Fashion & Soul

Collab, Confidence, F&S, Faith, fashion, Fashion & Soul '18, Fashion & Soul / Fall 2018, Freedom, God and Lifestyle, Magazine, Uncategorized

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OPENING NOTES

Writing this series has been incredibly challenging. Here I am, trying to empower people to seek truth, freedom, and renewal in their lives and wardrobe; yet, I am in need of these same revelations.

In my attempt to encourage readers to let go of what people think; there are still days I hold on. As I seek to encourage a healthy thought life; I am fighting every day to speak truth into my own mind. While I encourage readers to break out of their comfort zone, redefine boundaries, and reach into new waters of freedom; I think of all the times (even most recently) I’ve lived in immense captivity.

Writing before I’ve shared parts of my story, short summaries of sermons I’ve enjoyed, and revelations I’ve had in my own seasons; but for these pieces, I wanted to do something different. This blog series is meant for something more.

Within the words, I write I want to share what God says regarding these topics. Not because they’re easy to write, due to my own liking of them, nor for the reason, I think they’ll attract an audience. Instead, I write because I believe I’m called.

The ideas I have, the beliefs I hold, and the concepts I share are imperfect- incomplete- and perhaps not even relevant. Still, I believe there’s power to be found between the lines. I believe God can speak through me and that He has placed this on my heart for a time such as this. For that reason – I am grateful, excited, and deeply honored to make this attempt.

My hope is that these words become real to you; that they help, inspire, encourage, and bring light to you. I pray that they break through to you, and replace any insecurity in your life with beauty, kindness, and hope.

As we dive in together to discover what God has, may our efforts be blessed. May the search for truth, freedom, as renewal not stop here. May this act as a small spark that starts a great fire within us. May it warm us in every season to come.

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PLANTING TRUTH

Truth: Real, genuine, authentic, sincere, and not deceitful. To hold honesty, integrity; to be in line with reality. Uncompromised belief, immovable standards

Truth is a hard place to start. In a world filled with so many voices; it’s nearly impossible to know what’s true anymore. How do we line ourselves up with reality when we’re not even sure what is “true” in the first place. Every source stands for something different and speaks their “truth” over us whether we like it or not. Moving standards and unreachable heights fester into the frustration of us not knowing what to do, how to do it, or why. From there, it’s easy to speak over our lives incapability, insecurity, indecisiveness, and blame.

One of the most detrimental things I myself do is play with negativity for too long. I internally decide that I dislike a characteristic about myself (or another person), and eventually, it’s all I can focus on. In different seasons I jump to the conclusion that I am stuck or in a place without meaning, to soon lose sight of the greater purpose within my process.

I want to propose that no matter what our previous beliefs and experiences say, we have the choice to find goodness in all situations by simply shifting the way we think. For as we speak positivity over ourselves, others, and the present moment- we have the ability to control our thought life and end up on top within other parts of our life too.

As we point out the flaws in our thought life and take intentional steps in renewing our minds, Jesus will meet us in providing new strength and changing our perspectives.

Break the Victim Mentality

The worst place we can place ourselves is in the position of a victim. For when we view ourselves as inferior to others, we give up the authority we have over ourselves to be victorious. If we constantly blame our “lower rank” on the decision or character of another person, we need a reality check. No one on the outside can define your value – except for you, and if you allow them to, it will only continue to produce instability within your own identity.

On the other hand, if people in your life feel entitled to defining your worth, that’s something they need to recognize in their own journeys, as much as it needs denial in yours. It is in our control who we allow having a voice in our hearts, and whose words we allow to fall outside the front door.

So, when we take feelings of not being loved, cared for, or needed enough and place that responsibility on everyone but ourselves; we need to change our perspective. That starts, with changing our minds.

Claiming in your thought life that you have the ability to make decisions, and enforce obedience in your own life in a step into a victor’s mentality.

We aren’t fighting against people who make us feel crappy or needing to control how people view us. Instead, we internally need to view our own lives in a light that says “I am victorious. I am beautiful, worthy, cared for, loved, and capable of controlling my own thoughts, emotions, and reactions.”

Get Uncomfortable

It is always uncomfortable to break out of old thought patterns. If you’ve struggled with worrying about what other people think, it can feel incredibly unusual to let that go. But, it’s only going to get harder the longer you do it, so break out now! If you’re used to self-hatred, or perhaps the opposite-pride, it’s going to be uncomfy thinking humbly of yourself (“Not thinking less of yourself, but thinking about yourself less”), but totally worth it.

Whatever your game plan may be in order to shift your thoughts from negative to positive, and your position from pauper to prince/princess; it should be outside your comfort zone. New habits feel weird, but choosing to press into the discomfort of change will be so worth it in the long run.

Investigate the Root

Why is it that you think the way you do? Is your habit caused by a past relationship, experience, or habit that’s stuck with you for too long? The deeper we can get in digging up negativity in our lives, the more understanding we can have of ourselves, causing proactivity towards the future.

God can so clearly reveal to us where the roots are. Spend time in prayer seeking God in why you view particular situations or people in a certain way. Then, seek out what He thinks, and commit to taking that view until it becomes more real to you.

Start Small

Sit down and seek out even one thought you have throughout the day that isn’t helping you or others. Start right there by altering it in a way that is beneficial. Focus on that small piece and don’t allow room for compromise. It could be telling yourself you are beautifully and wonderfully made the second you begin to self-hate. Perhaps it’s claiming tasks that you once saw as “difficult” as still difficult, but following it with saying you’re capable of that take. In work that you view as pointless, declare it as valuable in your mind.

If self-control towards your thoughts is too great of a task, don’t be discouraged. Make the change in something smaller. It could be committing to 30 minutes less of social media a day, reading a good book before bed, cooking one meal for yourself daily, or sending an encouraging message to a friend every week. These are all choices we get to make that are tangible! The process of realizing your ability to make these will help you step into breaking bigger habits, such as negative thought life.

Keep Goals Simple

We don’t need to stand in the mirror for an hour and recite an essay about how great we are. It’s not necessary to listen to five encouraging podcasts a day or remove every person from our lives who tend to be negative. Making realistic boundaries that are simple is key to long-term success. It truly is the small, consistent, care-filled (and realistic) things we practice in our day to day life that shows stable progress over time.

I have recently enjoyed setting three “escape thoughts (call them prayers if you may)” that I recite in times of mental drowning. They claim what the fear/worry/negative emotion that repeatedly clouds my mind is, yes. Then following, a counter clause which fights for positivity. For example, if I’m in a season of uncertainty regarding my next step I may speak over myself: “Yes, I am unsure what’s next; but I trust that the right time will come; and when it does, all this will be worth the wait.” Doesn’t hurt to also add other phrases such as, “This is a time of growth. I am being prepared for my next season. May I cherish these growing pains. Have faith in the process. There is value in each and every moment”

At the end of the day, it’s astonishing to be free from the bondage negative thoughts bring: and you are worth that freedom. Even if you’re starting small and keeping it simple, this is a valuable practice to implement in your life. Plus, with time, it will become only more natural.

No matter how weak you feel, you still have the power to change your mind and in return to change your life. If you are seeking that life change, I just want you to know that you are worth it. 

Philippians 4:8 says Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (NIV)”

1 Corinthians 6:12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.

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FINDING FREEDOM

Freedom: When you know you can, but you don’t have to; it’s not the rule that stops you, but the choice to follow set parameters that will keep you safe.

You roll out of bed in the morning and head straight for your closet. Another morning of “what to wear.” Your first hope is to look cute, with also taking into consideration your agenda for the day. Yet, after a few indecisive moments, insecurity seeps in. You begin to worry of what your body looks like, what’s in style, what you haven’t worn in a while (what if someone sees you in the same shirt?), and what others may think of you.

An hour and a half later your wardrobe is on the floor as frustration comes over you like a flood. “Nothing looks good on me, all my clothes suck, and why do I even try.” (I’ve been in this place a countless number of times). From too flashy to not flashy enough. One outfit is perfectly revealing if you run into “you know who,” but risky if you walk into someone else. After many doubts and concerns, the lasting question is: Why do we even care about what people think in regards to what we wear? Does what we wear even matter? Should we give in or give up when it comes to being “fashionable”?

Let’s start with identity. For when we know who we are, we know that our identity does not lie solely in what we wear anyways. Our individual style is a beautiful art in which we can express who we are, what we love, and the creativity within us; but it should not define us. When it does, simple tasks such as getting dressed become as overwhelming as the scenario above.

So, how do we escape the frustration of laying too much weight on our outer appearance?

Let it Go

How do we release ourselves from the expectations of others? What do we need to let go of first? What do we need to give?

I have learned that sometimes (perhaps even most) we just need to let go of any rules, regulations, and expectations that are holding us in bondage. If you have moments where you’re heart burns with desire… but then it’s put out solely by holding on to an outside influence too tight, I encourage you to seek a breakthrough.

It may start with publishing your personal writing, sharing a dream with your family, posting what you actually want to on social media, wearing an exotic piece of clothing, taking a break from school, a job, or relationship (especially if causes you to be bound or unhappy), just take a chance!

Still, there are boundaries that keep us safe, but also those that keep us living in fear. Meditate on or discuss with a loved one what it is that holds you back from freedom, and come against that in breaking perfectionism in your life.

Is it fear of man, fear of failure, or a negative experience in the past that haunts you? Love, let it go.

Focus on Someone Else

“While my journey from severe depression and amidst mental health challenges has been multifaceted, one thing I have learned is this: The more I try to fix myself, the more captive I become. However, the more I rest in my intrinsic value and worth, the more freedom I experience. Additionally, the more I forget myself, the more wide-awake I am to the people and experiences around me.”

“I’ve discovered the further I take a genuine interest in other people, the more secure I am with who I am. One beauty secret is this: You will become more beautiful in one day by loving other people than you will in one year by trying to get other people to love you. I now believe in the splendidness and freedom of self-forgetfulness.”

-Allie Marie Smith

Be Aware of Your Influencers

“If you’re concerned with understanding people around you and becoming a better, more confident, more caring person, be careful to not absorb feedback from just anyone. It can be difficult to have a full perspective of yourself from your own point of view, so this is when character feedback becomes important. Think about whose opinions you value: your spouse, your best friend, your parents; your boss, employee, or co-worker; mentors, pastors, or coaches. Whoever it is, determine who are the people who can best speak into your life and help give you direction. ”

-Leslie Tulip

Whose negative opinions are you weighing over the positive ones? It is so important to have honest people in our lives that give us honest feedback.

Take criticism from those who know you and want to help you. Honestly, without a relationship, we may not know if they do. Therefore, I believe it’s the people we are in a healthy relationship in with that should impact our decisions first and foremost. That is, after God. The opinions of old classmates, people we haven’t talked to in years, or strangers that we follow on social media shouldn’t be the ones we look to in time of need. To be influenced by so many people is overwhelming, can be detrimental in personal decision making, and may just be an overall waste of thought and time.

This idea may also propose that our closest friends should hold the character, morals, and lifestyle of one which we hope to be influenced by. Another thought to ponder.

Wear What You Love

When we look at our wardrobe as a whole, there are usually pieces we don’t even like, others we haven’t worn in ages; then there are pieces we can’t get enough of, and ones we’d buy the same of again. To add on, there’s usually even more than land in between.

I started making serious progress in the way I spent money, got dressed, and organized my wardrobe when I began to minimize my pieces by – keeping, wearing, and buying only clothes and accessories that I love. For someone like me, I know there’s a tendency to “love” a lot of items, so I took it one step further to consider functionality. What clothes are actually adding value to my life? Do they express who I am and what I value?

That may seem to be overkill to you- but really what’s the point of investing in anything that doesn’t add value to our lives or the lives of others? We may be quick to purchase something that is “in style,” but do we know ourselves well enough to discern whether or not we will actually wear it… and personally, love it.

This is another practice that starts small, yet eventually leads us to simplify our lives, understanding our identity, and standing strong in who we are. Why? Because we are seeking purpose in the aspects of our lives that were designed to be influential in the first place. How you dress is influential, and the first person it influences should be yourself. Then, the world too can benefit greatly from seeing who you are.

Give Yourself Time

We often jump into ‘discovery mode’ believing that results will remain the same. Yet, isn’t the best part of discovery is just that- the exploration into something new. When we step into newness we must accept that it isn’t going to look, smell, feel, or sound like before. The temptation to compare our present to the past continues. Grasping on to how things once were, how a relationship ended before, or how a past scenario went; we place ourselves in God’s position, “knowing” what is going to come next. Regardless, we are blind to what the future holds and what results are going to come from new endeavors.

If we are going to take the step into finding God, ourselves, our style, and what works best for our life; we gotta remember that not everything is going to work. And, when they do, they probably will not start working right away. So my friend, give yourself time. This journey is a process.

Galatians 5:13-14 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

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REINVENTING NEW

Renewal: to make like new: RESTORE to freshness, revive, rebuild, resume, restore, repeat

New is exciting. I witness over and over again in my life the excitement of a new beginning. Yet, no matter how much I desire change, I often feel stuck in the same old routines. “I’m the same old me, with the same old goals, relationships, job, struggles, and hobbies.”

I urge for enhancement in position without enduring the process necessary. And if that enrichment doesn’t happen fast enough, then it’s off to the next. (talk about impatience!)

The need to experience the newness of change disturbs my present commitments as it becomes more important to “keep up” and “keep moving” than it is to “hold on” and “press in.”

I propose that this type of approach is caused by our present society driven by “instant gratification,” and it’s stripping value from the power of wait. For me, it’s also a root leading to constant anxiety about my future.

So, when we arrive in the stir-motion of “I want this and I want it now,” we may only need to declare the inaccuracy of “the grass is greener on the other side,” and break out of the box we’ve put ourselves in. I love the quote “the grass is greener where you water it.”

The box is built by the predetermined boundaries, beliefs, fears and the doubts that keep people out, us in, and the world small. It’s the walls in our lives that hold us in the captivity of hopelessness, which eventually holds us back from all we can become. Such a box is a place where we sit alone and let bad experiences eat away at our ambition.

Being quick to believe a negative situation has no way of changing, that something we’ve been given to us has no sense of value, or restraining our future by claiming that the past will always define us, will quickly rot away the beautiful potential within us that we have the right to. When we become trapped in the box of negative thinking, we give that right away.

There’s a great chance we’ll also get stuck by remaining over-fastened on something, someone, or even a place: leaving no room for adjustment.  These times are amplified by conclusions such as “ if this doesn’t work this exact way, it can’t work at all; and if it doesn’t work at all, there’s no chance of another opportunity like this coming.” Now, we have placed ourselves back in the box, away from the hope for miracles, good stories, and new beginnings.

As our expectations, thoughts, and practices remain old, so do we. For the predetermined belief that something (or someone) is incapable, unchanging, or worthless instantly devalues any potential placed within that person, place, or thing but God to become great. Seriously, the worst of the worst still has room for redemption into new… no matter how broken or old.

Aim for Excellence

Despite what season we find ourselves in, there’s always situations, relationships, projects, and so on, that we could work better at. Even in our own self-care, hobbies, and skills; there’s always room for improvements along with the potential for excellence. This has been challenging for me in seasons that I’m not doing exactly what I love. The flaw is that it’s my choice whether or not to love what I’m doing. Plus, I always end up enjoying the work I do when I complete it with excellence. That for me means no shortcuts. It means doing it the best to my ability and completing it in the time I’m given. This can look like doing a thorough job on a task given to you at work or loving well in a friendship; practicing forgiveness, authenticity, vulnerability, and integrity with the people already placed in your life.

Gain New Perspective

There comes a time that you just gotta lock down and love yourself; as well as open your mind to more than you already know. Do whatever you can to gain new perspective; it will aid you in turning old pain into new energy- hopeless into motivation.

Do what you can to see your story in a new light. From there, you can broaden that blaze in other areas of your life.

I think it’s incredibly important to know how you process and put that to use. For me, I am a verbal processor, so if I need a new perspective I must talk it through with another person. Perhaps it’s better for you to write, challenge yourself physically, create a piece of art, listen to music, or spend alone time with God. Make space in your days and weeks to get out, meet with friends, practice self-love, and pursue travel.

The first step to finding renewal may simply be going something new, even for a day; and that’s up to you.

Do Your Best First

A powerful place to start it by doing the best you can…. with what you’ve already got. It’s unreal what can happen when we utilize the objects/relationships/gifts laying right out in front of us. Open your eyes, get creative, practice gratefulness. Don’t trade in who you OR what you already have, for what is “new” “cool” or “in.” Instead, live a life of trend by being who you are, expressing what you’ve been through, pouring into positive relationships, practicing mindfulness, and work towards your dreams one day at a time.

Don’t be too hard on yourself, but remember the small changes we can make to arrive at a new place. If your best is to put two dollars aside a day to go eat lunch out of town on the weekend- do it. If it’s putting one hour aside to invest in someone besides yourself, even if it’s for your own well-being too- schedule it. We are beyond blessed to be able to make these commitments for ourselves and in the process better our longevity of living better, loving well, and reinstating renewal.

