Young Life: my favorite starter pack

Yesterday, as I was scrolling through Twitter, I came across this:

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Before I continue, I must tell you this: I thought it was a little funny. Senseless? Probably. A little rude? Yes . . . but 90% of my twitter feed seems to be a little irrational and judgmental–during football games, during elections, and then about Sunday through Saturday. I am not angry. In fact, I laughed out loud (literally) when I read this. I do not think our friend, Rich Homie Yuan, is stupid. I also do not think he is “brilliant” or “spot on” like so many people who replied to this tweet. Honestly, I chuckled because I used to be Mr. Yuan.

I disliked Young Life for a very long time. I thought it was hypocritical. I thought it was pointless. I thought the people were fake. I sometimes thought it was for the weak or the inferior. I thought wrong.

My friend Megan drug me, literally pulled me, to Young Life for about two years, before I would ever go willingly. She would ask me to hang out, show up in my driveway, and drive me to Young Life. I would be furious. I sat there thinking about the hours of homework I had ahead. I looked around in the room knowing that some of those people were drunk that past Saturday; I thought they were two-faced. I wanted nothing to do with it.

For those that don’t know, Young Life is a Christian ministry for high school students. For those that don’t know, Young Life has greatly impacted my life.

My life radically changed after my junior year in high school at a Young Life camp. Let me be clear: Jesus changed my life. Young Life did not change my life. Young Life could never save me, because Young Life is not God. However, Young Life provides an environment where I could have life change, where I could learn about my Savior, and where I could meet people that so desperately wanted me to know and love God.

Young Life is for everyone. So yes, Young Life is for the broken. And yes, people that go to Young Life will drink, and probably lie to their parents, and maybe occasionally cuss.

Young Life is for everyone, because Jesus is for everyone. Young Life is for the kids that spend their weekends–or weekdays–drunk because Jesus is for them, too. Young Life is for the kids that feel like they don’t fit in, and for the kids that are running the social circles, because Jesus would spend time with both of them. Young Life is for the “good” kids, the “bad” ones, and every shade of gray in between. Young Life is for me, because through Young Life, I could see that Jesus was for me. I saw this through laughter, through being stuffed into a basement with 100 of my closest friends (that were once strangers). I saw this through skits, through being challenged, through college students taking their time to hang out with me.

That’s rare. That’s special. That’s Young Life.

I grew up picking my cuticles at church. I grew up counting down the minutes until I could take off my dress or change out of tights. I didn’t like it and because of that, I thought I didn’t like Jesus. The church and Young Life are not perfect, and I do not think they ever will be. However, the church and Young Life strive to serve and share about a perfect God.

Mr. Yuan, several years ago, I would have been with the 20,000 people that favorited your tweet. If I was bold enough, I would have been with the other 7,900 people that retweeted it. However, I am not. I am going to keep scrolling because Young Life started the best relationship of my life, between my father and I. If Young Life is some sort of starter pack, I am glad because I do not know where I would be without knowing life’s ultimate freedom.

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  1. Pingback: Doubt, Fear, and Insecurity | Erica Boden

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