Life Repurposed

Life Repurposed

Design Principles for Life | Tracy Steel

October 20, 2022

In this episode:

What happens when life feels like one big Pinterest fail? What happens when we’re living a life we didn’t design? Professional designer Tracy Steel applies design principles such as movement, emphasis, pattern, contrast, balance, and space to what God does in our lives. Hallway moments—the in-between that doesn’t always feel beautiful—remind us that God’s purposes stand, even in the waiting when nothing goes as planned.

About Tracy Steel:

Tracy Steel graduated from with a BS in Interior Design. Eager to change her clients’ lives by improving the interior space they occupied, she thought she had the blueprints for her future completed. Then she met and fell in love with Jesus Christ, and He changed everything.

Since then she has pursued a different kind of interior design. God’s true design for Tracy involves improving the interior space of the hearts and minds of women around her. She has a degree biblical leadership and a masters in biblical and theological studies.

As a military wife and mother of two, Tracy currently pursues her passion for ministry on a national basis through her speaking and writing ministry and enjoys serving women locally via various ministry opportunities her church. Tracy loves to travel and teach at women’s events and shares her heart as a contributor on many websites.

(Article contains affiliate links. This means that when you click a link and make a purchase, I might receive a small commission from that purchase.)

Quotes to remember from Tracy Steel:
  • God is the Master Architect…He’s the Master Repurposer of all things.
  • God is going to redesign, he’s going to repurpose, and it’s those small details that are sometimes the most beautiful, but yet we often overlook those.
  • God called me into a different kind of interior design that looked a whole lot like taking his Word and redesigning the interior spaces that matter most, which would be our hearts and our minds, with his timeless truths.
  • There’s this peace that comes when you abide in Christ, and you allow him to repurpose you and redesign your life.
  • Sometimes we get busy, especially as moms or as working women, and there’s just so many distractions, from social media, to the politics…the Queen dying…all of these things vie our little hearts away. And he’s not moving. He’s the immovable God. He’s unshakable. He’s eternal. He’s not going anywhere. And so when our hearts start to wobble, we can always fix our focus back on him who is unchanging.
  • He’s got you here to prepare you for whatever room you’re about ready to enter in next. And so celebrate those hallways because God has a purpose.
  • What makes a home beautiful is not the stuff that’s in it, but the hearts that are within it.
  • I would rather have us be women of faith who spend 99.9 percent of our time developing our character, guarding our purity, being women of our word, redesigning the interior spaces that do go into eternity, versus our living room that is so temporal.
  • Be you. Pop where God is asking you to pop. And when you do, I’m not saying it’s going to be pain-free. I’m not saying yeah, a billion dollars is going to show up at your doorstep. But that peace that I talked about, it will be there.
  • If we’re forever waiting for a season where things are not going to be shaking, or things aren’t going to be changing, it’s just not going to happen. That’s just not the world we live in. And so I just want to reiterate again, if there’s any doubts in any of your minds, don’t look at your circumstances. Go back to the Word of God, but our God is unchanging. So if your heart is wobbly, if your world is wobbly, just come back to God. …He will not move. He will not leave you. He will not forsake you. These are not my words. These are his.

Scriptures Referenced
  • Romans 7
  • Romans 12
  • 1 Corinthians 12
  • Ephesians 3:20


Tracy’s book – A Redesigned Life: Uncovering God’s Purpose When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned

The very existence of HGTV, the DIY movement, and Pinterest proves we love great design. We adore plans and perfectly staged rooms. But what happens when we discover we are living a life we did not design? When our dreams lie in tatters or when we experience loss of any kind? What happens when life feels like one big Pinterest fail? Where is God in the midst of what doesn’t make sense? Does he care?

Drawing from time-honored design principles such as movement, contrast, and pattern, former interior designer and Bible teacher Tracy Steel offers frustrated and discontented women the assurance that God is their ever-present, caring Designer. With a mix of wit and wisdom, Tracy proves through biblical examples and personal testimony that God remains true to his plans and purposes, accomplishing them in and through us in every season of life. She helps us recognize God’s design principles, enabling us to embrace our sometimes messy lives, especially when they’re ones we never would have designed for ourselves.

Free download: 5 Tips to Freshen Up Your Heart and Home 

Tracy’s website:

Episode Sponsor

Life Repurposed book



Michelle Rayburn 00:00

Hey, friends, I have an energetic episode for you this time as we get closer to wrapping up this season of life, your purpose podcast, Tracy Steele is here. And she’s talking about how we can apply design principles to what God is doing in our own lives. She talks about a redesigned life, and how God has taken her through some different paths, twists and turns, and how he has applied some of those principles of contrast and color, and all of the things Tracy talks about. She’s a professional designer who has turned this into redesigning hearts and homes. So it’s a wonderful metaphor. I love a good metaphor. We also talk about hallway moments and how she’s had some of those herself where she’s kind of stuck in the middle and wondering what the next thing is. If you’re wondering what God’s purposes in the middle of something that didn’t go as planned, this is the episode for you.

Michelle Rayburn 01:04

You’re listening to Life Repurposed, where you’ll find practical biblical wisdom for everyday living, creative inspiration, and helpful resources. Grow your faith, improve your relationships, discover your purpose, and reach your goals with topics to encourage you to find hope amid the trashy stuff of life. Thanks for joining me today. I’m your host, Michelle Rayburn.

Michelle Rayburn 01:33

Let me introduce you to Tracy Steel. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in interior design, and she was eager to change her clients’ lives by improving the interior space they occupied. She thought she had the blueprints for her future completed. But then she met and fell in love with Jesus and he changed everything. Since then, she has pursued a different kind of interior design. God’s true design for Tracy involves improving the interior space of the hearts and minds of women around her. She has degrees in biblical leadership and a master’s in biblical and theological studies. As a military wife and mother of two, Tracy currently pursues her passion for ministry on a national basis through her speaking and writing ministry. And she enjoys serving women locally via various ministry opportunities in her church. Tracy loves to travel and teach at women’s events and shares her heart as a contributor on many websites. Let’s jump into my conversation with Tracy. Tracy, thank you so much for joining me today.

