New Book Excerpt: Seek Him
I am so excited, because tomorrow, February 20th, I am releasing my very first book called, Beauty in the Valley of Rejection. It will be available on both Amazon and right here on Brandiholness.com for purchase! God placed this book on my heart 4 years ago, when He began to transform my life. However, the book wasn't complete in my life until December 2016. I spent all of 2017 writing, editing, and producing this book, and I can't wait to share it with you. Rejection is something I struggled with, and at one point, I even believed that God himself was rejecting me after experiencing many closed doors, set-backs, and delays in my life. One of the things I struggled with during my season of rejection, was how to let go of the plans for my life and how to keep God first. In my 4th Chapter called, "All He Wants," I talk about importance, of letting go of religion and having a true relationship with Jesus. Here is an excerpt from the subtitle called "Seek Him". I hope you enjoy. I hope it encourages you, and I hope you plan to read more once you grab a copy of the book tomorrow:
Seek Him I had dreams that I wanted to see fulfilled—an earthly agenda that I wanted marked as "complete." Not only was I looking for God to bless me with a flourishing journalism career, but I was also expecting Him to fulfill many of the other desires that were hidden in my heart, such as marriage, children, and financial freedom. During this time in my life, most of my prayers were solely focused on requesting these things or asking God when and how He would answer. Out of worry and fear, I became obsessed with trying to figure out the plans for my life, so much so that it consumed me. As I often did during those discouraging moments, and during times when I misunderstood the ways of God, I sought to receive prayer and advice from other members of the body of Christ, such my friends, family, and pastors. My Aunt Lanie is one of my best friends. Although she's older than I am, she's always been like a sister to me. One day I decided to join a weekly prayer call with her and her prayer partner. During my time with them, I found that I was struggling to understand a critical concept in my relationship with Jesus: keeping God first and keeping my heart and mind stayed on Him. My aunt and her prayer partner told me not to focus so much on my heart's desires, but to keep God first. They reminded me of Matthew 6:33, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Puzzled by their remarks, I couldn’t understand how I was not keeping God first or, rather, seeking first His kingdom, especially since I was constantly praying and consulting Him regarding the plans for my life. Apparently, I was missing something. No lie, I had probably heard and read Matthew 6:33 a thousand times. This time, however, I was prompted to ask, "What exactly is the Kingdom of God?" I needed to understand what it was so that I could understand what I was seeking and how to seek it. I prayed that God would bring me revelation and understanding concerning this question. I looked up different scriptures in the Bible. I called up friends and family to find out what they believed the Kingdom of God is. I even performed multiple internet searches and read some informative blogs about the Kingdom of God. However, nobody helped me understand what the Kingdom truly is like my pastor, Steve Milazzo, did. During service one Sunday, He said something profound: "Before we get saved, we are the kings of our kingdoms, meaning our lives. When we accept Jesus as Lord, we then come under His Kingdom, and He becomes the King of our kingdoms, or our lives. There is only one King in the Kingdom." Brothers and sisters, that King is neither you nor I. Pastor Steve went on to say that the Kingdom of God is God’s sovereign rule over our lives, so when we seek the Kingdom of God, we are essentially seeking God's rule in our lives concerning all things. In order for God to rule, we have to lay down our lives and deny ourselves by letting go of our will, our way, and our plans so that God may execute His perfect will, His perfect way, and His perfect plans for our lives. God began to show me that, up until that point, I had not yet fully surrendered the dreams, desires, and concerns of my heart to Him. I had not fully given Him every aspect of my life. Through numerous prayers, I called myself handing it over to God or letting go and letting God, but I really had not done so. The fact that I was constantly worried about when I would see God's plans manifest was an indication that I had not let go. The fact that I was constantly trying to devise my own plans was an indication that I was still holding on. I was trying to be the "king" of my life by taking matters into my own hands, especially when God did not move how or when I expected Him to. I even feared that there was a possibility that He would never move on my behalf, or that I'd be waiting forever to see His promises come to pass. After hearing Pastor Steve’s sermon, I understood that God could not carry out His will until I let go of mine. I was not giving Him room to be Lord. I was not giving Him room to rule. My aunt helped me understand this concept even more when she said, "It is as if you're handing somebody something without letting go of it, keeping your hand on it." My hand was still on my life. Does that sound familiar? I was reminded of Matthew 16:25, "For whoever wants to save their life, will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it." Out of fear and worry, I was still trying to save my life by being in control, as if I could ideate and execute a better plan for me than Christ can.
Today, I encourage you to die to yourself and let go of your life. Try seeking God’s sovereign rule concerning your dreams, desires, and plans, and allow Him to execute His perfect will for your life. This will require trust and courage, but letting go of religion and focusing on a relationship with God will cause you to fall deeply in love with Jesus.