Articles 9714974722_99a3a29c1f_z

Published on June 8th, 2016 | by Deborah Spooner

Dealing With the Pressure to Find God’s Will and Change the World





My summer is strange (very, very strange). My family makes fun of me for it.

You see, when 5:59 strikes each morning, my phone lights up. “Good morning, babe” is followed by smiley and confetti emojis as my finger slides across the screen to silence my alarm.

My next step takes me to my window. I pull back the drapes to check the sunrise (which starts at 5:34 a.m. on average). The pink and orange meet my barely-able-to-handle-that-much-sun-because-my-room-was-so-dark eyes.

By 6:15 a.m. I’m hard at it: writing.

That’s my sole activity until I engage with some quiet time (what stands between me and insanity). Then, specifically writing for the site I edit comes next on Monday/Wednesday/Friday. Greek follows, then History of the Christian Church, then emails, then blog ​work, thne magazine reading, then CLEP exam prep, a short break for guitar, and then writing for the other sites to which I owe articles.

I won’t even describe what shakes up Tuesday/Thursday, tell of the five different notebooks I have for writing down all my sporadic ideas, questions, and musings, or expound on the TED talks, classical music, and award winning novels that come when I’m “off the clock” at 6:00 p.m. Or the reality that by the time 8:30 p.m. rolls around, this human in the prime of her youth yawns and grabs her journal. 9:00 p.m. means lights out.

My summer is strange. It’s not typical to print out an academic schedule so that you can create a self-imposed summer schedule.

But I have dreams. I have goals. I’m tired of not chasing them, and I desperately don’t want to waste my life.

I don’t want to waste my life.

This is something that I’ve not wanted to do since I was a very small child. (Think an eleven-year-old having a mini “mid-life crisis” when realizing her life is probably about 1/8 over and she’s yet to accomplish anything substantial.)

I then proceeded to read Do Hard Things at age twelve because I was reforming my ways and wanted to know how to make the most of the teen years before I even reached them.

I’ve been plagued by not wanting to waste my life.

This didn’t really have that many negative consequences when I was younger. But as I grew, this desire only grew as my death seemed to grow nearer. Wasting my life had stopped being an option long ago. But doing something incredibly large with my life now seemed to be what I had to do.

And feeling incredibly obligated that you have to do something? Well, I’ve got a little rebel in me and that doesn’t fly super well.

I tried ignoring it and doing my own thing, but that still left me feeling empty. You see, I had tried so hard to figure out what it was that I had to do with my life so that I wouldn’t waste my life. I over-analyzed everything in a desperate attempt to just find God’s will.

But I didn’t find it. All I found was more frustration with myself, more fear of taking any action because it could be the wrong one, and a life of inaction and dissatisfaction.

I never could be satisfied with my life because I was determined I was wasting it, and I didn’t know how to fix this.

The fullness of this realization is still fresh. I’m still processing through what I’ve learned because of it and the steps that I’m now​ realizing must be taken​ (and I have a lot of thoughts).

Another post will have to ​follow expounding on that, but I want to know something first.

Can anyone relate to this? Do you feel like you’ve developed an unhealthy, out of proportion pressure that you have to find God’s specific will for your life and change the world?*

Or am I the only one?
_______________________

*And I’m not talking about a healthy, Do Hard Things bred notion of engaging with the teenage years and beyond in a really good, healthy, and beneficial way. I’m talking about a twisted version of that idea where you just feel this distorted (and enormous) pressure.


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About the Author

- a college student and pastor’s kid - is a city loving and avocado eating cultural enthusiast, creative, and dreamer who is addicted to dipping words in candor as she writes for her blog Hope Shining. Her hope is anchored to a man who came to earth around 2,000 years ago – Jesus of Nazareth – and she just wants to know Him and make Him known.



  • Grace M.

    YES! This is exactly what I’m dealing with at the moment. I feel like I’m spending every day with the same routine, working through a never-ending to do list, over-organizing and over-planning everything. This summer I’m going to try a bit of a more relaxed life and see if I can get rid of this uber-perfectionist mindset I have. But you’re not alone!!

