Lately I've been finding myself dwelling on the past. Okay, every day. And part of me knows it's not super healthy, but at the same time I know that it's good to reflect on what God has done in your life.
I was driving back to Manhattan from Wichita a couple weeks ago and a song came on (I can't remember which song...I think something by Matt Redman?) and I immediately got this tight feeling in my chest, because it was something that we sang at Survive.
For those of you who don't know, Survive was the church camp I went to in high school at SOTO (Shepherd of the Ozarks) in Arkansas; but the awesome thing was that it wasn't just a church camp. It was a week that challenged you physically and pushed you past your comfort zone; it pushed you spiritually, and I can say that I have never felt God move so strongly anywhere other than I did at Survive. I met Christ there and I saw people come to Christ whom I never thought would.
I can still smell the cabins and the river if I think hard enough about it. I can hear the chants of the different tribes that we were put into for the week. I can feel the wood from the travois digging into my back as we carried our tribe members down the river. I can remember the fear that hit me as I walked a rope 30 feet above the ground. I can remember hiking to the Goat Cave during free time with my friends and pulling Kyle down the river because he broke his ankle. And I can taste those delicious chicken enchiladas that Linda always made for us.
And I'm telling you when I smell bug spray the first thing I think of: night mission. You could walk out of the cabin and almost suffocate in the cloud of bug spray everyone left behind. Or if you wanted to smell it all the time all you had to do was step into the boys room because they never fully understood the "only apply bug spray outside."
But the thing that will always remain the most vivid to me is sitting in the meeting room of the big cabin, listening to Jeff teach us from the Word and watching as it hit people and seeing the Spirit move in peoples' lives. I listened to students as young as 12 or 13 telling stories of what God was doing in their hearts and watched as friends came forward to be prayed for and to confess sin.
Gosh. I miss it. I haven't been back to SOTO in almost 3 years. And when I think about it I think how much God has brought me through since then.
I keep all my journals and as I read back through things from that first summer at SOTO I fall in love with God all over again. I was so on fire for God when I left that week, and I haven't lost that fire, but rather it is a more constant, steady fire.
I think about Survive and my old youth group often, because I believe that God worked great things in us and still is. I believe we had something that a lot of youth groups don't have, and that was a drive to lead and a drive to make our lives look different, not just on Sundays, but EVERY day. And it was awesome. I lived for Wednesday nights when we all got to be together and be challenged.
I don't really have a point here I guess. Just feeling extra-nostalgic today. And if you are reading this and you feel like God is calling you away from something that you feel is amazing, it's OK. Follow Him. Because we all have to grow up. The seed gets planted and then it has to grow. It has to go out and be planted in others. I had the worst freshman year of college because I missed high school so much, but if none of us had ever left, God couldn't prepare us for the future in what He wants for us.