Post Grad Life: Two Years of Purposeful Living

A lot can happen in two years. Life can change both on a dime and on 20,000 dollars. That’s roughly how much my student loans cost me, but I dedicated these two years living at home to paying them off. Now, debt freedom is on the horizon. It was such a blessing, even if it felt like I wasn’t doing much with my life.

Though I went through periods when I felt stagnant, God was busy. He still used me. He still showed me pieces of His plan for me. He treated me to accomplishments and opportunities all the while nurturing me in my weaknesses.

The lessons I’ve learned these past two years are treasures I will carry with me for the rest of my life, no matter where I go or what I do.

While working in a job that wasn’t anywhere near my desired field, God taught me a lot. Here are a few helpful tidbits to apply in the working world.

  • Leadership is knowing when to be tough and when to be encouraging—a balance between getting the job done and being there for the people.
  • Integrity is demonstrated.
  • Respect is given before it is earned.
  • Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay.
  • God loves all your bosses and coworkers just as much as you.

I could go on, but you get the point. You may not be thrilled with where you’re at right now, but always look at what God is teaching you. Suddenly, everything becomes deeper.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

∼Colossians 3:17∼

Some of the hardest days at work were the days I leaned on God the most and I praised Him for getting me through. I know that wherever I’m placed, if I choose to look at it in a way that will make me a better human and a better light for God, I’m acting out my purpose.

You mean I only have to glorify God to fulfill my purpose?

That’s right!

Assuming you’re a Christian, you should have at least a general understanding of what Jesus talks about in the Bible.

Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. Care for those who need you. Pray always. Give thanks in everything. Forgive. Encourage. Trust. Be careful of what you say. Stay away from what you know is wrong.

Don’t make excuses. Don’t overcomplicate the freedom Jesus has given us to live as His followers.

If we are following the Word of God, we’re following the calling God has for our lives. Not only will we be pleasing God, but we will also make a lasting impact on the people around us. And you don’t have to be famous to do that. You don’t have to have all the money in the world to do that. You don’t even have to be doing something you love in order to do that.

Don’t confuse your passion with your purpose. Hear me out—your mission isn’t limited to accomplishing your dreams. Sometimes your passion must take a back seat to responsibility. But while your dreams are stirring and growing behind the scenes, your every day life can still make a lasting impression.

No matter where you are or what you’re dealing with, God can still use you.

Embrace the infancy of your purpose. Take the necessary steps to figure it out. It might feel like you’re going nowhere sometimes, especially when you compare yourself to others who are “farther along” or are “doing more.”

Your path is what you make it, and the best thing you could do is trust God with where it leads. If you feel like this is your nomad season, remember, God still provided for His people while they wandered in the wilderness.

Whether you’re sweeping floors or building rocket ships, let the Word of God motivate your work so that you can do everything for the glory of God.

 

God bless!

LJM

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Tower of God

The name of the Lord is a strong and mighty tower where the righteous can run and be safe…but sometimes Life tries to shake that tower and we watch as brick after brick falls to the ground. Overcome with dread, you wonder how much longer this tower will stand.

Then the Wind stirs from within the walls and sends your face to the ground.

Suddenly, your voice isn’t tight with despair, and the tears streaming from your eyes aren’t heavy with sorrow, they are merely overflow from a well filled with joy.

And on your knees in humility, you can only look up to the sky in awe and cry “Yahweh! You are God! And though I’m not worth it, I am loved by you. And I will spend the rest of my days trying to return your love.”

Just for a moment, that tower stands tall and no amount of fear, doubt, or anger can pierce its walls.

∼Proverbs 18:10∼

 

Stand strong in the Lord. Run to Him and be safe.

God bless!

-LJM

Message in the Stars

I received a message from God in my driveway.

Let me back up. For those of you that may know me, you may know that I adore the night sky. Whenever the moon swells and the stars begin to fill-in their map of the universe, I get captivated. With my neck craned back, I gaze upward in silent admiration at God’s artistry.

Well one night, when evening had settled, I burst out the back door and laid down on the warm asphalt of the driveway. With the midnight curtain spread above me, I prayed and praised God for the vastness of His work. It was such a peaceful moment, but one that didn’t last long.

The tingling against my leg made me think of the bugs that could be crawling about on the driveway, heading toward my skin. The dog barking in the distance reminded me of the coyotes that may be lurking on their nightly prowl.

The seemingly rational fears disrupted my serenity and laying on the driveway was no longer comfortable for me. After a few minutes of trying to relax and focus on the hope of a shooting star, I had to stand up, looking around me with more paranoia than I’d like to admit.