    • I like how you described it! It really is a pressure-filled version version of an uber-perfectionistic mindset, and it is definitely exhausting. The idea of seeking a more relaxed life is spot on, too. I’m working through how to relax while at the same time not slacking off (and the first step for me has really been to realize that it’s okay to rest sometimes! God issued the Sabbath for a reason…). It seems like it’s necessary to have a relaxed mindset, too, no matter what the you’re doing. Maybe a balance between learning how to maximize actual relaxing activities and being able to live from that mental place where you are relaxed — carrying around less of the pressure, I guess, could be one way to describe it. How has trying to have more of this relaxed life been going for you? Have you found any particular way that it’s really working well? (By the way, I checked out your blog, and I really like the layout! Nice work.)

      • Grace M.

        Aw, thanks! That means a lot.
        Realizing that it’s okay to rest is so important! In the words of my mom, if you live in a more relaxed way, you might not get quite as much done. And that’s okay!
        I’m still in school, so I have to be somewhat organized, but I have stopped with the daily to do list already. I have a list, it’s just more of an overall list rather than day-specific. I’ve been just sort of slowly working through it, getting two or three things done each day, focusing on the more urgent things and the things I try to do everyday (like writing, music practice, etc). It’s definitely a more relaxed lifestyle and I’ll be experimenting more once I get out of school.

        • Yes, that sounds like a solid idea! Focusing on what is most urgent and what the priorities should be can be so beneficial. Sometimes, narrowing down what we really need to be wholeheartedly investing in is so necessary. It actually allows us to put more energy and passion into what we do!

  • Haven Asnip

    You are not the only one! “Distorted (and enormous) pressure” pretty much sums it up for me!

    • I am glad to hear that you can relate (even though I am not necessarily glad that we both have to experience this negative pressure at times). Is there certain areas in your life in particular where you feel the pressure most strongly?

      • Haven Asnip

        @amberesh:disqus put my thoughts down almost perfectly. I have this feeling like I have to do something big, change the world, save lives, create a mission, etc… But that is not where God has me right now. Right now I’m being called to do math, chores, and be the best daughter/sister I can be. Sometimes that seems pointless, mundane, and unimportant. I know that my ultimate purpose is to glorify God in whatever I do everyday. It’s just sometimes I feel like I could be doing that so much better in another situation. I guess my problem could be more contentment based than pressure based :)

        • I love that so much! “…more contentment based than pressure based.” That is so true. Approaching the mundane from a place of “okay, God, I’m going to do it all with my whole heart” is so beautiful. I think that reflects more of a posture of surrender, trust and even hope (instead of discouragement). Thanks for bringing that up!

  • Olivia R.

    This is me. I am always wondering what I should do next because I feel I need to do something productive.

    • Martina Vaľková

      I feel the same way. I am from Slovakia and I took my final exams at high school and now i want to make something really good, hard a what will help the others but I dont know what exactly and i also have a lot of thing to do and I always have a feeling that I should do something, like whatever but always do something

      • Olivia R.

        Yes, I always feel like I want to do something, but I don’t know what to do. I have this feeling often, especially when I feel like doing nothing. Then, when I want to do nothing, I have a strong feeling that I should do something. I agree, it is hard to know exactly what to do. :)

        • Haha I can relate to that @harpistforhim:disqus and @martinavakov:disqus! It can feel like you don’t know what you want to do, but at the same time you feel bad that you aren’t doing anything. Yep, I’ve been there many times. What do you guys think is one of the biggest things that keeps you back from doing something? Or is there anything in particular you think is making this pressure worse?

          • Olivia R.

            Procrastination usually keeps me back from doing things. Also, sometimes I want to do too many things at once and I don’t know which one to do.

          • Oh my, I can definitely relate to both of those. It’s so easy to feel like you are doing so much and being pulled in so many directions that you basically can’t fully invest in anything!

  • Sarah A.

    I strongly agree with you! Just under a month ago, I turned 18. And since my birthday I’ve been realizing (this sounds kind of weird but I don’t know how else to word it) how old I am. Not that I think I’m an old lady or anything, I’m just realizing that my teenage years are almost over and I feel like I’ve wasted them. And I don’t want to feel the same way when I get to the end of my 20’s, 30’s, and so on. Anyway, I do strongly feel the pressure to not waste my life.

