At the beginning of my senior year I realized that I only had one year left to really impact my school and friends. I began to ask God what I could do to make a difference. After spending lots of time in prayer God revealsed to me a few things that I could do to impact the lives of those around me.
If you want to impact the people around you seek God first. This seems like a very obvious thing, but it's definitely not always easy. Junior year I was on fire for God and ready to make a difference. I had so many plans of what I wanted to do, but didn't get them done because I got distracted. I was distracted by friends, boys, and even school. The last day of school I ran out in excitement, but soon remembered that I hadn't accomplished all of the things God had called me to do that school year.
How do you keep God first in your life? In Genesis, Chapter 17, God tells Abraham, "Walk and live habitually before Me." (AMP) God told Abraham to be habitual in living for Him. You can do this by getting into His word and praying daily. Don't let praying and reading become part of a checklist, but come hungry and expectant.
Being consistent and persistent is also key in making an impact. Recently I watched a documentary titled Undivided. The documentary shows how a church unites with an at-risk high school. When the pastor was asked why they are making such an impact on the school he says, "We weren't the first church that wanted to help, but we are the only church that has stayed to help." It is not enough to witness every now and then, but we need to live consistent lives that are persistently sharing the gospel. You won't see God move if you sit back and do nothing. There are many people who have big dreams, but the people who change the world are the ones willing to do them.
"The same Jesus who turned water into wine, can transform your home, your life, your family, and your future. He is still in the miracle-working business, and his business is the business of transformation."
Transformation can come to every area of your life, but it starts with you laying down your idols and chasing after God.
"God can't bless who you pretend to be."
This quote has shaken me to my core over the last year. As the new year begins I thought it would be appropriate to share what I learned in 2016 (which was a lot, but I'll try keep it short).
All my life I've tried to be someone besides me. I always had this thought that everyone else was cooler than me and if I wanted to be cool I needed to be like them. This started as a child and never really stopped, it then transferred over into my spiritual life. I was always jealous of people who seemed to have a better relationship with Christ. People who found it easy to open up their bible and pray everyday. I wanted that, but I wasn't willing to put in the effort. I had the appearance that I was close to Christ, but in reality I was searching for Him. I realized that I wasn't who people thought I was. I began to try to live up to what others thought/expected of me and only ended up failing.
Over the past year God has moved radically in my youth group. People who were once very timid are now boldly declaring the name of Jesus in front of their friends. I noticed that God wasn't moving like this in my life. I prayed and prayed asking Him to do something incredible in me, but nothing changed. One night after praying I heard the quote from Steven Furtick, "God can't bless who you pretend to be."
Pastor Furtick was referencing Jacob and his constant desire to be like his brother Esau. He mentioned that Jacob never received his full blessing from God until he stopped trying to be who he was not.
God showed me I was trying to be like everyone else, but that's not the type of life He wanted me to live. I realized God wasn't moving in my life because I wasn't me. I was trying so hard to be someone else that I didn't stop to think that there was a reason God created me the way He did. I had forgotten about the talents He had given me to reach people. I forgot about the influence he had given me among my friends. I didn't see God moving because I wasn't moving! I'm still learning what it means to live an authentic life. I have found rest and joy knowing that He fully knows the real me and still loves me. I pray that in 2017 you would discover that God is deeply in love with who you are, so you can take the mask off and live authentically.