What Does God Want Me to Do?
I was talking with some friends after church one October Sunday when the voice of my youth leader, Heather, grabbed my attention. I turned to see her walking toward me with that I'm-about-to-ask-you-a-big-favor look in her eyes. Sure enough, she pulled me aside and said, "I think you'd be an excellent cell group leader. I'd really like you to think seriously about it."
In my youth group, cell group leaders are responsible for organizing the small groups that make up our larger youth group. The cell groups are a major part of our youth program. Leading one is a big honor … and a big responsibility. Even though I was really flattered that Heather asked me, I just had to laugh and say, "Yeah, nice thought, Heather. I'll squeeze that in during all my spare time." Heather wasn't ready to take no for an answer, so I told her I'd think about it and give her an answer at our Wednesday night youth group meeting. As I rode home with my parents after church, I thought about Heather's offer. I knew there was just no way I could juggle one more thing in my life. I figured I'd have to say no.
Earlier that fall, at the beginning of my freshman year, I was having a blast doing all kinds of things I really loved. I'm big into rock climbing, so I was working a few hours a week at a climbing gym. I was climbing at the gym two or three times a week and going out climbing along the Mississippi River bluffs whenever I could. I was also in gymnastics, and I was getting ready to try out for the school volleyball and soccer teams later in the year. I was also preparing to coach a youth soccer team and I was involved in my youth group. I had enriched classes at school, so I had to do a lot of homework to keep my grades up. And, of course, I did stuff with my friends and family. I was super-busy, but I felt like everything was groovy.
But by the time October rolled around, I was starting to get kind of worn out by my schedule. I was tired from getting up early to do some homework before school. I started to feel like I didn't have time for anything. At suppertime, I'd be sitting at the table doing my homework, then I'd leave to do something else before I even had a chance to eat. I didn't have time to play Skip-Bo with my family or just hang around with my friends.
So when Heather asked me to add one more big thing to my schedule, I thought, There's just no way.
As my dad drove me to youth group that Wednesday, I told him about Heather's offer. I was making all these excuses, telling my dad how I didn't have time. I said, "Don't you think it's smart for me to say no? I mean, God'll understand, because I have so much to do." Then my dad said, "Whatever you think God would want you to do, that's what you should do."
Suddenly, I realized how selfish I was being with my time. Sure I was involved in a lot of good things. But I was also involved in a lot of stuff that was just about me, just for my own fun. God blessed me with athletic talent, but I was taking it a little too far. I knew I needed to get my priorities straight and start using my time and energy for God, not just myself.
Dad dropped me off at church and I went to find Heather. I told her, "Heather, I was going to tell you there was no way I could be a cell group leader. But I think I really need to say yes." On the way home that night, I thought, What am I getting myself into? I was uneasy about it for a few days. But then I said, "Lord, you take care of it. I'm not going to worry about this anymore. I'm willing to let you do what you want with me." And if following God's plan meant giving up some things, I needed to do that.
I didn't want to just abandon everything I'd started, so I figured I could still coach the youth soccer team and stick with my rock climbing stuff. But I decided not to try out for volleyball or soccer, and I got rid of gymnastics for a few months. I didn't work at the gym as much either. It was hard for me to give all those things up. I'd been really excited about all of them, and now they were out of my life. But my dad's words had made me think, and I knew I was doing the right thing.
The cell group was a big responsibility. I was making calendars, planning Bible studies and social events, calling people every week, talking to parents, sending memos, and getting up early for meetings. I obviously couldn't have done it if I hadn't given up some of those other things.
It's weird how life works sometimes. Just a month after I'd made room in my schedule for the cell group, I tore a hamstring. I couldn't play any sports at all for six months. Suddenly, the cell group was one of the few things I could do! If I had said no to Heather, only to end up dropping out of all my sports a month later, I would have felt horrible. I was so glad I'd said yes.
I thought I would miss those extra activities, but the cell group was really rewarding; it made the sacrifices worth it. I was the leader for a group of 7th graders who were new to the youth program. As we worked together, they started coming to me with questions and problems. They asked a lot of questions about God. And I felt like they were seeing something in me that could help them in their faith. I think God used me to show them you can have fun, be yourself, and still be a Christian. And that was more than I ever could have hoped for.
Tinen Healy as told to Carla Barnhill