The same me.
The same questions.
The same struggles.
The same doubts.
The same fears.
Same old. Same old.
Nothing has changed.
I think that somehow I used to think that I would magically change after Boot Camp. Somehow all the knowledge I had stored up in my brain, all those amazing moments from main sessions, and all those believers who believed in me were going to transform my entire year. After Boot Camp you feel invincible. You can’t wait to start up prayer groups and start up 40 minute studies at Starbucks. You can’t wait.
And then August comes…
August the joker.
August the reality check.
August the slap in the face.
August the reminder that you are still the same fallible human as the year before.
Old doubts resurface.
You get discouraged.
Suddenly people can’t show up to prayer group or study.
You lose heart.
You lose steam.
You feel like a failure.
You give up.
I know this struggle all too well. Even at twenty-three I still wrestle within myself to keep going. I wrestle with doubts and disappointments. I get discouraged when I don’t see the results I wanted. Sometimes I wonder why I am doing what I’m doing. So I get real with God. I spend night after night pouring out all the things I’m too afraid to admit in the day light. Some nights I don’t even know what to say, so I sit in silence before the Lord. But let me tell you something. At the end of all my doubts, and fears, and gut wrenching feelings of failure… At the end I always come back to one thing. Christ. The HOPE of glory (Col.1:27). He is worth it all. On my darkest night, He is worth it all.
So my word of encouragement to you today is this: don’t give up. Fight through those feelings of doubt and failure. Maybe August is the reality? The struggle. The battle. But maybe the summer before was the recharging, the refueling, the chance to prepare yourself for the school year to come? We need both of those things in our life: the struggle and the rest.
I am reminded of the ministry of Paul to the church of Ephesus:
But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way…he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all of the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord (Acts 19:9-10).
For two years Paul preached in the same spot for whoever would come. That, to me, is dedication. That is perseverance. And people were coming to the Lord, and people were taking note (even unbelievers). It almost seems like a slow trickle of change, as evidenced by Demetrius, as silversmith and maker of idols. After these two years, he looks at his books and notices people are buying less idols. It was because of the Way, he determines. It is only then that a huge riot breaks out, and what we would consider “amazing” things began to happen.
However, I think that the real amazing thing was Paul’s dedication to those he had. He decided to be faithful day in and day out to serve those who God had given him. Let that be your example this August. Be faithful, even when those feelings well up inside you and you don’t think you can go on. Be faithful with those God has entrusted to you. Be faithful with the work that God has given you to do. You have no idea what kind of impact you are making.
It’s August again.
A new year.
The same you.
That same God, who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Heb.13:8).
This year, go out in His strength!
The Lord is my strength and my shield.
I trust in him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving (Psa. 28:7, NLT).
Welcome to August, the reality check.
Welcome to August, the battle ground.
Melissa is from the great state of North Carolina. She loves to sing and play guitar in her free time. She was an intern with Transform Student Ministries in 2014.