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At the guy’s discipleship group at my church, we just finished going through Alex and Brett Harris’s book Do Hard Things. I found it to be an excellent reminder in my own life even though I was walking into it not expecting to be changed.
I now have several hard things to work on. The book jolted me out of my comfort-zone of mediocrity and gave me a passion to do those hard things and become someone different. But when I started thinking of practical applications, I had second thoughts. I want to be known as a leader in Youth Group – someone that immediately extends himself to the new people; someone that others feel comfortable coming to when they have a problem; someone who is the first to share on Testimony Night and the first to volunteer for anything; the first to open up to others and the first to be willing to lead. But I’m shy. I know that comes as a shock to some of the adults I know (and Grant) because I am not shy with adults. But I’m shy with people my age. I joke that my peer group is almost entirely 40 years old and better, but it’s actually quite true. Don’t get me wrong – my peer group is amazing. But I also want to help those who are my age.
In discipleship group, we talked about the changes we would like to see at Youth Group over the next year. I have noticed that in our Youth Group (and, from reports that I have heard – it’s a more of a nation-wide problem), the kids rarely come back on Wednesdays as soon as the become Seniors in high school. I told the group that I would like to see Seniors come back this year because I know from experience what a powerful effect the older children can have on the younger. Everyone liked this, and so did I, until I asked how we could pull this off. It basically boiled down to going up to them and asking why they aren’t coming. This didn’t appeal to me. And neither did the solution to my desire to become a leader in Youth Group: talking to those that seem to be alone or just people that I haven’t talked to before and actually trying to get into a spiritual conversation.
Now that I think about it, two things come to my mind:
1. Either they will listen to you, ignore you, or laugh at you (I’m hopeful that first two are the only of the three that actually occur at our church). But whatever their response is, they’re only people.
2. You act according to the level of your desire. If you want strongly enough to become a leader (or whatever you strongly desire to be), then you will actively pursue relationships with those you do not know. If you are not willing to overcome your shyness – even for the sake of the others at Youth Group – then you either do not desire strongly enough to become a leader or (to say it quite bluntly) are selfish.
So my hard things for this year – loosely tied to my New Year’s Resolutions (here’s where Lindsey and Abbie groan ☺) – are:
To at least begin to be recognized as a leader at Youth Group.
To be as regular with reading my Bible as I am with listening to music (Here’s where Grant groans ☺ – yes: I am listening to Enya as I write this), checking my emails (Where Noah groans ☺) and eating (Here’s where everyone groans ☺).
To become aware of the needs of others and not so centered on myself so that my prayer life can get taken off “Me! Me! Me!” and be more about others.
To form friendships with at least 2 or 3 people that I know or barely know now. These won’t be superficial – they will be deeper, more personal, and centered on our common foundation of our salvation.
Please pray for me regularly (if not daily) about these things (but I don’t want to have to make you remember to do that. If I was you, I’d probably forget, too, even though I would have every good intention to remember ☺). And PLEASE ask me how I am doing in these areas and tell me what you see in my and how you would like to see change in my own life. I want all the feedback I can get. I always say that if you don’t think that you’re doing anything wrong, but two or three people say that you are, it’s probably not a conspiracy against you – it’s probably the truth. I want to be as humble as possible, but pride always finds it way into our hearts, doesn’t it? So you can even tell me that I’m not being humble ☺.