You ARE what you CHOOSE!

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Deuteronomy 30:19-20

19 I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live

20 And may love the Lord your God, obey His voice, and cling to Him. For He is your life and the length of your days, that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I guess I’m insane. No, I’m kidding. However, I must confess making the “hard” choices in life is not my strong suit. It’s true. I struggle with the volition of my will and purposing it to a set standard of living. What I mean by that is I know in my heart that God’s best is for my best interest and will truly lead me down the best pathways of life, yet I far too often find myself not trusting God at His word. It’s so much easier to walk the road of independence and self-sufficiency because it seems we would know what it takes to make us happy, right? In most cases, wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Guess what, I’m not the only one who has ever dealt with this dilemma. I’m not the first and I am certainly not the last. You want to know what I’ve realized lately? I’m realizing more and more that what is preventing me from walking out my FULL calling lies in the choices and decisions I am making on a daily basis. I was listening to Andy Stanley’s podcast series titled “Guardrails” and within one of his messages he mentioned we are to “Face up to, accept, embrace what you know in your heart is the Lord’s will for your life. Stop deceiving yourself stop playing games.” I’d say I’m a good game player, if I was to be completely honest with myself. I am a skilled edge walker, reasoner, and expert justifier. If I were to be honest with myself, I know the purposes God has for my life. I know what He is calling me to do. Yet, with ease I far too often find myself as a guppy swimming with the stream and not against it, as I know I should be. When you swim with the stream, you are as good as a dead fish. There is no skill required to go with the flow. Think about it, if you were a fish in water and the stream currents pulled you along, would you need to exercise any discipline? Yet how often do we find ourselves likened to this metaphor? Living a defeated life doesn’t require much of anything, except a broken will. So what then do we do with this? The first step is to acknowledge the problem. I’ve been awakened to this realization most recently. When I look at the pieces of my life and the gap between who I am now and the woman I am to become, I see only a few KEY things. The first and most important key is in my decision making repertoire. It’s so simple. Make the right choice. Why is it so hard? Why does it feel so complicated? Why is our flesh at such odds with God’s perfect plan? Nobody is immune to it, we all face the same temptations and struggles. For me, my emotions tend to drive my decision making, which is a lethal combination. Emotions+decisions is a path to disaster. Sometimes our feelings are our most valuable asset, as they are like the wind in that they can often be a guiding force. However, when our emotions drive us to places we should never go, we often will find ourselves in compromising positions we were never meant to be in. The first step, perhaps, is taking the emotions out of our decision making process. Emotions can be a guide, but our head and heart must never be disconnected. The Bible says our heart is deceitfully wicked and who can trust it. I don’t like that verse. Something in me doesn’t WANT to believe my heart can be wicked, but it’s true. Sometimes the truth is ugly and in your face. Our heart can be very misleading. I think as a woman, emotions are particularly difficult. Emotions and feelings are powerful influences in our lives that must be stewarded wisely. I wrote most recently about “sitting” with your emotions. I really encourage you to read my piece about “Patience in Pain” it’s a powerful revelation I had about how pain can truly be a key in propelling us on to victory. I think there is power in our ability to sit with those uncomfortable emotions and experiences. For one, I think in doing so you can accurately see them for what they are worth. Just that, feelings. And for another, I think when we can slow the process down and just let things BE, we are able to clear our head, separating it from our heart, to make the best wisest choice. What separates winners from a fool is in their ability to choose wisely. Yet with all this head knowledge, it still does not make for an easy road. You can know that something is or isn’t right for you, but when the rubber meets the road, you may still find yourself in over your head with the blare of an alarming decision that must be made. So what’s the answer? How do we solve this unavoidable dilemma? It’s simple. Make the RIGHT choice. Why is something so simple, so incredibly difficult? I think the biggest principle in making wise choices is your faith, trust and BELIEF that God is who He says He is. You must first acknowledge Him in all that you do. When you have a strong awareness of God and His character– which is faithful, just, loving, gracious, and benevolent, you can begin to trust Him with your mind, will and emotions. Simply put, if you do not trust God is good and has good for you, you will not choose His way. It’s the plain and simple truth! Do you take Him at His word when He says

Ephesians 3:20 Amplified Version

20 Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—

Do you not think that the dream maker of our hearts would have a better plan to accomplish these dreams than our very own ability or imagination? What I mean is, the Creator of EVERYTHING you see has placed dreams and desires in your heart. The same God who has brought all these things together in your life, is the same God who promises to do more than the imaginable in our lives. We have to align ourselves with this Plan and that requires a relationship and a trust in God. I know for many, including myself, trusting is a sore spot in our hearts. It’s difficult to trust in what we can not immediately see. We feel a sense of power when we control our destiny, but that same sense of control really takes control away from ourselves because we are not trusting in God’s divine ability to bring every dream to pass. So where do you begin? There is this book I’m reading by Rebekah Lyons that is called Freefall to Fly. She talks about how that it’s in the free fall is where your rescue comes. We all must fall in order to fly. What is it that you are holding onto right now? It may be a person. It may be a dream. It may be an idea. God is asking you to let it go. You know this is true, because it’s speaking to your heart of hearts right now. I’ve heard it said that we are far too often like the child with a small toy firmly grasped within it’s hands, while God is standing by with something far greater in His hands. We can not grab a hold of what God’s best is, when we are holding tightly onto the reins of our lives. I know for me, I have for too long had one foot into the future with my other foot stuck in the past. I’ve grasped onto the life I want to lead, while I know God desires to usher me into this glorious future He has planned and prepared for me. For too long, I have flailed in my emotions and in my wrong decisions and it’s held me back from everything God is showing me that He and only He can and wants to give me. This life is far too short. God says we are but a vapor here today and gone tomorrow. Our life is a speck in the grande scheme of things. We only have here and right now, and it’s all in what we do with it. Are you going to let another day go by? Are you going to stay stuck, wheels spinning, on the path to nowhere? Or, do you want to risk it all and start your free fall so that not only God can rescue you, but redeem your life and set it on a broad path leading to grace, favor, and unfailing love that pursues you for the rest of your life? I don’t know about you, but I want to have an unimaginable life, filled, bursting at the seams with the dreams and desires that God sets into motion and brings into fruition. It all starts right here and now, with making the hard choices. Let’s be a people that believes for what we can not see. Let us trust God for the little bit that we can not see, so He can do more than we could ever imagine on our own! Let’s live a life of purpose, not just our purpose, GOD’S fulfilling purpose that He’s planned before we were ever a thought.

Love you, believe in you & know that God’s got His hand on your life. You wouldn’t be reading this if it were not true!

xoxo Alicia Barkley

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