rebelling against low expectations

If God is Calling You to Do Something, Act Now


You know that feeling, when God calls you do something but it seems absurd?

I felt that for months.

It was my sophomore year in college and I felt God calling me to lay college down and go oversees for a semester.

I started blindly searching for oversees opportunities. I looked into mission work, studying abroad and even farming. Nothing felt right.

When I chose to live for Jesus, I knew that if I lived in a radical way for his glory, others would have no choice but to believe.

I set my life up in faith.

I dropped my classes for that semester, moved out of an apartment and in with some family friends. Weeks passed and I had no leads. I told the family I moved in with that I wouldn’t be there that long because I was going oversees.

At that time, I didn’t know where I was going or how I was getting there. Another week passed.

Feeling defeated and incapable of hearing from God, I knelt to the ground in tears and prayer.

I prayed, “God, this was your idea. I want to show everyone that you are faithful and you care. Show me where to go and I will go. I will go!”

After that episode, I decided to run some errands and the first place I went, God gave me my answer.

I met a woman with bright shining blue eyes that asked me about my heart for missions. She shared her heart and said she was traveling, very soon, to a village in South Africa.

She looked into my eyes and said, “If God is placing this on your heart, now is your time.”

We met a week later, over pancakes at Perkins, and talked about CATCH Projects. CATCH is a nonprofit organization in South Africa that brings children off the streets to learn, play and never leave on an empty tummy. A month later, we flew to South Africa together.

I stayed for five months and God used me to accomplish way more than I ever thought possible.

I returned to the US that summer and started back in college the following semester.

Is God nudging you to do something?

Act now.

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About the author

Emilee Struss

is a fellow fighter in the faith from Brainerd, Minnesota. She has an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing and Nonprofit Organizations. Emilee co-founded a prayer ministry at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and believes in the power of persistent prayers. Her hobbies include rock climbing, trail running, triathlons, and of course reading and writing. She currently lives in Idaho and works in wilderness therapy with at-risk youth.


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  • It’s amazing how God works! Just this weekend I was going to take the first step in something I felt like God was calling me to do, but I was so nervous that I didn’t. This article encouraged me to go ahead and do that! Thanks so much!

  • Wow! This was the article that I have needed for the past few months. I’ve pondered over whether to do a certain thing, but the intimidation, the nervousness, the stress, has kept me from doing it. I’m happy to say that a couple days ago I did finally take the first step, so hopefully I will be able to tackle my hard thing as courageously as you have.

  • “You know that feeling, when God calls you do something but it seems absurd?” I’m gonna go out on a limb here and be honest, but no I don’t know that feeling. I’ve heard all my life people talk about being ‘led’ or ‘called’ by God, or how God talks to them, but I have no idea what they mean. Is it an instinctual feeling? You happen to read a Bible verse that has some extra meaning in your particular situation? How can you feel ‘led’ to drop out of college when you don’t even know what it is God wants you to do? How can you tell the difference between your own passing whims and something God actually wants?

    I have no doubt that I am saved, but I’ve never understood what people mean by all this.

    • It is pretty confusing, and I don’t exactly know. My experiences with “feeling led” to do something, is that
      (1) I couldn’t stop thinking about it
      (2) Either coincidentally or providentially, I was reminded and persuaded about it by youth group lessons and bible verses
      (3) I literally felt God causing me to press the send button on an email

      God probably uses different things to show his will to different people, and it’s not always clear, but this is what my experience has been.

      • Yes! 1 and 2 from your list are the ways that God has “led” me to do things. I also did not understand what this meant for many years, but I think I’m beginning to get a sense of what it feels like for God to “call” me to do something. I’m praying that I would be attuned to God’s will and sit up and take notice when He asks me to do something. Also, that He would show Himself very clearly so that I know it’s Him.

  • Hey Emilee! I live in South Africa! (As a result of experiencing God’s calling =^) Where did you minister while you were here? How did you experience the different types of South Africans (Africans, British South Africans, Afrikaners etc.) ?

        • Oh wow, so many! One thing that really had an impact on me was attending a church in the village of Mzamomhle. There is still huge separation of white and black South Africans in South Africa. There is hatred and distrust towards one another. I was the only white person to attend that church and on the first day, the Pastor was speaking in Xhosa to the congregation (I have no idea what he is saying) and then he said in English “Lets welcome her” and the entire congregation came by and hugged me one by one. It was beautiful.

          • =^D Yup, once they hear you’re an American they realize you’re not one of the white people they hate =^D

  • Also–I read your bio and was wondering about your degree. What made you want to get that degree? How do you think you will use it? I want to be a missionary working with kids through sports, but I’m thinking about majoring in English with a focus on creative writing so that I can have a steady source of income.

    • Honestly, I haven’t used my creative writing degree in a professional sense yet. I chose to pursue that degree because I was most interested in it and I am very happy with what I chose! Your degree doesn’t determine a set in stone path for your life so just pursue what interest you most in college!

  • This was encouraging, thanks for taking time to tell your story. How long have you been climbing? I’m a newbie but I love bouldering.

    • Hello Okie, yes, my advice for a new climber is go climbing with someone that has more experience and that you trust. The skill will come if you practice but rock climbing is dangerous, especially if you are unsure about how to stay safe. I would start by visiting an indoor rock climbing gym where there are helpers all over the place to get you started! Enjoy!

  • Thank you for sharing your story! It’s encouraging to hear how, if God is leading us to something, He will never leave us hanging.

  • Thank you for this post, Emilee! It was just the nudge I needed. After reading, I Googled the ministry you were involved in, but another ministry in SA came up. They had a gripping video about orphans. It touched me.

    This post was a stepping stone to further pursuing the passion the Lord has given me: mission work. It has been my passion, my heartbeat for quite a few years now especially when it has come to orphans in Africa. After going to Uganda twice–once in spring of 2014 and once last summer–the Lord has made the passion ever stronger. At this point I do not know where He is leading me next with missions, but the burden for orphans grows steadily stronger & will NOT go away! I have asked Him to let that burden remain and that I would not “rest” until He has accomplished all that He desires to accomplish through me.

    Slowly, pieces are merging beautiful. He is faithful to lead. I am willing to go.

    Thank you again for your words,
    “Is God nudging you to do something? Act now.”

    Moriah S.

By Emilee Struss
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →