Weariness is sacred

10.30.19

Sometimes I get weary and weary SUCKS.


Weary feels stuck.  It feels like trying to move but you can't.   


Weary feels like closing your eyes but never feeling rested.


Weary is painful.  It feels like being worthless and broken.


Weary is not uncommon to man, but it feels like you are the only one.  It feels like being alone.


To be weary is to recognize that today, you are human.


Chances are, you will grow weary when you are pouring out your time, energy, and love and it doesn't get reciprocated.  


That is what it is to serve youth.  


Sometimes they recipropcate, but mostly they just take.  It feels like all of that time, energy and love you just poured out, fell through a black hole and you wonder where you can find it again.


Jesus has an answer to this.  In Matthew 11, He has been going to all the cities where "might works" have been happening.  But the frustration and tension is palpable.  They have experienced great things but it hasn't changed their hearts in great ways.  They are stuck.  You can imagine the weariness that is starting to take hold.  Jesus' response is to pray. He praises the Father for hiding all that is good from the "wise and learned" and saving it for the "little children".


He ends like this (Matthew 11:28-30)....

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.


Eugene Petersen paraphrases it like this in The Message...


Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.


When I read these words of Jesus,  I notice a couple of things:


Jesus acknowledges the weariness and the heaviness of the burden. 


He knows that the burden is heavy and too much and far more painful than we ever imagined.  He knows that we are trying to peel ourselves off the floor and do just one productive thing.  He knows that sometimes this weariness is the result of what others have placed on us and other times it is because we have lived into our own broken identities.  It is a heavy yoke.  


Jesus tells us that we can trade yokes. 


We can trade the yoke of other people's expectations for His.  We can trade the burden of our own expectations for His.  We can trade the burden of our broken identities for His whole and healing identity.


Jesus offers us an invitation,  "Walk with me, work with me, watch how I do it."  


His is the invitation to change our need for control and power for a gentle and humble heart.  We watch Jesus and all the things he calls sacred and then we call them sacred in our own lives.  We watch how he loves the broken and we love the broken in the same way. We watch how he talks about the small hidden things of the heart and we talk about the small hidden things of the heart.


There is GRACE here. 


We are invited to "learn the unforced rhythms of grace".  This invitation leads to living freely and lightly, the opposite of weary. 


I know that at times you are weary.  Sometimes, I don't want you to be weary because I do not always know how to hold space for that.  BUT Jesus, He acknowledges your weariness. And today, I also acknowledge that you are weary.  Let's learn the unforced rhythms of grace together.




So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued (grow weary) doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

Galatians 6:9-10 (MSG)


***Sarah Bessey is responsible for getting my brain thinking about this in her talk on Matthew 11:28-30.


life is sacred

9.18.19

I learned an astonishing fact yesterday.  The average age that a student gets a smartphone is 11 years of age.  The average iphone has 100,000 times more processing power than the computer that landed a man on the moon and a million times more memory.  Our teens can do more with these handheld devices than we can imagine. Between the time a student first gets a phone and the age of 18, they will log 10,000 hours of screen time.  Most of it will be spent ALONE. I have done the math, that is approximately 5 hours a day alone, staring at a screen.


Several years ago, Malcolm Gladwell wrote about 10,000 hours.  It takes 10,000 hours of practice in anything to become an expert.  10,000 hours creates habits and neural pathways that are difficult to change.  10,000 hours creates automatic responses.  


Consider that with the above information.  Teens are spending 10,000 hours by themselves on an electronic device creating instinctual habits and neural pathways. 


You may be wondering what teens are doing with those 10,000 hours.  They are connecting with friends, though that is a miniscule amount of the time.  They are playing video games and binge watching tv shows and youtube videos. They are creating a worldview through social media.  They are looking at porn.  


They are creating instinctual habits that will have an effect on their future relationships.


The impact of this 10,000 hours is greater than the instinctual habits that are created.  The capacity to live socially and be in relationship with other human beings is impacted by the 10,000 hours being spent alone.  


This is 10,000 hours of lacking real connection.  This is 10,000 hours of wondering about your worth compared to what you see from airbrushed models and instagram influencers and youtube celebrities.  This is 10,000 hours of being desensitized to violence and the sacredness of lives around you. This is 10,000 hours of objectification of yourself and others around you.  


It is 10,000 hours of not learning how to be in community.  It is 10,000 hours of not hearing that you loved and your life is sacred.  It is 10,000 hours of not looking into another person’s eyes and seeing acceptance and joy at your presence.


The inevitable outcome is loneliness, suicide, and all types ofl violence,  The trend of these 10,000 hours matches the trend we see of suicide and sexual violence.  We have hit an all time high of sexual violence. Sexual violence can have any gender perpetrator and any gender victim, but generally speaking the perpetrator is a male and the victim is a woman.  1 in 3 college age girls will experience sexual violence. Imagine walking around a college campus and counting the girls...1...2...3. Every third girl you walk past has experienced some type of sexual violence.  


On top of that, suicide has taken the front seat in the news and there is a good reason for it.  Nationally, 8.6% of teens have attempted suicide. That means in Collision, with middle school and high school combined, 9 kids have attempted suicide, if we go by the national rate.  But Wyoming has the third highest suicide rate and it more than doubles the national rate. That means about 1 in 5 of our students have attempted suicide.


This  is overwhelming and heartbreaking information.  

