I said a few days ago that I would be directing youth groups at a United Methodist camp this week… and it has been a great experience.
Yesterday we played a game called ‘Ultimate Frisbee’. The game is played like a combination frisbee catch and football game, in which each team tries to throw and catch the frisbee while running for the end zone.
Inevitably, there are youth who have varying degrees of athletic ability… and one of the hardest things to deal with is a kid who thinks they ‘stink at sports’. It’s not just sports, actually, but could be anything. Some kids say they stink at sports, some say they stink at art, some say they stink at music, some say they stink at being creative, etc.
Usually, they don’t stink… they have just developed that self-image because of past experiences with peers, or because somebody once told them they stink, or because they had a bad day, game, art, craft, song, or something once. It’s sooooo limiting! Just by saying, ‘I stink’… kids close the door on changing for the better, directing their future skill set, or growing in new and exciting ways. They become stuck with a stinky self-image and it keeps them from being all they can be (even if it isn’t a champion sports person or artist).
We are all subject to this limiting line of thinking… and we are likely to do it in the life of faith as well. We take our boring Sunday School days as a kid, a hypcritical or unfriendly church experience, or just plain disconnection and irrelevance and say to ourselves ‘church stinks’ or ‘I stink at the church thing’.
But whether in faith or sports or arts or careers or personal development we cannot afford to limit our lives and growth based upon past experiences or what we’ve been told (or have told ourselves).
In Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus teaches:
Ask and it will be given, search and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.
Jesus was teaching that the truth about God and living God’s plan for life begins with a proactive and developmental step on our part… it is a step of faith. When we risk to move past our limitations… we find God there to show us the truth about ourselves and who we can be.
Asking, searching, knocking are courageous activities… are you up for it?