Saturday, April 30, 2011

To be you, IS to be like Jesus

"Be perfect as I am perfect.
Be holy as I am holy."
~ Jesus

I used to think these scriptures meant to try with all my might to not do anything bad.
They meant, no matter what there better not be any sinning...ever!

Jesus didn't sin, therefore I don't sin either.
So, uh, yeah...how's that workin' for ya, Amy??
Oh let's see... the more I tried NOT to sin, the more I sinned. And the more I sinned, the more I tried NOT to sin, and then the more I tried NOT to sin, the more I sinned. And the more I sinned, the more I...oh you get the picture!

:)

I am being really silly, but that is my story.
Christianity to me became all about managing my sin...or should I say managing myself so that I didn't sin, but then I would sin, and on the merry go round we go.

I realized a little bit of something along the journey.
One being I didnt' have to stay on that whole stupid, "sin management" merry go 'round any longer. My sin was not something that was cryptonite to God, as I had been taught my whole life.
Nope. He loved me when I sinned, and when I didn't.
God loves me period...end of discussion.
He hates sin because of what it does to me.

But secondly, I realized I sin because...

I sin because of lies I believe about God.
I sin because of lies I believe about myself.
I sin because of broken-ness.
I sin because of wounds.
I sin even when I don't know I am sinning.
I sin because.... and you can fill in the blank.

Sin is a symptom of something deeper.
We sin because... just like a person with a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever has symptoms of a greater problem (a virus)
Sin is the same.

The more I realized that I was loved despite my sin, and there was no way in the whole entire world God was ever going to leave me because of it, something crazy started to happen.
I stopped trying to stop sinning.
I started to live, and believe this love that told me I was worthy of love.
It saturated me.

Then something else started to happen.
Healing came.. it came to areas that I had NO idea were there.
In my wiley ways of managing my sin, I had been so distracted with my sin, that I hadn't ever thought to look at anything deeper.
And lo, and behold, lookie there.... all kinds of gaping, and bleeding wounds were under all that.
And guess what happened after that?
God started to reveal things to my heart....lies I believed that become truth to me.
Because you can believe a lie, and when you believe it, it becomes the truth you begin to live out of.
But your heart knows it isn't true... and your heart knows what pain and hurt is.
Your heart will not be silent... it will start to ache and ache..and it won't shut up about it.
So, what does shame and condemnation tell you to do?
Silence it.
Survive.
Do whatever it takes to shut it up... all the pain it is in, all that hurt....shut it up.
Eat. Hide. Work too much. Have too much sex. Get lost in toxic relationships. Drama. People pleasing. Too much computer. Smoke. Do drugs. Drink. Find myself in my roles.
Keep numbing this pain...keep shutting it up...but you can only do it for so long, it will smother you.
It smothered me.
And Love, He found me...
No, wait.
Love, was always there, my eyes were blind, and my ears were deaf to His voice, but He was always there.
He met me in that desperation.

When love heals, sin falls off.
It literally shrivels off, because you realize you don't need it anymore.
It becomes a unwelcome friend.

And Love wants you to be only one thing... YOU.
Being 100% you, is the greatest gift you can give yourself, your marriage, your children, you friends, the world.
You..with all your dreams, desires, gifts, sense of humor...everything you are.
To be like Jesus, is to 100% you.

To try and act and be God, is NOT what He had in mind.
To be cookie cut, and the same as a 1000 other people. nope.
To be you... yes... that's exactly what He had in mind when He made you.

So, NOW when I think of those words from Jesus.. I get it.

Being perfect, and being holy means being me... whole me...
I think of a whole circle, unbroken and round and perfect.... just like Jesus was whole and perfect.
He was 100% Himself, and completely confident and whole.
He didn't sin, because He didn't need to. It wasn't something He needed to do because He knew Love. He knew He was accepted and worthy of love.
Quite a different spin on those words for me from what they once were.

Love speaks to each of our hearts....

"Be holy as I am holy.
Be perfect as I am perfect.
Be WHOLLY YOU.
Because when you are WHOLE and WHOLLY you, you are the most alive and the most joyful and the most life filled, and THAT is what this world needs.
It needs YOU, wholly alive and wholly you."

