My adventure to Generation Unleashed in Portland, Oregon this weekend was just that: an adventure. I took promises with me on the way there, and I took even more back home.
At first it was hard. I wasn’t feeling what everyone else seemed to, which is normal for me, but this time I was just sick of it. I was furious and didn’t want advice or encouragement– I wanted CHANGE. In the midst of my rage, Jesus was beating my heart fiercely to go ask my youth pastor to pray for me. I obeyed, and AJ was so compassionate and gracious even though I was sour and angry; he spoke into my heart (although at the time I wasn’t hearing any of it) and did indeed pray for me. He showed me Jesus’ love even when I wasn’t receptive. A stranger did the same thing during worship, a beautiful girl my age who simply had me on her heart and asked if she could pray for me. Jesus was reaching out to my coldness right from the start, before I even realized it.
Worship was a mountain to climb. I realized how easy it is for me to forget that worship is about who He is, NOT how I feel. I had to re-learn how to really worship Him. My intention going into worship should not be to find comfort or be healed, but to thank Him for all I have and express how blown away I am by who He is. It’s not for me, it’s for Him. I took this note during Pastor Matt Bushard’s message:
He doesn’t just make you feel better– He changes your whole life. Comfort isn’t the point. The point is being MADE NEW, moving forward.
That was so powerful to me, cut right through me. I’ve been seeking comfort, not true change. In my darkest hours, when I’m begging Jesus to save me, I wake up feeling a little better and count that as healing. It isn’t! It’s comfort. Comfort is insanely good; Jesus wants to comfort me, and He does, but that isn’t His main concern. He doesn’t want to simply make me feel better and smooth over my problems. He wants to work a deep change in me and my situation. And that’s what I’ve really wanted all this time! He has been comforting me my whole life, but rarely do I let Him change me. I’ve focused too much on the message, not the Man, and therefore I have been unsatisfied, because only He satisfies. Change is what I need, and now I’m ready to let Him work in me.
I’ve been in this place of unfeeling and confusion for over two years, never sure what to think about it. So many have told me that this is the desert, but I wondered if this was just the way I was wired, a curse I had to live with. On Saturday, February 2nd, 2013, I received a promise, as well as the fulfillment of another. At first I thought I’d had a bittersweet weekend. I enjoyed being at the conference, everything about it, but I wished I’d been touched. I walked away with great notes and songs, but no healing like I wanted. Later in the day, I’d stewed over a few things: I think Jesus promised me that this is not my curse. I will be redeemed from this someday. I’m not eternally stuck where I am; He will save me and there is currently a purpose behind the pain. Pastor Dylan Jones had a sermon all about it that morning. I answered the altar call without hesitation. We kneeled at the front and Dylan prayed over us. As that was happening, I heard a girl crying; I looked and she was right next to me. I shifted until I was next to her and just put my hand on her shoulder-blade. It was strangely comforting to see so many of us, all in a storm, all seeking Him. I’m beginning to see how far I’ve come in this place; I’m remembering everything and seeing Him there now. I read the promises He gave me back then and how they’re all coming to pass. He is good; He has been loving me all this time. I need to remember all of this. Do you remember my Polar Express symbolism/promise a few weeks ago? You’ll never guess: it was true. I’m “rainboot boy”, and I received assurance that I’ll be okay AND the gift of not being alone. I’ll explain the 2nd part a little further: firstly, the altar call. Secondly, the day before this one on the trip, my youth group went to the mall for a few hours. I didn’t have a desire to shop and wasn’t connecting with anybody, so I sat at a table with a youth leader, Judy, and we both read and wrote. During that time I just had a deep desire to call my best friend, Sierra. I did, and left a voicemail. When I got home, I heard she’d called back, so I called HER back– and we talked for over half an hour, just sharing and encouraging and praying. She identified with many things I said and gave me such comfort. I was flabbergasted! I had kind and fun friends in my youth group, but none understood or went as deep with me as Sierra did.
Generation Unleashed was life-changer, as always. Thank you, Jesus. All your promises are sure.