One Easy Step to the Perfect Life

In a world that's constantly pushing us to become better, self-improve and have a perfect life, it's easy to lose focus. But what does it really take to lead a better life? Click here to read more.

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of lifestyle-improvement pins popping up on my Pinterest feed. Has anyone else noticed this new trend happening? Maybe it’s not quite so new. No matter where you go on the Internet, there’s all kinds of blog posts, Pinterest boards and Instagram accounts showing you how to life the “perfect life”. There are diets, lifestyles and financial habits that are guaranteed to help you enjoy life.

Discontent? We all know money can’t buy happiness—but maybe something else can. We get caught up in trying to be healthy or financial fit or by being more minimalist in our lifestyle choices. If more isn’t the answer to happiness, maybe less is.

We can get so caught up in trying to improve our lives that we forget why we are here to begin with—myself included. We forget that we aren’t here to have a perfect life, but that we are here to serve others. If I get to the end of my life and didn’t have the wedding I wanted to or my dream job but showed God’s love to others, I filled my purpose.

Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that striving for a job you are passionate about or trying to cut down on your possessions is a bad thing. What I am saying is that when those things take place of what God has called us to do as His servants, we may need to do some re-prioritizing. Those things are worth pursuing, but in their place.

I think that sometimes, we spend so much time trying to enjoy life and savour the moment that we forget about the One who has created this life and these moments and this world. Sometimes I find myself not enjoying whatever I’m doing because I’m too concerned about getting the perfect picture of it to share it to Instagram (anyone want to guess what my favourite social site is?). I often have to remind myself that it doesn’t matter if I share it or not; I need to be here and present and available to be used by God. If I spend so much time worrying about the best way to live my life but never really make myself available to God, I have not truly served Him and I will be discontent.

Whenever I’m feeling discontent about life, I tend to try to fill it with different things. I may go shopping and buy that “one thing” I’ve been wanting. I might grab onto the latest trend of a good lifestyle and chase after it for a month before dropping it. But the only thing that really grounds me is spending time with God. Just me and Him. Resting in His presence, studying His Word and building my relationship with Him. We talk about life and stuff that’s happening. Sometimes I’m thanking Him for everything He’s provided me with and other times I’m just being still.

When we worship God, we get our perspective back. We realize Who’s in charge and Who is the center of our lives. We realized what really matters—pursuing the One who loves us more than we will ever know instead of trying to live the best life that is like a dot on an eternal timeline.

When I get to the end of my life, I think I can deal with a regret like not getting the perfect job or achieving each one of my goals. What I’m not sure I’ll get over is regretting not spending more time with my King.

Today, I want to challenge you to focus on pursuing God rather than a perfect life. When you put Him first, everything else will fall in place.

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When Serving Your Church isn’t a Privilege

As Christians, we know that serving in the church is expected of us. But what happens when serving isn't a privilege anymore, but an obligation? Click here to read about how to find joy in serving.

I was raised in the church. I went to nursery, Busy Bees, Sunday School, Tuesday night youth and Friday night young adults. I also go to a fair-sized church, which allows me to enjoy being a part of lots of different programs. I could get involved in lots of different ways, and I loved (and still do) being a part of a larger church family.

But somehow, I lost my identity as a Christian in there. I’m not sure how it happened, but eventually I forgot why I was there. I was serving, worshiping and fellowshiping, but occasionally I would wonder why.

Then doubts started happening. If I’m not sure why I’m here, does that make me a bad Christian? Aren’t Christians supposed to have purpose? Meaning?

I felt a little empty. Christians are supposed to be fulfilled because we’re the ones who have been saved and filled with the joy of the Lord! What’s going on here?

I realized that it’s actually quite simple. In serving my church, I was doing, but not experiencing. There’s a difference.

Sometimes we just get busy and lose our focus. We can get distracted by everything that has to be done that we forget the One who’s behind it all and that we’re actually doing it all for Him. I think we get really used to sitting back and watching the show instead of actually being in the cast.

Psalm 34:8 says,

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

The Bible tells us to experience God, not observe Him. We are to “taste” the Lord’s goodness and “see” His work. The dictionary defines the verb to see as this:

  1. Perceive with the eyes; discern visually
  2. Discern or deduce mentally after reflection or from information; understand

We are not called merely to observe the Lord’s goodness, but to reflect on it; understand it. I have served in my church, but how many times have I gone home after volunteering and thought about how God is working through me and everyone else at that particular event? How many times have I thanked God for what He’s doing in the lives of the youth as I serve them?