    Have you read Don’t Waste Your Life? It’s a really good book and I’ve been doing a study guide with for school this past year.

    • Yes! I’ve been at that spot, too, when you continue looking down your life (to your 20s, 30s, etc.) and wondering how you are going to feel about how you’ve lived. I have read “Don’t Waste Your Life,” and I enjoyed reading it. I’m glad to hear that you’ve been able to work through it, too! Is there anything you feel makes feeling this pressure worse? And what do you think “not wasting your life” would look like?

  • Haylie

    You are most definitely not the only one feeling pressure to “find Gods’s will”. Thank you for this very thoughtful post, Deborah. You remain one of my favorite authors on theReb. :)

    • Haylie, thank you so much for your comment! I am glad (and not glad at the same because feeling the pressure can be rough) to hear that I’m not alone in this. I’m curious to see what makes people feel this pressure most intently. Is it messages at church? Is it your own thoughts? Is it the media? Do you know which spots make it particularly intense for you? And do you have anything that helps you handle the feeling?

      (Thank you for the encouragement, too; it really, really means a lot. I love reading your comments!)

      • Haylie

        Hmm… good questions. I’d say that personally, the Christian “media” and pressure I’ve preached to myself remain the major culprits of such feelings. But It helps me to remember that there are many parts of God’s will for us never change, like we are supposed to do everything to the glory of God. So, maybe God’s will for me today is being patient with my siblings or doing dishes without complaining… that kinda thing. How about yourself, Deborah? :) and you’re very welcome for the encouragement 😉

        • Yep, I’m hearing you with that! Some of the pressure can definitely be felt from the Christian “media,” but I know that it’s ultimately coming (or staying) because of what I tell myself and how I hold onto the pressure. I think that I’m looking around at successful people – people who seem to be happy or have meaning – and then I apply my Christianity. I then think that – as Christians – we have this responsibility to live lives that are so beyond anything “the world can offer,” but I feel like I’m not living that way. Then, I make up these ideas of how I think that means I should actually be living, and then I am continually frustrated with myself because I seldom measure up to my own standards. I think these standards (and the pressure to meet them) are maybe coming from these unrealistic expectations about what my life “should be.” I’ve kind of taken some (even good) things to the extreme, I think. Hum, this is interesting to try to explain! I hope that makes sense for a short answer:) I’m still sorting through my thoughts, but thank you for bringing this up!

          • Haylie

            Yes it does make sense :) it’s good to hear your thoughts about it. Thank you!

  • You are not the only one Debroah, sometimes I need to stop and refocus the focus on God. Who has the ultimate plan for me and you. Yes I am also obsessed at not wanting to waste my life… In fact that is my biggest fear. Living on this earth and not impacting it in some way. I feel all this pressure to make a difference and to be prouductive in my teen years, I am not saying that that is a bad thing but it can be if we allow it to make us feel like we are on stress ride. I mean who wants to go on that journey? So please make a difference but don’t let your stress control you or dreams, because making a difference and Doing Hard Things should not make us feel stressed. They should make us feel accomplished and proud of ourselves, not pressured and stressed. I hope this helps Debroah and remember God loves you and wants to take you on the ride for your life, so hang on because it’s kinda scary but really fun:)

    • Yes, Bekah, that was very helpful; thank you for commenting! I love how you put it. Carrying around this pressure can really make it feel like nothing short of a stress ride. It’s a ride that I have ridden, but like you pointed out, who really wants to be on that journey? It seems even less desirable when I know – through Jesus – we have all we need to live a life free of that. I guess sometimes I just don’t live out the truths, you know? Like you said, though, we can go on the ride of our lives with Him, and that is so much more fulfilling. It may (yes) be scary, but it is scary in a good way. Do you have anything that helps you when you are feeling the stress and know that refocusing on God would really help?

      • Praying and saying “Let go and let God” also listening to the song “Breathe” by Johnny Diaz. :) I feel stressed a lot so when I do these things it helps.

