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Tips for Home Productivity

So, yes… everyone has been posting to their social media a little extra these days. Some people share news and updates while others share what they’re doing at home. Those who like productivity have also been sharing their ideas for how to stay productive at home which can be super helpful! Since I’ve had a full day at home once a week throughout most of my undergraduate degree, I’ve tested out a few of my favourite tips. It’s also been super beneficial to see all the new ones coming out. I thought I’d share some of my personal favourites in case you’re also needing extra doses of motivation and are looking for every bit of help while staying at home!

1. Set Weekly Goals

As a student you always have assignments, quizzes and exams to study for so weekly goals are easy to set. But even when I’m not doing my schoolwork, it’s nice to have something to work towards at the end of the week and to know that there’s a goal at the end.

2. Plan Your Week at the Start

Plan out your entire week… or at least take a look ahead! This one I’ve done ever since I started university. Usually on Sunday night I’ll take a look and make sure I realize what needs to be completed this week (and sometimes what I need to get a head start on for the following week). This goes hand in hand with setting weekly goals.

3. Set Daily Goals

Yes, even if you have goals for the week, you’ll probably end up trying to cram them all in at the end of the week (if you’re anything like me). And sometimes things need to be done midweek. As you look at your week, set some major daily goals.

4. Plan Out Your Day the Night Before

No, I don’t always do this one. I’d like to think I’m not THAT much of a planner… When the rest of my family is home alongside of me, I have to allow for more flexibility to be able to join their activities. Allow yourself some grace! But I have found this tip to be extremely helpful when I have a busy day and lots of things that must be finished before the end of that day. If I’ve set myself a deadline then I know I have no time to dilly dally in between or procrastinate on that assignment.

5. Start the Day with Jesus

Best tip I’ve EVER integrated into my schedule. First, understand I have NEVER been perfect at keeping my daily “quiet times” and I know that God is not looking for me to sit there reading my Bible just to check it off the list. While I have never done this near as well as I would like to, spending time with Jesus before I do anything else helps me approach the day with peace and confidence because I have had a chance to realign my thoughts on Him. Yes, there are many times I’m distracted by what I need to do next, but I thank God that He is gracious to still meet with me in those moments.

6. Stay Off Social Media Until 11 AM

The time is somewhat arbitrary but it’s usually when I’ve lost my initial wind of productivity and give myself a break. Often I try to apply this to staying off my phone for the entire morning but… I usually fail at that one. Convincing myself to at least stay off social media until later in the day is much more doable and makes all the difference!

I also manage multiple social media accounts, so staying off and planning those tasks for later helps me not get distracted and waste my time scrolling!

7. Be Realistic

Sometimes I set lofty goals. Then I get disappointed because I didn’t complete them. I have found it much more helpful to be realistic as I set my goals, knowing my limits and planning accordingly. If I happen to complete more and get ahead, then it feels even better!

8. Be Gracious

You may have noticed that a lot of these have to do with scheduling and planning. Ask any of my friends or family and you’ll know I’m a hardcore planner. But something I’ve come to realize is that spontaneous and unplanned moments can make the best memories. Be gracious with yourself when you don’t stick to the plan. Leave some wiggle room in your schedule for flexibility and interruptions.

There you have it. Some of my favourite things to do when I need to get stuff done. If you’re looking for more ideas here are two extra articles I’ve found insightful!

  1. My friend Victoria has been doing the home productivity thing since forever: https://victoriawiebe.com/home/5-tips-for-working-from-home
  2. The Gospel Coalition has 9 more tips too! https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/work-efficiently-home/

Also if you want some FREE printables to help you plan, you can find them under shop > downloads!

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My Greatest Dilemma Solved

What is the greatest dilemma that I’ve ever had? At first thought, maybe it was the time when I showed up to class and had to write a midterm I wasn’t prepared for because I thought it was meant to be the week after. Or maybe it was every time I had to decide what to do with my summers. But with time and new perspective, I have realized that my greatest, most detrimental dilemma was that, as a sinner, I was separated from God.

Yes, I am a sinner. I am not perfect and I fall so short of God’s perfection. On my own, I can’t have a relationship with God and be spared from the eternal death he says I deserve. I can’t hide myself from His wrath against sin. I can’t earn my own salvation.

But how was this dilemma solved? God. Because He is love, He intervened. He made a way for me to be with Him forever. He sent His only son, Jesus, to take the punishment of death for me. He emptied Himself and took on the cross.

“… [Christ Jesus], though he was he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” -Philippians 2:6-8

Because He is the one who took it upon himself, I can now be free. I believe and am saved from condemnation. I have put my faith in Him and that his grace is the only reason I can now have a relationship with God.

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Romans 5:1

I am saved from eternal death and condemnation. I can now be with God forever and have a personal relationship with Him. He no longer sees me as the sinner who falls short of the perfect standard, but he sees me labelled with Jesus’ righteousness. My greatest dilemma has been solved through the cross.

