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 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

How Did I Get Here?

Last night I sat at a cabaret performance… Which is generally not my chosen cup of tea. And… All in one moment I began to think, “How did I get here? How is this my life? I never asked for this at all, but this is my life.” Then I said it to my sister and she laughed really hard. But it’s true… How on earth did I get here?

You see that’s how I feel a lot of the time… I feel like I’ve lived so many different lives because I’ve moved around so much. Constantly I feel like nothing is ever truly stable. Almost like God keeps me at something until He decides my mission is complete and then He moves me on to something else. At times that means a new city with new people… A new way of life.

And it’s not easy. There are at least 10 times a day when I want what I want… Nothing more or less. And then there are at least 5 times a day when I think, “I should be following my own will and way. I should be creating the goals and calling the shots. Not God. What does He even know? I feel farther away from my hopes, dreams and passion than ever before.” But then I know… I know deep, deep down that I must follow Him. No matter what anyone else tells me they think I should be doing… or what they think God thinks I should be doing… I am going to listen to the Holy Spirit for myself.

And so I guess this is when my hard-headedness comes in. Because I’m going to keep pushing forward. And although it doesn’t make a lick of sense in the tangible, I really truly believe something amazing is happening in the supernatural.

So call me crazy. Maybe I am. But I just have to keep moving forward with Him.

 

Keep Moving Forward

We moved again yesterday… To another borough in the same city, but my point being is we MOVED!

Moving is the one thing I fully believe keeps the Holy Spirit active and alive in our lives. We have to keep moving forward with Him, wherever He leads.

And sometimes movement isn’t more than getting up in the morning while being present. Then others days it’s accomplishing 100 things we have to do for others, God and ourselves.

But regardless, the key… The secret is to keep moving… Past the regret, the pain, the confusion, the frustration, the disappointment, the limbo… Even the happiness and joy that we might feel… We must KEEP MOVING FORWARD! 💃🏻🌷 #cultivatelife

(More in video below)

Spiritual Warfare

When I was a kid I always thought spiritual warfare was this thing that was over when the war was won. And while that’s true, I never really considered how many wars and battles could go on at one time. I also never considered that spiritual warfare is a lifestyle. It’s not a fad we pick up for a moment and then toss to the side when the war has been won or (God forbid) we’re tired because we’ve been praying for days on end.

You see there is a constant war between dark and light/good and evil going on around us. And although most of us can’t see it, it’s very real and extremely intense.

So… how do we fight in this war? Well when you believe in Jesus Christ that means you’re filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. His power is actually stronger than the powers of darkness and evil. However, we can’t use His power unless we are willing to speak in the name of Jesus.

Jesus’s name is basically like the sword we fight with in the war.

So next time you feel overwhelmed in your mind… Next time you know you’re up against something a human being alone cannot solve… Then speak to the darkness that surrounds you. Tell the evil it can’t come any further because you have a relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit lives inside of you. And then please be encouraged to make this your lifestyle ⚔️💃🏻 #cultivatelife

(Video below for more)

Relentless Self-Discipline

I’ve been told for the better half of my life that I have a lot of “self-discipline.” And while I’ve always attributed it to my father’s example in my life, in this moment I’m realizing something new…

You see I believe that in order to be self-disciplined you have to have something in you that relentlessly won’t give up. For me, that relentless is the Holy Spirit because He’s never given up on me or abandoned me. He simply believes in me because He sees me for who I really am. He sees the depth of my heart and who I can become if I continue to follow Him with my entire heart.

And I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve been so wrong over the years… Because my self-discipline comes from the imprint the Holy Spirit has left inside of me. And though God is a bit chaotic, there is also an extreme balance to Him that cries for order. So, if you’re looking to become more of a self-disciplined person, then walk a little closer to the Holy Spirit. Get really up close and personal with His infallible love and determination to see you become all that He’s created you to be as you cultivate life!

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!