Tracy Steel 02:36

Oh, thank you for having me. Michelle, I’m excited to be here.

Michelle Rayburn 02:38

So when we met in Texas at a podcasters conference, I was actually drawn first to your book cover. I can’t hold it up because my listeners aren’t gonna be able to see it anyway. So I’ll link to it in the show notes. So they can see a redesigned life. But because of life repurposed. I just knew that at some point, we needed to sit down and have a conversation.

Tracy Steel 02:58

I love it. And I know we were kindred spirits.

Tracy Steel 03:00

Whether it’s we’re repurposing something old or going into a space Michelle, that’s never been decorated, never has any items in it, it’s all part of that designer part of who we are. And as you know, our God is the Master Architect. Right? He’s the master repurposer of all things. And so I love that we have that similarity that we can take whether it’s old stuff or new stuff.

Michelle Rayburn 03:00


Tracy Steel 03:01

There’s beauty in it. His beauty really in it. And give it a new home for a new purpose.

Michelle Rayburn 03:23

I love it. And your colors were like—Oh, I love the blues and the oranges and reds that go together and stuff. So I was even drawn to that part of it.

Michelle Rayburn 03:23


Tracy Steel 03:36

It was really cool. The cover was actually hand drawn by somebody in house, in the publisher, and I liked it because as you can tell when you look at it, all the lines, Michelle, are not perfect. They’re not all equally spaced. And yeah, as you know, and if you told your listeners, our lives are not like that, right? Perfectly drawn and put together all the time—not me. So I thought the cover beautiful.

Michelle Rayburn 03:59

Artistic though, I mean, I don’t usually get into on the podcast, I don’t generally talk about book design. But I just have to say that there was something about like when I picked up your book and thumbed through it that the design of the book itself drew me in so this is like a testament to why design is actually important.

Tracy Steel 04:19

And as you know, our God is in the details. Right? Yeah, and good design is a bunch of beautiful details all accumulated all put together into one overall design. And so whether it’s the book, whether it’s again, our living rooms, like I think sometimes we think oh my gosh, I need to have this big grandiose couch or this big grandiose, you know, house from beginning to end. But look at the details, ladies. Look at the details of your life. Because the same thing applies. God is going to redesign, he’s going to repurpose, and it’s those small details that are sometimes the most beautiful, but yet we often overlook those.

Michelle Rayburn 04:54

Yeah, yeah, that makes me think of well, actually, it makes me think of starting over because. The design creates like an emotion and a feeling. And there have been times when I’ve done something and decided, I just have to start this over. It does not convey what I want it to convey. And life is like that to where there are some do-overs that we’ve had in life. So I’d love to know a little bit about your faith journey.

Tracy Steel 05:21

Sure, we’ll talk about a major do-over. Where do we begin? Because like, I probably any of your listeners, like I’m a dreamer, you know, I was a little girl once too, many, many years ago. But I had dreams, Michelle, like, I’m going to do this with my life. And I’m going to do that. And I’m going to be this major ballerina and then it was going to be this major interior designer. And I would love to tell you all that that’s exactly what happened. It did not like all of those things did not happen…

Michelle Rayburn 05:51

You became a designer, though, right?

Tracy Steel 05:53

I did for a little bit. But what was interesting was that at some point, you know, I just had the money. I had the corporate success, like I even had people telling me oh, yeah, you’ve got it girl, like, keep going. And it was me, myself, and I—the the “unholy trinity,” as people like to say—but somewhere along there, as God can only do, I ended up just coming in contact with, you know, one of those girlfriends, right? And you all probably have that friend that you maybe never saw coming. But she’s just left that, that impact on your life. And she just was a part of the bigger story that God has for you to change you and to sharpen you. So anyway, she had a heart for teenage girls, and she wanted to serve in our church and I get—I’m the interior designer—I don’t know nothing about teenagers, but I got your paint, I got your couch, and I got your wallpaper. But she forced me—ladies, like forced me—to go, pretty much lie to the pastor and say, “Yeah, I love teen girls. I’ll disciple them.” And somehow as a new Christian, I ended up having this group of freshmen girls that were looking to me to tell them something more about God. And I’m thinking, “Oh”… But anyway, long story short, and if you’ve read my book, you’ll you know my testimony is that I fell in love with those little faces looking up at me. And I thought, you know what? That was me. You know, in my teens, and nobody stepped in at that point in my life to say you do need to do-over. And his name is Jesus Christ. And so I went after the money. And I went after the corporate success. And I went after guy after guy and all these things to try to fulfill me. When I finally met Jesus accepted him as my Savior, it was like the blinders just came off. And I saw these young girls following in the same steps in the same progression. Nobody was teaching them about the gospel, nobody was saying, this is where your beauty comes from, or this is where your significance comes from. And so I didn’t want them to miss out on all these years with Jesus like I had.

Tracy Steel 07:42

So that was when I always like to say God called me into a different kind of interior design that looked a whole lot like taking his Word and redesigning the interior spaces that matter most, which would be our hearts and our minds, with his timeless truths. And so that started my journey from going from the corporate world of interior design, money started to lose its, you know, gravity, all the things I thought I wanted… it just became about the ministry it became about teaching these young girls the truths of Jesus’s life and so eventually as you know, I left the corporate world for good I’ve never looked back I went to Phoenix Seminary in my mid 20s, which is hilarious because I never went to a Bible college—I mean, a woman going to seminary at that time it right heard of, you know, so it’s all these well, I don’t want to say old pastor guys, but they were, and then this 20-something-year-old, you know, it’s like a scene from the movie Legally Blonde, you know, I was a fish out of water.

