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

Selfishness

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Wow…. I really miss my dad today. Like bad.

I woke up and thought “I really miss dad.” But I couldn’t give myself a reason. Nothing stirred me to miss him… Not a picture, a video or a thought. Missing him was just the first thought in my mind this morning.

And now… well now I don’t even know what to do with the overwhelming feeling of missing him…. So I guess writing is where I find myself.

It’s not fair. That’s how I feel today. I feel like it’s not fair that he’s not here. And I know there’s not such thing as fair, but I wish there was so I could claim “it’s not fair.”

I just want him back so much. But since I can’t have him back, I’m trying to be positive. Trying to be positive and remind myself of good things…. like today when I was getting cavities filled, I started thinking about how great of an investment dad made on my mouth.

He poured so much money into my mouth when I was a kid…. it seems like every tooth in my mouth was pulled and then I had to have oral surgery before having braces because my mouth is so small and my teeth were so messed up…. and then of course I had braces too…. for four years.

He invested in my mouth because he cared. Mom said she and dad decided they would make sure our oral care was a priority because their’s wasn’t…. and today I have good teeth.

So… I’m grateful he cared so much. It’s funny…. growing up seeing kids with braces and such… it’s more like you have to have them. I looked at is as a necessity and a want. All of my friends had them and so it was kind of the cool thing to do…. but now I see it a little differently.

Mouth care is actually a luxury and an investment. I’m sure 3rd world countries don’t think about braces and cavities or even worse, clean teeth. So it’s kind of comical that I placed to much social value on straight teeth… or worse, white teeth. Because at the end of the day, few of the world’s population have pearly, straight whites.

But gosh it was such an investment…. and I guess I say all of this because I realize once again that I am so blessed. I am so blessed to have so much… more than one would ever need. And then I think I need more, but really I want more.

And honestly it’s an act of selfishness. Maybe that’s how I feel today. Selfish. Selfish because I want my dad back now… and I can’t have him… and I feel like I’ve been so mistreated in a way because he’s not here… but in reality, there’s nothing wrong. I have everything I need.

There are people in other countries that don’t have a bed to sleep on or fresh water and I’m whining because my dad is dead. That’s obnoxious. I’m also whining because he won’t be here when I get married and have kids…. and then there are others who would just like to live long enough to be an adult.

What’s wrong with American’s? What’s wrong with society? Why do we place so much importance on selfishness? It doesn’t get us anywhere… and it surely doesn’t make the world a better, more loving place at all… because it’s us centered.

And I say most of this because I’m so focused towards myself. I place to much value in me and it’s awful. It’s even funny thinking that I care so much about having health insurance when, it reality health insurance is a luxury to most people in this world.

If we would simply take care of ourselves and stop abusing what we’ve been given, imagine the amount of people that wouldn’t be sick…. but as an American, we believe we can do all… nothing can destroy us. Which it’s funny that a war might not ever ensue from without again… just from within, within our own hearts… because we are so selfish, prideful and materialistic.

Honestly we are killing ourselves. Knowledge is now accessible to all of us, but we choose to continue to harm ourselves on a moment by moment basis. We know what will kill us and make us sick and we are so foolish to choose to continue to feed a monster.

Some of us our stressed to make the money to “fit in” and then we have to self-medicate with drugs, alcohol, food, coffee (yes coffee) we all know it gets abused on the regular…. and then of course there are those of us that run to God with everything and abuse him too. It’s just a vicious cycle, and no one’s really stopping it. I’m aware of it and choose to continue to medicate myself.

I mean, when do we stop? When do we come to a place of peace within ourselves… realizing that we don’t need lives luxuries and we don’t need to have so many things… we really just need to have a few things and a lot of peace, love and joy.

What if at the end of the day I could look at the investments dad made in me to become a better person, a more just human of society that cares about the sick and those without? What if at the end of my life, I could say, “wow my parents invested so many intangible gifts in me that I’ve been able to live a selfless life. A genuine life focused on others.”??