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

It’s Fixed!

It’s fixed.

My heart… it’s fixed.

How do I know it’s fixed? I know it’s fixed because I moved forward in life. I spoke to the fear that was trying to convince me to not move forward. I told it to sit down and shut up. I told it that it no longer has power in my life. I told it that I am a whole and complete person without the idols and lies of my past. I told it that I don’t need nor welcome it’s company anymore.

And then I did something… I stepped out again. I stepped out and stepped forward into a completely unknown and unfamiliar arena of life.

You see over the past several months I’ve been allowing God to heal my heart of some deep and delicate pain. Pain that I wasn’t really aware was there. I thought it was gone. I thought I’d dealt with my past.

But you know… Allowing God to work with me and help me process the past has really opened me up to my present and my future. I’ve never felt so capable of thriving like I do in this moment.

And I’m sure there will be moments when my past fears try to break in and lurk around in the depth of my heart. But then I’m even more certain that my healthy heart has the ability to really gain strength now. Strength that will tell my past to stay… Well in the past. 🌱 #cultivatelife

Without the Idol

I discovered a fear embedded deep within me. I discovered a fear embedded deep within me and it has to go.

It has to go because I need to be free so I can move forward in life.

You see I used to be very good about idolizing people. I used to place all of my faith and myself into humans that didn’t ever deserve that kind of affection and desire because they are HUMAN.

The downfall to all of this is the reality of my fear. Deep within me, I feel that I can’t move forward because the idol is gone but then I’m still convinced I need the idol to be successful.

My soul is lying to me though. And I’m certain I see the truth. I’m certain that I need to move forward without this fear. But a huge piece of me believes I will fail if I move forward without the idol.

But yesterday I made myself sit down and make a list of everything I’ve done in life without the idol. And guess what? The list was long. The list was strong. The list made me realize that I’ve been successfully moving forward without the idol and I need to continue to do so.

And I don’t know if this makes sense to you, but if you’ve ever placed someone on a pedestal in your life then you’ll understand how challenging it can be to move forward without the words they’ve spoken dictating your actions and choices. And so, I hope… I truly hope you can find it within yourself to allow faith and hope in God to become a stronger guide than any human can ever be. And then I hope you move forward and amaze yourself with the things you can accomplish… Freed from every idol that ever held you captive by fear and lies. 🌱 #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

End the Anger

Anger has been coursing through my veins lately… And while I do realize that the anger is only really harming me, I don’t want to make peace with it. Instead, I keep hoping that it will eventually touch the person I’m angry with and make that person feel pain too.

Life just feels so unfair and unjust sometimes. And I guess the unfairness and injustice I feel has led to my anger.

I’m having a hard time making peace with it too. It constantly runs circles in my mind, and throws my emotions for a whirl.

A wise person said, “Amanda, the unfairness you feel is a result of brokenness and incompleteness. You’re seemingly whole in God and you’re angry because you want that for this person. The amount of brokenness and incompleteness is hurting you. You have to let go and move forward.”

And while I know all of these things are true, sometimes it’s just so challenging to move forward. You know?

And then when I seemingly do… When I’ve made peace… Well there are always these little voices that pop up and remind me of the past. Saying things like, “Well what about this time when this person hurt you here and made you feel so small, insecure and incomplete. Be angry with the life you’ve been robbed of Amanda. Be angry.”

But you know, I’m just so tired of this rollercoaster. And so I’m trying… I’m truly trying to get off of this ride so I can move forward towards the life God continues to unfold in front of me 🌷🙌🏻 #cultivatelife

My Valuable Past

Have you ever been in a moment in life where you’ve had to put something valuable to rest? It may be a person, a place or a thing… But the reality is that you have to let go of it with the idea that you may never cross paths with it again.

You see a few years ago I had to do this… I had to let go of some valuable people in my life. I had to completely empty my hands so I could pick up my next assignment.

And honestly, it wasn’t very easy to let go of these people because they helped shape my life in such a pivotal way. But… God asked me to let go of them. So, I did. I walked away with a grateful heart and my head held high, knowing I had completed His task and grown in ways I never imagined.

So it feels kind of strange to be in this moment today. A moment where someone I held dear has been placed back into my life.

And I don’t know what the purpose behind all of it is. God doesn’t always include me in the details… but I do know that life has changed and here I am with this person in my life again.

And, well I just feel grateful and encouraged. Grateful that my past has reconnected with my present, and encouraged to live a lifestyle of letting go of valuable things God says to let go of.

So if you’re in this place where you need to let go of something… Then please, please be encouraged to let go of the valuable things in your hands. It might feel challenging, and you might wonder how you’ll move forward next… But I promise He has a plan and a way. And… you never know, that valuable person, place or thing could make it’s way back into you one day. ☺️💃🏻 #cultivatelife

Walk

Walking… Walking has produced more life and goodness in my life than I ever thought possible.

Now I don’t mean physical walking; although it’s great too.

I mean spiritual walking.

I mean the walk of life.

You see I believe the cultivation of life is a process that takes time, and it’s also a process that asks us to just walk. Not to run. Not to sprint. Not to become overly stressed, anxious and afraid that we’re moving too slow because the world around us is moving so fast… But to just walk. To just take in the reality that we are created to be and to take one step forward (no matter how big or small) at a time.

So if you feel overwhelmed… If you feel like you aren’t doing enough… If you feel like you’re missing out on peace and harmony… Then just know God’s only ever asked us to walk.

*See video for more about the walking journey of life!