just live · keep moving forward · life

Breathless?

Are you breathing?

I know… It sounds like a silly thing to ask. Because if you’re reading this right now, you are obviously alive and breathing.

But you see the reason I am asking is a little bit deeper than what’s on the surface…

You see I find it increasingly fascinating that a virtually invisible virus that resembles a crown is attacking the lungs and stealing life… It’s stealing the very breath from humans.

Why is it fascinating to me? Well because God gave us breath. And… If you believe anything like I do, then you’ll remember that God breathed His breath into man and woman… We’re alive: spirit, soul and body because breath was given to us.

Okay… So where am I going with all of this? Well I’m simply coming from a place of encouragement.

In this time… A time when the breath we physically breathe is being compromised and attacked by an invisible kingdom of death and darkness, I want to encourage you to lean into the kingdom of God. I want to encourage you to discover Holy Spirit and to truly allow Him to become the life… The very breath deep down inside of you.

And when you do find Him… I want to encourage you to activate Him, to use Him to His full potential and then to allow Him to use you to your full potential. Because, I believe, if we can lean into His connection we’ll gain far more than we ever might’ve lost 🌱💨 #cultivatelife

capacity · challenge · complain · faith · fear · follow · just live · patient · peace · surrender

Wait-y

Patience… Patience is really, really, really challenging for me.

You see I’ve learned how to be patient with people and situations that are out of my control… But patience with God, myself and my own life…. Well that’s a completely different story.

You see I just don’t like to wait. Waiting… Well waiting seems SO boring and uneventful sometimes. And it doesn’t matter how many times God tells me to “wait” or “just be patient Amanda,” I still find myself complaining to Him like a small child who wants what I want NOW!

But I suppose I’m learning something while I wait. Because I see patience… I see the time that surrounds her is vital and good… And I guess… I guess it’s not so boring and uneventful if I seize this time to focus on other things while I wait.

Because one day… One day the waiting will be over. The waiting will be over and I just don’t want to look back and see that I wasted so much time complaining… Complaining rather than embracing what I have that’s so GOOD right NOW! 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

challenge · just live

Keep Following

When God gave me Cultivate Life 10 years ago He told me it would be a “challenge” to “keep moving forward,” but that the challenge would always produce more LIFE.

I believe my constant desire for more life is why I always chose the challenge. I want my world to become a flourishing paradise… One that springs forth with more life, love, peace and joy than one can imagine.

However, sometimes choosing to take on the challenge He presents me with isn’t what I want to do because I know it’s going to ask so much of my free-will.

You see I’ve learned that following Holy Spirit is pretty simple, the only real hang up is whether I will obey or not. Will I keep choosing to let go of my free-will and selfish intent in order to follow His will?

And I don’t know if you’ve experienced this before… We do live in a society that practically makes decisions for us; however, I do hope (if you’re reading this) that you’ll be encouraged to use your free-will to step away from society so that you may have a fuller life! I also hope that you’re always encouraged to take on the challenges Holy Spirit places in front of you.

And, if you don’t know how to follow Him, I hope He begins to open up a world of following to you… One that’s full of life, relationship, mystery and anticipation. And I hope, in this following, you take on every challenge, discovering greater ways to live and love than you ever imagined! 🌴 #cultivatelife #justlive

darkness · death · just live · vulnerability

One Present Moment

Can I be honest?… I think about life and death A LOT!

Seriously though… I think about the reality of mortality and what it means to be fully alive on the inside constantly.

Now, recently the Holy Spirit said, “Just live this summer Amanda. Take the next three months and really focus your attention on living.” Of course I needed to know what He meant… So I asked, and this is what He said…

“When you focus your attention on the past, you’re focusing on death. When you focus your attention on the future, you’re too focused on life. I’m asking you to focus your attention… To focus all of who you are on living. And to focus yourself on living is to focus on just being. I know it’s a lot to ask… Especially with your culture, and the anticipation it has to be in tomorrow. But I just need you to do this. I need you to continue to cultivate this habit until it becomes your lifestyle.”

And I don’t really know how this will shift who I am; however; I’ve already begun to realize how stupid I am for ignoring the present.

You see if you’re anything like me then you’ll understand what it feels like to be miserably obsessed with getting to tomorrow. It’s a constant state of not allowing today to be enough because we’ve been taught to fear being content with the present. It’s almost like it’s taboo to say, “I’m choosing to be fully present today.”

But you know… If I can’t get my mind off of tomorrow and I’m constantly thinking about what it will produce, well then I think I’ll wake up one day in my 70s and realize I’ve wasted my life away by being too concerned about tomorrow. I’ll miss the opportunity life gave me to just live and be fully alive from the inside out.

