About the Author

Alia Joy is an author who believes the darkness is illuminated when we grasp each other's hand and walk into the night together. She writes poignantly about her life with bipolar disorder as well as grief, faith, marriage, poverty, race, embodiment, and keeping fluent in the language of hope in...

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  1. “No one can outpace me when my route is different.”

    As a woman who deeply struggles with envy and never feeling like enough, never feeling like I measure up to anyone, and always feeling like the hot mess of the group- thank you… this was definitely what my heart needed this morning.

    • I know a story hits home when I copy & paste it in my online journal to read again and again. I am struggling in my personal journey, and your sharing helps me put my so called deficits into perspective. Thank you for your frankness and the sharing of your struggles also. May each of us see ourselves and others through the eyes of our loving, caring Father.

    • You know … I so needed this too. Thank you Lord for this woman pouring out her thoughts and her heart for I saw myself in her words and I was encouraged and reminded to surrender and seek your face today.

    • In groups I usually win the hot mess prize until we all get real and share our lives and then I’m always surprised at home common envy and insecurity is even when someone seems like they’ve got it all together. There’s something so freeing about letting those thoughts go.

  2. “I’m not looking for a better version of myself, but a truer version of who I have always been: loved, cherished, beautiful, strong.”

    Ah, a truer version of who I’ve always been … yes.this. A direct hit into the depths of my heart this morning, a word spoken at the right time. I can breathe deeply because I believe that I am loved, cherished, beautiful, and strong. Thank you for truth and a superbly delicious sense of humor!

  3. Not a better version of myself, but a truer version of who I’ve always been…what a wonderful perspective! I’m deep in with resolutions for 2017 that quickly become tasks and can lead to distractions. Thank you for the sweet reminder that our strides aren’t to be better but truer…grace!

  4. Comparison is often the twin sister of envy and envy leads to a huge lack of contentment. Thank you for the reminder that we are each unique no matter who, how or what. He made us as unique as the stars in the heavens. That DNA that is a reflection of His stamp on each life. How amazing that He needs us this way for the world to be, to grow and glow His life through each of us. He is, He was, and He will be! He who is the common thread of our very existence. He never makes a mistake, He is in control our Sovereign God. Teach me Thy ways oh Lord, show me Thy paths, so I may be Your light to this world, unique lantern created by You. Amen!

  5. Alia, your reminders are the most timely of anyone I know. You speak truth, so eloquently, what so many of us wish came from our own mouths or were produced by our own pens. Steel cut oatmeal, my friend, just doesn’t even compare.

    Keep speaking truth. We love you for it.

  6. “I sow grace for myself. To be where I am, to be who I am. Enough.
    I reap grace for others.”

    Teach me humility Lord, to live this small and ordinary life of imperfection and grace.
    I want to live this humble life for YOU, not for me.

    Thank you for this encouragement! Beautifully written, what a great talent! Blessings from Belgium!

  7. “I’m not looking for a better version of myself, but a truer version of who I have always been: loved, cherished, beautiful, strong.”

    Wow! That statement made me catch my breath! I can sense God smiling over you as you wrote that. My own journey to realize who I am in Jesus has taken decades but I am beginning to get it. I am beginning to believe that I am, “loved, cherished, beautiful, strong.” It’s not of my doing, but of Christ within me…

  8. Alia,
    You wrote another beautiful post. These words do not just speak to my heart, they are being shouted through a bull horn! This wonderful phrase, “I surrender envy and find the deep exhale of enough being poured over me like an anthem.”
    I’m keeping that where I can see it every day. I think back to when I had my daughter and also was NOT the woman who sparkled when she would sweat 🙂 And I never felt like I was balancing the job outside the home and being a mom as well as others. Then when I got sick and felt again I couldn’t be a good mom but this time because of my new physical disability. And now being a first time author, I tend to compare with what other new authors are doing . Thank you for reminding me to exhale and I’m already enough. I’m also getting rid of that industrial strength scuba exercise bra as well 🙂

    • Right? Sweat sparkling, who even knew that could be a thing but it’s amazing the things we can find to be envious of. Yes, I know those feelings so well, especially the mom and writing parts. I have had a lot of physical and mental limitations and it’s always so hard to stay in my lane and focus on what God has for me but I’m so much more at peace when I do. Exhale, you’re doing good, Kathleen.

