A year ago, I was preparing to do the most daring, crazy thing I’ve ever done. I was moving to Vermont to lead mission trips with YouthWorks all summer. It was a wild decision for this introvert for many reasons. I didn’t know anyone I’d be working with. I also knew leading large groups of middle and high schoolers (without previous experience in this age group!) would be a challenging job. And I wouldn't see my family, friends, or Brian for months.
I was jumping into this wild adventure with no assurance that I would enjoy it or even succeed at it. However, I knew I had gotten the job for a reason. I was trying to trust that God had a plan for it.
Somehow, when the time came to leave, I packed a giant suitcase and went to the airport with my family and Brian. Saying goodbye was not easy. I forced myself to emotionally detach from the situation as we took pictures together, said last goodbyes, and hugged. I held back the floodgate of tears dying to burst forth, because I needed to retain my vision as I entered the security line.
I had two flights that day and ended up in Pittsburgh for a week of training. It truly felt unreal, and I couldn’t have done it without the support from my family. It was one of the hardest days of my life.
But I am sooooooo glad I got on that plane and went.
The summer was incredibly challenging, yes. It pushed me and grew me and frustrated me every single day. But looking back, I can’t imagine not having gone. Yesterday, I looked through all the pictures, cards, notes, and keepsakes from the summer, and I was overwhelmed with thankfulness for all that I learned through it.
I want this little story to push you to do the hard things you feel led to. Maybe you’re considering applying for a challenging job, starting a big project, or even starting a deeper conversation with a coworker. I encourage you to prayerfully go for it! Here are 5 reasons to do hard things:
1. It forces you to trust God.
Jumping into something that is obviously beyond your own ability forces you to lean on God's strength. I saw my weakness and tendency to worry in full color last summer, but also experienced God’s kindness and power in me. I prayed so many times, “I cannot do this, God. Help me.” And he did! He delights in leading us and loving us in our weakness. This beautiful verse really spoke to my need for His guidance as I prepared to leave:
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. -Isaiah 42:16
2. It reveals where you’ve been limiting yourself.
I’ve limited myself with the label of ‘introvert’ countless times. I’ve told myself that I hate talking in front of people, that doing new things scares me, and that I’m awkward and bad at meeting new people. But last summer, I did a whole lot of that stuff. Every day. And slowly, I began to realize that I could be good at it! You are capable of far more than you think, I promise.
3. It teaches you new skills and lessons.
My summer gave me some weird new skills, like dividing 70 people into service teams based on the size of their vans, or making 13 pounds of taco meat. It also taught me deeper lessons, like the beauty of unity between diverse people, the satisfaction of helping people, and the joy found in talking to nursing home residents. These are things I could have missed if I stayed home! There’s no predicting what lessons and skills a new experience could bring you.
4. It *could be* a lot of fun!
Will your step of courage end up being awesome? Maybe. Despite the hard stuff in my summer, I absolutely loved my team, the work we did, and all the silly and adventurous things in between. However, I realize that all ‘new things’ you do might not be enjoyable. You might decide ‘never again!’ You just never know what the experience could be like!
5. You get to remember God’s faithfulness. No matter how things end up, after doing something hard, you get to remember how God showed up and came through for you. Instead of remembering how amazing your performance was or how self-assured it’s made you, you get to attribute it all to the Lord. My YouthWorks summer has become one more item in my list of how God has shown his faithfulness to me.
So, whether you’re contemplating a life-changing decision or a small step, don’t let hard things scare you away. There is a ton of value in doing what you think you cannot.
Want to read more about my summer with YouthWorks? Here are links to those posts!
A Life Update: My Summer Plans!
My First 3 Weeks with YouthWorks (+ Pictures!)
Church Groups Finally Came to Rutland! (+ Pictures)
25 Random Things I Learned in Rutland
Hello! I'm Anna, a college student living in the Midwest. I'm a strong believer in uncontrollable laughter, powerful words, and a morning cup of coffee. I pray these posts will encourage you to live a full life with and for God: unhindered. Follow me on social media for post updates!