Our first staffer of the summer arrived 107 days ago. Today marks only the 6th day since May 13th that camp has been empty, void of summer staff, guests, campers and the flood of activity that hosting folks provides. Welcome relief? Maybe just a little, but as Corie mentioned last week, give us a week or two off and we would love to start all over again.
With the responsibility of caring for others, whether they are 6 year olds running around camp, 20-somethings on staff or adults here for a retreat, you might imagine that we have been just a tad busy. Finding time for life outside of camp has pretty much been impossible. I spent most of the last 3 months without seeing what my house looks like with lights on as I snuck in around midnight and eased out around 6:00 each morning trying not to wake anyone. During the craze, I go days without seeing my 2 year old; sometimes a week or more passes without getting to hug him or give him a high five. As bad as it sounds, it was August before I felt like my newborn son was actually mine, despite it being over 2 months since I brought him home from the hospital. I often referred to him as “the baby” or “it” this summer because we just didn’t get to bond much during that time. Were he not ‘sleeping’ (a more accurate word would be ‘staying’) in our room at night, I probably wouldn’t have seen him for days/ weeks at a time either. Though my wife worked really, really hard to let me sleep, Carson managed to keep me awake about as many hours as he let me sleep this summer. We were on the 2 on, 2 off schedule. With about 5 hours to sleep at night, you can imagine what that did to me.
Needless to say, I’ve been BUSY and I need a break! A week spent in total silence away from everyone seems very appealing right now.
Do you ever feel that way? Are you overwhelmed with what life is throwing at you? I bet in some way or another, you can relate. In times like these I’m reminded of one very simple verse I learned as a child. Psalm 46:10 reminds me to “Be still, and know that I am God;”. At a previous camp I directed, we had that verse painted on an old piece of plywood, nailed to a tree beside the campfire area. The weather had taken it’s toll on the old worn out sign, but the message was as clear as day. I would often find myself sitting there on a bench, looking over the lake thinking about a thousand things before my eyes would wander over to that gentle reminder. The peace that would fill my soul when I finally just sat still and reveled in the creation around me was profound. Turning off the world and listening to the frogs, crickets, streams, wind, leaves and birds – all of those things God created and cares for – reminded me of how truly big my God is and how little my “busyness” really matters. How refreshing to sit in such a natural environment and connect with my Maker in this sort of indescribable way. Taking a few moments to slow down and marvel at the world He made around us can really put our “daily grind” into new perspective.
As our life becomes increasingly reliant on technology, all things digital, ridiculous schedules and crazy deadlines, I challenge you to take some time to just Be Still. Slow Down. Take a Break. Spending some time alone, in the quiet of the morning or the still of night may do you just as much good as it does me. I encourage you to find a spot outside, in a park, by a river, near a pond or just under an old oak tree and truly be still. We spend a lot of time talking, reading, studying and praying, but are you ever just still? Do you ever just sit and listen. It’s amazing what God might reveal to you in those quiet moments. Go ahead and give it a shot. Slow down, listen and see if God doesn’t speak to you in the stillness.