Everyone is on a journey in this life. And everyone’s journey in this life looks a little different. These are some things that God has been teaching me a lot the past few months.
In December I read two books; “Teaching Teenagers in a Post-Christian World” by Jake Kircher, and “Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World” by Brock Morgan. In both of these books, the authors challenge those who are working with students within a Student Ministry setting to allow them to ask questions and seek for the answers. In fact, both books encouraged leaders in Student Ministry to allow their ministry be a place where students can come and share whatever they think, ask questions about what they aren’t sure of, and seek for answers to those questions…all in an environment that is full of grace and safe to share whatever the student needs to share.
At Berea the speaker was Nate Parks, and one of the things he said about faith really stuck with me. He said that faith is like walking across a river one rock at a time in a thick fog. You can only see the next rock ahead of you because of the fog, but you can’t see the rocks beyond that. As you take a step onto the next rock, the one after that becomes visible.
At Monadnock we had a time where we as a group spent time sharing about how God was challenging us that weekend. The students shared for an hour without me saying a single word (which is awesome). As I listened to them share their thoughts and questions, as well as how they were being challenged by God through the speaker and music that weekend, I was able to see/hear that they were all in different places in their life.
Asking questions. Seeking answers. Taking it one step at a time. Sharing with others who are seeking to live for God the same as we are. Those are ways that we grow in our faith. Those are all parts of moving forward in this journey called life.
We all have questions, and we need to be able to ask those questions and search for the answers. Even those of us who have spent our entire life in the church. We still have questions about what things mean or how to live out some of God’s teachings in today’s world. It’s a part of the journey of this life. To grow in our faith, to learn, to better understand what we didn’t before…we have to realize that it’s all part of our personal journey. And we are all in different places, because we all have different baggage, backgrounds, influences, and questions.
We are all trying to figure out what the next step in our life is, for many different reasons; work, relationships, spiritual growth, emotional growth, etc. We would love to see the end so we knew which way we should go, but that is not possible. That’s what faith is…we have to trust God to lead us as we seek to follow him, taking it one step at a time. It’s part of being on a journey to grow in our faith.
We all need someone, or more than one someone, with whom we can share what is on our mind and what we are struggling with. We all need to have someone to listen to us, as well as someone to share with us what they are thinking. It is called community, and it is an important part of our growth. There are times we need someone to be walking alongside of us to listen and help us. There are times we need to walk alongside others in their journey as well. And, let’s just be honest, there are times we need someone to set us straight when we are veering off course.
One of the biggest dangers to this life journey is when we try to force people to be farther along in their journey than they are. Everyone journey’s at a different pace through this life…and we need to respect each person’s pace. Some take longer to make decisions, need to seek for the answer longer, or ask a lot more questions than others do…and that is ok. We need to be willing to help others when they need it, but we can’t force them to be at any certain point of the journey.
God has been teaching me a lot lately that I can’t make people move any faster on their journey…but that is not what I need to do anyway. I need to simply be willing to come alongside others in their journey and be there for them, in whatever way they need me to be. (one new way I’ve tried to make myself available for this is to create a page where people can ask questions they have, and I’d be willing to try to help them find answers)
God has also been teaching me a lot about my own journey; reminding me to continue to trust him for each step, challenging me to continue growing in my faith by asking questions and seeking for the answers, and making sure I am connected to people who will help me in my journey.
Life is a journey, one that requires faith, and one in which there will be times we have questions or need others to help us out. Our goal in this journey should ultimately be to follow after God, wherever he leads.