So I suppose this isn’t my typical post, but it has been on my heart.
And who know—maybe at the end of this, I will decide that posts like this will become normal on my blog.
Lately, I’m been stuck. School takes a lot of dedication, and I’ve been juggling several extracurricular activities like a really competitive swim team and church volunteer work. I’m sure that most of you can relate. Furthermore, my relationships—with God and with my family—have dwindled into a flat-line monotone. Even my writing, my calling from God, has barely been progressing.
I’m exhausted, and yet, I’m getting nothing done. Once I finish my school work, I end up taking naps or staring at my computer screen as I scroll through some mindless sites like Pinterest.
And I’m willing to bet that a lot of other teens feel the same way. In fact, I know it.
But the thing is—for those of us who believe in God—we know that we are meant for more than this! God has a plan for us, and He can use us as teenagers right now. This isn’t the first time that God used teenagers to change the world. God, though the apostle Paul, wrote this to the young pastor Timothy (1 Timothy 4:12-16 emphasis added):
“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you…. Meditate on these things [scripture]; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine [God’s commands and teachings]. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”
Plenty of other teenagers have changed the world, too, and there are teenagers actually acting on God’s calling for them today. Crazy to think about, huh? I mean, could we—teens—actually live a Spirit-filled life where we were completely devoted to spreading the Gospel, giving glory to God, and living in His peace? Or do we have to wait until we are adults?
Honestly, I think the answer is clear. God may not call all of us to be revolutionaries or leaders, but even those of us who are called to a “smaller” role should be living as Christian examples in the community and helping share God’s love with the people around them. Some of the most inspiring people I know are stay at home moms or teens who have no high aspirations other than to be a godly friend to everyone.
So why don’t we do this?
That is what I keep asking myself, and after a bit of painful searching, I think I’ve found my answer.
I’m too selfish and lack the faith. My personality type is naturally anti-social, and I’ve encouraged it was too much. I don’t like small talk or chatting, and I dread walking into my local public school for testing. Most of the time, I don’t even like people. If I had my way—and I often do—I’ll just hole up in my room with my books and read, write, and study for the rest of my life with maybe two best friends.
As for the lack of faith, I’m terrified of interacting with strangers on the casual level—seriously; I was sweating and shaking during church the other day because I had been asked to greet people at the doors. But more than that, I’m afraid that I will turn people away from God. I’m not an easy person to like in real life, and I can help but feel like a hypocrite whenever I feel called to share the Gospel.
Needless to say, this doesn’t match up well with God’s calling to love everyone and be a servant. It’s been hard, but I’ve finally decided to give up and surrender my selfishness and lack of faith to God. It almost feels like I am trying to change an inherent part of my personality, but now that I think about it—that really is what it is. Sin in an inherent part of our personality, and so we become new people as Christians.
It definitely not going to be easy—I am literally allowing God to change my personality, but I know that once I surrender to God and focus on Him and other rather than on myself, then I will really start living.
Truly, there are so many messages that say exactly what I am saying (except most of them are a lot more inspiring and well-written.) In fact, I know many of them have really meant a lot to me, though I haven’t acted on them yet. But I don’t intent to let another day slip by, and I would encourage you to do the same.
I’d love to hear what you feel that God has called you to do and what God has called you to give up. Perhaps we can pray and encourage each other. We are supposed to be a community 😉
If you are really serious about surrendering to God and letting Him change your life, then here are some resource which I am using and are helping me to learn to let God transform my life:
- Just reading the Bible. Seriously, I am surprised (I wish I wasn’t, but to be honest, I never knew that the Bible could be so alive.) My favorite chapters are Psalm 18 and Ezekiel 37. You could read those to start with.
- Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. This book is really radical, and it emphasizes God’s calling for us to do more. They also have an inspiring website: http://therebelution.com/
- I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris. So this book is about a lot more than just dating, and for someone like me who has always been clear on dating standards, it was more of a challenge of how to interact with other in a godly way and make the most of being a single teenager.
What do you guys think? Do you have any recommendation for a struggling teen trying to follow God?