We asked some of the Pursuit 2015 speakers and special guests what’s one thing they’re glad they pursued as a young adult. Here’s what they said:
“I’m glad I pursued an opportunity to be a chapel speaker my junior year in college. I came close to canceling, but decided to make myself do it, telling myself it would be character-building. I was terrified and dreaded every minute of the three months I had to prepare for it. But when I finished, I realized, ‘Huh. I didn’t die. I can speak in front of people without combusting.’ I never thought that first public speaking experience would go anywhere, but 20 years later I speak all over the world. I’m glad I decided to stand up in front of my classmates that day long ago!”
“My mother-in-law stunned me recently when she reminded me of a conversation I had long forgotten. Six years into my marriage with Lisa (which would have made me 28 years old), I said, ‘I think it may be time to give up writing. It’s costing us money we don’t have, and now that kids are in the picture, it’s costing me time I don’t have. I gave it a good shot, but maybe it’s just not going to happen.’
“Over 20 years later, within a week of this conversation, I had just agreed to the largest publishing contract of my life, for an additional four books, after having already published 18. There are now over a million books worldwide with my name on the cover. I shuddered when my mother-in-law told me I once seriously considered stopping. I remember the pain well: During one excruciating stretch, I went eight years without a single acceptance of any kind, at one point receiving 120 straight ‘no’s,’ but I have to be reminded of that pain now. Instead, I get reminders of the hundreds of ‘yes’s’ (books and articles) just about every day.
“So what am thankful for that I pursued as a young adult? The passion to be who I believe God created me to be.”
“I’m so glad when I was a young adult that I listened to my grandmother, Big Mama.
“On the first day of my first full-time job, Big Mama told me to march myself up to payroll and sign up to have a percentage of my paycheck deposited into a credit union account, which would become my ‘rainy day fund’ because Big Mama said, ‘It always rains.’
“I rolled my eyes in exasperation knowing my grandmother couldn’t see through the telephone — that was before FaceTime.
“I wanted to talk about the exciting news events I was covering, not something as boring as savings. But Big Mama wouldn’t hear it. She told me to call her back after I set up the direct deposit. Begrudgingly, I did as I was told because, well, my grandmother, was a force of nature.
“But I’m so grateful I pursued the financial path my grandmother pushed me to take. From that time forward, I made a point of always setting aside money from every paycheck. That habit evolved into investing, and with the grace of God, I have a financial cushion to help when it rains and pours.”
“I know it sounds cliche to say this, but I’m most grateful that I pursued learning, wrestling, and pursuing God’s character as a young adult. Truth be told, it’s still an ongoing pursuit, and I know it will be a lifelong pursuit. As a teenager, I was forced to go church, and as a result, everything became obligatory. Eventually, I stopped going to church altogether until an unspectacular return to faith at the age of 18 when I chose to become a follower of Christ.
“In my 20s and 30s, it was important for me to relinquish old habits about religious duties and focus more on the character and heart of God. In doing so, I intimately discovered many things but were especially humbled and compelled by (1) God’s grace, (2) God’s love for justice, and (3) God’s plan for reconciliation. All of these things — along with so much of the depth of God’s heart — has informed and transformed my life and given me a sense of purpose to all that I do. One practical reality is learning about God’s heart for justice which is the reason why my family and I started One Day’s Wages — to not only be a part of ‘changing the world’ but being open to the ways that God keeps changing us through the very process of pursuing His character.”
“One thing I’m glad I pursued in my young adult years is quality friendships. I worked hard on staying connected to friends whom God used to form my character in positive ways. That required me to practice a steady discipline of texting, calling, and hanging out, when possible. But it has been worth it. Because when you spend a lot of time getting to know someone, they know how to celebrate your victories with you and join God in carrying you through your failures.
“It reminds me of the paralyzed man whose friends carried him on a mat and lowered him before Jesus so the man could be healed. Jesus looked at the man’s friends, and according to Mark 2:5, ‘when Jesus saw their faith,’ He healed the man (emphasis added). Because I pursued friendships in my young adult years, I now have a number of faithful friends — and by that, I mean that I have friends who are not just loyal, but literally full of faith. And many times, God has used their faith to bring about miracles in my life that would’ve never happened otherwise. Next to my family, those friendships are now one of the greatest blessings of my life.”
Suzanne Hadley Gosselin
“I’m glad that I pursued some of those things I’d ‘always wanted to try.’ One example is the improvisational comedy group (think ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’) that I founded with friends from church. I also explored my ability to run, working up to running two half-marathons. These experiences along with traveling, speaking at conferences (for my job), serving in children’s ministry at my church and taking in a teenage roommate, showed me that getting out of my comfort zone was a healthy thing and that God could use me in unexpected ways.
“As a person who naturally loves routine and doesn’t take risks, continuously pursuing ‘new things’ during my singleness taught me a lot about myself. Now, as a wife, and busy mom of three young children, I see how my singleness was a special season for exploring my interests and serving God in some unique ways. I’m glad I took full advantage of those years; they taught me that I really can try anything, and often times even be successful.”