Most of us have had it happen. The high schoolers who come back from camp all fired up, ready to change their lives. But then, seemingly within days, reality hits. You start getting the drunken texts, you hear the crazy rumors, and you see them go right back to what they were doing before.
Most of us ‘trained professionals’ have one thing going through our mind at this point: “What the heck happened???”
I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with frustrated Young Life leaders about how their high school friends just keep on partying and sleeping around. Even the leaders who’ve never taken their friends to camp feel the frustration. The question’s generally the same.
“Why can’t they just GET IT? I wish they’d just get it!”
Do you really want to know why they won’t “just stop partying”?
Look closely. If you’re careful, you will find “shadows” of God at parties.
Think about it. Although the things that go down are often unhealthy and dangerous, everything that a party has to offer is so close to something that we were made for. Sex, drugs, no inhibitions, all with tons of people. They’re just slightly altered versions of beautiful things we all crave deeply, things only truly found in relationship with God. Shadows of the Creator are ALL OVER the party scene!
We all know how awkward high school can be. And they definitely know it too. Imagine if you could just… not have to feel like everything you do is awkward for one night. Well, alcohol works fine for that. It takes away your inhibitions and gives you an excuse for the crazy stuff you do. That sounds like a version of freedom to me. Now, what if you combine that with some very special, deep intimacy with the opposite gender? And let’s not forget, people are made to be in community. It’s incredibly life-giving to be around a group of your “best buds,” sharing emotionally significant events.
What were we made for?
We’re all running after these things.
When we ask the question, “Why do my high school friends keep partying,” what if we also asked ourselves this question: “What ‘God shadows’ am I personally running after?”
Can we relate to them more than we think?
If we can pinpoint the God shadows we chase, we can relate to a buckwild high schooler. Rebellion feels like freedom, and we know it just was well as they do. We’ve just all experienced rebellion in our own different ways, and we can see just a little more clearly the damage it ends up causing.
Understand this similarity between you and them, and you will be well equipped to speak into that part of their lives. Because when it comes down to it, we’re all either chasing after God or something that looks like Him.
This guest post was written by Tim Branch. Tim blogs here and has previously written the following posts for The Young Life Leader Blog.
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