Both pain and pleasure elicit an emotional response from each of us. For some people we cry out or shed tears when in pain or we laugh and smile in response to pleasure. But with both, we as humans, respond with a deep emotion.
Feelings and emotions often drive the life, purpose, and passions of a college students. If they really like something – they are all in! If they loathe someone – they avoid all interaction and reminders of the person. In a world of the perfect-social-media-life, video games that promote war and murder, and instant gratification our students are used to feeling and feeling deeply.
So what happens when they don’t feel or can’t release the emotion inside? What happens when the emotions become overwhelming and they simply need a way out? What happens is that they create an escape through healthy and unhealthy means.
Recently we asked college students who are engaged in the local church and/or a campus ministry to give us feedback on their spiritual growth. One of the responses caught me off guard… the highest ranked issues they deal with on a regular basis are cutting and pornography.
Let’s be honest, I expected pornography to be at the top of list but I didn’t anticipate cutting to be the highest. The correlation that dawned on me is that both bring extreme emotions – emotional response and a physical release.
In a world of extreme emotions our students are looking for ways to feel and to escape.
This begs the questions – Are we as college ministers prepared for these conversations? Are we ready to speak truth and grace? Have we dealt with our own emotions in a healthy way so we can in return help our students?
I wish I had more answers to walking with a student through cutting but I don’t right now. This topic is has risen to the top of my reading and research list. I’ll let you know what I find!