This weeks devotional is all about intimacy. Watch the video above to talk through how to seek intimacy with Christ in your everyday. Our world has changed significantly this week. And the timing of this video is not lost on me. God is very kind and gracious.
In today’s video, I chat about my friend Jodie McCarthy who is publishing a short podcast each day across Easter, starting Holy Thursday and Finishing Easter Monday. To get an audio message filled with poetry and life each day sign up here: EASTER PODCAST
Even in seasons, when the road does not look clear. Moments where we see dimly and we don’t understand what is happening.
Reply to this blog in the comments to let me know how you are going?
One way I have been serving my community here online is by showing up each weekday on zoom to hold space and encourage anyone who needs connection. Tomorrow I launch a free online retreat for 5 days and you are invited.
NOW: 5-day creative online retreat on zoom starts tomorrow at 9.30 am Perth time.
Each day this week I have been hosting a zoom call to encourage, pray and support anyone in the community. This week we are working through Dear Creative Self come and join the free mentoring group here.
This weeks devotional is all about wisdom. Watch the video below to talk through how to seek clarity in your everyday. Our world has changed significantly this week. And the timing of this video is not lost on me. God is very kind and gracious.
Even in seasons, when the road does not look clear. Moments where we see dimly and we don’t understand what is happening.
Reply to this email to let me know how you are going?
Fear is rampant and Amanda chats about this present reality.
I have included some social media images for you below if you want to share them and each day this coming week, I am hosting live mentoring calls with women of influence here.
This morning I stood in front of the television deciding what to put on as the background to our morning. We were all ready for our day with an hour to spare. I wanted to check in on the news. Ready to hear the latest stats, and what is happening around the world. My worried heart wanted to sit and watch the live streams uninterrupted, my fear wanted to jump into the front seat of my car and take the wheel.
However, sitting at my feet were my little children absorbing everything that echoed through our house. Then something really simple happened, I chose a playlist of Disney tunes over the news. A very simple switch but something really profound awakened in my household. Hope peaked around the corner from our corridor and told fear to go away.
You would think that listening to a Disney soundtrack would be an act of avoidance, but the funny thing is this; I have never watched a film from Disney that has not held within it a story of courage, resilience and hope. Every storyline teaches our next generation about showing up and being seen in the midst of adversity and loss.
The first song belted through my living room from Frozen, singing the lyrics…
“The snow glows white on the mountain tonight Not a footprint to be seen A kingdom of isolation And it looks like I’m the queen the wind is howling like this swirling storm inside Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried Don’t let them in, don’t let them see Be the good girl you always have to be Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know Well, now they knowLet it go, let it go”
Let it go.
The next song flicked onto our screens from Moana with these words…
“I know a girl from an island She stands apart from the crowd She loves the sea and her people She makes her whole family proud Sometimes the world seems against you The journey may leave a scar But scars can heal and reveal just Where you are The people you love will change you The things you have learned will guide you And nothing on earth can silence The quiet voice still inside you”
I am Moana.
From Beauty and the Beast…
“There’s been a change in me A kind of moving on Though what I used to be I still depend upon For now, I realize That good can come from bad That may not make me wise But oh it makes me glad”
Change in Me.
The power of story to transport us to a place of hope and light is so beautiful. I am choosing to focus on words that build life into my family in this season, over ones of doom and destruction.
Last weekend as a family we watched the latest Disney/ Pixar release of Onward. And the power of entering an adventure of a lifetime and leaning into the unknown is not lost on me in this season.
In the midst of everything that is happening, my dear readers, I am NOT suggesting you stop listening to our government, or leaders to seek out the information that you need in this season of the world. But I am suggesting that…
We are careful about what information we allow our kids to overhear. Creating opportunity for these emotions and fears to be unpacked in a way that they understand. Also, allow opportunities for them to seek out safety and understanding.
Don’t believe everything you read or hear? Make sure you use critical thinking and wisdom in the application of what is happening for your family.
Counterbalance the hysteria and worry, with moments of hope, inspiration and resilience. As we watch movies with our families, remind them what it is like to live with courage. The human capacity to rise in the tide of love and hope is very powerful.
My week four video for this Seek Devotional is all about Seeking Wisdom and the timing of this message couldn’t be any more profound to me. You can start your devotional today, through the videos available at the link above.
The story of “Little Women” has been captivating audiences for nearly 150 years but sitting in a local cinema this week, I was compelled to write my story more than ever before. This film is full of motivation for parenting spirited and creative children. It is full of feminist plotlines that provoke the power of a united sisterhood but I sat there confounded by the themes in the plotline for writing blocks, my writing community, telling the truth and finding my voice with emblazoned clarity. If I was really honest, the feeling that was provoked was a roar.
“Little Women” is about the trials and struggles of four sisters in Massachusettes and their coming of age through friendship, creativity and relationships. It has continued to entice the imagination of many for generations. It is a story about telling your own story and more than ever I think our society needs communicators who are telling the truth with authenticity and humility.