  • I ran into a similar problem. I had big ambitions of what I wanted to achieve, but I just kept spinning my wheels. I couldn’t seem to work up the self-discipline needed to accomplish much at all. I couldn’t even come close to doing the things I wanted to, and I didn’t want to waste my life. Eventually I found what was causing it. I needed two things:

    1. Patience
    2. Time to mature

    For the first one, consider Bible verses such as Psalm 27:14. It says “wait for the Lord”. In my case, I wanted to do big things, but (unbeknowest to me) I wanted to do them before God wanted me to.

    Second, as the years drifted by, I learned a lot about myself. It turns out that I probably have high-functioning autism – inherited from a grandpa who was a NASA engineer – and before I could accomplish much, I needed to learn what made me tick. One symptom common among autistics is that we have trouble focusing on things that we’re not interested in.

    I especially needed to learn the discipline of time management. I’m far from perfect in this area, but I’m much better at it than I was, and I’m improving steadily. It took me quite awhile to learn the real cause of my problem, and I needed to learn many other things as well. When I wanted to achieve big things *now*, I was simply getting way ahead of myself.

    There is a time to push yourself to achieve, but sometimes you must stop and wait for God. Odds are that he’s preparing something for you, and it (or you) are just not ready yet.

    In the meantime, pray that God will show you what he wants you to be doing *right now*. Take time to relax, and spend time with friends. Enjoy the life that God has given you. Learn more about yourself and the world around you. If you want to serve God – and do so in the way he wants you to, instead of your own way – then God will honor that. Just be patient, and trust God’s timing.

    • Cricket

      Welcome to the Reb, Scipio! And is that seriously your name, or did you take it after the general?

      • I took the name of the general. It’s cool that someone else knows about him.

        • Cricket

          Yesss!! (high-five)

    • Hey Scipio! You bring up some really good points in your thoughts here. I appreciate what you have to say about engaging where you are right now. I think that relates to what you’re saying about patience and even control. I know that for me, I often get most impatient when I am unhappy with where I’m at in that moment. I wish I was farther ahead or am getting mad at my self for elements in the past I wish I could change. Living in the present and engaging with the now is not how I live when I’m thinking in such a way. It’s also too easy to try and control all these elements of your life to “make it work.” God has a plan, however, that He is the only one who can make it work in the end. We need to be obedient to follow Him and faithfully serve Him, but we can do this with a different attitude where it’s out of love for Him and leaving the journey and results to Him. We are ready to go and do whatever He wants as long as it is following Him and not our own will. Do you have anything that helps you engage in the present? Do you have a certain way that helps you know where God is calling you to go or do next?

      • I must say, you asked a very good question. It’s also a very hard question, and I had to think a bit about how to answer it.

        I don’t claim to be an expert on this subject, and I definitely don’t have a 100% certain method, but I will share what I did to try to find what God wants me to do with my life, and how well/poorly it worked.

        1. The first thing I did was ask the question. I asked God that he would reveal to me what he wanted me to do with my life.

        2. Second, I started looking – and I kept my eyes open for an answer even when I wasn’t searching. I tried to look at what God had gifted me in, and deduce what kinds of things would be a natural fit.

        In my case, what I came up with is that I’m supposed to invent fully artificial life, and do so in a way that glorifies God. That isn’t what one normally thinks of as a calling from God, so…

        3. …I asked: what if I didn’t get this idea from God, but instead came up with it myself? How could I tell the difference? To find out, I prayed and…

        4. …Did my homework. I looked into this matter to see if it’s a wild pipe dream, or if it’s actually plausible. It turns out that current human technology is not terribly far away from being able to make a self-sustaining, fully automated factory – a living cell the size of a factory floor. Also, I…

        5. …Gave my ambition over to God. If I end up doing this, I should focus first on serving and honoring God, and following his lead. I prayed that if God really wanted me to invent this, that he would open whatever doors are necessary, etc. I also asked that if he didn’t want me to do this, that he would make it impossible for me to do so.

        At this point, I’m going to a technical college that has a very reputable robotics program, but it seems that God wanted me to take their computer networking program. The two are designed so that one can get two two-year degrees in three years, so my current plan is to get both. Right now, my tuition is completely paid for.