I fully believe that my greatest dilemma has been solved because of what Jesus did on the cross. God has made a way for me to know Him. And I am fully known and fully loved by Him. I can have full joy in knowing that no other problems will compare to the one already taken care of. There’s hope in more than just the now. There is an eternity to spend with the God who so deeply loves me and will make all things right. Nothing on this earth will compare to the glory of being with Him forever. Nothing on this earth will be as detrimental as my sin that separated me from God. But He is good and He is faithful. He has made a way for me to know Him. And nothing will ever be able to separate me from His love. No mistake I make, no bad choice I make and no exam I may fail can separate me from His love. So, I can be still and rejoice.

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” – Habakkuk 3:18

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The Power of a Prayer Meeting

I’ll be honest, prayer meetings were the last thing I would schedule time for in my semesters. As a student leader for my campus ministry, life just seemed so full. Whether I was involved in other club activities and events or not, the prayer meeting always seems to be the last meeting I prioritized. If I had extra time, I’d consider going, and if I could be studying, it was the first thing I dropped from the possibilities. I don’t think I’m alone in this. But recently since pulling back from other scheduled events, I have made the time to attend prayer meetings and found it SO worthwhile. Here’s why I think these meetings have become a highlight of my week and are important to make time for!

 

1. Join Other Christians in Seeking God Together

There’s something powerful when 2 or 3 come together in His name. You can seek God individually (and ain’t that important) but it’s special when you join other Christians in seeking God together.

 

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” – Matthew 18:20

 

As students, our heart for our campus should be to see revival and the lost get saved. Praying for your campus with other Christians who want to see their classmates be saved is powerful! There’s unity and joy that comes from it. I have personally been so encouraged every time I see Christians come together at my school for worship or prayer because I can see how many people are also following Jesus in a secular environment.

 

2. Cast Your Anxieties on God

God cares for us and wants to bear our burdens. We weren’t meant to bear them on our own. When things or troubles are on our hearts, the best place to take them is to God. Sure, sometimes it isn’t best to bring it up in front of other people but sometimes they can come alongside us with these things. Whether or not our worries are spoken, coming to pray with others is a good reminder to also bring our anxieties to God because He cares for us.

 

“… casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

 

3. Take a Moment to Remind Yourself of God’s Goodness

In the midst of bringing miseries and troubles to God, prayer is a perfect opportunity to remind ourselves and be thankful for God’s goodness. What a privilege it is to be able to come to God with free access. Prayer is a direct line to talk to God which is only because of what He has done for us. He has given us salvation.

 

And when we bring our requests to God, He has a plan no matter what happens or how long it takes. He hears us and answers us even if it wasn’t what we expected. We can learn to have this posture from Daniel’s friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendago who were about to be thrown into the fiery furnace for the sake of their faith.

 

“If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” – Daniel 3:17-18

 

This verse is often paraphrased as “but if not, He is still good.” There is so much to be learned from these guys that trusted God knew best. They knew God was capable to deliver them but trusted that even if God chose not to deliver them, God had a better plan.

 

For me, every time we pray for revival and for healing, I know God is capable. But when I don’t see my friends have an immediate change of heart, I know I don’t need to be discouraged. Or if I face troubles for the sake of Christ, I know He has purpose in it. God knows best and He still hears us. He has a bigger heart for my friends and my campus than I ever could. God is still so good no matter what.

 

4. Practice Humility and Dependence on God

I’d say this point has been the biggest lesson in my life lately. Humility means acknowledging that God is my Creator and I am dependent on Him. Coming to Him in prayer means I’m admitting that I need Him. Prayer doesn’t always need to change others, but it changes me and realigns my focus onto God.

 

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

 

I’m all for the fellowship and taking on leadership to plan events for fellow students. God truly taught me valuable lessons through that season of my life. But I’ve come to realize that we also so easily forget to depend on Him instead of ourselves and this is one way I’ve found helpful to practice that.

 

I realize not everyone will be in the same boat. Maybe you don’t attend school and have the opportunity of praying with other Christians at school. Or maybe you just don’t know about any prayer meetings happening at your Church. So, how do you keep yourself from depending on your own strength?

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5 Highlights from Working at a Summer Camp

I’m back. Where was I? Camp! Not just for a week… not just for the two months of summer… but for an entire 4 months of relationship-building, gospel sharing, high-intensity schedules, and fun. This year was my sixth year at this camp. I started in what we call the SALT program (Servant and Leadership Training), did 3 years of cabin leading (camp counselling) and this year got to co-lead the SALT program. What made this year so special?

