For a while now, I’ve been an advocate of doing hard things. That means intentionally following God to rebel against the low societal expectations. Put another way, it means following God as He leads step by step into fulfilling that great vision of His for your life. It also means using your unique gifts and godly passions in your youth – to live a life that will be most satisfying to you and a blessing to others.
To live on purpose.
I’ve written my manifesto in my first book, Donut, which you can get here for free.
Last year July, I promoted an initiative a dear friend of mine (who was a first-year clinical student at that time) ran with – to provide clothing for the children at an orphanage in his city of residence. They set out to raise money and got more than their target and were able to put smiles on many kid’s faces. I thought that was a hard thing – and a good move!
Hard things fascinate me.
I break into my happy dance when young people rise from mediocrity, the stereotypes and the setbacks of their background, the challenges of an abusive or disadvantaged childhood that have held them back for so long and decide to intentionally follow God into a life of purpose.
I celebrate you all today, who have taken this step all over the world, and I encourage others to do the same.
Yesterday at church, we (the youth class teachers) shared an article we worked on for two weeks about nine “summer fun, productive and God-honoring to-do list” for teens. You’d benefit a bunch if you read it here. We hope the articles encourage young people to find God-honoring ways to spend summer – and their whole lives.
Why did I mention this?
It is because of this example (among many other areas of my life) I want to share:
I learned to use the computer about fourteen years ago and CorelDraw software, about eleven years ago – during summer break. Many articles, blog posts and two books later, I can testify that learning how to use this “electronic machine” was fuel that spread my little writing spark for the world to see. And in the few years I did graphic design as a medical student, I have grossed over a million in contracts and I continue to design freelance in my spare time. I’ll be writing and publishing for a long time because of an ignition step I took during a summer break (and the follow-up years, of course).
During my previous breaks, I have attended and organized programs, brainstormed ideas, written tons of articles, made friends, gone on mission trips, developed my gifts by use and learned a lot from the internet. I haven’t always been maximally productive but I have a glimpse into the kind of productivity that can come from properly utilizing breaks.
June/July/August is summer break for schools most part of the world. What will you do with those three months?
I like this quote from Francis Chan, “We never grow closer to God when we just live. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.”
Like our walk with God, doing great things in life will not just happen as you live. You will be intentional about it.
And doing hard things is not about a frantic life, pushing and prodding to do something great to be approved by God or to feel important. It’s following God to do those things He had planned ahead for you – thing you’d rather start doing – as He reveals them and prepares you for them (Ephesians 2:10)
Many young people think about the big day of greatness but do not realize that a fulfilling life is not only about a single day you enter the spotlight or the Guinness book of records, it is today, tomorrow and the day after – the in-between days – that will add up to that life they dreamed of.
It’s like schooling. Surely, convocation day will come, but the days leading up to it will determine whether a student at matriculation will be a spectator or a graduate when that day comes.
Surely, the big day will come. But will you be prepared for it?
Today must not breeze by. Today is a gift to you – the present – when you ought to build content and capacity to do great things. Moreover, it’s not your life anyway. You’ve been given this gift by God. What you do with this life is your gift to God.
I encourage you today: DO HARD THINGS.