<3
Amy

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Joy. Peace. Contentment.

I think all of us are on a search in life for 3 things.... joy, peace and contentment.
Really the 3 encompass "life" don't you think?

When all is said and done, I truly believe that every human beings' drive in all they do is to find joy, peace, contentment.... life.
Our lives seem to encompass an ever continuing journey to search for joy. contentment. and peace.

There are so many voices out there shouting at us that what they have will bring us to these 3 things.
Almost like little salesmen, jumping up and down and shouting...
"Hey! Hey you, you can find joy here!"
And then another little man, jumping up and down... "No, no, find joy over here"
And then another little man, jumping up and down.... " No it's not over there, it's over here!"
And on and on they go.
Shouting. Jumping up and down to get our attention.
They offer 'it" in this position...It's in owning this stuff... it's in being skinny.... it's in looking this way...it's in this belief system...it's in driving this car.... it's in knowing these people...it's in being famous....it's in being on the "in" crowd/church/group....and on and on.

Madness!

It's like Alanis Morrisette says in her song, Thankyou, it's the "transparent dangling carrots."
Always right there...and always just out of reach.

Everybody has IT.... the IT that brings joy, peace and contentment.

But something that I am finding bubbling up from within lately has nothing to do with all of THAT.
I am finding that the places I am finding life these days, couldn't be further from THAT.

More and more I am seeing we are created and wired to draw joy, peace and contentment from REAL, GENUINE, ORGANIC, AUTHENTIC connections.
Connection to God.
Connection to each other.
Connection to the earth.

Because WE are real. living. organic beings.
We were designed to draw "life" (joy, contentment and peace) from things that are real.
We've been invited to LIVE this life whole, and co-create with God.
We have been designed to find joy in GIVING not accumulating. generousity.
And in gratitude.... choosing to say, " I am enough. What I have is enough. I am good. All is well."

And by design, we are invited to partner with God...to bring heaven to earth.
What is heaven?
It is all things just, all things good, all things peaceful, all things love, all things true, all things noble, all things pure and lovely....you get the picture.
It's all His, and therefore all is mine.
Scripture says, " Did you not know that I was always with you? That all that I have is yours?"
Now I am NOT talking religion... oooh no, I am talking life breathers.. life givers... life builders.
We are called and designed to bring that to this beautiful place, God Himself called good.,
To a place where all is not always lovely, and good and just.
It's not supposed to start in heaven.... Jesus said, the kingdom of GOD is NOW!
Eternity is NOW!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was talking to a friend about this, and I found myself apologizing for sounding a bit New Age..ha! ha!
But really isn't this the truth?

We are divine beings. Made from earth and heaven. Spirit and flesh. Dirt and sky.
We are made with the image of God Himself, and formed from the dirt of the earth.
We are not animal...and not angel.
We are human.

It's quite profound and awesome.

In a world that is more depressed, more lonely, more afraid, more full of every sort and kind of addiction, more disconnected than any generation in history, we are told constantly to keep reaching. Keep reaching for that carrot. If you only just reach a bit farther...
But truthfully we are dying inside.
Completely starved for life.
With so much convenience and so much advancement in our culture, you would think we would have it all.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
We are starving.
And the simplicity of it is this...What you are so desperately longing for is right in front of you.
Jesus said it in all His parables and stories, "The Kingdom of God is here...it's INSIDE you."
It's within your reach.
It's. right. here.
It. is. IN. you.
You don't need anybody to tell you how to get it, or which way to go, or anything.
HE. IS. IN. YOU.
Leading. you.
Loving. you.

It seems like the more we look outside of this Truth.. the more we search to buy it, achieve it, strive for it, falsely connect to it, we compare it, contain it... the sicker we become.

Outside of anything that is real, anything that isn't authentic, ...it's making the whole human race sick.
Sick in our bodies.
Sick in our minds.
Sick in our hearts.

Being organic beings.
Being image bearers of God.
We are designed to the very core to live in connection with Him, with other image bearers and
the earth.

To enjoy this good earth that God has created for us, to find the joy in the beauty of it...nature, animals.... He designed it for US, and He said it is good.
When was the last time you had your hands in the dirt...cultivating and planting life?
Something magical happens... something that is indescribable.