Tracy Steel 08:37

But man, I fell in love with God’s Word. And just learning how to counsel somebody or how to teach it better. I mean, that’s what seminary started to do. And then yeah, I’ve been in full time vocational ministry ever since. But you asked about the do-over, and I feel like my entire life ladies has been one do-over, and there are so many small—we just talked about details to so many details you small moments where God has said yes, you are forgiven. Yes, you are significant. Yes, the money doesn’t matter. Yes, the title doesn’t matter. I was even a stay-at-home mom for several years. And I felt so insignificant, so unseen, but now my kids are teenagers. And I’m telling you young moms, if you’re out there, those years I invested in my babies where nobody else could see but God is now paying dividends because now I’m seeing them as junior high students serving in the church and loving Jesus… And anyway, I could go on and on, but I’m just so grateful for all of those do-overs. Because God, as you as you’ve said before too, he’s repurposing me through them.

Michelle Rayburn 09:37

Like you, I pursued a career for money. At first I went to school and became a registered nurse and then left that and stayed home and I remember wrestling with that decision of leaving a career. That also meant giving up some dreams I had for a type of house we were going to live in and the type of car we were going to drive. It changed a lot of things. It sounds to me like God gave your life an entire new direction, though.

Tracy Steel 10:04

Totally, totally. And we’re not rich. I mean, you know, my kids would even be on here and be like, yeah. But I’ll tell you what we do have, you know, we have togetherness, we have the peace of Christ, we have the forgiveness. And those are things that no paycheck, right? Yeah. And I and I’ve earned them has ever given me. There is something that is so simple about following God—and maybe he will make us millionaires, because I know—

Michelle Rayburn 10:26

Yeah, just for the listener who’s out there who’s like—

Tracy Steel 10:29

Who’s a billionaire. Don’t feel guilty.

Michelle Rayburn 10:30

Some people do have both.

Tracy Steel 10:32

That’s right. And a lot of people do, and they do it well, but I’m just saying our family. Yeah, I haven’t maybe ended up anywhere near what I was gonna end up doing. But man, there’s this peace that comes when you abide in Christ, and you allow him to repurpose you and redesign your life—that again, all of the material blessings and things I’ve been able, by His grace, to achieve, which are great and wonderful—they haven’t… They’ve paled. They’ve just paled to knowing him.

Michelle Rayburn 10:59

I love that your tagline now reads, “redesigning hearts and homes,” which really ties it all together. I love a good metaphor. I mean, I love a word picture, I love to see something. So you have the six principles of design. And you’ve used them as a framework for God’s design for life. So you have movement, emphasis, pattern, contrast, balance space, did I get them right?

Tracy Steel 11:22

Yes, you did.

Michelle Rayburn 11:23

So I’d like to know a little bit more about how you developed that idea. And for the listener, how God’s design for life works.

Tracy Steel 11:31

Yeah. And so those were actually six principles that before the whole Jesus ministry call that I would actually use space pattern emphasis when I would walk again into a blank space and say, okay, I’ve got this client, who has needs. How can I make this space functional? How can I make it beautiful, I would literally go back to these designs. So when you’re out in the design world—you can even be an artist, you probably use balance and emphasis when you’re painting or when you’re drawing. So these are just well-known principles. But for this book, what I started to notice, Michelle, when I was out speaking at different women’s events, are you things that a lot of women were coming up saying, “Listen, I go to church, and I am praying, and my life is not going away, again, that I had designed for it to go. The way that I thought it was going to go. Where’s God? You know, he’s not answering my prayer. This is falling apart. My expectations aren’t being like… how…Does he see? Does he care? Is he moving?”

Tracy Steel 12:26

And so I start as I was praying about, okay, how can I come around? I’m gonna give women we are visual. Yeah, we love things that are beautiful. Okay, that is by design, as I say the book, as I started to think, Okay, is there a way I started thinking about these principles? And I thought, wait a second. If God is our Master Architect, and he’s our Master Designer, he’s already got the plans. The will—right?—for us laid out. Scripture is clear, he is sovereign over all. Could he use emphasis in our life to redesign us? Yes, he can. Does he use balance? Does he use patterns? Does he use movement? And y’all it was like, again, God just opened up that creative part of my heart to say there are parallels, like biblical parallels between real world design principles. And the way God works in moves in our lives. So this book is just it’s so fun. I put some humor in there. But then you’ll see these, these real life design principles woven throughout the book were women’s testimonies that show pattern, for instance, playing out. And then I’ve always related that back to how God is redesigning us. So they really do complement and parallel each other.

Michelle Rayburn 13:31

So it’s such a creative way of presenting this concept of how God redesigns, and so I love how you use your creativity to put it together that way. Because I think when, when truth is packaged in a way that I can see and relate to something in everyday life, then I remember it more, and I can apply it better. So you’ve packaged this truth in a way that I can understand.

Tracy Steel 13:55

Well, and like for instance, contrast, you know, just thinking of that, as you were talking contrast is we know is black and white, right? And so designers will use colors that are opposing sometimes to create something that catches your attention. I relate that to the contrast within us. Like man, girls, there’s things that we know, would please God, but gosh, darn it, we have flesh, right? We have this kind of, shall we say, sinful nature? And sometimes we do the things we don’t want, right? Romans 7, Paul talks about that, right? Like I do the things I know I shouldn’t do. So there’s this contrast within us. Every time we see black and white or checkered floor, that should remind us of this principle of contrasts that even within God, he’s a God of love, but he’s also a God of wrath. But there’s a reason for that. And there’s a reason for the contrast that is in within us. And it’s always and I say this, in all of the principles, it’s always set the focus of our hearts back on the focal point of our lives, which is God himself, because every good design has a focal point. And so contrast just like patterns every time you see patterns that will remind you of something out God, as we lay it out in the book, and so on and so forth. And so I hope that that, like you said, those visual reminders will always always draw the focus. Yeah, hearts back on to God.

Michelle Rayburn 15:09

I love that. It makes me think of like, when my kids were smaller, there was no focal point in my house. There were like kids like, kids artwork, and then yeah, when they became teenagers, it was shoes and baseball helmets and things like that. I feel like, over life, God has gradually brought me to a focal point in my heart, you know, like, I’ve been all over the place, and he just keeps on honing and bringing me to a place where I look more like him. Therefore that becomes the focal point.

