We are all Josephs

We all know the story of Joseph and his famous coat of many colours. It’s a classic in any Children’s Story Bible. If you don’t know the story of Joseph, it’s found in the first Old Testament book of Bible: Genesis, chapter 35 (birth) to chapter 50 (death). To give you a Spark Notes version: (spoiler alert) At a young age, Joseph is treated unfairly by his brothers and wrongly sold into slavery. As Joseph works as a slave in Egypt, he excels due to his trust in God. We are told in Genesis 39: 2, “The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man.” As Joseph moves up the status ladder, once again he is wrongly accused (verses 19-21), “Now when his [Joseph’s] master heard the words of his wife… ‘This is what your slave did to me,’ his anger burned. So Joseph’s master took him and put him in jail…” Joseph stayed in prison for 2 years for something he didn’t do.

Genesis 39: 2, “The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man.

I want to hone in on how Joseph seemed to get the butt end over and over when he didn’t deserve it. Joseph’s brothers hated him so much they planned a way to get rid of him. PLANNED A WAY TO GET RID OF HIM. After being a slave, he is wrongly accused by his master’s wife and he is thrown into prison for years. IN PRISON FOR YEARS. Now, I know that not all of us have it has bad as Joseph had it. In fact most of us probably don’t have it anywhere close to as bad as he did, but we all have our own challenges. “But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him…” Genesis 39:21. As we read the story of Joseph, we see that he acted with integrity no matter what situation he was in: as a young boy tending his father’s flock, as a young man a slave in a foreign country and even as an innocent prisoner. That is what God has been laying on my heart. Am I acting with integrity no matter what situation I am in? Joseph knew that the Lord was with always him, and he clung to that. Even when his situation improved later in chapter 41, “Joseph then answered Pharaoh, “It is not me; God will give Pharaoh a favourable answer…

Genesis 39:21, “But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him…

As Joseph’s life went on, the Lord continued to bless him. In the end Joseph became the second most important person in Egypt just under Pharaoh himself! God wants us to live with integrity, every situation in our life – Not just when things are good. How do I live my life when I’m content with where I am? How do I live my life when I want what I do not have? Being satisfied with where God has you at every stage of your life should be the goal for all of us. If we have trusted Jesus Christ as our Saviour, God is with us just like he was with Joseph. At the very end of the book of Genesis, before Joseph died he said to the same brothers who sold him into slavery, “God will surely take care of you.” After all that is said and done I want to live my life the way Joseph lived his – Trusting in God at every point in his life knowing that his story was not yet finished. Knowing, “What was meant for evil, God used for good.” Genesis 50:20. My story is not yet done and neither is yours! We are all “Joseph’s” in the sense that we are treated unfairly at times. However, we need to strive to have the same attitude and focus on God like Joseph did despite everything that happened.

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

Actions beat Words.

I have always been a person that pays more attention to someone’s actions more than their words. A couple weeks ago, I got to attend the Christian Youth Workers Conference (CYWC) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with a couple other youth volunteer workers along with our church Youth Pastor. It was an eye opening weekend to say the least.

This year I made several New Years Resolutions as I’m sure you’ve heard me tell you over and over. One of the many was that I would be more intentional with my time with Jesus and cultivate growth in my Faith. I want to be used by God. I want to trust God in every aspect of my life. One of the speakers at CYWC said, “You have to take steps of faith in the real world to allow your faith to grow! You have to trust that He has a plan for you, your future, and His mission for you in His Kingdom!” It is SO flipping easy to stay where we are comfortable. But we were challenged by this speaker to ask ourselves often:

AM I BECOMING MORE LIKE JESUS?

He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.” – Colossians 1:15-23 (NASB)

Focus on that last part: “… He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation…” I know this can be such a “feel good passage” but I truly believe this is God showing us with both His actions and His words how seriously He wants us to take our faith. Yes, we can TALK the “good Christian” talk, but it means nothing if you aren’t representing Jesus with your ACTIONS. If you can’t prove what you profess, your words are empty.

