Do What Scares You

Tell me your greatest fear
and I will tell you of a love
that is far greater.

A love that will cover every doubt
in your mind
until you find
the fear no longer there.

One of my favorite quotes this year has been,

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

It has been a reminder that fear doesn’t always have to be a negative force in our lives.  Fear can be the very thing that propels us straight into freedom unimaginable.

I’m not talking about reckless behavior.  I’m talking about making decisions that will no longer enable us to live in a paralyzing complacency, and to stop allowing our emotions to dictate the course of our destiny.

For several months, I have been struggling back and forth on finishing up a project.  A spoken word written on the topic of body image.  It’s a large part of my testimony.

It all started one Sunday at church.  The idea came to me in an instant, but excitement was followed by fear.  I would be going into territory that was unknown and new,  while being completely vulnerable with my story.

Every once in awhile, I would pace around my room and begin to write phrase after phrase.  In between those times, I admit I tried to find as many other projects to attempt to start instead.  And then, I would have the same weighty feeling come over me.  Again and again.

I was afraid, but I knew it was something I needed to follow through with, because maybe there was one person in the universe who needed to hear my story.

And for that one person, it would be worth pushing through the fear.

I had a dream a  couple years ago that had a tremendous impact on how I see the world.  In the dream, I found myself speaking with a woman who had a dark past.  I took her hands and said, with great relief and joy,

“Had I been afraid, you would not be here.”

When I woke from the dream, I had a new perspective.  I began to think about how my decisions to choose love over fear, on a daily basis, affects not only my life course but the lives of people I may not even know yet.

Every single day, I try to ask myself,

What if fear was no longer holding you back?

What would I do with my time?  How would I choose to speak and act?  How would it affect the lives of those in my sphere of influence?

By God’s grace, I finished writing the spoken word this week.  I plan to compose and record the audio shortly, as well as begin filming the visuals.  I’m glad I didn’t let myself stay afraid, and I trust that He will see me through the rest of the creative process.

What about you?

What is something that scares you, but you know in your heart it will set you free?

 

Hello from Kansas!

This morning I woke up at a truck stop in Emporia, Kansas. By eight o’clock, I had successfully cleaned myself up and had many a conversation with lady truck drivers and fellow travelers. One in particular happened to be from California. We chatted a bit while we brushed our teeth. It felt strange, yet normal.

After living on a shuttle bus for almost two weeks, I feel like I could live anyway and live off of much less than I ever imagined. I can’t help but think that God has been preparing me for this all along, as I reflect and look back at all the steps that have led me here. From all of my mission trips, to my days as a street performer, leaving home, resigning from good paying jobs on a whim, following His light straight into the dark. I am watching in amazement as God uses every experience to strengthen and prepare me for each adventure.

His mercies are new every morning, and He has been supplying me with grace upon grace. As each wall of my comfort zone is stripped away, I find an even greater depth of intimacy with Him. Even in the midst of recuperating from a cold, I have seen His sovereign hand resting upon me. In my moments of exhaustion, He has met me here.

I’m a shower-every-single-day kind of girl. I like my hair to be clean and I like to smell nice. It’s been a couple days since my last shower and I have now become quite accustomed to bathing with baby wipes and washing my face in the Walmart restroom. It honestly makes me laugh. I welcome the awkward and the uncomfortable. Life is much more joyful.

We are now on the final stretch of the tour. Our last stop is in Dallas, Texas. The closest I’ve been to Texas has been the airport, so I am rather excited to see a bit more of the state before I head home on Monday.

Special thanks to all of the truckers who put up with me running around the parking lot with my camera. Also, special thanks to the Flying J truck stop for providing me with the opportunity of purchasing this crazy wolf shirt that I am wearing today.

All Things are Possible

As of today, I have now been to the same amount of states as days I’ve been traveling.  Tomorrow will be a week since my trip first began.

Where am I now?  Wisconsin.

I had the lovely pleasure of dipping my feet into Lake Michigan in Kenosha this afternoon.  It was stress relieving to walk barefoot on the beach while shooting photographs.  Most of this trip has involved driving, so it was a nice change to get outside with my camera and unwind a bit.

As much as possible, I’ve been spending most of my alone time in silence.  It’s a refreshing change, bringing healing to my soul, after many months spent in a chaotic environment.

I am reveling in simply being present in His glorious presence, allowing His glory waves to remove the debris of yesterday.  Ever so gently, He reminds me of who I am and who He is.  He helps me to remember that I am never alone and that He is more real than the sand beneath my feet.

