I recently returned from a multi-day high school retreat as the event speaker. There’s nothing quite like having your “A” game fine tuned when preparing to engage with a large number of energetic teens. Several weeks of planning, preparation, and prayer was about to unfold before my very eyes.
On the first day, I looked out into a sea of young engaged eyes hanging onto every word I spoke, at which time I noticed a large number of international students looking on as if present, but not necessarily engaged. The first impression that came to mind was that this is going to be a tough crowd to influence, yet I couldn’t help but be reminded that life has a way of offering opportunities masked as challenges.
Rather than continue on with my plan, I went to the only place where I knew I would gain right perspective: on my knees in prayer. I quickly received peace about communicating my sermons in smaller chunks that would help my teen audience reinforce the importance of loving God, themselves, and their neighbors. My Plan B included appropriate human touch and connection: hugs, smiles, and looking one another in the eyes.
As a result, something transformational happened to these students and faculty during these interactive exercises this week that is difficult to explain. Language, cultural, and social barriers were superseded by hugs, smiles, and a demonstration of the greatest command: Love your neighbor as yourself.
I wonder what life would look like if people took responsibility for being less entitled to dominate others in the world thru hate, and more compassion about genuinely loving God and one another? I choose the latter.
Until next time, Be encouraged.
I speak to hundreds of thousands of young adults, men, women, and couples annually on leadership, decision making, and relationships. Sometimes life has a way of being the antidote to life itself. If you’d like more information on this topic or how to bring me in as a speaker for your next event, please contact me. Thanks to Capistrano Valley Christian School for inviting me to be your 2014 annual retreat speaker and inspiring this story!
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