On my silence

I’ve taken somewhat of a sabbatical from blogging the last six months or so. (With the exception of posts for Rhema every now and then because I’m the student blogger.)

Writing everyday was supposed to help me find my voice. And it did a great job of developing my follow through muscles, which were disgracefully atrophied at the time. 

I am truly grateful for that sweet season. It was necessary and life-giving and a ton of fun. 

 At almost 27, though, it seems that the journey to find my voice, my path, has me in the thickest patch of woods right now. All scratched up, running into branches and scary spiderwebs (the kind you don’t see until it’s too late). 

And whenever I write, I have this habit of spinning things to show only the rosy side of life. I discovered in one of my classes this year on personality types that  this trait is quite common amongst folks with my personality type. 

It serves me well 90% of the time. I can’t help but see the good and in this dark world that’s a true gift. 

However, when your own path is dim and you can’t find your way, tripping over your own feet, it’s hard to add a positive spin. 

Not just hard but exhausting. You feel dishonest and unsure what to do with yourself and words that are rosy but not really true. 

So I took some time off. This summer I want to hop back in to more frequent  writing. 

Still not sure what it will look like but I didn’t know the first time around either! 

Thanks for sticking around and understanding. Ready for a new adventure? So am I. 

Faith is a lifestyle

kenneth-e-haginKenneth E. Hagin’s testimony is the reason Rhema Bible Training College exists. It’s hard to fathom sometimes the deep, unwavering commitment Bro. Hagin had to the Father. Of course, we all know that to those whom much has been given much is required.

My favorite Bro. Hagin stories are the ones where he was just living life—paying bills, running errands, etc. I was recently reading The Midas Touch for a class and came across this statement “I was putting on my socks one day and the Lord spoke to me…”

I had to stop reading for a moment. Wait a minute. Bro. Hagin put on socks?!? Then I started laughing…of course Bro. Hagin put on socks! He was a man, right?

Rhema’s goal is to train ministers of the gospel, men and women who follow God in everyday moments and also in extraordinary ways. We are repeatedly told that the stories shared in classes are for us to see that God will move in our lives.

This is the main reason I was drawn to Rhema. I didn’t want to go to a college that only dealt with hypothetical situations.

rbtc-sealI wanted to go to a college that not only challenged me but also equipped me to walk out my beliefs.

I wanted to go to a college that encouraged me to start living out the truth on the job, in the grocery store, and running errands.

Bro. Hagin’s mandate from God was to “teach my people faith” and his legacy continues through the thousands of Rhema graduates around the world.

If Father God is calling you into ministry, you need to check out Rhema Bible Training College. Come and see what He is doing in the student body’s lives. A great way to do that is during our Spring College Weekend. For more information please visit, www.rhema.org/rcw

Who you’re not

Do you know who you’re not

I realize this is a weird question. Experts and amateurs alike focus more on discussions around discovering who you are than discovering who you are not.

However, it’s vital to know both. 

You’re more likely to be counterproductive, pursuing things that are not related to your purpose, if you never discover who you’re not. For those who are Christians, you’ll also see more results in your spiritual life by knowing who you are and who you are not.

The topic of identity gets a lot of attention in our culture because our fast paced culture doesn’t allow much time for introspection and reflection. If you’re not moving at full speed, someone else might get ahead of you! 

Never mind the fact that life is more a marathon than a sprint….

By learning who I am not, I am freeing myself up to be who I am.

My focus is getting sharper.

My purpose is becoming clearer.

I compare myself to others less and less.

I don’t have to be you and you don’t have to be me. Isn’t that awesome?

Take my advice. Spend some time getting to know yourself. Then get busy chasing your dreams and helping others.

Know who you are, know who you are not. 

 

 

We all serve a master

I have a guest blogger!

This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a LONG time. It’s my goal to have various friends and family share with us from their hearts.

ambear and audraMy first guest blogger is my oldest friend and companion, Amber Siler. I met Amber when I was 12 years old and we quickly became inseparable. Now, many years later, we live hours apart, but sisters are forever.

I think you’ll really enjoy her topic, especially if you’re a fan of minions.


 

My husband and I recently watched the movie Minions. It is the story of the little yellow creatures from Despicable Me before they came to know and serve their master, Gru.

