I don’t know about you, but I tend to operate on the ‘VERY DISTRACTIBLE’ end of the sanity spectrum. I always seem to get distracted by the “shiny” things in life. Whether it’s being distracted by whatever new superhero movie is currently out, school, work, family issues, Aunt Marjorie’s crazy political posts, or even the things on TV and the news. There’s just SO much out there; I won’t even mention smart phones! I think for a lot of us, even simple, day-to-day activities often take such precedence in our lives that we get distracted, and forget what is really important in life.
See, the world tells us that in order to be successful, you have to be “moving” and “active.” Success is this destination we have to travel to, and every second not moving into the direction of ‘Success’ is a minute wasted.
That is not what the Bible says success is. But still we spend so much of our time getting distracted, that we often start to listen to this (false) idea of success. And if you’re anything like me, you fall into that trap. Often.
For me, it always takes a dose of something extra special to get me back on track, and that something is perspective.
[Now, I know that if you’re a Pixar-savant, you just got the image of that mean food critic from ‘Ratatouille’ when you saw the word perspective. I’m sorry if I distracted you further.]
Perspective is a funny thing. Mark Batterson – an author and Pastor out of the D.C. area – writes in his book, “Wild Goose Chase” about perspective. He says, “A change of pace + A change of place = A change in perspective”.
It’s something I think we all know deep down. When we are stressed and burned out, we think, “I need a vacation to clear my head.” But to have it stated in such a simple way puts it in a new light – that we need to get out and change our surroundings, and slow down a bit, so that we can gain some much-needed perspective.
“A change of pace + A change of place = A change in perspective”
And that is the prevailing thought that comes to mind when I reflect on our time at Hume Lake last month. (Oh… *that’s* where he’s going with this!)
We went into this trip with so much going on, both in the world (Do I need to explain this?), in our personal lives (Do I have to explain this?), and even within the Youth ministry itself (I should probably explain this).
See, we have had an incredible year so far in the New Life High School Ministry. The students have really taken ownership over the ministry: Inviting their friends, welcoming and greeting newcomers, participating in worship, engaging in conversation in small groups… It’s just been a great year!
But even in that, we can get distracted. There’s a temptation to see the great things going on in our life and go, “Yeah… But this thing over here isn’t working out very well.” Or, “That’s great that God is moving over there, but I’ve got a deadline… I’ve got issues to deal with over here.” Distractedness is just part of being human, and it takes a change of pace AND a change of place to cure us of it.
Distractedness is just part of being human, and it takes a change of pace AND a change of place to cure us of it.
For me, many of the other leaders, and even more of the students… Hume Lake was that change of pace, and that change in place that God used to grant us a change in perspective, and cure us – at least temporarily – of our distractedness.
Let me show you why…
Along with the fun of Broom Hockey tournaments, fresh snow, and Box-Sled Races (which we did not compete in this year, though we did make one. Let’s just say there’s a LOT of cardboard somewhere on the side of the road about 30 miles south of Turlock), we also had a weekend FULL of incredible life change that only God could have orchestrated.
We had a handful of our students give their life to Christ…
We had even more commit to repentance; to turning from their pain and sin, and instead following Christ as he leads them toward healing…
We had students – on their free-time – coming up to their small group leaders to talk about their questions about God, the hurt in their lives, and the hope of Christ…
We had small victories, like new friendships that were built…
We saw our students rally around and support each other – even those of our group who had disabilities. Physical differences didn’t matter. Only love…
Shy students came out of their shells.
Boisterous students were humbled.
Students who have been here for years were challenged in new ways.
Students’ lives were changed.
Now was it perfect? By all means, no. There was plenty of stress and anxiety that comes along with discipling High Schoolers over a long weekend. But you know what? It doesn’t even matter.
It doesn’t matter how much sleep I did or didn’t get; it doesn’t matter who argued with who; it doesn’t matter about the logistical nightmare of our truck not starting as we were heading out; it doesn’t matter how great the speaker or the band was; and it sure doesn’t matter what I thought of the weekend.
Because at the end of the day, God showed up. And he showed up in an incredible way. And those ‘wins’ – those powerful events we got to witness – are the ultimate change in perspective. Seeing God speak to students SO clearly, and grab ahold of their lives is enough to remove any distraction going on – I don’t care who you are! When God moves, people notice.
And you know what? I don’t think he’s done moving yet. No matter how many times we change our pace or our place, and no matter how many times our perspective is changed, God ALWAYS keeps us guessing… in the best way possible.
And that is what true success looks like.