“A disciple validates commitment to Jesus by persevering, continuing and nurturing a growing and sustainable faith.”

I want to encourage you to step up in your faith. Do not allow sin to fester in your life. Lay it at the feet of Jesus and establish yourself in Him. TALK to the Lord about it, and then ASK for His help to ACT on it. We need to focus on becoming more like Jesus everyday and that will not happen if we hold onto sin in our life or chose to not deal with sin. If we are entertaining wrong and thinking that Christ will take you deeper in your relationship with Him – You are tricking yourself. God WANTS to help us ACT. We just read in Colossians that God has already done the work and reconciled us to Him. Jesus has given us the power to overcome any sin in our lives and be free from it. Take hold of that promise from Christ that He is with you and wants to help you. Those thoughts have given me so much peace and hope right now, and I’m clinging to it.

 

 

– Stay Satidfied

 

 

Calming fears and clearing minds…

Ok so to bring you up to date: I moved back to Regina, Saskatchewan. I completed my Interior Design Practicum at Ambiente Interiors. I was not hired. I am currently jobless. You would think that I’d be more stressed about that last fact…. but I’m not… sooooo…? These past few months have been an absolute whirlwind! However, God speaks to us in the whisper of the wind and that has been SO incredible as I watch as God’s Hand molds my life day by day, everyday whispering, “Just watch and see what I am about to do…” I moved back to Regina at the end of April and began my internship shortly after coming home – it felt great to be working in the field that I love. Remember last summer, when I was working at the design store? I was usually on the sales floor helping clients with high end light fixtures and furniture, luxury plumbing fixtures like claw-foot bath tubs, solid marble sinks, and gold faucets, etc. My job last summer was really fun and I learned SO much. Working in the design store gave me knowledge about lighting, plumbing and furniture that I would never have gained at school. Ambiente Interiors was a completely different experience. I love, love, loved working at a design firm! Ambiente was right up my alley; a small, high end design firm that does both residential and commercial design across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. I worked with two other, wonderful designers and several tradesmen that were experts in their fields.

IMG_0836

As you know, I went to Lakeland College, which is an NKBA accredited college in Vermillion, Alberta and at the end of the two year diploma program, students must complete a practicum with a qualifying design firm anywhere in Canada in order to graduate. So, I chose to work with Ambiente and they were gracious enough to accept me. The practicum experience for me, was phenomenal. It gave me the opportunity to stretch myself and see what I could do in the real world. I was excited to be working with professionals that had experience and knowledge in the field of work that I was pursuing. It is one thing to study interior design at school: in the studio and computer labs, however, it was so much more valuable for me to enforce what I had learned at school in current projects. I was excited for the opportunities I might get to prove myself that I am capable and good enough to succeed in Interior Design. I graduated my program with honors and I am proud of that. However, it’s one thing to earn an A+ on a project in school and an entirely different task to take a real client’s project and design something they are just as excited about as you are. You know what I’m saying? I was looking forward to real clients, with real limitations, real budgets, stubborn likes and dislikes, etc. While in school, my projects usually didn’t have any limitations as a project would have in real life. So you can see why I was nervous but also ecstatic to try myself out in a real project. While working with Ambiente Interiors, my employer took me along to site measurements, design showrooms, showed me current building projects, included me in most client consultations and product representative meetings, etc. She let me draw my own designs and pitch them to clients, she allowed me to pick materials and correspond with the clients and trades-workers directly! For me, that was huge! A lot of these things were taught while I was in classes, but to experience those things gave me the opportunity to ask questions that I would not have thought of in class. For example, in class we learned how to draw details of custom cabinetry but meeting the carpenter that was going to be building my design allowed me to ask him questions that I would not have thought of and also for him to ask me questions that I hadn’t considered either. It was an awesome learning curve. 0 to 100 so fast!Graduation

