Stuff to get you thinking, praying and acting... 

Keep on keeping on

By Iwan Matheson

I’m a third year Criminology student at York. I’m just at the start of writing my dissertation, a 10,000 word essay. On top of that I have numerous end of term assessments and the added pressure that in May, I will have finished university, be out of education, potentially without a job, and without a house.

With all these things weighing on my shoulders I could just bury my head in the sand and let life continue around me. But I can’t, I have to ‘keep on keeping on‘.

I doubt there is anyone who doesn’t have a challenge going on in their life right now, for some the pressures will be heavier than others, but no one is immune to it – if someone tells you they are, they are probably just doing a good job of hiding it.

So here are my five top tips for keeping on, keeping on:

1. Take a moment to think about the things that are important to you

Think about what motivates you, what gets you out of bed in the morning and keep doing it! For me, it is the work I get to do with young people in Prison. That is what drives me and so I make sure that in between writing my essays I still leave time to do that. It helps me to focus on what is important to me and see through everything else. Ask yourself what is that for you?

2.Talk to others about what you are facing

It is a myth that you are the only person on earth right now that is going through – or has gone through what you are facing at the moment. The likelihood is there is probably somebody close by who has been through the same thing. Chat to them, get their experience and wisdom on the topic. Perhaps there was a way that they dealt with the situation which you could learn from. Maybe if you’re like me you don’t want all the fuss of the sympathy and the “there, there, it will all be alright”. Tell them that, just say you’d like to chat, no fuss, just honesty!

3. Use what you are going through to grow

When in the thick of a hard time it’s difficult to see how anything good is ever going to come out of it. Use what you are going through to learn and grow. If you are finding a particular person difficult, watch how they act towards you and then make yourself a promise that you wont act in that same way towards others. That way you’ve gained a priceless bit of wisdom from your tough situation.

“So many people are so focused on getting to their destination, that they completely miss out on the journey”

4. Know that you are God’s child

God loves you, he cares about you and all the struggles you are facing. Tell him everything that’s going on; ask him for help, for guidance – ask him for more of his peace in your life. As the famous song says “cast your burdens (all the stuff that you’re struggling with) onto Jesus for he cares for you”. That is basically an offer you cant refuse?

5. Look at the journey that God has taken you

Often when times are difficult and I feel like I’m going around in circles not getting anywhere, I try to look back at the magnificent journey that God has brought me on. I look at all the times where I thought things were never going to work out, and they have, God’s had it in his plan all along. Someone once said “so many people are so focused on getting to their destination, that they completely miss out on the journey”. Don’t miss the journey trying to search for the end!

When tough times come and when I feel like the whole world is resting on my shoulders, I replay a line from the classic hymn Amazing Grace over and over in head. “Tis Grace that brought me safe this far, and Grace will lead me home”. As I look through all that God has bought me through in my life, I know, because I know, because I know, there is not a chance that he is going to abandon me now.

In fact if I was in any doubt the Bible makes it clear in Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave you, nor forsake you”, and therefore if our God is on our side, then what can stand against us? Nothing. Fact!

The Author
Iwan Matheson is a third year student of Criminology at the University of York. Originally from South Wales, he spends some of his spare time working with young people in Prison and helping with the Youthwork at his Church, G2 in York.

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.