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.

 

 

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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 ✌🏼

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.”