This past weekend, Mitch and I attended the Simply Youth Ministry Conference… of which I could not talk about until it was over and done with (because it really is not a great idea to warn the world when you are going to be away from home, folks). BUT, we’re back now, so here is the quick five of the day: 5 things I learned (or re-learned) at SYMC:
1. A LOT of (male) youth directors/pastors have beards. Plaid flannel and zip up hoodies are a given, but the BEARDS in this place were… abundant. Let’s just say the “Spot the Youth Pastor” game is super easy at a conference full of them.
2. Although I do some, I’m not doing near enough work outside of the church. So kiddos, I’ll be seeing you at TONS of sports events, concerts, and after school stuff this spring. My goal is to make you tired of seeing me e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.
3. There are times that we put a suit of armor up around us, “protecting” us from living freely and loving with no hold-backs. Forgiveness is the key to unlocking this iron wall that we allow to surround our hearts. I forgave a couple of people this weekend and am working on letting that forgiveness free my heart to love more fully and actively. God is all about this type of reconciliation. If I understand it correctly, being able to accept forgiveness and offer forgiveness is one of the best things we can do to free our hearts from the vice grip of pain, guilt, and anger. Once we’re free, we see and experience a love that is so clear and fulfilling, we wonder why we let ourselves remain prisoners for so long in the first place.
Below: Eric Samuel Timm, a speaker/artist, creating a piece of artwork that he used to illustrate this concept. If you notice, there is a lock on the chest of Iron Man and (not pictured) the word forgiveness above, with a key in place of the “F”.
4. The city of Columbus is under construction. And kind of seems like a ghost town (to be fair- we were walking around on a Sunday afternoon…). Mitch and I went adventuring one day to “see the sights”. As it turns out, the “sights” are getting a make-over and will be ready for “seeing” in 2015. Dang. We made an adventure of it anyway… here are some of the things we explored in the city:
Lunch at the North Market:
Although not entirely sure what the purpose of this arch is, we thought it was cool and had a beautiful design to it.
Sitting by the river… this is where most of the construction was taking place.
Exploring COSI (Center of Science and Industry)! This place was awesome.
And we can’t forget the Capitol Building, of course…
5. Last, but not least, a bunch of tidbits/sound bytes from over the weekend that made me think:
- It is natural to feel uncomfortable and to not know what to say when dealing with a crisis situation. Someone passes away, trauma occurs, unsettling news is shared… ever been in a situation like this and you just don’t know the right thing to say? It’s normal. Even the professionals find themselves in these positions. Why? Because crisis is not the way that it is supposed to be. God did not design this world to be in pain, turmoil, and trauma- this was not a part of His original creation. It makes sense that we would feel uncomfortable with it, not always know the “right” way to handle it.
- “Satan will promise you anything, give you nothing, and take your everything.”
- Self- care is far more important than we give it credit for. How can you serve, teach, and love others if your own soul is weary and unattended? But how, you say? Taking a Sabbath (a day of rest) is a non-negotiable. This is the way that we allow ourselves to be filled up so that we can overflow for others.
In short, it was a great weekend. I learned a lot and am coming back to the “real life” with a new spirit and excitement about the ways that God is at work. I’m just honored to be along for the ride…