Why do people see me differently?
Will I overcome social anxiety ever?
Why is my grandmother mean to me?
When will I see my dad?
God, why did my friends start making fun of me?
These are five of the hundreds of questions our middle school students wrote in response to the message at the weekly chapel service recently.
One thing I have noticed is how much information we give to students on a regular basis. And I also observed how little opportunity they have to process that information. This happens in academic classrooms, but it’s also true in the weekly chapel service which I lead at a Christian school. So, I became burdened that we needed to change that and make space for our students to process what they were feeling and learning.
Recently my friend Erin and I co-taught a lesson on how it’s ok to ask hard questions of God. We gave the students a few minutes to journal questions to God they might have regarding their own insecurity, confusion about their faith, or pain/loneliness. Then, we asked them to quietly move around the room and write these questions on poster paper.
The results were astounding. Deep, heartfelt hurt, confusion, and pain was expressed to the Lord, much like we see from people like Moses, Nicodemus, John the Baptist, and even Jesus. Students were honest with God about their own lives, insecurities, and future—possibly for the first time.
As I grow as a leader, I want to to be cautious at how much information I give without making space and time for processing that information. If Jesus asked God a question when he was in pain, how much more do I need to make sure that students dealing with broken homes, fractured friendships, and insecurities about their future have this space to do the same? God welcomes our questions and responds kindly to our confusion.
I pray I can be part of raising a generation where we aren’t just giving information about God and the Bible, but allowing them to bring it into their hearts and minds—and letting God do the transformative work only He can do!