We are designed to connect with each other in real, authentic, and genuine ways.
And I am sorry, but Facebook is NOT connection. It's fake. It's not real. It's gives a false sense of connection, but it's cannot be put in place of REAL.
Email, blogs, social networks, texting, etc... they are all well and ok for you IF you do connect in a real way with people, but they canNOT take the place of real or you will slowly become sick.
Research is showing that people don't even know how to talk to each other anymore. They are afraid to call, and rely on having intimate conversations via email, text and FB messaging.
Most couple breakup over Facebook?? What!! Seriously, I just heard that little tid bit of info.
We are becoming so disconnected, all the while feeling like we are connected but aren't, and becoming completely handicapped.
The beauty of an unexpected phone call that turns into a memorable conversation, will never be had because we dont' want to be inconvenienced...so we don't take the call, because now we know exactly WHO is calling. sigh.
Another box, if you ask me. Another fake, unreal connection leaving people starved for the real thing.

I know a word I am using alot is organic. It's a word that become quite taboo....but truly we are organic beings. We were created from the earth, and we were created from God.
We are both.
We thrive in both.

Creating is another God designed way that we draw life, joy, peace and contentment.
God invites us to be co-creators WITH Him....
How have I been creative today? It's vital. We have to make time for this. We have to.
Be it writing, or painting... photography.... or landscape.... coloring, doodling... sewing... creating hair styles... what is it for you?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Isn't it interesting toothat we have a very big system out there that has taken us from the earth, and, into these sterile, germ free, dirt free, air conditioned boxes.
Boxes every were.

~ Religion does it as well.
We were once a people that were set free from religion, and brought back to the beauty of the real and raw connection with God...truly like Adam in the garden once again.
God affirming over and over again that He is NOT angry with us... that He loves and adores His children, but we keep coming back to religion. We keep coming back to the box. We keep coming back to and under the lie that "who I am is not enough, I must be more to appease this God."
Hmmmm.... another box.

~ Our bodies,
Our bodies were designed to be nourished and filled with life through the fruit of the earth. To be nourished literally by life. Plants contain life.. they are alive. It's a pretty cool concept that we were created to ingest life, to in turn bring our bodies life.

The food that is offered these days does quite the opposite. It has been so twisted and polluted, that the base of everything man made is corn and soy. We are sicker then we have ever been in our bodies. Chemicals, pesticides, fillers, and artificial sugars and flavors are the crux of the foods that are made. The fruit of this earth has been so polluted that even the nutritional value of an apple is 75% less then it was 100 years ago. It doesn't even nourish us. It's a wonder we are the largest most obese people in the world, and the most malnourished.
Again, everything that is easy is boxed, canned, and bagged.


~ Jobs and success are measured by status and money. Yet people are the most miserable in their jobs then ever in history. We have artists clicking on computers all day long in a cubicle. We have farmers on Wall Street. It's crazy! People that were designed to find joy in their love and passion and giftings, are being shoved into careers and jobs that are making them sick, depressed and dead inside.
Another box.

~ Connection with each other. Something happens when you are voice to voice with a friend on the phone, or face to face having lunch. Something so incredibly heart filling happens. Joy bursts forth. But these days we have technology. And we are trying to draw the same life and joy from a "box" with a keyboard and lit up screen, and can't understand why every time we draw from it, our bucket comes up dry. It's not real. It's not how you were designed to connect.
Another box.

This post might sound a bit random, a bit scattered, and as I am looking at it, rather LONG! yeesh!
But I hope it all comes together here in the end.
I know I didn't touch on every thing that is boxed in our society.
But my point is that we can't live in boxes.
We were not designed for boxes in any way.
We were designed and created for freedom.
We resemble our Creator so very much.
We do bear His image, but most of all we all contain a piece of Him.
We are so much like Him it isn't even funny.

God cannot be contained.
He WILL not be boxed in.
He is as far outside of any kind of box, mindset, and small minded man way of doing things.
We are so very much like Him.
Designed to live OUTSIDE the boxes.... in freedom.... in Love.... being lead through out good hearts that He resides in.
And once you step inside a box, you can expect nothing but poison to infiltrate your every part.
It will be slow, but it will kill you from the inside out.