The movie begins with the narrator explaining that minions have a natural instinct to serve the most despicable being alive. We are then taken on a journey through time as the group of minions chooses these evil beings to serve, among them the mighty T-Rex and Dracula. Time shows that these masters are sub-par and vulnerable.

After losing yet another master, the minions decide to just live on their own and make life one big party. But it doesn’t take long before the party isn’t fun anymore.

The narrator tells us: “ They felt empty inside. Without a master they had no purpose. They became aimless and depressed. If this continued much longer, the minions would perish.”

Wow.

I think I missed the next several minutes of the movie as I pondered that statement.

Humans aren’t much different than minions.

We too were made to serve a master. We give ourselves to master after master, only to be disappointed when those “masters” don’t have what we are looking for. We then turn our energy inward to serve ourselves, partying and living life any way we please. But it doesn’t take long before the party loses it’s appeal. And without a master to serve, we lose our purpose.

We were created to serve THE Master – God himself, Creator of the universe. We cannot live a fulfilling life unless we are in dedicated service to Him. That’s the bottom line.

The Power of a Dream

There was a time I really wanted to play in the WNBA.

Can you imagine that?

I can’t anymore because let’s face it: my athletic abilities are not that great. Playing intramural sports is fun, but I’m by no means a MVP. 

But when I was 10, I saw myself playing ball with the big shots. I saw myself on the court, dominating the competition! 

Tonight at a Bible study, the pastor said something that caught my attention:

The imagination is our spiritual womb; it’s out of our imagination that dreams and desires are birthed. 

The pastor’s statement gripped me because my personal belief is that Christians should be the most creative people on this planet. 

The Creator of the Universe lives inside of us! 

Jesus doesn’t require you to cash in your personality in order to follow Him. I’m not quite sure when being a Christian became synonymous with being boring and unoriginal.

It’s simply not true! 

Let me be clear: I am not advocating becoming an all-about-me Christian. This should be a given anyway since Jesus Himself taught us to live selflessly instead of selfishly. 

The fact remains, though, that when you accept Jesus, you are more alive than you ever were before! 

Who you are–personality and all–explodes to life when God moves into your heart. 

Deity lives inside you! You are one with Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 

The more I understand this truth, the more excited I am to dream big with God. 

And your dreams and my dreams are not selfish in their motives when the purpose is to see God become real to others. 

It’s time to dream big again…

Fun Family Visit

I had a good time visiting with my dad, stepmom, and the kids today.  

They came to town for a funeral and we spent Monday night and Tuesday afternoon together. 

Our friends, Tim and Carolyn Clark, ate dinner with us on Monday night and then spent spent time with us before they headed to the airport. 

When the Clarks left, us adults hung out and talked before surprising the kids with a trip to the movie theater to see Kung Fu Panda 3. 

After the movie, we enjoyed a quiet dinner followed by more talking and some family worship around the piano. 

I was sad as I said goodbye to everyone. 

However, I know in my heart that I’m supposed to be at Rhema. Tulsa, Oklahoma is my home for now, and I am excited about all that is ahead of me. 

This knowledge doesn’t make me any less sad–I miss my family and friends back  in Alabama–but it definitely helps me keep going in the midst of bittersweet moments. 

I came home at the end of the visit and looked around at my new reality, the path that is mine and mine alone to walk. 

Good things are ahead. 

I am so thankful to God for this journey. 

And I am so thankful for family and friends who encourage me to go on great adventures with God. 

Making history

What are some moments in history you would love to be a part of? 

I have several:

  • Fighting for civil rights in the’60s
  • Working in America during World War II (think Rosie the Riveter)
  • Helping at a revival during the Jesus Movement
  • Watching the Wright Brothers fly the first plane
  • Going out west as a pioneer

There are a TON of other moments, but these are my favorites. 

As a child my imagination aided in my learning and loving of history. I wanted to make history some day. In fact, I still do. 

The likelihood of it happening is slim, but it’s one of those childhood fantasies that won’t relent. 

But it got me to thinking of all my favorite historical figures. Very few set out to be famous for their contributions. 

They were simply dedicated, passionate individuals who refused to go against their convictions, to remain idle when they could act. 

This is the example I want to follow. 

This is the kind of life I want for myself. 

If it happens to put me in history books, fine. If not, I consider the joy of an actionable life worthy of all my efforts. 

The best people I know are not well known by the masses, but those of us who are fortunate enough to rub shoulders with them pray for half an ounce of their character, courage, and tenacity. 

The narratives of history are great. I’m glad for all of its lessons–good and bad–because history is a wonderful teacher. 

I encourage you all, though, to live with purpose and intensity for the right reasons. 

There are plenty of wonderful lives to study, if you need proof of what I’m talking about today. They can be found in libraries or your own backyard. 

Making a difference is much more important than making history. 

Wrestling with the Truth

IMG_1694Who doesn’t love stories about go-getters who look adversity in the eyes and say, “I know you don’t believe in me, but I’m going to do it anyway”?

I know that I love to read about the tenacious efforts of other people.

Their lives are filled with adventure and learning. No amount of barriers or persecution will keep them from achieving their goals.

Are you excited yet? Can I get a hip, hip, hooray?

But there’s one person you don’t cheer loud enough for. One person who you think is limited or needs to be limited. One person who must not try unless success is guaranteed.

Yourself. Or, in my case, myself.

I’m not talking about becoming a pompous jerk who is self-absorbed.

I’m not talking about getting angry when others do well.

So what am I talking about then?

  • Allowing yourself to believe that you are talented, equipped, and able to do all the things God puts in your heart to do.
  • Allowing yourself to believe that now is the time to live your life.
  • Allowing yourself to try–even if you fail–and knowing that your efforts are not in vain.

Maybe I should just stick a Dear Audra at the front of this post and call it a day……

I struggle with these truths.

In the face of a great adventure with a greater purpose, I want to throw up. Knowing that all of the risk and work will result in a beautiful story, a God story, doesn’t make it any easier.

Remember what we talked about yesterday?

Following the voice of God does not always leave you comfortable.

But I would rather have holy discomfort than stay in any comfort zone I build for myself.

I want to be tenacious, but I need some help. Help from the Holy Spirit and help from you too.

Surviving an emotional hangover

Have you ever had an emotional hangover?

You share something really personal and the next day you think:

“Why did I do that?!? I should’ve kept my mouth shut.”

I’m a pretty private person, which might seem like a strange statement since I blog every day. We share 200-300 words a day, right? Daily blogging has been a stretching experience for me.

Allowing people into my head space every single day is scary. I’m like a Puritan when it comes to my emotions. If my ankles are showing that’s just too much!

There have been many times I’ve shared with you guys and felt sick to my stomach.

“Did I say too much? What did I just do?”

I only bring this up now because I’m working on a project with my dad and stepmom. You’ll get to hear more about my reconciliation journey. For those who are unfamiliar with my story, this series would be a good one to follow. (And that’s all I’m going to say for now.)

This project will be a BIG stretch for me…

I need to find a nice rock to rent and a stash of brown paper bags.

I realize this post is a bit melodramatic. (Aren’t hyperboles fun?)

No one likes vulnerability, but we all crave it. We’re constantly watching and testing those around us to see if they’re genuine.

And yet, many of us are so scared to share.

Dear friend, I’m right there with you!

Fight the urge to hide, okay?

Hiding helps no one.

Find an outlet to share your gifts and stories with others.

Know that I’m here to help you however I can.

Defining enough

You are enough and you have enough. 

I just summarized half of the self-help books in the world. 

We struggle with the concept of enough. 

“I’m not _________ enough.”

Fill in the blank with the first thing that pops in your mind. 

I bet this thought is the biggest obstacle for you. 

The Lord’s been challenging me with seeing the truth: 

  • Everything I need to be content, to be fulfilled is already in me. 
  • Everything I need to live, serve, and follow Him is already in me. 

I am enough. 

I have enough. 

The scarcity mentality is wrecking our lives. 

Chasing enough is like chasing the wind. You’ll always be empty handed. 

You’ll also be lonely. 

There’s not much time to build relationships when you’re on the hunt for enough. 

Some Christian circles talk about operating out of lack or being plagued by a spirit of poverty. 

Others talk about the American Dream myth. 
However you want see it, we need to wrestle with this bear. 

Does your definition of success, of enough leave you feeling empty?

If so, what needs to shift in your thinking? 

Get ready for a fight because what you discover will not line up with our culture today. 

I really believe, though, that changing your view of enough will change your life.