09 Jan Workshop: MOUNTAINS
Now, before we do the workshop, here is a very important topic that we will all have come across, battled with and is going to face it throughout our lifetime. This is the topic on n “Mountains”, not literally but figuratively. Mountains are bigger than hills, definitely majestic to see but also seems unshakeable, intimidating and well, its composition is hard. We all face different kinds of mountains that takes different forms in our lives. For Teacher Miki, my mountain could be in the form of worry. Worrying for my children, their future, whether they will be close to God, whether they will be good people. So today, we are going to talk about your mountains in life.Here are some examples of mountains you may face as youths, correct me if I miss out any possible ones. Examples: Friends, Stress, Studies, Addictions, Low Self Esteem, Peer Pressure, Expectation from parents, Sibling Rivalry. Honestly speaking, I think that the Youth phase is definitely one of the most mountainous part of a person’s life, other than marriage and parenthood. And the truth is, school life and teenage hood can be very cruel. Like those American movie scenes, it may be exaggerated but not too different. If you are in the “in” group or have a good group of friends and support, then good for you. But if you don’t have that or you fall short of people’s expectations and start to have differences, then things can start to get very exhausting physically and emotionally.
So how? How do you face these mountains the right way and gradually overcome them one by one?
Know the reason for the mountains
- It would be pointless for God to just remove mountains in your lives because new ones will appear and you would totally still be vulnerable to it.
- Remember that God is like a father: Give a child a fish and he gets a fish, but teach a child how to fish and he can get as many as he wants himself. Same thing, God wants us to go through the training in life by hiking up and over the mountains of life so that we grow in trust towards Him, perseverance in our spirits and build our stamina against other mountains we may meet.
- Get more and more resilient towards the attacks in your spirit and your emotions will not be so easily going up and down. You get more stable and steady in your heart.
- A refining or training process. I love this quote from one of my favourite series “Stranger Things”. At the ending scene, it shows one of the characters, Jim Hopper, reading a letter to his daughter Eleven. And he said: “When life hurts you, because it will, remember the hurt. The hurt is good. It means you’re out of that cave.” So youths, the struggle we have is needed. It means we are stepping out of our caves and growing. But do not just remain in knowing the hurt. See that is God’s way to help you rely on Him further, and experience His help especially when you are helpless. Turn to Him.
Recall the mountains you have overcome before: Basically means, count your blessings.
- Recall all the times you have had problems and weaknesses and how God pulled you through by His grace and mercy.
- Testimony: Out of toxic friendships, Reconciliation with my sister, Once broken family and my new blessed family now
- So surely, there are reasons to give you hope and strength by remembering what God has done.
- That is the same faithful God that will do the same for you now!
Have a hiking team with you!
- This means to have a blessed community to come back to week after week. We struggle with our mountains daily, but with good support, the hike is less strenuous.
- What we are doing now is great, we are building support with our spiritual friends in youth group, I see some of you guys hanging out together, texting each other and sharing verses on social media to remind each other.
- But also, let me remind you guys that as much as we are very comfortable with our existing hiking team, we must know that God also has other struggling hikers joining the climb on the mountain, so be sure to include them into the team and help each other out.
- God has planned for us to join this hike journey together, in the same school or same church, so let’s not let our peers fall behind but help pick each other up in faith.
Your identity is NOT tied to how good you are at your hike
- Some hikers are faster and some are slower. Some are more skilled, while some are always stumbling. In school, in church, with our siblings, we are all different. Some may seem better than us, smarter, more good-looking, better at sports, gifted in music.
- But remember, our identity with God is NOT TIED TO what we can or cannot do. Our identity is simply tied to how much He loves and sees us.
- Whatever our abilities are, they can differ greatly, but it will never differ the weight of His love for us.
- Remember this: Remaining in feelings of frustration, envy or jealousy is the lowest form of response you can give to your mountains. Response with assurance of God’s love and the willing heart to overcome it with His help. Keep on moving up in your hike, regardless of your pace and skills. The point is you are still moving.
Always put this phrase in your heart when things get lousy “God is at work for me”.
- God always has a plan at work for His children. And what purpose is that? “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” That is in Jeremiah 29:11, very common verse. Whatever ways God can use to give prosper us, give us hope and prepare us for our future, God has a plan for you.
- But honestly, sometimes, we do not know what it is yet, or we do not think much about it, but God is always at work. Like when I was in my rebellious stage, hanging out with different cliques of people and seeing my results drop. It all does not seem to mean anything back then, other than making me feel I am loser-ish. But now when I look back, it does.
- It helps me to have more love for people in the same situation, it helps me to be able to talk to different kinds of people in church and it helps me to give testimony for those who are struggling with studies.
- It always serves a purpose whether you realise it or not now. But when we do not know what it is yet, our best response is to trust and keep God near to our hearts so as not to be led astray easily by distractions of the world.
So as we are on the topic of mountains and overcoming them rightly, we are going to do a craft today, a paper landscape collage of mountains. As this piece suggests, our mountains come in different shapes and forms with different patterns, but let it always remind us that whatever hurdles and obstacles we are facing, we are still embraced in the circle of God’s love, power and help.