Free and Ungrateful…

My heart has been searching for a solution… For an answer… For a sign… For anything God or the universe might give me to help me move forward in the season of life I’m in…

Because I’m constantly questioning, “Why do I feel stuck? Why aren’t things moving forward? Why are all of these seemingly negative things happening? Mainly, why am I still in Shreveport, LA almost a year later? This was not part of the plan, my hopes or my dreams.”

And the Holy Spirit has led me to this…

The smallness of a moment… The smallness of a season of life… The times when our bank accounts are low and the money isn’t “rolling ” in for some reason… The moments when you know in your heart you’ve followed God just like He said, but feel like every door has been slammed shut in your face… The responsibilities that seem to continue to pile up because everything that could go wrong feels like it is going wrong… The reality of the thought, “Okay… What could possibly happen next? Please let it be good!”

Basically, life feels small… I feel cornered… Cornered by the reality that everything around me has pushed me to have complete confidence and security in an intangible God, who works in intangible ways… And that all ways leading to tangible security continue to fail me quickly…

And because I feel small… Because I feel cornered… Well I am learning to cultivate a new level and lifestyle of humility… A place where I am forced to learn and grow, even when I don’t want too…

And I believe smallness is a great thing…  Because I’m learning that a humble heart is a grateful heart…

So what am I grateful for what you might ask?…

I’m grateful for the fact that I have the freedom to live the life I’m living… God has set me free of so many things from my past, but I choose to complain about the things I don’t have… I spend too much time comparing myself to others and thinking, “If I only had that.” When in reality, I should be grateful that I don’t have to live under the insecurities, pain and burdens of my past… He’s given me a extremely free life… And the Holy Spirit is always opening up new avenues, where I learn new areas that my heart and soul can become free…

Freedom… What a reason to be grateful!

I’m also grateful for my relationship with God… Lately I’ve been angry with God because I don’t see a lot of things He’s promised me becoming a reality… So I’m confused… But then I should just become grateful that I even have the opportunity to cultivate a relationship with Him… And I don’t mean a relationship we find in religion, that’s centered around a pastor or priest and his/her teachings… I mean one where He literally has conversations with me all throughout my day because He is my best friend and closest companion… Because He is the one willing to walk or crawl with me through the ugly, low seasons of life…

And I can go on and on over the things I am becoming grateful for… But mainly my thoughts are leading me to this… As humans, that live in this country, I believe we should be grateful for what we’ve been given and stop looking for things we don’t have… I believe most of us have forgotten that this country wasn’t just given to us… People have lost their lives and their freedom so that we can have it… And I get it, it’s fun to celebrate our country by dressing up, having fun and getting drunk… But are we truly grateful in our hearts?… Because that is where our celebration for our country should come from…

And I don’t know where we are headed as a nation, but my current life status is teaching me that I need to be grateful… And that desire to be grateful is encouraging me to remind others to be grateful too… Even if your life isn’t in a season of smallness right now… Look around and be grateful for the foundation your life sits on…

Because a foundation is the basis of life… It’s what holds us together and keeps things tight and secure… And I promise, if we can humble ourselves and become grateful for what we are built upon, well I believe we will see growth, new life and prosperity like never before…

But, in order to do this, we need to get out of our own heads… We need to stop looking at what we want and start becoming grateful for what we have… We need to think of others more and ourselves less… We have to look up at the world and vast universe around us and not be so focused on the black boxes in our hands…

Life is simple… We’ve made it complicated…

It’s All Crumbling…

Over the past few weeks I’ve come in contact with so many people who’s worlds are crumbling to the ground…

Everything they hold dear is being shaken…

From relationships, to deaths to sickness and tragedy… This world is evolving into a darker, sicker and more painful place than it was before…

And as I have conversations with people from all walks of life, my continued questions are, “What and who are you founded in? When you lay your head down on your pillow at night, what are you placing your identity in? What and who defines you?”

And for most the answer is the same… Too many are defined by the tangible… By the world the surrounds us…

When I say the world, I’m speaking to anyone that places their faith, hope and love in what we see… In people, things, jobs, institutions, the government and money… Life that is altogether here one moment and gone the next… The white noise that seems to dictate our lifestyles on the regular because we don’t know what we would do without it…

Let me say something for a moment… And I’m speaking to people in the church too who think in their minds (not in their hearts and with their spirits) that they are stable…

The only thing our life should ever lay a foundation on is God and His faith, hope and love… Not on a Bible, a pastor, a relationship, a job, makeup/clothes/shoes/electronics/furniture, the government, institutions, or money…

We try so hard to establish our careers, buy big houses, own expensive things and go on grand vacations… And what for? To show it off and say, “Look what I’ve accomplished! Look where I am! Look what I own! Look how hard I struggled to reach this success!”

