Can I just say that it feels good to laugh again, it feels good to just step back and not feel like I am hiding anymore. I think I had forgotten what it was like to be ministered to by God and just to enjoy life. I am so glad that I chose to put aside my pride and get the help I needed through Mark Yaconelli's critical concerns course. I have decided that I am not going to hide behind a mask anymore. I had this crazy misconception that as a youth pastor I had to have everything figured out...But you know what, I don't and that is okay! I have learned that it is through that weakness that God can use me most. I finally understand why the Lord started out my week with messages from our speaker at retreat about being a "wounded healer." It is okay to be in the storm. Mark ended the session today by having us actually "experience" the passage by getting in the boat. We were either going to be Peter, who wanted out of the storm so bad that he asked God to call him to Him, or we were going to be the disciples who stayed in the boat. I wanted so bad to be Peter and leave the boat, but I felt like I was supposed to stay in the boat, in the midst of the storm for a while longer...Learning to trust the Lord.
Speaking of trust, I am convinced now more than ever that trust is the lesson the Lord is wanting me to learn this weekend. I really feel like I have dealt with the Lord in my own heart and now it is time to simply trust Him for the outcome. Everything that was said today pointed right to that. Buster Soaries spoke about astonishing faith and how I must think of what God can do in ways that I could never imagine-meaning He may do something He has never done IF I trust Him (all things are possible with Him). God specializes in things that have never happened before...Not that I am some great person, but God can do something in the lives of my young people that I would never expect if I will just get out of the way and trust that HE can do it better than I can. Mike Pilavachi reaffirmed that tonight by talking about how Jesus did wondrous miracles, but He did through experiences-successes AND failures, and often more through the latter. He made an interesting point that stood out (actually it may just have been the way I interpreted it) when he said that if everything is going the way we want it to, we can't learn. I guess it is time that I step back and realize that maybe my failures are just ways that the Lord is trying to mold and shape me into the minister than He needs me to be.
The final thing that really got me tonight when Mike was speaking was the concept of "that youth group kid." We all know who they are, they are the one that we are praying will go to another church because they are a distraction or burden in ours. I have to admit, I have prayed that in every church I have been at. I was really convicted of that tonight and I need to apologize to some kids who I have wronged-because I should have been praying that God would use them AS THEY ARE to reach others in the kingdom. There are a few of these kids who I have pushed and challenged and confronted in ways that I shouldn't have all in the name of trying to help them become all they can be with God...What I forgot was that they are on a journey as well, and God can get their attention and use them just as they are right now.
So a lot has been happening, God has really been dealing with me. I feel like if I learn nothing else this weekend I have already learned so much, but I know that with three more days left there are more lessons to be learned.
Thanks Lord for opening my eyes and showing me what I need to work on, forgive me for forgetting how to listen and turning away to myself when I should have been turning to you. It is not about me, but about you! Help me to get out of the way and let you be the God that you are. I am not an expert, I am only a broken and willing vessel willing to be used by you. Help me to minister in spite of myself...Amen
See ya tomorrow!