Sometimes the hardest part of student ministry is the fact that you can teach, love and model things for your students yet they will make their own choices.
Last night after week two of our SexE series I listened as students shared hurts they have felt from relationships. I watched as leaders loved and counseled students. I dealt with their drama, over dumb things like picking fake fights. I read the texts from students that sincerely wanted to changed. I watched as student flirted their way right back to the emptiness they came from.
And it sucks.
Because I can’t make their choices for them.
Some of them will find freedom and discover the beauty God has placed in them.
Others will run back to what they know and it will continue to hold them back.
Some will pursue purity with passion that will reap rewards in beautiful ministry and marriages one day.
Others will continue to objectify their bodies and wallow in their depreciated self-esteem.
The crappy part is I can’t CHOOSE LIFE for them. I can’t make them FALL IN LOVE with a God who so tenderly cares. I can’t SCOOP UP all their fears and bitterness and mistakes and make them beautiful.
I’ve been wrestling with these verses the last few weeks
1 Timothy 4:12-16- Message Version
12 And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity.13 Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching.14 And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed-keep that dusted off and in use.
15 Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes!16 Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation.
The lovely ladies over at Leading and Loving It sat in these verses for 4 weeks during a virtual conference and it’s kicking my behind.
It’s really challenged me. Often times when I’m frustrated with the choices students are making my thoughts are quickly followed with the realization that while I can’t make their choices, my life is an example to them. What are they seeing?
When I speak, my facial expressions, my faith in believe God for big things, my prayer life, the way I love and forgive, my integrity. What does my life tell them about Jesus?
It’s not that I am to live my life for them or to make sure it looks all clean for them. Honestly I love that I have students who can read me (although my facial expressions don’t make it hard). I want to be real to them – but I want what’s real about me to show them something bigger than myself.
In the end…they will act.
And so will I.
What does your life say about you?