Putting others first
Lisa* found out how to look out for others and overcome self-pity and hate
Before primary school, I was a cheerful little girl, and I particularly remember having God’s voice reminding me it was good to think of others first. As my mum is a Christian, I grew up learning about Jesus and praying to Him.
During primary school my priorities switched from others to sometimes being all about me. I was enthusiastic and keen on being the leader, which may have come across as being bossy. In recent years, I found a diary I had been writing in at the time. There was a lot of self-pity, hate and jealousy.
My year 6 Scripture teacher, Shayne Hamilton from Youth Ministries Australia, who was also the Youth Worker at my high school gave us all a Bible and helped us to read and understand it.
This was probably the first time I was excited about reading my Bible on my own. How amazing that He would talk to us! The last entry I had put in my diary was a prayer in which I confessed that Christ came down to earth to die for my sin, and then rose again that I may have a relationship with God. My prayer was that I would remember this miracle and live for it.
In high school, God blessed me with some great Christian friends but I still made some decisions lacking in godly wisdom; one being that I was getting too close to a boy who wasn’t going to encourage me in my Christian walk.
I found it increasingly hard to hand my worries over to God, even though I knew He had a perfect plan for me. I even struggled with depression, as I knew my desires weren’t in line with God’s. By the end of year 9 I realised that I needed to make big changes to my priorities.
In January before I started year 10 I went along to a camp named JLC, about leading a Christian student group at school… and by the end I was convinced God wanted me in the school student group.
After camp I changed around the priorities in my life and God was in the top spot. The peace God gives is amazing and I could finally hand my whole life over to Him.
When school started again I began going to the student lunchtime group run by the staff of Youth Ministries Australia. It is a volunteer run program where students attend in their lunchtime if they choose too.
In term 3, two friends and I were in charge of leading the group. The three of us decided to run a major outreach week.
I decided I would make some posters and put them in the places at school that people would definitely read and not have the impact of peer pressure — the back of toilet doors, the place where everyone does their major thinking.
Now it was probably thanks to God that we accidentally got about 100 posters printed rather than just 30, because for a week after we first put them up, we had to replace them every day.
When the day came we had over thirty new people come, which was amazing for our school — we had about 15 people voluntarily coming to the group each week at that time. We had another outreach week at the end of the term, and there was barely enough room to fit everyone inside. What an amazing answer to our prayers!
Last year I did my HSC (Higher School Certificate). I set myself up a worry jar for placing all my prayers, and through it I have been so aware of God’s constant provision and His answers to all my prayers.
What a comfort knowing that my ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) won’t determine my worth — God already decided that I was worth the sacrifice of His only Son.
I have recently been inspired by the story of Corrie ten Boom, who protected many Jews at the risk of her own life during WWII. In her book she quotes, ‘Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.’ I used to feel inadequate, but now I am now assured that God is preparing me for the future He has in store.
This year I will be doing a Christian Gap Year course at a Bible college. I will also be serving with Youth Ministries Australia in the work at my high school. I will even be spending a month in Fiji — not for a holiday, but for an intense time of sharing what Jesus had done in my life! The following year I am hoping to become a nurse through University (God-willing!) and do mission work wherever God decides.
*Student’s name changed for confidentiality.