9 Lessons The Lord Taught Me This Summer
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9 Lessons The Lord Taught Me At Camp This Summer

For every weakness and mistake and shortcoming, there is a God who is greater and bigger.

9 Lessons The Lord Taught Me At Camp This Summer
Courtney Chapman

First of all, it's nice to see you again, internet and whoever else is reading this right now. It's been a while. I haven't taken a break from writing for a month and a half for no reason, but because I got the awesome opportunity to spend seven weeks of my summer working as a counselor at Pine Cove Christian camp in central Texas.

"So, how was it?"

I still don't know how to truly answer this question. I still haven't found just the right words to describe this summer and all the emotions that went along with it. I have never been more challenged and stretched and felt so broken and discouraged and unequipped, yet I've also never experienced so much joy and peace as I felt then.

I am capable of nothing on my own, and trying to do things on my own only leads to dead ends and desperation.

Camp showed me what happens when I try to rely on myself and what I can do. Just days into my first week, I found myself exhausted and overwhelmed from trying to juggle everything on my own.

With that being said, I am not big enough to get in the way of God's plan.

"so is my word that goes out of my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:11

I'm clearly not perfect. I messed up more times than I could count this summer. But God knew that beforehand. He didn't just see my shortcomings coming, but He chose to use them for His glory, turning the times I had failed myself and failed others into opportunities for those people to see His greatness and love and mercy outshining my glaring mistakes.

God will supply me with everything I need.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

I cannot emphasize the power and truth of this one enough. I can think of so many times this summer when I did not know how I was going to get through the next day, the next meal, the next conversation, the next five minutes. There were times when I lacked patience, energy, and motivation. Yet I saw every day as the Lord renewed me and gave me exactly what I needed for whatever He had prepared for me.

I am not in control.

You don't realize how little you are in control of until you have three minutes to get to the flag and four 6th grade campers who still have to put their shoes on.

How to actually love people.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not ruse, it is not self-seeking, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight with evil but rejoices with the truth." It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

This summer taught me what pure, selfless, wholehearted love looks like. I saw it from the way other staffers at camp asked how I was doing and actually meant it, from the way they would drop everything just to do me a favor, and from the way they encouraged me with their words and actions.

Before camp, I struggled a lot with truly loving people, but this summer I found myself every week loving the girls in my cabin so much more than I thought possible. Where the world had hardened my heart and my ability to love and empathize with others, God tore down every barrier and every defense. I learned to love people exactly where they were at, regardless of who they were or what they had done or how they responded to me.

There is immeasurable joy to be found in selflessly loving and thinking of others before yourself.

It's crazy how self-centered we are without even realizing it. The sole reason I found so much joy this summer was not because I was just really, really happy all the time. It was because my mind was constantly focused on my campers and on the person or thing directly in front of me.

Our director used to always tell the kids "you will be the happiest when you aren't focused on your own happiness." God showed me just how true that statement is.

God gives us our weaknesses so that, through us, He can show how strong He is.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

I spent most of my summer with the youngest campers, despite the fact that I thought I worked better with older kids. It wasn't until the end of the summer that I realized by giving me what I was uncomfortable and not great at, God got to do even more through me because I was forced to rely on Him more.

Sometimes, no matter how much you pray and love and intercede, people will reject you and reject the gospel.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God" Ephesians 2:8

This one was tough to swallow. You don't fully understand how God feels when we knowingly turn away from Him until you give someone the opportunity to experience freedom and new life in Christ, only to watch them reject every single word. I learned only The Lord can save, and again, I have no control over this.

How great God's love is.

God's love y'all. I don't think I will ever truly have words to describe God's love for us, and all the ways I got to see it on display this summer. It is unconditional, everlasting, knowing no limits, overflowing with grace and mercy, and so, so good. It's probably the biggest lesson I learned this summer, and it's this: the fact that someone would love me enough to send His only son on the cross to die for the very worst of me, solely out of His love for me.

I knew this before coming to camp, but it wasn't until I spent seven long, sometimes unrewarding weeks at camp that I realized it was all you and I really need.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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