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…

Just Walk…

img_4301If someone asked me “Amanda, what’s the biggest thing you struggle with today?”…

I’d have to say my pace…

Most of the time, my days and weeks are inconsistent… I jump all over the place, meaning my soul is never consistently following the Holy Spirit’s flow… He’s moving right a long at His chosen pace, but then I’m jumping from one task to the next… And I become overwhelmed with not being able to keep up, which leads me to feel overworked and frustrated…

Plus, the constant pace of the tangible is very overwhelming to me… “Hustling” has become the way of life for so many people… And, if you’re like me, choosing not to hustle might place you in the “lazy” category… Or worse, it might cause people to think, “she doesn’t want this bad enough”…

And this is why, I believe, we are created to be consistent on the inside… That God has asked us to walk… Not to sprint… Not to run… And not to hustle… To do what’s simple… Just walk…

Funny thing, walking is when I feel consistent… It’s when I feel balanced… It’s when I feel healthy and whole from the inside out…

So, as the week continues to move… I ask you to join me, as I choose to just walk through life… Because walking is so much more beneficial to us than running or hustling… Because, when we walk, we can actually see life… We allow ourselves to stop and talk to people… To consider what might be dying or growing on the inside of us… And most importantly, to give us the opportunity to be grateful for the fact that we are alive…

To Rest Means to Sort…

For the last two years my mind, will and emotions have been wrapped up in my job…

So choosing to follow the Holy Spirits lead and “just rest”… Well it sounds simple, but then I have to step back and realize it requires one word… “No”…

Because saying “no” means I have to disconnect myself from things that might still be job related… I have to say “no” to phone calls, messages and sometimes… Well things I might really want to do…

But then… Then I have to say “yes” too… I find myself saying “yes” to being still… “Yes” to not having anything to do… And “yes” to complete silence…

Because rest doesn’t mean more sleep… Sure, I might get more sleep, and that’s fine…

But really rest is unplugging my mind, will and emotions from the environment I was in for two years…

And in most cases that means I have to believe God will handle what I have chosen to walk away from… That He will place individuals in the lives of those that I care so much about… That I poured so much time and live in to…

And yes… Yes that is a little scary for me… Because I love to be a part…

And that’s what I believe I am learning this moment… That resting means disconnecting…

Disconnecting myself from the things that have held my attention for so long… Pulling the plug and focusing myself on what I’ve learned… What I’ve truly gained out of the last two years…

Because in this time… Well I’m realizing I picked up things that I don’t need… I picked up stones that looked like pearls… And I need to weed through and toss those stones on the ground…

But I’ve also picked up pearls that I need to move forward…

So today… Within this week… That’s where I find myself… Tossing out the stones… The things I want to be pearls, but will never be… That’s not their destiny…

And then polishing and cleaning up the pearls I do have…

So that I can learn how to move forward and just live an even fuller life…

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…

Wandering with Stillness…

Emotions… They can be such a funny thing… A mixture that causes us to feel all sorts of ways at once…

That’s where I am right now… I feel peace in the place I am standing… But at the same time… Deep down… Well i recognize this unfamiliar feeling…

This feeling that my mind communicates as “oh you do not want to experience that feeling… It’s uncommon and unknown…”

Because I feel like in the midst of the peace… In the midst of the stillness… Well there’s this presence of wandering… And it’s a wandering that causes me to simply question, “well Amanda what are you going to do? How are you going to respond to your present?…”

And in a lot of ways wandering can seem negative, but I just don’t feel negativity coming off of this at all…

It’s more like preparation… Preparation that will provide the type of faith I will need in the next season… Really the next chapter of my life…

Because I feel as the world shifts and changes in all sorts of way… Well I feel that this faith is entirely and absolutely necessary…

And I also feel… That with a peaceful, still spirit, soul and mind… Well that it’s pretty simple to cultivate inside of me…

So as I enter this next chapter… This next place of my life… Well I welcome it with gratitude… Gratitude and excitement…

But most importantly… I welcome it with a state of peace and stillness…

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…

Pause… And Celebrate

IMG_3258Something I’m really bad about is celebrating the moment…. You know… The victories of life… Whether small or big, I feel like I spend too much time focused on getting “there”… And then when I do get “there”… Well I just move forward and think “ok… what’s next??!”…

And while I believe it’s good to live with a mindset of moving forward… On to bigger, better and maybe more amazing things… Well isn’t it important to stop and look down at the bottom of the mountain?…

A wise man told me once that life is like climbing a mountain… That it takes so much effort to get to the top… So much work… But that when we reach the top we should stop and look around… Look in amazement at the view… What it brings us and how far we’ve come… That we should be excited and proud (in a healthy way) that we’ve made the journey to the top…

And then of course I was encouraged to not stay at the top… But to allow life to drag me down the mountain in excitement… To feel the rush of the drop to the bottom… Because soon… Soon it would be time to climb another mountain again…

And I feel like… At this stage of my life… This chapter seems to have so many small mountains… Almost like little cliffs that I have to get past… And they seem like a lot in the moment… But then when I’m in them… Well I kind of feel experienced and like I’m acing them…

That’s why I am beginning to learn that it’s good to stop and take in what I’ve accomplished… For each jagged edge I’ve gone past…

And for me this is s tight rope to walk… To be proud without being insecure… Pride is one of my biggest downfalls… It always has been…

But when I feel the goodness and the gratefulness and the grace of life well up in me… When I realize that I didn’t get where I am today on my own… But that others… Many… Have contributed to my present… Well I just feel so overwhelmed…

And then I have to remind myself of all of the things that get us to the current moment… The people… The choices… The ability to obey authority… The want… And for me… Most importantly… I feel like it’s always been my relationship with God… And the choice to continue to follow him… Even when I am so very scared…

So within this moment… This moment where I am learning to be more graceful towards life… Well I just want to celebrate a little… Just enough to recognize how far I’ve come… And then to move forward to whatever is ahead… But with the confidence that there is a mountain with jagged edges in behind me… One that I conquered…