Last night at Solar, our middle school youth group, we talked about listening to God and seeking his guidance.
And what better to kick off a subject like that then with a food eating competition.
To lull them into a false sense of security, we had three volunteers come up and race to eat a slice of watermelon – without their hands. Round One was just to get them off guard for the zinger in Round Two. We had three volunteers come up and race to eat a cream puff. But this time two of the cream puffs were not what they seemed as two students quickly found out. After biting off half of the cream puff, they realized it was filled with ketchup (tomato sauce).
It was pretty funny…and pretty gross. But that’s the fun of being a youth leader.
There was a point to the culinary torture. We wanted to show them that not everything in life is what it seems. Sometimes things that are icky or bad for us can look really good and really appealing but can turn out to be quite the opposite. Sometimes God’s voice gets lost in all the other voices we’re listening to.
Earlier in the day, we had gone to Logos, an international Christian school, for their weekly chapel. Their school chaplain, who is currently doing a series on relationships, talked about ‘relationships with ourselves.’ Do we love ourselves too much? Do we not love ourselves at all? Do we know that we are loved?
Are we listening to what the world tells us we are? Or are we tuned into who God says we are?
If anything, that was a message I needed to hear.
At the end of Solar, we handed the youth a sheet called ‘Getting Rid of the Junk.’ They had to rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 10 on how much the following factors were inhibiting them from listening to God: pride, laziness, and busyness.
They then had a chance to write a short prayer. I thought I should do the exercise too. Here is my prayer:
Dear God, I like noise. But you’re not loud – you’re that soft, small voice. It’s not that you’re not there, it’s that I don’t seek you. So quickly I forget who you are and all that you’ve done for me. Please help me to stay stil. To find my purpose in you. Better is one day in your courts – and yet I find myself constantly in a thousand elsewhere.