I was once appalled by the idea of hiking, mostly because it required too much effort. Of course, that was then. I see now that challenge is always worth the effort. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it pours, sometimes we gain 1,000 vertical feet in a mile. But in the end, it is worth the pain, the rain, and the mess. Because our struggles are, in fact, what make us stronger. Even Kanye West once said that.
Yet it bothers me to think what beauty I missed in the wake of my selfishness, during my teenage years when life was all about acceptance and fitting in. At that time in my life, I was confused and torn. I knew about Jesus, and I’d claimed him as my Savior, but I didn’t know what to do with the knowledge or how to grasp at God’s love.
I know a lot of people in that place now. Not just teens, but adults and elders. However, the teens are the ones who have most gripped my heart, because it is during those borderline-adult years when we so easily mold. We make decisions based on peer-pressure and popularity; we develop character and confidence; we walk towards God, or we walk away from God.
I want to be a light that brings our youth in—toward Jesus, not away. After all, my journey has shown me what it is to be lost, and what it is to be found. If I could choose how to use my years here on earth, I’d like to think I would choose to show our next generation, the torch-bearers of the Truth, what it is to be found.