Tracy Steel 15:44

That’s right. And I love that. And you’re right, because he designed us to be worshipers, right? So we will worship something, ladies, in this world. And I pray anyone who’s listening, that you will join me and Michelle and deciding that that thing is going to be him. But sometimes we get busy, especially as moms or as working women, and there’s just so many distractions, from social media, to the politics, you know, the Queen dying, you know, all of these things, vie our little hearts away. And he’s, and he’s not moving. He’s the immovable God. He’s unshakable. He’s eternal. He’s not going anywhere. And so when our hearts start to wobble, we can always fix our focus—focus of our heart and mind—back on him who is unchanging. And so that’s what these reminders are. And I just love that in the world of design, especially when so many of us want to beautify, whether it’s our workspace or our home, or our children’s rooms, you know, remember, like, Oh, I hope the focal point of our home and our heart is always God.

Michelle Rayburn 16:39

I think about how I’ve tried to frame videos for Instagram and stuff like that, where there’s a mess behind me, but you know, I clear out the things. And it’s like, I’m not really portraying that authentic, you know, sometimes it’s, I’m not really showing the real struggle that’s happening. And so I want to be real about that. And you talk about hallway seasons. So I’d like you to unpack that metaphor a little bit for us and explain what a hallway season is.

Tracy Steel 17:12

You know, it’s so funny, because that part of the book, you’ll see these little vignettes that are sprinkled throughout the book, and they’re like, teeny, tiny devotionals in between the bigger chapters on these different principles. And so that vignette, it just kind of came to me one day, as I was walking. I was in a different home at the time. We’re former military Military people out there, you know, you have lots of homes, okay, as you keep moving all the time. But this particular home, I was just really stumped over this little stinking hallway, I had no idea what to do with it. It was just blank. It was just there. It was just kind of blah. But one day, I like literally just slid down the wall and just sat there. And I just felt like, man, this hallway looks like my life right now. I was in between two different seasons that the Lord was going to move me in, in ministry and motherhood. And it just felt like I was missing out. Like everybody else on Instagram had the perfect this and the perfect that and the dah, dah, dah. And I’m just blank. And I’m just blah. And the Lord just whispered into my heart. But you know what, this is a special place to be with me, because it’s going to connect you to the next room that you’re about to walk in. And right now, these walls are blank and bare, but they are the open canvas, Tracy, that if you trust me, and you wait on my timing, I’m going to fill these walls with new people that are coming, new events, new awards, new things that are coming, but they’ve got to be blank first, so I can hang something upon them later.

Tracy Steel 18:36

And that’s so, wouldn’t you know, that this is the one little vignette and the book that I get the most reader email on and the most interview questions on isn’t that amazing that it was so blocked, and seemingly so unimportant. But it is registering with so many of us as women, because we feel this all the time. And I’m here to tell you girls, that if you’re in this in between season where you’re not sure where you’re moving next, or you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do next, or you’re looking around at the walls, you know, figurative or maybe maybe literal, and they seem blank, know that God has them that way for a reason. That he is going to, at one point, because he’s a good God, because he’s not done with you until you’re you’re home with him. Okay, if you’re still breathing on this side of eternity, there’s going to be some more pictures that you’re going to have to hang. There’s going to be some more words that are coming, but he’s he got you here to rest. He’s got you here to heal. He’s got you here to prepare you for whatever room you’re about ready to enter in next. And so celebrate those hallways because God has a purpose. They are not unimportant. And so I always like to tell people blank or bare is a blessing. Yeah. So if you can just remember that girls like hang up because you’re gonna get out of that hallway eventually he’s not going to leave you there forever. But go ahead and celebrate those.

Michelle Rayburn 19:51

It really is a meaningful picture because I think—well, I’m in my basement recording right now—but upstairs I have a really long hallway it’s a ranch house. It’s got four bedrooms up there with a long hallway. And I think about like you can’t over-decorate that it. I tried once there are too many pictures on the walls. It’s just you can’t. So yeah, that’s a great picture.

Tracy Steel 20:15

Because and then if you put stuff in the hallways, you know, you can trip over it. If you’re trying to get out, so you don’t want to clutter up your halls. And what do we hang in the hallway? We hang portraits of what matters most the biggest events again, the celebrations, the trips the travel. And so you know, I’ve always encouraged women man, if you’re really just feeling discouraged in your faith, there is a another hallway. I did not mention this in A Redesigned Life. But when I’ve given talks on this, I always go to chapter 11 of Hebrews, which is the hall of fame. Have you all heard that? And let me tell you the portraits of the people there if you go back you look at the life of Abraham, you look at the life of Joseph for instance, some of these other people that were mentioned, there were periods in their life where it was pretty blah like you know, Joseph is just kind of hanging out in prison like he doesn’t know he’s gonna become you know, the second in command one day. Abraham—all the wandering around the father Abraham did, and three days to go up to the mount where he’s supposed to sacrifice his son. Hallway. All these people that were mentioned, are not alone in the hallway. There have been many saints before there will be many saints that are coming after us, ladies, that are going to have these periods of hallways and it will increase your faith if you let it will increase your trust in God if you let it. Just let him work it out. But enjoy that hallway.

Michelle Rayburn 21:44

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Michelle Rayburn 22:50

Just as you were talking, that made me think of the other part of design that we might find painful, but it’s very necessary. Anytime that I’ve redesigned something, I have to clear out like, I cannot start designing with all of the stuff that’s in there. So what does that look like when you think of that picture for us as women?

Tracy Steel 23:12

Oh, man, that looks like God’s saying no. That looks like God pruning and cutting back because we can’t make room for his yes. Without a no—and that’s what I always tell women—if he has told you no, get ready for a yes. Because he’s got to clean it out. Because you can’t have everything in the room. You just can’t nothing shows up. And so sometimes that pruning that cutting back as you know, to repurpose something, you got to sand off all the original paint that sanding. Oh, I’m sure that hurts the wood you know, it’s not like the greatest feeling, right?