        In the meantime, I’m blogging on some rather deep philosophical and religious topics – especially the Creation/Evolution controversy. I also finally got around to publishing and documenting an evolution simulator that I wrote a few years ago. I wrote it to find out if my parents (young-earth Creationists) were right, and I found that they were – and are – more right than they know.

        So does God really want me to invent fully artificial life? I hope so. But even if I turn out to be wrong about that, I can’t go wrong in the way I’m pursuing it.

        I hope this helps. May God bless you greatly for seeking his will.

        • Thanks for sharing about your method! What really stood out to me was steps two and five where you are committing to keep your eyes open (and then actually seeking to see if ‘what you’re seeing’ is confirmed in step four) before ultimately surrendering it all back over to God again. I think that is so key. It’s good to be holding so tightly the desire to live our lives for God while at the same time holding our specific plans somewhat more loosely. We realize that knowing Jesus more and making him known more is what we actually desire, and the ways that this tangibly plans out is up to Him. I think that’s such a place of peace to be while we – in the meantime – wholeheartedly pursue whatever direction we feel like He’s leading. Thanks for the thoughts.

          • You’re welcome! How about you? Do you have any idea what God has called you to do? And if so, how did you find out?

  • Christina McCarty

    Oh my goodness, this is incredibly relatable. I have giant, a-little-more-than-bite-size goals for myself, but a lot of the time I lack resources, it’s wrong timing, etc. What I am learning to do, especially this summer, is to do what is feasibly possible for me and let go of the pressure (often self inflicted) to change the world overnight. Because that’s not how it works. I am 17, and I have some physical limitations that keep me from driving a car, have kept me from getting a job until recently, and that limit the number of hours I can work at this job. I also am currently unable to fulfill my long-term goal of running a half marathon, or even working towards it. Many areas of my life have to be put on hold because of my health, and that scares me, because I feel the pressure to always be moving, working, striving not to waste time. But, as my very wise mother reminds me, “You’ll get there. If it takes you longer to get there than some other people, that’s okay. The important thing is that you don’t lose hope, and you don’t give up”. So when the lie comes, telling me that I am wasting time in my home, in bed, that I should be ‘out there’, changing the world, I can smile confidently, point to the long list of people in Scripture that the Lord took on detours through deserts and difficult times, and see how He brought every one out and used their experiences to transform them into mighty heroes. As long as we are working to the best of OUR ability and following the Lord’s directions, whether we are washing dishes and wiping noses, reading and writing from a hospital bed, or speaking before crowds of thousands, we never have to worry about wasting our life.

    • Hey Christina! Thank you so much for sharing your heart here; I was encouraged by reading your thoughts. I love how you have grabbed holding of “letting go” letting go of the pressure to change the world (and then you used a key word) overnight. I think that’s so important. It’s not that we are abandoning the desire to make a positive impact on the world for Christ; in fact, I think the “letting go” actually means that we might be holding this desire to bring change even more tightly. It’s more of a letting go – like you said – where we work to the very best that we are able as we obediently walk out following God. What gives you the most motivation to be happy while living out your faith no matter what that looks like compared to the “pressured” standard?

      • Christina McCarty

        Hey Deborah, my apologies for taking so long to respond to you, but your question, what gives me the most motivation to be happy, really rocked me, and I didn’t have an immediate answer. After thinking about it, the best answer I can come to is that my happiness comes from knowing that I have purpose. I can be happy because my life fits into the Lord’s plan perfectly, and when I am obedient, I am where I’m supposed to be. I can let go, and let God. He has got me, so I don’t have to worry about anything. :)

  • Andrew

    This post is almost me.
    Firstly,I want to pray for you, that God would grant you His peace that goes beyond our understanding.

    Secondly, though, I want to ask for prayer.
    My desire to live is, at best, lax.
    I dont find much joy in life aside from serving God, so He’s the only reason I’m here.
    But my “pressure” comes from a different source. I’m 17, and I feel like I’ve wastes so much time that could have been used productively. And now, my biggest fear is that I may not accomplish all the things I need to do to one day marry the most beautiful girl in the world.

    She is on fire for God, incredibly smart and wise, and my only other reason for living. The fear that I might not get to marry her, or worse, that she’ll wait for me while I waste time, consumes me at times.

