One of the biggest lessons I learned as a youth leader was how selfish I truly am. I hear it said you learn how selfish you are when you get married and more so when you have kids, but I learned a small sum of that as a youth group leader. I learned I so often didn’t want to give of my time, of my energy and my emotions. I learned I often didn’t want to put aside my own pain in order to listen to that of others.
But I also learned how sweet giving up that selfishness was. I learned how deep my love for these young ladies could be. I learned the joy of watching, living and doing life with those beauties. I learned of the excitement in seeing their hearts for Jesus grow and develop. Of the giggles in talking about boys, makeup and all things relevant in their life. I learned the joy of how proud I am in them.
I learned of the sacrifices my own mentors made. Of the selflessness those who mentored me showed me. Starting to understand in small pieces what is was like to be on the opposite end of loving others. I learned how grateful I was for those who showed me that same kindness.
I learned my own insecurities were close to the surface. Fears of not being good enough, of failing others of lacking in knowledge and ability. But I learned of God’s grace and how quick He is to extend that to me, to tug at the root of my insecurities.
I learned that life doesn’t always look like what we thought it would. I learned that certain idols must fall so God could be priority. I learned that sometimes you don’t have an answer for everything; for others or for your own life. I learned that not everything will be understood and you won’t always know why.
I learned that I am quick to extend grace to others, but slow to show that same grace to myself. That words I would get mad hearing out of my girls mouths are words I have often said to myself.
I learned that words are not always necessary. I learned that listening is a powerful tool and that intentional listening goes far. I learned that sometimes the greatest comfort is your presence and prayer.
I learned that I could learn from them. I could learn from their strengths, from their hearts, from their highs and lows. I learned that I was no greater or no less than. I learned that regardless of age we all are equal in worth. I learned that I have so much left to learn.
Mostly, I learned that I am most grateful for what I was able to learn as a youth leader, and how thankful I am to be able to do life with such beautiful girls. I learned that being a leader or mentor in what ever form that may come is a calling I have in my life. As well as being led and learning from others.
Wanting to be apart of a youth ministry was a calling I ran from for a long time, partially because I knew some of these lessons would come, but I found a fulfillment and contentment in being a part of their lives that I wouldn’t ever give back. I challenge you to think if there is a calling you are running from? Is there a burning in your heart you are hesitant to go to? Is there a nudge you keep avoiding? That just may be God’s gentle way of calling you. It may not go according to your perfect plan, but I can promise you this you will learn.
All my love,