Helping Youth Rest in Jesus

Hope This Helps (HTH) is a series, where fellow youth workers share resources they’ve found helpful in ministry.  Of course, some things work in some churches and not others.  But, as always, hope this helps.

This summer while spending time with one of my small group girls, we talked about all that had happened during the past semester. She shared that she noticed that when we’re hanging out, I don’t just resort to giving her advice about everything. She asked me why I often listen and ask questions instead. I explained that if all I did were tell her how to handle every situation in her life, she would simply become dependent on me. Then, next year when it was time for her to go to college, she wouldn’t feel as equipped to encounter that new stage of life because I wouldn’t be with her.

One of the things she shared with me was that, over the past several months, through the conversations we’ve had, she has learned how to better figure out what is actually going on inside of her — what she’s really thinking, feeling, processing, etc. I told her that it was so encouraging to hear that because, if you think about it, you’re going to be living with you for the rest of your life. If we don’t know how to search our own hearts, then we won’t be able to recognize our sin, our need, our weakness, our longings, our hopes and so much more. 

A couple of months ago, I came across this fantastic article, written by Sammy Rhodes, a Reformed University Fellowship campus minister at the University of South Carolina. Transition in general, and college in particular, often has a striking ability to reveal our hearts. However, if we have been strangers to our hearts up until a big change, we may mistake revelation for transformation. But, as Rhodes says, college doesn’t change your heart; it simply exposes what is already there. 

Ultimately, what all of our restless hearts need is to find their true rest in Christ. As those who work with students, let’s help them learn how to see their own hearts. And may we show them what it looks like to take whatever they find to Jesus.

Rachel Cohen is the Student Ministries Intern at Orangewood Church, PCA in Maitland, FL. She has a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Covenant College and is currently getting her Master’s in Theological Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL. She plays guitar on the sidewalk for extra spending money and regularly watches ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars (but only so she can better understand the culture of today’s youth…).

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