To live a Christian lifestyle is undoubtedly the highest calling one accepts for oneself as he or she dwells upon this earth. However, living as Christ calls His people to live is often difficult, fear-filled, and risky. From personal experience I find that maturation comes through challenging myself and finding security outside complacency. As Peter did as he stepped out to walk on water, it is crucial to trust that Jesus will go before me and guide my steps. I recall the fear I first felt volunteering to lead the children at my church in choir songs. However, the Lord now offers reassurance and uses me to reach young children through music. Reflecting on my participation in "See You at the Pole" this year, I realize that I was nervous, standing and praying in view of my classmates. Yet at the same time I felt empowered and understood that God is truly among two or three joined in His Name. I grew stronger in my faith as I explained the reasons I gathered to questioning peers later that day. However, one incident of a different nature stands firmly in mind as an instance of learning and growing. I now know God is with me in difficult times to instruct me and allow me to flourish.
The second semester of my sophomore year I entrolled in my first AP class, U.S. History. After the first three weeks I was overwhelmed, stressed, and dropped the class because the coursework seemed nearly impossible. Later, however, I began to cry as I sat in the study hall because I had let something beat me. I felt deep disappointment and shame. The time came for me to realize that if I do not initially succeed, in an academic, spiritual, or ethical domain, I should neither capitulate nor become discouraged. Bumps in life's journey allow contemplation, introspection, and a time to draw nearer to the heavenly Father. In this case, I am grateful for an understanding guidance counselor and was scheduled back in the class the next day. In the following weeks I managed my time better and found quiet times for prayer that greatly reduced my anxiety. I can overcome challenges, but I cannot lose my self-confidence. If I do not challenge myself, how shall I grow in character and intellect? Without risks, how shall I learn to trust in God and extend myself beyond that in which I have grown competent? Taking risks encourages close relationships with God, development of character and cerebral maturation.
Similarly, I know that starting a career as a minister will not be easy, especially because the idea of a female religious teacher still seems radical to some individuals. Therefore, I must maintain a strong work ethic and self-confidence. I must take advantage of opportunities to grow academically and participate actively in the classroom. Most importantly, I must not fear stepping out of my comfort zone and onto the water when Jesus beckons. God blesses me with opportunities and expects me to apply myself and rely on Him. If I strive to be the best person I can be, God will use me in ways I never imagined. At Messiah College, I shall continue to take reasonable risks and remember that nothing is impossible for God, not even overcoming death so that I may have eternal life. How can I not live in gratitude for His love? It is true that living a Christian lifestyle is challenging. Therefore, I am grateful that the Creator of the universe is with His people to help them along, especially if they begin to sink.