Michelle Rayburn 23:46

Yeah. Demo Day.

Tracy Steel 23:48

Exactly. But that’s always, always, always to make it better, to make it shinier to make it stronger. And the same thing is with us. And so I talked about in the emphasis that emphasis is kind of something that pops in a room. So if you guys can imagine just really quick wherever you’re at like all white room, you know that those are pretty popular right now you’ve got the white carpet, all the white fixtures, all the white backsplash along the wall, whatever. But then imagine in the middle of that maybe like a turquoise rug or maybe imagine on like a coffee table just a bouquet of bright orange roses or red roses or tulips or whatever. Okay that color when you look at that all white room and there’s that color—I call it the pop of color—that is the emphasis. That’s what, again, draws your eyes to that. With us ladies, we like to be an all-red room. Okay, we like to be all things to all people like don’t take anything from me. You just keep giving me, God. Just keep giving me. Let’s keep piling it in here, cramming it into my schedule. My kids are scheduled, and we are like an all-red room. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be in an all-red room. Everything is screaming at you.

Michelle Rayburn 24:55

I don’t know what to look at.

Tracy Steel 24:56

Exactly. You have no focus again. Where’s the focal point? So God has said, “Daughter, I know you—because we women are all the same, doesn’t matter our age, state, whatever. We want to be everywhere because we’re nurturers, right? And that’s a beautiful thing. And let me tell you, he has given you and me a very specific pop of color, or colors, that we have—two or three things that we’re doing—and whatever season we’re doing. And so again, if he says no, it’s not because maybe—he’s definitely not a mean God, not a vengeful God. He’s not getting you back for something you did in 19-whatever or 2000-and-something. He’s saying no because this is not your emphasis for the season. So no, is an emphasis-making thing.

Tracy Steel 25:37

Yes, we might hear no because of a sin thing, I don’t know, depends on the individual circumstance. But usually, it’s because that’s not our pop of color. And so in the book, I talk about King David, and how—you talk about a guy after God’s own heart, right? We know. Look at the Psalms. This man loved his God, but he wanted to build him a temple. And I this is probably one of the only places I can remember where God says to David, no. David had the finances to do it. He had the heart to do it, because he knew there was no place for people to kind of worship God. They were worshipping all these, you know, in these false idol areas, and he’s like, no, this is the one true God who needs a house. I live in a house. Why doesn’t my God have a house? So he had the heart and then Nathan, his advisor, backed it. So he had the backing, he had the finances, he had the motive. And God said no, this is not your pop of color. You’re a man of war. I have used you for other things. But this is going to be your son Solomon’s pop of color. He is the one that is going to go build the temple.

Tracy Steel 26:37

And David’s response was very different than what Tracy Steel’s response would have been. David said, “Oh, my God, my God,” and he praised him. And he said, “Who am I that you have brought me and my family this far?” I’d have been like hold the phone. But that was not his pop of color. And ladies, believe me, if you could come and sit at my house, I would tell you for hours how many times God has said no to me, because I like to have ideas. I’m like extroverted. I go where all the people go. But God has competed really said, Tracy, this is not your pop of color. And after all these years of seeing the yes that followed that no and the other pops of colors—man our God is so good. And Ephesians 3:20 applies here. He can do more than we can even begin to think or imagine when we submit to that no. Trusting because of his goodness, because he’s given us these pops of colors and these spiritual gifts that he’s got a yes that is coming. But first, he’s got to probably clean out that stuff.

Michelle Rayburn 27:35

Good stuff, Tracy. I love it. I could I mean, this kind of creative banter. Actually, I could, I could keep on going. Our listeners will be like, where are you going? Seriously, I think about the comparison, and how I compare my life to someone else’s, and how that’s like no different than if I look at someone else’s photos of their house and think I could decorate my 100 year old ranch house to look like that I can’t God has given me a different space.

Tracy Steel 28:04

Yes. And I always tell women, listen, what makes a home beautiful, is not the stuff that’s in it, but the hearts that are within it. And so I would ratherrather have us be women of faith who spend 99.9 percent of our time developing our character, guarding our purity, being women of our word, redesigning the interior spaces that do go into eternity, versus our living room that is so temporal. And so what makes the home beautiful ladies is what is inside you, what legacy you are leaving your children now…Our children, that’s a whole other podcast, we cannot control them. We cannot. But we can try. Right? Instead of having to make the ranch into new New York suburban, whatever. Don’t do that be who you are in Christ. And if you are an eclectic, vintage, 60s, kind of decor person then be that you don’t need to be Magnolia, whatever it is.

Michelle Rayburn 29:08

Like, yeah, that’s the thing that I’m thinking of like I look at other people’s lives, or I or anyone else might look at someone else’s life and think, well look at Tracy, she’s an extrovert, and God created me as an introvert. So I’m not going to do all the same things in ministry that Tracy is going to, because I’ll burn out really fast. So I have to do some things behind the scenes. I could really wear myself out thinking I need to have the same flourish, that you do Tracy as an extrovert. So that’s where I want listeners to hear that God has designed us specifically, and we can’t compare to how he’s designing somebody else because every one of us has our own beauty that he’s bringing out.

Tracy Steel 29:51

Right. And so pop. However, chartreuse, yellow, black, white, pink, purple, find what you do. Do what other people have confirmed in you is your gift? And do that don’t be Michelle. Please do not be me. Oh, heavens, no. My kids will say please don’t be Mom. We all have our individual pops of color. And I think it was in Romans 12. And maybe First Corinthians 12 is where Paul talks about the body, and how within the individual body’s eyes and those arms and you know, it takes all of us we are all in the kingdom together, the table at the kingdom is large enough for everyone. Everyone is welcome, no matter what you see on social media, girls, all of us have individual parts to play. And I am so grateful for my introverted friends, because they are so wise. And they calm me down all the time. And I could not do what I do without them, and hopefully vice versa. And so yeah. Be you. Pop where God is asking you to pop. And when you do, I’m not saying it’s going to be pain-free. I’m not saying yeah, a billion dollars is going to show up at your doorstep. But that peace that I talked about, it will be there. When you’re popping in the right season, you’re not trying to be the all-red room or trying to be somebody else. And I’m telling you, I think that’s God’s one of his gifts to us is that joy, and we’re just secure in him because we’re not looking at other people. Focus of our heart, the focal point, is him.

