Normally, when someone comes out to counsel at KD, (I am speaking only from what Chels had told me), they undergo a lot of training. For instance, the college students who come out on "project," as they refer to the summer spent out there, spend the first week or so before camp, going through training. This training consists of opportunities to grow spiritually, teachings on the purpose and ministry of the camp, and training in how to be an effective, godly counselor. Driving up, Chels called me and did a brief overview of what I needed to be aware of. Normally, this is not how I like to approach things. I prefer to have, what I believe to be "adequate training," before I embark on an adventure. However, this was not going to be the case as I made the 4 and 1/2 hour journey west to the camp. Once I arrived, I would have enough time to eat lunch and then begin the afternoon activities with my cabin.
I prayed during my car ride that the Lord would take the control. I asked the Lord to use me, as He needed, to bring to the campers a deeper awareness and understanding of who He is. Despite my sin, I praised God that He would be using me as a tool for His good purpose. Regardless of what I felt I needed to know leading up to my arrival at the camp, in terms of preparation, I knew that the Lord was sovereign and would lead. However, I was not prepared for what the Lord was going to reveal to me about myself, while revealing Himself to the campers through me and the other counselors.
A few things quickly became apparent within the first day of my stay at the camp and became a major focus of my prayers:
- I could not understand why there was excitement for me.
- I did not understand why the counselors and staff trusted me with a cabin.
- Everything I did, I wanted to double check with someone to make sure I was doing it correctly. I was scared of doing something wrong.
It all represented a deep sin in my life that God, at the time, was choosing to reveal to me and remove from my life. It showed that the approval of man was still an idol in my life and that the very low self-esteem, I knew I always carried with me, was prohibiting me spiritually.
Here is how the sin manifested itself in my life:
- Why would anyone be excited for me? I knew Chelsea had talked me up a little bit to those who worked with her, but in my mind she was just being kind and excited for me to be out there. I believed that there was nothing exciting about me. I still saw the wretched being that I was/am without Christ. In no way was I seeing or trusting the work of Christ and who I had become by believing in Him and receiving salvation. When people expressed heartfelt joy and excitement when they saw me, I believed lies that it was only through kindness that they provided such endearment. I was convinced it was only a mask and a front.
- I did not trust myself to be an effective counselor to the campers. Therefore, I did not see how or why the staff could feel confident in placing me in a cabin. I believed that there was nothing good about me that could be an example to the kids. Even as other counselors brought encouragement to me, I often received it with a grain of salt, convinced that there really was nothing worthwhile about me. During the weekend, when there were no campers, a staff member had me talk to a fellow counselor about being in a godly relationship. Afterwards, in my own privacy, I wrestled with understanding why I would be chosen to give advice. Why again were others confident in my abilities when I seemingly knew I had none?
- I was immobilized by fear. I saw the way the other counselors and staff members interacted with the kids. I became envious of it, curious as to why I was lacking in that skill area. Regardless of the experience I have had as a teacher, I believed that everything I did was of poor quality. I was hesitant to take the lead in front of others, believing that I would be frowned upon because of a lack of skill. I questioned everything I did, while I witnessed others walk and lead in pure confidence.
Now, I may have made the whole week seem a little more dramatic that necessary, but I hope it gives a glimpse into the inner struggle I faced. What I typed represents the negative thoughts, the lies, the deception that plagued my mind, and has plagued my mind for a good while. The difference between the pre-camp negativity, and the negativity experienced during camp was that God finally revealed to me how strong this negativity was in my life and that it was a sin prohibiting from further freedom in the Lord. Further more, He was began to teach me how He wanted to overcome this sin in my life.
Over the course of the weeks following camp and continuing now, I have been studying the scriptures to see who I am in Christ; who I have become as a result of Christ's death. The Lord is renewing my mind replacing the negative self-destructive thoughts with holy thoughts; with confident thoughts of who God has made me to be. It began with Psalm 139; if you read the post that precedes this one. What I am seeing and believing now, is what Chelsea, and so many others around me recognize -- CHRIST. They see Christ in me. They see the new self, whereas I was totally focused upon the old self. Their confidence in my abilities was their confidence in God's redeeming love. They trust God to work through me knowing that I am desiring to serve the Lord faithfully.
Until this summer, I unknowingly walked primarily in fear. Fear that crippled and controlled me. It dictated my life in many ways because my actions served to please man and it prevented me from acting for fear of disapproval and rejection. However, glory to the Lord, for He is now teaching me to walk in confidence in Him. To be able to lead with confidence knowing God is my authority. To truly believe that I am who the Bible says I have become as a result of Christ's death and resurrection and my belief of that! Praise be to God for I am "fearfully and wonderfully made!" - Psalm 139: 14.