Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Y the L not

This past three weeks have been something else. Between work week, recruitment week, and then the first week of school, it has been a roller coaster of emotions. On one hand, it has been great to be back in Manhattan and with all my friends. But these past few weeks, I have also felt exhaustion, loneliness, stress, burdens, lack of time, and doubts. It was a week full of tests. Looking back, I'm not exactly sure how I functioned. I was so exhausted and stressed and worn down. I poured every bit of energy I had into the week, both in school and in Young Life.

However, though the week was tough, I learned a lot from God. I learned that He is enough. Only through Him will I be satisfied. I was challenged that even when the week got crazy, to make time with the Lord non-negotiable. I gave up a lot of other things -- sleep, working out, etc. but I didn't give up my quiet time. I can honestly say that I don't think I would have made it through the week had I not done that. Allowing God to fill me up first every day made the week possible. God can get me through anything and everything.

I learned that I am in a special place. The ministry of Young Life and the work that we are doing for Christ is something that I just adore. A friend gave me this perfect explanation of Young Life College the other day -- "Young Life College is a Christian organization but you don't have to be Christian, religious, or moral to come. We seek to live life to the fullest and to create authentic community by hosting sweet and fun events. YLC is here to meet new people, reach out to others, and listen to each other's stories. We want to talk about things that matter and even ask life's hard questions. at Young Life College, we love on purpose. And we want you to live on purpose, too." I think that says everything I could ever want to say better than I could ever say it! I am so thankful to be a part of this community.

I learned that God provides. Of course I knew this, but it was a good reminder. Not only does He provide us with energy when we need it, resources when we need them, but He provides us with the people we need. God has provided me with a wonderful community through Young Life. Not only is it my platform for leading others to Christ, but it has given me the most wonderful place to belong. No matter what we need, total and utter dependence on God will result in exactly the things we need.

Like I said earlier, this past week was filled with trials and tests. The week started with a Young Life gathering Sunday night at a place we call "the Secret Beach". It is out on the lake -- we built a bonfire, shared stories about summer, and just reconnected with our friends that we hadn't seen all summer. It was nothing short of amazing! Then the week began -- Young Life College hosted an event every night of the week for Welcome Week. That's where the difficulty began. God tested me in every area of my life -- with my time, my energy, my finances, etc. But in the end, it was worth it. Everything is worth it if it means we build relationships and that people get to hear about Christ.

The week ended with heading off to Tallgrass Christian Camp for a Young Life Leader retreat. It too was nothing short of amazing. I began the trip with hesitations, doubts, and a general feeling of anxiety. I was so worn out from the weeks leading up to this trip. However, the second I got there, I spent over an hour alone in a field, reading my Bible and praying. The two days we spent out there was nothing short of relaxing. I spent time with friends, rested, went for long runs, and was reminded of why I do this.

I was reminded that I was made for this -- for a life with Christ, for this exact moment in time. I was made to be a Young Life leader in Manhattan, Kansas. God's detailed plan for my life includes everything I am experiencing and doing.

I was reminded of how loved I am. Firstly, by the God that created me. He loves me so much that He himself knows everything about me, and still feels so strongly towards me. Secondly, I am so deeply loved and cared for by my friends and teammates in Young Life. I am so thankful for the relationships that I have built through this community.

I was reminded that everyone is made for this. I wish that everyone could understand what a joy and blessing the community of Young Life (and more importantly, a relationship with Christ) is. Of course, that would mean that my purpose as a leader and my team's purpose in doing Young Life College would not exist. But I hope to spread this idea even more this year!

I was reminded of God's faithfulness. This week, He stood by me. For my entire life, He stands by me. He will always be sovereign, He will always provide. This week I truly found peace and rest in that truth. God also provides people. Our entire purpose is to bring people into our community. While our energy was shot, our efforts did not go to waste. We made so many new friends this past week, and I can't wait to see where those friendships and relationships go this semester.

I was reminded of the power of prayer. Some days, it was all I could do to just pray to God to give me enough energy to get out of bed. Then enough energy to make it through my first class. Then my second. Then enough energy to get through our event at night. I remember praying that I could meet new people, build new relationships, and do my best to advance Young Life College. I was reminded that no prayer is too big or too small for God to hear it. Beyond that, if we are faithful, God will hear our prayers and answer them.

I was reminded that God is always present in the midst of chaos. I think that word is truly the best way to describe my life these past few weeks. Chaos. Now that it is over, I am thankful that God showed Himself to me during this time. Seeing Him and feeling His presence in every day life is reassuring.

I was reminded that our decisions are a big deal. One of the club talks this weekend was about how our decisions most definitely define us. I think its hard to pick the right decision sometimes, because I am constantly surrounded by easier choices. However, being reminded that our decisions affect our story and our life, even if we don't think they do was important.

Lastly, I was reminded that it is important to choose to be with God. Being a follower of Christ is a daily decision. It is possible to wake up one day and decide to leave your faith entirely. However, waking up every morning and deciding to live my life in a way that is pleasing to my Creator is one that I have made every day for the past 15 months and it is one I will continue to make daily.

All in all, I couldn't be happier with where I'm at and with how things are shaping up for this semester and can't wait to see where it takes me!


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