I used to believe that with age came confidence. Growing up, I was always incredibly shy. In fact, I still am.
Confidence is not one of my strengths, but I am still capable of genuine leadership.
Stepping into several leadership positions, one thing I come up against frequently is the issue of my age. I am only 23, I have not yet completed my degree, and I lack any previous ministry or leadership experience. I should just wear a name tag that reads, “very likely to fail.”
Over the past several months, God has dramatically challenged my own beliefs about my age.
1. Age is not a disqualifying factor. Ever. Experience is gained through circumstance, not years. And within ministry, faith trumps age limits every time. My mission is not to wait until I am older to live with intention, but to live as an example of what God can do in someone who trusts Him wholeheartedly. This someone just happens to be young.
2. Defying the age-related stereotypes brings God victory. There is no greater way for God’s light to shine than in an individual who braved the impossible and brought God glory in the victory. The definition of victory is any conclusion that follows a risk. Even failures can be a victory when pursuing God-sized plans.
3. I have a story to tell that cannot wait. I have personally seen how when I am willing to take risks and step out in faith to share my heart, my passion, and my story, God steps in to use me to inspire, encourage and challenge believers of all ages. This is not by own ability to get it right, (because I definitely get it wrong more than I ever get it right), but it is through God in me, transforming me and molding me into the Christ follower and leader He has designed me to be. The moment we commit to Christ, we become an example for others, so why not use our every “disqualifying factor” we have to defy the stereotypes and to bring glory to God!
I have learned that when I succumb to the pressures of fitting into an age-appropriate stereotype, I am not only denying myself the ability to watch God work, but I am denying others the opportunity to see God move. We all have the ability to lead, to inspire and to change this world for Christ. The only qualifying factor required is faith.
Confidence does not come with age; it comes through faith. I can only imagine the light that would shine if our younger generations accepted the challenge to live boldly and brilliantly for Christ. So let’s start today, challenge accepted.