Digging for a Deeper Meaning…

A few days ago, I was reading an old Oprah magazine that focused on clearing out all the clutter in your life. I have to admit, clutter is an issue that I have myself. I like to hold onto everything. I like to think at some point it may come in handy; you just never know. But seriously..who am I fooling? One article in particular that caught my attention was an interview done with decorator guru Nate Berkus. In this Q& A Nate made a few good points  that really made me think about the things I own and more so why I own them.

The biggest point that Nate made was the fact that everything we own has a meaning, at some point or another. The key to getting rid of clutter is to ask yourself, how can something enhance your life? Most of the time, we own things just to own them, but they never really give our life anymore meaning than it had before. These are the things we need to let go. Why keep around the clutter that’s taking up space with no real genuine meaning to your life? After I read this, it made getting rid of some things a lot easier. I went through some things and really asked myself, why have I been holding onto this?

Nate also made a point about how sometimes getting rid of old things can feel like shedding a new skin and moving forward. A change in environment  can make a big difference in how you feel.Our surroundings can often dictate how we feel. What we surround ourselves with says a lot about who we are. If we surround ourselves with clutter, then it may leave us feeling burden down by the things around us. Sometimes if we aren’t careful clutter can take over your life and make things seem disorganized. Sometimes the things we try to hold on to, need to be let go in order for us to move forward onto better things. Who would’ve thought getting rid of old junk could potentially be thought of as a liberating act?

Clutter can become a burden..if you allow it to.

” I do [like beautiful things]. But even more than that, I like things that remind me of where I’ve been. Who I’ve loved. Who I love. And where I want to go.”  —-Nate Berkus “O Magazine” March 2011

When I began to go through some of my old things, this was the quote I kept in mind the most from the article I read. It really made me look at everything I owned in a different light. It’s not just about getting rid of old things you may or may not need anymore. It’s not just about being organized and making sure things are neat and tidy and in place. But it’s really about taking the time to  really evaluate the stuff we surround ourselves with and why. Knowing why you own something can make a difference in the way you view it, whether it’s really something worth holding onto, or letting go.

Eventually what I came to realize is that at the end of the day, it’s all just stuff.  It only has value because we assign the value to it. But in assigning this value, we should ask how it helps to enhance our lives for the better. Our environment and the things around us, helps to set the mood for everything else in our lives. The biggest conclusion I came to after reading the article is that we should be  more conscious of the things we surround ourself with and why, this way we don’t end up cluttering our lives with  meaningless things.

FAITH not Fear

Often there are things we fear in life. But the answer to fear is FAITH. Why fear things not in our control? God always has the map for your life in HIS hands. Ultimately life is about the struggles that we face, but the real test is how we overcome them.  What is it that helps us endure the hard times?

The answer to this should be FAITH. There is nothing to fear, knowing that God doesn’t lead you somewhere to leave you. What we should have faith in is  what God has put in us. Fear makes you forget that God put his will in us to do HIS work. We have to have faith in the will inside of us. But if we already know that troubles can’t be avoided then why fear it? Face it and have faith. Fear is a sign of immaturity that we don’t fully trust God. But his law is always perfect.

1John4:18 reminds us that there is no fear in God’s love. When you love God it brings about a security in your spirit knowing that everything he does is divinely planned for your life; even the troubles. But we must have more faith in the plan, even when it seems the odds say otherwise. Through our trials we build faith in the place of fear. God doesn’t want to see us fail, he’s always on our side. Why be busy scared, when God already knows what we need and has gone two steps ahead of us to prepare our way during the trials we face?

Sticks & Stones May Break my Bones but Words…..

How many times have we heard this saying growing up: sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never harm me.  Very typical cliche’ but  what does it really mean? When I was younger I would get picked on and I would use this cliche’ to make me feel better, but I never fully grasp the meaning until now.

Because writing is a gift, I truly look at words differently than the average person. Most of the time people don’t realize that words are simply words; at first. The power of words comes from within. We give words power and meaning. Words don’t have true meaning until someone actually interprets them and creates their own perception of what was said. Perception can be powerful.

Turns out, words can be harmful; if you allow them to be. How we perceive things is a choice in what we choose to believe. This came to me during  bible study when my pastor talked about how as Christians we can choose to be deceived even when we know the truth. If God tells us one thing, but then someone else comes along with something different then we should know that what the other person has said isn’t truth. God is the standard and he is the truth. But most of the time, because of the words and language it’s easier to choose to believe the lie because it sounds better. But it only sounds better because of how we perceive it. Sometimes what God tells us isn’t always what we want to hear.

