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A fellow single friend of mine text me yesterday morning to tell me that she had gotten herself to church only to be welcomed by a riveting topical sermon entitled, ” The Art of Relationships” given by a couple (in case you’re wondering, this is pretty much every church-going single person’s nightmare).
Later in the day I was in a small group discussing lust, sex outside of marriage, sex inside of marriage, what constitutes as lust, what does not, and what the bible says and doesn’t say about sex and single people.
And finally, last night this passionate blog post about the way youth pastors talk about sex showed up on twitter.
The common thread, besides the obvious one, was the topic of shame, in all of these discussions and it was really good to hear people talking about getting rid of shame.
My guess is that sex and sexuality are he leading cause of shame within the church universal and I think it’s high time we knock that off. The truth is… Jesus carried our shame to he cross, he was stripped, beaten and murdered so that we would never have to be ashamed for any reason. When we carry shame or use it to influence others, we stand at the foot of the cross and spit in he face of the Savior.
It needs to stop.
We need to think differently.
And fortunately it looks like a lot of us are ready to.
I am supposed to be taking video of myself talking about lust for a church project that I wrote about over here.
After 1+ hours of trying to make this video happen I feel utterly ridiculous and have learned the following which I will share with you via bullet point list (so that it looks official and I feel better about myself):
- Speaking and writing are different. I like to do both, however, where I write best when I’m alone the complete opposite is true of speaking. Staring at a video reflection of myself and talking is weird. Just. Weird.
- I make terrible faces which I would rather not know about (above is an example). This is why God put my eyes in my head and not in the palms of my hands. I’m sorry that means all of the people I talk to have to endure it, but we must all play our part.
- Sometimes webcams make computers crash which means you have to resort to taking video with your phone.
- What I think is cute hair is not cute hair in videos.
- For me, maintaining train of thought while talking requires gesticulation with both hands. This means that I sound like an idiot in all eight videos I took with my phone.
- Propping the phone up on something to free your hands prevents you from getting the good selfie angles. And apparently I’m vain.
Finally, and with more anguish than was really necessary I looked to the heavens and groaned, “God, I love you, but why does loving you have to make me look so stupid?!?!??!?!!”
And God said, “Really, Katie?”
So I put on my big girl panties and called my sister and asked her to take the video of me later this afternoon.
The cool news is that God doesn’t draw comparisons, he’s not giving me a list of people who have it way worse than I do, because lets face it there are many things worse than having to take a video of yourself. He’s not rubbing that in my face. He cares that this process makes me feel like a rambling, ridiculous, ill-qualified, idiot and he loves me, horrible faces and all.
So later today I’ll make the video and not because I got slapped with how insignificant my feelings of ridiculousness are, but because God loves me and I love him, too, and he asked me to do it. Period.
Sunday was an awesome day.
ProjectJAIA had it’s very first photo booth event and it was GREAT. It’s really cool getting to see something you’ve only imagined come to life that way, it’s cool to see people get it and want to be involved, but the best part for me was hearing the teenagers from my group talk to other people about it.
Hearing them explain it.
Hearing them tell their own stories.
I can’t even really put into words how proud of them I felt, or how excited it made me to see God working through them to minister to other people, because at the end of the day, that’s what they were doing.
And post photo booth it’s been kind of fantastic hearing their ideas for how we can do more. What else can we do with this project, how else can we show people God’s love?
So great! Days like that make me feel connected and like I am starting to understand what God has me here for and it’s a really amazing place to be.
Something I’ve learned lately (take note if you fear you may someday find yourself in a situation where you need to carry on a conversation with a teenager or group of teenagers and wont know what to say) is that all teenagers speak YouTube-ese.
In order to use this valuable tool, don’t be lazy, you can’t just reference anything, you need to have a working knowledge of at least a couple of funny and/or ridiculous videos and be able to actually talk about them (laugh at them). Fakers will be spotted and strung up by their toes.
I’m thanking God for the teenagers He’s brought into my life.
