I’m back from camp!!! Well…I got back a week ago and then had a very busy week and didn’t get around to sitting down to write until now. Of course, since my crazy long absence, the list of things I need to say has become monstrous. So I’ll try my hardest not to make this too long. Plus I have a lot of pictures that will add this the length of this post.
Anyhow, camp was amazing. I had been feeling nervous on and off for weeks before camp. See, so much has changed in my life since last year and so much happened last time at camp and I knew it wouldn’t be the same and I didn’t know what God had in store for me. I knew it would either be really good or really bad. That unknowing made me anxious. But two or so weeks before camp, God started working in me and preparing me. He was saying He had a mission for me. I learned about hope and healing and I started to grasp these concepts very well. (I even blogged about them. You can see my last post on hope.) God told me that this year, camp wasn’t for me. I had been spending way too much time wallowing in hurt and sorrow when other people needed me. Hope is contagious; I figured that out. I shouldn’t cry about my situation, I should be an example and show people that its possible to have hope is dire situations, even if I was having a hard time believing it myself.
The theme of the week was Phlight 320, because our theme verse was Philippians 3:20 “For our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” It was so cool how God works; I don’t really remember the order of everything, so I’ll just write them as I recall them. See, in the mornings the girls usually have a different speaker than the boys, so we split up. But this year something happened to the girls speaker so on a last minute decision, we ended up doing morning meetings with the guys and their speaker. God is so funny because I got the most out of the morning speaker, and I shouldn’t even have heard him at all.
The morning meetings had a pretty common theme; being yourself. And by that I mean, being who you were made to be; fully rooted in Christ. (which tied into the theme from last year quite nicely.) We’re all in search of an identity and more often than not, we search for it in places where its not. Our identity isn’t in things of this world, it’s in Christ. Once we are secure in that, we can go forth and be all that we were meant to be.
On Wednesday I was feeling thoroughly confused. I was learning a lot from the talks, I knew God had a mission for me, and I knew He would pull through on His promises; yet nothing was making sense. I had small ideas and concepts, but no big picture. I wanted God to speak and yet He was being quiet…or I was being s sucky listener again. I decided to journal a prayer to God to sort out some thoughts, and after I did that I decided to look back on my prayers from last year at camp. I only had one written down. And it started off like this “Alright God, here’s the thing: I’m very, very confused.” I laughed because the first thing I wrote in my newest entry was “God, I feel like I’m constantly confused.” I was discouraged because I felt like I had gotten nowhere since last year. I was still worrying about stupid crap that God is certainly big enough to handle, I still had all this head knowledge and next to no heart knowledge, and I was still not the person I had always wanted to be. Basically, I felt like a disciple. You know, the people to which Jesus said “Oh ye of little faith.” I felt like if God were to stand in front of me He would face palm and say “I literally named you Faith so you wouldn’t forget to trust me!”
I don’t know when everything finally clicked for me. But I had my Shift, as Ned Vizzini calls it. That “aha!” moment. Although I don’t think it was a single big moment, but a collection of small ones. Like how Claire came up to thank me for everything I had done for her not even two hours after my arrival, or Jake who asked if I was okay and prayed with me on the night I specifically asked God to send someone to pray for me because I needed someone to remind me I wasn’t invisible; also having deep discussions with Amanda and Claire at different points throughout the week, and Bessie who made me an X-Men pillow, Gabe who gave me a hug when I had a bad headache, Mark who didn’t let me sit alone and made me feel like I was one of them, and for Olivia for all the hugs and kisses on the cheek when I was feeling horrible on Wednesday.
All those things made me realize something: I wasn’t alone. I had never been alone. You see, I had always had a hard time feeling like I belonged at camp. Sure I loved the people there and I loved being there, but I never thought that love was mutual. I thought I was too awkward or weird, that no one wanted to hang out with me or be my friend. I felt like the reject. I blamed the camp kids a lot by saying they were too cliquey and they were this and they were that; they shut me out and made me feel isolated. But I realized that the only person that kept me from making lasting friendships was myself. I isolated myself and I never tried to reach out to others. I expected friendships to just land on my plate. I had that “if they wanted to talk to me, they would” mindset. And have I ever told you how much I hate that mindset? Its stupid and I hate it. One morning the talk was on friendship, and that one really hit me hard. I realized that I had been taking so much and giving so little. I had been being a horrible friend to a lot of people. And most of all, I wasn’t being myself. I wasn’t being all I could be and I was barely being who I really was. The camp kids had always accepted me; I had just never accepted them. I don’t know why I was so set on being alone, maybe it was because I was “accepting the love I thought I deserved.” Either way, after I realized this, I looked around and saw how loved I was. I was a part of this camp, of this body of believers.
After that happened, I was more set on helping someone than ever. I was still praying for that one person to help. The person God had put on my heart weeks before camp even started. But as the week progressed and I got more and more anxious for God to reveal the person, I noticed the ways I had helped others already. Again I realized it wasn’t one solid moment or conversation, or even one person, but a bunch of little things. Life is made up of little things, and those things add up to something bigger than ourselves. I then challenged myself to step outside my comfort zone. The song ‘Oceans’ hit me hard one night. “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the water wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.” I was ready to change. I was done being shy and feeling sorry for myself. I wanted to help others. I had always had a vision of who I would be one day, and I constantly thought about the things I would do and the personality I would have, and I always thought about it and never acted on it. I wanted to act.
I came to a point that week where I realized who I was. Who I really was, not who I pretended to be or who I had been; I finally understood who I was in Christ. And once I fully grasped that, I was able to let go of others opinions of me, and once I stopped caring what other people thought of me, I was able to reach out to them. I was also able to swallow my pride and apologize to someone I had wronged. I could be honest with people now because I wasn’t concerned with whether or not they liked me. I was free to be myself. I got to look back on the past year and accept it. All the hurt, the joy, the memories, the hard nights, and the triumphs. It all happened, but it didn’t have to enslave me or dictate my future. One song that had been pounding on my heart for some time was So I Thought by Flyleaf. It says “a year goes by…and I can’t talk about it.” That was me. So much happened this year that I couldn’t talk about. The hurt was so fresh and real and I couldn’t let it go. But the end of the song says “I’m praying we will see something there in between then and there that exceeds all we can dream, so we can talk about it.”
One last lesson I learned is that although I originally thought there was 0 spiritual growth the past year, I actually grew a whole freaking lot. That was proven each time someone said something triggering at camp and I didn’t let it get to me. Guys. That has never happened before. I always thought that my sanity rested on whether or not someone would say something triggering. Because once it was said, I lost it every time. No matter what. Heck, I had three panic attacks at camp last year due to things that people said. It was really bad last year. And now…I’m free. Fear doesn’t own me. I’m ready to talk about it.
Congratulations if you made it to the end of this post. You’re a lovely human. I hope you learned something from my ramblings. I hope it inspires you. Also, would you keep me in your prayers? I’m having a biopsy done on Wednesday and I found out that I won’t be sedated for it. So I’ll be awake while they shove needles into my throat. Pray for peace for me and my mom, wisdom for the doctors, and healing for my body. I’ll blog once I get the results, which should come in a day or two after the biopsy.
Now in summary, don’t wait to be who you want to be. Love who you are and do what you love. I came home from camp and dyed my hair pink because I’ve always wanted to. I wore a super cute dress downtown and took a ton of pictures. I was able to do this because I was free. Other people’s opinions don’t have any power over me anymore. They shouldn’t have power over you either. You were made to be whole. So don’t wallow around in brokenness. God wants only the very best for His children.
“Arise! And be all that you dreamed!”