I have tremendous hope for tomorrow. My hope lies in the power and faithfulness of God, the indestructibility of truth, and the youth I witnessed at SEEK 2019.
A year ago, Walking with Purpose hosted a booth at the FOCUS Student Leadership Summit (SLS 18). This was a high energy gathering of 9,000 young adult, Catholic leaders. I had the privilege of giving the closing keynote and we sold thousands of our new young adult Bible studies. We were scattering seeds and praying that they would take root. Our greatest desire was to pass on a passion for God's Word to the next generation.
January 3-7, Walking with Purpose hosted another booth at a national FOCUS event, this time at SEEK 2019. SEEK drew 18,000 Catholic college students to Indianapolis, IN, and we were excited to launch our newest young adult Bible studies series- Harmony, Perspective and Exhale. We experienced hundreds of conversations with young women who were back for more, because the seeds that were planted a year ago had taken firm root. These young women had been delving into our Bible studies, using them for personal growth and also leading small groups of other students all over the country.
The Holy Spirit is on the move on our college campuses. I know that depressing statistics abound, telling us that this next generation is walking away from the Church. And I don't deny that many are. But what I witnessed at SEEK was thousands of young people determined to chart a path to holiness, service, and intimacy with Jesus. I have never been more inspired and encouraged in ministry. What a mountaintop experience.
While having incredible heart-to-heart conversations with young people was the highlight of my week, it was also an enormous joy to give a talk titled “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts.” I shared that after the decision regarding whether or not to follow Christ, the next most important decision we will ever make is who we marry. I challenged everyone to start thinking about their future marriages with their eyes wide open, and to pay attention to the ways in which our culture has lied to them about marriage.
We explored the following five lies and debunked them with truth:
~Getting Married will fix what's broken in my heart.
~It doesn't matter if he/she shares my faith if he/she is a good person.
~My porn use won't damage my marriage.
~Tinder and other dating apps are a good way to find a life-partner.
~Living together before getting married is a good way to see how compatible you are.
The lies make sense, but each one represents a pitfall that moves people farther away from a successful, happy marriage. It's my prayer that the openness I saw in the students is an indicator that they will grasp hold of truth and stay on the path to good and healthy future marriages.
As I came to the end of my talk, I acknowledged how hard it is to navigate the current “dating world”. But my belief in the strength and conviction within these students gives me great hope that they are going to make great choices, some better than the ones those of us in our generation have made.
What do I see within them?
I see an inner-strength, power, and desire to have a healthy, good life.
In a world that longs for comfort and often settles for superficiality, I see their hunger for truth, justice and holiness. It sets them apart.
I wish that their desire to grow closer to God meant that the enemy would just give up and leave them alone. But I know that nothing scares him more than young men and women who know their true identity as beloved children of God, and he is terrified of the ones who take their faith seriously. The more committed to God they get, the more the enemy will tempt them to settle for mediocrity.
Because of that reality…
I pray that we all would exhale any sense of powerlessness- the feeling that nothing will ever change. May we inhale the spirit of hope.
May we exhale any sense of complacency that wants to settle where it's comfortable. I pray we would inhale passion for holiness and a willingness to take risks and pursue greatness.
May we exhale any religiosity which might tempt us to equate outward religious appearance with inward conversion. May we inhale God's grace.
I pray most of all that God would have our hearts- that most precious part within. May He meet us in that hidden place, bringing balance, rest, and peace.
With you on the journey,
Watch Lisa's talk at SEEK 2019 and share it with a young adult!