I close my eyes.

I wait.

I listen.

Holy Spirit, wash over me and remove everything that hinders my heart from hearing Your truth.

Lake Mich_Waves_9499

My heart comes back to life, as He reaffirms every dream found within me.  The deeper things that only He and I share.  And just as I begin to think I can’t dream any bigger, Heaven opens wide and I find myself being taken higher and higher.

Higher and higher into Kingdom reality.

Lord, the place where You dwell does not have a ceiling.  Teach me to live in Your Kingdom reality.  A place where all things are possible.

Wait. Listen. Respond.

Wait.

Invest a moment of your time to stop and . .  .

Listen.

He is always speaking, always moving.

And when He speaks . . .

Respond and

Act.

Take that next step.

He will meet you there.

We stayed in Fort Wayne, Indiana last night.  A friend of the band blessed us with a place to stay and a shower.  Yes, it was the best shower I have had in quite some time.  I feel like a woman once more. 😉  One of their dogs even randomly appeared and snored by my side all night.  It was just like being at home with Chad.

At this moment, the bus is headed to Chicago.  I am doing well, even with quite a bit of sleep deprivation.  God is here and He is good.

I told a five year old today that he needed to pray for me to have energy like him.  He prayed for me on the spot,

“Thank you, Jesus.  I ask you to give Stephanie a lot of energy.  Help her to also do a lot of silly things.  Amen.”

Which Risk Should I Take?

I am standing at a crossroad very similar to one I stood at a couple years ago.  In less than a few weeks, I will be leaving my  current full time job and continuing on with my journey elsewhere.

My decision to resign was not simple.  My position includes my home, which meant I would need to find a new place to live.  It  meant I would not have a steady income and that I would need to find a new job.  I have also been on the cusp of burning out and it was almost too exhausting to even consider stopping and changing my life path right now.

That said, I realized that my health was on the line and I needed to take care of myself.  So, I gave my notice and felt completely at peace.  In that moment, it was as if a large burden fell off my back.  There was hope.

This place of employment was a stepping stone.  I found healing here.  I found people who I am proud to say have become part of my family.  I thank God for this season, but I also know that it is time for the next season to begin.

The peace I felt is still with me and so is a new excitement.  Thankfully, Chad [my dog] and I have a place to live during this transition, but I don’t know a lot beyond that.  I stand at this crossroad, asking myself,

Which risk should I take?

Do I go down the path I already know, and fall back on what I know I can do?  I could do that.  I know I could do that and get a job quickly.  I have experience and already have a lead or two.  This would be a risk.  Maybe I’d have more money, that would probably be true, but do I want to take this risk just for the steady income?

I’m learning that I don’t need as much as I thought I did.  In fact, I was a lot more joyful when I had less and was able to do the things I’m passionate about.

I expect to be scoffed at by some for saying things like this.  I’ve had people look at me [in the past] like I’m being irresponsible for not saying yes to the first job that opens up.  After all, that’s what we have to do, right?  Here’s the deal . . .

I’m twenty-six years old.  Life is only going to get more complex at this point.  I figure, if I don’t jump now, will I ever have the courage?  I see this open window of opportunity and it’s terrifying, but I know I eventually need to jump and see where it leads me.

Anyone who ever wound up doing what they are passionate about had to take crazy [and sometimes unpopular] steps to get there.  I know that in order to see my dreams come to fruition, I am going to have to put myself out there and start walking it out with God today.

I don’t have time to start tomorrow because tomorrow is always going to be out of reach.  Regardless of how nonsensical and out of the box it may seem to other people . . . is this the risk I need to take?

Money has always stood between people and their dreams, but I know that God is much bigger than money and my dreams combined.  I know that my first job is to listen to Him and follow His direction.  I’ve seen Him provide in supernatural ways, when I’ve had a steady income and in the seasons where I’ve lived from one day to the next.

I think I’ve made up my mind.

Which risk should I take?

I’m going for the path I haven’t yet taken.  I’ll take the risk to do what I was created to do.  The risk to do what I am passionate about, even if it means I have to face the unknown in the process.  After all . . .

“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”
― Max DePree

Your Present is Bright

It’s easy, isn’t it?  To get so caught up in what is not yet here.  To so quickly be willing to trade in the moment for the promise of what is to come.

It’s in our nature, in all reality, to seek out the greener pasture.  In those times when all hope seems to be lost, we reassure ourselves . . .

“Things will get better.”

That’s advice I’ve been quick to give in the past.  It’s a string of words that honestly have become empty of all power to me.