It’s so easy to just try to get through and get things done as we fulfill our roles as part of the Body of Christ. But eventually, we get burned out. We become weary. We get tired and wonder if we’re really doing any good or if we’re really making a difference.

In Galatians 6:9 – 10, Paul reminds us:

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Paul repeats this admonishment in 2 Thessalonians 3:13 as well.

Next time you’re feeling tired from serving, remember that there is more to it than just doing. Ask God to help you experience His goodness and joy as you serve Him. The latter part of Psalm 34:8 says, “Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” What you do will not be done in vain if done for the Lord and not for man.

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Living Life with Authenticity

Before I start this post, I have something to say of the utmost importance.

If anyone ever tells you that you put too much mayonnaise on your sandwich, don’t be friends with them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

Being authentic seems to be a popular trend today. But what does it mean to be truly authentic? In a world of impossible expectations and false realities, it can be hard to determine the real from the fake. Click here to learn what living authentically really means.

(Author’s note: I asked my significant other’s younger brother what I should do a post about, and he said that everyone needs to hear that. I promised to oblige him.)

But that’s not what this post is about. (If you’re bored and want to read a brief history of mayonnaise, you can go here.)

I am not an athletic person. In elementary school, I came in last in every single home school track and field meet race I ran (which was way too many, in my opinion). Grade nine gym class was a horrible class which I’m sure I passed because of marks I received for effort. In college, I was playing volleyball with the youth/young adults group from church when my football-and-rugby-playing brother yelled across the court, “Emily, you have the coordination of a jellyfish!” I have always preferred a good book to a game ball.

The problem is, I want to be good at sports. I want to be athletic and strong and fit. And I really want to love running. I just…don’t.

Needless to say, I own five or six pairs of gym shorts, purple running shoes with neon green laces (I love them so much), track pants, yoga pants, leggings, and gym shirts. I own a couple “athletic” hoodies and a large pink-and-grey gym bag that I use as a duffel (I love it also). I can pull off the athlete look pretty well. I like these clothes because they’re comfy, and I am totally a no-fuss, minimal-makeup person when it comes to my wardrobe.

But it sometimes strikes me that when I’m running errands in track pants, runners and a hoodie, I look like an athlete to the average person. I sometimes feel like I’m lying to people about who I am.

But how often do I do that no matter how I’m dressed? How many times do I look like I have it all together, when I really don’t? And how many times do I look at someone else’s Instagram—a place they post their best pictures—and wish I had their life because it’s so perfect?

We need to stop being concerned about how we look and focus on being imitators of Christ. Click To Tweet

Sometimes we are far more concerned about looking good than we are about being imitators of Christ. As Christians, we often get so set on needing to live the proper Christian life that we forget why we’re following Christ in the first place: because we’re broken. I need God’s grace. I need His love. I need His wisdom because I don’t have it all together.

Being genuine doesn’t mean posting no-makeup selfies or using the hashtag #tobehonest. It means not being afraid to admit that we don’t have it all together.

Living authentically is important because it tears down barriers in our relationships. When we are honest with others about our weaknesses, we get to enjoy friendship at a whole new level. You can also encourage others way more when you are being real. Not many people want to be told it’s going to be okay by someone who has never had struggles. Everyone has struggles; it’s just a matter of sharing. When I’m going through something, it is so great to talk to someone who has gone or is going through the same thing. When they share that with me, I am so encouraged. It reminds me of how great God is.

To be a true encouragement to others, you need to live authentically. Click To Tweet

Sharing struggles also glorifies God. When you are dealing with something and relying on God, you can share that with others. You don’t need to have all the answers, but when people see that you aren’t perfect and that you are 100% relying on God to sustain you, that bears witness. It’s saying, “Look, I really don’t know, and I fail in this area all the time. But God’s grace is bigger than me, and He will give me the wisdom and strength I need. He’ll do the same for you.”

Finally, we need to focus on being instead of appearing because that’s how God looks at us. He can see right through us and is not fooled by our appearance in the least bit. (1 Samuel 16:7.) There are so many Bible verses speaking about how God looks at the heart, and you can’t fake that.

Today I want to encourage you to live genuinely. Doing so will bring you closer to others and make you an encouragement to the people around you. God bless!

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