Just some thoughts this morning.
So if you are like me...searching for life, joy, peace, contentment... it's in these simple yet profound ways.
Don't be afraid of things that that you so desperately need.
Don't be disconnected from who you really are, from what you really need, and from WHO you are loved and cherished by...
You do not have to live that way anymore.
Choose today to live this life fully alive, awake, healthy, vibrant, and complete.
The person that you are, the person you are by designed to be....draw life from those things that are real. genuine. authentic. Life giving sources that you were designed to draw from.
You won't be sorry ;) You will find exactly what it is you are looking for.
Resolve today to not settle for anymore counterfeit ways to achieve joy, peace and contentment.


Freedom to you today.. Amy

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mk... I did it!


What did I do?

Ooooh I think you know :)

I deleted my FB :)

I know... I know... are you in shock?

I am going on day 5 of an officially gone FB, and I LOVE it!

I had been off already, and had been wavering on going back, but after my last post...I knew it was the best thing to do. Couldn't shake how amazingly right it felt!

I wanted to say a HUGE thankyou to my beautiful friends Cat, Rain, Kmarie, Sophie, and my new bloggy friend Widge for your amazing encouragement and candid comments on my last post hashing this out.... Also to my sweet friends Angie, and Amy who read this blog, and listen to me over the phone ramble about all of this stuff.
You are all such a blessing to my heart and life. Loves loves to each of you!

Peace has so set in my heart....filling in all the dry cracks and crevices. It's been really wonderful.
It's like this huge weight has been dropped from my shoulders.. I also feel a real safeness as well. Pretty wild emotions for something as simple as deleting a FB account, huh?

I was reading the last chapter in my Brene' Brown book, The Gifts of Imperfections, and in closing she shares this last paragraph... I wanted to share it with my freedom sista's :)

It really goes with something as small and as large as Facebook. I think it speaks to the steps and strides one has to take to live life fully alive and fully awake. It speaks to the steps that we all take everyday to love wholeheartedly and passionately...in how we are raising our children..

Truly it's like swimming up stream in every way... whether it's religion, or just the whole "disconnection" of this age...it's a uphill battle... and it's one I am willing to take.
I have tasted of true life, and nothing else will satisfy me. Nothing.

"Revolution might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act or resistance.
Choosing to live and love with our whole hearts is an act of defiance.
You're going to confuse, piss of and terrify lots of people - including yourself.
One minute you'll pray that the transformation stops, and the next minute you'll pray that it never ends.
You'll also wonder how you can feel so brave and so afraid at the same time. At least that's how I feel most of the time... brave, afraid, and very, very alive."



Freedom to you today....

<3 Amy


Thursday, April 21, 2011

My beef with Facebook.

Oh Facebook... such a love hate relationship we have.

Lately I have been weighing out my Facebook intake... weighing the pro's and the con's.
The positive's and the negatives.
And, to be totally honest, I have received more pain from Facebook then I have received life.
The friends that are true, and genuine relationships continue without Facebook.
We connect over our blogs, phone or for coffee talks.
The friends that are simply just Facebook friendships, stay and go with Facebook.

I was wondering the other day what the pull is for me... I try to step back from FB, and find myself back to my browsing habits.

Then it hit me, I remember the days of being caught up in a chatroom.
And it dawned on me... Facebook feels like a type of glamorized chatroom.
You get sucked in because of the, " What happened while I was away. Who is saying what? What is everybody talking about? What will I miss if I go?" stuff.
I remember being sucked into a chat room years ago, and wasting hours on that damn thing.
But after the euphoria of this new toy wore off, I realized how much time and real life I was wasting.
How easy it was for people to say things they would never say to your face.
Cruel and nasty things.
I realized that people really didn't miss me when I was gone, and that the relationships that I thought were genuine really were not.

Facebook has become like another chat room for me.

So, I have tried a couple of approaches...
I have reeeeally peeled back and cut my friend list down.
Removed people that cause alot of pain in my life and have really thrown daggers at me through the wall and protection of FB.
I have tried to make it a happy place for me with people that I enjoy.
I have taken FB time off.
But I find that I have this internal uneasiness about it.
I find myself, as silly as this might sound, thinking about and fantisizing about living a life without Facebook.