Michelle Rayburn 31:17

Friends. The book that we’ve been talking about here is Tracy’s book, “A Redesigned Life: Uncovering God’s Purpose When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned. Now, I know as an author, Tracy that sometimes when I write about something, God challenges me. Sometimes it’s while I’m writing, and sometimes it’s after the fact. So after writing this book, has God given you some plans that didn’t go the way you thought they were going to go?

Tracy Steel 31:43

Yeah. You know, so it’s so funny, like, you know, being type A as well. I still like to try to control things, even though I wrote a whole chapter about God’s sovereignty and how he’s all knowing how he’s in control. I have some plans right after COVID hit, I thought I was gonna come back home, you just getting ready to retire from the military after 20 years of service. And so my sweet husband said, Where do you want to go? And I said, I want to go back home to Phoenix. And I kind of had this dream position at this dream place picked out, and God opened that door, miraculously. And there was this ministry position at the certain place for all my people, my mentors, we got married there. Like, I just thought, Michelle, this is it.

Tracy Steel 32:28

God has held this for Tracy Steel. Dah, dah-da, dah, dah, dah! Y’all probably know where this is going. And obviously, I can’t get into the all the details, but it fell, it fell apart. And I would say I’m just gonna be honest with you all. I love Jesus with everything in my being. I love studying his Word. I love encouraging all of you. But last year was extremely, extremely dark. Because when that dream died, I guess maybe I just didn’t know how much of an idol it had become, ladies. I didn’t know how much of my identity again had gotten wrapped up in ministry, which is so weird to say. But it’s true. We can be so busy doing things for God that we forget to be with God. Right, and we can let that title of minister or whatever you serve. Our title as forgiven, or beloved, or daughter. And I got it, it somehow wound up and of course, God could see that. And so I tried to make it work, ladies, I tried all the tricks in the bag, all the training I had been given to make this thing work. And God just kept showing me over and over. Yeah, I let you live this for a little bit. But sweetheart, now I’m gonna call you again to a different part of Phoenix to a different ministry to a different group of women and you all like it took months for me to get to a place where I was so broken and the peace was gone. And other people were noticing like God started to verify like, “Let it go. Do you love me? Or do you love ministry?” And y’all like, I’ll start crying right now. Like it was very, very difficult this last year to to walk through that like, why? This was a good thing. There wasn’t anything immoral that happened. There wasn’t any sin things that happen. It just was time for me to go again. And my pop of color in that season was a very short one. I wanted it to be forever. But God said no, I need you to go over here and so now we’re you’re out.

Tracy Steel 34:11

For me being redesigned, once again. And girls, guess what? All these really cool God things are happening from women accepting the gospel. This isn’t anything that Tracy has done. I’ve just showed up at the coffee shop and the Holy Spirit did the rest because that woman was ready to receive it. I could not have intersected with those lives, the things that he has done in my life, my family’s life, my children are happier here like all of the things could not have happened had I kept holding on real tight to my plans and my design and my way or the highway. And so next time God says no, I’m gonna listen to a lot longer. But I always want to be open. Ladies, open with open palms to say wherever God at this is six months at this is 60 years whatever Lord, I just want to do what you have me to do. And so I don’t know if any of you have ever had dreams that have fallen apart. It’s okay, as a Christian though to be sad, I think I people that gave me permission. Last year degree, I needed that I needed that I needed to be permission to be human, but not to stay there forever, to go back into God’s word to say, Okay, you were faithful before you’re going to be faithful, again, you’re gonna provide for us again, because you’ve provided for us in the past. And God, give me your perspective. Now, your designs, I want to hear from God, because I’m letting go of mine. So that’s some of the processing and the healing and some of the counseling and things like that, that I’ve been able to receive this last year. And now as you can, I know, you all can’t see my face, but Michelle can. And I’m just beaming from ear to ear, because I know that when God calls us to let go, he will have something else, because he’s that good. And because he’s got more pops color for me, and for each of you, too. So hang in there. If things are kind of falling apart right now are you still very discouraged, you hang on grieve with your God, but also move forward with your God, and he will show you whatever next step it is when you’re getting ready to come out of that hallway, as well.

Michelle Rayburn 36:05

Thank you for sharing that. That’s really a vulnerable thing for you to share. And I think those are the moments that we can really relate to when we share those with one another. I was also thinking, as you were talking that I wished that people could see your face, because not only could they see your joy, but you make some really funny expressions. They could not see you cross your eyes. Yeah, one moment, and I wish they could have because that would have been fun.

Tracy Steel 36:32

This is why I’m not a good card player, because you just read that talking about Jesus and life falling apart. Apparently that’s my jam. I wasn’t smiling a lot last year. And that’s that’s true, you know, but God was patient. And he was gracious with me. And I sought him. And I asked all the questions, and I waited, and I asked him again. And I asked him again. And I asked him again. And over time, ladies, as I mourned, as I got real, I didn’t try to shove it down or stuff it or try to just move on to the next thing. Like I had to have that period of time. And it actually spoke to me a lot through Elijah. Elijah’s story, if any of you know it, you know, this great prophet, right? And he went from the king, like, given a prophecy to the Lord or to the king, human king. And he went to this period where he was like, literally in a desert, maybe all commentators may think for 18 months completely by himself. And so I could relate to that part of the story. Like to go from the action to go from a season of just excitement and new beginning and blessing to a season where it’s like, desert, and you’re thinking, oh my gosh, does God, like hate me? Was I kicked out of heaven? Did I? No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. God, just had to prepare me for now what is the season and I needed to let go?

