Losing Your "Cool"
By: Megan Smith
As a young adult, I have spent much of the last four years answering the question of what it is I hope to do with my life, and how, where, when, why, and with whom I plan on accomplishing whatever this mysterious “it” is. I’m sure that many of you have been or are in this very same boat. I’ve discovered that when responding to such questions, simple answers can elicit varying responses, from the “Wow, that’s ambitious!” to the more-than-superficial deterrent, “I’m sure you will do very well in that or any other field you choose should you change your mind!” or my all-time favorite, “God bless you, you will be one poor, unhappy soul.” Not many fall in the middle gray area where they just want me to be happy doing whatever I choose. Gradually, it felt as though I was being disempowered to a point where I was denied all participation in my own future, left with a small group of supporters—the ones who weren’t making decisions for me, but supporting the ones I made. I was making choices based on what others said I needed. Timothy could relate.
Paul, in his first letter to Timothy 4:12, writes “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in your love, your faith, and your purity.” Why are people,(as it says in some translations) despising him? For what reasons would others think less of him? We have to ask these of Timothy! As it turns out, Timothy’s mother and grandmother, Eunice and Lois, were faithful and well-known members of the church, while his father was a Greek non-believer. In his time, Timothy faced the same questions about God’s call on his life that we all face. His father quite possibly didn’t care about what he was doing, and he was likely despised for his advocacy for God in the younger generations. Despite this adversity, Paul helped him realize that in the end, Timothy was the one holding himself back. Author Sarah Arthur says*, “This faith thing, which seemed so easy when we were all alone together, suddenly comes with a price. It costs us our pride, for one. And our sense of cool. It will most likely cost us our future “success” in the eyes of the world too. People might even heckle. But are we listening to our own words? If God is for us, what difference does it make…Who can be against us except our own embarrassed selves?”
Paul ended up in prison for obeying God’s voice, and Timothy was encouraged to move forward in his calling because neither of them was held back by themselves. Perhaps our calling will cost us our “sense of cool.” Maybe we will be failures in the eyes of the world. Seek out calling not in the voices you’ve heard in the past, nor the voices you might hear in the future, but through the trials, the gifts, and the desires God gives you. Not all of us are called to be teachers, or physicists, or pastors. But for all of the wonderfully unique things we are called to, remember that God is the one calling us, and the only one who has any right to hold us back is ourselves.
- What or who is holding you back?
- How can you empower the young people around you?
See more devotions from Megan and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.