Life gets really tough sometimes. There are days were you just can’t take it anymore. I’ve had a lot of time to think, just like many of you have during this time of social distancing, and I’ve thought about the events that have led me to where I am now. Looking back, I’ll be honest, there have been a ton of times where I wanted to quit. To just give up and let go. In high school, I knew God was calling me to be a pastor, it’s the clearest voice I have heard. I had a passion to help people and a passion to help young people especially step into who God made them to be. From that moment I felt very weird, I am still so passionate about it, but when I have pursued it, I get push back.
Maybe you have been met with similar pushbacks, you might not have enough experience, might be too young or too old in the eyes of the person in charge, or maybe you’ve been told you don’t have the right x-factor or cool enough. I’ve faced these exact same challenges, but in it, god has been with me. He always reminds me:
Never give up.
Recently, dear Danielle and I have started watching a bunch of Survivor. It’s my favorite reality TV show, you get a bunch of people together and have a prize in front of them, and watch it all unfold. It’s great as you watch underdogs fight in the challenges, trying to save their necks so they don’t get voted out. It’s fantastic watch. I love it because it encapsulates a lot of the challenges we all face in the real world. Sometimes socially you aren’t in the “in” group, maybe you aren’t the strongest, but you have heart. It’s always a shame to see someone on the show give up or just decide to leave without a fight. You just want to yell through the screen, “don’t give up!” But, you can’t change what happens.
The one thing I do know, is that you don’t have to quit. Sure, the challenges you face are real, and the emotions that go with that feel very real. In the midst of the feelings and emotions, know that there is a truth trying to come through.
You are made by God, and you have a purpose here.
From high school me to now, I have fought to be known. All I really want is for someone to recognize that I am called and have the ability. Sure, I might not have a ton of years under my belt, but I have studied communication and read countless books of next generation ministry. The thing I learned though is this, I am known by God and that’s all that matters. You are known by God. When he made you, you were designed in a unique way, no one is like you and no one can be you. Why then do we let ourselves become trapped under gatekeepers?
In communication, a gatekeeper is someone that controls the flow of communication. This means that if someone has the power to hold you back, there’s not a whole lot you can do.
But there is.
You don’t have to allow yourself to be stuck in a cycle of pain, when you can step away and find a new direction. You are important because God has designed you.
God’s got you.
Even when it feels tough, or that you want to give up, know that the God of the universe chose you. He loves you so much that he would die to save you, then raise again so that you could enter a relationship with him. Once you enter that walk, the rest begins to fall into place. While I have experienced hurt, I am reminded that God is truly with me. I then look at scripture and see how he shows up. In the book of Acts, Paul has recently begun his ministry, the people he used to serve want him dead. That can take a toll on you, and in the midst of I’m sure his thoughts of wanting to give up, God shows up.
“One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” Acts 18:9-10
I think this is a powerful moment, and not only a word that Paul received, but a truth that we can all cling to. God is with you, so don’t be silent with your gifts and talents. It doesn’t matter what some think, because the ones who need to hear and the ones who will encourage you are the voices you need to focus on.
I am choosing not to be afraid of being confident in who God has made me to be. You need to be confident in what you have been given. For some, it’s a calling into ministry, for others it could be a dream to pursue or using your voice to speak up for the unheard. Whatever it may be, do not be afraid. When you are in a relationship with God, you don’t have anything to fear. Failure becomes a teacher, and setbacks become an opportunity to launch you into something so much better.
Never give up.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can tweet memes at him on Twitter @joshua_thomas__ or follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__