One thing that I loved about my boss including me in meetings with Ambiente’s trades-workers, was seeing how the designers collaborated with the people who would be producing the work – it was eye opening to me. Carpenters, metal-workers, contractors, designers, drafters, etc. we are all designers in some way. While working in my practicum, the biggest realization was how important teamwork is between everyone working on a project and how important it is to listen to everyone on your team and to keep constant communication with everyone. Ideas from all team members were valued equally in a project, and by listening to other members on our design team, the finished product was that much better and more unique than the original design. Simply because ideas were given the opportunity to bounce off other people and grow bigger and better! Experiences like that made me think a lot about how God wants to include us and use us in our relationship with Him. It’s not about living your life in a routine and sticking to what you know is safe, it’s about going out for Christ and being willing to bounce ideas off God and see where He will take you! I think some Christians slide into this comfortable bubble and become too content to do anything extra in their walk with the Lord. You know what I’m saying? For example, In a meeting I had with my boss and our carpenter, we were going over a design I had. Personally, I thought my idea was great and that it couldn’t get any better. I drew the design, made a 3D model to show how I wanted it to work, etc. But when I brought my design to the table in the meeting, my boss and our carpenter right away started making suggestions of how we could change it. I’ll confess that I got a little irritated at first because I thought they were trying to find flaws in my design. As I sat there watching as they looked over my design and hearing what they were saying, I felt a peace in my heart to just listen to what they were saying and try to see my project from their angle. As I listened, my boss had some very good points about possible flaws in the finished product, the carpenter suggest different turning mechanisms to make the design more functionable, etc. They were making it better. Much better. I believe God wants to do the same in our lives. He wants to take us further into Him. Much further. But only if we are willing to sit back and listen. Really listen.

GraduationMy employer at Ambiente Interiors gave me several projects to work on and allowed me to run with my own ideas. This was good for me. It was encouraging to be given opportunities to show what I can do and prove to myself that I can be successful in the work field. Learning how to collaborate with other designers and tradesmen was hard at first, but it got better. After I would finish a design concept, I would present it to the other designers I worked with, and they would show me where my design was strong, and where it could be even stronger. My ideas were always considered and explored, along with everyone else’s ideas. It built my confidence in my skills and abilities to suggest more ideas and put myself out there. Working with the design team at Ambiente Interiors was a huge blessing because the designers were able to explain things that I did not know, simply because there are things a person can only learn on the job through experience. My employer was a very patient and relaxed boss to work for; she was good at keeping a situation calm and talking through problems with clients and contractors. I saw the importance of listening before acting and how consistent communication is a needed skill in the industry. It was valuable for me to watch how conversations went around the design table and it was empowering to be accepted and welcomed to contribute when sitting around the design table. I appreciate everything that I learned and I hope to one day work for Ambiente Interiors again. I think the most phenomenal thing about my experience at Ambiente Interiors, was how it fell together. My position there was completely the hand of God – no body can take credit. While I was at school, I had been researching a custom home builder that I had heard a lot about. I researched their work and their staff, I followed their projects on social media, I was sold. This was the place I wanted to work. But God had other plans. For over a month, I had tried calling this company many times, but could never get through or further than leaving a message. Not going to lie, I was confused. At the time, this company seemed to be placed on my lap by Jesus, but it took a swift turn to the left and abruptly ended and I did not know what to do. It was nearing the end of my classes and I had still not nailed down a practicum placement. After being shut down by the previous company I was pursuing, I went back to the drawing board. “God I don’t really know what to say, I thought you were lining up that one placement for me perfectly! It was honestly seeming too good to be true! I have no idea where to look or where to start…” When God closes a door, He opens a window. I believe that statement whole-heartedly. 100%. I literally punched, “Interior Design Firm Regina” into Google and Ambiente popped up. From there, God played the cards and I watched in amazement as my practicum came together in a matter of two days.

