Monday, December 9, 2013

"I know you're humble and all, but this friendship bracelet looks like an Amish grandmother spent years making it. Not just any Amish grandmother. This one makes the cheese they sell at Grandpa's Cheese Barn on I-70 in Ohio. And those braids! Oh my, those braids."

Every Monday night this semester we've gathered together with our Young Life friends and leaders. We've read scripture, sang songs, ran around HTC, worn our clothes backwards, prayed together, gone on a scavenger hunt, learned more about people's stories, sat around a bonfire and built stronger friendships. We see Young Life people through out the week, but on Mondays we all come together.
Two weeks ago we asked all of our kids to fill out some questions. Then Alex compiled their answers onto these giant posters. It was really cool to read their answers...
What is your biggest fear?:

Something I am proud of:

What do you want to be when you grow up?:

What is a gift you needed but did not want?:

Who do you look up to and why?:

Why I love Young Life:

What do you want your walk with Christ to look like?:

Tonight marks our last official Campaigners of the semester. It's crazy to think that we're so close to Christmas Break and the second half of the year. I'll miss seeing all of these people here in the next month until we meet again. We have a special tradition that we now do at the end of each semester: Love Tanks.

First we read this post from Dale Partridge's blog. He's the creator of Sevenly, a social entrepreneurship website. He's written some really great stuff, "We all have a few things in common. We want to be liked, loved, and happy. Some people make us feel valued. Some people make us feel special. But others can make us feel discouraged, unimportant, and small. As the saying goes, “how you make others feel about themselves, says a lot about you” reigns true. When you lack ability to make people feel good about themselves it does nothing more than showcase your own brokenness for the world to see."

Then we read from Ephesians together, a challenge from the Apostle Paul that I love, "I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.
Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you."

What if we lived that way? What if we remembered that we're all in this together--both inwardly and outwardly? What if our words built each other up? We if we ran down the path together?

The paper bags on the wall are love tanks, a physical representation of the tank we each have inside of us that gets filled up when we are loved well. Tonight we spent a significant amount of time writing notes of love, encouragement, praise and prayers to people in the room.

I always save my bag of notes until right before I go to sleep so they're the last thing that I read. I pull them out one by one and read the scrawled handwriting on each piece of paper. I've done this activity so many times but it never fails to make me feel incredibly loved and appreciated. Love tanks have taught me that
  1. People never get tired of hearing why you love them
  2. The words you say stick with people even when you thought it was an insignificant conversation
  3. The way you make people feel matters
  4. You will be surprised by the people who look up to you
  5. A weight is lifted off your shoulders when you realize that people believe in you and that they've got your back

Thank you to everyone that wrote me a note for my love tank tonight. Your words mean more to me than you know.

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