Monday, August 17, 2015

Wait! That Wasn't MY $10 Bill!

Sunday was a really long day.
I had church production in the morning and then had to work thereafter.
But when I finished my day and was walking out of the building, I realized I forgot something and went to go back inside only to look down and see a purple $10 Canadian bill on the ground.
Unsure what to do, I grabbed it and walked inside and promptly asked around if anyone had dropped it. With no result from that, I went back to my car and put it in my car cupholder.

I recently said something I want to start living by.

I don't believe in coincidences, I believe in Jesus.

I believe because God says that he knows the number of hairs on our head, and that not even a sparrow will fall to the ground without his authority, that He knows every moment and has authority over everything. The fact that I found that $10 on the ground, with no owner to claim, I will assume that was a blessing from God in some way. That I would be there in that moment, at that time to see it and pick it up. There was a purpose to that moment.

Recently I've been very anxious about my finances. Going back to school and having to pay rent has caused a surge of emotions that has left me in tears some nights - just worried.
Often I have to turn it over to God knowing that it was HIM who opened this door, and it will be Him who provides over the next 2 1/2 years.

When I saw that $10, I thought "Is it possible this God blessing me with lunch money?"... but I wasn't sure. I was kind of confused because usually God does these things when I ask. I will ask him "Show me how you love me today" or "show me a sign you will provide today"... But I hadn't asked him those things.

Today when I went to lunch with friends I had forgotten the $10 in the car. With no desire to go get it, I payed with debit instead. The $10 remained in my cupholder.

I did something the other week I am not proud of.

I was late to a class at the gym and in a rush. As I pulled up to a stop light, there was a man with a cardboard sign and his dog asking for money. As I came to a stop, I rolled up my window up.
I know. Jerk move. I was already in a rush and was in no mood to give this guy attention. I tried to convince myself that he probably was scamming people anyway but... I couldn't shake it. I was shocked and felt awful that I did that. It completely threw my day off that I would do that. I asked for God's forgiveness that I would reject someone like that whom He created with a purpose. Sure, the guy got off track or was put into bad circumstances, but I had outright rejected him by putting my window up like that. I didn't need to give him money, but I could of at least smiled.

I recently started going to zumba class and I'm loving it! I went today and took the same route to class. Pulling up to the light there was another opportunity... the same man with the same cardboard sign and his dog were standing at the lights where I came to a stop. This was only the second time I had seen him. I immediately understood why I still had that $10 in my cupholder. God had stopped me at that light, at that moment, with the $10 still in my copholder for a reason. This was not a coincidence, this was Jesus.

That money was never mine. It was his.
But here's the problem. I handed the man the money and he was very grateful, but once I got to class I realized that I should have told him the truth about that money. The $10 was never mine. God put it in my hands the day before for that precise moment. It was from God, not me.

I had improved from the "rolling up the window" situation, but I still had a lot to learn.

I want to start giving credit where credit is due. 
God blesses us so abundantly day to day but we are far too busy complaining about what we don't have that we don't even thank him for the roof over our heads, the food in our bellies or even our beating hearts. I want to start being more aware of the situations God puts me in and asking Him how He can use me. I want to cultivate a heart of gratitude and show people that I am where I am, and I am who I am because of His saving grace. When people see or hear me, I want them to see Jesus. That is what God asks of us... God is Love and He gave the ultimate sacrifice for us. He is love on display and he wants us to do the same. That is the message of the bible, and whether you believe in God or not, you believe in love.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.  - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Warning: Facebook is a Liar

Recently I have felt social media to be a distraction in my life. Unfortunately, I run the social media accounts at work so I cannot completely get away. But in regards to my personal account, I started to ask myself the intention behind every post, and I didn't like the answers.

So... I deactivated Facebook.

Life went on as normal, but I had more time.

I was more intentional with the first moments of my mornings and got out the door at a decent time. I was able to connect more with my friends. I started calling them (what a concept!) and writing snail mail (which deemed to be a challenge for a millennial who is used to writing short blurbs to hold a 'digital conversation'). The result? I ended up feeling far more blessed in those moments than Facebook could offer. A friend replied via mail and gifted me an iTunes gift card because my mail to her ended up arriving at the perfect time when she came home from a difficult day at work. It's amazing how God can move when we challenge ourselves, step out of our day-to-day and work on ourselves.

I used this time to also meditate and pray about a big decision I was considering. I applied for my Masters Degree and after I got accepted and made a decision about attending or not, I reactivated my Facebook account. I have friends and family that I am not exactly close with that needed to know I had made this huge life choice... right?

Within the first 15 minutes of reactivating my Facebook account, I immediately felt insecure about the following things:

  • That event I wasn't invited to (with the friends I'm not close with and wouldn't of otherwise cared)
  • I'm single and everyone is engaged or getting married (But no one posts about the problems they are facing, right?)
  • I don't own my house yet (because comparing myself to people who have been married for 5 years and may be facing debt is a reasonable comparison)
  • I don't have a baby (even though I don't want one right now)
  • I'm not currently travelling (I just got back from a solo backpack trip around Europe... less than 2 months ago)
  • My teeth aren't as white as that person I used to go to high school with (who probably uses filters or a special app to get them that way)
  • My hair isn't as perfect as that random person in my friend's photo (who probably spent hours getting it to look that way and is probably wearing extensions)
  • I'm not as fit as that girl (who gets up at 5am every morning to ensure she fits her workout in every day when I would much prefer the comfort of my bed. Truth.)
  • My home is not as clean as that person's photo indicated theirs was (They had the day off

Facebook was lying to me.
I had no reason to be insecure about those things because, well read my NOW response in italics above... they were ridiculous!
We did a series at church called "death to selfie" which taught me to stop comparing my behind the scenes to everyone else's high light reel. The point is, Facebook is just a collection of everyone's fabricated happy moments!

My father posted an image of my family at the cottage which said something along the lines of "Having a great time with family". My brother, sister in law, nephew, mother and father were all at the cottage and I was stuck at work. I immediately felt jipped! thanks for the invite!
It looked like they were having a blast! I messaged my mom and asked how the cottage was going. Her response: "The weather was great, but the weekend had been okay".

Facebook posts have been the cause of a surge of unwanted emotions in me. Feelings of loneliness, rejection, and just not measuring up. But it's a lie, and I know it is.
And here's the truth.

My life is exactly where it's supposed to be and I'm doing pretty fabulous for someone on their own. I have a beautiful apartment that screams my personality. I have a newer car that gets me everywhere I need to go. My family is only 20 minutes away if i need a (better) home cooked meal. My church is my second family and I wouldn't trade them for the world. My God is opening doors for me. My job puts food in my belly and a roof over my head. I have adventure in my life. I'm happy being single right now (I have more time to figure out what I want for my life). I'm not ready for the burden of owning a house or raising children. And as far as white teeth, perfect hair and getting more fit... I'd rather be more read in God's word than to put on a perfect front that will never hold.

I am not perfect, and I do not claim to be.
The problem is, we have messages pushing at us every day telling us what to be, what to buy, how to act, and what is considered "beautiful". I don't need one more avenue distracting me from this beautiful life I have been blessed with.

Needless to say... I will be deactivating my account again.

xo Shauna