Money or God?

As many of you know, I always try to be as transparent as I can when I share anything. However, there’s one topic in my life I don’t share about too often because the war with it has been long and intense at times.

You see I’ve been wagging war with money for a while now. It’s been this constant dance of, “Who will Amanda foundationaly worship and praise: Money or God?”

And I get it… Social media makes things look like I have it all together in this area; however, what if I told you my life constantly asks that I take a gamble with God every single day for provision? What if I told you that I don’t have the promise of a paycheck, but that I completely trust He is going to provide what I need when I need it? What if I told you I’ve learned I don’t need more than half of the things my culture keeps telling me I need?

Then what would you think?

You see I’ve come to a place in life where my cost of living is low. Money doesn’t move me with excitement or fear the way it used to. And the idea of living large is so unappealing. Actually living large at the cost of my doing sounds more like a prison than a palace. It sounds like an endless lifestyle of death and destruction… Something that gives a false illusion of power, based around the way I choose to hustle in life.

But then there’s this other path… This path to prosperity. And when I say prosperity, I mean having more than what I need. Which doesn’t include 6 cars, 2 boats and 3 houses. It more so means having more than enough in a simple setting… Like two shades of lipstick to choose from over one. Or, three beverage options in my fridge over two.

And I don’t know if you get where I’m coming from at all… But I do believe if we are ever going to truly allow God to be the foundation, security and focal point of our lives, then we have to let go of this idea of having money as a savior, lover or intimate friend. We have to be willing to constantly live around our needs, rather than our dire wants. And, most importantly, we have to be willing to trust Him when He says, “I will provide. Just create, live and cultivate life to the best of your ability.” 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

 

Kingdom of Lies

Lies… Deception… Manipulation… Layers upon layers rest upon my soul. And so my soul feels confused.

But then, my soul doesn’t want a fragment of falseness. My soul wants truth. My heart and spirit crave truth too. But then my mind fears the truth because the lies sound so good and feel so powerful and strong. The lies have been given so much weight and support with my thoughts and my words. I’ve helped cultivate this kingdom of lies.

But the fruit… It isn’t good. The fruit just causes more pain, heartache and disappointment. And even when I try to believe the pain is for a purpose, I find myself more manipulated and deceived than I was before. Constantly pacing in mental hell as I scream, “Why?!!!”

But I hear God. I hear Him clearly when He says, “Why would I lead you down a path of deception and manipulation? Why would I bring pain and confusion to your soul? I want you healthy and whole. So let go.”

And so… I let go. 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

Year Five

Five years ago today I watched my dad take his last breath. All in one moment the reality of death made his appearance in my life.

You see it was evidently clear that I was starring at my dad, but then at the same time I wasn’t.

Every part of him (the smile, the jokes, the instigation I couldn’t stand, the love, the brilliant gifting that made him unique)… It was gone. His essence… His soul… His spirit… The aura that filled his body was gone. And so he was gone.

And so that was the moment… The moment I realized life… Life really, truly is temporal. And our bodies…. Our bodies really are nothing more than the vessel we use to travel in while we’re here on earth.

So now you might be thinking, “Amanda, why are you sharing this?” Well… To be completely honest with you, I just really care about the health of people. Actually, let me rephrase that…. I care about the inner health of people. I care that we are alive on the inside. I care that we thrive on the inside. I care that we find grace, love, forgiveness and healing; and then that we maintain that healing long after our moment of transformation.

You see in today’s culture I believe it’s so easy to get caught up in our outer appearance, race, sexual orientation, religion and political background… But don’t forget, before any of that can matter, we are all intangible on the inside first and foremost. We’re all created with some type of God-spark that makes us eternal and immortal.

And so I guess that’s why I’m writing this…. Because I want to remind you and encourage you to look past the surface of what you can see and shift your focus to what you can spiritually feel. Because the health of that “thing” inside of you, that “thing” we all so casually overlook, is what is truly alive in life. 🌱 #cultivatelife

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 🙃)

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

The Embarrassing Truth

This might sound silly, but… do you walk with God?

Of course I don’t mean physical walking. I mean spiritual walking. Are you spiritually walking with God on a daily basis?

You know if I’m completely honest, I’m embarrassed to say I’ve spent most of my life walking with God. I feel embarrassed because the life of a “walker” is constant and consistent, BUT it’s also very slow. It requires patience. It requires self-control. It requires me to listen more and talk less.

And I guess the height of my embarrassment comes when I start comparing my walk to the way other people are running. And wow… Life is surrounded with hundreds of millions of “fast” runners. Runners that make me feel so small for choosing to walk.

But that’s not me. It never has been. Never will be.

And so if you understand where I’m coming from, I hope you’re encouraged to cultivate confidence in the area of walking with God. Don’t look to the left or the right where our culture pulls us to posses everything around us. Instead, just walk with confidence and courage into the life He’s continues to provide you with. 🌱 #cultivatelife

What Gives God?

How can I confidently stand firm on God and His words and His promises when I have days like yesterday? Moments where I feel impatient and start to flip flop about the promises.

And what about the “bloom?!” God promised I’d see a bloom in my life, but now I feel like He meant the trees around me!!

What gives God? Where are your promises? What’s your delay? What’s the delay? And why do I still have to be still?

In the stillness there’s still growth though… There’s still constant and consistent movement and life.

And even though my soul flips back and forth everyday… I still have hope. I still have joy. I still believe cultivating LIFE in the Kingdom of God is the best way we can choose to live life! 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive