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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If you’re anything like me, you are completely human. I don’t know about you, but I can be anxious about the future. I’m sitting here spinning my wheels, yet again, in anxiety about the future and this potential move to Seattle. Thoughts run through my head a little something like this… “How am I going to get my furniture half way across the country? I can’t afford to rent a UHaul!!” “How am I going to find NORMAL roommates in Seattle?! How am I ever going to find the perfect living situation/house while living in Illinois?!” “What if that dream job never opens up, should I be looking for a job right now?” “How am I ever going to afford a place in Seattle, one of THE most expensive areas in the Nation?!” You get the idea.

As soon as God began speaking about Seattle my heart has been a bundle of nerves, fluttering at all the seeming impossibilities. You want me to move there, from here? It’s like I’m looking for a needle in a haystack with 2,200+ miles in between me and my future. This future is so far off, yet so close I can taste it. I want to just curl up in a ball and huddle up under my covers until the monsters are out of my closet, if you know what I mean! How am I going to live without my family at the comfort of my backyard? How am I going to find a better paying job to afford the price of living over there? What about my finances? How will I ever get past this season of frustration? The thoughts spiral endlessly. Have you been there? It’s painful and almost unbearable. The brink of transition is quite possibly the most uncomfortable place to be. Yet, through it all, I hear the Lord speaking…

I was reading in my Bible today and stumbled across this passage

2 Corinthians 2:12ish MSG

“When I arrived in Troas to proclaim the Message of the Messiah, I found the place wide open. God had opened the door, all I had to do was walk through it.

Could it really be that simple? Could the path for my future really be that easy? It’s funny how our circumstances can scare us into silence and stun us to stand still. I want to follow the path that God has for me, but I’m completely afraid. What if I fail? What if I fall down? Who will catch me? I’m reminded again of Rebekah Lyons book title “Freefall to Fly.” Maybe God is calling me out like He called out Abraham.

Genesis 12:1-3 One day, the Eternal One called out to Abram.

Eternal One: Abram, get up and go! Leave your country. Leave your relatives and your father’s home, and travel to the land I will show you.[a] Don’t worryI will guide you thereI have plans to make a great people from your descendants. And I am going to put a special blessing on you and cause your reputation to grow so that you will become a blessing and example to othersI will also bless those who bless you and further you in your journey, and I’ll trip up those who try to trip you along the way.Through your descendants, all of the families of the earth will find their blessing in you.[b]

Hebrews 11:8 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.

Sometimes I feel like I don’t know where I’m going or why. It just doesn’t make sense right now. Could it be that God is leading me out for a special purpose? Honestly, I have felt as if this last season I have been in has been a wilderness season, a dry season. It’s been a testing and trying time that’s broken me down and built me up– yet, as painful as it has been, I’d do it over again for the purpose it’s served in my life. Lately, I have felt the tension of transition as my life is being pulled back, preparing to be launched forward. I can sense the anticipation of take-off as I’m being taxied down the runway, but how long before the engine is revved in final preparation? It’s that waiting and wondering that trips me up. I’m sitting in the plane, ticket tucked neatly away, buckled and waiting. I’m wondering what step of the journey I am in as I listen to each sound of the engine. Are we getting closer? Is it time yet? It’s certainly the dawning of a new season which is always frightening yet thrilling. Yet transition is the period where you find yourself in a season that is ending,  but are still in the midst of watching the new season unfold. Why is change so unsettling? It’s really the only thing that is unchanging. Never the less, as you have no control once the plane doors are closed, so is life and the changing of seasons beyond our control. So what do you do when you find yourself in this situation? You have a few options. You can panic and fight against the forces that be–or you can sit back and enjoy the flight. Sometimes you just need to trust the process. There is always a reason for whatever it is you are going through. We may not always see it right away, but one day it will all make sense.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:12-13

12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Trusting in God doesn’t mean taking control. It’s honestly the opposite. Giving control over to God doesn’t mean we sit down on our hands in defeat. It isn’t walking ahead either. As I was reading today, God reminded me that my journey is like one perpetual parade. Let me explain. In 2 Corinthians 2:14 it says:

“In the Messiah, In Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade.”

I started to think about a parade. The members in a parade have their assigned places. They stand there in procession, waiting for room to move. The only direction they proceed is forward. A parade doesn’t have many twists and turns and everyone is headed in the same forward moving direction. If the parade moves to the left, everyone in the parade moves left. I thought about that for a moment and how that might possibly apply to my life. If only I move forward as He leads, as He speaks, how simple it would be. I’m realizing more and more that it’s OKAY for me not to be in complete control of every next step, but that it’s only my responsibility to move forward at His command. It really makes things simple if I keep two things in mind. ONE– If God wills it, He will open the door, make the way plain, and all I have to do is walk through the door. TWO–Allow God to lead and follow. It’s so simple when I put it into that perspective. So the anxious concerns and questions in my mind can be reduced to a few simple truths. IF God wills for me to move to Seattle, He is going to open a wide door, meet and answer every concern with a solution, and will just ask that I walk through the door in full faith that His plan is GOOD. He will meet every one of my needs, because God is my provider. Through it all, He will lead me from place to place in one PERPETUAL (ongoing, non-stop, fluid) parade.

Ahhhhhh, I can breathe again… I can rest assured that He has it all under control. And I don’t have to move until He speaks. So for right now, I will just enjoy the ride.

xoxo Alicia Barkley

Trusting The Process…

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