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Young people need a kingdom journey

  A Southwest Airlines commercial shows a woman in an embarrassing predicament and asks the question, “Want to get away?” Ask most young people that question and the answer you’re likely to hear is “Yes, how soon can I go?” Life isn’t working as well as they imagine it should and they need …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
A Southwest Airlines commercial shows a woman in an embarrassing predicament and asks the question, “Want to get away?” Ask most young people that question and the answer you’re likely to hear is “Yes, how soon can I go?” Life isn’t working as well as they imagine it should and they need an escape hatch – a journey elsewhere.
Take Veronica for instance. She spends more time crafting her Facebook profile than she does communicating with her parents. We, the curious public, see her likes and dislikes, her musical interests, her friends, her job – but behind all of that Veronica is scared to death to share anything of real importance. She’s insecure – ashamed of the abuse in her past. She developed an eating disorder along the way. She wonders if anyone really cares about her.
But on Facebook, all we see is her smile, a kind of emotional cosmetic that masks her inner angst.  Like so many of us, Veronica clings to a version of herself that is just a false self.
After college, Veronica finds herself dissatisfied.  Should we be surprised? She’s like so many of us, ducking and hiding from the hard work of contemplation and self-discovery.

Many of us start building that false self early in life. We can’t help but compare ourselves to our peers. Inevitably they are smarter, prettier and more popular than we are. We suffer with the comparison. And well-meaning adults add fuel to the fire with questions like,  “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

How should we know? We don’t even know who we are!  

This sets off a series of experiments in identity. If you’re not smart enough for approval based on academics, you may turn to sports. If you aren’t athletic enough for sports, then perhaps you can pour yourself into a special interest or hobby. And failing that, you can always go find acceptance in the alternative crowd. The grunge crowd, the BMX crowd, the dungeons & dragon crowd – anywhere where you don’t feel judged.

Add to this any kind of chaos on the home front – emotional or physical abuse, divorce, financial pressure, and the primary thing young people feel is unsafe. Not safe at home, not at school, not in church.
As a young person, you yearn to get away from these toxic environments – you sense you need a journey. You long to get away from the stuff that has contributed to the construction of your false self. Perhaps you realize that most of it has little to do with who you are anyway.
As a young person, I felt this – I needed to go on a pilgrimage of some sort to escape my straitjacket self. And maybe you need one too – a discovery process, a chance to see who God made you to be. You were not made to swim in life’s shallows – you deserve the opportunity to learn about yourself, about the world, and about your God. A kingdom journey (here’s an example) is the vehicle to do this.

Comments (4)

  • I really pray that my own kids and the young people I work with will feel safe to go on that pilgramage God has for them. I so desire for them to embark on that sweet journey you are talking about here in your blog post. But what if the institution of the “church” is hindering them and the young people kind of see it, but feel a loyalty to the “church” so stay in it? I see that happening to one of my own kids, so am just praying right now for God to be great in their lives over everything else. It seems like the church with its rules, regulations, worldly cliques, etc. sometimes keeps our kids from the kingdom journey you are describing here. I am struggling with this, but will pray that God helps them overcome the hindrances caused by prideful leaders working in the church, mean-spirited young people, and man-made rules and ideas.

  • I thought about the youth of our church and saw many if not most of them described here. But then, I also saw hope. We conduct weekly “Workshops in supernatural ministry” each week in which we take folks out on treasure hunts, do prophetic training and basically learn how to pray and minister to people the way Jesus did. Out of our 15 or so regular youth who attend our Youth Group, we have 4 who come regularly to our workshops. These same youth gather around others who are hurting to pray for them.

    How I wish it were all 15 youth, but I take joy in the fact that 4 or 5 of them “get it.”

  • @Wendy, I struggle with the same things. I am just getting free from the various bondages taught to me over the decades from the institution. Is this really what I want to burden my children with? I know that I would love all of them to have an experience of missions (and will push them all of them to experience that through AIM), but I’ve been getting the conviction that raising them up in the Lord is my (my wife & my) primary responsibility. We have abdicated that role to youth pastors and missions trip leaders too long. I have a special needs son who is now being home schooled because the public school couldn’t meet his needs. I’m starting to feel that I need to “home school” my children in the Lord too. Do I remove them from the institution too or do I hope they infiltrate it? God knows.

  • Good afternoon Seth:

    Want to say to the youth & the adults that the Bible is the Inherent Word Of God. God does want us to assemble in a church or something very similar to a church even if it’s a cave where the 1st Christians met. The Bible says “Do not foresake the assembly (fellowship) of the brethren.

    Jesus says if the righteous are with the righteous what good is that. Even the sinners do that. Can most of you people understand. He wants us to lead the sinners to the Lord. Some of these people that are going to these many churches you may never see but in church. I find that to be true all of my life. I also found it true that I would see people just in school & work only. Nice places to bring people to the Lord, also.

    I love this verse from a song: I’d like to live on a mountain top but have to come down to the people in the valley below. It’s to witness.

    The following are questions that I do ask. In church where are the alter calls for people to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord & Savior? Why can’t Jesus be preached for about at the most very least 20 minutes or more in a sermon? Why not preach more on the New Testament? Who makes these decisions? Can things get better? I hope & pray so. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    A song I’d like to leave with you is: Lift Jesus Higher, Lift Jesus Higher, Lift Him up for the world to see, He said if I be lifted up from the earth I will draw all men unto me. Sing it Christian Family 🙂

    God Bless you & Peace Of The Lord be with you all, Amen. I will pray for you & your Family Seth. 🙂

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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