I have spent some time this week struggling with God. You see, I figured that I dedicate a LOT of time to serving him by reaching out to teenagers. When these teenagers make bad, or questionable decisions, despite obvious and recent lessons in our youth group, I feel discouragement and struggle with human feels in inadequacy, and invisibility (they don't listen, why do I teach!).
Come on people, I KNOW I am not the only one out there who struggles with this! Maybe sometimes I have spent a lot of time teaching a topic and a youth group kid does something directly against that teaching. Maybe it isn't so obvious, maybe I see as an adult where the future probably leads and the youth takes a path that I would not have recommended. Maybe one asks my opinion and then they do the opposite anyway. Maybe you don't struggle with this with a youth group, maybe it is a friend, or a family member.
You can choose (trust me, I know because I have done it!) to wallow in that negative feeling. Rolling around in it, justifying your feels of inadequacy, invisibility, frustration, discouragement, like a pig wallows in the mud. That mud sticks to the pig. And you know what, he does it because it feels good, it insulates him. It keeps him cool in the hot, it helps keep his skin from being burned. Gosh, don't those sound like great reasons to wallow in mud if you are a pig? When we wallow in the negative, we are insulating ourselves too. The problem in it leaves us cool, yes, it might protect us from being burned, but it also protects us from the loving warmth that we can have from the relationships we are hiding from. It adds an extra layer between us and God so we aren't feeling His warmth! These are NOT good things!
Now, don't get me wrong, I am GREAT at wallowing and struggle with seeing positives. But God has laid on my heart a LOT lately that major things wrong in our society, our church and even in my own family, is that we spend too much time focusing on negative junk. We aren't recognizing God's hand in our lives! Only the areas that WE perceive that HE is "forgetting" to act (i.e., our will, not HIS).
Isn't it amazing how even when we are wallowing, God still reaches out and hugs us, mud and all?
See, today is the 13th anniversary of my widowhood. I was 27, I had a 3.5 year old and a daughter who had turned 2 just 13 days before. I had been leading a drama group called CHAOS (Christ's Hands Acting On Stage). I had AMAZING group of teenagers who had stood by me during the 9 month illness my hubby had dealt with. These kids babysat, house cleaned, prayed and overall surrounded me with loving support. Then my hubby passed, eventually I remarried and moved about an hour away and didn't attend that church. Time passed, lives moved on. High school kids went to college, got married, had children, etc. In other words time passed and connections got lost and we lost track of each other.
Along comes facebook. Yeah, there is a lot of JUNK that goes around facebook. But through facebook, some of those youth group kids found me. I admit it, I stalked their facebook pages, I looked at their families, I rejoiced at their church involvement, and honestly, I figured that they had completely forgotten who I was!
Fast forward to this morning.....a private message on facebook pops up from one of these girls. Now, I haven't seen her in about 12 years. I haven't talked to her. And today she says to me "This day stays in my heart. Always." I expressed surprise that she remembered the date. She told me she never forgets. All these years later, I had impacted her in a way that she cares enough to remember the date and pray for me.
My heart rejoiced. I felt full. I remembered that I am NOT the savior, I am a sower. I sow seeds, through the blessing of facebook I was able to see fruit from those seeds that I might never have seen! On a week when I struggled with purpose and wondering why I bothered, God showed me what I needed to see. Gifted me with a blessing that couldn't have happened in any other way, but by following His leading and mentoring teens as He has called me to. No, it doesn't make the situations in this group any easier, but it changes my perspective. It reminded me of a video, I don't know if I can link to it right and I want to be sure the guy gets total credit, in the video he gets to the end and turns the picture around, changes the perspective, and changes the look of the entire picture. Here is the video
How are you going to change your perspective of a difficult situation today?