Michelle Rayburn 37:50

This makes me think of friendships too. So maybe you can think of some things that like what’s helpful for someone who’s going through a season like you’ve just come through. We often have advice. We often have solutions and fixes. What did you find helpful from friends during that time?

Tracy Steel 38:08

I needed some of them to cry with me.

Michelle Rayburn 38:10

Yeah, you had said that they gave you permission to did to grieve.


Because they were part of this other place that I was leaving. And they had waited all these years for me to come back. And then to see me leave again. Like it rocked everybody. And and they cried with me. And I thought, okay, if they’re crying, and I’m crying, like, okay, I’m not a weirdo, like, I’m overreacting. And some times you just need friends are just going to sit with us, you know, like, I think of Job’s friends.

Michelle Rayburn 38:37

Yeah, me too.


I mean,all these horrible pieces of advice. You know, these friends couldn’t fix it. Okay, they’re not—they are a source of comfort, but they are not my comfort, Jesus’s and so just simply sitting there with me cry because they were devastated too, like, they wanted this for me, we all wanted this. And it just, it wasn’t God’s best. Friends that will do that, friends that will let you express the things and they would continue to send me you know, maybe it was like a little verse or a little text or they would send me a call or whatever, just to say, I love you. I trust God with you. Man, hearing that, like I trust God with you. Again, it made me feel like the—I think it was in one of the Gospels where there was a paralyzed man and his friends lowered and down through the roof in front of Jesus to be healed. He was on the mat. And Jesus was like teaching and he saw the the paralytic, but it was the faith of his friends. The gospels record is what healed the man. And I think some of my healing right now is because God saw the faith in my friends in that season. The ones that were crying with me, the ones that were worried the ones that were upset, and I think he honored that and so friends that will pray for you friends that will give you their presence. I think that right there. That’s what helped me so if you guys can be that. You know, I think sometimes we shy away from people when their lives are kind of not going away because we think oh, I gotta have this I gotta have this advice. I got to know what step to tell them, what book to give them, what podast—just kidding. You know. [Laughter] I always tell them to listen to Michelle’s. [Laughter] But, you know what I’m saying?

Michelle Rayburn 38:47

It’s so true. Yeah.

Tracy Steel 39:34

Just be with us. Just pray with us, just intercede with us. And right now, as I’m coming out of all of this, and God is opening up all these new doors, those same friends are right there cheering for me. Because now they’re seeing all the pain redeemed. Now they’re seeing the yes come after all the no, and they’ve stayed the course with me. So friends that are loyal, I think is another thing, friends that will celebrate when you come out because you will come out. That’s also a given.

Michelle Rayburn 40:34

Tracy, this fits with redesign really well, because I think about like, what if I had a group of my friends over to my house? I don’t need them to all tell me what, you know, they think I should do with my house until I asked them. What should I do with this corner? I know you have some ideas. But you know, there is nothing more intrusive than to have somebody come over and tell you that their version of something is how you should do something. So again, there’s that tie in to what God’s doing in our lives and to design. So you’ve, you’ve got me thinking all these great ideas. So where can somebody find the book, A Redesigned Life? Besides Amazon?

Tracy Steel 41:17

Yeah, Amazon is always you know, our first go-to these days. You can always go to my website as well, because I would love to just connect with you guys. I love coming on podcasts. Y’all are my people. It’s so fun. But I love to hear from readers or listeners afterwards when they say, “Hey, can you pray for me about this?” I mean, I will do it. I will pray for you guys. You guys have any questions. Or just tell me how is God calling you to pop in this season of your life? I’ll celebrate with you. That’s what extroverts do, well. I will celebrate with you. But it’s those kinds of connections because he’s, you know, doing this, it’s like, we can’t see you guys, we can’t read your faces, we can’t hear your stories. And so when you take the time to respond back to us, and we’re not looking for affirmations, or anything like that, but just say, hey, here’s what God’s doing. And that is so powerful to us. And it reminds us of why we’re doing what we’re doing. And we’d love to pray for you and cheer for you. So you can just go to my website as well. And that’s And I’m mostly on Instagram these days. But that’s just @TracyMSteel. I would love to connect with you guys.

Michelle Rayburn 42:24

I will link in the show notes to that too. But I also want people to get your resource “Five Tips to Freshen Up Your Heart and Home.” So when they go to your website, they can get that.


Correct. When you sign up for my newsletter, you can get that and it’s just a little one-page PDF that you can print out. And again, these are just simple tips. I’ve always got coordinating scripture somewhere on there, ladies, to help you freshen up your heart and home. It’s real fun.

Michelle Rayburn 42:47

Yeah, so that’s a that’s a great resource. Signing up for Tracy’s newsletter, getting the book A Redesigned Life: Uncovering God’s Purpose When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned. I know that my listeners are gonna love that because it really ties in with Life Repurposed as well. Tracy, as we wrap up, what would you like to leave as a as a thought with our listeners? I know, you’ve shared so many nuggets of wisdom. So there are already so many. But I know that you have more.

Tracy Steel 43:12

You know, I just think right now we were talking before we started recording that, you know, COVID was just one thing. But as we continue to age, life is always changing. It’s just going to, guys. If we’re forever waiting for a season where things are not going to be shaking, or things aren’t going to be changing, it’s just not going to happen. That’s just not the world we live in. And so I just want to reiterate again, if there’s any doubts in any of your minds, don’t look at your circumstances. Go back to the Word of God, but our God is unchanging. So if your heart is wobbly, if your world is wobbly, just come back to God. Get on your knees and pray. I know, these are very churchy things to say. But they work. They’re foundational. You pray. You get in God’s Word. You keep seeking the Lord in and out of the hallway. He will not move. He will not leave you. He will not forsake you. These are not my words. These are his. And that is just my prayer for you guys. Because again, I think as women, cuz like I said at the very beginning, you know, I was looking to money, I was looking to men, I was looking to corporate success. As a mom, I look to my kids and their grades or their behaviors, you know, my house, the way it looks, my weight on the scale. That’s a whole ‘nother podcast. You know, we look at all of these things that are so fleeting. We just can’t. We just can’t. Those are great things. They’re blessings from the hand of God. They’re good things, but he is our life. And so keep him as the focal point, and you’re going to make it. You’re going to make it. I promise you that because he’s faithful.

