So, the annual Journey Youth Lock-In was two weeks ago and I’m finally feeling like I’ve recovered from it! For those that don’t know, we spent 12 hours (7pm-7am) at the Tri-County Indoor Sports Arena with over 100 students in attendance. We played everything from “Steal the Bacon” to Flag Football and we all had a pretty incredible time. There was the inevitable, 13th hour, half-coherent conversation between myself, Jake, and other youth volunteers that involved the statement, “I don’t know why do we do this to ourselves every year.” We were all so tired, so sore, and so beat up. What my daughter, Zoe, used to say when she was just a toddler captured how we all felt, “I done with this!”
Once I got home, cleaned up, and semi-rested I was able to reflect on that conversation and it got me thinking about how we get “tired,” “sore,” and “beat up” in our walk as Christians. Let’s be honest here, we all don’t wake up every day and immediately feel like praying. There are times when we don’t feel like having grace (or sometimes mercy) for people we come in contact with. “Life” has a way of tying us to the “whipping post” and kicking us while we’re down and our relationship with Christ, that should be, and most times is, exciting and something we love can become tiring and have us saying things like “I don’t know why I do this.”
This thought carried over into a conversation I had with the Senior High Students this past Wednesday and I simply asked them, “What makes it difficult to live your Christian faith?” The answers were well-said and extremely honest; I love that about these students! Answers ranged from “People” to “Sometimes I just feel like doing what I want to do.” The night ended with an encouraging word about remembering why we do what we do, encouraging one another in love, and realizing we won’t always get it right, but as the Apostle Paul said, “…press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” – Philippians 3:12 (NIV)
If you’re a parent, I want to encourage you to engage in a conversation with your teenager about some of their struggles as a Christian student. Their answers may impress and/or surprise you. If you’re not a parent of a teen, I want to encourage you to identify some of the things that cause you to struggle at times in your walk with Jesus – things that make you want to say “I done with this” – and remember who you were before you met him and who you’d be without him. This was both challenging and encouraging to me and I hope it is to you as well.