I don’t know that it will get better.  Perhaps the only thing that will make things get better is a change of heart and attitude, but I cannot even begin to assume anything beyond my own self.  Only God can see the heart.

One thing I’m learning on a personal level is that many of the disappointments in my life have been caused by my own expectations.  If my outlook is distorted, how would I be able to see anything as it truly is?

How would I even recognize what better is?

There is so much of an emphasis placed on things getting better and of the wonders waiting for us on the other side.

From experience, I know that I am never happy or content when I put my hope in tomorrow.  When I cope with my surroundings by telling myself that “if I can just make it through this” the new things coming are going to change everything.

As someone who, in the past, has coped by jumping from one new thing to the other.  New isn’t always better.

In fact, new will never give you the lasting satisfaction you are longing for.  It isn’t until we embrace the mundane, old and ordinary, that we will ever be satisfied.  It doesn’t matter how bleak our past or spectacular our future.  I’ll be bold and say that we will quite possibly miss the better when it arrives, unless a change within takes place.

It gets better today.

It gets better as we begin to allow God to change the way we think, the way we see, the way we live our lives.

It gets better when we give up on chasing our dreams and meet with God right here, right now.

It doesn’t mean life will be perfect.  You know that, I’m sure you do.  Things will not be perfect until we are at home with Him.  Terrible things happen every day.  I get that.  I understand it well.  You do too.  But . . .

I am learning that we don’t have to carry the weight of this world that we face.  I am learning that there is always light to be found.

Don’t give up, there is hope found in the now.

Look up.

Your present is bright

because His light

is all around you.

Interrupt My Day

 

Lord, as I go about my usual routine . . .
I invite You to interrupt my day
and change the way
I see the world.

 

 

Let me not be so consumed . . .
In the things I have to do
that I forget You
are beside me.

 

 

Lord, steady my heart in Yours . . .
Remind me of Your presence
and of heaven
that surrounds me.

 

 

Teach me to look for You.

When You Ask God to Take You Higher and He Does

I wanted to share a testimony with you of what happened yesterday after I wrote my latest post, Take Me Higher.

For the past month, I’ve been struggling with the album I have been working on.  It started off great, and then I got lost inside my head.  I began to overthink everything.  So I prayed, and I asked God if it was a spiritual attack on my mind or if I needed to step back for a moment.  I had to completely remove myself from the project for a couple weeks because the stress became so great that I could barely focus.

You see, the track list of this album is full of symbolism.  The lyrics are deep with emotion and honesty.  Though they are laced with hope and light, most of them were written on days when I was in so much pain that I could barely speak.  I am proud of the songs and I’ve been complimented on the writing.  Many opportunities opened up for me when I first started to play them in coffee shops and out on the streets.  In 2014, I was determined to start recording the album.

Right before I moved back to California, a little over a year ago, I played a concert in LA.  I had intended on playing these particular songs, but when I arrived I decided to simply worship in the way that I would in my own private time with the Lord.  The outcome was life changing.  I was able to share my testimony and I had several people come up to me afterward asking more about God.  As I left the venue, I felt completely alive and I told the Lord,

“If this is what You desire for me to do for the rest of my life, I would be happy to simply be a carrier of Your presence and create an atmosphere of worship wherever You send me.”

Months passed, I put the album on hold and produced a worship EP instead.  As many of you know, 2015 was a very difficult year for me.  God rescued me out of a very dangerous situation that would have impacted the rest of my life.  It has been a journey of great healing and a time of God showing me, once again, who I am.

To be honest, for quite a few years, I have been walking around feeling like a shell of myself.  Last night, when I gave up, I knew exactly what I needed to do.  It was as if a ginormous burden rolled off of me.  I woke up feeling as if something I lost a long time ago had finally returned.

Yes, I am completely dropping the album I thought I was going to release.  There were parts of me that felt I needed to prove something to myself, as well as to those who had hurt me tremendously during the time when I wrote the songs.  I don’t want that to be the reason I produce music.

I am letting go because I can no longer carry the words and images that live between the lines.  I need to start fresh or I know I will not be able to heal.

Don’t get me wrong, God used those songs to reach people in my previous season.  He also used them to heal me in many areas of my heart.  Perhaps He will one day use them again, but for now I am completely letting go . . .

and I’ve never felt so alive and confident in the Lord.

Take Me Higher

© 2016 Stephanie Meier. All rights reserved.

When I lean on my own understanding, I open a door for fear, and his many friends, to enter in.  There is no room left for trust.