  9. Beautiful, Alia. Thank you for the gift of these words.

    A couple of my faves:
    “They are running their own races. No one can outpace me when my route is different.”

    Yes. I’ve been so grateful to have been learning this lesson over the last few years also, thank God.

    And these were just brilliant:
    “Everyone else seemed to remember to put the laundry from the washer to the dryer without having to rerun it 3 times…”
    Ha! Yes!!

    “Other women speak and people listen, they fit in and throw their heads back when they laugh, wide toothy smiles, they don’t hunker down in the sofa and pull the throw pillow over their belly while trying to think of something to say…”
    Oh my goodness, I can picture this so perfectly.

    “They can tackle a messy bun without looking like a small woodland creature is nesting in their hair.”
    Ha! Love it!

    Such incredible word pictures here. So craftily well done, Alia!

    • Thanks Kristi,
      I had fun with this one. I could’ve written an entire book on all the ways I’ve compared myself over the years. 😉

  10. This brought me to tears. So well written and I so relate in every way! So encouraging. This is what I need on this Monday morning–house messy, needing to diet and exercise after too much eating, starting off the busy week disorganized ( as usual!).
    Thank you and God bless you for your writing.

  11. You nailed it and I had a good belly laugh finding myself reflected in your words! I am the woman with the perpetually messy house and car that resembles a dump truck; I cried real tears of fear the first time I walked into the gym and swore that I was going to pass away during the first session with my patient -as -a -saint personal trainer.
    Feeling good and worthy and beautiful in my own skin has been a constant quest. I’m getting there, one lunge at a time, not because it is making me thinner…but because it is making me stronger and I am loving myself through the aches and pains and stretches and sweat. It’s worth it. I’m worth it!

  12. SO LOVE THIS! You had me laughing out loud, so need that! Your words are true journey and pleasure. With such exquisite beauty, they dispel webs and cords like light to darkness! Girl? “other women” can’t begin to say it like you do!!

  13. You are me! Or I am you! Either way…yes! I love this post and your humor about the crazy way moms intentionally or unintentionally compete with one another. It’s so hard not to compare, but you nailed it: we’ve been on different routes all along and there is no finish line. Just a long and tangled journey that intersects with other women along the way. Like you, I got lost and confused by taking routes that weren’t mine but I’ve finally figured out where mine is and I’m heading there now. ❤

  14. Alia,
    This brought me to tears as well….you speak for so many of us that just want to slam Facebook shut because our lives don’t match up to what we perceive others’ lives to be. Comparison is the enemy’s playground and oh how he loves to whisper – your’e not enough, you’re not as good, or as thin, or as intelligent, or a put together as so and so. He knows on each of us our Achilles heal and he goes for it. I love this…”I surrender envy and find the deep exhale of enough being poured over me like and anthem.” Amen! This is my path, my relationship with God, my journey and if He says I’m enough…then gosh darn it, I’m enough. Your writing is SUCH a gift Alia. You bless us time and time again through it. Keep being real and speaking Truth.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Thanks Bev. I wonder how crazy an impact we’d have on the world if we actually believed we are who God says we are. Chosen, beloved, redeemed, enough in Him? I’d say we’d be world changers if we believed God about all the things He promises us. I want to live like I believe it so I’m often preaching to myself.

      • Alia,
        Always when I’m writing I’m talking/preaching to myself (I just allow others to listen in). Yes, what if we really lived what we preached each and every day and never let the enemy have his say – what a powerful force we’d be. You are SO gifted as a writer, but even more so you are treasured just because God says you are. You are, indeed, beautiful and He so delights in you! I see the wonderful creation that God sees. Keep on inspiring (yourself and others).
        Bev xoxo

  15. “No one can outpace me when my route is different.” Wow. At a time when I have been questioning the “route” I am on, this devotional really spoke to me. I need to remember the truth of all you said and continue to focus “to know God more, to seek His face.: Thanks!

