Simone Biles' withdrawal from the majority of the Olympics was a shock to everyone at the time. Citing her mental health and what the gymnastics world calls "twisties", she felt that it was best for her own safety to step away for a while. In an interview last week, she claims that she still struggles with her mental health, and her declining mental health is what triggered the "twisties" at seemingly the worst possible time. To this day, Biles claims that she is "still scared to do gymnastics" and avoids incorporating spins and twists into her routine. All of this is to say that mental health isn't something that goes away immediately. With teens increasingly struggling with various mental health issues, keep in mind that it is a long process to get back to a healthy place. Have patience with yourself and others that are walking through mental health struggles.
This past Friday, UK band Lion of Judah released their debut album "Closer". The album features 9 songs as well as an instrumental intro. "Closer" focuses on an intimate relationship with God through raw lyrics based on the artists' own struggles with wanting to live closer and closer with God. The album uses gentle tones with a thread of joy that makes for a reflective listening experience.
To learn more about the relatively new band, check out this six minute documentary, where the band goes through their journey from conception to production to release.
One low prep, elimination game that is great for groups of any size is "Zip Bong". Students first stand in a circle, then one person begins by saying"zip" or "bong". If the person says zip, then the person to their left must immediately respond by saying zip or bong. If the person says bong, then the person to their right must then say zip or bong. This way, the players have to pass who is "it" as quickly as possible without hesitating. If someone hesitates or says zip or bong when it is not their turn they are eliminated and the circle grows smaller. In this way, there will be two winners in the end.
Close your eyes and imagine think about a time that someone has been physically there for you. Maybe it's that person that always gives you massive hugs that are uncomfortably tight or the time when you were leaned on someone's shoulder crying like a little kid. There's a safety in knowing that someone is close, that they're physically there with you. While we can't give God a big hug, we can take encouragement from the fact that he is ALWAYS with us.
Psalm 73:28 - But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.
The Father is always waiting to welcome you with open arms. There are times where we may feel closed off or far from Him, but the Lord is always waiting to welcome you home into His arms. No matter where we are in our journey with Him or in life, there will never be a day the Father does not want you to reach out to Him and rest in His promise of a relationship.