I want to challenge you guys to live boldly and to allow God to grow your dreams and ideas. You may think you’ve got a sick plan figured out, but I’m living proof that God is 100% able to do so much more than all we could ever plan or imagine. If you are willing to hold on tight and be patient, I know that God wants to do something incredible with your life. Prayer and constant communication with Christ is your ultimate weapon in the battle of the unknown. Go for it guys – my practicum was too amazing – I can’t imagine what He’s going to do this summer!

 

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

I don’t know if it’s right – but it doesn’t feel wrong…

VW Bus BackSitting alone with God is such a wonderful thing. Actually taking those cliche moments to listen to the winds blowing through trees, to watch the colours in the sky change as the sun set or like last night; I was about to crash and noticed a bright green flicker from my bedroom window. I love the northern lights. It was actually on my bucket list to see them at one point. I may live in a classic, cute little down – but the view or the northern lights makes it unreal. I remember the most extraordinary time I saw the northern lights here; it was almost exactly a year ago – my friend and I decided we’d drive out of town into a random farmers field and sit in her car drinking coffee and watch this fantastic natural light show. It was one of the most surreal moments I’ve ever had in my life. Breathtaking. They were so bright; literally casting shadows beneath us when we stood outside the car. Everywhere we looked was glowing green. The lights were directly above us in that field – I could see the beams overhead; shooting straight up and I could see each time they flickered and moved. They were so close I felt as if they were swirling around us at one point. I just remember not having words to say; pure amazement. I don’t know if it’s wrong to think this, but in those moments I believe God is displaying His beauty and creativity for me alone. I believe that while I was watching the northern lights from my window last night – God telling me that He loves me. He took the moment I couldn’t sleep to show me His simple greatness and beauty. I like those small gestures like a written note or a thinking of you text, or whatever – those little things that say hey “I enjoy you”. When I’m driving and God gives me a crazy awesome pink sunset, I like to think He made it specially for me. When I’m anxious and He lights up the sky with phenomenal moving lights, I like to think He’s giving me a moment to refocus on Him instead of what’s stressing me out. I hope you have moments like that too.

VW Bus SideIt’s so encouraging when you realize that God’s you Father and He wants to brighten your day simply because He can! My Dad has always done those little things to show our family he loves us whether it’s washing my car or watching cartoons with us, buying cellphone car gadgets and extra chargers cause he knows we lose them and break them. The next time you see something and it makes you look twice,  stop and enjoy it and believe that God did that specifically for you and you alone to enjoy in that moment. Maybe listening to birds sing together on a walk or that short cool breeze at the end of your run or that cloud to block the sun while you drive with the sunroof open. He cares about you because you are His and He wants to show you through the little things that He cares for you – not always just the big things that we continually pray for. I’ve been thinking a lot about graduating school and moving back to Saskatchewan; not gunna lie it’s a huge bitter sweet deal. There are several things that I am excited about and equally as many things that I am dreading. However, moments where God gives me peace in the simple things; I know that I purely need to trust in Him and know that if He cares enough about me to give me a sunset or northern lights; He most definitely cares even more about the bigger things going on. Whatever you’ve got on your mind right now, know that it’s ok to relax and allow your Father to take care of it. Rest in Him and take it one step at a time taking joy in the little things that He sends your way.

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

Jumping into darkness…

Red Rock StandI have no idea where I will be in my life in six months. I can’t decide whether or not I should love this feeling or dread it. I am a person that has always had a rough idea; a plan A and a backup plan B. For years I have always had a hunch on what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go and how I wanted to go about doing something. I knew that when I finished high school I would go to Bible school on an island in BC. I knew that when I finished Bible school, my boss had a job for me to jump back into and I would work for a year. I knew after my gap year I would move away and go to school where I would study Interior Design. I know that when I finish school I am to go on a missions trip with my church to Brazil that God told me I would go on four years ago. As of now, I have less than two months left of school and there are 152 days until I fly to Brazil to share the gospel with the people there. So in roughly 175 days I’m clueless. Mmmmk I know I’m being dramatic about this – but still. After a student graduates, they are supposed to be grown up and ready to join the rest of the world and be responsible. That scares me.