FIVE INSPIRATIONS FROM LITTLE WOMEN FOR STORYTELLERS IN 2020
Stop believing others when they say writing is a hobby not a career
In the first few minutes of the movie, Jo March, the oldest sister of a raucous bunch of creative sisters, eyeballs an editor and tells him why he should pay for her work.
Press pause here.
We currently live in an age of more content creation than ever before. This fodder that is produced daily, by millions of people on the internet becomes an entertainment mechanism for thousands; why should we not get paid for our work and time? I often walk the fine line of this conundrum. We give away so much of our energy and intellectual property for free. And often it is expected that we will give our time, our ideas and our intellectual property away because it is often seen as a consumable. The thing that makes me mad however is we wouldn’t even think twice about paying for a coffee or eating a meal at a cafe, but we get all weird about paying someone for their craft, intellectual property and hard work.
Yes, you could find a free copy of that resource you are looking for on Pinterest, but should you pay the creator for their time and effort?
Yes, you could listen to that course online for free through a podcast, but did you get value and information, with practical life-changing principles from that weighty piece of content?
I think the fine line that we walk is “how much we are giving away for freeonline” and where the boundaries are in regards to our time given versus output. If we as a society are not valuing the arts and their contribution to the future of our world, we are losing the potency of the prophetic nature of storytelling and how it impacts the coming generations.
Will this era of free content, be found to water down the pursuits of our voice and passion to discover insight and revelation for the future?
Recently I was sitting in a writers conference and the speaker said something that irritated me greatly. He said, “Stop thinking that your writing needs to make you money and don’t give up your day job”. I understand the context of these comments and I have read Elizabeth Gilberts “Big Magic” and how we can ruin the purity of our creative pursuits, by trying to make money from them. But I disagree. I wholeheartedly disagree. (Said with the tone of Jo March eyebrows raised alongside)
I think it is time for our culture to pay our artists once again for what they contribute to society. I think it is also time for us artists to stop believing we need to be starving to make a difference in the world. Writing is not just a career it is a life’s calling and we can seek abundance in this area of our lives.
“Women have minds and souls as well as just hearts, and they’ve got ambition and talent as well as just beauty. And I’m sick of people saying that love is all a woman is fit for.”
Stop apologising for being different
Watching the creative pursuits of five different women across a movie is beautiful awakening of the importance of allowing one another to be different. Marmee raised her children with fierce independence to the tone and experience of their own stories. Watching her own grapple with society and her role within in it, drew me into a retrospective place of the culture we create within our homes. Jo March, threw herself across the screen asking us to understand the complexity of her emotions in a society that gave women no choice but to exist in the background. Her sister Meg is happily married, though to a man who can’t afford to buy her pretty things; another sister, Amy, learns to paint in Paris while attempting to secure herself a rich husband. Beth is the only March girl who’s managed to avoid getting swept up in marriage madness, by virtue of her weakened heart.
How often in families do we live under the shame of comparison?
And today, we now add into it the pressure of Social Media and seeing the unveiling of one another’s lives in real-time, the pervading presence of competition is everywhere, even when we try desperately to fight against it.
Recently, I have realised as an author, how much I apologise for being different. I don’t want to swim against the tide. I don’t want to be that person that people are laughing at behind Instagram messages. Yet to live true to our calling and voice, we need to be compelled to walk our own paths.
Jo March didn’t just walk freely in her voice, she revelled in her difference. As storytellers this year, lean into your story and the point of view that is filtered by your own experience more than ever. This year, I have pulled right back on who I am following on Social Media because once again, I want to find my own expressions, ideas and voice, rather than just reproducing what other people have already said.
“Just because my dreams are different than yours, it doesn’t mean they’re unimportant.”
Stop allowing people to steal your creative motivation through emotions
The March household was overflowing with teenage, creative emotions. I have come to learn that emotions cannot be cleared by telling ourselves that we need to stop feeling what we are feeling. The highs and lows of emotional regulation as a creative can be crippling. I have been learning that writing is an emotional pursuit, but I can’t let my emotions rule my creativity.
When we are pursuing a career in writing, we want to bring our story with emotion, but we need to write despite them. A clinical psychologist recently taught me “Amanda you cannot move an emotion by telling that emotion to go away. That is why so often we suppress emotions. Because we have been told they are bad. The only way you can move an emotion is with another emotion.”
That sentence has changed my life. We can only move an emotion with another emotion. Often emotions surface in my creative daily life in response to other people. I get angry, I get sad, I feel frustrated and then my writing is out of the window. I’m so focused on trying to shift that emotion and often the way I do this is by telling myself to stop feeling. Next time you feel an emotion, especially around your voice, perspective and artistic pursuit, listen to the way you are speaking to yourself. This is why I have adored being a part of this mentoring community this year.
There is so much shame attached to the emotions we are feeling, but as creatives emotions are indicators that can point us towards more revelation. If we allow ourselves to feel what has been provoked and then we empower that emotion towards creativity, the result is profound.
