How to use deadlines to get to the heart

This past weekend I got an opportunity to help out with a Confirmation retreat for High School students. Close to 200 hundred participants and it’s pretty safe to say that at least half of them didn’t want to be there 🤣

By Sunday, when it came to giving testimonies, a long line of kids formed. Just about every other one said something to the effect that “I was angry at my parents for sending me here, but I’m so glad I came, because …”

It’s so funny that I can relate to that, back when I was their age. What’s even funnier is that I’m still re-learning that very lesson in my life.

Probably the biggest “Parents told me to do it” equivalent in my life is deadlines. For example, I recently committed to speaking at the Advance. I wanted to do it, but I had a hard time getting myself to write it out and then practice. I was afraid that my talk might fall flat — all this effort and vulnerability for nothing. So I was caught in this cycle of my heart wants to say all these things, but my mind was afraid of men looking down on their cell phones when I tell them.

Thank God for deadlines! I committed, so I executed no matter how bumpy it got. The first few days of practice were rough. I felt like a third grader reading the “US constitution.” However, the more I practiced, the better it got. 

I’ve always been pretty good about making eye contact when speaking, but I couldn’t maintain it. I always kept shifting from one face to the next. This time it was different. I was able to look at each person for at least 10 seconds. What a difference! I felt more connected to the audience, and even my people-pleasing brain couldn’t find evidence of anyone tuning out.

In the beginning, much like the kids facing an unwanted retreat, deadlines are uncomfortable. However, it’s the very discomfort that allowed me to bring out what God placed in my heart, just like the discomfort of being at a retreat gave something for the kids to connect over and ultimately brought them closer to God.

What’s a dream that God placed in your heart? How can you leverage deadlines to get going?


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