But have you ever focused your attention on being at peace first? Have you ever ventured into the love that comes when we allow Father God to be in the center of our lives? Have you ever lived a life of faith, trusting that God is meeting all of your needs, not your wants?

Because I don’t believe He can properly connect with people that place their heart and energy into the tangible… I believe His Holy Spirit is searching for a group of people right now that say, “I will walk (not hustle or remain stagnant) with You through the ups and downs of life. Because You are the only One that can sustain me when everything is falling apart. You are the only One that continues to take the evil of this world and turn it for good. You in all that You are are enough for me.”

And sometimes it can seem a little crazy. “Ok, I’m going to place my lack of understanding, my fears, my failures… My whole life into the hands of someone who I can’t see… And then He’s gonna make it better? But all I know is this other way of life!”

But I believe that’s the great thing about learning how to have faith and trust in God. Through His unseen process, we give up the things of this world that own us for the one thing we can never own… Which is God. And then we allow His Spirit to completely lead us on this journey… And sometimes the journey is ugly and painful, but we can still have joy, peace, hope and love in the midst of this thing called Life.

Lead… From Within…

The soul… Our minds… Our emotions… Our will… It’s a sticky, tricky place to be…

Truly…

Because I believe… When we have a heart change… A true change within our spirit, well then there’s this thing called our soul… And it almost jumps in the way to protect itself from the unknown…

Saying, “Umm, no! This is not how you trained me and tamed me to act and react to life! So… Now I will fight you on this. I will go round and round until I win, because the way you’ve taught me is what is “right.”

And so, this is where I find myself…

Over the last three weeks, God has been changing my heart… He’s been reorganizing so much on the inside of me… Bringing so much of life into perspective and alignment… And it’s been great… My spirit feels confident, strong and at peace…

But then there’s my soul… And it’s pissed… Because I’m changing…

So, a lot of the things I’ve spent so much time thinking on, well they aren’t worth thinking about anymore… And the things I’ve spent my emotions on are pretty worthless too…

So I find myself in this place… A place where my spirit is trying to lead from within… Totally and completely…

Now, the question is…. Will I allow my soul to step down? To step down and just be?…

Flight Lessons…

Recently… A friend flew my sister and I home on her flight attendant passes…
The destination?… Shreveport of course…

The path?.. Los Angeles, to Dallas, to Shrevport…

Simple right?…

So we woke up super early and caught the first flight to Dallas…

But… There was a catch…

The passes didn’t guarantee we’d have seats aboard the specific flight she booked…

We would have to wait on a “standby” list until the entire plane was full… And then… Only then would we know if we could board…

After 6 hours and 4 flights… We found ourselves on a plane to Oklahoma City… A plane that guaranteed a direct flight to Dallas… And then a quick connection to Shreveport…

Of course… Once in Dallas, the flight to Shreveport had been delayed 3 hours because of weather…

So we jumped in a friends car and took a short trip to Shreveport…

Now… If you know me… A situation like this causes me to become frustrated… Because I can’t control what’s happening…

It’s simply out of my hands…

Ironically, that’s how I feel about my life right now… I want to get to certain life destinations quickly… Because I feel like I’ve been waiting for so long… And I feel like the process keeps getting delayed…

But, like the flight situation, it’s so evident that certain paths are too crowded… Too many people are going that way…

And so the Holy Spirit says, “No, go this way. Take this turn. It might take a little bit longer and require a few more steps, but it’s less stressful. It’s less stressful and more convivent for you. And, as long as you stay positive, you will get there. And you will get there well.”

And honestly… Well honestly, I’m learning to accept that my journey through life is this way…

And though I want to go the popular route… The one everyone around me seems to be going… Well I’m reminded that it’s a stressful route… A route that seems certain, but then isn’t… Because it can be full of headaches and problems…
But then the alternate route… The one less traveled… Well it’s the route that takes a little longer, but ensures my peace of mind…

Practice Makes Grace…

Why does it feel so hard that have grace sometimes?…

Why does it feel so difficult to just let things go and move on?…

Why do we have to experience hurt and pain from those around us?…

Why can’t the grown adults in my life grow up and be adults?…

Why was I taught to accuse others?… To become bitter, angry and hateful?…

Why can’t I just choose to love and to leave it all in the hands of God?…

These are the questions that lay inside my mind this morning… My mind that has created so many scenarios over things that probably aren’t true…