Trusting in God is a daily—moment by moment—decision.  My hope is that as I continue to grow in the Lord, the lapses where I find myself leaning on my own understanding will become less and less.  That I will be more inclined to wait for His leading, rather than rely on my own intuition, my current emotional state, my ever-changing feelings, and everything else apart from Him.

The biggest liars that we will ever encounter in our lives will most likely be our own feelings.  Quite a few of the biggest decisions in my past were made based on how I was feeling at the time.

I would say no based off of fear or hurt.

I would say yes to avoid letting someone down, or simply because it seemed like the right thing to do.

I was trusting in myself.

I’ve learned that just because something looks good—or looks GOD—doesn’t mean it is actually from God.  I’ve learned that if I had waited a moment, and asked for His input, before taking another step, I could have easily spared myself from many painful consequences. 

Timing is also important.  We need to stay on His timeline.   There are moments when we jump so quickly, and prematurely, that we end up missing out on what He was trying to speak to us in the first place.

© 2016 Stephanie Meier. All rights reserved.

When you can’t take a decision and hand it fully over to God, saying, “Lord, if this is not of You, please close the door.  No matter how much I may want this, I give even my desires to you”, that is usually a sign that you are not truly surrendered.

As I look back and think upon the poorly made decisions of my past, I see a common denominator:

I would let God know what I wanted, leaving very little room for Him to tell me no, and pray that it would all work together for good.

We are human. 

We are far from all-knowing. 

We see things at ground level, whereas He has a much higher perspective.

His ways are so unlike the ways of the world that we live in, yet still He is always willing to meet us right where we are at.

He is closer than a breath away.  Closer than our own skin.  He is here to cover our weakness in strength and to give us the courage to live the life we were created to live.

All we have to do is reach out and respond to His ever present invitation.

…..

Lord, give me eyes to see things from Your perspective.  I don’t want to go against the flow of Your Spirit.  I don’t want to move unless I am being moved by You.

If there is anything that is hindering my ability to fully trust in You, I ask that You would shine truth in those areas and give me courage to completely surrender it all to You.  Increase my awareness of Your plans and purposes.  

I ask for Kingdom vision.

Lord, take me higher. 

“Fearless” and Some Other New Developments

It started with a couple sentences back in April.

On Thursday morning I woke up inspired with the rest,

and it became . . .

Fearless.

My original plan for Thursday was to stay in bed and sleep as long as possible.  I work at a year-round Christian camp, and we are currently in our busiest season.  So I am pretty much daydreaming about the next time I get to sleep.

Every single day.

But that changed when I woke up and instantly began to write down sentence after sentence.  I hadn’t even had my first cup of coffee before I latched onto the insane notion that I would then compose and record an audio track, film a video, edit it all together, and then release it on Saturday.  Mind you, I had to work Friday and part of Saturday.  It was slightly ridiculous.

Thankfully, I live for ridiculous.

Why did it have to be released on Saturday? Honestly, I could have released it a month from now, but I did it for myself.  Simply because I needed to.

Saturday was the day of my almost-wedding.  To those who have been quietly wondering since April, the wedding was called off.  I had my reasons.  Thank you, friends, for being supportive even without knowing all of the details.

To answer your next question, I am doing well.  Very well.  In the end, I am thankful that God is in control and that He is a good, protective Father.  And honestly, it has been around roughly seven years since I have met Single Stephanie.  I really like this for the moment.  After sorting through some things with the Lord for the past few months, I have emerged with some new standards, clearer perspective, a healthier view on my self-worth, and more peace than I have had in . . . . yes, seven years.

Besides working, I have been spending a majority of my time pursuing my passion for photography and furthering my experience in filmmaking.  I have big dreams regarding both and I am taking steps every day to experiment and challenge myself to go further.  If you are not yet friends with me on Facebook, I post a photo of the day on a regular basis.

I am also in the works of a new music project titled, Awakening.  Most of the songs were written while I was playing out in the streets of Portland.  It will be so different from anything I have ever released that I find myself slightly lightheaded at the thought.  I plan to write a few more songs to complete the album and I am determined to put out a promo video by the fall.

I cannot believe that we are already halfway through 2015.  So much has already happened, and there is still much more to come.  I am preparing to return to Iceland in September for another conference with His Glory to the Nations.  My heart has been longing to return ever since my first trip last year.  I am currently putting together a promo video for that as well.  [Yes, I have quite a few projects going on right now . . .]

That said, the projects won’t finish themselves.  😉  Be back soon . . .