Devotionals, Personal Post, Questions for my Readers

More Than This

More Than This

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?

 

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6 thoughts on “More Than This”

  1. Wow. This is a great post.

    Reading this is like reading about me. I tend to be rather anti-social as well. And I know it’s wrong. I know I need to have a love for people, but I just don’t. I honestly don’t even have the relationship with God that I should. I know we all need work, but I feel like I need more work than most people.

    And I loved the book ‘Do Hard Things’. My problem was that I would think, “Oh, that’s awesome! I’m totally going to do that!” but I wouldn’t. I just kept on living the same way, never really and truly making a conscious decision to change, and then acting on that decision.

    Sorry, I guess I’m about to start writing a whole blog post here….

    Thank you for this post. It is encouraging to see that there are others out there who are willing to submit to God and live the life He’s calling you too.

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    1. Don’t apologize for writing a lot– it is great to know that I am not alone in my struggle, either!
      The first time I read “Do Hard Things” I was really inspired, but it has been almost two years, and I haven’t really changed. So I am going to take some concussion steps to change now and make daily goals.
      One of the biggest things that I think will help me to actually change is that I am going to let others know about my goals. I am definitely going to ask my family to hold me responsible, and I might also make a post on this blog. Maybe that could help you, too, Michelle. As Christians, we are part of one family, so if you ever want to talk to someone, feel free to e-mail me. I think you can e-mail me through the contact me page.
      God bless, and I will be praying for you!
      Gabrielle

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      1. It has been awhile since I last read “Do Hard Things”. as well. I should probably get it out again. I have also really wanted to read the sequel, “Start Here”, but I haven’t gotten the chance yet.

        Yes, I think it really helps when we hold ourselves accountable with others. I suppose I should work out some goals first, though, so that I’ll have something to share. 😉 And thank you so much! I just may take you up on that offer sometime.

        I’ll try to pray for you, too. I struggle to remember to pray a lot of the time, but with God’s grace I know He can change that.

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      2. Oh, I should check out that sequel. It sounds really interesting.
        Please feel free e-mail me. I think it could be edifying to both of us; it is always good to talk about our struggles with other Christians.
        Thank you. You have encouraged me, too 😉

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  2. Wow… i feel like i’m reading about myself here. I’ve always felt guilty when i had to interact with non-Christians because of my introversion/general unpleasantness. I am always thinking, “Not every Christian is as annoying as me, I promise!” That is, when I;m not thinking, “Can’t you see that I’m trying!?!?” This is just the wake-up call I needed to get back up and keep fighting my sin nature to live in a way that reflects God’s glory. Also, it makes much more sense now to me that I shouldn’t ask God to change any of my functions, I should ask Him to change my sin nature. (Can’t believe I didn’t see that truth sooner….) Anyway, this is easily the most inspirational thing i’ve read all day. Thank you so much.

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    1. I am so glad that God spoke to you through this. It is very remarkable to me how we often forget about our sin nature– and it is a part of us which the secular world around us refuses to acknowledge, so it is easy to forget and then glorify our sin nature. I am still really wrestling with it. Anyways, I will be praying for you, and thank you for the comment!

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