Be the light on a hill

Message: 

“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!” (Matthew 5:14-16) 

It is your time to shine. 

The Perfectionist.

“Hi, my name is Amanda and I am a perfectionist”.

It is a weakness that has stopped me from pursuing much of what God is calling me to.

This blog is one piece of that puzzle.

I know the Lord has been speaking to me about stepping out, and yet for quite some time now I have continued to hold back.

I guess that’s what happens when you blur the lines of excellence and perfectionism. I am starting to see that there is a very fine line between the two.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to do things with excellence, God is all for it; but as I look in the mirror and face the truth of what has immobilised me, I can admit that the perfectionist in me was actually in disagreement with God.

I didn’t choose this!

It’s clear now that I was refusing to step out in faith and obedience. It’s not that I don’t want to act in faith or obey the Lord, its because well, I care way too much about what others would think if things don’t turn out perfectly.

He remains so patient and loving.

For too long I have strived for perfection, when Jesus is simply saying, “give me the weight and fear of trying to measure up, and just be who I have made you to be”.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9).

I may think that I am unqualified to do what He is calling me to; but it is God who qualifies the called. It’s His final say, not mine or anyone else’s.

So, as I let go of the unhealthy relationship I have had with perfectionism and seek the Lord for the ability and anointing to achieve what he is calling me to, I declare today that no longer will I hold back, it’s time to take that leap!

He’s the expert in “cliff-catching” anyway, right?

 

Self Portrait: Day 21 // 4:45pm

We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

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I have struggled with low self-esteem over the years, and at times it still shows up in certain areas of my personhood.

Whenever I find that I am getting a bit too hard on myself and putting myself down or doubting who God says I am, I find that coming to the word is a great help and boost for me. As I turn through the pages, God breathes his life and truth over me and I am reminded who I really am…that I matter. That I have a role to play in this life, and it is important.

Poetry in motion.

Ephesians 2 tells us we are God’s masterpiece. This means that our abilities, talents, personalities, experiences and heart are needed… you are wanted! You have value and worth!! It also means that we should listen and accept what God has to say about us first and foremost.

Isn’t it funny how all the good stuff we know to be true can be instantly erased when someone says just one negative thing about us? If we allow it to, this negativity can eat away at us until we start to believe the lies and then eventually, live out the lie.

This is why it is so important to know who you are, and who’s you are. You must know that you have a purpose to play, and it is significant.

As Oscar Wilde so poignantly puts it –

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”

*What role do you have in your family, church, workplace and life? How are you going to fulfil your role? What are you doing to lift your self-esteem?

Please share in the conversation, I would love to hear your thoughts, advice and experiences on this topic.

Amanda x

Self Portrait: Day 20 // 8:45pm

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Excuses, excuses!

I went into this personal photography project with three main goals:

  • To challenge myself creatively
  • To push the boundaries of my photography
  • To get outside of my comfort zone

And after officially hitting ninety-seven days into my self-portrait project I can’t help but feel pretty disappointed at the fact that I have not stuck with it, consistently.

**Sigh.

I am so far behind in reaching my goal; that in all honesty a part of me thinks it might be best to just call it a day.

The harsh truth is that the only thing stopping me from achieving my goal right now…is me.

And like many occasions before, I have gone into something with the greatest of intentions but the execution of it is where I often stumble.

Why is that?

Quite simply, it’s because I have given myself excuse after excuse as to why I shouldn’t just get off my butt and just do it!

  • My hair looks bad today
  • I’m too tired
  • It’s too cold outside
  • I’m not good enough to come up with a photo worth posting
  • No one even cares if I post another photo again or not anyway

The list could go on, but I won’t bore you.

My point.

I have allowed excuses and insecurities to overshadow my ability to achieve.

(With perhaps a dash of laziness in there too).

The very reason I started this project in the first place has turned out to be the same reason as to why I want to quit!

I have been my own worst enemy.

So, with this revelation I could either continue to let this same defeatists attitude win like it has so many times before.

OR.

Perhaps this time I can do something different?

Yep.

I think I like the sound of the latter.

And what better time to start then now?!

Ok, so I may not have posted over ninety photos of myself like I should have by this stage of the project, but if I really look at it from the other side; the process so far has in-fact challenged me on more levels than I could have ever expected – especially on a personal and spiritual level!

“God, you really do surprise me with the ways in which you speak to me and transform my inner most parts”

And yes, my photography skills have been stretched. I have been using new techniques and camera functions I didn’t know existed; and the imagery I am producing allows me to be creative in a way that expresses who I am as a person and artist.

I am free to be me.

And you know what?

Now that I really think about it – I have actually gone outside my comfort zone!

I’ve had people stare at me as they pass me by on the street. It isn’t every day you see a random person standing with a camera and a tripod striking a pose!

Surely they must think I am super into myself if I am ‘brave’ enough to photograph myself in public?

I care way too much about what others think of me.

