There are moments when I’m reminded of my insecurities and weaknesses. A few weeks ago I had one of those moments.
During the Easter holidays, a number of the young people from the church went to an SU retreat in Austria for a week. All of them came back ‘high’ from the experience. I remember the intense experience of weekend aways and week long retreats when I was a teenager. Being in a christian environment, surrounded by christians with no ‘worldly distractions’ is always going to have positive moments. It’s easy to be a christian when you’re away from your ordinary life, surrounded by other christian peers.
I heard the similar views of , “why can’t our YF be more intense”, “oh the speakers were incredible, not like we have here” etc etc.
But then one of the leaders of the trip away invited all of the young people from the trip to a ‘sort of’ reunion at a youth event in Edinburgh. Nothing wrong with that.
But it’s what he said that made me insecure and angry.
He said that he didn’t want the young people getting complacement in their faith and so wanted to keep them going to other invites to keep that flame lit.
The voice in my head responded with something like “and what do you think I’m trying to do?” “is my work meaningless?”
That was my gut reaction. the voice in my head that craves attention and worth.
“I’m the one working with these young people every week, not you”.
The rants continued in my head. I came home afterwards with a mixture of thoughts in my head. Retreats are good for young people but we have to help them realize that those ‘mountain top’ experiences aren’t everyday occurences. They can’t live their christian life going waiting for the next ‘high’. i remember coming home from trips to soul survivor and being angry with my church. “how can they be so complacement? Where’s their passion? I felt God there but not here”.
Now that I’m a youth worker I see how hard those things are to hear.
But thank God for grace. Thank god that i am not defined by my work. And I pray God would continually break me down every time I forget that.
But that’s not to say that those thoughts should be ignored. We need to find ways to disciple the young people we work with through those experiences. We need to help them practice the presence of God in their daily lives and realize that that God can be found in the small insignificant moments and no just the intense worship experiences. To help them realize how to be a disciple when you don’t feel God’s presence; when things are hard and your friends don’t take about your faith.
I thank God for those events, but I need His grace and vision to help bring the young people back into ‘normal life’.