Monday, August 4, 2014

Un-Pause

Last week we were at camp with our junior high and high school students from church. This makes my 4th time as a counselor at this particular camp, and (I think) my 13th time serving as a counselor in general for weekend and weeklong retreats and camps. Fun fact: If you add up the days, that's about two months of my life! :)

When we arrived at camp, one of the first things the speaker said is that for the six days at camp, our lives at home would be on pause. My first thought was Right. Pause? I can't go an hour without thinking about something we have to do or plan or fix. But quickly, I embraced the paused life. I became absorbed in camp life, in our hilarious students, in the loud music, in the energetic games, in what God wanted to tell me while away from home. I can't fully explain why, but this year seemed easy. I absolutely loved being around our youth group and found myself wanting to be more involved than I usually am. The lack of cell and Internet service felt strange at first...and then it was wonderful. No dings to announce that I had an email to respond to; no concern with what others were up to on Instagram or Facebook; no conversations that weren't held face-to-face. I was the most present I have been in a very long time.

And then Saturday came, and we packed ourselves up and drove back down to real life. All too soon, life was un-paused. My mind immediately shifted to work, to upcoming travels, to church ministries, to family concerns, to house and yard work, to our adoption plans. Once cell service kicked in, all of our phones woke up with the week's activity, and we scrambled to get caught up. For the first time in my many years of serving as a counselor, I wished I was back at camp. Me! An adult who normally is counting down the days to sleep in her own bed in her own home and have her own life back–I wanted a few more days. I wanted life to be paused again.

Of course, that simply cannot be. We are not made to live our lives on pause. Paul's words ring true today as they did when he wrote them: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus. We're made to run, to give everything we've got to reach the goal of Christ.

I think that's the key, though. Too often, I find myself just running, pouring out all my energy into  whatever challenge or task is in front of me. But that's not what Paul said. "My goal is to know Him," Paul writes. Our goal, our prize, our purpose is all the same, not simply to overcome the challenge in front of us but to get as close to Christ as we possibly can, running with all of our might to reach Him. The goal isn't to make it just beyond the obstacle, though I often live that way. The goal is Christ. And the amazing thing is that for those of us who love Him, our goal and prize are the same: Christ Himself.

I hope this truth stays close to my heart this year, and that I find myself closer to my prize than ever before.



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