How Camp Changed Me

Your sense of self-worth and identity are not up for grabs.

That was from Pete Wilson's sermon I listened to quite a few months ago and is now resurfacing in my life. Aside from planking, there is something else... bigger.. that I walked away with from camp.

[[ FYI -- that means I'm about to spill it all out in the open. Pull up a chair. ]]

You guys, I had high school girls. I was incredibly tested that week. Many people assume that being a counselor, for me, was going to be easy. I love people, I'm outgoing, and for the most part could blend in with the girls... so surely my campers would easily draw to me. Not quite the plan...

Not only am I new to these girls but I was new to the female leaders of our church. Honestly, I kind of felt like *I* was in high school again trying to get to know everyone and see where I "fit" in to my relatively new church. Suddenly these insecurities started to creep up and I was desiring to feel a part of something -- to be accepted. I mean, we all give and receive those signals right? The way high school girls run up to you and grab your arm as you walk or ask you to save you a spot at lunch.

So much for leaving that behind.

My set of girls immediately divided into two groups when we arrived at camp. One group would (for the most part) always be together, always dress up, and I would usually find them chatting with guys during recreation. The other group was a set of girls who tended to be more shy, not really interested in striking up conversation with guys, and I knew they wouldn't be causing any trouble. They always accompanied me to most activities and lunch/dinner. I was VERY tempted to just leave things that way, get to know those girls who stayed with me, and pack my bags Friday night to head home.


But Albert decided that was not my reason for being there. Albert Tate. Oh man, this servant of God changed my life. We had chapel every morning and every night. Little did I realize that from the first sermon, God was using Albert to plant these seeds in my heart that would MESS ME UP.

Punch one:
Albert: "Saul's attention drifted from God to David. His eyes were OFF of God and on to man. His eyes went off of God and on to his own insecurities. He tried to fill the void without God."

Punch two:
"Here is a chair. [Pretends to be sitting on it] Is this your faith right now? Oh yes God, I know you are there and I am THIS close to completely trusting in you. [Albert's legs begin to shake from squatting] It's starting to get hard to hold it together. [Slowly, Albert sits in the chair with great relief]. Fully trusting -- to leave your burden in His hands and trust Him to carry it. He gave his son. Your burden is not too heavy."

Punch to the gut:
"Vulnerability: Are you afraid of disappointing someone? Psalm 16 'O my soul, you have said to the Lord. You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from you.' I'm looking to others for my self worth... not God. Instead of focusing so much on what you want to accomplish, how about the TYPE OF PERSON you want to be."

You can imagine with all these punches -- I'm on the floor. Defeated. Convicted. I had been looking for encouragement, attention, and acknowledgment from the girls who had interests elsewhere. In other words, I needed someone to tell me I was doing a good job because things were getting uncomfortable and I had to compete against high school boys to get my girls' attention. The problem was, I was looking for comfort from THEM.

This happens to me often in life -- looking for comfort or words of encouragement from people before I look for it in God. Pete Wilson said: "Do not gather your self-worth externally. You are not your giftedness." So two things (1) my identity is not my photography and (2) my value/worth should not come from others but from God's grace.

I am good enough.

So there I was... on my knees. Albert had just finished talking about the 3 ways the Holy Spirit works through us. One, to lead us. Two, comfort us. And three, to keep us (protect us). I prayed for comfort and I know this is going to sound Jesus Freakish -- but.. you gotta take me as I am :) I felt the Holy Spirit say to me "When will I be good enough?"

And at that moment I vowed to sit on that chair. No more squatting faith, but truly put my burdens, insecurities, and desires in God's hands. Enough of the external needs for self worth. Now my self-worth was handed over to God and who I am in Him.

If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me,"
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkenss shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother's womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made,
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
-Paslm 139: 11-14

So how did camp end? I set up "one-on-one" times with my girls. All of them. I got to know them on an intimate level and simply asked them to share with me their own struggles. Then one girl said: "You know, I'm really glad you did this. We are the kind of girls that won't really go up to a leader or church person and open up about our life. We need someone to really pull that out of us."

Ha. Wow. It made so much sense that I almost felt stupid. I was THIS close to missing this opportunity because I was thinking about me. My comfort. I almost missed the realization that God honored me with a challenging task. He gave me the group of girls who wouldn't chase after me, but the ones who needed someone with the strength to persist and chase after them. Jose told me I'm already acting like a mom. Whatever it is... it's a beautiful thing!! Overwhelming really. But most of all... LIBERATING.

And that was camp. Life changing. Albert Tate -- incredible. If I can leave you with one thing Pete Wilson left me... that is: Your self worth is NOT up for grabs. You are enough.

Happy Monday you lovely people.