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Do I Really Have to?

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A word that’s been on my mind recently is “surrender”. Something that happens to me every now and then is I’ll wake up with a song stuck in my head. A few weeks ago it happened and the song was the hymn “I Surrender All”. I’ve also been hearing the word surrender in many sermons recently so I kinda came to the point where I was like, “ok, God must be trying to tell me something.”

As humans, we’re all flawed. We all have weaknesses and we all make mistakes. Something that is really cool about our God is that He points out our flaws. For a long time, I used to resent it. I didn’t want God telling me what I was doing wrong because who really wants someone telling them what or what not to do? I don’t like my weaknesses being pointed out to me, but I have begun to realize that we really cannot grow as Christians if the Lord is not continually pushing us to be better.

Among all my flaws, I enjoy having control and I don’t love being told what to do. As humans, we’re born with a rebellious nature and I am no exception. I like doing exactly what I want to do because I know what’s best right?

Wrong.

Something about me is that I love flowers. Like, I’m so bad with plants, but I just love gardens. They’re so beautiful and peaceful. I could spend an entire day surrounded by greenery and peonies and be perfectly content. When I think about my faith, I imagine a garden. No garden is perfect, just like no person’s faith is going to be perfect. But in order for a garden to grow and be beautiful, you cannot have weeds growing everywhere. Weeds impede in the beautiful things God has planned for our life.

The thing about weeds is that they can be pretty to look at. Not every weed is ugly; however, no weed can ever compare to something like a rose or peony. But when we continue to let weeds grow in our lives, we are not making room for the beautiful things God has planned to take root. A big weed in my life is an attitude of rebellion. I do not know what possessed my pea-sized brain to think I know more or I know better than God, but that seems to be a common theme in humans since… pretty much forever. We believe we know what’s best. Instead of having a attitude of surrender, we want to hold on to the weeds in our lives.

When the Lord convicts us of certain things or puts something on our heart to change, that’s like Him plucking a weed. At first, it’s not fun. We have gotten used to having these weeds in our lives and it has become a part of the garden. But when we wholly surrender to His will and allow him to pluck these bad habits or flawed character traits, we are making room for us to grow in Him.

Surrendering wholly to God is such a difficult thing to do. But here’s the thing, we either have faith that He is going to come through so we allow him to completely take over our lives or we do not. For a long time, I had an attitude of “Do I really have to? Do I really have to give everything over to God? Can’t I just hold on to these few things and He can have the rest?” Lol fortunately, that’s not how a relationship with Jesus works.

God wants all of us. The good, bad, and ugly. The good, He wants to make great. The bad, He wants to make better. The ugly, He wants to make beautiful.

I want to encourage you to let go and surrender every part of your life to the Lord. Don’t let your temporary wants impede the beautiful things God has in store for you. Those weeds you have been holding onto- it’s time to let go.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. ” -Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

© Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Rest vs Comfort

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Looking back at my life over the past year, I’m pretty amazed. I am amazed at all that has changed in my life and it’s so strange to think I wasn’t even competing in pageants this time last year. God has moved and worked in me and I’m incredibly grateful for that.

I feel like the majority of my life, my walk with God has always been “comfortable”. Sure, my faith has been tested and I’ve had to rely on God, but I think trusting God as a kid/teen is very different from trusting God as an adult. I have different challenges now and a lot more is at stake.

When I speak with my mentors or people whose faith I really admire, they never mention their walk with God to be “comfortable”. They explain how the Lord is always continually growing and stretching them and it’s not always an easy transition, but that is how they have grown in their faith. Recently something God has placed on my heart is how I’ve been comfortable in my walk with Him. When in reality, that’s not the purpose of our relationship with Christ at all.

A word that has been on my mind the past few weeks is “rest”. I’ve been thinking on it and the other day out of curiosity I googled Bible verses that included the word “rest”. One that popped up was Exodus 33:14-

“The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'”

It’s a short verse, but what caught my attention is the fact that the verse seems somewhat contradictory. At this point, God is telling Moses that He’s going to be with him as he leads the Israelite people, but He is also going to give Moses rest. How can you be moving and also resting? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

There are two things that I know about the old testament Israelite people. 1. They are God’s chosen people and 2. They are super complainers. So, being Moses and having to lead a people who are continually going astray cannot be “restful” by any means. If anything, it’s the opposite. But, God is assuring Moses that He will show him favor and give Moses rest as he is leading.

Through reading this passage of scripture, it’s become really apparent to me what I’ve been missing in my walk with God. I’ve been missing the difference between resting in God and being comfortable with Him. God never meant for us to stay in one place because how can we grow? How can we be challenged? The Lord knows that if we are not continually stretched, we become lazy or distracted. But at the same time, He also sees that we get tired along the way if we don’t have some source of rest or peace. How incredible is it that God can be our peace?

This past year has been everything but comfortable for me. I’ve been stretched in every area of my life and I haven’t been comfortable at all. But what I have experienced is rest in the Lord. I’m always under the impression that I can do things alone and I don’t need help because whatever it is, I can handle it. But I feel like the Lord’s been continually tugging at my heart because obviously He knows I cannot do everything by myself, but more than that He doesn’t want me to. He wants to walk with us through our lives because He is our ultimate source of rest. He knows we can never get through this life alone because we’ll feel defeated. I’ve definitely felt defeated a time or two.

I want to encourage you to take a look at your own life. Are you resting in God or simply comfortable with Him? Comfortable may feel good for a while, but eventually life throws hardships at you and comfortable does not teach us how to deal with hardships. Instead, learn to walk with the Lord daily and throughout whatever it is you’re going through, He’ll give you rest.

© Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

First Blog Post

Whenever a person loses, we hear from those around us comments like:

“You’re a winner to me!” “There’s always next year!” “You’re #1 in my heart!” Although these statements are made out of love and concern, they do not always ease the pain of disappointment. I sincerely appreciate the encouragement; it is hard for others to know what to say at such a time.

I am a very competitive person by nature- always have been, always will be. I come from a family of athletes and my dad is in politics, so I guess it is in my blood to be that way. I hate losing as much as the next person, but sometimes I have learned it is necessary, even beneficial.

When I began my journey to Miss Alabama, I knew I was fighting an uphill battle. First year girls are not normally viewed as real contenders, so I did keep my expectations in check. I proceeded into “Miss AL week” with confidence that it would be an incredible learning experience and that it was.

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Although I understood the reality of this being my first year, it was still difficult to “lose” and not even being called for the top twelve. It hurt and I was disappointed just as any girl would be. Every girl works herself silly to make appearances, promote her platform, eat somewhat healthy, remain consistent in the gym, stay current with world events , while maintaining high grades as a full-time college student. Many people may view competing in the Miss Alabama Pageant as a beauty contest and believe me if that was the case, our lives (the contestants) would be much easier. It is SO much more than walking around, smiling, in a pretty dress.

Through all of this, still only one young woman walks away with a crown. Everyone else drives home and tries again next year. It can be really discouraging sometimes.

About a month ago I had one of the worst dreams of my life. I went to Miss Alabama and I lost. I came home and ate nothing but Doritos (funny but something I would do) and I was just so depressed in this dream. I felt like a failure. When I woke up, I was so afraid I would feel exactly like that (Doritos and all) after Miss Alabama was over. That feeling of total failure absolutely terrified me.

Although I have been eating Doritos, now that Miss Alabama is over, I do not feel what I felt in my dream. I do not feel like a failure. I do not feel sad or depressed. I actually feel a joy I have never felt before. I have never been so happy for someone as I am for our Miss Alabama 2016, Hayley Barber, because she is an amazing individual and I hope I can grow into a person like her one day. She is a wonderful example for any girl who is competing in pageantry. We are blessed to be represented by her. #HayForMissA

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But, in addition to the joy I have for Hayley, I also have hope. I have faith in that God’s timing is perfect and this year just was not my time and that is okay. In all honestly, even though I will still keep competing, it may never be my time to hold the title of Miss Alabama and that is also okay. I have learned that every season of life is not fun, but there is purpose in every season. Life is not meant to always be fun. If life was always fun, we would never be challenged. I am glad I did not win because if I had not lost- I could not continue to grow because I know I have a good bit of growing to do. If I had won, I would not have been the best Miss Alabama I could be. But with having the opportunity to lose, now I know I can go full force into preparation and work so that if one day my time comes to be Miss Alabama, I will be even better prepared. I have seen the Lord work in my life through wins and through losses. I welcome them both with open arms because I think the Lord does His best work in us when we are weak, because then He can be our strength.

Something our Miss Alabama 2015, Meg McGuffin, shared with the contestants throughout last week was “the journey is the destination”. That statement did not really click with me until I got home and started thinking about my week at Miss AL. I thought, “Wow, Meg was on point.” Because like I said before, life is ull of seasons. Some are of wins and some are of losses, but there is always something to be gained. Coming home with the crown seemingly was the ultimate goal, but that does not mean every girl there that week did not walk away with something

So if you are out there and maybe you have recently experienced a loss, some type of rejection, or maybe even a break-up, please know there is purpose in the pain. There has to be rain and sunshine for a flower to grow and blossom. Our God is so sovereign and even though you may not feel like it, He has His mighty hand on your life. He is orchestrating future events which you cannot even fathom.

So, chin up, Buttercup. The best is yet to come.
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“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18 (NIV)

Also- all of you need to follow Miss Alabama on social media.

Instagram: @MissAmericaAL & @MissAlabamaPageant

Twitter: @MissAmericaAL

Facebook: Miss Alabama Pageant, Inc. & Miss Alabama Hayley Barber

Thank you SO much to AL.com for all the beautiful pictures and their coverage of Miss Alabama week. We are so thankful!

© Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.