Spending a week or so out of the country can change your perspectives. Seeing hundreds of mothers and babies who are sick and desperate and have very little worries except how to stay fed and stay alive makes the things that we tend to worry about sort of dim.
It also makes feel like there are things that really need to be worried about and there are things that can just be ignored. When you spend a week with people who have fungus growing on their heads because they can’t access basic sanitation it sort of puts the whole “she was talking about me behind my back” thing into perspective.
So it has been hard to get back into the mindset of a youth pastor. As a youth pastor those things, those petty insignificant things have to matter because they matter to the people that I am ministering to. Everything in me wants to just smack a kid or two upside the head and say, “WAKE UP! Don’t you see what an amazing life you have and not because of what you have done but because you were born here instead of pretty much anywhere else in the world!”
But that won’t cause any real change. Guilt is not a very good motivator. It will change actions for a season, but it rarely changes the heart.
So I have been slowly getting my mind back to the place where the petty, the small, the insignificant is major, and big, and real. While in the global scheme of things it doesn’t really matter if that girl that you like talked to you or not, in the scheme of their life it is as important as finding food. So I smile and give advice and listen and offer to pray and try to remember that this is real, this is life for this teenager.
And so I pray for them, and as I pray I ask for God to help what is hurting them, and also for God to give them the opportunity to see maybe even just once, the amazing gifts that they have. I pray that God will give them perspective, because perspective is something that most people live a lifetime before they obtain.
To be honest, perspective is something I pray about for myself too.