I know I’m not the only one that feels this way in life. I know there are millions of people that have been in this situation too at some point in their life. Actually, at church the other day a friend of mine was speaking. She was a full time missionary to Africa; after living there for 39 years, the Lord called her to retire because He has new work for her here in Canada. Anyways, she was sharing about her experience in Africa and leaving for good, “You know those trapeze people in a circus? They are super high up on a small platform, they jump out into the darkness where they know a bar will swing just in time for them to grab onto and take them to the next platform. I feel like one of those people right now.  I feel like I have just jumped off my platform where I knew it was safe and what I was doing. Now I am flying in midair hoping for that bar to come my way. I have no idea what the bar looks like and I have no idea where it will take me. But I know it’s coming – and like the trapeze artist; I have to be ready and watching for it.” She took the words and feeling out of my body – that’s exactly how I feel right now. I feel like I’m bracing myself to jump into the darkness.

Red RockI’ve obviously been thinking about this for a little while now. I know this because God gave me a “Stop panicking letter” Seriously. He did. It was in my mailbox at church. A small note that read, “Psalm 32:8, ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.'” Two minutes before I read His note, I was literally venting to a friend at church about my “problem”. I also had to laugh because I felt this note was God’s way of telling me to shut up. My devotional book the other day said something similar, “KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME! As your circumstances consume more and more of your attention, you are losing sight of Me. Yet I am with you always, holding you by your right hand. I am fully aware of your situation. Your gravest danger is worrying about tomorrow. If you try to carry tomorrow’s burdens today, you will stagger under the load and eventually fall flat! You must discipline yourself to live within the boundaries of today. It is in the present moment that I walk close to you; helping you carry your burdens.Keep your focus on My Presence in the present. Let the future unfold and worry about itself.”

“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.”    – Psalm 73:23

Guys, I have not figured out what will happen in a couple months… but I’m getting the feeling that God is wanting me to simply lean back and ride the river. I want to encourage you to do the same. School is coming to an end and maybe you’re in the same place as I am. Or things at work could be completely changing, or maybe you have to move and you have no idea who you will even be able to call “friends”. God says that He knows each and every one of our situations and He cares. He knows how they will pan out. Don’t stress. I’m going to try my best to let go and see what happens. Quite often, God has something much better planned than anything we could work up.

Red Rock Edge

 

– Stay Satisfied

Nothin to do but wait…

Silence is such a good thing – it allows you to filter out the voices and sounds that aren’t important. Do you ever do that? Go away where it’s quiet and simply enjoy the stillness? It’s been a little over two months since I last posted {sorry} but the stillness has been good for me. It allowed me to sit back and think about what is relevant in my life and what is not. It’s something that I like to do when everyone is stressing out about their New Year’s Eve plans. I guess there are just so many things that I put so much time, effort, worry and energy into that was never really worth it. Or things that I should have focused more on but missed the boat, you know? I am now in my last semester of Interior Design. I have come so far and I started to wonder what I was going to do next? I can’t believe I’ve made it this far! It’s so exciting and incredible to think how fast two years can go by!

Do you ever look back at your year and think about all the things that happened that you planned vs. the things that happened that you didn’t know would happen? It’s really cool when you do! If you were to flip back on your facebook timeline or through your old Instagram posts, you’ll remember several things that happened last year. Maybe it was a spontaneous road trip, or a random party you went to. It could be starting school or a new job, meeting new friends or moving to new places. I’m sure you’re getting the idea. When I look back at my year I’m reminded of both fun memories and sad memories – none of which I’d change. But looking at them, and seeing how God connected one event to the other and had life continue on to the next, I realized that God’s plan is so wonderfully random. That sounds cliche, but you can’t avoid the obvious truth. Right now, the knowledge that God is quietly laying the next plank in the bridge ahead of me is incredibly calming. Today I was forced to remember that my plans and my timing are not the best. It felt like a gut punch.

