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Asking for Milk | Lauren Dencker: Why Ignite?

When you give a mouse a cookie, it will ask for milk. 

The same goes for me.

Throughout this year, I have grown in ways I never imagined. I learned that I’m capable of speaking in front of large crowds and holding their attention with each word. To know that I can stand confidently and speak from the heart, allowing myself to be moved by the Holy Spirit, is a new gift I never would have accepted before.

Yet this is my reality: I have the privilege to love others through my work. Through planning and sharing my witness talk, leading worship, activities, icebreakers, and small group sessions, my gifts are being utilized meaningfully in ways other jobs couldn’t replicate. 

I’m finishing my first year as an Ignite Intern—a challenging year that’s had its twists and turns. These redirections have been leading me closer in relationship to God. Through my work, I can see God in the lives of young people: their joys, sadness, hurts, regrets, longings, and excitement for the future. I have had the opportunity to be present and listen to the stories and dreams of very human people. I have grown in patience, as I have slowed down and allowed myself to rest and be led in spiritual formation. I can rest in the knowledge that everything belongs to God—my successes and my failures. Therefore, I feel comfort knowing that it is not my job to fix or restore things to how they ought to be. My job, instead, is to model that as best as I can, knowing some days my absolute best looks different than the day before. 

In that same light, this internship has taught me skills I wouldn’t have gained without being entrusted with responsibility as a leader. You can have a position of authority, but exercising that authority with care is an entirely different thing. I continue to be humbled by the breadth of young people’s experiences and the questions they ask at their stage of life. Truly, this has been a beautiful time for me to see that God thrives in young lives and in me.

Only I can hold myself back from reaching my goals. I can make excuses for why I am not better, or why I am not seeing results, but at the end of the day, I need to put in the work.

This internship has its challenges and requires us to make some sacrifices. In this life, it is not about what we are doing but what God is doing and calling that forth into the light. That sometimes requires us to be frustrated, angry, and doubtful, but also hopeful and courageous so that we may persevere and grow. I see this in my daily life and work at the Jesuit Spiritual Center. There might be days we just want to get through, days we want to jump with joy after an incredible retreat, and days we simply need to get things organized in the office. Through it all, though, we have a team that sticks by, prays for, and walks alongside one another. This community has kept me grounded, hopeful, and excited for the future. 

So, when you give a mouse a cookie, or in my case an internship, it will ask for milk. You see, a cookie only takes you so far. The milk, in this case, is the Ignatian principle of Magis, which means to be more. In this internship, I desired to be more than I was. Throughout my time here, I have been my own limiter. Only I can hold myself back from reaching my goals. I can make excuses for why I am not better, or why I am not seeing results, but at the end of the day, I need to put in the work. This internship gives you the opportunity to develop these skills, but you must want them and work towards them. I promise, the team and staff will be with you and guide you! I think this invitation to be more is much more substantial than a cookie. 

When you give a mouse an Ignite internship, it will ask to be more. When it asks to be more, you let it grow… and when you let it grow, big and small things will happen… and where big and small things happen, that’s where God is.

If you or anyone you know may be interested in our Ignite Internship, you can find the application here.

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