Staying the course.  It isn’t easy.  I get tired, anxious, depressed, in a hurry, and the bottom line is, I get self-absorbed. I get so wrapped up in what I want, or my timeline, or my ideas, and let go of my peace. Between school, this podcast, the pressures of the world, and growing up in general, staying the course feels impossible.  I long for that peace that comes from being still and knowing that God has everything under control.  So why is it that I’m so familiar with coming back to this place of fear?

Welcome back to Strength from Grace, a podcast for the young warrior.  I’m Michaela Riggins, and I’m so excited to have you back for our next episode. As always thank you to Sanctuary Family Farms for supporting me, and I’d like to give a special thank you to all of my viewers.

To my viewers, thank you for your continued support amid the craziness of life. This past week I missed an episode, and to be very honest, I’m embarrassed by it. I let the weight of school and life absorb me and stray me away from my course.

You see I’ve always been the type of person who has thousands of these great ideas.  (If you ask my dad, the good idea fairy wacked me a little too hard on the head at birth.)  Sometimes my ability to think outside of the box is one of my greatest assets, and at other times, it’s my greatest weakness. In the midst of so many wonderful ideas, I quickly lose interest and move on to the next great idea.

Even when I was little, I was constantly getting halfway through a Lego set or coloring book and quickly moving on. As I’ve matured, I’ve had to learn not everything I do has to be remarkable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for not putting in the effort, because the Bible even says, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”  But what I am trying to say is that just because something isn’t remarkable in my eyes doesn’t mean I am either: (A) doing something wrong or (B) on the wrong course.

This brings me back to missing an episode.  When I started this podcast, I didn’t want it to be just another one of my fantastic ideas that comes apart at the seams. I wanted it to be my ministry, and I wanted God to work through me.  So, before I started anything, I prayed for a confirmation that this was how he wanted to use me.  In the days after praying, my Pa started talking to me about how God had gifted me with a speaking ability, and even though I wasn’t competing in speaking events anymore, God wouldn’t let this gift go to waste.  I instantly knew that I was on the right path and started planning.

When I started planning, I knew school was going to have a big impact on how often I would be able to work on the podcast, so I started with every other week. Little did I know that school was going to be much more difficult than I had thought.  It was overwhelming to be doing a podcast at the same time I was starting my first year of college classes, but I was so on fire about what I was doing that it made it possible to get everything done.

As the weeks passed, at some point, I stopped being content with exactly what God had given me through this podcast.  It had lost its sparkle and shine, and sitting down to produce content had grown to feel more like doing my homework than my ministry.  I had this idea in my head about how working on it was supposed to make me feel and the responses I would receive whenever I released new content, but then that didn’t happen. That’s when school really started to take its toll on me.  The work seemed less bearable, and I let go of the peace that I had knowing that God would help me get everything done and that I know exactly what to say when it came to the podcast.

All of the weight and guilt of being so absorbed in my worries and struggles in school finally added up until the mountain in front of me blocked all of my vision. I lost sight of the course I was supposed to be walking, and then I missed that week’s episode. Let me tell you, missing that episode didn’t magically lessen the load I was carrying, and if anything, it made it worse. I had strayed away from the path, and now I felt even more guilty than I had before.

But that was the thing, God doesn’t ask us to feel guilty about our actions.  He gives us conviction.  I for one can rationalize guilt away pretty easily.  I was too busy.  I needed to focus on school.  I just didn’t have the words.  But when it comes to God’s conviction, I knew I wasn’t walking down the right path.

I had to stop making excuses, kick it into high gear, and get back on the right course.  First, I stopped and asked for guidance, because even though it was doable to get school and the podcast all done at once, I couldn’t sustain that and give both the attention they needed.
Then God laid it on my heart to use old blogs and essays I had written to supplement in between the new episodes I’m writing. This would give me extra time to work on the new content coming out.

Then I had to refocus myself on the course God laid out for me.  I find staying the course, and even more so ministry, to be like working out.  Is it fun all of the time to be working out? Uh, no. But it is pretty great when you hit your personal record.  I think of moments like these to be the sparkle and shine that I referred to when talking about this podcast. Just like it’s hard to stay the course when it loses its shine, so is working out. It’s almost like the pain of working out outweighs the payoff of continuing. However, another thing I’ve found to be similar between ministry and working out is, as much as I hate to workout, the only thing I hate more is missing a workout.

Y’all, I know it isn’t easy to stay the course, but as I’ve been saying in the past few episodes, we have to suck it up, put in the work, and trust that God is working through us.

As always, I’d like to say thank you to Sanctuary Family Farms, and I hope you join me again on our next episode.  And again, all episodes can be found on major listening platforms such as Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, and now YouTube.

Thank you, and God bless.