Hi, leaders! How are you doing? Global pandemic got you down? Same.
Someone asked me a question in the middle of the summer. “If you had known what this year would look like, would you have said YES to it?”
It’s a funny question, because my immediate answer was “of course!” One year ago, I hopped an ocean to do God’s work in The Netherlands, to tell teenagers about the love of Christ through building a Young Life area. I was called, and I responded. And through the whole pandemic, I clung to that call. I knew I was still supposed to be here for this season.
But….this season is taking so long to end.
People are still sick, watching your friends play sports is not a reality, there are travel bans which feel like a personal attack, and, while this is nothing new, we are seeing the world’s brokenness in a whole new way.
Three months after I was asked that question, I kind of want to recant my answer.
This is not what I signed up for.
- I cannot enter the high school campus I had divine access to a year ago.
- I am not able to meet with more than three people at a time, which makes hanging with kids hard when I’m trying not to seem like the creepy new lady.
- ZOOM IS DESTROYING ME.
- I got the dreaded COVID and convinced myself I was fine other than being sleepy. (I wasn’t…)
- I have to keep 1.5 meters away from everyone.
- I haven’t seen a friend or family member from home in almost a year.
- I was supposed to go on really fun European adventures and show people International YL is the moves.
We all work with teenagers. I used to also work with college students. I’m a full grown adult. This situation is HARD no matter who you are. We are all being affected by this. We (I) am seeing our (my) human limitations in my personal life, but also as a Young Life leader. Some days, I just feel like “I can’t.”
But, none of that changes what Jesus says.
This is actually exactly what I signed up for.
- There are places Jesus could not go. (Luke 9:52)
- Jesus had masses, a 12, and a THREE. (Matthew 17)
- This is humbling because I still loathe Zoom, but if Zoom were a town, it would be one where people did not want to go. And we’d go there anyway. (Luke 8:26)
- Jesus did not come to heal the healthy, but the sick. (Mark 2:17)
- Jesus DID THAT THING (aka resurrected) and couldn’t hug his best friends. (John 20:17)
- Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? This one is really tough right now, but God has given me family on a different continent. (Matthew 12:48)
- God is choosing my adventures in this season. And they are still happening! (Matthew 16:24)
Jesus has asked us to follow Him into the dark places to show kids who He is. It doesn’t feel like it could be much darker right now. And we have the hope of eternity! Imagine how the farthest out kids are feeling.
“Going where kids are” has taken on a whole new meaning. My trust and faith in the Sustainer is being strengthened. My creativity is being stretched. And even though I’m failing quite a bit at this one, my humility is being tested. Lifelong journey, am I right?!
I encourage you, leaders, to ask yourself what you signed up for. And to see how Jesus has gone before you.
Was it doing skits at club? Or going to a beautiful camp property across the country? Maybe even coming to do work crew at a camp in Europe? (Stick THAT one in your back pocket for 2022!) If that’s the case, I truly empathize with you. I do. This year is probably an in your face reminder that your expectations haven’t been met and honestly, life kinda stinks.
Or did you sign up to run after kids, going into dark places and bringing light to what might seem hopeless. We are not hopeless. Look to the one who has (quite literally) gone before us.
I hope you’re reminded of what you signed up for, and I pray you keep reminding yourself of it! We cannot forget, especially now, that the author and perfecter of our faith has called us to a mission. Thank you for running after kids. Keep going!
“We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.”Hebrews 4:15 (MSG)