expansion · follow · just live · keep moving forward · relationship

Off Road Following 

If you’ve ever read my blogs or know anything about my personal life, then you know I follow the Holy Spirit…

Growing up I was taught, when we accept Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes into our lives… He is the Spirit of God that lives within us… And that He brings a great host of personality and power to help us cultivate a better life…

When I was young I really didn’t have a relationship with Him at all… I only knew about Him because of what others told me… 

But, as I grew up I cultivated a relationship with Him… And that relationship is something that I deeply depend on to this day… 

Without Him in my life, I’m pretty sure I’d feel dead and confused… Walking through my days and years as a zombie…

So I’m really grateful to have Him… I believe everyone should have their own personal relationship with Him… And that He speaks to us in different ways…

But lately, well my relationship with Him has become frustrating and all over the place… 

And so I keep asking Him questions in hopes that He’ll show me where He is leading me in life…

Recently He said something to me that truly caught my attention.. “Amanda, you aren’t confident in following me. You always follow, but you aren’t secure in my ways.” 

You see, the goal is always fairly simple and clear, follow Him in all of His ways… Listen to His voice and have faith and hope as you follow…

But the more I follow the more He takes me on an “off road” journey… The kind that’s unmarked and unpaved… And honestly, it makes me nervous…

So nervous that I have emotional breakdowns because I feel so confused… Constantly, I look around at what others are doing in their lives and I realize my life looks absolutely different… And then I think “I can’t be following God. Right now, He’s led me to what feels like a brick wall. How can that be good? How can He be good if I feel stranded?”

You see, being “off road” makes me feel insecure and unsafe… My fears become high as my worries point out all of the darkness and danger I see… 

And no, I haven’t bumped into any of the things I fear yet… But gosh I’m terrified of them…

And then I just continue to hear the Holy Spirit say, “Just follow me. You are fine. You aren’t confused. You’re just following me. Be confident in the follow.”

Which causes me to wonder, “How was my grandmother able to follow so well? She always made following Him look so simple and graceful.”

And that’s when He reminded me of what she used to always say… “Never take your eyes off of Him. Never look away from the ways of Jesus. Always look to Him. Especially when you’re in the midst of the storm. Look at Him and you’ll stay uplifted. Look to Him and you’ll remain secure and at peace.”

I never understood what she meant when she said these things… I never really needed them until now… 

But now He has brought me to a place where I have to look at Him and His ways in order to keep moving forward… Because the worry, fear and doubt are so heavy that He must be the only solution… 

capacity · develop · expansion · perspective · process

Consider the Stars…

Have you ever looked at the nighttime sky before and thought, “Those stars… They’re so bright!.. So beautiful!.. So perfect!..”

If so, then you should know… Before becoming that bright ball of light, each star went through a process… This process included very dark, cold conditions with a lot of intense pressure… And, with the pressure, chemicals bonded together, balanced out… And BAM… A star was born…

In the same way, I believe we are like stars…

Many times, forces of life interfere, causing a lot of pressure on the inside of us… And, with that pressure, we become something stronger, better and more balanced than before…

Unfortunately, like gazing at the night sky, we don’t personally know what it might’ve felt like for each person to go through their own transformation to light… Because, well, it was a personal process… Really, only truly felt by one sole individual in it’s fullness…

Which is why I can look at my mom and say, “Life has been painfully awkward without dad… It’s been your own personal version of Hell”…

But, in reality, well I still only SEE what’s happened… I haven’t really felt the intense pressure she’s felt from forces like depression, anger, anxiety and fear…

And because I haven’t felt her personal pain, or the pain of others… Well it’s easy to gaze at this wonderful place we have called social media and say, “Wow, his/her life is perfect!”…

In this space, I believe we miss out on the darkness… Because, to post our pain might be wrong, disheartening and depressing…

And I agree, no one wants to hear us whine and complain… But, I think it’s important to remember that we are all going through something on the other end of what might look perfect and put together… That, for so many reasons, forces of darkness are part of life… And, a lot of the time, they help create us…

So, next time we gaze at life through the space of social media, please remember, what we see isn’t always the whole story… The love, light and laughter we see has a dark side to making it what it is… And that darkness that created the light should be recognized and respected…

Because… Well, it’s part of the story too…