside for a spell, and look deep into what you believe about yourself. Make sure your beliefs about your own life are anchored in greatness, in holiness, in worth, in grace, in joy, in excitement —in internal certainties rather than external circumstances. Because that belief? That's where you're heading, no matter what it may look like on the outside.