The Little Things: Week 3

Believe it or not, it is actually possible to get used to the following: 100 degree heat. No caffeine. No makeup. Sweat. Cherry flavored cough drops. Ice cold showers.

I think the one thing I will never get used to is the amazing grace of God to keep going and the love and support of the staff and even my campers when it gets hard.

I can’t lie, I started week 3 with somewhat of a bad attitude. It was our first middle school camp, and I love middle school. It’s hands down my favorite age to work with, so I really wanted to do overnight camp. Instead, I was assigned as a day camp staffer with thirteen 8-year-olds. But looking back now, I know God had a reason for where He placed me this week. No, I didn’t get to develop super deep relationships with the overnight campers. But this week, God has shown me some amazing truth through the little things, through those moments that pop up in seemingly random places.

After doing overnight camp for two weeks, day camp was just very…different. At first, I didn’t like it as well as overnight camp because there’s not nearly as much spiritual depth as overnight. Instead of team-building activities and life lessons, it’s mostly recreation. And honestly, I was a little disappointed by the first day because it felt more like babysitting than actually making a difference. But moment #1 was a new perspective from one of the other staffers — “Day camp is just a different kind of ministry. Instead of teaching these kids, your job is just to love on them and show them Christ that way.”

There were also some new lessons that I had to learn being an adopted counselor in the evenings. Having been immersed in the mentality of leadership for the past two weeks, it was a completely new challenge to learn how not to lead. Because I’m more outgoing and generally just more vocal than the overnight counselor I assisted, it was hard to rein in my enthusiasm so I didn’t come across as trying to take over. Adjusting from one position during the day to another role at night was sometimes difficult, but I was reminded of the raging river low ropes element: it can’t be done without a leader, and it can’t be done without someone in the back picking up the pieces. Learning how to gracefully transition from one role to another was one of the big lessons I learned this week.

Another new experience for me was learning how to bring out the leadership qualities in another person. My jr. staffer was a year younger than me, and at first he seemed more interested in having fun than taking all the responsibility that comes with camp counseling. The second day of camp we sat down and talked about it, and he told me that he didn’t think he made a very good leader. I could see his strengths, though, and I really wanted to give him a chance to explore his potential and recognize those qualities. So for the last 3 days I made an effort to see him as my co-leader rather than my jr. staffer. He helped me lead Bible study discussions and went above and beyond to support me while still being super fun with the kids. Both our strengths and our weaknesses ended up balancing each other out really well; I may be a bit more mature and responsible, but that means I also have the tendency to stress out over ridiculous things, like a kid paddling a canoe into the bank or being late to an activity or making 75 trips to the bathroom because my kids didn’t have to go 5 minutes before. He doesn’t take everything quite as seriously, which could be frustrating when something needed to be taken seriously, but most of the time he helped me to chill out and live in the moment, and the kids loved him because he was crazy fun! On the last day of camp he brought a carton of my favorite ice cream that we shared over lunch, along with a super awesome ring that has now left a tan line on my thumb. When I asked why, he answered that he wanted to thank me for giving him the opportunity to step up and be a leader. Mission accomplished.

On Tuesday night while my overnight girls were in the shower, I went in the kitchen to finish off some tiramisu ice cream. Another jr. staffer was in there as well, so we ate ice cream together and talked about how the week was going, and then we prayed together before going our separate ways. Moment #2. It’s the little things — I love getting to spend one-on-one time with people and getting to know them, and this guy is such an awesome model of Christ’s love. His joy is contagious.

Thursday morning I got up early to have a few minutes of quiet time before breakfast, and for some reason I just started stressing about the details of my life and asking God, “Is this going to work out? What am I supposed to be doing with my life?” Mostly in regard to relationships, because for some reason that’s something that is very difficult for me to surrender. And then moment #3 hit me: I sound exactly like my campers wanting to know my schedule. I learned early on that if I tell my campers my schedule, they won’t pay attention and they’ll ask me like a thousand times. So finally I just stopped telling them altogether.

“Babe, are we doing archery today?” “Maybe.”

“When are we going to the camp store?” “Sometime today.”

“Why can’t I see your schedule?” “You don’t need to see the schedule. I’m the one who has it, and that’s all that matters. I’ll tell you what you need to do when you need to do it. Do you trust me?”

Oh God… do I? Talk about a good dose of humility.

Thursday night I had a really awesome talk with one of the guys just sharing our stories and talking about what God has done in our lives. He told me that he has struggled with homosexuality for the past 5 years. Homosexuality is something that really isn’t talked about much in the church, and Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction dare not talk about it for fear of being judged, or they can’t reconcile their sexuality with their faith and so end up leaving the church altogether — so I was fascinated to hear what his journey has been like. He also shared with me that he feels like it’s part of God’s plan for him to be married one day, which wasn’t something I was expecting to hear, because I wasn’t really sure how all that works out. So I was like, “This sounds super awkward, but I’m trying to understand what’s changed…what are your desires now?”

He answered simply, “My desire is for God. I don’t want to be defined by my sexuality either way.”

BAM. Moment #4 hit me in the face. Should any of us be defined by our relationships, straight or otherwise? Our identity should always be found in Christ alone regardless of “orientation”, and that’s something that I have to work on learning just as much as he does.

So yeah, that’s my week in a nutshell. There are so many other little details that I would love to share with you, but these were the moments that helped me to grow the most spiritually. For now, it’s bedtime.

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Published in: on June 30, 2012 at 11:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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