This pretty much sums up a Disciple Now weekend with the 6th and 7th graders. In other words, wow, am I tired.
But it was a great weekend. Our church is blessed with a great group of middle schoolers who trust one another and their leaders. We're also blessed with a youth minister who refuses to do formulaic youth ministry, but rather encourages our kids to think, contemplate, and trust. So despite the raging hormones, occasional tears, near-total lack of sleep, and general loudness that are an inherent part of being twelve, these kids have the capacity to be deep. And this group is particularly good at figuring out how faith applies to our lives.
Our theme for the weekend was "Walk Through Walls." We talked about cliques and popularity and being afraid and becoming who God wants us to be. When I threw out that last one as a question, one of the boys, J, said, "I think God wants us to be us."
J is pretty sharp when it comes to faith. I think he's going to be a preacher one day, if, as the youth minister put it, he survives. But, really, doesn't that sum it up? God wants us to be us, to be truly ourselves, to stop being so afraid of what other people think of us or that we won't have the right stuff or that the right person won't love us. Even when we are stuck being twelve and we don't really have an idea of who that person is or what she is supposed to do, what God asks of us is to be us. If we do that, we can walk through any wall.