Stop allowing other people to steal your creative motivation with emotions. Dig deep into what your story is telling you and find another emotion to shift its impact. The greatest growth I had in this area of my life last year was this retreat in Bali. It was life-changing. in this area of emotional resilience and telling my story.
“I’m angry nearly every day of my life.”
Stop rejecting feedback from those who actually believe in your voice
Enter lovely German Professor Bhaer. This scene from “Little Women” stole my heart.
Imagine this, Jo has just returned from meeting with an editor (ie- GIVE ME ALL THE CHOCOLATE) and then she hands over her manuscript to this man she has just met. (ie- BEGGING HIM TO TELL HER SHE IS AMAZING). This professor had no idea who was standing in front of him. Not just any girl — Jo March, a strong-willed, independent-minded aspiring writer who chafed at the restrictions of her time. He offered her feedback, with kindness and humility and she completely tore him to shreds.
The thing is this…
We all need feedback. There are defence mechanisms that arise in each of us when we present our work with vulnerability to someone else. Working with an editor is one of the most powerful places of collaboration and growth. We need, however, to find a way to take the criticism with a grain of salt and to grow.
To mature this year in the way that we write stories, we need to open ourselves to the opinions of people who are interested in our growth and allow feedback to bring strength. Ask for feedback. Seek out ways that you can grow as a communicator. Look back on your writing and see where there is weakness for insight.
Rather than taking feedback personally, why not allow it to make you even hungrier for the pursuit of communicating with excellence and skill. As I look back over 2020, I want to see growth in my capacity to tell stories and communicate insight, rather than see pretty pictures that match on an Instagram feed.
“I like good, strong words that mean something.”
Stop making the importance of writing in your world smaller, to make others feel less intimidated
And lastly, but not the least, stop giving your time to other things instead of writing. When we share our blogs online, when we send out emails out to our followers with insight and friendship across words, let’s together make a pact to stop making the importance of writing in our worlds smaller, to make others feel less intimidated.
I love how Jo March, surrendered to the art of communication. She was all in. She carried her notebook across fields, she read to her sister’s on the beach, she stayed up all night writing plays and then invited her friends into secret societies. She was not ashamed of her passion, in any way, shape or form. And as she stood watching her book being pressed at the end of the film, she relished in the pursuit of being lost in the world of words.
In 2020, what if we together stopped playing small and surrendered to the beauty of the thoughts that keep us awake at night?
What if we wrote with passion like we only had one day left to write everything that is swirling in our hearts?
What if we stopped looking for acknowledgement from the crowd and seek out those who are needing our story?
“Writing doesn’t confer importance, it reflects it.”
I’m ready to watch this movie again and surrender to all its lessons held within. Together let’s write hard and encourage one another towards finding our voice.
The church bells of New Norcia are ringing as I write. A calling to prayer and reflection that herald upon the hour. I’m fresh from a year that has drawn out many hidden places, and the bookmark of this quarterly retreat has been a secure anchor point in a year of transition.
As we drove today through the shadowing wheat fields, I found words falling out of my heart as we spoke with vulnerability. I said to my writer companion;
“I’m just not sure anymore, that we can have it all.”
If you have spent any time with me on these kinds of retreats across the years, I would have whole-heartedly told you “You can do it, you can have it all.”
“What are you dreaming about?”
“What idea is in your hand and heart?”
“Do it, do it, you can have it all, destiny is awaiting the step you are stumbling to take.”
But if I was frank with you today, I am just not sure anymore. Our online guru’s and therapists in disguise have promised so much from this age of freedom and truth-telling. We have stepped out in faith and become the people that our filters have asked us to be.
Is that the true mark of wisdom, however?
What does wisdom look like as He searches across our hearts and motivations?
Wisdom is a person and also rhythm.
Wisdom is a point of view and perspective.
Wisdom is an anchoring point in a sea of change.
Wisdom takes note of every part of the story, not just the one we are telling ourselves.
The beginning of wisdom is this:
Get wisdom. Though it cost all that you have, get understanding
Proverbs 4: 7
Proverbs 18: 15 says it this way
The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, the ears of the wise seek it out.
We are in an era of more knowledge and communication than ever before. We have access to so much information but is that translating into applied wisdom.
Are we changing?
Are we growing?
Are we maturing in wisdom?
Each year as Christmas comes around the corner; I take the time to retreat and reflect on what God is saying in the season for me personally and my family. I have asked myself the same set of questions for sixteen years.
Across this time, I have dreamed, and I have failed. I have ended friendships, and new ones have begun. I have become a Mother, and I was made redundant from a job I adored.
Wisdom lays awake amid these seasonal changes and asks of me, Amanda, what is the lesson here?
As we come to the close of this last decade, what is the wisdom you need for perspective in the new?
I am learning that I can’t have it all and every dream paraded around on social media is not my right to endeavour, but I can walk in wisdom, believe again and stretch into the places, that were paved for my feet to walk alone.
How about you?
Do you believe you can have it all?
Or is it time to seek wisdom for the small faith step of what is next?