    I need advice and prayer.
    Please, anyone.

    • Hey Andrew,

      Time is an endowment that God gives us — it’s finite. While we might not use it as well as we’d like, one of the great realities is that we can change that with God’s help. Feeling like you’re wasting time during the day? Analyze how you’re spending your time and what it’s contributing towards. Then take tangible steps to improve on those dimensions.

      Your fear is a natural one. While it is good for us to be concerned about things — it gives us the pressure to perform, as there are plenty of things to be concerned about! — fear is something to avoid as it wrecks our relationship with God. It’s like we’re not trusting God with our future. Obviously it’s hard to “stop fearing”, but we can work on it through prayer and how we discipline our mind. Focus on what you have control over and finding a way to make a positive impact; the fear will fade!

      • Andrew

        Thank you so much, Christos.

    • Haven Asnip

      I’ll be praying Andrew!

    • Musical Ragamuffin

      Hey Andrew! I created an anxiety problem for myself around my first year of high school, that has really wasted a lot of the time I’ve had with my family. But both you and I have the rest of life that God has for us ahead. Maybe our teen years didn’t go as we dreamed or thought they should, but God is offering the future. Having wasted time comes with such a sinking feeling of failure, but the work can still be done. The time can’t be made up, but we can take a step every day to do what needs to be done in order to not waste any more time. God’s mercies are new every morning.

    • Hi Andrew,

      Yes, pressures can be extremely hard, and thank you for sharing about your situation so that we can be praying for you. It’s vital that you remember you have a family of Christ that is here to support you and that you are not alone in this. Others have been in places where they feel very self-condemned and frustrated at how they may have lived in the past. However, others have also seen a way out, and we all can be there to help each other.

      Ultimately, we can rest in a place of trust knowing that God is so faithful and in control (1 Corinthians 1:9). We know, too, that we can have new starts (Isaiah 43:19). Even though a lack of productivity may be in your past, you can always start new. Sometimes, it may seem like change is unsustainable, but we know that the Holy Spirit is here to help (John 14:26). We can rely on His help and strength to start going in the direction that we now want, too.

      Also, God has grace. We are not perfect and able to always do everything as exactly “right” as we want to do it. However, we can always choose to take the next step in the right direction. Instead of holding so tightly to how you wish you would have acted, choose to let it go and hold tightly to the truth of God’s word and wanting to change simply because you want to honor God more with your life. Seeing the areas we wish we could change can be good motivation to actually get started in living a new way. However, they become weights that keep us from moving if we carry them as a bag instead of using them as a springboard for life change.

      Know that I’m praying for you!

  • Fantastic Deborah. A lot of people will want to do something big, but that’s where they stop. They let the enormity of the task overwhelm and short-circuit their strategy and stability. The cares of this world will seep in unless we are strongly rooted in the Gospel and putting it to practice each day.

    The reality is that God doesn’t need any of us — He could raise up a prophet instantaneously or send one of His might angels to accomplish anything. And yet, we have the privilege of serving. We need to think big, work hard to understand God’s will for us, and be unrelenting at following through on it consistently. Big goals are accomplished by succeeding on a lot of little ones!

    • Hi Christos! You are right; being relentless in following through with consistency is vital when trying to accomplish anything! As you said, though, if we are not personally rooted in the truth of the Gospel and daily learning how to put it into practice even more fully, the cares of the world will enter. I think those can definitely make the “pressure” worse. What have you found to help you stay rooted in the Gospel to negate feeling “the world’s cares” so heavily?

      • While it will always be a daily challenge that we struggle with, it’s really the habit of talking with God throughout the day / every day and disciplining our minds are really important strategies. My view is that if we believe something, we shouldn’t let something stop us from doing it just because it’s difficult or painful! In that sense, if we believe God is who He says He is, and the eternity that will follow, then surrendering to Him daily is the least we can do!

        • You put that so well. “… if we believe God is who He says He is, and the eternity that will follow, then surrendering to Him daily is the least we can do!” I actually was just talking with some people last night of having a bigger concept of God and using that as a starting place for who we are and how we live. I think we talk about this – as a church – a decent amount (at least in my experience), but it’s easy to not live out. Plus, we never can fully understand God this side of heaven, so growth can always take place. I like how you pointed out “daily,” though. Living with a mindset of surrender that translates into actions is so powerful. Thanks for the thoughts!

