When I was 15, God first planted a seed inside of my heart.
He then watered it with life experiences, gifts, and a calling that later sprouted and grew to be bigger than anything I could’ve ever imagined.
You, daughter of the King, are no different.
God has placed in you a seed of purpose and a unique set of gifts, abilities, and passions that He wants to use to advance His Kingdom. Whatever God has called you to do with your life, here are 7 pieces of advice to help you stay focused on Jesus in a world that tries to tell you what you can and cannot accomplish.
1. Pray without ceasing, dig deep into Scripture, be connected to a local church, and seek the Holy Spirit every single day.
Without prayer and a consistent relationship with the Holy Spirit, it will be easy to get off course or be swayed by culture to start believing something that’s false.
False beliefs about God become strongholds that are difficult to break.
Staying connected to a godly and authentic local church will help you grow spiritually and in your gifts, which will equip you with the experience and maturity to minister to others.
I listed this piece of advice first because without making these things a priority in your life, nothing else you do will matter. Your relationship with Jesus should always come first in your life.
(Luke 10:27; Phil. 4:6-9; Rom. 8:1-8; Heb. 10:23-25; Jas. 5:13-16; Matt. 6:33; Exod. 20:3; Luke 12:34; John 14:15; Matt. 6:24; John 14:26; Acts 1:8)
2. Don’t put your identity in anything other than Christ.
Your identity is not in being a wife, motherhood, your career title, your friends, your physical appearance, your bank account, or anything else.
Your identity is in Jesus.
It is dangerous to put your identity in anything that can be lost, fail you, or is unpredictable. We live in a fallen world and in fallen bodies. Don’t put your faith, trust, or identity in anything other than the perfect, infinitely reliable God and His unchangeable nature.
(Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 1:28-31; Col. 3:2; Ps. 139:13-16; Jer. 1:5; 1 Pet. 2:9; 2 Cor. 5:17; 1 John 3:1-3; 1 Pet. 3:3-7)
3. Everything you experience now will give you the grace, understanding, and wisdom to be a better follower of Jesus in the future.
Unfortunately, you’ll go through tough seasons of heartbreak, pain, struggle, and setbacks, but don’t allow them to stop you from chasing after what God has for your life.
These terrible experiences become your ministry.
Whether you lead in ministry, are a stay-at-home mom, the CEO of a company, or do all three, struggles and pain make you stronger, keep you humble, and give you the compassion and empathy for someone else going through a similar circumstance.
(Rev. 12:11; 1 Cor. 2:1-5; Rom. 8:18-30; Eccles. 3:1; Rom. 8:1,15; 1 Pet. 5:10; Jas. 1:2-4; 1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Cor. 4:17-18; Phil. 4:6)
4. Girls have brains and were made to use them.
Despite the popular myth that women are supposed to be the “emotional” and “nurturing” ones while men are supposed to be the “intellectual” ones, God gave brains and emotions to everyone.
Never let someone tell you that you can’t learn something new or difficult because you’re a girl.
Never stop learning. Be teachable.
Speak the truth in love, but also be able to receive it.
Don’t play dumb because you think it isn’t appropriate for a woman to be the smartest person in the room.
However, never think you know it all. Stay humble.
It’s also OK to cry, be joyful, and be nurturing to your loved ones. Like Jesus modeled, men and women should be smart, emotional, and nurturing.
(Mark 10:13-16; Luke 9:47-48; Gen. 1:27; Jas. 1:5; Prob. 9:10; Job 28:28; Jas. 3:13; Ps. 111:10; Ps. 90:12; 2 Pet. 1:5; Prob. 2:6; Phil. 1:9-11; Eph. 4:15; Hos. 6:6; John 8:32; Acts 1:8)
5. God’s plans for your life trumps other people’s opinion.
Don’t allow anyone to sit on the throne of your life other than Jesus.
Care more about what God thinks, and being obedient to His plans for your life, over the opinions of other people. The Creator of the universe knows what’s best for you. Why would you ever settle for less to please someone else?
For those that disagree with you: pray for them, love them, and forgive them. But, don’t ever let them distract you from where Jesus is leading you.
(Gal. 1:10; Prob. 16:9; Prob. 19:20-21; 2 Tim. 2:15; Eph. 6:12; Luke 6:27-28; 1 Pet. 3:9; John 13:35; Isa. 22:8; Jer. 29:11; Gal. 3:27-28; Col. 3:23)
6. You’re never too old or too young to start pursuing what God has called you to do with your life.
Whether you’re 15 or 150, don’t wait for life to pass you by. There are too many people who still need to know Jesus. Regardless of age, be a light wherever He plants you.
(1 Tim. 4:12; Phil. 4:13; Dan. 1:17, 10:12; Jer. 29:11; 2 Cor. 4:16; Ps. 103:5: Ps. 92: 12-14)
7. Give more than you receive.
Give grace and forgiveness, even when it isn’t deserved. This includes yourself.
Give thanks everyday to Jesus in good times and bad.
Give the last dollar in your wallet and the last hour of your day to someone in need.
Give God all the glory for your successes and give praise to Him in the midst of a storm.
Everything that God gives you-your talents, your money, your time-is to be used to advance the Kingdom of God. If Holy Spirit leads you to give something, do it.
(John 13:35; Matt. 14; Matt. 25:34-40; Rom. 5:6-8; 1 Thess. 5:18; Col. 3:17; 2 Cor. 9:7; Matt. 6:20; Jas. 5:13-16; Matt 28)
Always live chosen.
About Shelly McGraw
Shelly has a heart for discipleship and spiritual growth, writing weekly devotions for the purpose of equipping the Body of Christ to better serve and follow Jesus. Her encouraging yet thought-provoking devotions are a mix of testimonies, struggles, joys, praises, and everyday life that are full of grace and wisdom.
She has been involved in ministry for over 15 years, serving mostly in worship, youth, and missions. She currently serves in worship at Redemption Church Charlottesville (RCC) in Charlottesville, Virginia. Shelly and her husband, Jason, have three beautiful daughters that they homeschool.
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