It is always the blessing of God to meet people changing the Kingdom for His Glory. Laura Paton is no exception. We asked her about her life 10 years ago, what she does now and what she would tell her younger self if she got the chance to turn back the hands of time.
What is your current job?
I am a media manager for a Christian news and resource website called www.theway.co.uk. Our website produces Christian videos and news articles on issues affecting the UK, providing biblical insight into these matters. I handle all media related matter and create and nurture partnerships with other Christian businesses and charities in the UK. Our vision and aim is to uphold the Christian voice in the UK, restoring the biblical foundation that the UK was founded on.
What were things like for you 10 years ago?
Ten years ago I was completing my law degree at the University of Port Elizabeth (South Africa). I can remember being completely focused on finishing my degree, insecure and generally quite nervous. After working two and a half years in the legal profession, I knew it wasn’t for me and felt that I was being called to begin my life in the UK. I remember feeling drawn to Christian ministry but didn’t know how to make this happen. I was given an opportunity in the administration department of a Christian media charity and ran with it. I’d found my passion and absolutely loved it! I’m now the media manager and am involved in journalism and presenting in Christian media. A path completely orchestrated by God so don’t be afraid of change, God will guide you. I also serve as the Deacon for Redhill Baptist Church Women’s ministry and if I’m not planning events, I’m spending time with family and friends.
So, we find the illusive time machine and you get an afternoon with your younger self. What are 10 things would you say to her?
1. Always consult God first when it comes to decision making.
One of the most horrible mistakes you can make in life is to rush into things, I’ve done this many a time when I was younger. Looking back, I could have saved myself a lot of heartache and trouble if I’d just taken the time to pray into things, consult God and other trusted Christian advisors before making an important decision.
2. You can do anything you put your mind to, so go for it!
You’ll never believe this but I used to be quite shy person growing up, I didn’t really believe in myself and suffered from low self esteem. Thankfully that wasn’t a challenge to God and he’s been faithful in developing my character in that area. The real turning point came when I decided to wage war against my negative thinking patterns. I discovered in later years that my negative thought life was keeping me from the things that God had in store for me. I have to credit the teaching of Crefflo Dollar and Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the mind on this issue. Choose to think positively about everything you put your hand to and watch it blossom.
3. Give things your best shot
You often don’t think about this at a young age, we tend to give minimal effort required when younger but it’s vital to change that mindset and adopt one that chooses to excel at the task/project given. I remember one of my bosses listening to our team project ideas, my name was mentioned as one of the contributors and he said, ‘well then it must be very good if you’re a part of it.’ I never felt more proud, he recognized that I worked hard at everything I put my name to. As Christ’s disciples, we are watched and held to a higher standard, take up the challenge and give it your best shot!
4. Don’t be afraid to think out of the box, be innovative!
Don’t be afraid to respectfully challenge, question and provide creative input to the way things work. I do have to warn you though that it’s important you share these new ideas with someone you TRUST and whom you know will encourage you to develop your ideas for the greater good of the team.
5. Learn the art of being patient
You always seem to want what you feel is the next best thing. This kind of mentality can keep you from enjoying the here and now, love life, live it to the full no matter what season you’re in. Don’t despise being young or having to start from scratch at something, that’s how you grow and develop in the talents God’s given you.
6. Look after yourself! You only have one body
God is a healer and a restorer but we also need to do our part in taking care of ourselves, eat healthily, drink water and exercise, you’ll feel fitter, lighter and ready to face the challenges that life brings. You know your body is temple of the Holy Spirit, well start to treat it like one!
7. Don’t sweat the small stuff…..
Learn to take your mind of things when it all becomes too much. Speak to yourself, sounds strange but it works, quoting scriptures has a great calming effect as it reaffirms your faith in God over the matter that’s causing you stress. If you’re becoming overwhelmed by the amount of challenges you’re facing, detach yourself a second, take a walk or exercise breathing techniques. Nothing is ever too big for God so don’t let the situation overwhelm you, give him control over it, you don’t have to carry it.
8. Give back, be a source of encouragement to other women
I often see the same insecurities that I had at a young age in the hearts and minds of our younger women today. Thinking back if I had more female role models around, I could have prevented a lot of mistakes, wisdom and Godly advice is priceless. I wish I had helped more women along my journey. A smile, scripture, prayer, kind word of encouragement or a hug can go a long way. Choose to be someone who invests in developing the character of other women around you. I love being a part of the Christian sisterhood, a responsibility I don’t take lightly. The best part is you’re never too young to begin investing in other people’s lives. You never know how your words of empowerment can change a life for the better, plus it feels great! Start today, pick someone and go for it.
9. Cherish those close to you
I’ve had so many friends in life but I can safely say that there are only a handful of friends I know I can call in the middle of the night to discuss something that’s bothering me. You’ll learn as time goes on that people come and go but you’ll probably only have a handful of women that you can call no matter what. Cherish those friendships, invest in them and in time you’ll reap what you sow, they’ll be there for you when you need them most. That goes for family members as well, be there for the precious moments, the births, the weddings and the sad moments, choose to be a women of integrity that invests in the lives of others.
10. Don’t forget to smell the roses along the way
Life is a gift and Jesus came so that we could live life to the full and moreover in abundance. Learn to separate your work life from your family life.
Laura Paton is Media Manager at The Way (www.theway.co.uk). She lives in the United Kingdom. She serves as Deacon for Redhill Baptist Church Women’s ministry.