3/31/2013: Innovations and Connecting with People
I’m on short time because I’m trying to restart a military-like regimen to improve myself. These past days, I have been trying to find ways to seek God and to improve myself more. I know I can only improve myself through God.
O Happy Day! O Happy Day!
When Jesus washed my sins away.
He taught me how to watch and pray….
I feel sometimes like I’m controlled; it’s like I have no control over myself. So, one of my innovations is to set time daily just so I can “watch and pray” (Matthew 26:41). However, I cannot do this reliably on my own because of human nature. I may forget, don’t feel like it, etc. Thus, I found a way to configure my alarm clock app in my cellphone to always remind myself every hour. When I feel my phone vibrating, I will stop what I’m doing and reassess myself which is “watch and pray.”
For this short time, I feel depressed. I feel like a failure. Not at everything but specifically in my church. I want to connect with people younger than me but I just can’t. Their interests and mine are almost totally different. I could care less about TV shows, computer games (even though I still play them but the games I play are foreign to the games they talk about), or sports. Even airsoft or paintball is towards the back of my list. Yeah, it’s good to learn defensive tactics but I’ll explain in a future blog why this isn’t such a big deal and also one of my moral dilemmas. What I want to talk with them about, which are my interests, is about the long-term. I want to talk to them about God, about preparing for college, teaching them life skills (such as typing), or, at the least, engaging in wholesome activities like eating. In fact, eating is the only thing I can think of that we are in common with; after all, we all need to eat. I feel so frustrated with my progress with the youth that I just want to give up. I don’t want to talk to them anymore; I don’t want to try anymore. And along my youth group, I sometimes want to just leave my church. I can’t relate with people; I can’t connect with them even if I try. And I’m trying to think up activities we can do with my time constraints. I need as much time as I can to learn Spanish. Tengo gana que muy dificil. Ok, I suck, I know. I want to talk to the youth about making money, about stocks, about learning how to drive, about planning. Unfortunately, I have more of a chance talking to the older adults about these things than with the youngins.
Another thing is trust. How can I build trust with them? I have been with my youth group for, at least to me, a long time now. I’ve been with them in activities and eagerly helped some of them. I tried, really, to connect with them. How can I build up trust? An answer is by doing things with them. But, that is hard because we hardly have any interests in common, except eating and sleeping, that is. I can’t just write on Facebook “Hey, let’s eat out every day.” I’m not that rich. Or, “Let’s all sleep together.” Maybe when we are younger but now, that’s just crazy. And, they never invited me to any of their events probably because they know I probably won’t be interested in it.
So today, I am in a sullen mood and I tried to refrain from interacting even though the Las Cruces church came. They have a college group but the problem is the distance. I think I would be much happier if I joined them. Here in El Paso, only two of us go to UTEP and there is no desire to form a college fellowship.
I sat at the corner of the youth table, opened my pocket Bible out to Psalms, and ate quietly. After a while, Claire moved and sat across from me. I guess it’s easy for people to tell my feelings.
She asked me, “Steven, why are you sad?”
I was thinking about answering but I couldn’t yet because my mouth was full. She saw the silence and said, “Fine, I get it. You don’t want to tell me” (along those lines). That is not true, I want to tell her but I couldn’t because my mouth is full. I finished and told her some of my feelings. I told her I gave up trying (talking and interacting with the youth) because I feel I’m not going anywhere (and sometime I feel they hate me for it, too). However, one thing I do know is that my times are in God’s hands. I know that God is good and I remembered, in my Army days, that I would do the same thing when I’m sad and God will always come through.
Clare asked me, “Steven do you drink with the soldiers?”
My viewpoint changed as I continue to live on earth. I told her in the past, I would abhorrently refuse, but now, I told her we need to live on wisdom that comes from God. If I can turn back time, I would go with the soldiers not because I enjoy “being drunk” as Clare put it, but so I can build up relationship with my soldiers so I might also influence them spiritually.
I told her before I realized that I need wisdom from God, I would always argue with soldiers about religion and about God. I may say “No, you are wrong,” and I will say things bluntly with no regard to other factors. Now, I realized my blind zeal may have pushed those soldiers further away from God. It’s achieving the opposite effect. I became like Mr. Goodly-shoes.
She asked me, “Steven, should I always witness to people? Because I’m afraid.”
I told her that she, like me, needs to use wisdom that comes from God to decide what to do. Sometimes if we witness the wrong way or at the wrong time and place, it cannot affect anyone and may actually make people more hostile and hardened to God. Sometimes, the best answer is to pray for them. Actually, prayer is almost always the best answer.
I also feel Claire doesn’t really fit in with her youth group. She is less interested in the things the other youths talk about and much more interested in God. She is much more willing to tell the truth and be blunt about it. I love her for it. Almost every Sunday when I see her, she would ask me a spiritual question. One time she asked me about evolution and how her teacher “talked about dinosaurs,” etc, and how it is not mentioned in the Bible. I told her many analysts see a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. They say there may have been a war between Satan and God and that Satan warped God’s previous creation. I also point out that the six days God made is like the evolutionary pathway taught in her textbook. Those six days might be six days to God, but to us, it could be millions of years. The Bible actually did mention a dinosaur, the Leviathan, in the book of Job. I told her that some questions may not be answered until Jesus comes back. Another time, she asked me about the Muslim religion and I did my best to give an accurate answer. I’m not going to cover it because I’m already on borrowed time and that is not the scope of my blog (although I may write it in a future blog).
Two weeks ago, I shared with her The Way of The Master Bible evangelism course designed to make its students bold Christians and to prepare them for street witnessing. My intention is merely to open her mind and to educate her more about God. But guess what she did? She actually tried to witness to her classmates! The week after I showed her that, she complained to me on the immediate Sunday about how she is making people hate her and that she will not be popular. I’m shocked! I’m taken aback by her courage and willingness to share the gospel. She is actually a more Christian soldier than me! I told her that she needs to take the time to learn more about God and the material before she should witness. Of course, if God tells her to just go, then the order is to just go.
But I know people like Claire is a rarity in this world and that most young people are much more interested in material things. When I was 18 or so, yes I tried to follow God but, ok, I might be a bad example. Even back then, I didn’t watch TV and merely spent all my time in front of a computer playing games. Maybe that is one factor why I suck at life (according to many people).
This reminds me of a thought I want to write. If it is so hard for even a youth in a Christian family who goes to church regularly to be saved and baptized, how much harder is it for an unbeliever to seek God? Those who seek God in their own accord are truly to be admired. If those church kids were to be in an opposite situation which is that they are not brought up in a Christian family, they would be deep in the world much less even go to a church once. No one would seek God. But God uses his spirit and conscience to tell men that there is a higher calling, a higher ground, and that we all have the free will to choose Him or not.
If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?
1 Peter 4:18
I was also intending to write about my church’s Easter event for the kids on Saturday, but, many times, I remember something and want to write this or that and, in the end, I don’t have time to write my original intentions. Perhaps I’ll write it tomorrow, but I need to write it soon because memory fades and the longer I wait, the more likely that I may have, as I learned in my Psychology class, false memories.