Hey everyone! Welcome to the Week 9 Stress Point online study Girlfriend Interview.
Meet my friend Tracie Miles. Tracie is one of those girls who’s calm and composed demeanor rubs off on you and those around her benefit from her chill nature. She is so sweet to share her advice for us this week. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for info on Tracie’s upcoming book Stressed-Less Living.
~Many young adults in their 20s have a desire to make a difference in the world but just don’t know where to start. What did this look like for you during your 20s? Did this concept stress you out at all?
I entered into college very unsure about what I wanted to do with my life, and when I graduated from college at the age of 22, I was still very unsure! Shortly after graduating, I got married and took a part time job with a career path to nowhere. But as a result of mistakes I had made as a teenager, I felt unforgiveable and unusable by God – as if He couldn’t possibly love someone like me. That belief caused me internal and emotional stress so I succumbed to the lie that I had no real future. You see, as feelings of insecurity, shame and worthlessness haunted my heart, they prevented me from having a strong relationship with God. Marriage, work and financial challenges were stressful, and I was so distracted by everyday issues that I was not focused on making a difference in the world – until I had my first child at the age of 27. When she was born, it was as if God said “See Tracie, I love you enough to bless you and I do have plans for you, won’t you believe me?” I knew I wanted to make a difference in her life, and to do that, I needed to make some changes. Over a period of time, my heart was softened, and I allowed God to make me whole again. As my faith grew, I discovered that God does have a unique purpose for each of us. In my late twenties, I began to get excited about my future, and less stressed about my past, and trusted God to show me what He had planned for me, without stressing over it!
~In chapter 9 of Stress Point we cover making a difference in our own back yard. That is, finding ways to serve God with in our own community and church. Do you have any advice on how to get started in this endeavor?
I think as a 20-something, it’s often hard to get plugged into a church or community because we feel like we can’t really make a difference because we are young. We assume that everyone else is more experienced, we are inadequate, and that nobody really needs what we have to offer anyway. Or we just don’t want to step on anyone’s toes or come across as too aggressive. In my opinion, the most important first step to getting involved in anything, is to first realize our value in Christ, focus on our faith, and embrace the talents and uniqueness that He created in us, which builds self confidence. Once we truly understand how valuable we are to Christ, we will pray for Him to direct our steps, and open doors where we can serve. Then when we feel pulled in a certain direction, or feel so passionate about something that we can’t shake the desire to get involved, we will have the confidence and desire to trust God and take a leap of faith. We have to learn to let faith drive our actions, instead of allowing our insecurities to keep us inactive.
~What is ONE thing you wish you knew about serving others and serving God when you were a 20something?
I wish I had made my faith a priority in my twenties, which would have prevented a lot of unnecessary stress in my life. Had I known how fulfilling it would be to serve God, and how great it feels to know that you have made a difference in someone’s life, I would have done it a lot sooner! I spent a lot of years seeking worth in my career path, until God showed me that I would never be fulfilled by that. When I quit my corporate job to serve in ministry, my stress level dropped dramatically – not because I had left a stressful job, but because I was following God’s path for me; I discovered that when we are following our heart, and making a difference in the way God equipped us to, that our peace and joy outweigh the challenges and stressors we may face – no matter what age we are.
Isn’t Tracie awesome!! I love her advice and I can’t wait to hear what you think. Be sure to leave a comment.
Also!! Check out Tracie’s book Stressed-Less Living: Finding God’s Peace In Your Chaotic World
Be sure to sign up for Tracie’s 10 Day Stress Detox HERE.