Written by one of our readers:
Hey girls! Can I just say how excited I am to be writing to you all?!? My name is Shanna, and I’ve been following AGLM since 2012. I am so thankful for this blog; God directed me to it at a very vulnerable time in my life. As a shy eighteen year old fresh out of high school, I was in desperate need of a community that could pour into my questioning heart. As I pondered just what I wanted to share with you ladies, the Lord brought this phrase to mind “Embrace the person God created you to be.”
Some of you are saying, what does that even mean?! Good question!! At eighteen, I was thinking the exact same thing. Now at twenty one, I’m still searching for the answer, but I have a better grasp. How many of you have spent weeks, months, even years etc. trying to figure out just what you should do with your life? Or maybe you have an idea, but you don’t know how to achieve it. Or, you could be like I was, fully aware of what God is calling you to do, but terrified of doing it.
You see ladies, this is a hard thing for me to admit, because I wish it wasn’t true, but I spent the first 18 years of my life denying one of the gifts God gave me. I had a heart for worship and singing that God had been cultivating in me since I was a little girl. But fear had a tight grip on me. My confidence in who I was as a person was so depleted, that I couldn’t even fathom the idea of singing in front of five people, let alone a congregation at church. I refused to use my voice to serve God; the very thing he had gifted me the voice for!
My first year of College was a whirlwind of change. I watched many of my friends head off to Universities, while I stayed home and went to a local community college. I said goodbye to familiarity that year, and walked uneasily into the season of change that God was bringing.
Lonely, insecure, and confused, I found myself praying for two things; a Godly friendship, and for the Lord to give me a deeper desire for him.
At a time when I needed it most, God answered that prayer. I met my very best friend, Ashley, at church. We had so much in common; it was like hanging out with myself! As our friendship grew, I felt the weight of insecurity fall from my shoulders. I firmly believe that God brought that friendship in my life to bring us both closer to him! I also really began to hunger for God’s word, prayer, and worship. As I pursued the things of the Lord it became clear to me, God was saying “Embrace the Person I created you to be.”
The closer I became to God, the more secure I was in the person he made me to be. My identity was no longer my own, I found my true self in Christ. By the end of that first year, with the encouragement of Ashley and my family, I finally did what God had been asking me all along, I gave him my voice. I joined the worship team and never looked back.
God has changed my life through worship. The moment I gave that part of myself to God, fear left me. I realized that I had nothing to fear; worship is not about me or being heard; it’s about glorifying and pouring out my heart to the one who saved us all.
Being obedient to God and true to who he made you to be is one of the greatest acts of worship you could ever offer.
Think about this, God knows the deepest desires of your heart. He is familiar with all of your ways. God loves you as you are. You don’t have to deny or suppress the dreams and desires that lay dormant in your heart. God put them there! He created you in a special way, with a unique purpose. Not only is it okay to pursue the things that God has put on your heart, it is his will!
God’s word says it all. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” by the greatest creator. Our “inmost being,” the very essence of who we are, was crafted by God. It is God’s Holy Spirit within us that directs our hearts. (Psalm 139)
Ladies, I still don’t have it all figured out. I’ve only scratched the surface on God’s plan for my life. There is one thing that I’m absolutely sure of though, it’s not going to take me another 18 years to listen to God’s call. If you’re in that place of uncertainty, cry out to God. Ask him to reveal his will, to make his desires your desires too. If you have sought God’s word and prayed to him, and you know what he is calling you to do, then it is time to follow his lead.
Change your college major…..become that missionary in Africa…..sell your paintings…..lead worship…..whatever it is God is calling you to, do it for him.
Shanna is 21 years old and a resident of Portland, Oregon. She loves going to concerts (Switchfoot is her all-time favorite). Creating art, playing the guitar, cooking, singing on her church’s worship team, and spending quality time with family and friends are some of her favorite past-times.