At about 3:30 this morning some of our kids really started having a bad attitude. They were complaining about how loud it was (though it was loud) and how boring the game was, etc. It was really hard for me not to lash out. "Do you THINK I want to be playing games with a bunch of smelly, delirious junior high boys at 3:30 in the morning instead of SLEEPING?!" It's really hard not to take criticism personally...after all, these kids begged for a lock-in which we scrambled to put together for them (and for the chance to build better relationships with them). What stunk more, was that these kids attitudes were beginning to effect other kids' attitudes as well. All of a sudden I had 6 kids asking if they could call their parents to come pick them up because they were bored.
What they were really trying to say (as I figured out much later with a little rest and help from a friend) was that they were kids and that they were tired. Teenagers are such awkward and beautiful creatures. Not quite child, not quite adult. They can look like adults, and even sometimes act like adults....but they are still kids. Kids who need sleep after being up for hours, no matter how fun staying up 24 hours sounded to them when they were well-rested on Wednesday.
Two of the kids, the first two with bad attitudes, did go home. And it had an amazing effect on the rest of the group. After they left, everyone decided to give the games (and us!) a chance, and had a lot of fun for the next 3ish hours. Yes, these two kids could have "sucked it up" and gotten a better attitude (especially since one of them is considered a "leader" by the church.) But what they needed was sleep. They were "cool" kids, so they couldn't exactly say to me, "I'm very tired, and my body can't take anymore. I'm sure you have a lot of fun stuff planned, but I really need to go home and get some sleep." Instead they complained about how boring it was and how they'd rather be at home sleeping.
Lately, I've had a poopie attitude. One day, I'm high on God and think anything is possible...dreaming about a healthy youth ministry, writing and publishing lessons, looking forward to seeing our family grow up and settle down here. And the next day, or at 4 am, I'm wondering what other jobs pay better than youth ministry and might seem more rewarding. One day I'm imagining our youth ministry 10 years from now, and in the next minute, I'm writing our resignation letter in my head. One day, I'm relishing in the coversations and growing relationships I have here, and the next, I'm wishing we'd never left Marshall. I'm thinking I'll never have deep friendships here, our kids will always feel left out and different (bc we're in the ministry and we didn't grow up here in Big Lake which is apparently a big deal to fitting in.) and how haviing a healthy youth ministry here is going to take soooooooooo long.
What I really meant to say was: I'm so tired. I'm so lonely. It's so hard sometimes. Somedays I just don't think I can take it another day. I'm so different from everyone here. Everyone here knows me, but is content to not really know me. I'm serious, we go for a walk and a couple walking their dog asks us how the youth ministry is doing...we drop our kids off at the house they're staying at and the person across the street yells that they'll pray for us as we travel to Midland tongiht. I have no idea who these people are. They don't go to our church. But our town is VERY small...they know who we are...our names even..where we live...but they don't know us. It's so hard to build real friendships. It's awkward...it takes time and work and effort and investment...and I'm so tired of leaving friends behind...I don't want new friends...I want all my old ones HERE!
As I mentioned, I have had a poopie attitude. What I really mean to say is: God, I need You. I feel defeated, and I'm not even sure what fields I'm battling on. There needs to be less of me, and more of you...because all of me; stinks.
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.