When I was first approached to teach junior high Sunday school at my church, I thought, “Yes! The Lord is finally going to use me for something big.”
I remembered being in youth groups growing up. I loved all the bonding, games, trips, and spiritual highs. I thought, “How perfect for me! Those kids are going to love me. I am young and cool. I even watch MTV sometimes. We are all going to bond, and I am going to get to share my love for Christ with them. It’s going to be great to give them advice and act as a role model.”
Well, my experience with the junior high kids did not turn out that way. I walked into the Youth House for the first time and froze. I knew what I was supposed to do: go talk to some kids, really get to know them and change their lives with the love of Jesus. What I did was quite the opposite. I said nothing.
As they stared at me, I stood there and smiled, trying my best to look encouraging and loving, but I couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone. I mean, what do I have in common with junior-highers anyway? What could they possibly want to hear from me? What do I have to offer?
All the feelings of anxiety and insecurity from my own junior high years came rushing back. What if they found out all the yucky things about me? Or just thought I was a dork? What if they didn’t want to be my friend? As I struggled with this in my quiet time one morning, God met me. He gave me powerful words from Isaiah.
The passage He gave me reached my deepest, darkest places. The Lord knows about those! He knows I have them. He knows I am not everything I pretend to be. Not only does He know about them, but He comforts me, as well. He is going to make me beautiful, like the garden of the Lord. He will make me joyful, thankful and glad. Oh, I can’t wait!
“The Lord comforts Zion. He comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.”
– Isaiah 51:3 (NIV)
Lord, thank you for Your promises to me in Isaiah. Replace my fears with joy and gladness, thanksgiving and singing! Comfort me when I’m feeling insecure in the areas of . . .”