Michelle Rayburn 44:40

Wonderful words of wisdom. Thank you so much, Tracy, for sharing with my listeners today and for just taking some time to encourage me as well.

Tracy Steel 44:47

How you encouraged me, I just adore you. And thank you so much for having me.

Michelle Rayburn 44:51

You’re welcome.

Michelle Rayburn 44:53

Well, there you have it friends. I hope you enjoyed Tracy’s energy as she shared her story. I love that we’re wrapping up this season talking about a redesigned life with Tracy. There is one more episode. That’s going to be episode number 150 next, as I officially wrap up season five of the Life Repurposed podcast, but that will just be a solo episode with me. So Tracy was my last guest for season five. If you’re looking for the links we talked about in this episode, you will find those on my website at There’s also a transcript there so you can grab that if you want to read through any of the things that Tracy shared, have some quotes on there pulled up from this interview as well and a link to Tracy’s website. So, I will see you next week for the final episode of season five.

Michelle Rayburn 45:46

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@import url(; #pgc-9264-0-0 , #pgc-9264-0-1 { width:50%;width:calc(50% - ( 0.5 * 40px ) ) } #pg-9264-0 , #pg-9264-1 , #pg-9264-3 , #pg-9264-4 , #pl-9264 .so-panel , #pl-9264 .so-panel:last-of-type { margin-bottom:0px } #pgc-9264-1-0 , #pgc-9264-4-0 { width:100%;width:calc(100% - ( 0 * 40px ) ) } #pgc-9264-2-0 , #pgc-9264-2-1 , #pgc-9264-2-2 { width:33.3333%;width:calc(33.3333% - ( 0.66666666666667 * 40px ) ) } #pg-9264-2 { margin-bottom:10px } #pgc-9264-3-0 { width:63.5381%;width:calc(63.5381% - ( 0.3646188850967 * 40px ) ) } #pgc-9264-3-1 { width:36.4619%;width:calc(36.4619% - ( 0.6353811149033 * 40px ) ) } #pg-9264-0.panel-has-style > .panel-row-style, #pg-9264-0.panel-no-style , #pg-9264-1.panel-has-style > .panel-row-style, #pg-9264-1.panel-no-style , #pg-9264-2.panel-has-style > .panel-row-style, #pg-9264-2.panel-no-style , #pg-9264-3.panel-has-style > .panel-row-style, #pg-9264-3.panel-no-style , #pg-9264-4.panel-has-style > .panel-row-style, #pg-9264-4.panel-no-style { -webkit-align-items:flex-start;align-items:flex-start } #panel-9264-0-0-1> .panel-widget-style { padding:20px 0px 0px 0px } #panel-9264-0-1-0> .panel-widget-style , #panel-9264-1-0-0> .panel-widget-style , #panel-9264-1-0-1> .panel-widget-style { padding:20px 20px 20px 20px } #panel-9264-0-1-1> .panel-widget-style { padding:0px 0px 0px 0px } #pg-9264-2> .panel-row-style { background-color:#fcfcfc;padding:5px 20px 20px 20px } #pg-9264-3> .panel-row-style { background-color:#edf9f8;padding:30px 30px 30px 30px } #panel-9264-3-1-0> .panel-widget-style , #panel-9264-3-1-1> .panel-widget-style , #panel-9264-3-1-2> .panel-widget-style { padding:0px 20px 0px 20px } #pg-9264-4> .panel-row-style { padding:30px 30px 30px 30px } @media (max-width:780px){ #pg-9264-0.panel-no-style, #pg-9264-0.panel-has-style > .panel-row-style, #pg-9264-0 , #pg-9264-1.panel-no-style, #pg-9264-1.panel-has-style > .panel-row-style, #pg-9264-1 , #pg-9264-2.panel-no-style, #pg-9264-2.panel-has-style > .panel-row-style, #pg-9264-2 , #pg-9264-3.panel-no-style, #pg-9264-3.panel-has-style > .panel-row-style, #pg-9264-3 , #pg-9264-4.panel-no-style, #pg-9264-4.panel-has-style > .panel-row-style, #pg-9264-4 { -webkit-flex-direction:column;-ms-flex-direction:column;flex-direction:column } #pg-9264-0 > .panel-grid-cell , #pg-9264-0 > .panel-row-style > .panel-grid-cell , #pg-9264-1 > .panel-grid-cell , #pg-9264-1 > .panel-row-style > .panel-grid-cell , #pg-9264-2 > .panel-grid-cell , #pg-9264-2 > .panel-row-style > .panel-grid-cell , #pg-9264-3 > .panel-grid-cell , #pg-9264-3 > .panel-row-style > .panel-grid-cell , #pg-9264-4 > .panel-grid-cell , #pg-9264-4 > .panel-row-style > .panel-grid-cell { width:100%;margin-right:0 } #pgc-9264-0-0 , #pgc-9264-2-0 , #pgc-9264-2-1 , #pgc-9264-3-0 , #pl-9264 .panel-grid .panel-grid-cell-mobile-last { margin-bottom:0px } #pl-9264 .panel-grid-cell { padding:0 } #pl-9264 .panel-grid .panel-grid-cell-empty { display:none } #pg-9264-2> .panel-row-style , #pg-9264-3> .panel-row-style , #panel-9264-3-1-0> .panel-widget-style , #panel-9264-3-1-1> .panel-widget-style , #panel-9264-3-1-2> .panel-widget-style , #pg-9264-4> .panel-row-style { padding:10px 10px 10px 10px } }