Through Christ

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13

From the time that many of us are young, we have dreams for the future.

Maybe our dream is to write a book, or go to college, or enter a certain line of work. Maybe it’s to start a family, or become a missionary in a third world country. Likely, the details of our dreams and desires will look somewhat different for everyone, but there is one thing many of us struggle with, regardless of our many differences and strengths. Something that is a common fear amongst many of God’s children, and that can be nearly paralyzing—holding us back from our destiny and our calling in life.

And that thing is, the fear of failure. 

This can be especially highlighted for those who have graduated this year—either from high school or college, and who are faced with a new chapter in life. I remember my own high school graduation just a couple of years ago, and the feeling of being plagued with a sense of fear and anxiety as I stood on that stage to accept my diploma.

What did God have next for me? And what did life after high school look like?

Many of my friends who have graduated this year have expressed similar concerns. Some are still trying to decipher God’s calling post-college graduation, and some will be entering college campuses and universities for the very first time.

Even if we aren’t one of the lucky graduates of 2018, we likely still deal with some of this same stress and worry about the future. A lot of us have a dream for the destination, but don’t know how we’re going to get there. Some of us may feel hesitant to even try.

Nonetheless, while these are all very legitimate fears and concerns, there’s something very important that we can remember as Christians during times like this. Something that can carry us through any fear or doubt or worry that we face, and something big enough to carry us through any trial that we encounter.

We aren’t in this alone. 

We serve a God who painted the stars into the galaxy. Who said ‘Let there be light’ and there was. Who created the Heavens and the earth and who knows each of us by name—and who wants a personal and intimate relationship with all of us. The same God who tells us that “If we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains” (Matthew 17:20).

Here’s the thing guys, we are never alone in our hopes and dreams. We were never meant to try to do big things for God. We were meant to do things with God—as image bearers and beloved children of our Heavenly Father. And if we trust our dreams to God (assuming they’re His will), they will come to pass.

God wants to use each of us to play part of His larger story in humanity. No person is too small, and no dream is too big for the God of the galaxies. He has a history of using ordinary people for an extraordinary purpose. He transformed Shepherd boy into the king of a nation. He used a young girl from an ordinary family to give birth to the Savior of the world. He used a former murder to write most of the New Testament.

If God could use David, Mary, and Paul, than He can use you too.

As you go throughout this week, I want to encourage you to pray big for the things that you want to see come to pass in your life. Pray with confidence over your future and the future of those around you—believing wholeheartedly that God will answer your prayers in His timing. We were each made for something incredible, that we were meant to accomplish with and through Christ, who gives us strength.

All that we need is faith the size of mustard seed. 

 

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Thirty Day Blogging Challenge #2: Day Twenty-Eight

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Day Twenty-Eight: Where You’d Like To Be In Ten Years 

Life goes by way too quickly y’all. Calculating this, I’ll be almost thirty in ten years, which I literally cannot. Even. Imagine. Nonetheless, if the next ten years go as quickly as the last ten, it will likely be here before I know it. Thus, here are my goals for the next ten years!

1. Have my series published – As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been working on a particular series since I was fourteen. I don’t want to say too much about it, but it’s basically a Christian series for teens with a strong emphasis on faith and friendship. This series is very close to my heart and it’s evolved so much since it’s conception. I’ll be sure to update you guys if anything changes with it!

2. Have a couple of songs published

From my early days of high school, I’ve been writing songs that I hope to someday see come to life. I can play instruments a little, but my goal is to become a lyricist—as the words are really my passion. I have been inspired by the lyrics to songs by artists like Britt Nicole and Francesca Battistelli and I want my words to be that inspiration for someone else. And, like with my novel writing, I’m willing to work hard to see this dream become a reality.

3. Work at a journalism company 

This will be, as some say, my ideal job to support my writing habit. I love writing and reading articles by companies such as Christianity Today and RELEVANT magazine, and hope to someday get the chance to write articles similar to the ones they regularly publish. In addition to writing, social issues fascinate me and I would like the chance to write about them in a way that is unifying rather than divisive, and that brings hope and healing to the people most affected.

