What does it look like to speak truth to a generation buried under lies? Is it walking alongside a teen struggling with suicide? Is it sitting across from a future mom as she makes a life and death decision? Or is it speaking honestly to a young girl about the path that her choices are leading her in? In many ways we struggle to speak truth, but don’t always know how to get through. When we talk about truth it is easy to want to insist that our solution, our theory, our belief is right. And the louder we speak the more right it is. If they don’t choose our way then they are wrong or lost. And when we stop speaking, we realize that no one is listening. The more we pump ourselves up for a fight the more we crush the love and grace that is needed, that is called for and that is being cried out for from a hurting generation.
The joy of working with youth is the chance I have to connect with girls and hear their stories and speak into their lives. Holding back isn’t something that comes easy for me- I enjoy finding solutions for problems and speaking them- often quite loudly. But as I have spent years investing into the students of the next generation, I have found many are just craving to be heard. Our lives are media saturated; images, advertisements, celebrities telling us what to think or follow or believe in. In the midst of it all there is a cry from a generation desiring just to be listened to. They want to know they are not alone, they need real love.
I was sitting across from a girl who, by outward appearances, has it all together. It was just a one time -it won’t happen again- she assures me. The timer goes off and her face crumbles. Quietly she begins to share her worries, her fears for the future. As I sat there, my heart continued to break. It isn’t about the words I speak or quick fix answers I may want to throw at her; it is about this young girl. Have I earned the right to be heard? Can I show her grace? Can I love her to the degree that I am loved by Christ?
This generation is struggling. College aged students have the highest numbers of sexually transmitted diseases – when looking at younger students, 1 out of 4 teens have an STD in high school. Students are buried under lies that are hurting them deeply. This is where the our youth volunteers step in with love, grace and the ability to listen, who care passionately about the students and the choices that they will be making, and speak honestly about their own experiences of heartache and fulfillment in relationships. This is where you step in, as fellow servants, boldly reaching into the college campuses and schools showing students a way out from under the lies and into the truth. Many are called to reach this generation and as we listen to them, show them God’s real love and share our stories- transformation can begin to take place.
As she finished telling her story; I sat there in silence then slowly, quietly I begin to share with her my own story of heartache and failures, honest and transparent, sharing pain and then … redemption… hope … truth