Romans 12:2 says,  “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

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CLOSING NOTES

I believe with my whole being that there is truth, freedom, and renewal waiting for us all. No matter who you are, what you’ve done, where you’re from, or how people see you; you have been gifted with potential deeper than understanding. I believe no matter how empty you feel right now, there’s a fullness offered to you beyond comprehension. No matter how dead, dark, hopeless, pointless, or reckless your life may seem, there is a light at the end of your tunnel.

This isn’t a scheme to get you involved in a particular religion, organization, or cause. I’m not trying to talk you into believing what I believe. This is not a bribe, but it is also not a joke.

This is real, its raw, it’s relevant, and it’s life changing.

So, if you have never accepted Jesus into your life, He can renew and redeem your heart, your mind, your work, your family, your relationships, your perspective, your past-present-and future unlike any blog, person or practice can.

The best part is we don’t have to measure up to anything to follow Him. There are no rules, regulations, expectations, bondage, or barriers in choosing Christ; instead truth, freedom, renewal, blessing, and life.

He is solely the one that has helped me execute all that I’ve written in here and more. My biggest dream is for you to know that power and love too.

It as simple as asking Jesus right now into your heart. As I affirmed before, you are worthy of a full and abundant life, and I believe this is the new beginning you’ve been waiting for.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and is justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10

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Contributing Artists:

Haley Canter, IG: @haley.canter

Hannah Hughes, IG: @thehannahhughes

Kayley Dueck, IG: @kdimages

Julia Fuhler, IG: @julia.fuhler

Selah Neuman, IG: @selahneumann

Amber Martin, IG: @ aletheia_rose55

Written & Designed by:

Felicia Roybal, IG: @feliciaroybal

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Full Online Publication Coming Soon!

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Stop Stereotyping Success

Confidence, Encouragement, Faith, Freedom, Goal Setting, God and Lifestyle, Life, passion, Simplicity, success

So I have lots to say on this topic, but I want to keep this particular post short and simple. In our society today, we are constantly comparing ourselves to others. Been there, done that. Our appearance, our possessions, and most comically- our accomplishments. Even what we succeed is measured and compared with the world around us. At times I’ve even set a ‘personal’ goal based on what I thought other people wanted me to do. In the end, I felt anything but successful because my accomplishment did not fulfill what I wanted or needed myself. I allowed others to set and measure my accomplishments. Yet, this is my life, not theirs. It is I who should define what I ‘accomplishment.’ For it is me who will experience the consequence, gain the reward, for a reached success.

OUR goals, dreams, aspirations, desires, and accomplishments need to become our own again. Instead of measuring our success by comparing it to someone’s else’s; we should appreciate it for what it means to us. Recently, in goal setting, I have learned to not only keep them specific and attainable but also personal. I am now reaching to flourish in the areas I care about and grow as an independent individual. This entails doing the things I love, including people specifically special to me, and putting in place practices that add value to my life. It is so much more fulfilling to reach for something that matters to us uniquely, opposed to reaching for other people’s approval. There is no need to look around and devalue our accomplishments by comparing our own success to someone else’s. Their reward means something different to them, and their journey is different than yours. The best profit we can gain from our achievements is self-approval. So, give yourself credit. I cannot express how important it is to appreciate yourself, and pat yourself on the back for all you do. It’s easier for others to celebrate you when you can first celebrate yourself.

Aspire to do the things you’ve always hoped to do. What did you dream about as a kid? What gets you excited? What stars can you shoot for right now? Don’t get caught upsetting unattainable goals to impress bystanders. There’s no need to depreciate your passion because it’s outside the ‘norm.’ This is YOUR success story. We are all successful in our own way. Believe it and keep working towards being you! Be encouraged today for you are worthy of success. Search deep for what matters most to you and work hard to attain that goal. Before you know it your life will be filled with passion. Focus on adding value to your life, and you will eventually bring value to the lives of others. Celebrate who you are today because making it through today is an accomplishment in itself. Count the little things as success, and greater success will follow. This is your life, your journey, and your story of success.

 

 

Living a Life of Worship

God and Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Living a life of worship. What does that mean?  To me it means praising God by doing what I love most. It is finding my own, unique way to express the love that has been lavished on me. To worship God is to honor Him, and therefore honoring the work He has done in my life and having faith to believe He will do even greater in the time to come. This being said I believe God’s glory is shown when I pursue the passions He has placed in my heart.

I love mountains, I absolutely adore them. Growing up in Montana: peaks, ranges, and basins are the places I have discovered a deep sense of home. Something else I love, it to ski. Skiing is my way of associating with that which I adore [worship]. When I ski I come into direct contact with the air, the ground, and the commute I most admire. Found in complete peace it’s as if my whole being flourishes thorough the high elevation. My skin slightly stinging as I am reminded of that one time I got frostbite…thankful for my new fleece face mask. Memories of childhood make their way into my mind as I reflect on all the hot cocoa breaks me and my dad made when the wind chill got a little too chilly. When God brings back memories we are given yet another chance to worship him.

Another one of my favorite parts of skiing, is the people. It absolutely amazes me to think that every itsy bitsy ant looking figure making their way down the massive mountain face, is a person. A person with a past, a present, and a future – a story to be told. People from all over the world come to places (like Montana) to experience the glory I got to grow up in. That in itself is something to be amused by and truly appreciated. This concept also sets the stage for me to bond with people in my favorite way – interactively. Being put on the same ski lift with a stranger or bumping into an old acquittance on the slopes brings sudden commonalities breathing unity. With my siblings and closest mates, skiing is a time relationships can be built and brought deeper, outside of daily routines and stereotypical obligations. Its just me, them, and the snow brimmed trees (expect for in Switzerland, where most of the skiing is done above tree line). On the mountain I’m comfortable, as I know skiing is a way I can always express myself. This usually leads to my underlying weird side coming out, and my awkwardly funky facial expressions immersing.

I feel like worship can be expressed through our relationships. Giving thanks and honor to God by the way we treat people we know; as well as the people we don’t. By loving well and always attempting to seek out the best interest of others, God is gloried.

