Elected Officials

Designed to Display


Carissa Gould September 07, 2018
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Dear TeenPacter,

 

Three months and three weeks ago I was elected, alongside my good friend Toby DeMoss and 13 congress members, to represent the TeenPact student body for the 2018-2019 year. I still get chills as I think of all the excitement and nervousness I felt that Friday night, trying my best to focus on enjoying the “Odd Things” commercial and the many Tie Ads, while awaiting the results of the next electoral points to roll in. I am thankful to you for supporting Toby and me and being involved with this ministry I value so much. Toby and I have already grown and learned so much through this first part of our term, and we are looking forward to all that is to come. Personally, I am incredibly grateful to former President Hale and Vice President McCue for instituting this blog series as a platform for elected officials to continue our communication after National Convention. It is my prayer that the Lord will bless all of us this year as we strive towards worshipping Him alone!

 

Press Pause. That is what Toby and I have been challenging every TeenPacter, past and present, as well as the people around us at home, to do. Press Pause and check where we are directing our extravagant love and what we are submitting extremely to. Why? Because ultimately whatever those things are will be what we are worshipping. When you run for a TeenPact elected official position, your message/platform tends to get pushed to the front of your brain 24/7. So as we ran our campaign, it was somewhat “easy” for me to remember to continually redirect my worship toward the One who created me, instead of the creation He put around me. However, it did not remain this way.

 

TeenPact is wonderful. TeenPact is one of the main reasons I have a personal, intentional relationship with Jesus, and it surrounds me with people who have the same: Fantastic friends who are wildly running after the One who gave His life for ours. It brings me great joy, as I am sure you can relate. Sometimes when I leave a TeenPact event though, things are different, and things are harder. I am not just talking about that bummer feeling that comes with no longer have that strong TeenPact community around me. We all know how that goes and talk about it a lot. Instead, I am writing to you about an aspect with which I have always struggled, and maybe you have too.

 

During the summer, I was consistently out of town, constantly busy, and in the midst of the crazy life I was living,  I allowed myself to fall into a self-elevating agenda. I went to Africa with my church, where I, in my own head, exalted my abilities above some of the other members of our mission team. After the trip, I came home to a non-TeenPact and non-evangelism focused environment. I again found myself looking down on my peers, elevating myself, boosting my pride, and belittling any type of faith my peers did have.

 

Then, halfway through the summer, I rediscovered my prior study of what it means to be created in the Image of God that I completed in January. While I was originally researching this subject, I had listened to John Piper’s sermons entitled “Why God Created the World,” (you should give it a listen), and in it, he gave this analogy: “What is the point in creating humanity in the image of God?” Piper asked. “Well, what are images for?” He continued, “What do images do? Images display the original. If you put an image of a famous person on a billboard, why do you do that? Because you want to draw attention to the original. You want people to think of the thing that the image is displaying on the billboard, that is why you put the image there. So why would God put 7 billion images of Himself on planet earth? It is not about the image. It is about the Original. Every single person you will meet is designed by God to display God.” How cool is that? As I sat in my room remembering these words I was bombarded with conviction.

 

Now you may be thinking, “Carissa, this is great and all, but why are you writing to tell me this?” Great question! I am sharing this because this is what hit me in a new way this July. I was wrongly placing myself on the altar of my life, by acting as if life is about me. But it is not! Life is about the One who made me! God can and does use everything, the good and the bad, the pure and the ill motives, the self-centered attitudes, and He uses it all for our good and HIS glory. Each of us is one of those 7 billion images God placed on planet earth for a distinct and beautiful purpose: to display Him! And here is one of the cool parts of that… when we grasp the fact that we were wired to glorify and point others to Him, then it is more likely our lives will result in an incomparable extravagant love for Him and the desire to extremely submit our entire lives to Him. Is it easy? No? Will we still sometimes be self-righteous, self-glorifying, self-deprecating, and self-furthering? Yes. But despite that, is He still the Creator who formed us in our mothers’ wombs and has crazy cool plans for us that bring glory to His name and further His kingdom? Absolutely.

 

The other day my mom sent me this quote from a book she’s reading. It said, (with my addition of TeenPact for good measure,) “Here’s the bottom line: The Christian life, the church, our Faith, and TeenPact are not about us, they are about Him. HIS plan. HIS Kingdom. HIS Glory.” Let us live in the fullness of life that this knowledge brings.

 

Thank you for reading. I hope this letter finds you well, I hope life is splendid, and that the richness of God’s blessings are revealed to you anew all day every day! I cannot wait until our paths cross again or for the first time!

 

Sincerely,

 

Student Body President Carissa Gould

 

 

About the Author

Carissa Gould

Carissa Gould was raised along the iconic Route 66 in Edmond, Oklahoma. While she, her parents, and four siblings enjoy this land of beautiful… Read More

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