4. Volunteer teaching at a youth group

In the midst of my middle school years, I was heavily involved in a youth group that I remember fondly to this day. During this time, I learned, grew, and connected with fellow students in a way that rarely happens in the world today. Because of this, I would like the chance to someday work at a youth group as a pastor or leader and create an atmosphere that would help other young people learn and grow in faith and fellowship.

5. Become stronger in my faith 

I think this is the goal of every Christian, right? Faith is a journey and as much as we grow, there’s always more we can learn. Whether it be through independent study of the Bible, reading commentaries by reputable Christian authors, or discussion with other believers, we can always take the steps necessary to grow in our faith.

6. Own a house and a car 

Though I’m in my first year out of high school, I still don’t have a car of my own. Nonetheless, I expect that within the next ten years, I’ll probably own a car, in addition to my own house. Someday, when I’m a little older, I’d like to room with a friend, so I can see myself in that type of living situation ten years from now.

7. Have most of my bucket list completed 

Like many people, I have a pretty substantial list of things that I’d like to do, and hopefully, ten years from now, I’ll have a couple more items checked off. Some of the things on that list include visiting New York City, attending a Passion Conference, seeing snow, and riding a roller coaster. I believe it’s safe to say that most of those items can be checked off within the next ten years.

8. Have my own website 

This one was actually inspired by a fellow friend and blogger, who also plans to start a website someday. I believe a website would give me more opportunities to share my faith and get my name out there as a writer—giving me a change to grow in my writing and voice through the process. Thus, I hope to have a real website to my name in a couple of years.

9. Have a BA in journalism and a Masters in Theology 

In an ever-changing world, education is becoming more important than ever, and I’d like to assure that I have a degree that would give me options for my career and opportunities down the road. I’m planning to start at Liberty University this summer, which will be the first step to achieving this goal.

10. Become more involved in my church 

I have been attending my church for about three years now, and have really grown to love it. I pray that I can grow and serve more there over the course of the next ten years.

How about you? What are your goals? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section! 

Thirty Day Blogging Challenge #2: Day Twenty-Two

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Day Twenty-Tw0: What do you collect?

In all honestly, I don’t really collect much at this point of my life. When I was little, I collected rocks, and I’m pretty sure at one point, I collected buttons, but within the past few years, I’ve mostly stopped collecting things. But, there is one thing that I still collect.

Memories. 

As I’ve been searching for a job and procrastinating CLEP tests, this is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. At this point in my life, I have both middle and high school behind me—two stages of life that I believe a person grows the most—which has given me a chance to do a lot of reflecting. What has shaped the person I’ve become? What made me who I am today? How is my past shaping my present and future even as I write?

Recently, I read a book by bestselling author, Karen Kingsbury, called Remember. In short, the theme of this book was how our memories shape us, and how our pasts help us move into the future. Remembering how God has walked with me through tough transitions in the past gives me faith for the future—faith that in the midst of the confusing college years, God will work everything out in the end. 

God has been faithful to me throughout my life. He brought me from an insecure preteen to a confident young adult, and from an experience that jaded my faith to a freshly ignited faith. He’s brought me this far, and I know that He has more planned for me.

Growing up is never easy. Oftentimes, it seems that once we figure out one stage of life, it’s time for us to move on to the next. Just as I was starting to get a grip on being in middle school, it was time for me to move to high school. Likewise, just as I was figuring out how to be a high schooler, I graduated and moved onto college. Change is inevitable, but holding onto memories, while learning into the moment, can help us remember God’s faithfulness. 

No stage of life is too big for God. Like the lyrics to the old Britt Nicole song, All This Time, God has been walking with us throughout our whole life. He has never left us and He never will leave us.

All this time, from the first tear cried, to today’s sunrise, God was there. He was always there…He’s been walking with us all this time. 

If we remember this truth, we can get through anything.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[a]
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:31-39