The luggage is untangled and although I am more than ready to go to bed after averaging four hours of sleep every night, the memories are fresh and I find myself needing to wrestle with them to make sense of the conversations and events that made up winter camp.
I lost my voice pretty early on this year. I’ve been fighting with a ear\throat thing and the combination of sub-zero temperatures and interacting in a confined room with excited, voice-projecting teenagers was just enough strain on my vocal cords. I found myself constantly frustrated trying to lead group games, prayer and small group sessions the best I could. I prayed for relief and ate enough menthol to cool a volcano but it never got easier.
I have discovered that often times (not always) when we ask for something God could easily fix but He doesn’t, He is trying to teach us something. A familiar example is Paul who was given a thorn in his flesh and had to realize that God was actually glorified in his weakness.
The truth is that I had many incredible conversations (the best I could) with teenagers who were carrying around heavy hearts and pockets full of regrets. These were intimate moments where our worlds collided and as they shared with me their current struggle, I tried to share with them what I have learned along the way.
Camp was also a time of renewal and refreshment for myself as I was able to connect with God. He spoke to me several times and in one particular incident told me something I’ve been begging to hear for the last two years. Indeed, camp was filled with great conversations with teens and my savior and I don’t want to share any of them with you.
Not a single one.
I think our culture has a sharing obsession. From sharing a sunrise on Instagram to posting a status update about what we had for lunch on Facebook. There isn’t hardly an encounter that hasn’t been tweeted, put on YouTube, SnapChatted, incorporated into a Vine video or even blogged about. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with doing this but I think the more we share with others the more we subtract from its sacredness and when it comes to our relationship with God we subtract from the very personal relationship Jesus wants to have with us.
When the shepherds and wise men visited baby Jesus, they shared with Mary all the wonderful things they had heard about the meaning and depth of His birth. If Mary had access to social media she would be putting filters on pictures of baby Jesus, #manger #thefirstchristmas #stillavirgin She would be tweeting quotes of the angel who visited her @GabeTheAngel #halo and without any question she would be putting up ideas on Pinterest on how to make the cutest manger ever using just the basics; hay, rocks, twigs, swaddling clothes etc.
Yes, there is no doubt, we would’ve heard all about it all across the world. Or would we?
Luke actually tells us Mary’s response. While everyone around her was loudly exclaiming, Mary’s reaction was much more personal and intimate. “But Mary pondered all of these things in her heart”
There was an on going joke between another leader and I at winter camp. He told me that he reads my blog from time to time and although he has thought about it, has never started one himself. The on going joke was that whenever he said something even remotely profound, I told him he should blog about it. But in reality not everything needs to be shared and not everything should be shared not because it isn’t profound but precisely because it is.
There’s a box in my room on my dressed labeled ‘grace’. Its full of moments I’ve written down on little pieces of paper. These are moments I never want to forget. Life changing moments in which I experienced heaven on earth with friends, family and Jesus. They are moments I will never share publicly because I dont want them to lose their sacredness. I should pinterest the idea, I know.
So maybe its ok that I couldn’t always share what I wanted to at camp. Maybe God silenced me so I wouldn’t say something stupid, I wouldn’t be surprised! Or perhaps He silenced me so I could hear Him better and take everything in without spoiling the sacredness of it. I want to encourage you. In the time you have in your personal relationship with God, your friendships, the sunsets you watch and even the amazing lunch you eat ponder and treasure those moments in your heart. Don’t give out so much information that the moment, the conversation, the event isn’t special anymore.