Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What was the greatest compliment you ever received?

July 25th, 2006. Two o'clockish. The porch of the Ruby cabin at Camp Berea on Newfound Lake in Hebron, New Hampshire. I really have a horrid memory, but I remember this semi-clearly. Partly, I think, because it meant so much to me, and partly because it scarred me for life. The scarring part is me being bad at accepting compliments - simply smiling and saying "thanks" seems conceited, but not accepting the compliment is ungracious. Yay me for struggling with both.

"Hayley, you're one of the most spiritually mature girls in our program. We think God has big things in store for you."

That's what Mrs. Armstrong (no, we were supposed to call her Deb, but that was very foreign for me) said during our interview the second week of Leadership Development Camp. I kind of freaked out when she said that - I was a bit of an emotional wreck that week. I was worried about our friend Erin, it was just a month after Aaron had died so I was still sad for Kendra, I felt like a failure as a junior counselor, I had to be in three-places at once as soon as I was finished with the interview, I was frustrated my lack of character, and I was just overtired as we are at camp. Camp is awesome and stressful like that. But when Deb said that I felt all mixed up. Was I a poser? Was it wrong to be pleased and flattered that she said that? And was it wrong to compare myself to other girls there, whom I loved and respected? It was very confusing, I didn't know how to respond.

But it was incredibly encouraging. It was during those two weeks at LDC that I really learned that the Christian walk is supposed to be collaborative. I had never really talked about my walk with God to anyone else before that week. So how was I supposed to know if I was doing this right? All I knew was that I loved God and wanted to make Him happy, and when Deb and Carolyn affirmed me in that it was a release. I knew what I was supposed to do next was encourage others like they encouraged me.

What went wrong, hm? 2 John 1:8 - "Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully." Leadership Development Camp was a highlight of my life - I knew what was important and I didn't want anything else, I challenged myself, and I felt like I was where I was supposed to be in life. It's not that I wasn't occasionally sad, stressed, angry, or annoyed during those two weeks, because I was, but God gave me the grace to maintain the right perspective. And now I feel so distant from those times that I forget what they felt like. Apathy takes over too often, and each time it strikes it's a little harder to throw it off again. So I feel incredibly guilty every time I reminisce of those two weeks in LDC at Camp Berea, because I feel as though my spiritual life now is not comparable to how it was then, and because I feel guilty for comparing the two.

Interestingly enough, I felt the same way that one day of my interview with Deb and Carolyn - insufficient, fallen, mediocre. It's no good to stew over the failures, but rather I need to recognize it's not about me, but about my Savior and God.

Originally posted to Xanga on September 21, 2008

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