A New Year of Young Life: Familiar and Exciting.

It’s that time of year again, summer is ending and the school year is kicking off.

Young Life leaders all over the country are diving into fall sporting events.

On Friday I went to my first football game of the year (just like many of you).

As I entered the stadium I was overwhelmed with a sense of familiarity and excitement.

It was familiar because I have been leading at the same school for four years. I have parked in the same parking lot, gone through the same gate, and walked towards the same student section of the bleachers.

It was exciting because this football games marks the beginning of a new school year: new students, new friendships, new activities, new adventures, new possibilities. There are so many new and exciting things that will happen this year which will make this year unlike any other.

As the band played emphatically I took a deep breath and a minute to stop and look around. I tried to soak up the moment which marked another school year and a new season of Young Life.

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Writing a New Story

I recently celebrated my birthday. Growing up I always wanted my birthday to be the perfect day. Everything had to go just right. I had to have the perfect meal, the perfect cake, all my best friends and cool presents. Yet, year after year, without fail, I was always let down.
This year I took a new approach to celebrating my birthday. Instead of wanting everything to go perfect I took action. I stepped in and made the day exactly what I wanted it to be.

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Neither here nor there.

pureandnoble.blogspot.com/

I spend a lot of time and energy looking towards the future. I want things to be the best that they can be: my future friendships, my future marriage, my future job, my future family, my future ministry, etc…

I also value giving time to the things that are right in front of me. I want to be present in the relationships I have now. I want to invest in the things that I am doing today in hope that they will lead to a better future.

I live in a constant struggle of finding the balance of here and there. 

For the last two weeks I have been thinking about one simple statement: “I’m not there yet.” I look at all the older, more dynamic, more mature, more successful people around me and think, “I’m not there yet.” I accept this statement as true and allow it to steal my ambition and my joy. I am guilty of putting an ambiguous “there” on a pedestal and telling myself I have to reach it.

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Reality television and a miracle.

GUEST POST by Jessica Shaver (@kcshavers)

It is no secret within my family that I love television. My deepest, darkest secret though is that I love reality television. There is something wonderful about watching people interact in their own real life environments that is exceptionally appealing to me. Not so long ago, I had someone even tell me that I speak about reality stars as though I personally know them. Odd, right?

My current fascination is with a show called Intervention on A&E. If you haven’t seen it, the show is a documentary following people who are buried in drug and alcohol addiction while their families’ stage interventions hoping to help them get clean and sober. I watch the men and women who are so far gone in their addictions that their lives are completely unmanageable. They lose their jobs, homes, health, and their families are destroyed. I know what you are thinking: Why would someone choose to watch something so incredibly sad when they can watch an amazing show like Duck Dynasty?

I watch it because what they face seems impossible to defeat.

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I’m not there yet.

Two weeks ago I went to The Global Leadership Summit (well, I watched it on a large projector screen). At this summit I had the privilege of listening to a few of the top leaders, businessmen, and pastors in the world talk about their area of expertise.

I heard success stories about some of the most profitting businesses in the world, I learned leadership strategies from a few of the best minds on specific topics, and I soaked up tips on how to send out burst of energy as a leader from the senior pastor of one of the largest and most influential churches in the country. It was incredible, but overwhelming. I remember sitting infront of the oversized projector screen and thinking, “Wow, these people are truly dynamic. I’m not there yet.”

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Blessings.

The other day I was hanging out with my mom (yes, I still hang out with my mom. she’s a great woman). We were enjoying a conversation and got on the topic of blessings. We reflected on all the things we are so fortunate to have in life.

In that moment I realized how little I think about all the things I have to be thankful for. Life has a funny way of slapping us across the face with our short comings. It likes to tell us how inadequate we are and remind us of all the things we screwed up. I know in my life that list can be incredibly long. It’s in that time we need to think about all the things we have been so blessed to have. It turns out for most people that the list of blessing out weighs that other list.

This isn’t some sort of positive thinking trick. My hope is that you see this as a call for thankfulness. A life lived with a thankful heart is a life that honors others, changes lives and grows community. Thankful people find the joy in life and have the power to overcome that slap in the face all because their blessings are counted well to them.