So as I sit down to write this my head is spinning with so many lessons needing to be processed. Over the past five years I have been through the roller coaster ups and downs of learning to trust God, learning to let go of all control and leap out in faith. I've moved to new places, states and countries, I've met people who have hurt me and have blessed me, people who have challenged me and spoken unforgettable wisdom into my life. I mean, in just the last couple months my friend and I went from not knowing where we would be living, me not knowing if I would ever get a job that I like....etc....to being given a gorgeous home so that we can open it to hosting village (small group), welcome in guests and well, know that we are safe and, I have been given the best job I could ever imagine (although it was definitely NOT in my plans of what would be "best").
The faith thing has been hard...it's taken a lot of chiseling and molding me out of my grip of control to get me to learn that God's plans are bigger and when I just jump in and let the waves take me where God wants the destination is so much grander than if I had tried to construct my own raft and draw my own map.
But here is where I got smacked in the face......Tonight....by a bunch of young kids. who would have thought....right (look up 1 Tim. 4:12)? I stand back watching these kids come into youth group all hyped up on social energy, talking fast enough to keep up with Alvin and the chipmunks, playing silly youth games like they were about to win the lottery (only the prize is really just a monster energy drink)......they go from facing the stress and pressures of social circles, classes and activities.....then...the worship band picks up their instruments, the room becomes calm, peaceful....and at that moment...I'm not gonna lie...I can't even focus on the songs. I am so caught up watching the atmosphere of the room change into this complete surrender, worship experience. These "kids" are being met right where they're at, with their messy lives and all...and just being with God. It took me back to my youth group days and I longed to have that passion and life back, to see life in a much bigger way. There is something about that age that gives them a huge advantage for making a difference in this world. And if they allow it, if they are open to it...they have such potential for striking the match and fanning a flame in their relationship with God that will change everything in their future. Tonight the message was about our identity and and who we are....how are we identified? Does the identity come from loneliness, family, abuse, looks, friends? Or do we identify ourselves as children of God? It was awesome to see the youth soak up the message and then just let go, put their hands and hearts out and truly let go. They took it and ran with it. They showed surrender to God, true worship and true community as they stood by each other, prayed for each other and worship with each other. Aaron announced that the leader's would be there to pray with them, but what I watched was so much better...high schoolers were puling in the middle schoolers, hugging them and praying for them, guys were on their knees praying together. They were playing their own roles of leadership and community in the most positive of ways. That's what I love about them. They showed me something tonight...I became very good at one aspect of Christianity, the whole walking in faith, trusting God thing as been a main focus for me...but I've become a little stagnant in the whole, just enjoying God, just letting go and being with Him. Aaron hit it right on tonight....we as leaders come to pour into the youth and "work on them", but instead they are working in each one of our lives. Sometimes leaders just need to sit back and watch the action...let them take off and fly.
This is why I love this age....All night I kept thinking of this quote from my favorite book: "It is small enough to ignore and big enough to change your life forever. Life is the sum total of what you do with the moments given you." ~Erwin McManus. My prayer is that they would grasp hold of this feeling, take hold of that moment, that their hearts would continue to be receptive and the curiosity they have would continue to flourish and cause them to seek God with all their hearts.