And I’m not saying choosing to just live means I’m going to become lazy or inactive… But what I am saying is I’m trying to make a better attempt at fully leaving the past in the past and allowing the future to unfold one present moment at a time. 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

Body · darkness · just live · lies, deception & manipulation · refine · soul · Spirit

Inception

One of my favorite movies is about a man hired to use a dream machine to plant an idea into the mind of another man… It’s called Inception.

In one scene you find Leonardo DiCaprio (he’s the one hired to plant the idea) and his colleagues in a room full of sleeping people who are using the dream machine. One of the men looks at the sleepers, turns to the other men and says, “They come here every day to sleep?” Another man replies, “No. They come to be woken up. The dream has become their reality.”

“The dream has become their reality”… Ironic as it sounds, as I look around at our sleepy culture, I can’t help but think about that line.

You see I believe we, as a whole, are becoming more and more like the sleepers in that room. We’ve convinced ourselves we need the internet and devices to survive. It’s not enough anymore to go through life just being. We’ve found a way to convince ourselves that we need to live in an altered, artificial reality. I can’t share a photo anymore without thinking, “Do I look good enough?” Because I know there are at least a million other women my age using an artificial app to make them look “thinner, thicker, tanner, toner, younger and more flawlessly perfect” than they truly are.

We are living in a dream state. It’s constantly before us every time we pick up these devices to be “social.” And it’s growing to the point that people feel so down on the way their lives really are that they’re physically altering their appearances.

Okay, so I’m not here to talk down on society, but I am here to be honest. I’m here to say we need to WAKE UP! Life… You know, real, actual life is around us. It’s flawed and full of chaos and it might seem unworthy, but it’s REAL and meant to be experienced without the box we all carry in our hands.

And though I don’t know how to help our society wake up and see the truth… I do hope we can find the self-discipline and willpower to put down our mind-altering devices, connect to the supernatural and just live life the way it was originally intended to be. 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

(Side note: These photos are what I actually look like. No editing in the posting 🙃)

Body · cultivation · freedom · healing · just live · love of god · restore · soul · Spirit

A Decade in the Making

Okay… Today, I hit the decade mark of losing 100 lbs! So… What does it mean to me to look at the girl on the left, the young woman on the right and the woman in the middle? Well… To me the three make up a cultivated lifestyle of restoration and freedom.

When I finished losing the weight, I didn’t realize I’d spend the next 10 years allowing Jesus to refine, develop, mature and grow me as a whole.

So when I look at these three photos I don’t see me… Instead I see Him… I see what He’s done in me.

You see, He’s taken a girl who was incredibly insecure, fearful, anxious, prideful, selfish, jealous and bitter… And He’s transformed her into a woman that’s confident, secure, courageous, at peace with the unknown, humble (I still struggle), selfless, grateful and full of joy towards others and myself!

When I started this journey I thought I knew Jesus. I thought I knew Father God. I thought I knew the Holy Spirit. I grew up believing in them, but life and death have taught me that I didn’t know them at all because I hadn’t experienced them on a personal level.

So today I can confidently say they are my foundation and source of life. Together, they constantly keep me strong, healthy and secure. While the past versions of me desperately searched for identity and security, today I believe I stand still on the truth that I can’t be shaken, tossed or turned. My life and all that I am is in Him.

And while the world around me continues to try to show me why I’m not thin enough, thick enough, tan enough, flawless enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, successful enough or even “godly” enough… Well guess what? His opinion of me is all that matters. And He says, “You’re more than enough Amanda because I’ve helped you become a new creation and given you new life through Christ.” 🌱 #cultivatelife

challenge · cultivation · follow · just live · keep moving forward · process · Spirit

The Best Way

About 7 years ago I was in college, working on something God had me put my entire self into. The idea He gave me seemed simple; however, I never realized how often I would think about the words He gave me to live by.

“Amanda, the journey you’re about to go on will be very challenging. You can move forward or backward, and you can walk away with what you’ve gained at anytime. However, the goal is to keep moving forward… You must keep moving forward so you can master this ancient way of life. It is the best way.”

In the moment He gave me this wisdom I thought, “This is going to be SO cool and SO much fun! Why would I ever want to quit and walk away? Why would I ever want to move backward?”

It’s funny though… Here I am 7 years later and I have so many moments when I want to just quit and walk away with everything God has given me. I want to take these precious stones of wisdom and just go live my own life. I mean… I’ve gained so much intangible wealth from Him… So do I really need to keep moving forward?!

But then I know the task He gave was to master the lifestyle so then I can give it away to others. Which is why I always stay on the path… I always keep moving forward because I haven’t reached the place where I can fully give what my heart desires to give.

And I don’t know if I’m making any sense; however, what I’m trying to say is this… Living a Spirit led life is the utmost challenging way of life. So many other lifestyles constantly pull at us on a daily basis, reminding us why we should or could stop following the Spirit. But then… Well if we do stop, well I believe our spirit will become stagnant and dull. I believe it will be overcome with soulish comments, questions and concerns. And most importantly, I believe we will begin to die. Maybe not a physical death, but a spiritual one for sure.

So please, be encouraged to always keep pursuing the Holy Spirit and His ways. 🌱🌷 #cultivatelife

Fullness of Jesus · higher way · just live · life

Simply Alive

Being alive… What a thought… I mean, you are alive right?!?

I hope you’re always growing: spirit, soul and body. I hope you’re always open to development, maturity and growth from the inside out.

Because it’s a challenge to do that today ya know? Our world is filled with technology. And while it’s good in some respects, it really has stripped the world of it’s natural process to just be alive and thrive from a spiritual perspective.

You see being alive to me has always meant that we are connected to a source… We have to bring our failures and mistakes to God. We have to rely on Him to help us get through the lowest of the lows. And then we also must allow Him to supply us with everything we need, day in and out.

And I know it seems like a funny way to be… A strange way to live. And I’m sure I sound strange to some… But it’s just because I’ve chosen to live differently. I’ve chosen to keep my heart and mind open to the things of God, rather than the things of the world and the church.

Because I believe there’s a time coming (it might even be here now) where we’ll need to have an authentic, real and unaltered connection to the divine. Something that is stable and secure… Something that the world and the church didn’t build for us, but that we worked with God in relationship to structure.

And I don’t know if I’m making sense, but I hope that you’re growing spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. I hope you’re not on autopilot just waiting for your next instruction from some higher up social figure. I hope that you are simply alive! 🌷🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

(See video for more!)

just live · keep moving forward · will of God

Figure or Follow?

Living from a place where I don’t try to figure it all out… What a way of life!

That’s where I feel like I need to be right now. Having the discernment to see the truth, but trusting deeply that all of the pieces of the puzzle are coming together as I watch them move.

Because I feel like the wind of God has started to blow in my life in a more violent way than ever before. And when the wind blows you cannot stop it… Because the wind is very about you following It’s own path, not It following you. And I very much agree that it’s time for me to stop breaking things down and figuring out how He’s blowing and why He’s blowing, and instead just be moved. I mean… that’s what Jesus did… Right?

Now I’m not saying, “Don’t seek out His will.” Because we do need to have some type of understanding on how to make decisions. However, trying to solve a puzzle God has designed is extremely complicated, exhausting and time consuming. Plus, doing so causes us to get distracted and miss out on the journey!

So if you’re anything like me, slow down on the inside and just follow where you’re led! And even if it gets dark and depressing for a moment, keep following until the light of His wind pushes you forth. It’s worth it! I promise!

awareness · grateful · just live

This is the Day!

“This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Psalm 118:24

Growing up, I continuously heard my grandmother sing Psalm 118:24. We could be anywhere, doing practically anything and she’d freely breakout this phrase for anyone that was listening to hear.

To me… To me these words didn’t mean much of anything at all, but to her… Well you could always tell she had a deeper understanding of rejoicing in the goodness of today.

You see, as I continue to just live in today.. As I continue to just focus on the now.. As I continue to let tomorrow worry about itself and bring it’s own problems and pain… Well I’m learning something else that is revolutionizing my life.

Today is the only day I actually have. Sure I can fantasize and hope and pray for tomorrow, but today… Today is it.

And, in so many ways and for so many reasons today is the day I’ve been yearning for. It’s the day I’ve hoped and prayed for. It’s a day I’ve cried tears over. A day that I’ve wished upon a star to be in. Because you see while I’ve been following the Holy Spirit, Jesus and the Father have been constantly and consistently supplying me with a freer life than I previously had. They’ve been working with me to toss my past, my failures, my fears, my worries and my shame so that I may pick up their grace and freedom and love.

And, in doing so, I’ve become a better person. A more alive and fuller person. An increasingly more pleasant person to be around because I’m not dictated by hate, fear and pride.

And because of this, well I can confidently walk into each day and just live my life. I can truly repeat the phrase, “This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Because, though the day might be full of trial, error and terror, it’s still a day that God has fully formed for me. A day that He created for me to walk through in freedom and in love.

Right now you might be thinking, “Amanda, this isn’t making sense. I don’t understand.” And you know what? It’s ok. If you’re anything like I am, you understand what its like to be stuck in a place of worry and panic and fear; however, when we choose to let go of pain and the past… When we give God control of our free will… And when we continuously allow Him to direct our lives, well we find ourselves in a place of peace. And in that place of peace is the ability to just rejoice and be glad in today.