I’ve been a hiatus from blogging for the past couple months. With Kids Across America and moving to Nashville for a new job, I have been swamped! However, I had to make a choice to sit down, rest and blog.
KAA turned out to be an extraordinary experience and caused amazing growth in my walk with the Lord. Aside from gaining job experience, I gained skills on how to deal with conflict in the body, how to truly serve others and put other’s needs before your own. Looking back I can see how much I learned to live in harmony with other people and realized that keeping peace is a choice that I must make every waking moment. Spending 12 long weeks (2 weeks of staff training and then 10 camp sessions) with the same people 24/7 was not the easiest thing for my introverted personality. I value my daily routine and quiet time with the Lord, my space and only hanging around positive people who keep me smiling. Before camp I would run from conflict and disassociate myself with anyone I did not naturally get along with. I learned that I was harboring bitterness towards an old friend from the past and that I had little to no compassion or patience for people who did not seem as “mature” in their walk with Christ. A lot of my daily interactions with people (even before camp) involved me tolerating people and not loving them as Christ has loved me.
A couple of friends helped me realize this when they reminded me that I have the love of Christ living in me, I need to just choose to walk in it. That was a difficult thing to grasp with my pride in the way, but I kept thinking about what they said – the love of Christ is in me. Those words were so simple, but they reminded me of a devo I had with some campers in my adopted cabin after Crosstalk. Myself along with their counselors talked to them about Romans 5:8 – how even while we were sinners, Christ died for us and that is how God shows His love. I shared with these young girls that there is nothing on the face of this planet that can separate us from God’s love – how awful I felt when I realized that there are many times I’ve wanted to completely shut myself off from people who have wronged me…and to think I am to be a reflection of God’s character.
I had to remind myself that Christ didn’t die for me because he tolerated me and I couldn’t go on throughout my summer at KAA tolerating others just to make it through a summer job. Christ genuinely, whole-heartedly loves me even when I’m difficult to love. As a Christian, I am called to be a reflection of Christ (Philippians 2) which includes loving how he loves and who he loves.
Throughout this summer I had to remind myself that I must choose to love others – no matter how rude, ungrateful or unlovable they may be (or seem to be!). I must choose to be patient – it is not me who saves or causes people to repent; it is God. I have to trust in His power that is at work within me and not treat people like little projects or charity cases that are doomed if they don’t immediately turn their act around when I have a problem with them – patience and kindness, because such is how God has dealt with and continues to deal with me.
In a nutshell, camp taught me that I really must choose to walk by the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It is a choice to walk in love instead of tolerance. It is a choice to put others before myself instead of clinching my teeth to make it to the end. It is a choice to live like Christ and be a reflection of his character.
Much like I had to make a choice to leave my apartment and (finally) finish this blog, I have to be very intentional about how I choose to treat others. The Gospel must be on the forefront of my mind when I feel compelled to act on my feelings than Truth. I’ve realized that I’m not going to be the best of buddies with every person I come across, but that does not give me an excuse to act in any way that is contrary to the character of our Lord.
Until next time –