IMG_5563In my course I have two years of studies and then a two month practicum. The studies are all at my school in Alberta but the practicum is completely up to us students and where we would potentially like to work as designers. I have had one place in mind ever since November. I wasn’t looking for it; it was as if God had plopped it on my lap and said “Go for it”. As I learned more about the business and research their company and what they do I was blown away by all of the connections there were. My dream in interior design would be to help families design and build their dream home that functions perfectly for them. I would love to build sustainable homes that will be a long lasting investment for each client. In the end the house would reflect their personality beautifully and that it would become a showstopper in their neighborhood – something that they could and would be proud of! I tried contacting this company recently and was having bad luck with trying to get a hold of the owner. A week later I tried calling again, and I was shut down. I was shocked. “God, I thought you were opening this door for me… what just happened?” He was silent.

“She will have no fear of bad news; her heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” – Psalm 112:7

The week before, I had been talking to a friend about this dream job and how I was excited about this placement for my practicum even though I hadn’t actually scored the position yet. “So, why have you been putting off calling them if you’re so excited?” he asked me. “Because I’m scared.” I was scared about the possibility of being rejected. Ironically enough. It was sounding like such a wonderful place to work I was afraid of the thought that they might not accept me. After talking about it he finally said to me, “You need to stop being afraid and wanting full control of the situation. Go out on a limb! Listen, I have three questions for you: one, do you believe that God loves you? Do you believe that He has His best intentions for you? And do you think, that somehow, just maybe, God knows more than you do? If you said yes to all three of those, then you need to trust that God is gunna go ahead of you and work things out. You might get the job-  awesome. But you might not get the job. What then? You continue to trust Him. So tomorrow, you call them fully trusting that God is in complete control and be open to the chance that there might be a placement better for you than what you’ve found for yourself.” Boom. He knife of truthed me. So what did I do the next day? I shot a quick prayer to God asking that He would be in control of the situation. I called. Got rejected. Hung up. Dang it.

IMG_5752Sometimes what we plan for ourselves, is not awesome. We may think it’s awesome – but it’s actually not. At this point, I literally have no idea where I will go to complete my practicum. I’ve got nothing. You may not know what you’re doing either. It’s ok. I’m in the same boat. Maybe your situation is bigger than mine. You just got dumped by your girlfriend or boyfriend and you thought for sure you were going to get married. Your job just cut you loose due to the crashing economy. Maybe your situation is smaller than mine. You were hoping to buy this new guitar and found out they just sold the last one. I don’t know, maybe you wanted ice cream at McDonald’s and when you went to go get some, their ice cream machine was broken. Jokes on you for that one, cause it’s always broken. Anyways, what I’m trying to say, is that we all have let downs. That’s how life goes. I saw a quote the other day that said, “At 23: JK Rowling was broke, Tine Fey was working at the YMCA, Oprah had just been fired as a TV reporter, and Walt Disney had declared bankruptcy. It’s going to be ok.” All those hot shots were ordinary, infamous people too and they pulled through.

I want to encourage you to keep moving forward. I didn’t fail at this attempt for a practicum; I simply found one place that I won’t work. When I was shut down, I was upset. I was discouraged wondering what I would do next. I still don’t know what to do next but I do know that God must have somewhere in store for me that is going to be incredible and more awesome than I thought it would be. My friend text me that same day saying, “Hey Payton! I was reading, and Nehemiah 8:10 just made me think of you. You can see that the joy of the Lord is your strength – that is an awesome gift to have…” Once again, I sat there shocked. God spoke through my friend at the perfect time to encourage me. “Payton, you need to continue trusting me and relying on my strength. You will have joy when you let go of the things you are continually trying to do for yourself. It’s ok to walk through life without knowing your every move. Keep going.” So I want to pass it on to you. Right now, think about that thing in the back of your mind that you are trying to hold on to and control. Breath in and think about it. Do you know what? Let it go and allow God to take control of it. Breath out. Keep going. Keep breathing. He’s got this.

