Before my family filled weekend I spent 4 days at kids church camp. That in itself may be why I am now post camp/reunion crashed and still in bed with a raging head cold. I may have officially over done it. I wanted to share about my time at camp today before the freshness of it completely disappears.
This would have been my first time on camp staff in about 5 or so years. I’ve often said that running around planning and putting on camps would be my absolute dream job. A job that I used to have when we ran our youth group and then had to give up when I had little babies. It was a big deal to me to be asked to help and the excitement of brainstorming and planning ignited a fire of creativity in me I hadn’t felt in a long time. I was stoked about camp! My son would be able to go with me as my “helper” and we were gonna adventure together, just he and I.
As the days were approaching I found my confidence starting to wane. Being so much bigger than I was before…would I be able to keep up with the energy required to run camp? Would I keel over and die hiking up all the hills?? Would the hot sun and my large body make me an easy target for the kids to make fun of? What if I couldn’t win them over as easy as I used to? What if they hated me? Why the heck was I even going?
Here I was letting the trap of my mind start to choke out the joy of what was supposed to be a blessing. There was no way I could have gotten out of my commitment even though I felt like I wanted to. I pushed through all the rotten doubt and went anyway and I am so very glad I did.
We used the Disney movie “Wreck it Ralph” as our theme. ( Don’t hate on my Disney loyalty!) Ralph is a video game character that experiences a bit of an identity crisis because he has been labeled a “bad guy”. The story follows him along on his journey to accepting himself just the way he is. The final theme (and tag line) of the movie is “there’s no one I’d rather be than me!” I guess months back when we were planning camp I didn’t realize how incredibly personal this theme would actually be to me and where I am at in my own life. Encouraging kids that no matter what their lives look like or who other people “say” they are, they were created by God without glitches or mistakes. Learning they’re meant to be the heroes of their story because there can only ever be ONE you, just as God created you. I watched my son soaking in this message and it made my heart glad and ache at the same time…knowing that my baby boy will experience self doubt and will at some point be labeled by his peers and possibly feel out if place and alone and maybe even without a purpose or value.
I prayed, “Yes God, let him soak this in and believe these things deep down in his core. May he never suffer from self loathing or hatred but when he inevitably does, remind him of these things. May he know that he was perfectly created to be exactly who he is. May he thrive in his gifts. My he have confidence in himself because he is fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you for my wonderful boy.”
As I prayed I felt the finest hint of a whisper say to me in my heart, ” This is how I, your heavenly Father, feel about you.”
Sobbing, bawling, and ugly crying ensued that night when I put my son to bed and allowed myself to really sit and reflect and write about what I had heard. It rocked my world and a week later I’m still trying to surrender to believing it and embracing that “there’s no one I’d rather be than me”.
It’ll probably be something to strive for all my life, but as passionately as I believe my son (and my daughter) deserve to firmly grasp these truths…Im finally starting to believe that I deserve them too.
Maybe the answers to all life’s major questions can be found at kids camp? After all, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 ESV