I never understood the power of words until I looked back on my own life. When I was younger and people would pick on me, my feelings would be hurt because I valued the things people said to me. When you’re little you think everyone is your friend and that their opinions matter. And ultimately you just want to be accepted when you’re a little kid. But now I realize that you can’t value what everyone says to you, and you have to be careful who you speak to. Because of who is saying the words, we may give value to words that will ultimately harm our spirit if we aren’t careful. When you take words to be of importance they stick in your spirit and the last thing you want is for something someone said to disturb the peace in your spirit because you’re holding onto the words they said. (It’s things like this that can create strongholds in our lives, but that’s another blog in itself.)

Always remember, that words don’t have anymore power than what we give them. It’s all about our perception and what we choose to believe.  Think about how many lies the people tried to tell on Jesus in the Bible, all the mean things they said about him. He never allowed the words to have enough value to change who he was and his purpose for coming to do God’s will. This is the attitude we should take when faced with words. Words can be a lot of things and interpreted many ways, but at the end of the day it’s not the words of the world that make or break you.

Written Memories

God is showing me that language and perception are everything. Since I was in 5th grade, I’ve always kept a journal. I haven’t stopped writing since then. Most people will keep journals as a way to vent and get their emotions out. But how many of us that have kept journals, actually go back and read the old things we have written?  This is why I keep a journal.

Recently I discovered, that writing for me is a gift from God. Before I “figured” it was a gift, but now I know for certain. When I’m not in sync with God, neither is my writing. It simply isn’t the same. It’s a gift that can only be God inspired. But anyways, because it’s a gift, journaling for me has become something I look at in a completely different light.

I began to look back at some of my old journal entries from a year ago and I reread some of  the things I had written. I was amazed, because it showed where my mindset was at the time.  The langauge I used then is nothing like the language I use now. And the focus of what I write about has changed. Last year most of my journal entries focused on me and my troubles with letting go one particular guy.  I was searching for myself in all the wrong places and things. Reading my entries I could tell I felt defeated and angry, I was very broken at the time. Very hurt. Now when I look back, I see that God brought me through that time and I’m a better person for it. But it was crazy to look back at where I was. I had a limited perception of things, I couldn’t see past my pain and hurt when I would go through things.

Since then, my journal entries now focus more on my relationship with God and trying to stay closer to him so that I can stay focus on his purpose for my life. My mindset now is way more focused than before. I like looking back and seeing the growth and the person I was and the person I have become since then. I don’t just write my memories down for nothing. My perception of the things now isn’t so limited. God is stretching my mind to see things in a whole new light. How you see things is how you will respond to them.

The way you speak, the langauge you use it key in your perception and beliefs. If you use language that is discouraging then that’s how you begin to perceive the situation and things around you. But if you choose to use language that is uplifting and inspiring, then that’s also how you will perceive the things around you as well. The bible says that the power of life and death is in the tongue and now more than ever, I truly believe this for myself.  Words are more powerful than people think.

Sacred Treasures

Beach sand between my toes

calm waters crawl onto the shore.

My soul bathes in the purest light of the sun

illuminating the beautiful thoughts that lie within.

Love lies in the tip of your fingers

caressing my skin.

Finger to finger.

cheek to cheek.

eyes that read the secrets of my spirit.

Palm to palm

nose to nose

the scent of eternal bliss.

The forbidden taste of passion on my lips.

Seeking the treasures of my soul

baring all that is precious.

Vulnerable and exposed.

Lost in the infinite sea of love

that surrounds us on our own island

where our footprints

have captured the purest moments in time

as reminders of the treasured memories we created

and the sacred covenant we’ve kept

imprinted in our hearts to never be forgotten.

  True love always leaves behind its mark

(c) Alexandra McClain 7/8/2011

Driven: “Live the Life you Love & Love the Life you Live”

Today I was wondering to myself about the things of my future. And in my future I know that God has great things in store for my life. However, I got to wondering about these great things and I realize that “great things” require an even “greater drive.” And what’s important is that this drive I have must be God inspired, otherwise it won’t last long.

I noticed that I often has this flaw where I’ll set out to do something I think will be inspiring, but along the way my drive seems to decrease. I have the tendency to want to conquer the world in a day at times. The problem is that I naturally have a drive, most people do. But I’m not always fully driven by God. My pastor has said it’s like when God gives you a “piece” of a plan and then you take off without getting the FULL instructions. Only God can give us a drive that’s actually sustainable even when times get rough. And the drive isn’t just in order to go after your dreams or aspirations, but the drive is to increase the zeal in order to keep him first in everything you do.

The saying goes to “Live the life you love and to love the life you live” Without God this saying would not even be possible. Because in order to do this successfully you have to allow him to guide you, God must be the thing that drives you. If you’re like me and you wonder, why some people have “it” and some people don’t; check their source of inspiration. When you truly put God first he will inspire you in ways you couldn’t even imagine. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen in my own writing. Without him I wouldn’t have the drive I have tow write.  Ultimately His inspiration is the gift that should drive us all to do something with the life he has given us.