 

 

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

 

So you’re not quite where you thought you’d be…

When you were little, you imagined yourself living in a mansion, with a Porsche, and a smokin hot spouse, making six digits in your dream career. No? Maybe you thought you’d marry a babe and move into the mountains and forests and explore the world; spending everything you had on the next adventure. Or maybe you’re one of those people that just wanna settle down with your hotty-Mchotty and have babies. I remember being ten years old and sitting around the kitchen table with my cousins, sipping chocolate milk and eating cheese puffs (don’t question the flavour combination) We would sit and talk with each other about what we thought we’d be doing when we were adults… “Yeah, I’ll probably go to school, graduate and make loads of cash right after that.” I remember saying confidently. “Oh yeah? What are you gunna drive?” my brother quizzed. “Psh! The car I’m gunna drive isn’t even made yet!” My cousin would blurt; spitting chewed cheese puffs everywhere. My other cousins claimed other life goals like getting married at 16 or having two wives cause he”just couldn’t pick” you know, the super realistic things. Anyways, obviously we look back and laugh at most – if not all of those options because none of us are anywhere near those goals. Truth be told, our plans are often quite different than what the Lord has up His sleeve. The things we long for, plan and try to do in our life don’t always line up with what God has in store for us.

“A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?” {Proverbs 20:24}

So, maybe you’re not quite where you thought you would be in life at this time. Maybe you don’t have the job title you’ve been striving for and you aren’t even close to making six digits… you may not even know what you want to be doing as a career! Or maybe you feel like you’ve been a student for centuries; you keep switching your major or starting classes and realizing that it’s not your forte so you drop them. At this point, maybe you feel like people are now making six digits off you from all the money you’ve been spending on classes, books, tutors, campus parking tickets and materials. Perhaps you aren’t married to a hot spouse with a couple beautiful children living in that awesome home with a cute backyard and a swing-set? Maybe you are currently dating someone and the relationship between you guys is simply coasting; nothing’s happening and it doesn’t really seem to be going anywhere. Or what if you have been trying to get with someone and they are tooootally missing the hints and everything is going over their head… On the other hand, you could be single right now and are possibly waiting to cross paths with another single babe. Who knows.

CowWhat ever you seem to be focusing on right now; whether it is a relationship, a job or career, classes or lessons or something else, I want you to put it in a mental box for a moment and listen to me. Don’t worry, we’ll come back to it. God tells us multiple times in His Word that we are to do everything in order to bring glory to Him. Seriously, 1 Corinthians 10: 31 says, “Whether then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” In Colossians 3:17 we are told, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” and again in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” Right now, if you let yourself think about it, you probably have a lot of free time right now because you don’t have that thing you are working towards. I mean, once you get that thing, you’ll probably be really busy spending time with it, correct? If you get the job; you’ll be working harder to keep the job and hopefully move up the ranks. If you get the man or the girl, you’ll be wanting to spend a lot of time with him or her and potentially put a ring on it. Etc. It literally never stops – there is ALWAYS going to be something else that we are working towards. That’s just the way people work and operate. So hypothetically speaking, right now you most likely have the most time you ever will in your life. Don’t waste it. Don’t squander it. Do not try to fill the time with things that are of no value. Why don’t you use it for things that will be of value in the future? Earthly and Spiritually. How about developing yourself in different areas of your life? Perhaps that means learning new skills, developing new talents or improving a gift you already have. Or it could be other practical things like learning to cook or clean, reading more and watching less T.V. or doing more physical activities and working out? The self development list is one that could honestly go on and on… Why not build healthy friendships and see where they may go in time? Why not slowly learn in your work place and get a good handle on the job and get to know the people you work with? Why not spend time volunteering at your church and helping the people in the community around you? Why not spend more time hanging out with your family? I would encourage you to make a list; not a list of what you want your life to look like in the next five years or what qualities you want your life partner to have. A list of who YOU want to be and what you should be striving for in your own life. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated but I know there are qualities and characteristics we’ve always admired in other people and wished we were better at. Why not start working towards those qualities and characteristics? Instead of wishing you were good at the guitar, why don’t you pick it up and start working towards that wish? Instead of people telling you that you’re impatient, why not work in that area of your life? See what I’m saying?

