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.

Loving Self, Being Me…

img_2611Perfect, whole, complete love… It truly doesn’t allow fear to stand… It’s who God the Father is at His very core… A complete picture of complete love… Love that lacks nothing… That doesn’t cause us to ever feel insecure… In any situation…

Because I’ve searched my entire life for confidence, for security, for self-esteem… I’ve read books, pushed the limits of my insecurities… I’ve tried so hard to become confident with my own efforts…

And yes, yes to a degree what I’ve done has worked… But in so many ways I haven’t been complete… I’ve been lacking pieces… Parts of confidence and security I’ve needed… And I’ve still felt so insecure deep down, so incomplete… Thinking, “One day…. One day I’ll have the right skill set”…

But I’m learning quickly, the closer I get to Father God… To His presence… To His love… The closer I get to a place of pure, authentic confidence and security… The kind that is whole and complete and leaves me feeling like I am lacking absolutely nothing at all…

And it’s not found in a church, a pastor, a mentor, my grandmother, or the Bible… That love… Father God… He is found within my day-to-day activities… The time I sit in silence in the mornings…. The moments I have at night when I lay in bed and think… Even in moments when I am casually living life with others… I find aspects of His love… Of the confidence and security found in His love…

And that love… Well it encourages me… It encourages me to keep living, loving and craving more of what God actually wants and needs from me in life… Which, I believe, is to just be… To just be me… To not push the boundaries of who He’s created me to be by trying to be someone else…

I get hung up on that all the time… I try and become someone I’m not… Because I search and look at those around me… “What are they doing? Why are they doing that? Maybe I should be like her?”… But trying to be like what I see in others, well it always leaves me feeling more insecure about who I am… Who God created me to be…

But then, when I simply stick to myself… Well I find myself loving me… Loving the things I am good at… And life is less stressful… Because I am just being me…

Still… In the Now…

What happens when you look at something and think, “I know in my heart that was supposed to become something more than it is?”…

That’s how I feel right now… And honestly all I can do is stand still and trust… Trust Holy Spirit and believe that if he wants what I’m speaking of to come to fruition… Well it will…

But there’s something about not knowing… That feeling that you aren’t in control… That this isn’t your show… And no matter how hard you might push and pull… Well it’s worth nothing if God and Holy Spirit aren’t behind it all…

And that’s where I find myself… In this place… A place where very, very little is being revealed to be… Or maybe a lot is being revealed to me… But it’s in small bit sized incriments… Which makes me slightly nervous because I can’t see the bigger picture…

But then it’s good because me… With the big picture isn’t good… I get in the way with my thoughts and emotions…

So piece by piece… Piece by piece I will choose to accept what God is allowing Holy Spirit to lay in front of me…

Because… Right now… In this moment… I believe it is the best way for me to move forward…

Continuing to Become Self…

Some moments in life ask more than I thought they would…

It’s almost like everything is moving a long at this amazing pace… I’m over here living in the moment of life…

And then… Well… Well God asks me to do something… And of course I say, “yes”… I reply with an, “yeah, I can do that”…

But little do I know the curve ball that actually comes win acceptance… Because now I find myself in a place of insecurity… A place where I’m once again being asked to allow something to help define me…

Becoming self is such a process… And honestly… Well I believe very few are themselves… Because I continue to learn that being self requires sacrifice… It means putting to the side what you think is right… And then going with what feels right… What feels effortless…

And for me… Well I feel insecure with the unknown… The unknown that will lead me to the next place in my life…

But deep down I feel like this is the best choice for me to make… And with the choice comes more for me to juggle… And while I don’t mind juggling… I am afraid that I’ll get caught up in the juggling and miss out on something…

And deep down I know that’s just my lack of confidence in myself… My lack of not believing in me…

So… In this moment.. Like the other moments of insecurity and non belief… Well I’m just choosing to move forward and do what I’ve been asked to do…

Life Giver…

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A few weeks ago someone spoke the words “life giver” to me…

And since then… Well they’ve just made sense…

Because when I think about life… All that it is… All that it can become… All that is possible… All that I believe for and that I have worked for and that I believe for in others… Well I continue to want to give those thoughts away….

Essentially I want to improve the quality of life around me… To make it more alive…

And I think… Actually I believe… That as I continue to discover the woman that I want to be… Well I believe it is best for me to begin with the fact that I am a life giver…

In a way… It’s something I’m passionate about…

I never thought I would say I was passionate about anything…

For a good while I’m questioned and even thought and believed I have no passion… That only some do… And that others… Like myself… Well we don’t… That we can live without them…

But as I continue to live signals continue to confirm and point me to the fact that I love to give life…

Now don’t get me wrong… You can find me equally destroying and stealing life too… Over of gossip, jealously and bitterness…

But for the most part I just want to give… I want to give to so much around me…

And I think with time I will learn that continuing to strength this one quality about myself… Well I think I will learn that it can and it is a foundation for my life… For the woman I want to become…

Because from that phrase “life giver”… Well you can find forgiveness, grace, kindness, goodness, love and the faith I believe I need for the woman I am going to become…

And I’m sure throughout the journey I will find other qualities… More truths that fit into and compliment this phrase…

But for now… It stands on it’s own…

And I cannot wait to discover, accept, embrace and become the true meaning of this life giving phrase….

Being Human…

Why are we considered human once we’ve gone through tragedy?… What does it make us realer?… More reachable and accepting….

I’ve been thinking about that for the last 24 hours… And I continue to think about the amount of compassion and understanding that follows a tragedy…

Once we’ve been affected in a certain way…. Well it seems like we’re just more open… More willing to understand life…

So then my question is… Do we need tragedies?… Pain… Suffering… Deep, deep hurt?… Are those things necessary in a sense to draw us closer?… And if so, well why?…

And I know it’s not my job to ask questions like this anymore… But I do wonder… And I am curious… Curious about it all… Because it seems like these intense moments of pain help shape who we are… They can really give us a real factor… A reality check… An awareness of how alive and short life truly is…

And in the midst of it… Well I find myself more loving and accepting of the people around me… And then I find myself irritated when I’m not understanding enough… I’ll think “come on Amanda, you can do better than that. You can be kinder than that. You can consider what that person is or might be going through.”….

Because at the end of the day… Well what if that one of the purposes of this life… To accept ourselves and others… Flaws and all… Misunderstanding included… To just reach out and say, “I see that life is taking you up a giant mountain, but it’s okay because I’m not going to judge you. I’m not going to talk down about you. And I’m not going to make your load heavier as your climb. I’m just going to stand by you and walk and encourage.”…

I wish I could always be that way… Encouraging and inspiring towards those around me… Understanding enough to realize I don’t understand it all… And that I just need to be kind… But I guess that’s part of the learning curve of life….

And I also think it’s part of me taking the tragedy I’ve been through… The one that’s still fresh… Still new… And allowing it to be what it is… Allowing it to remind me that I am only human… And that those around me are human as well… And that they’ve probably faced something much worse than me…

So if that’s where I am in this moment… In this space and time… Well I’ll take it…