The meteoric rise of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has flummoxed the talking heads of the news media. How could this brash entrepreneurial business tycoon be attracting such “If the election were held today I’d vote for him” kind of support? After all, politics in America isn’t a television reality show . . . is it?

But for new students at Andrews University, perhaps there are a few lessons tucked away in Trump’s quest for the Whitehouse, lessons for your own pursuit of that “impossible dream”:

1. Sometimes you have to plow ahead no matter what the critics are saying. Thank God for our families who are our biggest cheerleaders in the dreams we pursue. And if you’re blessed to have a praying parent, you’ll ride on the updraft of those prayers this new year. But you may be your own worst critic. “What am I doing taking on this huge academic challenge? Look at my grades in high school! Look at the financial investment we’re making! How can I possibly succeed with so unlikely a dream?” When those cloudy thoughts begin to take over, here’s a promise to infuse new courage into your worried heart: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Every good dream is birthed by God—which means He’s the One leading you to take on this academic challenge.  “I will be with you wherever this new year twists and turns.” With a traveling Companion and Friend like that, there’s no critic who can turn you around!
2. Sometimes you have to raise your voice to be heard above the din. Say what you want about Donald Trump, he’s learned to keep shouting when they’re shouting him down. Nothing will be more faith-inspiring and courage-building than raising your own voice in prayer above the din of campus life. Jesus told a story once about a little widow who was being bullied out of her inheritance. She triumphed because she kept raising her voice above her detractors, until the judge granted her petition. Jesus’ point? “You should always pray and not give up—for God will take care of those who cry out night and day to Him” (see Luke 18:1, 7). So begin every day with 15 quiet minutes in conversation with Him—and the God who watches over the sparrows will take care of you  (see Matthew 10:31).

3. Sometimes you have to talk your faith before you can prove your faith. The news media made it clear from the start nobody would ever take Donald Trump seriously. But Donald Trump does. And the more he talks up that faith (in himself), the more he’s been able to draw believers in him to his cause. I’m not suggesting you should go around campus talking up faith in yourself (you’re not a politician—for which you can be grateful). But you are a friend of the Most High God, and talking up your faith and trust in His ability to guide you to your dreams will not only make believers out of others—it’ll make a believer out of you. John Wesley—a very short man with a very great faith—early in life learned the principle: “You must talk faith until you have faith.” Politicians call it, “Fake it until you make it.” But as a friend of Jesus, you don’t have to fake a thing. Simply talk up your faith in the One “who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20), and He’ll use you to make a believer out of you and the others, too.

The point: You can trump your new year. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”(Philippians 4:13). As Taylor Bunch once put it, “You don’t know the resources of God until you’ve tried the impossible.” So go for it! We’re cheering you on.