Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What I Learned During a Week in the Mountains

Last week I got to go to Estes Park, Colorado, with a group of really awesome senior and junior high students for Student Life camp.

I'm usually really honest on this blog, so I'll be honest, I went on the trip for totally selfish reasons. I absolutely wanted to spend a week in the mountains, back in my favorite state and place to live. So I jumped on the chance to go as a leader. About a week before the trip I found out my job as a leader was a little more involved than just going and making sure the kids had fun.

I had to co-lead a small group (called a family group) Bible lesson and discussion each day, which I did not feel prepared for at all. Plus, the week before camp was super busy with a two-day trip to Chicago (with the seniors) and work and packing. So I didn't have any time to prepare and was starting to stress out. I started thinking that this wasn't what I had signed up for and I wasn't prepared to lead any body. But it was a little too late to do anything about it, so I just hoped that between my co-leader and I, we'd work it out.

Right away I felt like God broke me of my selfish motives and refocused me on what I should've been focused on from the beginning: the students. I felt so bad that I had wanted to go for myself and wished that I'd had the right motivation from the get-go. But I decided right away that those misplaced motives weren't going to keep me from doing my job to the best of my ability.

But then, I got a nasty outbreak of hives and some other skin problems I've been dealing with for years and all of a sudden, that was all I could think about. If you've ever had a skin condition, you know that all you want to do is hide from the world until it's better because you feel like all people see are the red bumps and not you. So I was pretty upset that it was happening and I tried to hide it for a day but I knew eventually people would start noticing, so I mentioned it to some of my fellow leaders. Thank goodness I did because my friend Bri offered to give me some different forms of Benadryl she had and it really helped. Plus talking about it helped me not internalize it, which forced me to realize that it was yet another thing distracting me from why I was really there.

It's funny how many things can keep your attention away from where it should be, and how sometimes you don't even realize it. But I'm so thankful that God helped show me where I needed to be focused, and it was so awesome just to be able to be there with the students. I don't even know if I did much good, but being able to befriend the students and share from my life experiences was so special. And to see how God moved in their hearts to draw them to him was really incredible. They were open to hearing from him, acknowledging him, and letting him work in their lives, and it showed. I probably haven't happy-cried that much in my entire life.

There are lots of moments that I will remember forever, like watching students put their faith in Jesus or when all the guys decided to serve breakfast to the girls, but I know there were some things that changed in me too. And even though it was a week for the students, God was teaching the leaders as well.

So many times I don't talk about what I believe because I know Christians have a reputation and it's not a good one. When people look at me, I don't want them to think of me like that. I don't want them to think I hate people, that I'm judgmental or condescending, because I'm not and I have no room to be. All I want to do is show people love, because honestly, that's what Jesus is, love. He's not shaking his finger saying, "Look at all you've done wrong!" or saying, "I am holier than you!" He's just love. It's the people who have messed that up, who have made Christians seem hateful or like a list of rules is going to get you into heaven, and I don't want to be a person like that.

If anything, I hope my generation and those to follow can change that stigma. It will probably take a long, long time, and some hot-headed person will probably come along and damage it, but that's what I'm working on. And yes, I'll make mistakes, we all do, we're not perfect, but I'm going to do my best with God's help, to love like he does. I'm not going to force my beliefs on anyone, but if anyone wants to talk about it, I'm always open and willing. I won't know all the answers, I can promise you that, but everything in life is a learning process, just like last week at camp. :)

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” - Matthew 22:36-40

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...