But what if those 10,000 hours were replaced with connection and community?  

What if they were replaced with empathy and compassion? 

What if they were replaced with this message:


Your life is sacred.  


Jesus declared your life sacred.  

 

This is what we are talking about tonight.  We are interrupting our journey through the Sermon on the Mount to address a topic specific to the world our students live in.  Each group will be taking their own twist on the sacredness of our student’s lives.


Tonight, let’s speak these words into our student’s hearts and souls.  


Your life is sacred. 


Jesus declared your life sacred.


When we speak these words we are telling our students that they matter to us.  Let your body language and facial expressions reflect the joy that these kids are and that we believe that Jesus has purpose for them and has declared them sacred.


It is a privilege to speak these words with you.   

Cristine ❤️


Can I ask you a question?

9.11.19

Context is everything. Take Lucy out of Narnia and she is just another little girl that copes by creating her own world.   Take Iron Man out of the Avengers and he his just another middle age man smack dab in the middle of a mid-life crisis.  Context informs the way we look at characters in a book or movie.  It does the same for real life.  Context informs how we look at our students.


This week our goal is to get to know our student's context.  This happens on a global level and an individual level. On a global level we must understand the culture these students are growing up in. Our students are impacted by the social culture, the politics, and the trends of 2019.  On 9/11 that isn't hard to imagine.  Each of us know where we were on that day, we can point to specific ways our lives were impacted by that one event.  Our students are also experiencing events that impact them, maybe the events are not of the same magnitude, but the impact is still made.


To understand their world, we need to  watch what they watch (nothing will change your world view like watching Squishy makeover videos), read the books they read and listen to the music they listen to.   All of these give us a view into their lives.  


To understand the individual context for our students we need to know the answer to these questions: 

Where do you live?  

Who lives with you?  


These are simple questions but the answer to those 2 questions tells us a lot about the students we are trying to love.  Even in our small community there is a vast number of places one can live:

in town

in the country

in a nice house

in a not so nice house

with 2 parents

in a blended family

with 1 parent

with lots of siblings

with no siblings

with grandparents

with a foster family

with people you aren't related to and don't really know why they are living there


All of these dynamics change how our students in tract with the world.  They may look like a kid that is barely surviving when in reality they are conquering huge obstacles.


Jesus does this masterfully, his parables are all rooted in context. Every time he has a conversation with someone he speaks to them with the details of their life in mind. He was able to speak to people's hearts because he understood the context of their hearts.  


As we understand our student's context, a couple things will happen.  

They will feel heard, known and seen.

Our message of good news will penetrate their hearts.


Keep working at getting to know our students.  

  • Know there name
  • Know there interests
  • Know their context                                           

Sometimes you just need to say, Can I ask you a question?

                                                               ~Cristine


get curious

9.4.19

If you don’t know what matters to me, do you really know me? 


One of the books I read this summer, It’s Personal, challenged my thinking and quite possibly my “doing”.  It challenged my thinking enough, that some of the phrases on the back of our name tags come from that book.  For the last couple of years, we have said that one of our primary values is that students feel like they belong at Collision.  They come into a space where an adult greets them with a smile, interacts with them, plays games with them, talks to them about Jesus and sends them home.  It sounds like a pretty good plan, but there are some missing pieces. Belonging doesn’t come from interactions but from feeling like you are known. Last week we talked about knowing names, that is only the first piece of the puzzle.  There is so much more to being known than knowing someone’s name.  


To know someone, you have to know their interests.  We must start by paying attention to the little things, the activities they gravitate towards, the snacks they grab from the cupboard, the pop they choose, the jersey they wear, the instrument they place on the shelf, the book they have in their hand or maybe it is the Fortnite t-shirt they are wearing.  These little clues are a great place to start a conversation and get to know the student’s interests.


BUT don’t make assumptions.  Sometimes kids play sports because their parents make them or sometimes they do it because they want to be with their friends.  Let’s be the adults in their lives that Ask Questions and Get Curious about what matters to them.


When we know what matters to a student we communicate to them that they MATTER! And if they know they MATTER to us, it’s easier for them to believe that they MATTER to Jesus.

                                                  ~Cristine

Every Kid, every week

8.28.2019

Tonight is our first night of Collision.  We will have students pouring in our doors and rushing us for hugs.  They will be eager to tell us about their summer and their horrible, awful first week of school.  Maybe they have earned a starting position on their sports team, maybe they can't find a table to sit at during lunch, maybe summer was boring or maybe it was the best summer ever, maybe they think they have found the love of their life.  Regardless of their story they have invited us into the front row.  They have invited us to listen and see their hearts.  They have invited us to cheer them on.  But sometimes the cheering section is overwhelming and the sensory overload of the evening is real.  But  tonight we are going to focus on one thing.


On the back of your name tags you will find this:


Every Kid, Every Week

 

High Five


Know their

NAME

INTERESTS

CONTEXT


Give them HOPE


Believe in their POTENTIAL


These are our goals for each night.  This week let’s focus on their names.  Say their names (in a positive way) as many times as you can throughout the night.  Something changes in our brains when our name is spoken to us in a positive way.  Our brains light-up and calm down so that we can learn and trust and heal.  Saying a students name lets them know that they are seen and know and belong.  So tonight, let’s change our students brains and above all GIVE THEM JESUS.                                     

                                                                             ~Cristine