Lake Edge  We need to learn to be content in each and every point of our lives. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are difficult times in life just as much – if not more than there are joyous times. Often I’ve been asked during a hard point in life, “Well, what do you think God is trying to teach you through this?” or even, “What did you do wrong for God to allow that to happen to you?” People… I’m only gunna say this once. Not everything that happens in a person’s life is punishment, or a lesson, or a mystical map to the key of happiness. Sometimes things just, happen. No rhyme or reason. You see, joblessness, singleness, homelessness or whatever “ness” you seem to be struggling with right now has happened to other people in this world and will continue to occur as long as time continues. What we need to be focusing on in those blessings and hardships is Christ and Christ alone. We also need to realize that all those things aren’t necessarily bad things at all!

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” {2 Corinthians 4:18}

I want to encourage you right now to fully embrace what is going on in your life. Maybe it’s a successful moment in your schooling or career – celebrate it! Or on the other hand maybe you are lonely and it feels like the number of people you can truly confide in are walking out the door left, right and center. Whether it be a good thing or a bad thing right now; you need to fully embrace it with The Lord. god’s promised us in His word, “He has not left me alone” – John 8:29. I believe that everything that comes our way in life is to make us stronger as a person but more importantly, it is to make us stronger in our relationship with God and to bring us closer to Him. Every scenario is meant to bring glory to Him. “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13. I know when I am going through something significant that stops me in my tracks, I have to pause and ask God what’s up. Sometimes He’ll tell me “Oh nothing Payton, keep going. I am with you.” Yet other times God says to me, “You handled that really bad. You need to fix it and ask me to work in this area of your life.” Sure, there are always life lessons in everything that happens in life. I won’t deny that. But I want you to know and understand that just because you aren’t where you thought you’d be in life RIGHT NOW, means that it’s because you’ve done something wrong or because God is punishing you. Often God withholds things in our life because He is refining them to make sure the situation will be good in His perfect and holy timing. Accept that.

Mushroom

I want to encourage you guys to love life, to appreciate the small good things that God has blessed us with and to stop and praise Him in the difficult moments. Both of these things bring us closer to God. Both allow us to grow as a person. Both are just as much a part of life as the other. A friend shot me a text the other day; it was a hard day and I was struggling. I told him a couple of the things that were going on and he simply said to me, “You know, it’s normal to have ups and downs… Hang in there, Jesus is the ultimate comforter!” It wasn’t profound or earth shattering but it made me stop in the middle of what I was doing. It’s ok to be in a low time. It’s ok to not know or have your life planned out. It’s ok not to have your life completly figured out. It’s ok. I was so thankful for God to speak through my friend the way He did and tell me that it’s alright. I know that it’s ok for me and it most definitely is ok for you too. On a side note; I think we need to remember that we cannot compare our lives to the lives of others. You can’t compare your low moments to someone else’s Facebook timeline because people only post their highlights. You cannot think another person has a perfect life because their Instagram account portrays a beautiful life. Rarely do people showcase their imperfections, bad qualities and hard times. It’s the social media game that we need to be aware of. Keep your chin up and hang in there. He’ll bring you through whatever valley you might be in and God will celebrate with you on each and every high point you reach. Guaranteed. Keep your eyes off others and the things around you and solely focus on Him who can actually improve the situation.

 

 

 

 

– Stay Satisfied