From the LYWB.com Team: We love summer! We especially love summer camp! We hope you have plans to retreat this summer to study God’s Word (and hurl some water balloons). But since we want you to love and serve Jesus with your whole heart 365 days a year, we pulled this post from our archives. Before you roll up your sleeping bag and pack the bug spray, check out this post.
Dear Summer Camp Girl,
Right now you’re in summer camp mode. You’re either getting ready to go to camp, at camp, or just returning from camp. And that means you’ve changed a few things.
- Your church friends are your very best friends right now. You can’t imagine life without them.
- You’re reading your Bible a lot these days.
- You want to do really big things for God.
- If you’re not in a relationship, the guys you are interested in right now are summer camp boys. You really want a guy who loves Jesus.
- If you are in a relationship, you are focused on Jesus together. You’ve been praying together more often. You’re hyper-aware of God’s call to purity.
- You love that he loves Jesus.
- You’re happy. You’re not stressed-out about your grades or making first chair in band. You seem . . . free.
- You probably have a pretty great tan, too!
I like these changes, but here’s the deal: I’m you, the rest of the year. I’m the version of you who isn’t at church camp or coming down from the spiritual high you get there. And I see some big differences between you and me. Let me break it down.
Summer Camp Girl chooses wise friends; Rest of the Year Girl, not so much.
Right now you’re surrounded by other people who love Jesus, and that makes it easier for you to:
- Say “no” to sin.
- Pursue holiness.
- Reject the culture.
- Be passionate about your faith.
I guess that shouldn’t surprise us; the Bible tells us that the people we hang out with impact how we live.
Proverbs 27:17 says it this way: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
Your Christian friends are sharpening your character, sharpening your focus, and sharpening your passion. You are doing the same for them. So why is it that you gravitate toward unwise friends the rest of the year?
Proverbs 13:20 is a promise you can take to the bank:
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
If you’ve found wise, Jesus-loving friends this summer, keep them close.
Don’t ditch your summer camp friends once school starts. Don’t convince yourself you don’t need your youth group once life returns to normal. If you’ve found wise, Jesus-loving friends this summer, keep them close. They will help you to grow in wisdom and sharpen you into a more effective tool for God’s kingdom.
Summer Camp Girl reads her Bible often; Rest of the Year Girl reads Facebook often.
Have you noticed how much the Bible changes you at camp? Have you noticed how God’s words seem to jump off the page? That’s not happening because of the change of scenery. God’s Word hasn’t moved. You have.
At church camp everyone manages to find the time to read their Bibles and pray. Then real life returns, and in the same twenty-four-hour period we just can’t seem to squeeze any Bible study in.
Make the Bible a priority year-round, not just at camp.
If you want to continue to feel the intimacy with Christ you experienced at camp and keep growing to be more like Him, you will need to make the Bible a priority year-round, not just at camp.
But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matt. 4:4).
Summer Camp Girl wants to do B-I-G things for God; Rest of the Year Girl is caught up in the little stuff.
Just this week, you walked an aisle and committed to go onto the foreign mission field or you said you felt called to marry a pastor or you gave sacrificially to a missionary in a faraway country. But I’m Rest of the Year Girl, and I know for a fact that’s not how things work for us most of the year.
Soon enough you will be too caught up in school to think much about missionaries overseas. You start planning a future based mostly on what you want, not mostly what God wants. You will remember that living a counter-cultural life comes at a cost, and that cost isn’t always fun. But I wish I could be more like you. I really, really love it when you dream big for the kingdom. I love how it feels when we think of something beyond ourselves. It makes me excited to think about what might happen if we did big things for God all year-round.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13).
Why do we have to leave the big stuff at church camp? Since God gives us strength for all things, I vote we do big things for Him year-round!
Summer Camp Girl only dates Christians; Rest of the Year Girl convinces herself that “good guys” are good enough.
I just love the guys you pick at church camp. Sure, they may not be the most popular guys, but they love Jesus, and they’re fun to be around. They respect your purity. They want a relationship with Jesus at the center.
But usually summer camp romances simply don’t last. The rest of the year, I tend to pick guys who don’t love Jesus. I convince myself that they are “good guys,” and that is good enough. But it isn’t. Dating a guy who doesn’t love Jesus feels a lot like dragging a thousand-pound weight through the mud. I guess that’s why God offers us this advice:
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Cor. 6:14).
I know that not every guy at church camp loves Jesus and lives like He calls them to, but some of them do, right? That’s proof that there are solid, Christian guys out there. We don’t have to settle! Let’s make a pact that we will only date guys like the ones we find at church camp. Deal?
Summer Camp Girl has joy and peace; Rest of the Year Girl has stress and anxiety.
I know the most important thing you have to worry about at church camp is how to win the dodgeball tournament, but I like how free you seem. Did you know that God says we can have joy and freedom every day even when life is stressful? It’s true!
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery (Gal. 5:1).
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16:11).
I really like you, Summer Camp Girl. You show me what it’s like to live a life centered on God. As you unpack your bags and stow your suitcase until next year, let me encourage you to ask yourself a few questions to keep your eyes on Jesus.
- What changes do you need to make to focus more on Jesus throughout the year?
- Who most encourages you to live a life sold out for Jesus? How can you build in more time with that person?
- Do you think it’s possible to live like Summer Camp Girl all the time? Why or why not?
I can’t wait to hear back from you.
Rest of the Year Girl