 

1. Saw the Fruit of God’s Work Over an Extended Time

We’ve had so many kids return year after year. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like there’s any change in them at all, and sometimes there’s such a gradual change that it’s easy to get discouraged when they leave at the end of the week as the same kid that arrived. However, this year above any other, we saw so many commitments to Christ! Many of these were from kids who have come for many years, even for multiple weeks each summer. In our last week of kids camps we had 34 kids dedicate their life to Jesus (that we knew of)! One of these little girls was in my cabin last year. It’s encouraging to see how God has watered the seeds planted in her life which resulted in a commitment to following Him. It takes time, but after 6 years of camp, I’ve seen the long-term results.

 

2. Growth in Those I Led

As the girls leader of our SALT program, I was responsible to disciple, lead and connect with the girls in the program (all 32 of them). Together with the guy SALT leader, we planned their training week, taught them jobs, led devotional times and spent time getting to know them. I may have been there to encourage them in their walks with Christ, but they impacted me just as much, if not more. The way they have a desire to share the gospel with their friends in high school and live their lives to the full glory of God… it was so encouraging to me. Because they got to be there for more than a week, I got to see how God was working in their life over the entire summer. Such a special group of teens who I won’t forget!

 

3. School Group and Family Camp Impact

For the months of May and June we host school groups. Elementary and middle schools send their classes to partake in our activities and see what camp is like. Our goal is always to build relationships with kids in hopes that they will come back. This year I saw the fruit of this undoubtedly. In my role I didn’t have as many opportunities to connect with these school group kids, but one girl I really connected with. I started conversing with her as soon as they arrived and sat with her when I could throughout the day. By the end of the day, she told me she loved camp so much that she was going to try and convince her mom to come to family camp. I encouraged her that she should but proceeded to forget. Low and behold though, she showed up at our first family camp with her mom. Her mom told me how all she talked about at home was me and how awesome camp was so they decided to come. They fell in love with family camp so much that they then registered for our second family camp. And that second week, the mom became a Christian! God showed me that each and every part of camp ministry can be used to further His kingdom. I’m just so thankful to have seen it so closely this year.

 

4. Christ-centred Community

The staff we had this year were exceptional. They have been every year, but this year we started the year with the mindset of prayer. Everyone was so willing to pray then and there when requests arose. Each day, while cabins had their after-chapel discussions, the staff not in cabins committed to praying for those discussion times. I also saw first hand how everybody could be vulnerable but people were willing to point you to Christ in all situations. Sure we weren’t perfect, but it was so evident that these people wanted to live for Jesus in all aspects of their life. I’ve experienced great community in many places, but living in one 24/7 that’s so committed to Christ even when their imperfections show through was a privilege.

 

 

5. New Skills I Learned

This new role gave me opportunities to learn such random and useful skills – from driving a boat, getting first aid, jump starting my car battery, to dealing with conflict and learning to go with the flow… God taught me so many things each and everyday. Looking back, I am so thankful for those opportunities to learn.

 

 

Camp ministry is always a blessing to be part of, this year I fell even deeper in love with it. I am thankful God uses it to further His kingdom and that I got to be involved again this summer. Summer camp holds a special place in my heart.

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A Million Dreams

“I think of what the world could be, a vision of the one I see, a million dreams is all it’s gonna take”.

 

For anyone who follows my Instagram, you’ll have found out that I loved “The Greatest Showman”. My favourite song contains the lyrics I listed above. And while the song isn’t intended or even related to the Christian faith, I can’t help but think of all the hopes and dreams I have.

 

When the world gets tough, it’s encouraging to remember that God isn’t finished with us. He will restore us and we will live in His presence forever. This is what the world will be. Believers coming together to praise Him together! This used to sound boring to me, I’ll admit. But heaven is where God is and God is perfect. Living in perfection is so unimaginable but incredibly intriguing!

 

Then when I remember that “life is short” on earth, I want to make the most of life. I have a lot of dreams for what I want to see happen here.

 

1. I dream to see friends coming to know Jesus.

How great would it be to have all your friends praising Jesus with you in heaven? Jesus has made the biggest difference in my life… for the good. Sure it isn’t easy, but living with purpose for something so true and impactful is so rewarding.

 

2. I dream to see campers learning about God.

For similar reasons as the first! I’ve had so many campers while working at camp, and I long for them to have a personal relationship with God too.

 

3. I dream to see that classmates would become curious.

In North America, people hardly seem to know what Christianity is. Sure, the words “God” or “heaven” still get around but they’ve lost their weight. The gospel is a foreign concept and people want to do their own thing. I dream of seeing fellow classmates on campus becoming curious as to how Jesus is relevant to their lives.

 

Sure, there are a lot of other things I have dreams about, too. I dream about the job I’ll have, the friends I’ll make, the way my art interests may develop, etc. It’s fun to dream about the future and hope for things. Taking action on it is another step! When I dream, I have to remind myself to think about today. What can I do today to work towards the things I want to see?

 

Here’s a start! I can put my hopes and dreams in God, the solid rock and redeemer. I can put my trust in Him and rely on the Holy Spirit. It’s hard to renew that daily but it’s an important place to begin.

 

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.” – Romans  15:13