I have the great honor of serving in one of the most incredible youth ministries out there. I have been a leader in this ministry for three years, and have watched my group of girls grow up from insecure freshman to confident, strong young women, about to graduate high school. Ministry is something that grows me, that stretches me, and reminds me how much I need Christ and his grace. I’ve had moments of pure joy when a student accepts Christ, or experiences His grace as they turn back to Him after trying to do life alone, and I’ve had moments of discouragement and feeling burnt out.
This weekend I was lucky enough to get to go on the Leader Retreat weekend in McCall, Idaho, a beautiful town in the mountains of Idaho and spent time relaxing, being selfless served by the staff and other volunteers who wanted to feed and care for us, reconnecting with God and His plan for me, and soaking up wisdom from friends and women who were farther along in this journey of life than me.
Here are some takeaways from the weekend I wanted to share with you-
1. If you are like me, you have a million different plates you are trying to balance. My plates include marriage, work, school, ministry, family, friendships, and the list continues. I feel at times I just cannot carry them all, that I am constantly dropping and breaking a plate while trying to balance the rest of them. It’s not easy to admit that God is the first thing I set down. I am too tired to get up early to read my bible, I forget to pray for my husband, family, friends and students.
But I don’t have to live like this anymore. The solution is to seek God in everything I do, and let HIM take care of the rest. I know I talked about this last week, so hearing practical ways of seeking God first this weekend was exactly what I needed to hear. If I seek after God and his Kingdom first, I can let HIM balance the rest of the plates in my life. I can them over to Him, and trust Him to give me wisdom, patience, endurance and rest. If I don’t seek God first, I absolutely will not be able to carry all these plates without at least one (or three) falling and breaking. I don’t have to do life alone.
2. My identity is not in any of my roles I mentioned above. I am a wife, I am a student, I am an employee, and I am a friend. Sometimes, I feel like I am failing in all of these areas though. In the book Captivating, this quote describes the negative thought patterns I think many of us women have been trapped in:
“An underlying, gut feeling of failing at who she is. I am not enough, and I am too much at the same time. Not pretty enough, not thin enough, not kind enough, not gracious enough, not disciplined enough. But too emotional, too needy, too sensitive, too strong, too opinionated, too messy.”
But this weekend a light bulb went off and I finally understood that my identity is in Christ, not these roles. I will try to beat this into the heads of my girls I lead at youth group, reminding them that they are precious daughters of the King, who was made in the image of God and reflects His goodness, his light, and his righteousness but I don’t always believe it of myself. Girls, if I can tell you one thing this is it: our value doesn’t come from a checklist of rules we follow. Our value is found in Christ, and because of that, we have been declared worthy. Even when there are dishes in our sink, even when we struggle to find time to invest in our friendships, even when we’re crabby with our husbands. Because of Christ, we are worthy.