love letter inspired by isaiah 49

Before you were born, I called you—while you were in your Mother’s womb—I was there, with you. I long to reveal my brilliancy through your life. All the amazing works of your bright and blazing future are held in the palm of my hand. I am your greatest satisfaction. I have a great work for you to do. I want to use you as my servant to bring back many to the heartbeat of God. So many lives live in darkness, as though the lights have been turned off for as long as they can remember. Like you, they have a place in my heart and I desperately want to light up the sky in their lives. I make things shine like new again. I can restore anything. I want to make a light out of you. Your future will be one of influence, for you can reach those around you uniquely. I am faithful and I have chosen you for special purposes. I want you to know that not only do I hear your prayers, but I answer them. I’m as near as your very breath. I want to use your life, your story, to bring the broken to me. Your life and story can be used to set so many free, in my Name. I can make dead places alive. I can provide something out of nothing. I can and do meet your every need. Every mountain you face, I can turn to level ground and lead you out, if you only allow me to take you by the hand. I want to be your comforter. I know at times it feels I am far away, but can a creator abandon His creation?  Never. I will never abandon you. I have your name engraved on the palm of my Hand. Anything set up against you is not from me. No weapon formed against you shall prosper. The blessings I give are as beautiful jewelry—forever I have crowned you in beauty. I bestow upon you grace and mercy, with your every heartbeat. I want to make your life fruitful and flourishing like a beautiful garden. There is such a bright future for you. You will look back on your difficult days as blessings in disguise. You are worth more than silver and gold. Your influence will stretch to the nations. I will make even your enemies to be at peace with you. These will be ways you will know that I, the Lord, am God.

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Stand Tall

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“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”
― Albert Einstein
photo cred: Steve Madden

In my early life I felt I had it all. I was the prettiest, the skinniest, the smartest, surrounded by favor and grace. I lived it, breathed it & firmly believed it. It seemed like I was naturally excellent at a lot of things and it appeared that everything I touched turned to gold. I modeled, I acted, I sang, I excelled academically and aside from not feeling like the most popular well liked girl at school, everywhere outside of that I was unreachable. I always lived on another level, even if that world lived only in my head. I really believed I would never fail at anything I tried at. I was confident and self assured. But then life happened. Bit by bit, bruise by bruise, and wreckage after wreckage chipped away at my belief in my value. Suddenly I didn’t feel so pretty. It’s funny how life has a way of beating us down into believing a lot of things about us that just aren’t true. I’ve had a crazy life and I look forward to writing more transparently as we continue on this journey. But for today I want to talk about value, identity, and success.

I work in a cut throat industry. It’s not just an industry but truly a well oiled machine– an environment where conformist succeed. But that’s just one part of it. It’s also a jungle. It’s a jungle with ladders, hidden doorways, and where certain rules gain access to the next level, while other patters of behavior can lead you to utter ruin. This beast I am referring to is corporate america. I live in this environment 40 hours per week and sometimes I thrive at the thrill of triumph while other days I feel utterly chewed up and spit out only to be found on the bottom of someone else’s shoes.

Let me tell you, I have never fit in. Never. Not in my entire life. I have always been a bird of a different feather, a horse of a different color, and a woman dancing to the beat of a different drummer. I don’t know how I succeed so well because honestly most of the time I find myself spilling out of the box I’m supposed to fit so neatly into. I’ve grown up being beaten into shape and form in this industry and honestly it’s made me a strong and resilient person. It hasn’t been easy let me tell you.

Somewhere a while ago, I decided I wanted to be well known. I wanted to be an unmistakable voice in this world. I didn’t want to be behind the scenes and I didn’t want to be waiting on an elevator waiting for my stop forever. I have always had a personality for the spotlight, but in a lot of ways I have wanted these things for the wrong reason. I wanted to be loved and accepted. You see, I often found my value in how well liked I have been, how successful I have been at my job, the recognition that I receive and the affirmation of my superiors. But a lot of times in my messy process, I have often found myself shrinking under pressure and devaluing myself based on my mistakes. How many of you have been there?

We all want to be successful. We all want to be heard. Who wants to live and not be appreciated or valued? None of us would agree with that, we are all here to find our purpose and find love, meaning & JOY in our lives.

But this idea kind of came to my head today as I got back to my hotel (I’m on my first business trip)

Today at work I did something kind of gutsy. I spoke up and spoke out and challenged the ideas of some very powerful people. It was a little rogue, but it was impactful and my team shared with me how proud of me they were for speaking up and backing up one of my team members. I realized in that moment I could have caused people to have a different view on me– as I was taking a powerful risk in challenging someone in authority (respectfully) I believed and owned what I said in that meeting and I’m proud of my audacity. I don’t know what came over me honestly, but I cared that my team member was understood and I realized in that moment I had a chance to be a voice to those who might not have been bold enough to speak up for themselves.

After the meeting and hearing my team members encourage me, I realized that so many times I have held back or judged myself for falling outside of the lines of what is acceptable in the corporate jungle. I’ve often felt like I will always be just the little guy, even though I have dreams that are larger than the very life I live. I’ve often felt like when is my moment? When will someone take notice of my talent and set me on a course to soar? I often struggle going between staying in the lines and carving my own path–but can I tell you? Robert Frost was onto something when he said he took the road less traveled and it made all the difference.

I’m slowly learning to walk on my own–to stand tall on my own two feet.

Sometimes I look at other people who succeed like crazy and I wonder why was I left behind. But I think I am coming to realize that it’s those who carve out their own paths, stay truest to their true self, and fulfill the call on their life–BEING the person that God created and DESIGNED them to be– that succeed.

We lose out, we short ourselves when we sacrifice our authenticity. We were created to be a one of kind original work of living art. What happens when we suffocate that self? Parts of our heart and soul die of spiritual atrophy because we can no longer freely be who we were always meant to be.

As for me, I will keep learning to stand tall. I will keep going against the grain, yet not kick against the goads. I will learn to love myself and love others despite how excruciating or difficult that may be. I will find what makes my heart and soul come alive and live it out. And as I do so authentically, at the proper time, I will be that voice that is heard.

I have so much more to say on this, but for now, I will leave you with this….

When you be your truest self, you are filled with such purpose and you are valuable–because who you are is what everyone in this world needs, they just haven’t all met you yet. This world would be completely different without you in it. Find who you are, love yourself, and BE that YOU.

You are LOVED and ADORED

XOXO

Alicia

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Stand Still

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I’m having a Carrie Bradshaw moment, and not in that Rated R kind of way. As I sat doing my daily pre-bedtime rituals, I sat there thinking a million thoughts in my head. I had this kind of agitation that only comes at certain times. You know, the kind where you know when you rest your head on your pillow at night, you know that you won’t be able to fall asleep. Immediately I knew I was supposed to write. It’s been so long that I fear my fingers have been collecting dust. My hands have been used for carrying heavy things, running from one place to the next with my role and many thoughts have come and gone without a single click to the keyboard. So much has happened since I’ve last written. You wouldn’t believe it, even if I told you.

One thing I can tell you for certain is that my work has consumed my life, and not the kind of work that I’m LIFE passionate about. What am I passionate about anymore? Sometimes it seems in life as soon as I think I’ve found direction, as I begin to see myself moving in one singular direction, something comes along and thwarts the plan and I’m left sitting in the dust trying to collect the particles that fly all around me. Does this even make sense? It’s like my life is in a perpetual standstill. Where am I going to go from here? Why am I here? Will I ever make it to where I know I am meant to go? So many people live their entire lives and never realize or act upon their calling. Here I am, a called writer, and I’ve been working to no end. Working and working and working, but not crafting my trade.

What do you do when you find yourself in that predicament?

What do you do when you don’t really know what to do? With yourself? With your life?

Honestly I have felt so lost. I am succeeding so well in my career. I was ranked #1 in my entire company for my role for the month of November, but I can tell you that on many, many occasions, I thought about ending it all. What do I have to live for? I’ve played the game of life for so long, and yes I have done many incredible things. When I look back over my life I can string a bunch of memories together that make for incredible stories. On the outside, it seems as if I have it all. I could tell story after story of miraculous moments and grandly favored experiences, where others would be in awe. I’m sure some people look at Adored Above and at my Facebook and think that life is just peachy for me. Can I let you in on a little secret? I’m one of the most talented and capable individuals I have ever met (although there are many more talented and many more capable) YET, I have no idea what to do next. And honestly, that makes my talent and abilities seem so much less than they are. How can I make a lasting impact on the World, when I can barely get through mine each day? It’s not as if I’m not able. I am. It’s just that my mind is waging a war, and the enemy is myself. One thing I can tell you, and it’s not that I have it figured out, is that your thoughts truly have a huge power over your destiny. On the day that I wanted to give up completely, I couldn’t think of anything to ease my pain and confusion. I couldn’t see my way out of the hopeless mental fog. Yet when I least expected it, I found out that I had achieved my goal without even realizing I had done it. In a moment, all of those long hours, sleepless nights, grueling shifts, miles and miles spent driving, and days I barely ate AMOUNTED to something, and something significant. Yet, even with all the success, there is something to be said about a quieted and content mind. A mind and soul at peace and at rest within oneself. I don’t claim to have all the answers. Honestly, if I had all the answers, I wouldn’t be writing out my frustrations for all to read. I would certainly be in a better position than I am today. But the fact of the matter is….

Regardless of how I feel, I have value. I may not feel valuable. Honestly, more times than not (and I am not proud to admit this) I have a hard time seeing my worth. Head knowledge is very different from heart knowledge. I can know the facts about my successes and my life, but if I don’t believe it in my heart it is just words on a page, a thought passing by like a shooting star fading out into the distance.

Every person reading this can relate to this feeling. If you can’t, I want your Wheaties for breakfast. Bottom line is that life is a crazy journey. Sometimes you can feel like you are on top of the world and the sun rises to greet you. Other days, you are as good as the gunk on the bottom of some random persons shoe. 

I feel like I’m posing a problem that I have a hard time finding a solution to. Maybe that’s part of the point? I know I’ve spent many years struggling with this, but it’s not something I want to struggle with forever. I don’t know how to get out of this rut I am in, but I know that it’s better to do something than nothing. So what do I do?

I honestly don’t know. I take life day by day at this point. Sometimes standing still is helpful and just right. Other times, standing still is just not the best route. I may not be able to climb the highest mountain in a day, but I can certainly take the first step.

I might not understand all the reasons for why things are the way they are in my life, but what I can do is take a small step to learning more, growing, and towards one of my dreams, goals or visions.

Hopefully this is helping someone, because I honestly feel like I’m rambling. Maybe today is that small step. It’s been a long time since I have written and I am rusty. But the fact that I am putting action to my future dream of writing in a tangible way today…. maybe that is the point. That small, but impactful step.

And on that note, I am going to bed.

See you soon, xo

~Alicia

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Freedom & Selfishness

It’s funny how our worlds become so big to us. We look through the lenses which see through the filters we each possess. Our lives can become so overwhelmingly huge, almost unbearable. Then in an instance we experience a paradigm shift, something that unsettles us penetrating our core. Our foundation is tested by the trials and tribulations, yet every now and again we look to our left or our right and see someone trudging through muck we can not fathom. Their ankles submerged below a swamp of sorrow and unimaginable pain. In an instant, your life is put back in it’s proper perspective. You see your life through fresh and thankful eyes. You see the mundane as a blessing in disguise. You see the burdens of life as light satchels that you are privileged to bear. You see discord as petty disagreements which lack eternal significance. You see your mound of debt as a pile of beans. You see your own health difficulties as minor discomforts. You see your life through eyes of gratefulness. Why does it take such earth rattling instances to grip us back into the center of reality? Why are we always rushing from one place to the next, desperate for change? Why are we always clamoring and complaining about the mildest instances of minor annoyances? Why are we so quick to give our unwarranted opinion? Why are we so quick to defend our liberties with self righteous entitlement, when those around us are silently dying from injustices, sorrow & pain? It’s ironic how you toil your life away only to realize at the end you didn’t live it as you should have. That in the end, everything wasn’t really worth the worry, the complaining, the stress? That you really didn’t have it that bad, and that you could have always done more?

 

Today I stand at a new gate. I hear about an eight year old dying from stage four terminal cancer who is laying in his hospital bed right now fearing his own life. A life he has yet to live, who knows very little about the world around him. He’s kidnapped from peaceful and unaware childhood, and thrust into the throes of fighting for his life. His father has overcome obstacle after obstacle, barely catching his breath between each wave and breaker as it claws for him to succumb to it’s power. He looks at his balances and knows the heaping piles of medical bills that are to come, yet fearlessly places every last worth of his life into the hands of the doctors and medical professionals for a glimpse of hope that will save his beloved son. There is a mother whose heart is broken and lies awake at night with thoughts that demand her attention. Half of herself is far enough where he is out of reach, but so close she can touch his face as he cries in confusion.

Then I reflect back on my life. Some of my primary concerns are what I will do with my life, what time I will take my lunch, do people understand me, do they like me? How do I feel? What’s most important to me? What will I do when I get off work? How will I pay my bills? What are my next steps? I stress and struggle over solutions that are unsolvable in my life right now, but when I put them beside this family I am suddenly ashamed at my selfishness. I know I’m not a selfish person, and I certainly don’t intend to be, but it just goes to show how selfish we can truly be.

 

God, 

I pray that you’d make my life meaningful.

Let me be someone who lifts burdens off of others, with wisdom and discernment.

Let me be a light that floods others with hope, that what they see coming out of me is just a glimpse of your amazing goodness. 

God I ask that you’d be with this family and child. Lord you are the GOD over all. You can speak and mountains move. We ask in JESUS NAME that this mountain be removed. God I thank you for my wonderful and beautiful life, which you have blessed me with and of which I do not deserve on my own merit alone. Thank you for your favor & grace which surround me as a hedge of protection and bless everyone I come into contact with. I love you, Lord. You are great and worthy of all my praise–with every breath I take.

Amen.

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Changes…

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I’m finding it difficult to put into words exactly what I’m feeling. I’ve sat on this all day and I’ve even tried to write my heart out earlier and to no avail. I got halfway through the piece and realized it was not what I wanted to say. Sometimes I have to just stop myself and ask myself, “What are you trying to say? …Just say it.” Which seems silly. You’d think I’d just write whatever it is I’m trying to say at the moment, but it’s harder than that.

So I went to bed last night around 9pm and here I am up at 3am. Two Starbucks refrigerator frappuccino’s later, here I am sitting under the glow of my computer trying to craft again. This time I’m going to let it all out and say exactly what’s on my heart.

Have you ever felt completely mixed up? I’m talking about your entire life getting thrown upside down and shaken for all it’s got? What about lost in translation? Stick stuck? Disoriented? Sadly, these are all very real words to describe how I’m feeling and what I’m going through lately. I must admit I’m generally one of the strongest people I know. I don’t say that to boast whatsoever, but with everything I’ve endured I’m generally very resilient and capable. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and perhaps my worst quality is that I let my emotions get the best of me, but I’m still usually very durable & strong. However, sometimes in life you get thrown a curve ball and you don’t really know what to make of it or how to take it. I wish I could tell you everything that’s going on but I must spare some of the details for the sake of respecting those involved; besides this isn’t a diary. I think Adelle said it best when she talked about turning tables. It just feels like everything in my life is shifting and being shaken up. Six months ago, my life looked very different from what it looks like now. I never imagined my heart getting so wrenched by so many different things. It’s that feeling of being out of control of all of the change going on in my life that makes it so difficult. I’m one of those people that takes comfort in having a handle on things, and when I can no longer have my hand on a matter it makes things uneasy for me. For those of you who have followed my posts, I’ve talked a lot about trusting God and waiting for the next steps. Well it’s hard to do that when you start seeing shifts in everything around you. Everything, and I mean everything, in my life is undergoing huge maintenance and construction. I feel like I’m walking on shaky ground and that’s not a feeling any of us like. I feel like all the pieces of my life are moving in different directions simultaneously and I’m watching parts of my heart break away from my chest and walk away from me and this is the hardest thing to sit back and take in. Some of the nearest and dearest things in my life are transitioning out, and knowing this is about to occur is almost heart breaking. We can never be fully prepared for all of life’s changes an adjustments. Some of them we take better than others, and other times we just have to take them in stride, watching while our heart breaks and we are left in confusion and uncertainty. And some things just rip your heart right out of your chest. For me, those things are just reminders of things that never belonged in my life anyway. Let it burn. Let it remind me of how much better I deserve. Let it sting. I can take the pain. I’m stronger than that. But yet I’m still human, and I hurt. It’s hard to watch it unfold before my eyes, especially when you can sense it happening or beginning to happen. Can you tell I’m a grab bag of emotions? Well I am and that’s okay. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, and as if I’m not already strong enough. It’s these moments in life you have to maintain your sense of humor. You can’t reflect too deeply on the past, because it has already came and went. It will never be again. You have to keep your eyes steadily on the future and remain hopeful. Sometimes it’s hard in spite of difficult circumstances, I understand that. But what else can you do? Do you wallow in pity over things you can not control, only further contributing to your misery? No! You think about the great and glorious things that are yet to come. For me, he’s my knight in shining armor, you know the man on the white horse who will come and sweep me off my feet and adore me to pieces. It’s his smile and perfect teeth. It’s his height and bright eyes and huge tender heart. It’s the eyes of my future children. It’s the masses I will look out unto as I speak and preach. It’s the books that I will see lined on shelves with the NYTimes Best selling title attached to them. It’s my future home in the country with hardwood floors and beautiful trim. It’s getting on a plane and traveling to exciting new destinations. The best is yet to come, my friends. It’s important for you to not only dream of your future but to set your dreams to plans, setting goals to get you to these land marks. For me, I’m writing goals down and dreaming. I was talking to a friend who writes these boards (you know who you are 😉 ) And he writes down his visions and looks at them every day. He said he’s made almost every single one of his goals/visions but a few. Think of the power in that. Write the vision down, so that those may see it, may run with it. I want to run with visions and live a purposeful life. So things are changing. So things look bleak. So I feel stuck. I might feel stuck, but I’m not stuck. I’m still moving. This very post shows I’m still moving. I may be down, but I’m not out. These shiftings and shakings are only a sign of things that are to come. They are only a symptom of movement and change that will make a way for bigger, better and brighter things to come. So I am going to set my eyes on things unseen, until those things are seen. Tomorrow is one step closer to my destiny than I was the day before and for that I will take hope in. Let’s hang on for just a little while and see our dreams turn into realities. Never stop dreaming. Never give up hope. Tomorrow will be bigger, better & brighter.

 

For now,

xoxo Alicia Barkley

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For Austin…

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“The trouble is, you think you have time” ~Buddha

 

Sometimes life is like a quick moving train, lurching forward despite the ever changing scenery–thoughtless and careless to our feelings. It can sometimes be a thankless beast pulling us on through the muck of life. When tragedy happens, the train doesn’t stop. It keeps rolling on, barreling it’s way through the wilderness of life.

Time is of the essence my friends, it keeps grasping greedily forward. From one hour to the next, the hands of time gobbles ahead, eating up each moment with it’s insatiable hunger. Minutes couple into hours, making its way into days, leading up to years…moving hastily on.

How do we make the most of this beautiful life? Maybe Buddha was right in that the trouble is we think we have time. We all carry around in our life a backpack of dreams we’ve crafted for ourselves in our hearts. How heavy our dreams are against our back as we trudge on. But what are we doing with those dreams? Are we taking steps to make them a reality or are we carrying them for just in case we think we might stop and rest to set up camp? Time is ticking my friend. Tick-tock, Tick-tock. What are you doing?

Life is too short to carry around dreams like ill fitting baggage.

Life is a funny, funny thing. You never know what is up around the corner, you only have right now. You are always trying to make the wisest decisions with what little information you may have. It can be a hurtful experience and yet you have no choice but to heal. Sometimes life is filled with the regret and shame for the decisions we’ve made or yet to make. We are riddled with decisions and pathways and most of us wonder if we are ever really on the right path or if we are dead stuck in the middle of nowhere. I know I’ve for too long wandered in the wilderness wondering if there is really more to it than this.

I know I’ve lived life to the best of my ability. I’ve tried to make the most of every day and some days I squander the time I have by just wondering what I could be doing differently. I know if I died today, I’d die unfulfilled because there are buried treasures within me unspent and undiscovered. I am living far below my potential and my backpack of dreams is heavy upon my chest. But what do I do with this realization? How do I take these dreams from my head and heart and bring them out into the open and into reality? Where do I start?

Time is short and life is but a vapor. Today we are here and tomorrow we could be gone. Think about that for a moment. Nobody plans to die. Nobody wakes up and thinks, today is going to be the last day I live. Most of us have dreams of growing old with someone we love. I can see it now… My face is etched with deep set wrinkles from years of laughter. The silver lining wasn’t found in any nearby sunsets, but lined through my hair as I have grown in grace. My hands are weary from a lifetime of care for others, but they tenderly hold the hand of my beloved. My children and grandchildren surround me as we gather for yet another family get-together. The kids running through the sprinkler in the yard as smells from the grill and kitchen waft through the air.

This is my picture of my life grown up, in the far out future. It’s an idea that is in my head, but is not a promised reality. 

What if you woke up today and set out to run errands and your life was up? For someone I knew in passing it was. There was a gentle giant I knew of who loved with a big heart. His smile lit up the room, and his heart couldn’t be contained in it. He died far too young and he was one of us. He loved the Lord. He was living passionately for God and touched lives. He left a legacy of hearts that are now broken. One of his last statuses on facebook was about his music and his last words were “This is just the beginning” A few days later he took his last breath. 

The trouble is we think we have time.

I’m always rocked to my core when I hear of someone my age or younger dying. I think about all the things that person may have wanted to do, be or accomplish. I remember myself, my frame and the fragility of my own life.

There is so much yet to be done, so little I have accomplished.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m writing for myself. I question myself, second guess my decisions, doubt my abilities. I’m human just like the rest of you.

People look at my life a lot and think I’ve made something of myself. They think I’m living for God and doing great things. I see myself as flailing in my fears, insecurities and still struggling with making wise choices in my every day life. I’m not completely satisfied with where I am. I’m HUMAN.

I work a job that I do very well which I use my passions to serve, but it’s not my life calling. I’ve been serving in this industry for as long as I have been able; it’s all I know.

I see people taking bold risks in their lives with huge pay outs and know I have everything it takes to do the same, yet I stay in the shadows of safety.

I see people walking out my passions and living out my calling and I wonder where have I went wrong? I am trying to build something with Adored Above but I wonder if anyone can see the dream that’s in my heart the way I can see it. I feel like it’s a heavy aircraft that isn’t moving fast enough to get off the ground. I see little progress and it’s a glimmer of hope in this dark world, but yet I still wonder. I feel like in my life I’m sometimes running in many different directions, chasing figments of my imagination and grasping empty air.

Am I making a difference in this big, dark, scary world?

Would you notice if I were gone? I don’t want my gravesite to be a treasure chest of untapped potential. I know there is more to life than what I can see right now.

So what do I do? Do I continue to dream and dream bigger? What do I do with my feet? The Bible says to ponder the path of your feet. I’ve been pondering for far too long. What step should I take?

Sometimes the journey feels like it’s taking too long to get to the destination. Sometimes that’s what is necessary and sometimes we are just standing in our own way. Sometimes it’s a combination of both and we have a responsibility to get out of our way and trust the process. We have to be mindful of the time we have and use every moment like it may be our precious last.

What is standing in your way? Get it out of the path that is set before you. Get rid of the dead weight– the doubts, fears, insecurities. They are ill fitting. They are heavy and you were never meant to carry those things. You are a gift to this world and your voice needs to be heard. You are living your story in front of the whole world, and many eyes are watching. What are you doing with the weight of that responsibility? Are you walking circumspectly or are you wandering aimlessly. Don’t get to the end of your life and realize that you aren’t spent, that you didn’t do all that your heart wanted to do.

All you have is right now, and nothing is promised to you. You don’t know that you have tomorrow. We only have today, and the blessing of the next second, Lord willing.

What is it that is keeping you back from living your best life? If it’s yourself, find out what it is that you are doing to hold yourself back and let it go.

What kind of legacy do you want to leave?
I don’t know about you but I want to spend this life to the last drop. I want to die empty.

I want God to be proud of me for my life and my choices. I know there are many things I have done that have not made Him proud, but I am forgiven. His hand is on my life and His promise is to perfect and finish my faith.

There is so much I want to get out of this life, yet I don’t know where to begin or how to set out to accomplish those things. It doesn’t hurt to ask for help or for directions a long the way.

It’s better to die trying than to live with regret.

Time wasted can never be retrieved. Try as you might you can never resurrect the past an relive it. You can’t go back. You can’t redo those moments that have came and went. They are gone, dead, buried in yesterday. The vault is locked and the key has been thrown away.

 But before you is today, a blank and empty canvas– yours for the taking.

What are you going to do with it? You have right now, this moment, today.

Live it right and live it well.

Take those dreams you are carrying and find a place to set them down and bring them into the now. Bring your dreams and your desires out in to the open and get to work. You will get further along with them if you aren’t carrying them. You can’t make a plan with just a thought without action.

For me, I want to write a book that changes lives. I want to write a NYTimes Best selling book. I am not going to write this book while it’s just a dream in my heart. I know I have to wait for the content and the right timing, but I should begin thinking, planning and dreaming now while today is still available to me.

I want to travel the world and speak before the nations, inspiring and encouraging and it starts with ADORED ABOVE. I should begin planning, preparing and shaping it into what I truly desire it to be. The time is now, and it starts today.

 

Big ambitious for such a small person, but it’s better to start now than wait for tomorrow.

Let’s do this. Let’s live this life big. Let’s spend all we have to see our dreams come to pass.

Let’s believe God for right now to be more than we could have ever hoped, imagined or dreamed. It’s the promise He’s given us. We can access it and put a demand on it, today.

Let’s not let our life run us, let’s decide to LIVE our lives.

Live it till the last breath.

Live it like it’s our last.

LIVE it.

xoxo Alicia Barkley

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Walk The Line

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Psalm 119:1-5 You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right–you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; 

There are so many choices in life and time is an ever faithful reminder–it is always ticking. Life is like a quick moving train, rolling on and stopping for no one and under no circumstance. There are so many things I want to do, yet I don’t know how to make them happen for myself. I want to be an author, speaker, world traveler. I’d love to learn the craft of make-up & hair, become a stylist, and become a certified life coach. I want to finish my 4 year degree. I’d love to find the love of my life and raise an amazing family. I’d love to author several books and make the New York Times Best Sellers list. Where do I begin? Sometimes I feel like I’m constantly setting out on rabbit trails that all lead me back to the same path to where I am now, living the same life I lead right now. I’m still single. Still broke. Still in debt. Still without my degree. Still left figuring out where I am headed. Still trying to figure out what I want out of life. Still deciding what I want to be when I grow up. I know I should guard my confession and break old, ill-fitting mindsets–but for the sake of being honest and transparent I am telling the TRUTH. So many questions left exposed and unanswered. Here I am, yet again, writing about the unknown future. It’s a road block I keep bumping into. As I hit it I feel myself slump down in defeat. I sit with my back against the fence of the unknown future, unsure of what my next steps are.

Then I am reminded that there is a plan. There’s a P-L-A-N for my life and as long as I link up with and follow God, I won’t miss it. I just want to get there now. I want to start living that fascinating, amazing future now. I don’t want to sit with my back against the post wondering and wishing for all of eternity. Yet, the Word says to walk the line, to walk steadily the road revealed by God. Steadily is a pace that is slow and steady, yet sure. Surely I will arrive to the destination, but I am commanded to enjoy the road to the destination. Walk it out, Alicia, walk it out. So what do I do with the now? If I forever am longing for the future, I am missing out on the here and now. My life is quiet right now. I have few things that consume my time and attention. Shouldn’t I be enjoying this restful season while it is here? There will come a day where my life becomes far more busy and complicated and I am willing to bet I will miss these days–the days of resting in the pasture of wide open spaces of grace. One foot before the other, one step, two step, three step moving forward. My scenery may not be changing quickly enough for my liking, but it’s the path I’m on right now. So for right now, I’m walking on and keeping my head held high with dreams tucked in my heart. Big dreams, dreams I could never accomplish on my own. That’s how God meant for it to be. If we had all of our dreams come true the minute we believed them, there would be no need for God’s direction or help in our lives. We were meant to seek Him out and watch as our Father puts together the pieces of our lives as we walk along. Just as a woman is pregnant for nine months before giving birth to her child, so are we pregnant with dreams that must fully develop and mature before they come to pass. What are you pregnant with? What dreams do you carry in your heart? I’ve heard it said if you could accomplish them on your own, they are not dreams. Dreams are meant to be God-sized. They are meant to push you to just beyond your limits, which is where God steps in and helps you launch further out into the deep. Dream those dreams, the kind that are so big they scare you. You were meant for GREAT things. Don’t play it safe, don’t dream safe dreams. You were meant to live an extraordinary life, not a life of mediocrity. What’s the thrill in that? Make a list of things you dream to do and lay them before your Heavenly Father. It says in the Word that 

Romans 8:32 If He did not spare His own Son, but handed Him over on our account, then don’t you think that He will graciously give us all things with Him?

 

We serve a giving and gracious God who longs to give us more than what we could ever hope or imagine. Think on this thought: The future He has prepared for you is BEYOND your wildest dreams, your greatest expectations, and far beyond your imagination. WOW, think about that for a second. Think of something that would blow your mind. Can you imagine that God would like to come along and lead you to a life adventure, a fulfilled dream that TRUMPS every expectation or idea you could ever imagine? That’s the God we serve! So when you hit the roadblock of your unknown future, you don’t need to slump down in defeat and sit against the post of hope that’s been deferred. Your heart need not be sick. Dream with God. Write down your dreams. Write down your expectations. Allow God to take that list and demolish it with goodness and excellencies that far exceed your wildest dreams. The heart maker can take those desires in your heart of hearts and blow them up bigger than you could ever fathom. What is it you need? You’re Liberating King can meet every one of your needs. Nothing is impossible for God. Nothing is too far, too deep, too wide, beyond His reach. Lay it before Him and give Him rule and reign in that area. Watch what He will do with the pieces of your life.

Psalm 18:24

The Message (MSG)

20-24 God made my life complete
    when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I got my act together,
    he gave me a fresh start.
Now I’m alert to God’s ways;
    I don’t take God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works;
    I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
    and I’m watching my step.
God rewrote the text of my life
    when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

 

Wait, watch, and SEE what God will do.

xoxo Alicia Barkley

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