Attending a Summit Ministries Student Conference was an experience I hope that I never forget. The entire session impacted my life in many unexpected ways.
Going to Summit, I expected to be intellectually challenged and wanted to grow in my apologetical reasoning skills.
However, I never anticipated that I would be convicted regarding something so basic in my spiritual walk. I had always associated identity with body image issues, and since that was not something that I struggled with, I rarely gave the idea of identity much thought.
There were certain issues and situations in my life this past year that became rather distressing to my heart. During the first six months of 2019, I became depressed and lost the “free joy” that comes through living fully surrendered and trusting in Christ. I often felt that if I didn’t do the right thing that I was worthless; that I knew better than to struggle emotionally with certain issues and discussion topics. My plan in attending Summit was to shove my feelings of depression aside, focus on the intellectually stimulating material, and not think about all the stressors that were bothering me.
However, God had other plans.
Through some unforeseen travel difficulties, I arrived in Manitou Springs after the orientation session had begun. Once I finally got to my desk in the front of the classroom, I breathed a sigh of relief-I was finally here! I flipped open my student binder and my eyes drifted across the pages until suddenly, these words—“We need to have our identity properly placed in Christ”—jumped off the page and I knew that something important would happen in my life during these next two weeks. Throughout the next week of lectures, the topic of identity, while not usually a central point, kept coming up again and again. My mind couldn’t escape the topic. I tried to figure out what needed to change. What I was thinking incorrectly about? There were also multiple conversations with speakers, staff, and trusted friends that helped me to identify problems and give solutions.
My story isn’t one of a kind. But the love and care that was shown to me while I was at Summit were one of a kind. With the exception of one dear friend, all of the people I met and talked with at Summit were strangers, yet so much grace and wisdom were kindly shared with me without hesitation. I was given truth, and as John 8 says, “The truth shall make you free”. I am thankful for the two weeks that I spent at Summit Ministries and I would encourage high-school and college-aged students to seriously consider making the effort to attend a Student Conference-it will change your life.