I went to Florida State Youth Convention over the weekend. I think it was just what I needed after all the thinking that I have been doing. The services were really good, mostly because of the worship. The sermons weren't very deep, but they had a really good message in them. Unplug was the theme of the convention, which was basically about taking the time to unplug from everything around us like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, our phones, our computers and just sit in the presence of God and listen. Give our full attention to what God has to say. It reminded me of last years conference in Ohio. The theme was Pause and was about pressing pause on the things around us so that we could actually hear what God had to say. Anyway, I was at my Warner table in the convention center and all weekend I met some cool people including Katie who is an admissions counselor from Anderson University. Her booth was right next to mine. We went to Popeye's together and had some good conversation. By far one of the coolest people I met all weekend was a guy named Bill, but he goes by Gator. He is a crazy Gator's fan and is funny as all get out. When he wore his camouflage ball cap, he looked like Larry the Cable guy. He is an ex-Marine and definitely looked like it. I took this picture with him.
|Me N' Gator|
Gator is one of those people that reminds me about how awesome people can be. God has created the entire human race, all people that have been, are, and will be, and none of them are the same. We all have gone through different situations and have changed from the experiences we have. People have such deep personalities and I believe that God created us this way so that we would intentionally have to take the time to get to know one another. Christianity is a relationship. It's a relationship with Jesus, as well as with the people of the world. We weren't created this way to be alone… we were created to be with people. God wants to be known by us, we want to be known by others, so why wouldn't others want to be known as well???
On Saturday evening, I needed to head to my booth so I could set up a little bit before the main evening service began so I was walking down the long hall of the convention center to get to my table at the other end. The convention center hallways were completely filled with hundreds of kids bouncing off the walls from lack of sleep or too much sugar... I don't even know... There were also the older teenagers in little tight groups talking to each other along the walls or in the sitting areas, but the ones that I paid attention to were the group of girls (freshman I think) that were walking a little bit behind me, probably to get in line by the doors for when they opened. Anyway, what I heard was incredibly disturbing and really was a slap in the face telling me to wake up to what was around me. They were talking about school and then one girl said something like "Well, I know I am ugly so it doesn't matter." I literally stopped in my tracks and turned around and they all almost tripped on me because I stopped so fast. I looked at the girl who had said it and my jaw dropped to the floor. She was so pretty!! Beautiful blond hair to her shoulders, bright blue eyes, long lashes, gorgeous mouth and smile. I was like, "Please tell me you are kidding." And she kinda looked at me and said "No I'm not kidding. I'm ugly and I don't like myself." I said, "You definitely are not ugly and what do you not like?" She then gestured toward her stomach. I said, "Girl, you can work on that! It's not permanent!" She said, "Yeah I'm on a diet. It's the one with the shakes." I then told her that it might work while she was on it, but as soon as she started eating food again, she would gain the weight right back, so instead of doing the shakes, she should try something like Weight Watchers where you don't not eat certain foods, you just eat a lot less. That's where you drop the weight. Another girl popped up and said, "Yeah I know I'm not really pretty either, but I know this is how God made me so yeah." DANG!! These girls needed some serious ministry. It made me so sad to think that these two beautiful girls thought they were ugly just because they had a little extra weight.
This was another God moment for me. (I've been having a lot of them....) I feel like God was grabbing me and shaking me and saying, "See all these people?? There is more going on in the world besides you and your problems. Be aware of them. Be someone who deals with them." I've always loved people. I love watching people, I love talking to people, and I love learning about all the different kinds of people and cultures in the world. We really are God's greatest and most intricate creation. We were, after all, the peak of creation. Don't ever look down on someone because they aren't your idea of pretty, or pleasant, or pleasing. God created them. He made them unique. He knew them in their mother's womb, just as He did you. Loving your neighbor as yourself really is incredibly important in the role of a Christian. If you really are gonna strive to be as Jesus, you are gonna have to eat with the tax collectors, the weak, the poor, and the dirty. It's a seems like a tough job, but if we love Christ as we should, we will be able to do it, and maybe even enjoy it. So I've decided that instead of being just a people watcher, I'm gonna be a people lover. Maybe you should too.