If you’re already doing something you enjoy, being kind to those around you comes easy peazy. Loving people is simply a symptom of being/feeling loved in the first place! And we can feel that way when we take initiation to do the things we enjoy (liking shredding the knar) and continuously seeking God’s pure goodness is all we do.

Maybe you’ll worship God through giving gifts, because that’s how you express your love towards others. Perhaps it will be by running a marathon for yourself this spring, or going back to the place your grandparents taught you how to ride a bike. Maybe your way to worship is by taking photos or constantly reorganizing your closet. Express yourself by putting those mad art skills to use. If skiing is your thing, go skiing, ski with me! Whatever it is that you love: name it, claim it, pursue it, and use it in the beautiful light of worship. Before you know it, you’ll be living a life of worship. You’ll be living the life you love.

Till next time, Felicia ✌🏼

New Day, New Year, Renewed Faith {120 encouragements for 2017}

Faith, God and Lifestyle, Uncategorized

This past year that I have stepped out to discover a life of faith for myself. I would like to share some of the golden nuggets I’ve gained along the way of my crazy amazing journey along the year of 2016. These things have not only changed my life but continue to refine, renew, refresh, enlighten, change, and breathe into my very being – as I hope they do the same for you.

That being said I invite you to search deeper, seek better, and become greater with me. Why? Because we are worth it! So here we go, 120 points of insight I’ve been given the past 12 months that can come to challenge us as we step into 2017. Shall they speak to us, inspire us, and ignite the flame within us to chase after God this year like we never have before. Here’s to January 1st, 2017, and every day which follows!

  1. Knowing about God is not the same as truly knowing God
  2. God speaks through everything
  3. God’s voice always brings life to you and others
  4. “Don’t be scared to fall, for I am with you”
  5. Pray with faith and know your authority in Jesus
  6. Be bold, what is there to lose?
  7. When we speak life, our life speaks
  8. Love is more than a feeling, its a choice
  9. There is no end to love
  10. The more we know God, the more we know ourselves
  11. What we believe about ourselves with supersede what we are capable of
  12. We are made in God’s image, we are children of a good father
  13. The more we give, the more we receive
  14. Repentance is not a condition to salvation, but a choice we make in the process of being sanctified
  15. We aren’t meant to do this alone
  16. Boundaries are healthy and beneficial to us
  17. The Lord is our redeemer, The Lord is our refuge
  18. Perseverance takes time
  19. We are set free from the prison of our own minds through Christ
  20. We are a working masterpiece, God is our master artist
  21. We are the co-author of our own stories
  22. Relationships are about what we can offer not about what we can gain
  23. Love is to seek the higher good for someone else
  24. The more we walk with the Lord the closer we get to discovering our destinies
  25. To have amazing faith our faith must remain active and alive
  26. God has the potential to change our lives every moment; it our choice to stay engaged
  27. There is always an opportunity to step into the unknown
  28. God places, knows, and values each and every desire of our hearts
  29. Hebrews 10:14 By one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified
  30. Through the cross we have been given forgiveness, healing, righteousness, life, blessing, abundance, glory, acceptance, and eternal renewal
  31. Letting go and letting God is always a good idea
  32. To be a light we must know the light
  33. The environment we pursuse should match up with the dreams we have
  34. To need God we must look to do the impossible
  35. God doesn’t want worthy, He wants available – we dont have to be worthy, just availible
  36. We can make our own plans and hope God blesses them or we can pursue the plans God has already made and has already blessed
  37. We shouldn’t compare our chapter 3 to someone else’s chapter 20, but instead get inspired by it
  38. Encouraging others can only do good – no harm in helping
  39. We have to choose to see the gold in other people
  40. We have the capability to deliver others from that which we have been delivered from
  41. We are responsible to obey God, we are not responsible for the outcome of that obedience
  42. Relationship is the soil for revelation
  43. God longs to restore our identity through a culture of honor and empowerment
  44. Guard that which is precious to you
  45. True value comes from knowing our identity in Christ
  46. We choose the world we live in
  47. Purity is a process (a process that’s worth it!)
  48. God continues to pursue a deep, real, and sincere love relationship with each and everyone of us
  49. God invites us to join Him in the work He is already doing
  50. We are predestined for purpose
  51. We are anointed to fulfill the purpose of that which we have been called to
  52. Whatever is feeding you will be the fruit you bear
  53. “If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me”
  54. Wake up every morning anticipating something great, and great will come
  55. Our job isn’t to change or people, but to love people where they’re at, and allow God to do the rest
  56. Humility breathes humility
  57. To lead well we must love well
  58. Don’t react to the storm, respond to what God wants you to do in the storm
  59. There are valleys, and there are mountains; there is potential for life to spring from both
  60. As we obey God and put Him as our reward, we will never lose our way
  61. We have been set free from condemnation
  62. Don’t try to be perfect, do try to be better
  63. God doesn’t change but is viewed differently among different parts of the world, the more we accept that the more we will see Him move in cultures that are not our own
  64. Approach the future being mindful of the past without being imprisoned by it
  65. To have a faithful friend, we first must be a faithful friend
  66. God’s timing is perfect
  67. God doesn’t give us anything we aren’t ready for
  68. What we are learning now can be used that we may thrive in whatever God has for us next
  69. Never give up
  70. Provide a platform for God to move
  71. We need to treat disunity as a crisis, because it is one
  72. God has called our generation into such a time as this
  73. Where there is darkness there is great redemptive purpose
  74. “Whoever holds onto his life, will lose it”
  75. Do not let anyone who is speaking out of a motive of fear, speak for you
  76. Hospitality is our strongest evangelistic strategy
  77. God is jealous for justice
  78. When we accept our weakness we are able to accept God’s uniqueness
  79. Be willing to forgive yourself
  80. If we’re going to do it, let’s do it to our full potentials
  81. We are meant to walk in fullness, not in fear
  82. There must be passion to persevere
  83. Knowing, learning, and loving diversity allows us to understand how it paints God’s bigger picture
  84. ‘The important thing is to be able, at any moment, to sacrifice what we are for what we could become’
  85. Let your dream become your occupation – that’s what it’s there for
  86. God is love, and love is the key to every lock
  87. Everyone needs a king like Jesus
  88. Seek out honest feedback and never stop learning
  89. Hold yourself accountable, and have other accountable people hold you accountable
  90. Everything we do influences someone in someway
  91. Since we are made in God’s image we have the capability to create, think, write, (etc.) something that no one else ever has before
  92. Every single person sees life through a different lense
  93. Our actions will reflect what we deeply value
  94. The best thing we can do is respond in a Christ-like way, no matter the situation
  95. Living a fruitful life is living a life of quality rather than quantity
  96. Let’s have people in outs lives who see us for what we could become while still appreciating who we are right now
  97. Serving others leads to self discovery and leadership development
  98. ‘You never graduate from the foot of the cross’
  99. Being God’s and being unique are the two best things we could ever be
  100. Our character is constantly being developed for either the better or for the worst – let’s choose for the best
  101. Life is made up of seasons and putting ourselves in context of our current season will help us gain greater perspective
  102. Keeping perspective is to view every situation through eyes of hope
  103. We need to give each other permission to be working on ourselves
  104. Value the individual
  105. Jesus asks us to make a difference in this world by being effective servant leaders
  106. Let’s allow God to call us to a higher standard
  107. ‘Take God beyond the compartment of your private spiritual life and give Him free rein in all your daily actions and relationships’
  108. We were created by community, for community (by relationship, for relationship)
  109. We are breathing parables, written by God himself
  110. ‘One man or woman with passion is equal to 99 who simply have interest’ -J.s. Mill
  111. God wants to be known as the relational God He is
  112. Live in accordance to the Word, and trust that it is God’s best for us
  113. When we worship God we become more Christ-like
  114. Communication is far beyond our words
  115. As we draw wisdom out of our experiences and we allow ourselves to never stop learning
  116. There is a deeper, greater, larger place God is trying to take us
  117. Comparison does nothing but limit our own self
  118. Be who God is calling you to be, not who someone else already is
  119. There is beauty in all things, and we will se if if we are willing to search for it
  120. GOD IS SO SO GOOD, NO MATTER WHAT

