Week 72: Sunday at Camp
This is a place that is near and dear to our hearts…
Each Sunday, my wife and I cook and eat a meal together — intentionally. Every Friday, I’ll be sharing our experience here in this space. I want to see the growth that will come in our marriage because of this. I hope you enjoy our story. You can find last week’s post here.
Every summer, Sarah and I make the drive through Indiana farmland to a little campground just outside Goshen. If you happened to drive by it, you might not even take notice. But my heart skips a beat when I catch the first glimpse of the pine trees that line the road and that familiar white fence. I’ve called this my favorite place on earth for a reason.
No cooking this week, just intentional time with Sarah at my favorite place on earth…medium.com
For one week every summer, we gather with a group of our closest friends to help put on a Christian summer camp for teenagers. This was my sixth year being involved with Teen Camp. I was a counselor for two years in college, then I’ve been on staff for the last four. Sarah counseled one year, then she’s been a staff member for two years now.
There’s something to be said for getting away and changing up your routine. I was going to say “slowing down” but, in all reality, the week at camp isn’t all that much slower than my life back home. There’s always something to prepare or take care of. The water jugs have to be filled. The day’s programming has to be prepped. There’s a situation with a camper that needs to be dealt with. And so on and so forth.
Even still, the week at camp has a different rhythm to it.
Every year, God has spoken to me in meaningful ways. He’s given me direction about jobs and next steps. He’s taught me about faithfulness and sticking to my committments. And it was at Teen Camp that I felt the clarity and the direction that I should ask a certain girl named Sarah to be my girlfriend.
That decision turned out pretty well, huh?
This year, I came in expecting more of the same. Something big. Something impactful. And yet, as I sit here and reflect on the week that was, I have to laugh. For more than a year now, God has been molding my vision ever smaller. He’s been showing me that impactful doesn’t necessarily have to mean big. Cooking With Sarah has been vital in that regard. Don’t we always talk about the importance of small moments?
Last year, I felt like God was teaching me about faithfulness. How sometimes we’re supposed to wait. To listen. To learn from current opportunities instead of pushing ahead for new ones. Be faithful in the small tasks. This year, it was a riff on the same message: you don’t have to do everything, Aaron.
Wait. Sit. Listen.
You’ll know when to act.
Everyone else was doing something. Prepping for games, talking to counselors, coordinating logistics for the rest of the week…
…doing what real staff members do.
I, on the other hand, was looking for something to do. My main role out at camp is twofold — on-stage programming and social media. I had already posted a few times that day on the Facebook page, and everything was set on my end for the next session out at the tent. So, I went back to our cabin to grab my water bottle.
Some version of this happens every year at camp. Actually, if I’m being honest, some version of this happens nearly every day of my life. It’s easy for me to downplay my contributions to the point where I think I’m nothing. I retreat from others because I don’t belong. They’re all making real contributions. What am I doing?
I sat down on the bed and nearly traversed down this well-worn path of self-pity. Thankfully, God gave me encouragement as He so often does.
What you’re doing is needed. What they’re doing is needed too. You don’t have to do everything. Let me work through others as well as through you. Just do your part.
In reality, there were things I could help out with. I went back to the group and found ways to help — probably filling water jugs. But the point is, it wasn’t all about me. Like I said before, camp has rhythms. The same can be said specifically of staff responsibilities during the week. Some staff members will be busier at certain times because of the nature of their contributions. That’s ok. The point is, the rest of us are all there to be ready and willing to pick up the slack.
That’s what is so great about being on a team, and I think our Teen Camp Staff is the greatest team I’ve ever been a part of. You can help each other out. No individual has to do it all.
Maybe you’re feeling stressed at work. Or there is a family situation that has been taxing you lately. I don’t know what it is, but here’s what I do know.
You don’t have to face it alone. It’s not all on your shoulders.
There is a place for action, don’t get me wrong. Action is vitally important. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve also noticed the importance of waiting and listening. Sometimes that even means letting other people take action while you wait. I’m not talking about laziness, I’m talking about unselfishness. The spotlight isn’t always for you. Neither is the burden of action.
Take heart, my friends — you’re not alone. Your contributions are needed, and they are worth so much. Don’t minimize them because they don’t seem as important as those of others. Let others have their time, but don’t overlook yours.
You are worth it.