a unique glimpse into the hearts of students

Last week we took a bunch of students to winter camp.  On Saturday night they an opportunity to identify an area of their life that they wanted to surrender to Jesus.  With that being the basic prompt, here are their un-edited responses:

  • Bringing peace and love to my family, to solve their issues with each other.
  • Life, friendship, moving on, problems, love.
  • I’m willing to surrender to god my refusal to forgive myself for all the sins I’ve done.  if god gave me grace I can forgive myself too.  I’m willing to surrender my personal looks as well.  I am beautiful.
  • Mistreating others.  Not listening.  Ignoring those in pain.
  • I surrender my life plans.  You are in control and have a plan for me that is beyond what I can imagine.
  • I want to surrender the loneliness I feel at home and that I can open up to family.
  • My flaws, insecurities, and future.
  • I have no mess.
  • My performance.  Tomorrow.  My daily life.
  • Everything.
  • I surrender my heart to you.
  • I want to be free from all impieties and have a filling relationship.
  • Anything.
  • I absolutely, positively must show grace to others. Ditch the junk, prioritize, do I really really care about these things.  Make time for Him.
  • Forgive my brother for leaving.
  • My sin.
  • I need help.  please...
  • Control.
  • My anger and hatred for me and everyone around me.
  • My lies.
  • Performance, popularity, personal looks.  my obsession/want of a relationship.
  • I need to completely trust in God to guide me and guard my heart and take my life where its meant to go, I surrender my pride.
  • Relationships with God.
  • Fighting with my mother.
  • Blaming myself for my sister’s death.
  • My own agenda. My heart.
  • Knowing that my mom will always be with me.  She lives on in heaven and in me.
  • God, you know everything, and you know me, and everything I need to surrender is everything in me.
  • Depression.
  • My wants over his. my time reading my bible.  Lord i want you, please come.
  • Willing to surrender: career dreams/ $, OCD, friend troubles, jealousy, compassion, judgement, guilt, everything
  • Masturbation, hungry to be loves by another.
  • I want to surrender my worry of the future.
  • The lies i made from my parents, being honest.
  • Relationship with mom.
  • Wanting someone to love me.
  • Fighting with my sister.
  • Not knowing the future; letting God provide in every aspect of my life.
  • Not a lot of stuff, not asking for everything.
  • Making everything about me.
  • Being perfect, needing to fit in.
  • God I surrender my stress from my brother .  He is going through so much and I need to know an need help knowing that I can’t take on his problems.
  • I surrender...my stubbornness to open my heart.
  • My pain.
  • Time, focus.
  • I’m struggling with actually giving myself to God!  I need God in my chaos.
  • Not putting God first.
  • Time, personal judgement, feat of others’ judgement.
  • I need help letting go of my childhood and my dad.  All I get from it is my pain. I just want peace in me.  i know my dad will never change and i need to cut him and the trouble he brings out of my life.
  • Possessions.
  • John and kelly, Live life for Jesus, Whether or not to have sex with my boyfriend, nicer to parents, hope grandma’s cancer goes away.
  • My time.
  • Possessions.
  • Doubt.
  • Doing good things for the wrong reasons, not to honor you.
  • Lord help me to continue walking on your path, help me to finally open my heart back up to the ones who need my love.
  • I’m willing to surrender my pain/depression and fear of the new adventure that my mom and I are starting.
  • Relationships.
  • My lust and the things I look at for them, not accepting your love or grace.
  • I surrender college and who I am going to marry.
  • God I give you my pride in the ifs you have given me, my sense of entitlement, my what ifs, God I give you my relationship with Daniel.  Capture my heart.
  • Talk, money, pride,fear.
  • God, help me.  help me become someone that i can please.  Help me focus on what I need to focus on.  Dear God save me.
  • Gossip.  Ugh Lord this is so hard.
  • The need to be the best at everything.
  • Not procrastinating.
  • The loneliness that no one sees, and the pain that no one knows.  I lay it at the cross for you to take.
  • Material possessions, take ‘em.
  • Giving up my own control.
  • To surrender some of my possessions.
  • Strength.
  • I don’t need to live up to the expectations that others put on me.
  • My insecurities of who I am.
  • My part in being social to other people.
  • Jesus, I need help.  Lord I’m sorry that i continue to live with this secret shame.  Help me.
  • My alter ego.
  • (boys name) God help me have more grace to show him.  I always take him for granted, but he is a blessing.
  • I need help with getting a good paying career.
  • The pain of not living up to expectations.
  • I surrender myself to you Lord.
  • Surrender my worry.
  • Guys, personal looks, family issues, feelings toward my dad.
  • Lust, selfishness, greed, materialism, alcohol.
  • Personal looks, shame and feeling unworthy, unhappy and worthless.
  • Pride.
  • Selfishness.
  • 4 P’s, wanting to love myself and my body, look for his love everyday, feeling him everyday.
  • Weed.
  • Personal looks, obsession.
  • Personal looks.
  • My stress, my striving for academic perfection.
  • My life, the need to be wanted.
  • Regrets, worries, depression, loneliness.
  • Self-consciousness.
  • Believing statan’s lies has led to cutting.
  • Future.
  • My lack of involvement with youth group.
  • My impure thoughts.
  • Myself, in all the pride, loathing, and disappointment.
  • What others think of me.
  • Depression, Suicidal emotions.
  • Performance: school and crew.
  • Controlling my own life instead of letting him.
  • Possessions.
  • I don’t know, I need help.
  • Clean up my mess Lord: heal my heart.
  • My EDNOS: fears of relapsing.
  • Performance for other people, priorities, patience.
  • Committing to true and real friendships.
  • Acting different around different people not always living for God.
  • My comfort zone.
  • Fear/Worry.
  • Worrying about a job, not trusting God’s financial provisions.  Boy and future with him.
  • Summer, Sean, next year.
  • Selfishness, pride, control, let go.
  • Disrespect.  My family and girlfriend.
  • God I want to surrender to you my full commitment to you.
  • Self image, worry.
  • Performance- academically and in sports.
  • Always being brave, performance, independence.

We sure received a potpourri of responses.  Some  responses are deep and incredibly insightful, and some are missing the point entirely.  Isn't this exactly how it is with student ministry and the variety of students we work we work with.  As we consider how to care for them and their hearts, it is important that we have a true picture of what is going on with them.  We can not project on them a depth that isn't there and we can minimize a wound because it seems small to us.   We have to love them where they are at.  And most of them are at a place where they can identify some place of brokenness and need, and it is in this place where there is a huge ministry opportunity.

It is amazing the depth of emotion and brokenness students feel and feel about such a wide range of issues.  Some of these issues are profound, and rightly deserve our urgent attention.  Some are tiny and seemingly insignificant.  But no matter how big or small the wound seems to us, it is profound to them.  These areas of surrender and brokenness should not be overlooked.  They are in fact the thin places where we can share the good news of God's love, grace, and healing for our students.

Students today have little use for a savior who helps them manage their sin.  Sin makes no sense to them.  But they have a huge need for a savior who will meet them in their brokenness and pain and will gladly accept the surrender of their garbage and exchange it for life.  (I wrote a longer piece on this here.)

May we lavish the healing balm of Christ upon our students, no matter how big or small their wounds may be.