I’m one of those people that views the glass has 100% full. This “glass” they speak of is always half air and half liquid…making it 100% full. I’m not big on dwelling on the past, but rather looking toward the future. However, there are some good times to stop and study the past. History’s a fun subject, after all. The past shows us what mistakes to avoid, what works and how time has progressed.
Have you ever heard someone ask you to look at what God has done? What about what He’s doing? Or what He will do? What happens when we hyper focus on one of these points in time and ignore the other two?
I’ve started my summer internship with the First Baptist Church of Bowie youth group and I feel like a lot of my posts this summer will be based off what students and youth workers have said to me, such as this issue. I already have a running tab of ideas.
So let’s break this down, shall we? Yes. Yes, we shall.
The Ghost of Christmas Past
I think it’s awesome to look back on what God has done to encourage movement towards the future. I think those kinds of conversations need to happen with students, they have to see proof sometimes before they’ll pack up and move when He calls. There have been times where I have to stop and remind myself of what God has done in my life and use that as fuel to push forward towards the promise of tomorrow. But what happens when we don’t push towards the future and solely focus on the past? Students get stuck. Students get bored. Have you ever met a teenager that liked feeling stuck? Yeah, me neither. Everyone wants to be able to hold onto a wisp of hope, a glimpse of what’s to come; a light at the end of the tunnel. Some people call that “graduation.” If all a student knows is what has happened in the past, without witnessing God move in their present situations, they lose that hope of the future.
“That’s why it’s called The Present”
Have you ever heard that joke? Ehh. Google it. This is a big one, “Check out what God is doing right now!” I’ve heard that one before. Usually some applause breaks out immediately after that exclamation mark. Then what? Can I get an example? Do you ever feel like that? “God is doing some awesome stuff right now…right?” Uhh…yeah? Now, I’ve witnessed God move before and it’s pretty amazing. I’ve seen God take a student’s heart and change it within the course of a weekend. So, I’m a strong believer in the present presence of God. (See what I did there?) This is something that should be the focus of our lives. Seeking God in our daily lives is the first step. If we’re not constantly seeking Him, sometimes we can pass right by Him. We can glaze right over the situation God may be trying to get us to zero in on, all because we’re not on our toes. The present is something students should be encouraged to focus on. They should see it in examples of those they look to, they should see it in their parents’ lives and they should hear it from their youth workers.
Back to the Future
This one is the real kicker. “I can’t wait to see what God has in store.” I’m gonna be real right now: I don’t think you’ve earned the right to use this statement if you’re not excited about the present and you haven’t learned from the past. Yeah. I said it. If you want to focus on the future, that’s awesome. I honestly can’t wait to see what God will do in my life. That’s because I’ve spent time studying my past and the pasts of those around me and I’m hyper focused on my day-to-day life. God is preparing me for the future. You can jump into that DeLorean thinking you’re headed into an awesome, God packed future and all of a sudden BOOM…history will repeat itself. Students can get a lot of encouragement from this statement. “Your life is hard right now? God’s using you, won’t it be great to see what He does with this situation down the road?” There’s power in that sentence. But it can be empty, too.
The past, present and future have to work together to strengthen a person, to strengthen a student. We have to learn from the past, correct it in our present lives and work towards the future. So, what happens when we’re only using one of these time periods to drive students? Does it really benefit them?
Listening to: The sound of the Rangers game on the TV. It’s intense…like camping.