Tonight, I am tired.
But it’s a good tired.
Yesterday would have been a long day in normal week, having been up since 3:30 a.m. But on top of that, I also slept on the gym floor at school last night.
Last night, we had a lock-in with the seniors as part of their senior seminar going through the Truth Project.
It’s a lot of heavy information – heavy material for adults going through it in weekly sessions. Our kids go through the whole project in one week. Two sessions a day, sometimes three. We blitz them with a ton of weighty, substantial content. Heavy, deep, philosophical issues. It’s intense. We have small group discussions, large group discussions. We push their intellectual limits in a way that forces them to consider their views and beliefs and what they believe to be true.
However, this week wasn’t just about a mental exercise. It was about looking into the face and nature of God and being transformed. Changed.
We didn’t want the whole week to be just an intellectual exercise, though. To make it a little more real, we built in a chance for them to experience God.
After dinner, we transformed the gym into a sanctuary of sorts. Stations were set up all around the room: butcher paper on the walls for them to write their prayers; a big tent in middle for them to ‘rest’ in -‘The Shelter of the Most High’; a cross and post-it notes – nailing their burdens and fears and sins; a First Aid Station – writing their hurts and bruises and symbolically putting a band-aid over it – God can heal. Communion, the Fruit of the Spirit, newspapers strewn on the wall at the Intercession Station. And more.
It’s a simple concept, and some years, I worry that they might think it is silly or juvenile. But for some reason, encountering God in a way that goes beyond the traditional ‘quiet time’ or Bible study – it connects with them. It forces them to go deeper and look at areas of their hearts that might not be on the surface.
Watching all of this unfold somehow managed to cancel out my tiredness and lack of sleep. They got it. They met with God. They connected. This went on for over 2 hours. They were just soaking it in.
As I was cleaning up, I snuck a peak at some of their prayers on the wall. Tears…prayers for their broken families, for the violence in their homes, repentance from sins they’ve been in bondage too, sincere cries to know and love God more, prayers of surrender and abandonment, coming clean about short-comings…
The hearts of our kids turned inside out, right there in ink. In a moment, they became 3-dimensional to me. So much going on in their hearts and lives that I’m clueless about in my interactions with them on a daily basis.
To be honest, I felt a little undone.
I was so impressed with the caliber of these students. This group of kids kept pace the whole week. They were open from the start, right there with us through the whole journey. They were on board with what God was doing, whatever their spiritual temperatures might have been.
By lights out, we had pretty much worn them out – mentally, spiritually, physicallly. And that was a good thing. As their defenses were down, God moved in.
When my head finally hit the pillow last night, I was tired – but it was a good tired. All of us together in the gym, I think we all slept the sleep of peace (and miracle of miracles, they actually did sleep).
Now, did I love the thought of walking around my building the today in yoga pants and a baseball cap, no shower, puffy-eyed while all my colleagues (and students) came in fresh and showered and well-rested? Really.
But what I witnessed last night, tired as a I was, was worth sleeping on the gym floor.
Tonight, it’s my own bed, and after this week, I’m tired. Wiped out, actually. But it’s a good tired.
I’ll sleep good in my own bed tonight, but you know what? Last night, our gym floor was Holy Ground.
I don’t know if you can ask for a better place to sleep than that.