Friday, October 15, 2010

Sitting on the Beach Reflecting

I am not technically sitting on the beach, but I am really close. I am sitting in my car looking at the dunes and listening to the wind and the waves crash. This weekend is our high school fall retreat. The theme is "identity." This is always a great theme for high schoolers. These are people who are constantly trying to figure out who they are. At times that is still me too, but I have found more and more who I am and am pretty secure in who I am.

As I feel the warm sun on my face and remember conversations at this place from the years past, I know that there are many who will come this weekend who will wrestle with who they are. Tonight I am speaking about labels. Everyone puts labels on other people and on themselves. I am asking students to choose 3 labels that they most identify with (there will be a list of a whole bunch of different labels hanging up all around the room).

In high school I was a bit of a label chameleon. Not the kind that changes just to fit in, but the kind that changes so that they can identify better with the group of people they were with. I was in the "brain" classes and played sports, so I hung out with the jocks. During lunch I would often play hacky sack with the "pot heads." (even though I was a bit naive and didn't realize they were actually smoking pot). I was in the band, marching band and jazz ensemble. I was on the bowling team and also was in the ski club. There was hardly a "people group" I didn't spend time with. I loved that.

I felt like one of my calls in life was to love people, no matter what label they may carry or others had put on them. I still feel that is the case. Obviously there are always close circles of friends you connect with better than others. I had a really special group of friends in high school that I loved being with. They were people I wanted to spend time with. People I laughed with and learned with and still stay connected to. They are the people I longed to hang out with at our 10 year and 20 year reunion. And, because of Facebook and other wonders of the internet, I am still able to connect with them. Not as much as I would like, but that is OK. We are able to pick up at any time.

So I think about these students coming this weekend. We all want to fit in. We all want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We all want to be known. We all want to be loved. I try REALLY hard to learn people's names so that I can say their names (the sweetest word in our own language) and know them a little bit. Perhaps my saying, "Hi Cory. How are you? How did you do on that big final you told me about last week?" might be the thing that causes someone to realize that life is not so bad. It's not a major deal for me to remember their name and what is going on in their life. BUT, it is a major deal to them to know someone cares and remembers them.

After talking about what labels they put on themselves I am going to look at labels that God puts on us. They are pretty incredible. If you look at the Bible and read what God thinks about you it is AMAZING. He cares about you. He thinks about you. He loves you. AND He likes you! Check out these verses that have been put together by the Freedom in Christ Ministries (they found these verses in the Bible and put them together in this list).

The three categories they talk about are:
IN Christ you are - accepted, secure and significant.

I would love it if you looked at that list and then commented below as to which one is most significant to you. Who are you?

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