Being You… Complex?

What’s the biggest challenge of being you? Is it accepting yourself? Loving yourself? Or possibly just being confident in who you are?

What happens when the biggest challenge within you is interchangeable with the person you are at your core? The very essence of you?

For me… As Amanda Nicole…. My biggest challenge of being me is being confident in who I am… And yeah, it’s been an evolution of sorts… But when I dig deep, I know in truth that I’m still not the confident woman I so hope to be…

Now, the person I am at my core is well… To me the person I am, the One I hope to reflect the most is God… His heart… The deepest part of who He is… The purest part of who He is… A place so deep that it takes a walk through fire to truly obtain it in its fullness…

So, my biggest challenge is not just being confident in me, it’s deeper.. Much more complex… It’s being confident in God… In the ways of God… In the ways of His heart…

And it sounds kind of simple… Trust in God… Follow Him… Believe in Him…

But what happens when your heart cries out for more? What happens when the God in you wants more? When He’s asking you to go deeper… To just walk a little bit closer to that fire… To really experience the refine of that burn?

For me… This is my continued challenge at hand… To allow God to keep refining me… To refine me until I am all of myself, but then myself looks nothing like me and everything like Him…

It’s not an easy walk… It’s a challenge that takes days… Weeks… Months… It’s taken years… Heartbreak, loss and severe failure…

But I need this walk… I need it just as much as it needs me… And I don’t know what I’ll “do” with it all, but I do believe it is so rewarding… So meaningful… So purposeful… And it’s allowing me to be confident in Him and ALL of His ways…

When It’s All Shaking…

 If I have to be real… Real and honest… Well then that means I should just go ahead and talk about the things I want to carry… The things that are entirely too heavy for me…I find myself in a place where I want to become overwhelmed… Because isn’t that human nature?… Or so we’ve been taught…

From leaving my job a month ago to pursue something else… To discovering my family and life back home is a complete mess… To not knowing what’s next in my life or their’s…

Well in truth this whole thing is teaching me security… Where it’s found where it’s held…

Because I’ve always had this thing called a safey net… My grandparents… My parents… Or really I guess my mom now…

And then dad died and I thought I learned how to have complete trust and security in God… In His plan… In His provision…

But now… Now that life is once again evolving… Now that at least 10 curve balls have been batted my way… Well I find myself realizing that I’ve still been grasping onto security in other things…

In the job I had… In my grandparents… In their ministry… In my mom… In so many things we’re taught will always “be there” to catch us if we “fall”…

But now I’m learning that these things… These things I’ve held onto… And I honestly didn’t realize I was grasping them this tightly… Well they’re all being shaken… Shaken so hard…

So hard that when I lay in bed at night I can feel shaking all around me.. It’s constant… And I have to check to see if there’s been an earthquake… But then I realize it’s only the spirit realm around me…

And it’s moving so, so very much…

And that’s why I find myself in this moment… This moment where choosing to feel overwhelmed seems like the obvious choice… This moment where I see this big red button labeled “panic” and I want to run full speed at it and press it…

But… But then I’m reminded by God… Over and over He keeps reminding me that that’s not faith and trust… That He… He is my Father… That He loves me so very much…

And that if I just simply choose to trust Him… Well life will work itself out… And that He’s brought me to this place… A place where I can’t allow myself to fear anymore… A place where I just need to believe with my entire being that He is in control…. Even if what’s happening wasn’t part of His plan… It will work out for good…

And I am beginning to believe that more and more… And I want that to be my lifestyle… As I just live….

Peace: Confident Yet Satisfied

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I had a thought yesterday that went something like this….

If someone offered me a million dollars to change myself… To stop being dramatic and just let life and the things that are inside of it go… Would I do it…

The pay off would be the money… The incentive would be the money…

But as I started thinking about it more I realized it’s a much greater trade off to gain peace… Rather than a million dollars…

And I say all of this because I feel like cultivating a heart of peace is a challenge for me….

So far… When I look at peace… I see that it is quiet and still… It doesn’t have to have a lot going on… It’s confident and secure with what it’s doing in the moment… Even if that security is based in the fact that it doesn’t know what’s coming next…

I feel like peace is confident in the unknown…. Its confident in the unknown and satisfied with the present…

And that’s what I’m aiming to cultivate right now… A peaceful heart and mind… One that is confident in the unknown and satisfied with the present… One that can just be…. That can be in a moment and not feel pressured by the outside world around me…

The outside world that constantly tells me I need to be doing a million and one things… That I need to be comparing myself to others through social media… And that I’m not doing enough…

If I could simply look at the inside world… The one going on on the inside of me… It’s calm… It’s collected… It’s still…

So that’s my focus… It’s my aim… To continue to cultivate the peace inside of me and then carry it with me… And to focus on it when I feel overwhelmed by the unknown and unsatisfied with the present….

And maybe it’s easier said than done… And I probably don’t look at where I’ve been and how far my story has taken me enough…. But I know that once I learn to just live in peace… Well life will continue to stay balanced and even… And I’m ok with that..

Confidence

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Sometimes I feel like death is teaching me more than I wanted to learn. Like when I lay in bed at night and miss my dad. I just want him back. It’s strange… most of the things we want in this world we can have. I mean it may cost us but we can still have it. But with death…. well with death it’s not possible to have a person back. The soul and breathe have left and the body’s in the ground… so bringing them back is a task…. I’m sure it’s possible, but who really knows how to do that? And why on earth would God let anyone know how to do that?

Still, I miss him and I’m nervous leaving mom here alone. I don’t want her to get depressed. I want her to find something, anything to live for. I want her to move forward and take on life. She’s really capable of so much. And I know it’s going to be hard without dad here. I mean… he was in her life every single day. So his absence is more noticeable to her than it is to me.

I still think I’m in a state of shock though… a little disbelief. For most people, cancer is a long, drawn out process… for us, it was a month. One month after finding out, our world’s shook like never before. You know, my grandmother said God told her, “The girls will be alright when the earthquake happens.” She’s been telling me for months that we’d be ok. And it wasn’t until after the funeral that I realized… yeah we would be ok. She was looking for a physical earthquake to strike in Cali. What none of us saw coming was death…. which has surely shaken the ground for all of us. And when I told Bridge about this, she said, “Yeah, Amanda we will be alright. Even mom. I believe God included mom when he said the girls will be alright.”

So in this moment of fear for my mom, I have to believe she’s going to be alright. Depressions not going to set in and become a way of life for her. She’ll have moments, but I believe she’ll move forward. Last night, I tried my best to throw this challenge at her as a good thing. Because I believe when she looks back she’ll be able to say, “Wow, I did cancer. I did death. I did medical bills, construction bills, house hold bills and even the construction of a million dollar home. I did all of that. Wow.” And I think it will help her confidence grow tremendously.

Life is pretty amazing. I think if we all choose to look at the difficult times as blessings, great blessings it would help us all move forward in life. It would build our confidence and self-esteem. I don’t have very good confidence in me. I mean it’s grown tremendously, but it’s still weak. But in moments when it’s weak, I have to remind myself… “Hey Amanda, look how far you’ve come in life. You used to be the girl that was too afraid to enter a room because you feared what others thought. Now… well now that’s not even an issue.”

And those thoughts… they motivate me to enter fearful moments with great confidence in me. Confidence that I helped structure because they are built from my previous experiences… And I believe we all have these moments. We just have to look for them. Maybe finding confidence in self isn’t as challenging as we think… it’s simple. Just look into your past and find those moments when you’ve done things that you couldn’t do before… things that you impressed yourself in doing, and those things… those things should help you become more confident in you than ever before. I know they help me.