Since doing this project – I seem to care less.

And yes, I am photographing elements of myself that are usually kept private.

I am made vulnerable by putting my life and myself on display for anyone and everyone to see.

But that’s ok.

Because today…

I am one step closer to reaching my goal.

And that is a heck of a lot closer than I was yesterday.

Do you struggle with certain insecurities that stop you from achieving your goals and desires? Perhaps you are like me and you find yourself making excuse after excuse?

I encourage you to try writing out a list similar to what I did, of five common excuses or insecurities that have you convinced that you can’t achieve something you have desired to do; then taking that list, reverse it with reasons why you can!

Perhaps if you are open enough you can share this list or your experiences too? Let’s share in the conversation.

Amanda x

Take a Break

With the busyness of life, taking time for solitary and a recharging of the batteries is crucial for my soul, my relationship and in all honesty – for my sanity!

My husband and I run two full time businesses so time away from our hectic life is a rarity, but is something we purposely make time for even if only once or twice a year. It’s something I believe we should all try to fit into our lives.

Time for me.

Time for you.

Time for us.

We should all take the opportunity to take “short breaks” from the routine and mundane of every day life.

Whatever way, shape or form we choose to do it.

It’s amazing how your mindset and perspective can be changed and refreshed when you put yourself in a new and unfamiliar environment and do things that make your heart and spirit come alive.

Ok, so not everyone is in a position to go away for a long weekend and a short break seems impossible for many. But think of it this way…

Perhaps your break looks like taking an hour or two out of your week or month to do something that you enjoy?

If you are married it most certainly must be something you should be making time for as a couple.

I have only been married six months and I already know how important it is for us to take the time to just appreciate, love and indulge in each other’s company and remember why we decided to do life together in the first place.

Taking a step back from daily life can really help you appreciate those around you; to appreciate those who mean the most to you.

When was the last time you had a date night with your husband or wife? A night out without the kids?

How about some quality one on one time with your children?

Father and daughter. Mother and Son.

Mother and daughter. Father and Son.

And don’t forget yourself…

Taking some time to connect with God, nature and the beauty on your very back doorstep and to just take in the wonderful and most lovely creation that God has given us; this can be one of the best medicines for stress, worry and anxiety.

I know it has been for me.

It truly is in the small details – in the surrender, that our greatest rest comes.

It’s in the simple things where a culture of gratitude is birthed.

So why not give yourself permission for a break?

You deserve it!

{Here’s what a short break looked like for us recently on a trip to Victoria}

Photos taken by my ever talented husband JP and yours truly (me)….

Blessings! xox

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Stop

Photo credit John Puah

The busyness of life is one of the greatest causes of amnesia, for busyness has us forgetting what truly matters.

Yes we need to pay the bills, yes we have responsibilities and people who rely on us, and of course we need to eat. But sometimes we just need to. Stop.

In the race of life how many of us truly take the time to be still? It may take just as much, if not more commitment then anything you are putting your time and effort into today. Stop.

Be present in His presence.

And see just how much more you get done.


Photo credit: @_jp / John Puah

I’ll Be Seeing You

Some may describe you as smart, kind, funny, and the life of the party; all who know you will remember your infectious smile and how much you savoured a glass (or two) of red wine. Everything I love and hold dear about you can be described in just one word, because to me – you are…Pop. And that is how you shall stay in my heart, for always.

JP & Amanda-387JP & Amanda-599JP & Amanda-796

When I saw my Grandfather for the very last time after his passing only a couple of weeks ago, I was brought back to a memory when I was just a young girl of maybe six or seven. It was a unique experience because not only was I visualising the memory and watching it like a movie in my mind; but I could almost taste, smell, hear and touch everything about the moment like it was happening all over again.

Of all the memories I could possibly think up of my three decades of knowing my Pop, the one thing I was thinking of in that very second of goodbye; was a seemingly simple memory of him joking around with my brother’s and I while making us breakfast when we visited he and my late Nanna at their house in Canberra, all those years ago.

Why this particular memory?

What I realised was that despite all the great memories I have of my Pop, the very moment in time that I have held dearest with him, was the time spent together in what is an otherwise overlooked daily scenario. I mean, it was a breakfast I had over twenty years ago and yet this particular memory holds for me, the most cherished times with my Pop.

How often do we take for granted those seemingly simple moments shared with those we love? I know I do this all the time.

I have been reminded through loss, that my family and the relationships I hold dear (including my relationship with God) are more important to me than anything else. No amount of money, success or treasures of the earth could replace the relationships in my life.

My relationships may very well be the fundamental reason as to why I am here; and could hold the key to what it is I am here to do.

Like that simple breakfast shared with my Pop some twenty years ago, it’s in these humble yet profound moments that I have come to understand and appreciate what it means to be cared for and loved.

And that’s all any of us want in life: To be loved, appreciated, and accepted.

For if we are without love, we have nothing.

