I spent this past weekend with my church’s youth group for United Weekend, or DNOW. If you don’t know what DNOW is, it is a weekend that people within the church open up their homes for groups within the youth group to stay with, jam packed full of fun activities and times of worship shared with other youth groups from around the city.
I was a sponsor to the ninth grade girls group with a friend of mine. We had six girls, which at times seemed like a lot more.
I went into the weekend slightly apprehensive, having never been a sponsor for a DNOW weekend. But it was an incredible experience. I am coming away from the weekend feeling like I learned a lot from the girls, here’s how:
- I became more self-aware.
Being around teenagers can do that to you, right? I began to examine everything I was doing in order to make sure I was doing what I could, so the girls could at all times know they are loved, valued in a positive, life-giving environment.
I began to examine the music we listened to, going from point A to point B. Normal country songs that I listen to without hesitation; I was hesitant to play over speakers of my car.
I was extremely intentional with conversations by making sure I had fully listened and paused for longer than I would usually be comfortable before responding. I did these things so the girls would know that I was listening, what they have to say matters (no matter how silly), and I thought about the weight of each word that came out of my mouth. My brain took no breaks!
- I gave up my time.
I have never regretting giving up my time to invest in lives of younger generations.
Maybe it was when the girls were racing to my car to see who would sit shotgun. Maybe it was the nine-year-old girls at my host home giggling on Sunday morning as they enjoyed each others company. Maybe it was the incredible feeling after seeing these girls lean on each other and raise their voices to our Creator, but I didn’t regret one second of my time spent with these girls.
Until Friday, I had never met some of them, but I am grateful for each of them and how the Lord has handcrafted them to be His kingdom workers.
They are so worth giving up a Saturday morning in bed. I encourage you to spend time around your church’s youth group. It made me feel younger, it made me feel old and, if nothing else, is quality, cheap entertainment.
- I was relatively unplugged.
I was aware that I had a limited amount of time with these girls and that I had been trusted with six precious gifts that I had the privilege to invest in over the weekend.
This meant the large amounts of time that I spend scrolling through timelines was going to have to go!
The funny thing is, I didn’t even realize I was doing it until Sunday afternoon when I was scrolling through my Facebook timeline, littered with negativity and things of this world. Here I was, exhausted and recovering from a sickness that has been bugging me for the last week or so, and what I was consuming wasn’t doing anything to make me feel better.
I needed rest. I needed a break. I needed to unplug. I am going to make a point of doing this from now on. It was completely edifying and cleansing.
Again, I cannot stress the importance of the verse 1 Timothy 4:12, “ Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”
The girls set an example of how to love, and they set an example in a non-conventional way by making me examine myself by just being in their presence.