Blake Henry – Student Life Group Pastor, Mesa
As a student life group pastor, I have the awesome privilege of meeting so many awesome students. One of my former students, Matt Hutsko, just graduated this past year and has now stepped up to become a leader in our Student Ministry. I have become very close with Matt as he is such a good, smart and funny kid that it’s hard not to like him! One night he shared with me some of the most important things he has learned over the last four years, so I challenged him to write about these valuable lessons. Here is what Matt has learned, but I think it can also apply to all of us. Enjoy!
The past four years of my life have been full of highs and lows, trials and tribulations, victories and failures. It went by in the blink of an eye, and it’s always great to reflect on the things that God taught me during that time. I could pick anything I learned from these years and talk about it for hours, but one thing I figured out that is so valuable is to be able to humble myself, become honest and vulnerable, and get real with someone else.
The funny thing about this idea is that I didn’t just “have it” at first. It took a ton of practice before I could do it and actually MEAN what I was doing. Like many teenagers, I was accustomed to useless small talk and not really knowing a person well, including the friends I considered close. I knew how a person was generally doing, but I didn’t know how they were REALLY doing. I didn’t know what they were struggling with, what was going on in their lives, or other significant things about them. It wasn’t until I found a great group of friends at Central that I started to have authentic conversations for the first time, and it was an experience that opened my eyes like never before.
The conversations I began to have with these boys were unreal in their honesty and knowledge. I learned new lessons from each of my friends and more importantly gained another perspective in life. Everyone is fighting a battle in this world; it is our job as believers to seek people and show them love through their battles. I began to share about my life, which took humility to break my walls down and become vulnerable, and it felt surprisingly good to let out things I had been holding back, things that were hurting me, and things I was struggling with. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help or to say you are struggling! Because of these talks, I learned that many of my problems were issues that the other boys were having as well. Talking through them with a sense of authenticity helped me in amazing ways, and I now realized I had a group of people I can come to with anything and they would be down to listen and assist me. They will never judge, only challenge how I am going about a problem and help me better deal with it in a loving way. There are few things greater in life than having a group of friends like this, and over time (after many 3am conversations in a hot garage), I realized that I wanted to be that person to others outside of my group of close friends too.
I learned three things from these real conversations I began having:
- One must love another after they become vulnerable no matter what they put on the table
- One must consistently be there to talk and assist that person in their life, because doing life alone is simply impossible.
- Jesus was the master of real conversations, and I learned that since he is the most authentic person to have walked the Earth, I must follow his ways and become a master of real conversations like Him.
Even though I am in no means perfect with this skill, I am developing every day as I strive to get better at having real talks with as many people as I can, because I know what it did for me. An act of love that is huge is being there for someone when they need to vent and be honest, just like Jesus was for anybody you can name.
My high school years were unforgettable for many ways, and out of all the things I learned to do, having real, important conversations with people is the thing that resonated with me the most. I am beyond thankful that God put people in my life to consistently have these conversations with, and I am excited to start having more incredible talks with new people as I start college at ASU. God calls us to challenge and get real with each other, always out of nothing else but love. It is okay to have fun and enjoy time with other people, but remember to connect on a deeper level.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:8-11
Keep it real.
Matt HutskoClick here for the photo credit on this post