and that’s only a tiny slice of the cake…. Here’s to 2017!!!

Child Like Wonder

Faith, God and Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Wonder; one of my favorite words. A feeling that over and over brings admiration to my soul.

You may ask, what exactly is wonder? Defined, wonder is “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.”
Amanda Cook sings it like this, “wide eyed and mystified, may we be just like a child, staring at the beauty of our king”
I immediately think back to a particular moment I had back in Switzerland, not too long ago. It was the last day of ski season, and I was surely enjoying it. A day spent doing my favorite thing in the world, with some of my favorite people in the world.
That day I had realized that I had a dream the night prior; making this moment feel like deja vu. Trying to fit the pieces together, I then was brought back to what my sleepy head had envisioned. In my dream I was taken back in time; to exactly that same day, but a year before. It was also the last day of ski season, but I had been home in Montana. I recall telling my friend that day that I had felt blinded to where life was taking me. Frustrated with myself, and also with God, I felt powerless. Looking back at this season in my life, that day made complete sense. My underlying question that day was “God where am I going? What am I doing?? Who am I???”

Not being aware of God’s voice then, I now know, in that moment God did respond. Answering my questions with this one phrase: “trust me, and I’ll take you places you couldn’t even imagine”

And here I was, a year later I was on top of the world, skiing in the Alpes and walking in a promise. I found myself there living out a dream, that a year before, my faith wouldn’t have proved possible.

It was then that God started revealing to me the magnificent ways He calls wonder into our lives, when we give up our right to control. The magnificent way He calls adventure into our lives when we dedicate our lives to journey alongside Him.
“Childlike faith”- a phrase I myself hear so often, yet struggle with over and over again.

Sometimes my sarcasm kicks in, “yeah God I’m child like all the time, can’t you tell by the way I ‘accidentally ’ disobey, repeat the same old mistakes, and ask question after question”
But you see, being “like a child” isn’t referring to our behavior, but our faith. Yes, most of the time our behavior is a result of our faith, but God wants the roots. That when it comes down to our personal relationship with Christ, we would love God, treat God, and allow God to be the parent He longs to be.

That in my faith I would be like a child.

That I would submit to Jesus and trust in the Lord the same way I would to my parents when I was 6 years old and had pigtails.

Faith: complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

I don’t know about you, but to me, that screams CHILD.
As I child we lack control, making it almost mandatory to trust those put above us. We were confident in who we were, cause really it was all we knew; your name, your age, the cartoons you watch were directly influenced by what your mom and dad said.

As a child, I dreamt without rationality (oh how I’d love to have that back). I also think of how easily surprised I was as a kid (and as I usually didn’t find myself weighing out career options or organizing my weekend schedule); it was easy. Think about it. Back to the days we played “make believe.” Not worrying about what we were gonna wear or how to act around different crowds. There were greater concerns, like which slide you were gonna go down first!

Recurring trust, young faith, and inspirational wonder…quite frankly as children it’s all there.

