I recently read the book Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis, and I'm amazed by the life Katie lives. Absolutely amazed.
Katie tells her story of leaving her home, her family, her boyfriend, her friends, and every comfort she'd ever known to live in Uganda and serve the people who had stolen her heart.
She left the US with a promise to return to finish college, until she found Uganda to be the place she was meant to be.
And not only that – she was meant to adopt 13 young girls. To start a nonprofit organization. To feed, care, and love those in need—amidst the disease and uncertainty she faces every day.
It's crazy to imagine living a life like hers. It takes sacrifice like none other, but according to her, it's worth every minute.
Now, I believed from the start that Katie Davis had only good intentions in writing her book. I was sure her words were meant to encourage and inspire.
So when I started to feel inferior, as though my "calling" wasn't as important as hers, I knew my mindset needed to switch.
For you to really understand what was going through my mind, I'll have to start with the beginning. I'll show you why I doubted myself in the first place, how God taught me to take that doubt away, and why the book Kisses from Katie, ultimately inspired me so much.
So first thing's first. My doubt.
As I read stories of healing and miracles and poverty, my writing and leading a Bible study sounded like nothing in comparison. Nothing. Not even close.
And I started to worry that what I want to do with my future would never make an impact anyways. I mean, my books, my blog can only go so far. They can't go to the indigenous tribes of a third world country. And how would a book help them (probably in a foreign language) when all they really see the need for now is food and clean water?
My words can't help with that.
And what about the people serving time in prisons, needing to hear God's love? Or the drug addicts living on the streets, with the sky as their only roof? They won't read my books.
So is it even worth doing?
How will me doing little things here and there make a difference? Does God care about what I can do in my privileged high school, when others are giving their lives for missions work or prison ministries or whatever else?
Does he even care?
It's almost hard for me to say, but I think he does.
I believe He cares about what I can do right now.
And right now, I am a senior in high school, still living under my parent's roof. Right now I plan to finish attending high school before moving on to bigger and maybe even better things.
But God doesn't want me to wait till I find those "bigger and better" things to start making a difference.
I can start now.
Katie makes one point very clear throughout her whole book. She reminds us that not only she, but all of us, are called to help the least of these. For her, that means living and serving in Uganda.
But for me, at least right now, it's my high school. My dance studio. This blog.
Just because I'm spending 7 hours of my day with Christian high schoolers, doesn't mean that I won't see people who are hurting. In fact, many of those Christian high schoolers are hurting—bad—sometimes in ways in which I am able to help.
And for me, these are "the least of these" who I am called to serve.
And this year I want to take it to a whole new level.
Last year I tried to make people feel welcomed, but I was still so selfish about it. I still wanted my comfortable friend group and I wanted to be seen with the "right" people.
In all honesty, I’m so scared about making all people feel welcome. I know I'll easily be intimidated by popular freshman. Easily. As lame as that may sound, coming from a senior :)
But this year, I don't want to hold to my image so tightly.
Even if it means pulling me out kicking and screaming (hopefully it won't come to that!), I’m praying that God will get me out of my comfort zone.
God didn't say it would be easy to stand out for him. Following Jesus isn't about looking cool. Even at Christian school. Even at church, believe it or not.
No matter what, it takes sacrifice. It's hard. It's not always fun. Sometimes it'll feel like I'm missing out.
And a lot of time, my little acts of kindness will go almost or even completely unnoticed.
But it'll be so worth it.
When I see people sitting by themselves, I want to be the first to go up and talk to them. Even—especially—when it's inconvenient.
When the new kids at lunch have no one to talk to, I want to be the one to skip out on my senior privileges to sit with them. I know what it's like to be the new kid. I don't want them to have to go through all the same things I did.
When someone has no one to work on for a project, I want to be the one to offer to work with them. Group projects don't feel much like a group project when it's a group of 1. (I’ve been there;)
When someone looks to be having a bad day, I want to be the one to smile. Maybe it'll make them feel the slightest bit better; or at least they'll know someone cares. And maybe one day they'll need someone to talk to, and they'll know I'm there.
The point is, there are people in my life right now that I can show the love of Jesus with.
They need that love. I have it.
It's my turn to share.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not assuming I'll do this very well to start out. And I'm so not going to be able to do this on my own. My selfish side wants to just be cozy and comfortable in my own little world. Senior year is supposed to be about fun and friends and freedom. Selfishly, I want this. I want to hang out with the right crowd and do all the right things.
And let me say, there's nothing wrong with having fun friends or relaxing or whatever.
BUT – I was eavesdropping on my parent's conversation on a 14 hour road trip to Minnesota (oops), and I’m glad I did, because I heard my dad say this.
"Life isn't all about what you can take from it, it's about what you can give."
Pretty good stuff, huh?
Life is about giving. There are moments to take time for ourselves, but when God fills us with His love, He also asks that we share it. Give back to those who need it.
And remember that His love reveals itself in different ways—depending on the person it's coming from.
So let me ask you this. What is it that you can give?
Maybe you feel stuck, too busy, too comfy.
Pray about it. Break free. And “[Be] confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)