Thursday, February 17, 2011

Not My Strength

I woke up feeling like I'd been hit by a truck. Aches all over, semi-feverish, and a pounding headache. Not the best way to begin a Wednesday where you're supposed to lead a junior high gathering and teach for 30 minutes. Plus, we were coming to the close of our sexuality series, one that I felt was foundational and important for our junior highers.

There were a few options here. 1) Let interns and volunteers run the night, and simply skip the final sexuality talk, or 2) Let interns and volunteers run the night, and I show up to speak, body aches and all. (There's also option 3: cancel youth group altogether. But that just doesn't work for me.)

I chose option 2.

Maybe that was foolish to show up feeling horribly sick and probably contagious. Maybe it was prideful to assume that only I could communicate God's truths about sexuality that  night. But it was one of those moments in ministry where I realized a beautiful truth: that anything good coming out of the evening has to come from God's strength and not my own.

Yet that's the truth for every youth group. For every message I've ever spoken. For every one-on-one discipleship conversation. For every missions trip, summer camp, ski retreat, or overnighter. It took a debilitating sickness for me to remember this--that it's all God's gracious strength and the transformative work of the Holy Spirit that makes ministry even possible.

Let's hope it doesn't take another illness for me to remember.

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