I will run the course of Your commandments,During an Olympic "Pressing on" themed week, it's interesting that this verse ended my devotions the first morning of camp. At the time I just caught on to the last phrase and prayed for an open heart, but now it hits me how well the whole verse captures the repetitive thought and feel of that week: Running the course of God's commands. Running the race of faith. A heart that's open to serving others.
For You shall enlarge my heart.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.Holy and acceptable to God. Following His commands. That's reasonable. That's not too much to ask.
I'm pretty much terrible at summarizing events really well with a neat and tidy essay of what I learned, but I would use those two verses as the keys to a lot of my thoughts.
But I think everything I really took away from Joni and Friends were all things I learned from watching others.
- Christ centered
Not self focused. Being self-centered is the sin I've been seeing most in myself the past few months.
So many people at Camp Joni were the opposite of this. Even in the small things. They'd walk by me during the middle of the day, say hello, and ask, "How is your day going?" when they were definitely the ones who had the harder job of both of us.
They weren't trying to, but every time they'd ask me how I was doing it was a guilty reminder that I had only really been thinking about myself and hadn't thought to ask them the same question.
Also, I don't know for sure, but possibly one of the reasons it was good for me to be in the Sib Program instead of having a camper was that if I had a camper I probably would have been a lot more focused on what I was doing and how "much" I was giving instead of looking at the situation thinking, "Well God, I really don't feel like I'm doing much of anything right now. So please use this small, small situation (in my eyes) and work through me anyway, even in something that doesn't seem like it's making a big difference."
I think sometimes it takes more of God's grace to serve in small ways. To notice the small things, to be willing to do them for the right reasons, not for the recognition.
It's easier in many ways to go on a mission trip to a different country than it is to go weed the garden right after breakfast when you have a list of things you'd been planning to do instead.
I was so impressed by all the prayer during Camp Joni. First in the tour where we stopped every so often and prayed for safety during the week. During the "commission" time before the families came. And to top it off, the end where Liz wanted to pray with us before we left.
Praying with people is special. I think it'd be way more meaningful if someone is going through a hard time, if we stop the conversation and what we're doing right there and offer to pray with them. Not just say quickly, "I'll try to be praying for you guys."
I don't realize how important and special prayer is, but I got a small taste, and I want more.
- Reaching out to people
Introvert, extrovert, or not... I want to be able to have Christ's love shining through me. And I want to be able to forget about myself (again, with the self-centered part) enough to be able to focus on others and what their needs are. To be able to make people feel at ease, too. To have them feel Christian love and fellowship and want that.
While I was with some of the people there, I couldn't really believe that I had just met them in the last few days.
Seriously, if you had asked me to bet money on the fact that I hadn't known them a week earlier, I would have had a tough time doing that. My brain said I just met them, my heart said, "You've known these people forever." They were my family.
- Not judging personality on looks
It's easy to have compassion for people who are disabled or just different if they are cute kids or good looking.
It's hard when they can't focus their eyes or control movements. But sometimes they are family too. God's children. And my discomfort being around them or unwillingness to serve them is like saying, "They don't matter." But they do.
Give me Your eyes, that I may love the broken and the ugly - (the ones who are probably more humble then I am.) The ones who worship with less pride then I do. The ones who You gave Your life for - may I give my life as a sacrifice to You by serving them.
Enlarge my heart, let me see with new eyes. Give me strength to run the course of Your commands. Give me strength and a willing heart to give my all for You by letting go of all my selfishness and pride.