Spiritual Practice

Repaint the World

Case Ayers

In seventh grade, I had experiences I didn’t know how to deal with. My family isn’t like most, so I avoided being at home as much as possible. My relationships with girls weren’t the best, so I experienced a lot of drama in my life. Sometimes I felt completely worthless because my friends wouldn’t talk to me. I started to wonder, Is this what life is about? I’m lost in a world that follows the latest trends, where those who are different are outcasts. Seeing no way out, I began to cut my wrists, hoping to replace the emotional pain with physical pain. I still have the scars.

Case Ayers playing original song 007Through it all, I could always rely on my best friend, Rachel, to be there for me. No matter what happened, she always had my back.

I often wondered how someone could care so much about me and not give up on me, why anyone would want to be around a kid who feels so alone and lost. So one day, I asked her.

Her answer completely changed me. “Casey, it’s not just me. God cares about you. Even when you think you’re all alone, God is there for you. Maybe if you believed a little more in God and in yourself, you’d see that. I am your friend and always will be, but you’d be much happier if you opened up a little and weren’t so afraid to step outside your comfort zone.”

Her words made me think: I know I’m just a kid, but what if I could do something to change the world? My imagination went wild, popping out ideas right and left.

I told my youth pastor what I was thinking, and he gave me the book Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. Intrigued by the subtitle—“A teenage rebellion against low expectations”—I started reading. Part way into the book, I was completely amazed by how many other teenagers had imagined What if I . . .? What they accomplished made my jaw drop!

The book turned my imagination toward what I could do in the future. What if I gave my all to everything I do? What if I took a stand against poverty? violence? injustice? homelessness? cultural lies? What if dedicating my life to something could save hundreds of other people?

Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” When I look around, I see plenty of things that I want to change.
In January, I went to a youth worship conference to learn how youth can use their gifts and talents for God. The theme of the conference was this question: “If everyone’s an artist, how will you paint the world?” Since the conference, I have centered my life on that one phrase: Paint the World.

Drums and Guitars2 005My passion is music. I imagine becoming a songwriter for Christian praise and worship artists. God gave me a talent; by using it, I can give back to God. I’ve seen the world from the eyes of an average teenager. Now I’m chasing my dream of painting the world a different color.

When I felt trapped, Rachel helped me to put my life in God’s hands. Now, no matter what trials I face, I know that nothing can defeat me because my friends, my family, and my God are with me. I’ve had an epiphany. Just one question made all the difference in my life.



All it takes to make a dream come true is a little inspiration, some motivation, a passion for something worthwhile, and a lot of imagination. What if you became the change you want to see? What colors will you paint the world?

Case Ayers from Parkerville, Missouri, sends a shout out to his youth group that “FLITE Ministries Rocks!!!”

—from devozine (January/February 2011). Copyright © 2010 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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