  16. I cannot tell you how many times I have read your devotions and thought, oh my gosh, she has looked into my heart! Thank you for your candid and thought provoking writing. I have been blessed by you.

  17. You could have been writing my story. Then I add in that I’m not enough fir God because look, I’m a mess of envy and, well, just a mess. Most of mine is weight related, and dental related.

    I am working on granting grace to myself. I have started to not just write down blessings, but to write sonething pisitive about me, unrelated to the weight loss I have been working on.

    I am grateful for God’s grace. His unfailing love for me. His mercy that new each day.

    Thank you for this wonderful, open, truth.

    Blessings

    Sue

    • Oh Sue, this comment just hit me so hard. I’m working on my first book right now and the first line of my first chapter is, “I have seventeen teeth. Most adults have 32.”

      I know what it is to feel shame, because I’ve got a messy faith and to feel envy because I believe other people don’t. I know what it is to be at war with my body and to feel unworthy of grace. I am so glad that you are coming to a place of grace for yourself and to begin to see yourself as God sees you. Precious one. Chosen. Loved. Our merciful God is so good to us, we need only accept that truth.
      Grace and Peace to you, dear one.

      • Wow! Thank you for sharing so transparently. Personally. As women we are bombarded daily, hourly, with images of what is beauty. It isn’t until we really let God speak to us in His Word that we see what beauty is. I will be watching for your book!! God bkess you!

  18. Alia, I am always so happy when I see your beautiful face at the top of these posts because I know you will touch me deeply. You speak to my fear ridden self and give me hope. Especially today’s post, it shows me I am not alone and gives me hope that I can hear that anthem too. Thank you for your truth. In Him, Barbara

  19. “I’ve sown a lifetime of envy into my soul, and reaped a harvest of fear.”
    “Other women do it better. Other people are better.”
    I read this posts here with tears in my eyes. It’s ALL me. This year, these are bags I’ve been working hard to leave behind. I’m always amazed by the level of transparency of the posts here. In recent years my writing has stalled, and I believe my biggest roadblock is the fear of the judgment that may follow this level of transparency and truth shared. “What will people think of me,” is always in the back of my mind. Instead of thinking, “Who will be blessed by my words? Who may be set free simply by knowing she’s not alone.” Thank you for sharing, for letting the women here know WE are not alone and for reminding us that we are more than enough.

    • I don’t know if this advice will help you in your writing but when I write things with a large level of transparency and vulnerability, I also tell myself, If people don’t understand why I write the things I do, there’s a good chance it wasn’t meant for them, and I’m ok with that. The ones who do get it, that’s my audience. It helps me worry less of what people will think. Because what you said is true, sometimes people need to know they’re not alone and will be blessed by the story you have to offer.

  20. I am a 70-year old Jesus follower. I have loved and served my Lord for many years…and still strive to do so. I have struggled all my life over body issues. I am obese. I tried in every way to become “normal.” I paid for pills, went to weekly meetings, even had surgery that nearly took my life and I am today the same weight I have always been. A few years ago, I came to understand that God made me this way. I am healthy, live a full life and love others. My late husband used to say, “God made chihuahuas and He made St. Bernard’s. We are St. Bernards!” I am still learning to “be content” in a world that doesn’t understand that I am loved, just the way I am.

    • I love that, I think I would’ve gotten along with your late husband. 😉 Before my writing journey, I was in school for nutrition science and exercise physiology and there’s actually a lot of factual evidence to how we’re “made.” But I SO get that idea of learning contentment in a world that doesn’t understand. I think I may write about that some in the future because there’s a lot to that.

      • Thank you so much, Alia Joy. For the majority of my life, I have so often felt “less than.” I have to say that hardly a day goes by that I don’t still struggle with what I believe are peoples’ perceptions of my value. I was a public school educator for 25 years, I was a school administrator, I was able to be used by our Savior in the music ministry of my church and Bible Study ministries, yet still I struggled. I just have to wonder, if, when I see my Savior “face-to-face,” He will say, “oh, my precious one, you were always perfect in my eyes!”

