My Heart Beats Only for Them: My kind of love…

So since my last blog explaining my next steps I have finished up with uni, completed a manically busy final 4 weeks at Bridgebuilder and officially left the job I have loved for the last 3 years (a blog with some reflections of the whole three year experience will be up soon, can you tell I am already bored?!) But today’s blog is a little bit more about my next steps, job-wise, ministry-wise, life-wise.

Its been about two months since my plans for next year became certain, so I’ve had a little while to reflect. If you had asked me, back in September 2009 when I started at Bridgebuilder and CYM, what I thought I’d be doing once I graduated I would have said that I’d be moving to somewhere by the sea, working in a very groovy largish church, living in a beach hut/camper van with my professional Christian surfer husband. Now call me naïve, but a girl can dream, plan and aim high. Instead, come May 2012, I announce that I am moving to rural Buckinghamshire, teaching in a private convent school, living in a room in said school with a load of girls and some nuns and with no husband to be seen for miles around. The best laid plans, huh?!

Aside from the whole, not living by the sea with a lovely man thing, this teaching malarkey also feels a little bit like something I didn’t quite sign up for. All my experience, work and training for the last 5 years has been building me up to youth work. I am a professional youth worker (a first class professional youth workers no less! Wink wink) when I signed up to a degree in youth work I didn’t  ever want to be someone who said “Oh yeah, I trained in youth work…but now I do…something else.”. All this culminated a week after I’d accepted my new job and  I had all but convinced myself that I was a disgrace to the name of youth worker for going over to the dark side. A youth worker not doing youth work; to be frank, as amazing as my new job promised to be, I was disappointed in myself.

I continued to feel like this until a couple of weeks ago and then something happened, well a few things happened. I reflected on a very amazing song, I had a very good discussion with a friend and the big man slapped me round the head.

The song that I reflected on was “My Kind of Love” by Emeli Sande (If you haven’t heard it then you should!), which is just one of the phenomenal songs by this very talented lady. The lyrics are:

I can’t buy your love, don’t even wanna try.

Sometimes the truth won’t make you happy, so I’m not gonna lie.

But don’t ever question if my heart beats only for you, it beats only for you.

 

I know i’m far from perfect, nothin’ like your entourage

I can’t grant you any wishes, I won’t promise you the stars.

But don’t ever question if my heart beats only for you, it beats only for you.

 

Cause when you’ve given up.

When no matter what you do it’s never good enough.

When you never thought that it could ever get this tough,

Thats when you feel my kind of love.

 

And when you’re crying out.

When you fall and then can’t pick, you’re heavy on the ground

When the friends you thought you had haven’t stuck around.

That’s when you feel my kind of love.

 

You won’t see me at the parties, I guess I’m just no fun.

I won’t be turning up the radio singing “Baby You’re The One”.

But don’t ever question if my heart beats only for you, it beats only for you.

 

I know sometimes I get angry, and I say what i don’t mean.

I know I keep my heart protected, far away from my sleeve.

But don’t ever question if my heart beats only for you, it beats only for you.

 

Cause when you’ve given up.

When no matter what you do it’s never good enough.

When you never thought that it could ever get this tough,

Thats when you feel my kind of love.

 

And when you’re crying out.

When you fall and then can’t pick, you’re heavy on the ground

When the friends you thought you had haven’t stuck around.

That’s when you feel my kind of love.

 

Cause when you’ve given up.

When no matter what you do it’s never good enough.

When you never thought that it could ever get this tough,

Thats when you feel my kind of love.

 

Pretty powerful stuff, huh?! The first time I heard this song it connected with something very deep within me, I wasn’t sure what the deep thing was at first but kept listening to it, and a couple of weeks ago I realised what it had connected with. I realised that Emeli Sande was kinda summing up my feelings about my vocation and calling in youth work, and basically expressing what I wish I could say to so many of the young people I come into contact with. Let me explain…

As a youth worker, I don’t want to be young peoples’ friend, I don’t want to buy their love and appreciation and hope that I never try to. I’m not a perfect person and can’t offer them everything that they ever wanted. I’m not always going to the happy, funny, laughy, jokey youth worker and be the life and soul of it all, if someone needs to be challenged or disciplined then I’m not scared to do it, and be hated for doing so. BUT, but but but, I don’t want a young person to EVER have to question whether I love them and am completely for them. And when the chips are down, when things fall apart, when their friends leave, when life is hurting them THAT is when I hope they understand the kind of love I have for them. My heart is for young people, always will be, my heart beats only for them. So perhaps, right now, I’m not doing a job I ever envisioned myself doing, and I can berate myself for not being a “real” youth worker. But I can say, without doubt, that for this year my heart will beat only for the young people whom I am teaching, and I pray they will never have to question my love for them.

These reflections in mind, I had a conversation with a friend at the weekend about life and the universe (the kind of conversations you have in the pub after church) and got on to the topic of why I’m in youth work. I think I told her that on a daily basis I freak out that I am responsible for the care and spiritual development of young people, and she asked what made me carry on then. I told her, honestly, that working with young people was all that made sense, the only thing I could see myself getting out of bed to do in any long term capacity; and while I constantly feel like I’m wandering around buggering things up, I try my best and leave the rest to the big man.

It was while driving home after this conversation that God wholloped me round the head (in a very loving and gentle way). It was almost like God was sat in the passenger seat waving his arms and saying, “You say that working with young people is all that makes sense and all you want to do, but then have a go at yourself about doing a job where you get to teach and care for them every day!”. I definitely didn’t have any form of rebuttal, God had stumped me. I had so pinned my hopes on the “perfect” job  that nothing else, regardless of what it was, seemed good enough apparently. It was time for a reality check…

So I’m not living by the sea. That will come. So I’m not doing what one would call pure “youth work”. I do, however, get to work with young people on a daily basis and that should be all that matters. And I’m probably not going to find a lovely husband while living in a convent for a year. Oh, well we can’t have everything!

What is important, and is the nub of this very long blog, are my pledges to God, myself and the young people I will come in to contact with over the next year. I promise to try my hardest and do my best for you; but when I fail, which is ok, I will let God do the rest. And I promise, I promise, that the you will never have to question my love, because my heavenly father and I know who my heart beats only for; and that is the best and only thing I can offer.

Lex xx

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One thought on “My Heart Beats Only for Them: My kind of love…

  1. becky

    Thanks for the thoughts, lovely read, Ta x

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