week three: exhaustion.

there’s just a lot on my mind tonight. while i’ve had nights off since i last wrote, they were never enough to actually sit down and write. now there’s so much to say i’m not sure if it’ll all fit.

i’ll start with the actual campers. it’s crazy that it’s already week three. it just doesn’t compute. i feel like i’m either just finishing up the first week, or that i should be getting ready to pack up for home. being in the middle of all of it is sort of an odd feeling. the campers themselves are great. each week has a different personality. last week (which i didn’t really talk a lot about last time… sorry about that) was good. the group as a whole was less affectionate, and had to be dealt with a little for firmly, but both gus and i felt like we knew what we were doing more. one of the kids was crying a little at closing campfire because he didn’t want to go home. i think a lot of this had to do with the fact that gus and i had to focus less on the schedule of the week, and could spend more time on the actual campers. it rained a bunch last week, so gus and i had to do a lot more improv rainy day games in the cabin, which i think added to it as well. i miss those kids.

i just have to interject here that i really noticed how good God was to me last week. and that’s not just a one-time thing or anything; He’s proven Himself over and over to be willing and eager to answer my prayers, many times in the way i ask them to be answered, which is always encouraging. He’s just been so sustaining. i have relied on Him to get me through so much these past few weeks, and He has been so, so faithful to sustain me. each sunday evening of the past three weeks, i’ve walked to dinner with my new kids, thinking each time that there’s just no way anything’s going to work out. i pray for His help and by sunday evening things have, for the most part, smoothed themselves out. now i know that’s not always how it will be, and i know that when that’s the case, the Lord is still looking out for me and knows what’s best for me. but it’s so encouraging and… just deeply calming to know that God’s got my back and is helping me along. God will sustain me. He is all i need, and i have Him. how beautiful is that?

anyway, this week’s cabin is probably the easiest in some ways and the most difficult in others. i have one camper who stayed over from last week, but the rest are new. these kids are by far the most polite and respectful kids we’ve had this summer. they listen, they’re eager to help (for the most part), and they obey (also for the most part). the one surprising wrench was that i had to pull aside my stayover and talk to him because he was getting in the other campers’ faces, telling them that he was right because he’d been here a week already and they were wrong so they should just shut their mouths. it totally caught me off guard, as he was one of my easiest and sweetest campers last week. however, we went on a walk and i gave him the chance to tell me his side of the story. we worked it out and i told him that because he’d been here a week, the other campers looked up to him to see what he does, and therefore he has a responsibility to act nicely and be third. he took it well and really seemed to listen and understand. i’m praying that one talk is all we need. 

i forget if i’ve gone over this whole "being third" thing. it’s actually really cool. it’s camp tecumseh’s motto and it goes as follows: God is first, others are second, and i am third. it comes straight from the bible, in matthew 22: "Jesus replied: ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. this is the first and greatest commandment. and the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.’" we teach an opening devotional on the subject and then try to connect everything they learn in the week back to it. it’s really, really cool to see campers make connections and talk about ways they can be third. i think it’s one of camp t’s biggest assets, and the Lord has truly blessed it.

so, to sum it all up, this week is going really well. i haven’t been in the word in a while and i’m really missing it. however, i see this as a blessing, because it’s the first time in a while that i’ve not been in the word and have been really desiring it. it’s really just a testament to the fact that you can grow closer to God no matter what you’re doing. i truly feel closer with God than i’ve ever felt, not simply because this is a place where God and His mercy and love is preached, but also because i’ve simply been forced to rely on Him for so much.

i went to bible study this evening, which was great as always. we talked about noah and just how much he had to completely trust God. it took a hundred and twenty years to build that ark; there was no rain during that time. how difficult would it be to simply trust that there would suddenly be a flood after over a century of no rain? crazy. it’s humbling.

anyway. there’s one last thing that’s been picking away at my brain. and i don’t really know how to get it out, so i’m just going to do some word vomit here.

camp is such an emotionally demanding atmosphere. and you know what, it’s okay, because i’m here and that’s why i’m here, to invest in these kids. my beautiful, wise mother is good to tell me that i have to look out for myself first and to not over-extend myself to try and change the lives of every camper i encounter. and she’s right, of course (she knows me so well… love you SO much, mom!); it benefits no one if i do that, because it’ll end in burnout. but i am here to invest in kids’ lives.

that being said, one of the most challenging things i’ve experienced in these past four and a half weeks is balancing my camp investment (that sounds odd, but it makes perfect sense to me) with my social/home/college/friend investments. there are simply so many people i want to know about and catch up with that i’m slowly finding it difficult to catch up with anyone. i don’t know if that makes any sense, and i apologize if i’m just rambling. but God has been really been revealing me that i need to slow down, through wise counsel and just past experience. so i’m going to listen to Him.

i would envy prayers for continued energy and patience. that i could be treating each week of campers like they’re the first week, and that i would be able to balance my investment. and despite what i just got done writing, i do enjoy hearing from all of you! even if i don’t reply, i very much enjoy hearing from the outside world 🙂 i thank you all for your continued prayers and thoughts, and please be encouraged that God is answering them in full!

i’ll end with encouragement to you all that God is enough. He is enough to sustain all of us and still have a personal relationship that is unique and beautiful with each of us. He never burns out. He is eternal and eternally there for you. for me. and He loves. oh, how He loves us.

praise God for beautiful truth.

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2 thoughts on “week three: exhaustion.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m back readin yo posts!
    Honestly, your level of faith really amazes me. In this one post, I did a command + F and found 9 uses of “Him.” That doesn’t count He, God, Lord, etc. Wow, Bradley. It’s amazing not only how much the Lord loves you, but how much YOU love HIM.
    I find that the times I am not reading the Word or even praying consistently, I can still really really feel God. It’s not like I can’t when I am obedient and diligent, but I just can really feel Him. And it’s a whole different ball game to be completely slacking and know you’re slacking, and still feel His hand and His care and to know that truly He is with you, even if you didn’t read that day.
    I appreciated the shout out to your mama.
    You often don’t realize that God is all you need to sustain you until He is the only thing that can possibly sustain you.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m back readin yo posts!

    Honestly, your level of faith really amazes me. In this one post, I did a command + F and found 9 uses of “Him.” That doesn’t count He, God, Lord, etc. Wow, Bradley. It’s amazing not only how much the Lord loves you, but how much YOU love HIM.

    I find that the times I am not reading the Word or even praying consistently, I can still really really feel God. It’s not like I can’t when I am obedient and diligent, but I just can really feel Him. And it’s a whole different ball game to be completely slacking and know you’re slacking, and still feel His hand and His care and to know that truly He is with you, even if you didn’t read that day.

    I appreciated the shout out to your mama.

    You often don’t realize that God is all you need to sustain you until He is the only thing that can possibly sustain you.

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