Our joy was found in running around free; knowing our parents wouldn’t be but a few feet away. Adventure was at every corner; going with the flow of following those older and wiser than us. Did stress even exist?
As “grown-ups” we love to have a plan; sometimes to the point of insisting on having one before agreeing to do anything at all. What time, where, how, with who, and why. Our appointments, our goals, and even our relationships get put into boxes. A time slot with a title and set alarm on our phone. Please don’t tell me I’m the only one? 
But here’s my real question; do you ever catch yourself carrying this mindset into your faith? I know I do. Scheduling in times to pray, rationalizing why I didn’t have quiet time this morning, asking God; 
What time? where? how? and why? 
I think this is what they meant when they told me to “not put God in a box”, and looking back over the definition of faith, it doesn’t quite sound like faith at all.
No matter how long or even if we’ve invited God into our lives, we have the habit of leaving him outside of our “responsibilities”. Getting so caught up in becoming successful, paying bills, getting into school, whatever it is, we leave Jesus in the box of “Life Savior” and leave him out of the role of “Day Saver”, or even “schedule maker”. Why is this? Do I not believe that God is capable? Or is it the mere fact that I struggle giving up control?
On my DTS I remember one of my favorite speakers Ben Foster quoted, “God is either Lord of all, or not Lord at all”

Sounds kinda harsh, right? Why can’t I just allow you to have 40% of my life, Jesus?? Yet, when we hand our lives over to God he wants it all! This can be really scary and call for a tremendous ammount of trust, but as we discover more and more of God’s character; we realize God can handle it. “If He can hold the world, He can hold this moment.”

For myself I know I’m quick to give God my complaints, my problems, my worries, my concerns, my fear; but when it comes to my “busy schedule”, “valuable time”, and “right to know” (exactly what I’m going to do every day for the next five years, and why); it’s a different story.
In my experience, God rarely provides a 1-5 step plan, but he always reveals what’s happening now, and sometimes even what’s next. It’s not “human nature” to be okay with this, but it is all we need, and more, when we follow Jesus.

Why? Because God’s intentions are perfect, his timing is flawless, and when he hides His answers to His questions it’s for our own good. Sometimes we don’t need to know, other times we wouldn’t understand (yet), and the rest of the time- God just wants it to be a surprise.

The moment I started accepting this, I began to discover a sense of wonder like never before. Not “wonder” like “I wandered away from my mom in the grocery store and got lost for 20 minutes and almost had a heart attack”, but a beautiful wonder from God that has left me, well, wide eyed and mystified.

Know God will lead you where you need to be as He fulfills every desire He’s placed in your heart. I mean, seriously, He is the creator and ruler of the universe!
Open up your plans and give God a chance to catch you by surprise. Be lead by the spirit as you experience God’s passion for adventure.

Quiet times don’t have to be scheduled and before meals aren’t the only times we’re allowed to pray.

Remember the goodness of our father and how much more a parent can work miracles when their child is willing to trust their plans and intentions.
Like a child, let’s be 100% influenced by what God says, and stand strong in our identity as children of the King. Our names, our age, the shows we watch, our weekend schedule, and even the slide we go down first can ALL be directly influenced by God; if we allow it to be.

I don’t have to act differently around different crowds when I know that I’m a daughter of an amazing dad who protects me, cares for me, and loves me no matter what.
This not only leads to low-stress levels and a solid foundation of who you are but also brings the excitement and admiration we once had as a child, into everyday life.
If God told me a year ago where I would be today, I wouldn’t have believed Him. Would my “knowledge of God’s plan” have actually prevented the “awe” feeling I now experience; as I look back seeing the adventure-filled journey God was preparing me for all along.
I mean for real, think about it, would every day of our lives be a glorious surprise party if we would just stop insisting to know every detail of tomorrow’s plan here and now. Would we find ourselves emerged in ongoing adventure if we just “let go, and let God” – be our Father?
Control, control, control; and we wonder why ‘life with God isn’t anything exciting’.

Surrender it, and become like a child. Let God, and your schedules out of the box. Never underestimate God’s capability to hold your burdens, and in return bring you a journey filled with excitement.
Perhaps you’ll find yourself doing things you’ve never thought possible and going places beyond your wildest dreams.

Maybe you’ll end up in the Swiss Alps or skiing in Montana. Perhaps you’ll look around to see that you’re already there, standing in a promise.

Beloved, You Are Free

Faith, Freedom, God and Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Have you ever witnessed one of your friends, maybe a sibling, perhaps a stranger, who has recently fallen in love?
Why are they dancing on tables, being all weirdly joyful and stuff?
“Must be nice…. but it will ware off. They won’t be in the honeymoon stage forever,” we think to ourselves.

When you realize that you are loved, it seems like a natural reaction to love those around you, right?
When the guy or girl you’ve crushed on for like ever finally admits that they like you back, isn’t the first thing we do is call our closest friends, proud as ever, to share the good news?
Been there, done that.

But this blog isn’t about high school crushes, boyfriends, nor girlfriends.
This blog is about Jesus.

Not only He whose love defeated the grave, not only the love that continuously brings new life, not only the love that brings beauty from ashes, not only the love which our human brains can’t even fathom, but also the love that enable us (every single one of us) to be and live free and loved.

Let me backtrack a little….

For almost eighteen years, I lived as a prisoner to the world.
Even though I grew up in church, attended private school, and “knew” that Jesus loved me; my relationship with God was no more than words read from a book. You could refer to my spiritual life as “head knowledge.”
Knowing, but not doing anything about it.
Being aware, but not letting it take play in my life.

Well you see, recently this has all began to change. This past ten months I have been set out on a journey in which I’ve began to truly discover this “love of Jesus.” A transition from God’s love being “just head knowledge” to God’s love transforming me as his love has become my HEART KNOWLEDGE.

Earlier I referred to my past as being “imprisoned to the world.”
You may ask, what does that even mean?
I think it can vary from person to person.
For me it was letting my past and the people that once hurt me determine how I lived. It started out as living under a fear of getting hurt, and trying to control my atmosphere along with the people in it.  I acted out of hurt and was often overcome by anger. To be completely honest there was even times that I lived in hope that everyone who once rejected me, would pay.
As time went by this evolved as I began placing my identity in guys, my “reputation,” and how many likes I got on Instagram. Later I found myself supporting myself and working three jobs to prove a point that I could do it all on my own.