          • Did you get my email to your bravemag account?? 😉

          • psst, I think you forgot to check your bravemag email after your earlier reply!

  • Deborah. I just wanted to say that I was hesitant to write a post on something similar to this. And I’m just so glad that you did! It has encouraged me to write another submission to the Reb. I tried last year and wasn’t able to get it published. So since then I’ve just hit “writer’s block” and it’s been hard to create. So thank you so much for writing this. Thank yooouuuu!! :)

    • I am so glad to hear that it was able to encourage you! Yes, writer’s block can be a real struggle, but I’m happy that you’re going to follow where God’s leading again with hard work and faithfulness! You can do it!

  • Musical Ragamuffin

    Oh. My. Goodness. I read Do Hard Things in my early teens, and was like “Some of my teen years are already wasted!!! Oh no!” In the first years as a teen I had great ideas, and I still feel a bit guilty sometimes that I didn’t do something big, or that I’m not doing something big. However, I think that I did live the life God wanted me to live. And I think we’ve all got to realize that although we shouldn’t waste our teen years, we’ve got the rest of our lives ahead. The big things may not be accomplished until twenty years hence, but we do need to be preparing. Whatever that means for you or me.

    • Yes, I like your emphasis on that we need to simply be focused on doing whatever obedience means for us. I think that reflects a shift that’s not “wanting to do less” in laziness or anything, but a shift that is more like “God, I want to do whatever you have for me with faithfulness” – whether that means something “big” or “small,” something that happens now or simply actions that are leading to something we’re not yet able to see. How do you find the motivation to continue in these small actions?

      • Musical Ragamuffin

        Sometimes they are things I enjoy, they just don’t seem “big”, but they are preparing me. Others I do just because I have to or am obliged to. I know I need to focus on my relationship to God rather than obedience to God to “make sure I’m OK”, in effect trying to save myself.

  • Elaine

    Yes! Something I’ve been struggling with recently. Thank you!
    By His breath, Dorothy Elaine

  • Rebekah

    Yes! I feel that a LOT!

  • Holly

    Yes!! Can’t wait for your next post.

  • Amber L

    Ok, wow. I can actually relate to this whole thing of feeling totally pointless. Like I’m not getting anything big done for the kingdom of God. Like its every day, work, school, sleep, repeat. And my whole teen years are just going to waist. But then I have to think about David. Way back, befor he ever killed Golieth and started living at the temple, what did her spend his days doing? Playing harp and watching sheep?Could it be that he ever feelt unfulfilled, or maybe like his life was going nowhere fast?
    I guess one thing that really helped me was to realize that hey, today, God has called me to be faithful in whatever I’m doing. Whatever it is, weather its work, doing math, or going to church, God has called me to do that to the glory of God. So even though at some seasons in life I really feel like I’m not getting anything accomplished, it’s still a growing season. It’s still a transitional season in to whatever He has for me next. Idk, these are just a few of my thoughts on it, and Im exited to read the next post. As u can see I’m kind of new to the Reb, but I think it’s pretty cool;)

    • Anne

      Welcome to theReb, @amberesh:disqus!

      • Amber L

        Aw thanks!

    • Nathan Traylor

      Thank you so much for this response. I’m struggling with a similar dilemma and I keep turning to my own idols to ignore the big hole in my every day question of “What am I really here to do?”

      • Hey Nathan! I have some thoughts about this that I commented under Amber’s post, I tried to tag you; it wasn’t working, so I thought I’d let you know.

    • You bring up some good points, Amber! I really appreciate what you have to say about faithfulness, and that’s a really good question you brought up, @Nathan Taylor I think that coming to a point where you feel like you can healthily think about what you’re doing can make a big difference. That type of thinking isn’t focused on how you must be missing something big (what you assume you really should be doing) but is focused on investing in whatever happens to be in front of you today while continually seeking the Lord for what may be next. I don’t know about for you guys, but I know that for me, if I don’t live with that mindset, I get super frustrated and annoyed and have such a harder time doing what I actually could be doing. I get focused on what I (mistakenly, often) think I should be doing and miss what I can be doing. How about you? What does the “pressure” feel like for you? Frustration? A distraction? A lack of motivation? An evaporation of contentment?