But even while I checked my skin for bugs and shook the gravel out of my hair, God was speaking to me.

“Do you see what happen here?” I felt Him say.

“How I spooked myself?”

“And yet, no bugs under your feet and no coyotes hiding in the bushes.”

“But I am in the mountains, it’s not unheard-of to find coyotes in the area.”

“Don’t you know that I am with you? You were dwelling in so much peace. Quiet–meditating in my presence. Wasn’t it great? But you let your fear take over.”

“I’m sorry, Father, I couldn’t help it.”

“Fear is out to rob you of your peace and joy in Me. It doesn’t take long before its ideas capture your mind.”

“Barely five minutes.”

I chided myself for letting the “what-ifs” creep into my thoughts and not only ruin my prayer time, but also my star-gazing time. I realized just how quick and easy Satan can use something so little to disrupt our connection with God.

I learned that to continue inviting the thoughts of God into my life, I must train myself to push away the thoughts of the Devil: fear, doubt, pride. They will work to steal everything good God has been working in my heart and will stop at nothing until they succeed.

But I have the love of the God of the Universe. I have the hope of His promises. I have the peace of His plan. And I have the blessings of His favor.

So when Satan attacks next time, maybe I’ll be ready to stand firm in victory with my eyes pointed toward the stars.

God Bless!

LJM

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Honing Your Spiritual Craft

Two best friends grew up playing instruments. One did right by her craft and the other let it fall by the wayside.

Hannah has been playing the viola religiously for over ten years. She understands the importance of discipline when it comes to her instrument. For her undergrad and masters she spent endless hours in practice rooms, sitting in the middle of orchestras and quartets, and standing in front of a crowd performing with the skill God gave her.

Even on vacation she sets aside time to practice, because she knows how easy it is for the discipline to slip away. And when the discipline goes, the skill follows and everything she worked for falls apart.

Take me as an example.

I took piano lessons for nine years. After high-school I went to college, free from the drudgery of practicing. I kept telling myself I would keep up the skill, and every once in awhile I would find a piano to plink out some tunes.

But over the years my memory of the songs dwindled, my coordination faded, and the natural talent my teacher said I had felt more like a rusty piece of machinery.

Hannah’s dedication is inspiring to me. She is a picture of the drive every Christian should have in their walk with Christ. Following our loving Savior takes just as much discipline as any other trade.

Why do you think His followers were called disciples? They grew to understand the difficult training in their journey with Jesus. The moment they stepped away from their world, they entered a life of developing and practicing through their faith in Jesus and their knowledge of Scripture. And they strove to live life as an iron spear, in constant sharpening.

The Apostle Paul writes in Colossians that we “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” Colossians 1:9-12

God has given us the power to be steadfast, to keep going on this journey with Him. Our faithfulness is evidence of the discipline that we walk in. The way of a disciple is guided by the promise of an eternal inheritance from our Father, our ultimate end goal.

If you want to hone your craft of discipleship, you must put in the time, fueling the dedication with the end goal in mind, just as you would with any talent or career. If you don’t, your spirituality will fray and become sparse just like my piano playing skills.

Don’t fret though, you can get it back, but it will take hours of hard work and true persistence. In the end, your perseverance will be evident as you shine with the glory and the love of God to the world.

Happy practicing!

-LJM

Make the Most of Your Life

Make the most of your life,

Though our lives intertwined,

Make me just a memory

 

From the moment you wake,

And in your eyes sunlight shines,

Make the most of your life

 

With Truth in the shadows,

Hearts crossed the line,

Make me just a memory

 

When I felt lost in the mess,

I heard a Word divine,

Make the most of your life

 

You must let me go,

For you are not mine,

Make me just a memory

 

May peace find our souls,

And to Him our ears incline.

Make the most of your life,

Make me just a memory

 

 

-LJM

Psalm 16:11, Galations 5:16

Drink From Your Own Well

By Leah Jordan Meahl

Drink from your own well,
Though the water may shimmer with promising delight,
Do not drink from another’s

If the water is hot,
Soothe your soul and drink,

And if the water is cold,
Refresh your tongue and drink,

And if the water is clear,
Strengthen your bones and drink,

But if the water is dirty,
Make it clean and drink,

Drink from your own well,
For if you drink from another’s,
Their poison you may also drink.

∼Proverbs 5:15-17∼

The River’s Edge

When Joe left his office that late afternoon, he had a huge grin on his face and 20,000 dollars in his pocket. He figured that was the approximate amount more he’d be making with his new promotion; therefore, his pants pockets felt extra heavy. On his way home, he clutched the neck of a bottle of champagne as he pictured the blue eyes of his wife shining with joy from the good news.