If you had told me, even just a few years ago, that I would find myself overwhelmingly passionate about youth ministry, I would have laughed in your face. Literally. Laughed. In. Your. Face.
I was a horrible teenager, and by that I mean that I was bad atbeing a teenager and not that I was bad while being a teenager. I took myself very seriously, I had to do some pretty serious growing up early in my life, so by the time I was 17-18 I believed I was much older than that (which of course was not true). So to be honest, working with youth never crossed my mind; I didn’t connect well with teenagers when I was one, in fact, I couldn’t wait to get away from them, so why would I ever consider even trying to connect to them as an adult?
It’s amazing what God can see that I cannot.
For me there wasn’t a big revelation or some special word of God given to me in a super spiritual moment that alerted me to the fact that one of the things God made me for was youth ministry. I wasn’t visited by a glowing angel in a dream, or filled with Devine undemanding. For me it was less poetic and more clunky, I never made a decision, I just started serving. Youth ministry literally just fell in my lap. That might sound passionless to some, but for me it’s evidence that God knows me, and because he knows me, he knows how to speak to me. Mulling over the options doesn’t work for me and I don’t do well with pep talks, and tons of preparation.
What I need is to find myself in the thick of it.
For this reason I find that most of the time when God wants me to do something, he drops it in my lap or drops me in the middle of it, but either way, I get dropped. Sound a little scary? It is. Nevertheless, it’s how I thrive.
At last years Exodus Freedom Conference I volunteered with the young adults Refuge group and it was a tremendous blessing, and I had every intention of volunteering with that group again this year, but as God would have it in the months in between I started volunteering at home with teenagers and it woke something up in me. It just clicked. So when I went to the Exodus Leadership Reunion and as a last minute decision decided to be a part of a discussion about youth ministry, I walked away knowing that this year I needed to be a part of the Student Refuge group instead of young adults.
I was a little nervous when I got to California and realized that the group was was going be made up of only boys for the majority of the time we were there, but oh my goodness! I think this actually turned out to be something that was really good for me. I learned so much from those guys, I don’t even know if I can even make words out of it all yet. As a woman who hopes to one day have sons, it was really eye-opening to hear how these young men thought and worked through things, how words impact them, how valuable having people put faith in them is. Incredible.
The thing that just blows my mind is just how much I love these young people, and I wish that sounded less cheesy than it does, but I mean it with everything I’ve got. For the first time in my life I’m not asking God a million questions about motherhood, why I’m not one, if I’ll ever be one, if I would even make a good one… I could go on.
I think He’s been saving me for these kids, and I don’t say that to mean that the door to having my own is closed, almost the opposite actually. I think that, like with so many other things in my life, God is detouring his way through my soul and teaching me who I am by paths I can’t predict. The truth is, when I’m being honest with myself, I don’t trust “normal” circumstances, I never have ( I know, I know, what’s normal anyway). I may scream and cry sometimes about why I don’t have the things my family and friends have, but if I did I would probably spend a lot of time waiting for the other shoe to drop, the rug to get pulled out from under me, for everything to fall apart.
I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to show God’s love to these young men and women, I’m humbled that God would let me do it, and I feel incredibly blessed and humbled to get to know His love for me better in the process.
Isn’t that the most ridiculous title ever?!
I was sitting here trying to figure out what I wanted that title to be, and that’s just what came out. I am so tired, mentally and emotionally, that I could be sick… Except that I am so happy at the same time. It’s the most absurd combination of emotions ever, so as gross as it may seem, that’s the title you get, and as my sisters kids are fond of saying, “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”
This week was a large week for me.
I say large because words like huge and big and emotional, just, I don’t know, I’m tired of those words. Large doesn’t seem to convey whether what has happened is good or bad, happy or sad, it gives weight without without feeling weighted, somehow.
I have felt all of those things this week. I have a lot to write tomorrow on the plane. Today I’m just taking some time to have a chocolate croissant and relax.