You were made for this…
I see this phrase a lot, on stickers, shirts, signs and websites. I hear it a lot, from friends and people casually talking about something I love. See I’m involved in Young Life, which is an outreach ministry for high schoolers, middle school kids, and college kids. I first saw this slogan on the back of a shirt and it made all the sense in the world to me. I had been going to Young Life club for several weeks as a senior in high school and the ministry had burst into my life like a beacon of light in darkness. I loved everything about it, the fun and loving leaders, the games and hilarious skits, the songs I could yell at the top of my lungs and then the quiet songs we always would sing right before one of the fun leaders would stand up and tell us a story about Jesus. Experiencing the fun, the love and the relationships all the while being led to a closer relationship with Christ, it was the best part of my senior year. So when I saw this slogan, “you were made for this,” I knew it was just as true as if someone told me I needed air to breathe. I love Young Life, so very much. And since my senior year I have gone through leader training, worked almost three month-long camps, two week-long camps, and nine weekend camps, I became a Young Life leader and led for a full year on an amazing team at an amazing school and have attempted to love highschoolers the way Jesus loves me. Yea, I dove in head first and did about everything I could do in Young Life, cause well, I love Young Life.
I think the biggest danger anyone in ministry can face is losing themselves in ministry. I think I have been building a certain persona in ministry. I don’t think I mean to, it just happens. I’m that Young Life kid. The one who wears chacos, works camp, leads bible studies and has best friends in literally every state. It’s easy to get caught up in, doing ministry and drowning in it, looking around and finding all these things you have done and need to do and realizing you haven’t talked to Jesus in a week. It’s easy to feel guilty about that and try to make up for it by doing things better, being great at what God has for you because you haven’t exactly been in relationship with Him lately, and you have to make up for that. Then all of a sudden your worth in not in God’s eyes, but based solely on your ministry and how well it goes…… then it is arguable if that self-imposed, self-rewarding ministry is a ministry at all…… but you have lost yourself in what you do so much that the thought of letting go of your “ministry”, even if it’s what you should do, is basically letting go of yourself and all that you know and to think about not being that person or having a scale for your self-worth is numbing. You can’t let go, and you can’t trust anybody else with it, especially not a God who wants you to put Him first in life and who tends to take away the things we love more than Him. No. So you keep it. You hold the persona, because the persona is you now. You have gone from finding identity as a child of God to a product of your selfishness. Yes, there’s danger here.
I’ve seen this happen a lot in life. I’ve seen ministry, church, and anything else that is good and comes from God become God in someone’s life. Heck, I’ve seen it start to creep into my life while doing ministry in Young Life, cause Young Life is awesome. It’s way too easy to put it up on a pedestal right there with God without knowing it. But luckily God has been working in my life with this a lot lately. He’s been making me realize that the reasons I love working in Young Life come straight from Him. He is good. Without God, Young Life would be a shell of a ministry. But God has led me to a ministry that is full of Him and full of Jesus, which is great because for that reason alone, it turns out I am made for this. I was made for a relationship with Jesus, I was made for life to the full, living freely outside of guilt and shame and inside the arms of Christ who bought me at the highest price. I was made to have relationships with people who need Christ just as much as I do and was made to walk with them towards that Fatherly love I have become so accustomed to living in. I was made for this and You were made for this. All ministries and churches and programs and efforts by humans aside, we are made for Jesus. And that’s that.
My Jesus is so very good to me. i don’t even think i have words for this post in all honesty. ya see i just found a journal that i kept for taking notes in church and writing letters to God. it was from 3 years ago. it was pretty crazy to read because it covered a big part in my life, a huge struggle of mine. i wrote about pains in life and doubts of grace and forgiveness. doubts of what i had been taught my whole life, doubts of a loving God. i found my journal from the year that my life got turned upside down… well the second time it did. it was the year i lost trust in everything i knew and wondered about who this Jesus guy really is. but it became the year i was taught all about the man i had been “following” my whole life. it became the year i learned what true love was and who brings it. it became a year of hard decisions and learning to have a faith that actually existed. i have been thinking about this year a whole lot lately. i have been talking about it with close friends and have been hashing out some of my remaining pains from it. but tonight i was reminded, as i read through my journal kept week to week of this time, God was working in my life. He was Soooooo working in my life. He led me to His son, He led me to understanding Jesus and understanding love and grace and forgiveness and trust and beauty (really anything good, He is all things good). He led me to the life i am living now. I am certain that this is the life He wants for me. Living to the fullest with Him. wow. my Jesus is so very very good to me. It is a beautiful thing when you realize that the worst times of your life were really just God preparing your way. preparing good works for us to walk in. feeling it tonight. He is so very good.
so one of the ways i really like to process life and understand it is write songs. i just kind of have for my entire life, mostly it was stupid stuff like raps and songs about cats until i really started taking my walk with Christ seriously… not that i still don’t sing about cats. what can i say, God made me the way i am. anyway, i wrote a song recently, well about three months ago. but i was feeling really consumed with the way God loves me and wanted to write about it, process it and get my thoughts straight. here it is:
You know i’m a mess but you love me. You’re there though i’m weary and worn. Spending all your time thinking of me, you want me to be whole.
i don’t think much about you all day. you don’t take it too personal. you put me first and yourself last, you want me to be whole.
and i never thought i was enough to be living in this love it makes me whole.
people say you’re out of your mind. hanging out with a person like me. you wouldn’t have it any other way, you just want me to see, the way i could be.
you’re losing yourself into my life. providing healing for the soul. this grace and mercy’s overwhelming. its making me whole.
and i never thought i was enough to be living in this love, it makes me whole.
there i was at the end of life, running with no place to go. you came and met me where i was at. you came to make me whole.
and i never thought i was enough to be living in this love, it makes me whole.
you know i’m a mess but you love me. you’re there though i’m weary and worn.
so yea, throw some chords and a little bit of rhythm in there and i’m pretty happy about it. but my favorite part about this song is i wrote it while thinking of the way that Young Life leaders pursue kids and show Christ’s love. i wrote it right after we took kids to fall camp this year and i got to witness great love shown to high schoolers. so the song is about God’s love for me, but i used examples of YL leaders loving at camp.
its pretty neat. i work in such a great ministry with such amazing people in it, showing Christ’s love everyday. but that’s what’s best… these leaders, people who love others, and me, we all get that love from God. we get that love from a man who put all others before himself, who lost himself in other’s lives, who sees our worst but loves us, who comes to us in all of our humanity and sin- right where we are at. we get that love from Jesus. we are loved so much, by Jesus.
i realized something this morning that really upset me. my entire life i have been taught to be strong, to act strong, to make others around me think i am strong. my entire life i have been shaped to think that this is the only way to live. its upsetting because that’s exactly the opposite of how people in Christ should live. i mean i am not suppose to go lay down somewhere and let my troubles overwhelm me, but i should give them over to the One who gives me strength. i myself cannot be strong and to buy into any illusion otherwise is wrong. i don’t know if its where i live or what, but it is more socially acceptable to be strong than weak. so my life has been trying to trick those around me to think i have my stuff together. but i am not strong. God is strong and He loves me. He is strong when we are weak and He gets the glory when we get out of the way and let Him work through us. maybe when we accept that we don’t have to completely have our lives together and we don’t have to be strong when our world is messed up, then maybe we can actually get to healing, we can let God heal us from the hurt and pain and when we have been let down. He will, we cannot heal ourselves, because we are not strong enough but he is. It is okay to be weak, because we are weak.
One thing God has spoken, two things i have heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O God, are loving.