I am convinced that nothing will make Revolution Weekend not one of my favorite weekends of the year: not postponing for two months from our original date, not weather that is unseasonably warm for what is supposed to be spring, not last-minute changes to groups and plans, not loud middle school boys keeping me from sleeping.
Revolution Weekend 2022 included 41 kids, 8 adult leaders, three staff, an incredible guest speaker, ridiculously big games, meaningful conversations in small groups, impactful worship together, a return to beloved traditions, and way more little moments of beauty and connection and love than I can remember.
During one of our small groups, we talked about doubt and cognitive dissonance. We all have doubts: doubts about ourselves, our families, our relationships, our abilities, our God. We all want to seem like we’re 100% sure of who we are, that we have the answers and have our lives figured out, that we know what to do next – but if we’re honest with each other, it sometimes feels like we’re not sure of anything.
We struggle to believe both that we are imperfect and that we are loved, but it’s a lot easier to believe in just our imperfection. We struggle to believe that both things are bad now and that things will get better, but we have pretty good data from the world around us that suggests things are bad. We struggle to believe both that middle school boys will never go to sleep and that eventually they’ll get tired, but that’s rarely been my experience. (I love them, and they do, but it takes a while.)
Holding two competing beliefs or ideas in our heads at once is hard. It’s called cognitive dissonance and happens when you’re trying to hold two competing ideas in your head at once, or when you believe in two completely different things at once. This can look like: “I really care about this friend of mine, but also its best for me to cut them out of my life right now,” or “Things seem like they’re never going to get better, but deep down, I believe they will.”
Our theme this year was Convinced: “I am convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth,” not a pandemic or fear or doubt or anxiety or even ourselves (Romans 8, sort-of). We asked our teenagers and our leaders (and ourselves) to decide – to be convinced – even in the midst of the chaos that surrounds us in our everyday lives, that there is a hope and a truth worth holding on to: that we are seen and known and loved and wanted by a God that is so much bigger than our fears and our doubts and our anxieties and our preconceptions and is so deeply present alongside us in the midst of them.
The truth is that right now things are hard, and the last two years have been hard, and things weren’t exactly easy before that either. So we asked them to pick up another belief, something else they could hold on to – that they were known, that they were loved, that they were forgiven, or that they were enough. Because we can choose, we can be convinced, that those things are true too.
Revolution Weekend is one of my favorite events and it was so good to get to spend this time with a truly incredible group of people. I can’t wait until next year.
Associate Director of Youth Ministries