As much as I loved the warm weather, being on the beach, in the sun, and celebrating the end of the semester, it was the people at Summer Conference that made the experience so memorable for me. I am so fortunate to be a part of Rhodes RUF, surrounded by wonderful interns and staff, and with students who want to have fun and encourage each other to pursue the Lord.
As much joy as I have in relationships, they can be hard on us sometimes. Maybe it’s your parents, who you looked up to but you feel like you can’t anymore, or a sibling you are distant with. Maybe it is someone you care about that isn’t in your life anymore, or a relationship where you don’t know what to do to make things better…
I attended Rev. Andrew Goyzueta’s seminar “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” to understand God’s answer to why sometimes, the things that are supposed to be amazing– relationships— can also hurt so much at the same time. Andrew’s answer to that question: sin bars us from having true, deep friendship… but God’s grace gives us the tools to pursue renewal, restoration, and reconciliation with each other.
One tool Andrew talked about was “giving the gift of going second” which means being vulnerable and taking the time to listen to people. first. Andrew quickly modeled that, and after the seminar ended, I got the opportunity to talk with him and share my own story. After I shared, he shared his own similar story and took the time to walk and pray with me. RUF creates great listeners and the Rhodes RUF staff and interns are constant reminders of that as well. In my time at RUF, I have learned so much simply by watching how they listen to people.
Through my experience at SuCo (and from being at RUF Rhodes) I saw what being a good listener can look like and I realized that I have some work to do! I’ve been inspired to become better at listening– God often speaks to us through others AND there is no experience like feeling truly listened to. I am excited to give people that experience moving forward and see how God will work through all my relationships.