Working at summer camp is like being under a microscope inside an incubator.Everything seems like a bigger deal than it really is: all the issues are magnified, and problems between people heat up. Personality differences surface, stress creates conflict, and I get the opportunity to clearly see my ugly sin-nature every day. Yay me…
Camp tends to show you who you really are, and sometimes it’s not pretty. So far I’ve learned that I am an emotional control freak. But, I would rather rant about an issue than actually try to solve it, particularly if it involves confrontation. (Sound familiar to any of you?) I’m not very good at giving things to God and resting. Minding my own business is hard.
But, there are moments when I am a loving, generous, caring woman with a true servant’s heart. Moments when I feel God’s Presence and listen to His voice, when I get to pray with people and share Jesus’ love. It’s like two versions of myself are at war in my heart. Wait, didn’t Paul talk about that? Yes, he did, in Romans 7.
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing… For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:15-25
I can totally identify with Paul right now. When life is smooth and things are going my way, it’s easier to think that I’ve got it together, that I’m not that bad, and that I can do it on my own. But when life gets bumpy, and I lose control, I see a side off myself that shocks and horrifies me. The other night I could literally feel the battle. I was in the middle of an emotional rant to my “safe person” and the Holy Spirit started poking me and telling me to stop, but my angry sin nature was telling me it’s fine. Agh!! So hard!!
How can there be these two Christy’s living inside of me? Who am I really?
I know that I’m a sinner, a wretched mess, but I am also a forgiven child of the King, blameless because of Jesus and filled with a power that is not my own. How is this possible?
Welcome to the backwards, inside-out, impossible Kingdom of Jesus Christ!
There really is a war happening inside of us every day. Working at camp just happens to magnify it for me. And you know what? That war isn’t going to stop until we see Jesus face to face and He gives us new sinless bodies. It’s a process, friends, and it’s not easy. But there is good news: we do not have to fight alone!
Which brings me to this question: what if it’s not actually about fighting our sin nature? What if it’s about surrender? If we surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit, He will fight for us! But that’s the hard part. Surrender is hard!
Ranting feels good. Those people are wrong. Where is the justice? Someone needs to do something! And I’m supposed to let go and surrender?
And like that, we are back to the battle, the war waged in our own hearts…holding on or letting go. Will we let go of control and allow the Holy Spirit to take over? Allow Him to change us? To give us power to live like Jesus?
It’s a constant battle for me right now. A battle that is in my face thanks to an awesome place called summer camp. 🙂 If I stop and think, I know what I desperately want. I want peace and joy despite my circumstances. I want to laugh and live and love with a passion bigger than me. That kind of life is only found in Jesus…and it’s worth every fight to surrender!