  21. This is great sharing. Thank you! It blessed me so much. I’d struggled with inferiority complex for only God knows how long. Though I didn’t have a weight issue, your last words from what you’d written pointed out what I’d finally discovered about myself and also these words “My resolution is to know God more, seek His face”, taught me that only He can fully restore us to who He desires that we become. Amen, hallelujah!

  22. I definitely relate to this- I think it’s easy to see all the ways others seem to have it all together where we don’t, but actually that’s just seeing part of the picture. I appreciate the reminder that it’s not about measuring up to others but becoming “a truer version of who I have always been.”

  23. Beautiful ❤ my new FB friend. Your writing touches my soul. I love the way you put words together. Thank you for following your calling.

    -Renee

  24. All the yeses. When my kids are gathered together after my funeral someday, one of the “momisms” they’re gonna remember together is “Comparison is of the devil.” I say it often, to them and me. ‘Cuz so often, it’s true.

  25. Hi Alia,

    I usually do not add any comments, but this time, I had the inclination to do it because you nailed it! This is one of the best posts written in a long while and THANK YOU for your honesty. Women of all kinds can relate to this! Like the quote – I’m not looking for a better version of myself, but a truer version of who I have always been: loved, cherished, beautiful, strong. Thank you again!

  26. Your posts always resonate so deeply with me. I love the idea of trying to be a truer, not better version, of myself. Thank you for this post.

  27. Thank you for so perfectly and eloquently speaking on my behalf. I needed to see this today. I love the the comment that “no one can outpace me when my route is different”; this is making my FB page today. God bless you!

  28. Alia,

    This could be written about me. I used to think I’m not good enough. Not smart enough, good looking, etc. I was born with two busted eardrums. Couldn’t hear much. I had surgeries to repair them and the left one never took. Years later I got a hearing aid to assist my hearing for a job. I have felt left out of life some. My sisters got brain, out going personality, etc. I got zip. It has been easy for the evil one to whisper “not good enough, smart enough, dumb” when mistakes happen.

    Only recently have I “matured” into a more self-aware and become the person I like. Sure others have degrees, make more money, have careers. That is fine for them. I enjoy living in a small town, working part-time. I use the extra time to do more for God. I attend church 3X a week, help out with missions, and cook home made meals. I am growing in my Christian life and that is joy enough for me.

    Blessings 🙂

    • Beth,
      You are a winner in my book…you are always encouraging and building up others around you. You are the hands, feet, and words of Jesus and that is you being the best you that you can be. You are a BLESSING!
      Always,
      Bev xx

  29. Dear Alia, your post described me as if I had written it myself! All my life I have struggled with not feeling good enough, smart enough, pretty enough. I saw all that in OTHER women (I still do) and the envy has caused me such discontentment over the years. I am a very blessed woman but I’ve let my insecurities undermine my happiness for way too long. At 62 and being terrified of getting “old” I am still trying to improve (a laundry list of resolutions including exercise, skin care treatments, healthy diet changes) when I know deep down in my heart that none of it really matters in the long run. God loves me unconditionally no matter if I don’t look beautiful, have a perfect body and home or can cook a fabulous meal. I’ve asked Him so many times to please reveal my “gift” because I’ve heard we all have something to offer. I’ve often felt I’m the only one who doesn’t have any gifts! Yet, I know it’s not true. The enemy wants me to keep feeling inferior and to notice that “gym girl”. That’s his way of taking my eyes off Jesus. I apologize to my husband for getting old when he is older than me and he loves me regardless! To all of my sisters out there who struggle with this, let’s pray for each other! Let’s dive deeper into knowing God! We are wonderfully and fearfully made and we are beautiful in our Father’s eyes!! One day when we see Him face to face, all those fears will be gone and we will be singing praises to the One who really matters! Blessings!!

