Having been in TeenPact for quite some time, I am able to watch as my fellow students grow up and walk through these life changes. Some people are now in law school; some are married and the parents of multiple small children; some are serving in the military overseas; some are well on their way on the political path to take over the world; some are revolutionizing their college campuses and some are serving in ministry at their local church. The span of influence is unbelievable.But despite the diversity, there is a common theme that runs through each life – a familiar passion, excellence and focus. By God’s grace, the majority of TeenPacters are applying the lessons learned from the ministry and are living radical lives of faithful service, wherever they are. Our generation is slowly, surely and solidly making an impact in our culture. Thank you, Tim Echols.
As I observe the brilliant array of talents being displayed all around me, it brings me back to my own answer to the “what are you doing with your life” question.
If you ask me about life since my first TeenPact class, my answer will inevitably reflect the unique path God has called me to walk these past eight years. I have learned how to administrate a conference and the importance of behind-the-scenes serving through an internship with Sovereign Grace Ministries; how to meet Governors and minister to young girls through my internship with TeenPact; how to teach ancient history to high schoolers and how to enforce tough love through an apprenticeship with Gayle Graham; how to write press releases and that integrity is the most valuable asset for any employee through working for U.S. Senator George Allen. And somewhere in between I found time to be in a local Christian band, act in community theater, direct regional home school graduations and – most importantly – to serve in my local church.
I see my patchwork life not as a tribute to myself (God forbid!) but as the perfect exhibit of God’s sovereign, kind and faithful direction. The varied nature and uncanny timing of each season clearly proves that only God Himself could have pieced together so many diverse opportunities and create the resume I have today. Though I have never taken a single college class, God has provided me with extensive training and education. I have been given a set of marketable skills which serve me well and bring me much joy as I use for the glory of God. He has truly ordered my steps and I stand amazed.
So now I actually have to answer the “what are you doing with your life” question, don’t I? Or maybe not. Allow me to get philosophical for a moment.
When asked, I would ideally like my answer to be this: “I am pursuing God with an undivided devotion, I am serving my family and friends with selfless love and I am doing all my tasks with excellence and joy.”
Is that a cop-out answer? Perhaps. But from my perspective, the details of what I do for a living is insignificant in the broad scheme of things. Sure, I have the amazing honor to work full-time for TeenPact but is that what I am “doing” with my life? I could work for the Pope himself and not be living with passion, excellence and focus. While a career path is often a means God uses to provide for us and to allow us to affect the world around us, He is ultimately after my heart – not my resume.
John Piper, well-known author and pastor, said this, “Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain.” The measure for what we’re “doing” with our lives is marked by how consumed we are with God and His glorious purposes.
One thing that TeenPact taught me as a high school student is how to not waste my life. At every turn I was inspired to engage the culture, embrace truth and enable others to grow in their walk with God. Now, myself being firmly entrenched in the 18 to 29 year old crowd, I am jealous that my peers and I would take what we learned in TeenPact and apply it to our everyday lives – be it at college, at home, at church, at the office or in private. That kind of dedication doesn’t come to pass on its own. It must be taught, coached and encouraged. Good fruit requires years of good habits. That starts today, my friends. To have a life where we are making an eternal difference begins right now.
So. . .what are you doing with your life?
Again, John Piper says, “Whatever you do, find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts. You will not waste your life.”
Lydia Shanks lives in Richmond, VA and works full- time for TeenPact as Staff Developer and State Class Manager. This was originally published in the TeenPact newsletter.