Is it possible?

Oh boy... how crazy is that?

I have struggled to completely let it go for fear of losing relationship with certain ones that live out of state.
But really if I am completely honest, I think it's become a new vice for me.
A new place to hide, and lose myself in other people's life and drama.
Whether I am enjoying a friendship or caught up in why a person isn't talking to me anymore.

It feels so junior high to me.

On a very personal note... Another thing that I feel very strongly about is something that God has been unraveling in me, healing in me... my whole life I was a person that wanted to be pleasing. Being pleasing meant love. Whether it was with people or with God. This has lead me down a long and windy road of becoming the person that people said I should be, of a 100% performance relationship with God, of never ever knowing my own heart, my own heart song, my own desires and gifts and dreams...because I was living everybody else's desires and dreams for me. And it resulted in a slew of mess inside of me...just a huge mess.

This whole unraveling process has been so intense.
Amazing freedom, but intense.
It has really caused me to step back from a lot of the people that I used to spend my time and energy on. Icky, one sided, performance relationships. I have stepped towards new kindred friends with a ton of fear, and have made some amazing connections.
Just having the freedom to NOT choose those relationships anymore was really huge for me.

Ok ok.. so what does this have to do with Facebook... I find that when I am on Facebook, there are people that I am feeling obligated to stay in touch with. People/family that have been so mean and nasty to me, people that judge and accuse, people that I feel stuck having to stay friends with on that darn social network. Out of fear of causes problems in my family.
I have also found that I had met new friends on FB, that again became very one sided on their part, and here I am BACK in that sick kind of friendship again.
And I feel like I am going backwards, and it's pressing on all those newly healed areas.

This decision has been gut wrenching.. maybe it shouldn't...but man, it's been hard!
I have met some amazing people on Facebook as well...beautiful hearted people that I am hoping to stay in contact with outside Facebook...but I have a very sad feeling everything is going to fizzle with them. It's quite amazing how we just can't seem to live without Facebook... we don't connect with people thru email anymore or phone calls... It's, " Hey I messaged ya on FB...did you get my message?"
I totally know how it is, because I have done it too.

Sigh.

When I have taken the time to let it go, and step away for a week here and there... the peace that comes over my mind and heart is unreal.

Maybe it's just how I am wired.
Maybe Facebook is not a place for a person like me.
Maybe it's just for a season.
I know so many people who can just enjoy it, and not get hurt feelings from this or from that.

I don't know.

Do you struggle with this?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Learning to sit in the dark

A friend posted this today, and I thought it was so good... I had to share it!

This is author Brene' Brown... I am reading her book, The Gifts of Imperfection.

It's been a phenomenal read for me... so much wisdom, and so many lies that I have believed have been uncovered. It's been a God send for this space in my journey.

Anyways... here is a video where she is sharing on "learning to sit in the dark."


Friday, April 15, 2011

Faith and Mystery

I have just a few minutes this morning.. but I have been thinking on faith lately.

How for so long, faith to me meant certainty.
Isn't that ironic?
But I think you get it too...just reading that, isn't that what we have all been taught?

Your faith is your certainty...your faith is all the things about God and life that you know for sure... I see it as all my little boxes. All pretty and wrapped up all confined and containable.

But anybody that has lived any life, can tell you life isn't so.
Life is chock full of mystery...with a capital M.

And faith has nothing to do with certainty.

Faith truly embraces mystery. And the mysteries of life are everywere.

Reading this morning, a new book I cracked open last night by Ann Voskamp,
I read about the Israelites being in the wilderness, and how God fed them everyday with manna.

One of the things that Ann points out is the meaning of the word manna.
Manna actually means, "What is it?" ha ha... isn't that awesome?

It means, " mystery".

The Israelites were eating mystery. They took it in everyday.

And scripture says "they ate it and it tasted sweet like honey."

That is faith to me.

To take in and embrace mystery.
To know that there is something bigger then me out there that loves me, and has good for me.
To be at peace and at rest with mystery...because that is what it is, a mystery, something I can't explain and box up and be certain about.
Faith is honey to my heart.
Faith is hope to me....even in the midst of mystery.

Have a beautiful day.

Amy