The sun beamed over the river as he strolled beside it whistling a tune that would make the birds jealous. He passed a gentleman sitting on a park bench tossing birdseed into the water where the ducks had gathered. As Joe passed, the gentleman spoke up.

“What’s the occasion?” he called out.

“I’m sorry?” Joe paused in his tracks, a bit startled. The gentleman stood to face him. He was wearing a long black trench coat which Joe thought was out of place on a warm spring day.

“Looks as though you’re on your way to a celebration?” he said. The mysterious man stared at Joe with sharp eyes. His unusual interest distracted Joe for a moment, but he soon recalled the reason for his giddiness.

“Actually, I’ve just received a promotion, and I’m on my way home to celebrate with the family,” he replied.

“And this promotion, it means good things for you?”

“Of course. Now, my wife can stay at home to raise our little boy, we can travel more, and maybe even have an early retirement.”

“Fool!” The man pointed a long arm at him. Joe jumped, afraid he was going to get mugged.

“Excuse me?”

“Don’t you know your soul is required of you this very day!” The dark figure licked two of his fingers, rubbed them together, and gave a firm snap.

Before Joe knew it, something collapsed at his side followed by the shrill sound of glass breaking. The champagne bottle he’d been carrying had fallen and shattered into a broken array of green glass. The bubbly contents flowed onto the sidewalk and pooled around the body of a man who lay motionless on the ground.

As he gazed upon the fallen man, Joe began to recognize the dark skin, the black curls of hair that crowned the face, and his favorite ball cap laying at his side.

“No, it can’t be. This is impossible,” he said aloud. He looked at his own hands in front of him expecting to see through them, but he appeared and felt as normal as always. He felt like he had just entered a dream state, completely aware of himself, others, and his whereabouts, but not fully grasping the entire image. He looked up to see the man in the trench coat walking away.

“Wait, I don’t understand. What about…him?” He looked back at his body lying on the champagne-soaked pavement. Even though he knew that was his own, he felt distant and separate like walking away from a good friend.

“He’s no concern of yours now,” the mysterious man answered still walking ahead.

Troubled voices came from behind as a couple of men passing by stopped to investigate the body. What would they find? Knowing he couldn’t assist in any way, Joe decided to leave the scene and catch up to the man responsible for this. Joe followed him, his body moving, but no longer feeling the ground underneath his feet.

“Who are you?” Joe asked as he approached him.

“Only fools ask questions they already know the answer to.” The man kept an eye on the flowing river as they walked.

“Why here, why now? Is this some kind of cruel joke?”

“Do I look amused? I’m never a joke.”

“Please,” Joe said, wanting to burst with tears that no longer filled his eyes. “What about my wife?”

The man stopped and faced the river once again.

“She will mourn. But if you’re worried about her happiness, know she will remarry within five years.” He stuck his hand in his coat pocket and removed a handful of birdseed. He flung a sprinkling of seed into the water, summoning the ducks to follow. Joe pictured the tears of his blue-eyed girl, but knowing she’d be walking down the isle once again disturbed him even more.

“What about my little boy?”

“He will be cared for if that is your concern. You will be remembered fondly, but his memory of you will become like a blurry photograph or a word on the tip of his tongue.”

His child’s face, framed in little black curls came to his thoughts. Joe searched through his mind to hear just one more laugh from his son. He wondered what his small body felt like the last time he held him. Joe shook his head.

“Dare I ask about my work?”

“Your position will be available before your obituary hits print,” he scoffed. “And you think I’m cruel.”

Joe cringed, his mind and heart having trouble connecting and processing this new reality. In silence, they both stared at the ducks nibbling at the seeds floating in the water. They swerved around each other, fighting the current of the river to get as much food as possible before surrendering to the pull of the rapids.

The sun still shone, the river still rushed, but the spring in Joe’s step just minutes before had been seized by an anchor that threatened to sink him. Though his life had already been taken, he felt as though he were suffocating, unable to free himself from sorrow’s grasp.

To Joe’s despair, the man began to walk away again without even a second glance at the grieving soul he’d plucked from existence.

“Wait,” Joe said, and the man paused. “What do I do now? Where am I supposed to go?”

The man heaved a sigh and turned his head back to him.

“Why do you ask me? Your whole life planned for this moment. Now you’re where your heart chose to be.”

The man turned and walked away, leaving Joe by the edge of the river. He watched him go noticing how the man’s fingers rubbed together at his side.

Then Joe was alone with only the ducks to keep him company.

 

 

Written by Leah Jordan Meahl

Inspired by Luke 12:16-21 and Matthew 6:21

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