Let's Be Honest

Finding God in Your Fear

Have you ever been in a haunted house before, or maybe one of those haunted trails?  

 

Every October, without fail, signs go up all over my small town. Even billboards advertise these experiences where we can get the crap scared out of us. 

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I really don’t see the appeal. Maybe I’m strange.

 

I don’t enjoy scary movies either. In fact, I just hate the feeling of being afraid altogether. I guess I don’t see the point in running toward something that will get your heart racing and maybe even your panties wet. 

 

Some of us don’t need haunted houses or scary movies to get a good fear buzz. We live in fear each and every day.   

 

I’m talking about those of us that suffer, year-round, in Anxietyville.

 

Literally, the scariest “Ville” you’ll ever put yourself through. In fact, it’s so scary, we may as well advertise and charge for people to come and experience it. I could’ve been making a fortune. 

 

I’m no gardener. In fact, I have a bit of a pukish-green thumb. Not a black thumb. I don’t kill everything I touch. Just maybe half of it. 

 

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When I planted a seed of fear and anxiety in my heart nearly three years ago, I became a master at babying that little seed.

 

I’d water it daily. Gave it all the sun and fresh air it desired. I sang to it, talked to it, and told it to grow, grow, grow.  

 

And then, when it grew so large, and so healthy, that it began to spill over the little pot I planted it in, I realize that maybe I cared for it a little too well. 

 

When it took over my entire garden, it killed all of the good, delicious foods and herbs I needed to nourish my body. It began killing the other plants. 

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Before I knew it, the plant of fear and anxiety had completely and utterly decimated any signs of life in my garden and it had no plans to slow down.

 

It no longer required my attention anymore. It no longer needed daily watering, tending, or care. It was out of control and I didn’t know how to keep it from growing even more.  

 

When the anxiety and fear in my mind grew out into my body, I would scream and yell and beg God to save me. 

 

I would get angry at Him, wondering why He wasn’t killing this plant for me.

 

After some time, I was convinced that He didn’t care about my trouble. I was convinced that the plant of anxiety and fear was forever to be in my garden, growing more and more rogue everyday. 

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There would be times when I’d figure out ways to make it smaller. I’d spend time pruning or ripping vines from the tangled, mangled mess. I was brave. I was determined. I felt strong in these times. And God was giving me the strength and wisdom to know how best to rid my garden of this mess.

 

Sometimes, I’d feel too weak to care. I’d give in and watch all of my pruning and ripping out go to waste as the vines of my plant grew back twice a long.  

 

I realized that God doesn’t hang out in my garden of fear and anxiety. And when I’m desperately doing the backbreaking work it takes to keep it from going out of control, God is on the other side of the property, in the stillness of a stream, in the falling of leaves, and the soft hum of a bee. 

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Friends, the reason you don’t hear or see God in your fear and anxiety is because He’s not in fear and anxiety. 

 

Fear is loud. Fear is obnoxious and chaotic and toxic. Fear is a life-stealer and a hope-taker. It’s a faith-killer and a death-dealer. God isn’t in that. God isn’t there.  

 

You see, if we want to hear God, we have to quiet our hearts. “Like a weaned child...” we have to calm our souls. We have to seek peace and search for joy.

 

“In Him is perfect Peace.”  

 

I often would wait for my rescuing.

 

I would sit in my garden full of tangled weeds and wait for Him to come and untangle the mess.

I would scream.

I would wail.

All the while becoming more and more bitter as the vines would grow around me, suffocating the death out of me. Notice I said death and not life.

 

There is no living in fear. Just dying

 

Throw down your watering can. Stop taking daily walks out to your garden and go sit by the stream of still waters.

 

Let Him pour His Living Water into your soul. The living water that kills anxiety, fear, and panic and replaces those things with hope, faith, and joy. 

 

The more time you spend on the Living Water side, the more you’ll forget that your tangled garden even existed. 

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So please, stop looking for God in your fear. Because you won’t find Him. 

 

"Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.“ -Deuteronomy 30:15  

 

Choose Life. Choose Joy. Choose Peace. Choose Jesus. 

Embracing the Gift of Rejection

Play it safe.

 

That's the way I would approach life before I opened myself up to constant rejection. 

 

Sometimes, well, a lot of times, just the fear of being rejected can keep us from moving forward. 

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It just so happens that three of the biggest parts of my life are full of rejection and little dashes of acceptance sprinkled here and there. 

 

The thing is, we can't make people accept what we have to offer. 

 

The whole "bringing a horse to water..." creed has never meant more to me, than it does now. I get it...

 

From sharing the Gospel, to showing others a more natural way to approach healthcare, and to encouraging others to give my writing a chance, there's this pattern that follows the sharing of those things that is hard to accept. 

 

"You're project is not what we're looking for..." 

 

"I know I'm going to hell, and I'm okay with that..." 

 

"Thanks, but no thanks..." 

 

"Maybe, next time..." 

 

I could go on and on.  

 

I'll be honest with you: my heart stings each time, sometimes I cry, sometimes I get angry, but every time I think, "If you would just give me a chance."

 

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Embracing rejection is not something that any of us are good at. It's certainly not something that we expect or we get used to.  

 

I consider all of the ones who have really made a difference. Those brave ones that went thru years and years of hearing "Not now...but thanks..." . 

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Over and over and over again.  

 

J.K.Rowling. (The manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was rejected by 12 different publishers before being published). 

