The morning sun shone through my window straight into my face. I opened my tired eyes, blinded by the light, and groaned inwardly, “What have I gotten myself into?” It was the first day of Kid’s Camp, and I was a counselor to three crazy kids.
This year, my church’s children’s ministry had 60 children going. Most of these kids were boys, so they desperately needed male counselors. When I was asked to be one six months earlier, I accepted without a second thought, but that early Monday morning hit me hard with reality.
Panicked thoughts raced through my mind: “I’m not a parent. I’m barely an adult myself. These kids are going to drive me nuts. I will have no clue what I’m doing.” All these fears that sprang up inside me were proven true over the course of the week. But there were many other things that were also proven true over and over again. These kids were amazing. They loved Jesus and wanted to learn more about Him. I connected with them like a big brother and was able to be an example to them. Not only did I teach them, they taught me. God used these kids to teach me, like He used a little child on His lap 2000 years ago to teach His disciples about faith.
The biggest teaching moment was a lesson on perfection. When I was younger, I wanted to be pretty much the perfect kid, and later, the perfect teen. I wanted to get straight A’s and be a perfect student. I wanted to say all the right things, do all the right things, and never get in trouble. Now I want to be a perfect young adult. I want to hang out with the right people, get the right degree, get the right job, and never make a mistake. I want to make my parents proud and impress everyone around me. I wanted everything in my life to go just the way I wanted it.
I also wanted to be a perfect camp counselor. I wanted to get my kids to where they needed to be on time. I wanted to get them to bed and get them up on time. I wanted to get them to keep their cabin room clean (as if that was gonna happen with 12-year-old boys). I wanted to say all the right things, pour out divine, spiritual truths and have perfect, enlightening devotional times with them. Obviously, I wasn’t able to do anything perfectly. Nothing went exactly the way I wanted it to. That’s just the way it is with kids. Really, that’s the way it is with life!
But God spoke to me through this crazy, messy week. During an adult gathering we were asked to map out our walk with God: past present, and where we think God will lead us in the future. As I thought over this and wrote out the key moments in my life leading up to now, I could see God’s hand moving in everything: my successes, failures, mistakes, sins, victories, and ordinary people, things and events. When I was finished, I surveyed this list. Not a single one of the defining moments of my life was really planned by me. All of it was God.
I was asked that day to give control of my life over to God. The illusion that I have control over my life had to stop. If I continued to keep pursuing my own perfection instead of Christ’s perfection, I would achieve nothing. I needed to have the faith that these kids had, knowing that when things got messy and crazy it’s best to do what you have to do and leave the rest to God. I have to daily give God the control that was always His to begin with. I must do what He has commanded and leave the rest in His mighty hands.
Looking back over this past week, everything good that happened at camp wasn’t my counseling, or the staffers’ investment, or the production of the camp. Every child that grew in their walk, every kid that got saved, every adult that was blessed, it was all God’s work. It was all in His plan.
I’m realizing, I don’t need to be perfect; I don’t have to be perfect. All I need is Jesus. He’s already perfect. He’s got a perfect plan of redemption. And He has a perfect plan for my life.
“Let go, and let God” – Unknown
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” – Proverbs 3:5-6
“Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2 (emphasis added)