      • Amber L

        Wow Deborah,
        You put into words exactly what I was feeling. I guess for me, the pressure is is a form of boredom with the place God has me at currently. You know, when you see so and so out there on a yearlong mission trip, or it just seems like others lives are so much more fulfilling then yours. The key to getting over that, for me anyway, was learning to live in the moment and realizeing that God has me where I’m at for a purpose. And on that note, I belive if I am truly seeking God he will show me in Hid timing what he has for me to do.

        • Amber L

          *His*

          • I can relate to feeling boredom and feeling like what you see in others’ lives seems more fulfilling. You brought it back to what is so important, though: simply seeking God. As we are wholeheartedly seeking Him, we are living from a place of trust and surrender. When we are committed to simply wholeheartedly engaging in whatever is next and continually asking how we can do the hard things and live for Him, He will guide. Our motivation remains to know Him and make Him known more, and that is something we can always strive for no matter what our external situation may be.

          • Amber L

            That is so right!

  • Mary E.

    Thank you for this article, I really can relate to this pressure to do big things for Christ without finding ways for doing them (it’s not the ideas that are missing!)
    What really helps me to be happy with the smaller “missions” I have now is to remember what the master says to the faithful servants in the parable of the talents: “You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.” I think periods where we feel pointless and like we’re wasting our time are often times where God teaches us humility and prepares us for the plans he has for us. And actually, we are living his plans right now, even though we do not really feel excited about our current reality.
    But I would like to share a prayer request that has something to do with these questions of missing God’s will for our lives.
    Well, I love a guy and he loves me back. We’ve been really close friends for a time and really have great discussions, he is a fervent christian and even though he of course isn’t perfect, he treats me even better than I would have imagine it could be possible, with much love, honesty and respect. He is clever and kind and I cannot find anything I wish he had done differently. And yet there is a problem. He has a mental illness, bipolarity, which is incurable. When he isn’t going trough a crisis, he is perfectly normal, but then when crisis come, which is unpredictable, he can become totally crazy and even dangerous to the point that he sometimes has to go to the psychiatric hospital. And he also has to take medicaments than make him really tired and unfocused, and even with these he stays really emotionally fragile and needs to be protected from stressful situations. When I’ve spoken about this with my parents, they were very upset and gave me the advice to flee and to break all ties with him. They told me that to build a life with him would be terrible and that if I made this choice, I would just be ruining my whole life. And the fact is that even though it is really really hard, even though I still love him, and even if the idea of losing him hurts a lot, not to mention that I know I would hurt him even more, I start thinking that they’re right. I’ve always dreamed to be a doctor and to help people, the weakest of our society, to fight for them and to bring them hope. I think that God gave me abilities to do it and the life I wish would be impossible with a husband bearing an illness which makes any sort of pressure really dangerous to him even when he isn’t going trough a crisis. And even if I didn’t want to have a missionary life, he himself and my parents told me about terrible family situations where one of the parents also is bipolar, and it isn’t the life I want. All of these reasons make me think that I should leave him and forget him. But I really feel bad about all of that, how can it be good to abandon a friend because of something that can’t be helped? I do not know any biblical element that may support it, and I cannot pretend that it is by love for him that I would take this decision, the only reason is that I think that it isn’t my vocation to stay home and spend my whole life taking care of one person, and to be honest, this possibility also scares me.
    I would really be grateful to know what you think about all of this, and thank you for your prayers! Any response is welcome 😉

  • Linnea Rainbow

    Oh my word I can relate to this so much. Im still only 13, but i have this burning desire to not waste my life. The thought that i might waste my life plagues my mind and keeps me awake at night. However, as great as that desire is, the biggest desire i have is to follow Gods plan for my life. Im always going back and forth between what i think God wants me to do or not. Just a week ago I got offered an amazing opportunity to do something huge, but I havent decided whether or not i will do it, because i dont know if its the right thing, if its Gods will. I have been reading my Bible and praying as often as i can, what else can i do? any advice?

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