If you attended church youth group in the 1980’s then you probably know of a lock-in. In case you didn’t, a lock-in is similar to a big slumber party but for youth groups.
Multiple youth groups would gather at one location and would be “locked-in” together for a night of games, food, and an attempt at staying up all night long. Sounds like every teenager’s idea of fun, doesn’t it?
When I was in 9th grade I attended my first lock-in. Feeling awkward, I remember standing around the perimeter of an expansive room praying no one would notice me.
I was new to our church youth group and still trying to figure out how to fit in socially which didn’t help my comfort level that night. Nervously, I roamed what seemed like a gigantic space filled with other teens I didn’t know. Eating pizza and attempting to mingle, I did my best to be invisible.
Maybe you’ve been there before. Telling yourself to hang in there and don’t do anything super embarrassing, you hope to make it through the night unscathed. I continued the conversation by convincing myself I would survive the night unharmed and maybe even make a new friend.
As I was attempting to overcome fear with positive self-talk, something wonderful happened. An interesting competition began to unfold.
That night there were silly games, team games, and other games. But the game that mattered most was the final game. It was based on individual competition.
Finally, I was in my element. Pretending to be invisible was over, and I was ready to shine. Competition was part of my upbringing, part of who I was as a person.
I was athletic. Additionally, I was single-minded in the belief that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to do.
It came time for the event, and they called us together. Gathered around the youth leaders, we listened intently to the instructions.
Our competition consisted of us hoping around on one leg in a huge circle. Once you put your other foot down or fell down, you were out. The last person standing on one leg was the winner.
Everyone started off strong, as they always do in a race. Slowly, people started dropping out until only the elite were left. It came down to two competitors, me and a boy I didn’t know. In my mind, it never occurred to me to quit or give up. Never!
Unexpectedly, my leg gave out, and I fell down. I was out. Done. Defeated. Realizing I defeated everyone except one boy gave me little sense of accomplishment.
As I reluctantly decided to exit the circle, my leg was so exhausted and overused that it wouldn’t work. Each time I tried to put my body weight on my leg it would give out on me, and I would fall to the ground. Repeatedly, I attempted to walk on my leg only to fall each time.
What amazes me about this memory is that I was willing to put aside all my previous desires to win this competition. The desire to be invisible was gone. The fear of embarrassment was gone. The want for physical comfort was gone. Sacrificing all of this without a second thought, I was willing to pay any price to win!
Isn’t this the type of focus and drive we are called to have in our walk with Jesus?
I challenge you to think about the same three things in your own personal walk with Jesus.
- The desire to be invisible. Jesus should be such an integral part of our lives that others can’t help but notice. Don’t compartmentalize your faith!
- Fear of embarrassment. My own fears are rooted in insecurity and lies I’ve believed. Take time to reflect on the Truth which is only found in Scripture. Pray and reflect over Truth. Believing lies about myself for decades has taken time to process and heal.
- The want for physical comfort. Push yourself a little outside of your “comfort zone”. The truth is that helping others also helps us keep a proper perspective on our own lives and problems. I’ve always asked God to keep me slightly uncomfortable in this life. I don’t want to get too comfortable here in this world. I want to be reminded that this is only a temporary place and my future is in heaven! Consider that whatever problem or infirmity you have can serve as a reminder that one day you will be free from this physical body and the troubles of this world.
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18
…set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
There is plenty of nonsense that distracts me from the heavenly focus I desperately need.
Meaningless competition for my attention is endless.
The question for each of us is, what is the personal cost we are willing to pay? We’ve heard the question before, but think of it like this:
Are you willing to be a visible, embarrassed and physically uncomfortable Christian?