I sometimes think we've turned the life of faith into some kind of religious X Games. When we think of people of great faith,we think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, or Corrie ten Boom, who sheltered Jews and was ultimately imprisoned in the concentration camps during World War II; or maybe we even think of someone we're acquainted with who has made a radical life change in order to enter a mission field or work in inner-city ministry.
As inspiring and even intimidating as these examples are, I think we need to remember that God can also use acts of everyday courage and day-to-day faith. He honors the person who decides to love someone that others find unlovable. He exalts the individual who commits to being honest, no matter the personal consequences. He loves those who trust Him with their finances, even when things are tight and the future is unclear. He takes joy in the single mom who goes to one more job interview, even though she's already heard "no" over and over again, because she is determined to improve her situation in life. These, too, are acts of faith that delight the heart of our Creator.
It’s that season again. A time when parents and teachers around the nation sigh with relief and students cheer for freedom. I’m talking about graduation season.
These days, when I check into my social media accounts, the feeds are flooded with adorable pictures of glowing faces and proud families. There’s an endless parade of quotes motivational enough to make a fish believe it can climb a tree. “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” “Dream BIGGER!” “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” “You can do anything!”
If you’ve read my blog before, you know how apprehensive I am about those types of inspirational lines. Placing so much emphasis on the outcome while ignoring the journey can unintentionally result in paralyzing pressure. I do believe everyone has amazing potential, but our journeys happen one step at a time. In my own life, I’ve found that setting goals, dreams, and high expectations is not a problem. My struggle has been with the thankless, mundane, and unattractive details of every day life. I’ve spent countless days wishing for my dreams to come to pass while begrudging my daily responsibilities. But I’ve learned I can’t have one without the other.
My heart is to encourage people through their daily grind. Yes, you can achieve great things. But more importantly, yes, you are amazing and you can do wonderful things today, right now. These seemingly small decisions, and the actions often overlooked, are the building blocks of your character. They are what will ultimately define you.
A few weeks ago, Family Christian sent me a copy of Pete Wilson’s What Keeps you Up at Night?: How to Find Peace While Chasing Your Dreams. To say I enjoyed the book is an understatement. I believe every graduate should have a copy of it! The book explores the concept of appropriate goal setting by examining our dreams and God’s plans. It tackles the subject of criticism, whether of self or from others and the crippling effect it can have on an individual. It emphasizes the importance of everyday action.
Pastor Pete Wilson encourages young readers to reflect on their faith in an imperfect world. He discusses in depth topics such as trust, failure, surrendering, fear, and passion. The best part is that the book draws the reader in to deep metacognition. It doesn’t just state concepts; each chapter ends with review points and reflection questions. Readers don’t just absorb information, they are encouraged to think for themselves and determine how they will respond to the information learned. There is also a call to action, so that readers can put their new knowledge to practice.
The goal of this book is to lead readers to a life of peace. As I read the book, I often found myself shouting “YES!” in agreement. Whether I lived out his wisdom during my younger years or learned from my mistakes, I can attest the lessons he teaches will guide readers to peace. The road is long. There is more sacrifice than glamour. But the truths spelled out in this book will provide insight, wisdom, and encouragement along the way.
Hi! I'm Debra, an average girl with an amazing God teaching me about true value. I stand in awe of what He can do with ordinary people who are willing to be used. Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you are encouraged by something you read here today.
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