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…

Angry with God?..

Anger… How do I trudge through it with peace in my heart?! I really don’t know.. I definitely feel like I’ve been robbed of so much and that angers me… But more than anything anger is causing me to want to punch God in the face…

And it’s kind of funny… Because, in the past I’ve told others, “You can be angry with God. He can handle it more than anyone I know.” But… Here I sit with so much anger towards Him, and I don’t exactly know what to do with it all.

Why am I angry? Simply put, life is not going according to the plan of Amanda. So much has been shaken and removed from the foundation of my life. I’ve made so many Holy Spirit-led decisions… Decisions that cause me to think, “Why did I follow Him at all?! If I had known this would be life I would’ve created and followed my plans for life!”

And when it comes to Cultivate Life (the business I own), well that’s where I really want to scream at Him. Because nothing makes sense at all.

So, how do I continue to cultivate life in the mist of all of this anger? Food never helps. Complaining never helps. And since I am angry with God, He doesn’t seem to be my most trusted and helpful companion right now.

But isn’t it supposed to be faith (believing in God’s existence and that He’s rewarded us with goodness in the past) that gets us by in times like these? Life has been great in so many seasons before. I have seen opportunities constantly open up and I have felt so much excitement, joy and goodness in my heart…

But in this moment, well I don’t see any of those things happening… And it’s discouraging…

But then it’s been advised that I keep moving forward, even though I don’t feel inspired, motivated or excited at all…. That I move forward with patience, persistence and perseverance…

I guess that’s really what so much of this life is about though… That even when we don’t understand God and His ways that we still choose to follow Him because He does provide the most spiritually uplifting and good life.

But, I’m gonna be really honest. The closer I get to God, the more and more my relationship with Him is like a relationship with any person I am close too… And in any relationship there are times where you don’t really understand why a person does what they do… But I do love Him more than anything or anyone… And I do continue to talk to Him and spend time with Him all the time… But I still want to smack Him in the face and ask, “What the hell are you doing with my life because it’s super annoying and I feel like a fool for following you!”

But… Then, maybe I am on one of the biggest learning curves of my life to date… Meaning, when I look back, I’ll be grateful for the time of anger… Grateful for the growth. And even more grateful for God being God.

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.

Closure…

Why is it so hard to walk away from something we love so much?.. Why did God place a heart inside of us that can so easily find the good in a person, love that person and then ask us to walk away from that goodness?… From relationships that were cultivated so well and meant so much for so long?…

Before this week, if you had asked me if there was closure in this area of my life, I would’ve said, “yes”… Because there would’ve been no doubt in my mind that that chapter of my life had come to an end…

But then, well this week I’ve found myself with all of these thoughts… Constantly pacing around in my mind… Overtaking and smoothering the light from my soul…

It’s been somewhat of a war in me…

And I haven’t wanted to talk about it… I mean, this was supposed to be dead inside of me… Over and in the past… Because I made that clear in my mind when I took a job in California 3 years ago… 

But, maybe I hid the truth from myself… I’ve been known to do that in the past… So I can see how it’s possible…

And that’s why I need to completely lay all of this down now… Before God… And I need his Spirit to come in now and completely fill what’s feels lacking and without… To show me that this continues to be the best decision that I can make in this area of my life…

And I don’t know if you’re going through something similar… A place in life where closure needs to happen so that you can move forward… So that you can have God’s best for your life…

So, if you are going through this, please know that you aren’t alone at all… That deep within me, I’m having to sort through what I feel versus what I know in my soul needs to happen… 

That closure, in this moment, has to become a part of my lifestyle… 

Broken Comfort Zone..

Do you ever have those moments when you just want to shake life? Like literally pick it up shake it around and question why it’s acting up?… 

Thats how I feel right now…

Like I need to interigate life for it’s actions… For the pain and injustice I feel… For the confusion and misunderstanding in my soul…

And I believe, deep within, that it will get better… It always does… But in this moment, well life seems so off-balance to me… So misleading… Or maybe not leading to anywhere at all…

I think what I’m trying to say here is that I don’t understand why God places us in the situations He places us in when He does… And in the moments where I think I have it figured out, well I quickly realize that I don’t… That I broke the situation down too far, and now I’m left confused and misled…

And then I don’t know what to do with the confusion I feel because it’s so much sometimes…

But then I’m reminded by Him that I’m right where He needs me to be… Even though this place of being isn’t where I want to be because it’s outside of my comfort zone… It is the best place for me…

Because being outside of a comfort zone of once known security and protection has always been good and life giving for my spirit and soul…

Because… It lets me know that I am growing… The growth is just painful at times…

Intangible Gains..

“Life looks good on you… On all three of you”…

This was a comment someone made to my family the other day…

Now, if you know anything about our lives over the past 2 1/2 years, then you know at times, life has been way less than good… Because it’s felt altogether painfully unfair…

So then, well, how can life look “good” on us?..

How can we can we be so consumed with where we are in life that we glow?.. That we radiate an intangible joy?..

Honestly, I believe it’s the choices we’ve made… To choose to find a silver lining in each situation life has presented us with… To choose God’s strength, grace and dignity over bitterness, anger and hatred…

To want to be better in one single moment than in the one before…

And it hasn’t been a cake walk… There have definitely been significant ups and downs, but then God has always provided us with His goodness… As we keep choosing His peace, rest, balance and ability to focus in on the good…

And… Well… I believe this mindset… The way we approach life… I believe it’s available to every person wanting a better life…

That each one of us can genuinely cultivate a flourishing lifestyle…

And, to me, this lifestyle doesn’t come with immediate tangible gain… No, first it comes with intangible gain… Gains that will cause us to look good… To glow… To overflow with the joy of the Spirit… With life from the intangible world that surrounds us…

So, if you’re feeling down today… Please know that there is an intangible world out there… Filled with intangible gains in life… Gains that will always outweigh and outdo any tangible gains we could ever gain… And with these intangible gains, life will definitely look good on each one of us…

God and Life… Interchangeable

Lately I’ve had this evolving thought…

I believe God and Life are interchangeable… That one cannot do without the other… And that one of the best ways to have a relationship with God, is to simply have a relationship with Life…

When we are in a relationship with a person, that relationship has it’s ups and downs… It goes through seasons… It ebbs and flows… Nothing is truly consistent because we are learning and growing… We are evolving into something new everyday…

And so I believe, when it comes to God, one of the best ways we can learn about Him and His character is through the ups and downs of Life…

Saying that means that I believe Life is alive… That it is both tangible and intangible… And that the good times and bad times help shape who we are and who we will be in the future…

And then comes God… He’s with us through the good and the bad… Even when we don’t acknowledge Him… Or might not even realize He’s there… He can’t escape the good times and the bad times… Maybe He can turn away from them like when Jesus took on the sins of the world… But I don’t believe He can actually separate Himself from creation… He’s too woven into the very fabric of what this thing called Life is…

Removing Him from Life would almost be like removing all of the DNA from our bodies… It’s not possible… Because our DNA helps make up who are and who we will always be… It’s always there… With us… As humans…

And so too me, well it’s very comforting to know God is within every aspect of Life… And even when I feel confused or stressed or just tired… Well He’s still there… And if I let Him, well He can teach me, through His Holy Spirit, about the confusion, stress and exhaustion of Life…