    • Cindy,
      Together, let’s slam the door on the enemy and his lies that say we don’t have gifts, we’re inferior – who taunts us to compare ourselves to others. We ARE wonderfully and fearfully made – each one of us in His image. Blessings for your words of truth.
      ((Hugs)),
      Bev

      • Amen to that, Bev! I have followed your responses to the beautiful and heartfelt posts for awhile and I feel like I know you! I love all your insights and shared experiences! We are all sisters in Christ and share a loving bond! We have a strength we’re not even aware of sometimes! Thank you for all you contribute to these posts! I have learned so much from you! God bless and many ((hugs)) back to you!!

  30. Alia,
    Your writing this morning was a God letter to us. You spoke from your heart and we received it. You penned just the right words, infused with humor and we could see the imageries and relate to you on so many levels. You spoke to the ordinary woman who is extraordinary in the eyes of God. May you continue to be blessed as you are a blessing to your readers.

  31. Praising God for you today and the truth you so transparently shared. Thank you for allowing Him to speak through you to me and so many other mommas. If you ever need a reminder this fellow homeschooling-work from home, exercise avoiding, never caught up on anything momma will send you pictures of my chaos so we can laugh together and relish that we are not alone.

    • Yes! Solidarity. I feel you in the homeschooling, trying to write from home, exercise avoiding, never caught up momma. So glad we’re in this together.

  32. Thank you for that. I’m not perfect in any way shape or form and I have felt like that “gym girl”. But I have also realized that no matter how perfect someone else looks, they have their issues too. We all do. The only thing we can do is to put our issues into the hands of God and let him have them and deal with them. Show us how to live through them. We still need goals. I do have a goal weight set for health reasons. I was sitting here last night wondering why I went back to school at my age and if those reasons were really worth the effort of the overwhelming feeling that I was feeling last night and most of today. As people, my encouragers, remind me, I only have a few more classes to go until I have my bachelors degree. I may not see it now, but that will be an accomplishment when it is complete. I will have more ups and downs as the weeks go by, but I need to trust God to see me through this and lean on my encouragers. Thank you for your blog.

  33. Thank you for opening up your heart and sharing the struggle that you have had. God used this to encourage me as I struggle with not feeling like enough. I loved the line “no one can outpace me when my route is different”. Thank you for that reminder from God’s word that we are running the race that He has set before us.
    May God bless you for sharing this encouragement with so many people

  34. “I sow grace for myself. To be where I am, to be who I am. Enough.” Wise words, Alia. Think I’ll copy them on a Post-It and put it in my Bible study notebook. Such a great reminder to begin the day!

  35. Thank you for making me laugh. This was so awesome and so full of truth. Your writing brings visual life–what a gift!

  36. Alia, gym girl has nothing over your radiant heart, soul, and gift of expression. What a beautiful anthem of imperfection! It is wholly perfect in every way, as are you.

  37. Alia,
    I am a 51 year old wife, mom, nana and pastor and I still feel as if I am trying to catch up to where everyone already is. I always feel that “if I could just…. then everything would fall into place.” I’m not a morning person. My hair sticks up in every direction when I lift my head off of my pillow. I have battled with my weight, anxiety, depression and guilt. My home looks neat and tidy but don’t look in the bulging drawers, closets and storage room. I try to eat healthy but chocolate, crackers and chips are my go to when I feel overwhelmed, tired, stressed and burned out! I spend time prepping for Bible studies, sermons and retreats but spend very little time in private devotion with God. I pray on the run as I drive to one more meeting, trip to the grocery store, visit a church member and put gas in my car. I am your average American woman who never feels good enough, pretty enough, smart enough or talented enough. And I’ve had enough! Thank you for these words. They are a much needed breath of fresh air!!

    • Thank you for sharing some of your story. You are not alone and God promises us that with Him we are enough. Take a deep breath, God has such abundant grace for us.

  38. I was searching for something to read tonight and I don’t know how I missed this the first time. The words could be mine. This was so good to read and so timely. But the comments from other women posting are almost as wonderful. I wish I could sit in a room with you and all these women. I would love the conversation and pointing back to Jesus.