My 9-year-old spent last week at camp with our church. I’m always so excited for him to go to camp. Most of my favorite summer memories are tied to camp. I still have friendships today that started around his age at camp. I pray for new friendships, new experiences and new encounters with God. I want him to have that perfect mix of fun and spiritual growth. I always so eagerly anticipate the drive after picking him up to hear the excitement in his stories.
This year was no different. As we drove and I listened to his camp stories, I loved hearing the excitement in his voice. I loved hearing about the new things he tried, the new people he met. As we sat down to dinner, he shifted from the “fun” stuff to the God stuff.
There were great little nuggets for him. Little foundational things that will grow into big life things as he grows. But the thing that stuck out the most to him was a story that the camp speaker (who also happens to be our AMAZING Student Ministries Pastor) told about his own life. A story about God telling him to give something up as a teenager. And the process that brought about his obedience. He told us that he was going to start praying about what God might want him to give up in his life.
I was incredibly proud and totally convicted all at once. I was so proud that my 9-year-old would consider that God may want him to give something up. And that he was committing to pray about that. But I was so totally convicted because I knew in that instant that I may not have the nerve to pray about something God might want me to give up. And that if He directed me to give something up, I’d likely resist…not willingly obey.
So here’s what I learned from kids camp. I want to return to that child like obedience and excitement about what God wants me to do…or not do. I need to be constantly aware of those areas that could distract me from His plan and purpose for my life. I need to be better about gleaning from other people’s life stories and learning from their lessons. I need to be more like my 9-year-old, ready to act on whatever it is God has to say to me.
Have you talked with your kids lately about what they want God to do in them? You should. But be ready for a swell of pride and rush of conviction. And don’t be afraid to give up.