Then the fall of 2015 came, and I got a little reality check.
Over a course of several events, I was slowly broken down as I started to realize, that the life I was living was not the one intended for me.

The motives, values, and habits I had created for myself most certainly didn’t line up to the the person I knew I was deep down inside.

Though God had continuously been knocking at the door of my heart, it wasn’t till I hit my rock bottom that I finally gave him a “yes”.
The incredible thing is, this single “yes,” was all He needed.

After a few months going back and forth, I had finally decided to give God a chance (kinda); committing to do a discipleship training school in Davos Switzerland. I referred to my decision as “kinda” giving God a chance, because I wasn’t all the way in just yet.
I knew I wanted to get out of my hometown for a little bit. I knew I wanted to immerse myself in a new lifestyle. And I really knew I wanted to ski in the Swiss Alps. The rest, was just the readiness I had to step into the unknown.

This along with the provision and peace God provided was all it really took for me to get where I needed to be.

January 10th, 2016 I stepped onto the YWAM base in Davos Switzerland.

Did I just make the best decision of my life?

“Wow, giving God a yes was a pretty good idea. From this point forward I think I’m gonna start answering God with “yes” more often…”
A yes to living my life to his glory and not my own. (It didn’t work out that well doing it my way anyways)
A yes to turning away from my past, and stepping into the lifestyle God had intended for me from the beginning.
A yes to accepting his goodness and love, even though I knew I didn’t deserve any of it.

A yes to forgiving people I had held grudges against for way to long…
It hasn’t been all that easy easy, and I can’t say I’ve been anywhere near perfect. But I am learning, learning how to do these things more and more everyday, learning how to position my heart in a way that makes “yes God” a more and more automatic response.

Which brings us to today.

Today marks two weeks that I’ve been in my SOMD (school of ministry development); a secondary school with YWAM, which has brought me to LA, California.

This week we had our first guest speaker, Kenny Peavy; who spoke to us on identity, as well as spiritual leadership. I experienced God’s presence so powerfully, gained many new insights, and took lots and lots of notes.

Though all this was totally awesome, from Monday on, I started getting a sense that God was calling me to “step out”.
In lectures the following day Kenny even ending up saying something along the lines of, “you don’t need faith to walk on water, you need faith to step out of the boat.”

Me: “and step into what Lord? I’m already here in SOMD, literally sitting in class? ”

Sarcasm rarely helps.

The week went on, till Thursday afternoon came.
As my reading group was going through Deuteronomy, something Kenny said earlier that morning was really resonating with me;
“Beloved, means to be loved, and when we start living like so, every day life begins to change.”

“Okay God, so I know that I am loved, and I that I’m no longer a slave of the world, I am free.”
Ever since DTS this statement had been at work in my life, but what did this have to do with “stepping out?”

By the end of Thursday there were four words that I couldn’t get out of my head.
“BELOVED,YOU ARE FREE.”
Over and over, these words sank deeper into my reality.

It all came together Friday. We had a teaching from our school leader, Lisa Jones; on self deception. Through this lecture she pointed out two ways we walk through daily life.
Treating/viewing/thinking of people as people OR
Treating/viewing/ thinking of people as objects
Well here I am, sitting there in class amused by this idea.

“Yeah, okay, maybe I had treated people like objects in the past… Once, maybe twice… maybe a couple more… okay fine! I do it all the time”
And there it was again, “step out”

God’s words breaking my heart in the most beautiful way, as I began to see where this was all going.
God wasn’t only asking me to view every person I came in contact with as an actually person, but furthermore as a son/daughter. The son/daughter in which He created them to be; loved and free.

So here I am, feeling as if I’m been sailing on the boat of “I am loved, I am free.”
AND suddenly, I see a shore not to far off. In the sand it’s written “You are loved, You are free.” There it is, my destination.

The knock on my heart was to not only know that I am loved and free, but to proclaim it to the people around me. By living it out every day. By treating people as so. By taking that step out of the boat and onto the shore; what I had discovered was to be made known.

Memories begin to run through my head.
There had been so many times I had withheld a kind compliment, a loving smile, or a “good afternoon”….. Was it all because I was too caught up in “I’m loved,” in “I’m free.”
Forgetting that I’m not the only one Jesus died for. I’m not the only child perfectly made in God’s image. I’m not the only one with a heart that longs for this never ending love which only Jesus can offer.

So yeah here I am. The time is now. This is me stepping out to share this truth with you.

God’s love isn’t just a onetime thing that give us butterflies and causes us to be nice to our friends.
It isn’t a love that is only available for particular people, chosen people, or “good” people.
God’s love is real, it’s true, active, and pure.
It’s a love He has for each one of us who he’s created (which btw is you.)

It’s a love that brings freedom into our lives, that we no longer have to live of the world.
A love that frees.

This love has set me free. I know that’s for sure.

That’s why, from this day forward I commit to being bold in the life I now live, and the Jesus that I love.
That’s really why I’m writing this blog.

Because, I wanna be that friend, that sibling, that stranger. The one people look at funny cause they’re dancing on table tops because they’ve fallen in love.

To hold that joy that fills rooms with love and changes atmospheres.

This relationship God longs to have with each and everyone of us doesn’t have a “honeymoon stage.”

The moment we begin to realize God’s love, it should be a natural reaction to love those around us, right?

Shouldn’t the first thing we do is call all our friends proud as ever and share the good news?

That’s right there, is what I’m ready to step into.

To love people, because they too are; Christ’s beloved.
To proclaim the good news, and live a life that leads.

I’m not quite sure what this is going to look like, but I hope this is an okay start…

Dear Reader,

YOU ARE LOVED,

and new life awaits at each one of our shores,

STEP OUT,

give God’s love a chance,

FREEDOM AWAITS,

and all it takes is that “yes.”