Dear 13-year-old me,
You dreamed of the big stage and the bright lights. You had wild dreams and those dreams were worth pursuing, but somewhere along the way, actual life will happen and your bright light dreams will turn into totally different dreams. It will happen really slow and unexpectedly. It will be confusing at first, but eventually it will make sense.
You won’t need the big stage to be happy. You won’t need the bright lights for fulfillment. You’ll realize the best and only way to live. And your best living won’t happen on a stage. To be honest, God’s big plans for you will look rather small at first, but then they will grow without fear or regret. They will grow under grace and with great freedom. It will be like looking at a miracle and realizing you’re living one.
Let no one tell you that living for God is a prison, a waste of time, a sacrifice not worth making. Live for God in the way He desires you to do so. Live for God in whatever purposes He has for you is the best and only way for true, real living. Embrace where He has you. Grow in His grace. Marvel in the freedom!
So 13-year-old me, here are a few reasons why you will eventually love the Christian camping ministry.
You will love the people. You will love your co-workers. You’ll laugh together, play together, work hard together, ask forgiveness of each other, be united in God, and excited to watch all He is doing in your lives and in the lives of those who come to camp. Are these people perfect? Um, no. You’ve had and will have some very hard days. That’s life. If you’re looking for perfection, sorry hun, you’ll never find it. There are times in life, you just have to stick it out…but there are so many more times when you’ll be thankful and overjoyed for all the sticking-out you once did (and will do!). These people are worth knowing and loving. They are worth so much more than I can say. And they certainly make working at camp more enjoyable.
Camp life is so relational. You won’t do work to get lots of work done, but you’ll do work so you can serve people…so these people have a place without distraction to be refreshed in the Word of God, to make decisions for God, to go back out into the world stronger, more rested in God. You won’t wash lots of dishes and do lots of laundry for the simple fact of washing dishes and doing laundry. You will do all that so people have a place to be still, to know God, to grow in Him, to leave rested and ready for a life committed to God. The work has an invaluable purpose.
And you know what else? Sometimes, the work is downright fun. You’ll ride on the “Magic Carpet”, brainstorm creative ideas, and make free drinks to finish up the milk in the coffee shop that’s about to spoil. You’ll go on walks with the staff kids and collect pinecones for crafts. You’ll have all-staff activities (sometimes during the workday) just to have fun together. The morning meetings will be filled with quite a bit of laughter, and you’ll always end those meetings in prayer.
Work that has a life-giving purpose is exciting. Working with people you are growing alongside is priceless. Hard? Yes, you are humans! Where there are people, there are problems. But is it worth it? ABSOlUTELY. The good will outweigh the bad.
Living your ministry is not a prison. It’s not a scary box you lock yourself inside never to be seen, never to get out, never to be free again. Serving God alongside your husband will be an experience full of freedom and joy in God. You will realize that you thrive in the Christian camping ministry, because that’s the kind of personhood God has given you. He didn’t give you any of your individuality or passion to use on yourself. God has born in you skills and purposes that belong to God. And I promise you’ll best live them out here.
What can be more freeing than that?
You will have all these opportunities to do the things God has given you a desire to do! You will get to do organizational tasks, care for small kids, build relationships with numerous women, see people again and again as they grow in God, have the time to write and share life online for the real and great purpose of encouraging others in God. That’s all stuff you will love doing and the opportunities are endless. They grow bigger with time. You’ll be over-the-moon some days!
The opportunities are never for your gain or greatness, but for your good and for the glory of God and His kingdom. You don’t live in a box; you live in freedom. Absolute freedom!
God is so full of life and He pours it out on you! Dreaming with God is always bigger, and it always turns out better. And the pressure’s off because it’s not about you at all. It’s about Him.
All that He’s given you? Those desires? That personhood? Those niggling hopes? He’s gonna use those. You’re going to watch God rip out your prisons and give you freedom. You’re going to watch Him make your life the best possible life it could ever be. That’s what God can do…and He loves doing it.
You don’t live in a box. You live in freedom. You live in new desires…because God is the desire of your heart. And wow! That’s the best joy of all. Dear 13-year-old me, you’re dreaming small now, but one day you’ll dream big. And you’ll have the courage to do so because of God!