And how I want to be so angry with certain people for not having grace and live towards others…

In reality… I believe I should just have grace with the ones that I feel are acusing…

And this is one of the biggest reasons I hate religion… One of the main reasons my family can let me go from cool and collected to fuming red and totally scattered on the inside…

And I truly believe this is not only an opportunity to practice grace and allow God to carry the weight… But I also believe it’s a crucial moment in my life…

Almost like a foundational moment for the next season of life I’ll enter…

A moment that is asking how I’ll choose to handle life when it presents me with things that make me want to be my old self… With things that are so evil looking at their core…

And I truly believe the answer is just simple grace… But I honestly need God to be stronger and show me how to have grace here… Because I don’t want to…

I don’t want to… But I need to…

Because in reality… Well it’s the only thing I see that will help me just live…

Learning to Rest…

Rest is a word I’ve never been too fond of making friends with… I mean come on, we live in 2016…. Most see it as “keep doing and doing and doing until you’re dead”…
Or, as it was put to me, “sleep when you die”…

But lately, well I’ve been learning that life without rest… Well it happens to be a mindset of the world…

And, as a child of God, I live in the world… But I’m not living of it and it’s systems and principles…

So this idea… This truth about resting… Well it requires me to shut off and out so much of what’s been a part of my life for 2 years…

It’s requiring me to slow down… To question… To ask myself again, “what do you want and why do you want it?”…

Rest in God is almost asking me to examine where I am, where I am going, and if it’s truly what I want…

And for so many reasons that’s a little discouraging… To be placed in a position where I have to answer questions I was certain I knew the answer too…

But… I truly, with all of my heart, want to be exactly who God has called me to be…

And I believe that is his daughter…

So as I learn how to rest… Well I do hope that it will help and encourage me to just live a fuller life than I am right now…

Show Me How…

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As a child… Growing up… I was given one of the greatest friends I’ll ever have…

Long before I actually had a relationship with him… He was made known to me…

Because my grandmother… As well as several around her… Well they had a relationship with him too…

He’s that kind of being… One who can be close to multiple people at once…

And as I grew I always knew that he was trying to become close to me…

But like most great friendships… Well it took time for us to cultivate a relationship…

Because for years I believed I had a relationship with him… I believed it because I was so familiar with his constant presence… Surrounding me most of the time I was in my home or my grandmothers…

But then came the day… The day I was actually able to cultivate my own relationship with him… Because I realized I needed that more than anything I’d ever needed before…

And it wasn’t a Jesus thing… Or a God thing…

Both of the greats I speak of above… Well they are wonderful in all they did and have done… But the one I speak about in such a close and personal way… That’s the Holy Spirit…

And for years he’s been the Garmin… Leading my life from place to place… From Shreveport… To Dallas… To Tuscaloosa… To Dallas… And now to L.A….

He’s always had this compass that directs me… And a lot of the time I have no clue what is coming… I have no clue how the process will be… Maybe I can see the outcome… Or maybe I know the outcome… But the process… The training… The skill it takes to get there… It’s a serious journey… A mission…

But I believe that the Holy Spirit is almost like the spice of life… Without him… Life…. Life would be very bland… Very tasteless… Very unsatisfactory…

But with him we experience far greater…

With him we learn things that no textbook, teacher or website can teach us… And of course it requires trust… Trust that he’s real… Trust that he’s present… Trust that he’s capable of anything and everything… Trust that he is and will continue to be our closest friend…

Because when I’ve felt out of place (all of my life)… When I’ve felt crazy with ideas… When I’ve felt lonely… When I’ve felt full of joy and excitement… Well he’s been there… Through it all…

He’s the close friend that prepared me for the death of my father two months before my father died… He’s the close friend that surprises me with little gifts of goodness… The one that says “don’t do that. Do do that”… And I trust what he says is always the best choice…

Because I’ve learned… And will continue to learn… Even when I think something appears to be impossible… Even when I don’t know how… Well he knows how… He can always direct me down the path marked “how”…

And that’s where I find myself now… Traveling down this path marked “how”… Constantly curious of how it will happen… And having to trust, more than ever before, that I am following what I’ve been given the best way possible…

And it does make me a little nervous at times… I little anxious… Because the process of it all requires a guidebook… A playbook… Directions that look odd…

And I guess that’s how I know that I am making the best decisions ever… Because oddness… Well it’s his language…

And today… Today as I feel a nervous, anxious and a little afraid… Well I believe more than ever that my closest friend will again lead me… That he will show me how…