read the black for the main points.
read the blue for further elaboration on them.
read the red for sidenotes that aren’t absolutely necessary.
so you can read just the black, or the black and the blue, or all of it, but not just the blue or just the red.
today was the most amazing chapel message i’ve heard as long as i’ve been at ciu. by amazing, i mean spoken-straight-from-God-to-me. i’ve had a good few of those, but usually those make me kinda mad since they usually are the convicting kind that mean God wants me to start doing something that i kinda don’t want to. but this was just the comforting, check-this-out-i’m-bigger-than-you-but-i-love-you-anyways-isn’t-that-awesome kind.
dr murray was of course the one speaking; he’s my fourth favorite of everybody(after jeremy kingsley, bill jones, and adrien despres).
he talked about jericho and ai, and what we should learn from each.
and he described my past two summers at camp.
jericho is all about joy and victory. everything goes right, you and Jesus are on top of the world together, and you can’t wait for the next chance to do something like it again.
that was 2010. i’ve already written plenty about it, so here i’ll just remind you that it was unbelievable. “joy” is always among the first words that come to my mind when i think about that summer, but it was full of victories on victories too, whether camper-wise, friendship-wise, or personal me-and-God-wise.
i left that summer so incredibly excited for the next one.
but i did NOT take away the lesson that we’re supposed to learn from jericho experiences.
or to put it in more specific terms: no amount of victory in your past assures me of victory in my present.
that was the first great mistake of 2011. it hadn’t even begun yet and i was already totally assuming “okay, i’ve got this, last summer rocked, i’m great at what i do, this won’t be difficult at all” and other such big-headed thinking. and i completely expected it to go down just as well, if not better, than 2010. i was constantly comparing the two in my head.
2011 was an ai experience. ai is all about “sadness and defeat.” there are no two better words for this summer. “sadness” especially for orientation and week 1, (week 2 was actually a randomly thrown in jericho) “defeat” especially for week 3(i have nightmares about that week. i never ever want to think about that week), but the whole summer was full of good amounts of both.
what are we supposed to take from ai?
narrow it down: no amount of defeat in my past need rob me of victory in my present.
and that is the more important lesson of the two, for me at least. i don’t struggle so much with getting prideful about my past victories as i do letting past defeats ruin all my other attempts at anything.
on a less important-to-life note, i do this in soccer too: the first shot that comes at me determines how the entire game goes(or even just a practice). if i block it, i have a great game. if i miss it, i lose all confidence i may have had and let in every single shot after.
after week 3 was when i shut down for the whole summer. all my mistakes from that week just haunted me every single day: i’m a bad cabin leader. i don’t know how to love my girls or get them to listen to me anymore. maybe i’m not supposed to be here. and i can’t sing.(this horrible child told me she hates it when i sing to them at night, and when she said that, four others agreed and said they just hadn’t wanted to say anything)
but while that was definitely the worst week of my career, there wasn’t a reason in the world for it to affect the rest of the summer. just because i had one bad week doesn’t mean the rest couldn’t be great. but i kept letting it ruin me. i had plenty of “good” weeks but i couldn’t appreciate them because i was too busy worrying about whether i was a failure or not.
plus i didn’t want to tell anybody how bad i was struggling because i was afraid to get everyone freaking out. all summer long i had heard nothing but “linda’s been here longer than anyone else” “linda knows everything” etc etc. instead of giving me a big head, like this could very easily do, it terrified me. especially when people kept saying those things after i was having such a hard time, i didn’t know how to ask anyone to pray for me. so that just added to all the other stress in my life.
i’ve said so many times that i wasted my summer. but i didn’t realize just how much until today. now i’m that much more excited to go back. i know how to deal, and i know how to tell people when i can’t deal. and mostly, because(yes, i do realize i’m a broken record) God wants me there. he made me for that place. that unexplainable, borderline-obsessive love i have for it couldn’t come from anywhere but God himself.
in the end, i always choose camp. i may pitch a fit about it sometimes, or say crazy things like referring to future staff as “them” instead of “we”, but God always knocks sense into my head somehow; sometimes he has to make me super sick and show me how wrong it feels to not be at camp, or sometimes hope has to yell at me, or sometimes one of my campers has to write me an amazing note. but somehow or another, i remember where my home is.