Last week, I was a leader at Soul Survivor Camp, a day camp in my hometown. The purpose of the camp, and the reason I got involved, was to teach kids about Christ in a fun-filled environment. I’d never done something like that before. I mean, growing up I attended many a Bible study and youth group meeting, of course. And I’ve done some babysitting.
But I’ve never had such a position of responsibility, where I could be the example: a good one or a bad one, depending upon my behavior. So I prayed quite a bit about my upcoming week at camp for the month leading up to it. I prayed that lives would be changed, that kids would begin to understand that we’re all lost and that Christ is the only One who can save us. I prayed that I would be granted wisdom for dealing with difficult situations and even that I’d be able to stay upbeat and loving, regardless of how I felt. I was a little nervous, but I prayed that I’d be able to turn that nervousness into energy; that I’d be able to trust God instead.
First of all, the week was fun. I loved nearly every minute. It’s not for everyone, but I really enjoyed hanging out with a big group of 10-year-old girls. They’re not worried about makeup or tanning or losing weight; they don’t pay too much attention to boys. They just run and play and laugh and swim and give hugs freely and…act like kids, because they are kids. And it is refreshing. More importantly, though? Girls from our group decided to accept Christ. Quite a few, in fact. I was incredibly blessed through getting the opportunity to pray with several of them about this, on the last day of camp. A light rain was falling, many of the girls were- through courage or curiosity or conviction- asking important questions and making important decisions, and it was a special, special day that I will always remember.
And I wanted to share something that I realized when the week was over: I now see beauty differently.
I know I write about beauty and self-image quite often on Modest Exaggeration. I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m saying the same thing over and over, but I feel beauty is an incredibly important topic, and I feel it’s a topic God has been teaching me a lot about. Last week, I realized I truly believe that…
Beauty is holding hands, closing your eyes, and hearing kids pray out loud to God maybe for the first time. Beauty is surrendering, letting yourself be pushed into the pool with your clothes on by laughing 10-year-olds, thrilled to play in the water. Beauty is beaming faces with dimples and freckles and no makeup, arms always wrapping around you for nonstop hugs. Beauty is forgetting what your hair looks like and listening to what others have to say and making them smile. Beauty is laughing so hard you cry, giving piggyback rides through sprinklers, knowing how silly you probably look dancing, but dancing your heart out anyway. Beauty is bowing your head and thanking God together, multiple times a day. Beauty is knowing that the “first shall be last” and vice-versa, and living that way, living last.
I want to learn to be that way, all the time. I know it won’t be easy, but I also know it’s right. I want to sacrifice my selfish wants and habits; and I know that’s a prayer that God’s gonna answer- in His time, in His way. I’m gonna mess up, and I’m gonna mess up a lot. But I’m also gonna grow, because He is good.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”