Oprah Winfrey. (She was told she should perhaps find another career entirely after being told to stop meshing her emotions through her news reporting). 

Albert Einstein. (Was told he would amount to nothing because he couldn't speak or read until later in childhood). 

Thomas Edison.  (His inventions failed thousands of times before he got it right.) 

Walt Disney.  (Fired because he "lacked imagination"). 

Emily Dickinson. (Less than a dozen of her poems were published while she was alive. They only saw the value of her work posthumously).  

 

I could go on. 

 

Maybe rejection will never leave us smiling. Maybe we won't ever "get over it" every time it comes our way.  

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I believe the way to truly embrace rejection is by understanding that it's just part of the journey.  

 

You may feel that a piece of you chips away with every back turned. But, in reality, the chipping just reminds you that this life is worth living and feeling for. 

 

We can choose to leave the pieces where they fell, or we can pick them up, and make a beautiful mosaic.  

Maybe our lives are a little like lattes. Swirls of bitter and sweet. Creating a masterpiece of colors and tastes for others to enjoy.  

Maybe our lives are a little like lattes. Swirls of bitter and sweet. Creating a masterpiece of colors and tastes for others to enjoy.  

 

So we just keep sharing anyway. Because the next share could be the next "Yes". If it's important enough to you, you'll keep attempting. Driven purely by the passions within. The passion to get people to finally understand.  

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Because someday, they just might. As long as you keep embracing rejection along the way. 

 

love, Alicia  

 

 

 

 

 

Why I've Stopped Caring If You Like Me Or Not

Recently, I've stopped caring. 

 

I've had to. It wasn't healthy and it's not worth the trouble. I see so many mom bloggers desperately trying new things to grow their following. And their desperation shines through more than their actual content does.  

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If you want to know why I've stopped caring if you like me or not...and whether I care if this blog grows or it doesn't...then read on. 

 

I was recently told by a good friend that this blog and this following may never "make it big".  

 

Because, "I don't have what it takes to make it."

 

It's not because I'm not likeable, or I don't try to expand the following.

 

I've tried what I could over the past five years and it's always taken this steady, slow, organic sort of pace.  

 

Its because I'm not willing to be something I'm not to make all of you wish you were me

 

It's because I'm not going to stand in front of brick walls, dressed like a Target model, with a latte in my hand, and toddlers pulling at my dress all with a hysterical smile on my face.  

 

It's because I really don't care to spend hours and hours and hours editing photos, doing giveaways, and telling people to make sure they turn their notifications on.  

 

I'm not willing to trick my followers into liking posts and engaging, just so more traffic comes my way. 

 

And I'm not willing to make my whole platform all about myself, portraying a fake portrait of motherhood, while I miss out on real life motherhood all around me. 

 

I've probably accomplished what most bloggers would only dream of. And it happened totally organically. And it happened because God spurred it on to happen.  

 

That accomplishment was having a blog post shared on radio stations, websites, and read by half a million people in two days.

 

It got the attention of celebrities and other influencers that have no clue who I am.

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But that attention was short lived. And that sort of accolade was only temporary.  

 

I can't, and I won't, spend the rest of my motherhood trying to gain it back, somehow. 

 

At my core, I'm a yearner for acceptance. 

 

I want people to accept the choices I make and I take it really hard when people don't. In other words, I'm an insecure decision-maker, although I'm almost always confident in my choices.

 

I feel rejection. I feel stressed out. I feel like a freak. I've been this way since I was a teenager. It's been hard to change.  

 

I see my fellow bloggers desperately trying to make it big and I feel for them.

 

Then there's the influencers that already have a following. They start blogs and small businesses and make it big the same day they begin. And I get jealous.  

 

But I'm tired of feeling jealous. It's exhausting.

 

And since I'm not willing to write what you want to hear, or photograph what you want to see, or spend the hours that require me to become BlogFamous, then maybe I am accepting that maybe my influence is supposed to stay small. 

 

Thats fine.  

 

It is.

 

Because maybe a smaller following actually yields a deeper influence in the end. And if I had to choose between the larger audience and the more shallow influence, or the smaller audience and deeper influence...well, when I put it that way, it's easy to choose. 

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If God wants to grow this blog, He can and He will. The timing will be perfect and I'll be ready for that day.

 

But for now, I'll be proud of what I've given to my small ring of influence. 

 

I've given truth, laughter, tears, sorrow, and passion.

 

I've shared ideas, concepts, and encouragement.

 

And most recently,  a book that has touched whoever has read it. Even though the royalties remain poor monetarily and rich in impact; That's payment enough for me. 

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Maybe that's the sort of royalty we should all strive for. Impacting lives. Impacting souls. Being an encourager instead of an influencer.  

 

I surely don't want to influence Mothers to feel less than just because of something they read and saw from me.  

 

And that's sort of the way the blogging world is. It's less about being honest and more about making you feel envious.

It is essentially fueled by envy.

 

Bloggers who harbor envy as it looks to the success of another blogger, all while  displaying beauty in ways that spurs the viewers heart to invite envy inside:

 

Food.  

Style. 

Products.

Crafts. 

Travel. 

 

I can't compete with all of that. I'm just me.  

And I don't have time to show you anything beyond that. I've choosen to live life authentically.  And maybe that's just not enough for what the blogging world requires of me. 

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So, I guess I don't care what you think about me anymore.

I'll keep writing and sharing. But I won't even try to keep up.

 

This is Honestly:Motherhood. And that's how it'll stay. 

 

-Alicia