I am going to cherish and hold onto every second I have with those closest to me like it was our last. Because the truth is, we don’t know how much time we have left with each other?

Life as we know it is but a shadow.

Treasure the ones you love and tell those close to you how you feel about them and what they mean to you often, because you may never have another chance to say it again.

I am taking the glass half full approach from this experience. I will remember to appreciate the people in my life and love them even deeper.

I will love God with a wholehearted and distinct devotion – with all I am and all I have within me. If I can do this, then I know I can also love others with authenticity.

I will work at having a greater ability to love others in the times when it is hardest to love.

To love the un-loved.

How easy it is to discount the significance of our relationships.

Please don’t let anything come between you and those you love (or love to hate) because it could very well be the difference between a last good bye and an “I’ll be seeing you”.

This is dedicated to Bruce Charles Owen (23.5.33 – 5.1.15) who meant very much to so many.

You will be sadly missed, but never forgotten.

 I’ll be seeing you, Pop.

 

My No-Year Resolutions

I don’t do new-year resolutions. It’s not that I have anything against the idea, I just figure to save the shame and frustration later; it’s much easier to eliminate any pressure on one’s self from the get go.

With the goodbye of one year and the hello to a new year: I like to reflect.

As I reflect on the year that was 2014- I can safely say it was one of the greatest years of my life to date. It really was a most wonderful year and a small part of me feels undeserving to have all the blessings I have been given! I say this with complete humbleness. I am oh so grateful for what I do have!

So thankful.

Not only did I become wife to a wonderful man, but I also fulfilled one of my greatest dreams and completed my first year in business full time, (and I am not stopping at that). I got to see family members and old friends that I haven’t seen for a long, long time. I moved into a beautiful new home with my husband and furry son, Casper; and I got to travel to some of the most stunning destinations most of us would only dream of visiting.

And of course, I finally started this blog!

On the flip side, I will admit that there were also some less than perfect experiences that presented themselves to me this year.

Were there some not so great times of twenty fourteen?

Absolutely.

You see, unlike my Facebook or Instagram account may signify; there were also a number of challenges that in hindsight were actually some of the most important lessons I had to learn and although not pretty or perhaps easy at the time, have certainly helped me become bolder about tackling all that this new year may bring.

These challenges came in the form of some of the greatest financial pressures of my adulthood, failed business decisions, unjust defamation of my character and business, and the recent news that a close family member has cancer and only weeks to live. Just to name a few.

And yet…

I will begin 2015 with an uncanny peace that can only come from the knowledge that I serve and am loved by a great God and that my so called problems are nothing in comparison to the wonderful things that are yet to come.

Yes, I will be entering 2015 with an air of acceptance that I may not have it all together, just yet.

And that is completely ok.

Happy New Year!

Amanda xox

The First Step

The first step is always the hardest but once you take it, you will find the next step is not so impossible. Before you know it you are making strides. 

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It has taken me several years of procrastination but I have done it.

I have made that first step. Yes, I am here! I have a BLOG!! An “official” place to off-load my mind chatter. Now before you go and spill all, hold on just a second…do you really want to go down this road, Amanda? Couldn’t you just keep a journal instead and ramble away like you have done before? Why start a blog and reveal all your inner thoughts and have it splashed over the internet for anyone and everyone to see!?

These are the thoughts that have played in my mind any time I have attempted to write a blog post. Quite frankly I am sick of the same dialogue running around in my head. With a new year just around the corner, what better time then now to start something fresh!

I love the idea of keeping a journal, but the reality is I have never been able to consistently write in mine. I have had bouts in which I keep regular entries for a period of a week here or a month there. More often then not, the next time I even open the pages again; my last entry can end up being several years back! A journal can be a great outlet, and in the past has been for me. I will probably continue keeping one and write in it… every other year.

I’m convinced. There’s something adventurous, risky and exciting about sharing some of your inner most thoughts to complete strangers (and possibly a few friends and family along the way too). To intentionally share your experiences and patterns of thought – that deep and personal stuff, what a thrill! I am so excited about the prospect that maybe, just maybe my experiences or lessons learnt could help or encourage another person or two. It lifts me. Heck, it gives my life a whole new meaning!

In time, I hope this blog will be more than a virtual journal for me to get things off my chest and clear out some of the “noise” in my head. Hopefully one day I will have the opportunity to share with others who I really am and what I am learning as I go about this journey of life. Who knows? Maybe I can create something that will change lives – to encourage, support and influence others to fight for everything they were put on this earth to be and help find ways to establish all they were purposed to do.

As a bonus I hope that this will be a way in which I can grow and transform as a person. To find the purposed and called me.

I have a really good feeling about this!!

Yep, I may just take that next step and see where it leads me…

The White Butterfly (aka Amanda) xox

PS: Those legs you see in the photo above are of my husband and I at our recent wedding. Hey, that could be a good post to put up yes? Photo by John Benavente http://www.johnbenavente.com.au