So you’re headed to camp and maybe for the very first time. Perhaps you are shy and you would rather not get involved. Perhaps those feelings have come from being rejected. Perhaps you feel you have nothing to offer. I’ve been there, and here’s what I’ve learned from my own experiences.
When I was in high school, I tried very hard to be included. I tried out for many different activities, but I always seemed to be the one sitting on the bench or not chosen. It made me feel rejected, stupid and worthless. Because of this rejection, I carried a sense of worthlessness into my adult life. I was afraid to volunteer for things, because I felt I had nothing to offer. I feared that I would only mess up and embarrass myself. It was easier not to try.
While many of us lament that we have little or no talent, that we possess no “gifts” or special abilities, there are others with much greater handicaps who are simply doing. Take Mary Clough, for instance.
Mary has Down syndrome. Despite her limitations, Mary contributes. According to Steve Goodier’s Newsletter at www.bestinspiration.com, she is a volunteer teacher at the school she attended many years ago. Mary works with 2 and 3-year-olds, some with Down syndrome and some without. Among other tasks, she helps with puzzles, reads stories, and teaches the kids a variety of athletic activities. “We care about little kids here,” she says. “We set examples for them.”
Mary uses her knowledge and experiences to serve others. She is making a difference in the lives of others. How can we become more like Mary and avoid the self-pity trap that Satan wants us all to fall into? How can we get past the attitude that we have nothing to offer?
Two ways to overcome your feelings that you have nothing to offer:
1. Step out!
This means to ask God to encourage you and help you to find your talent, and then step out in faith, knowing He is there to help you.
I decided to do something about my sense of worthlessness. I got on my knees and asked God to give me talents that I could use to help others. He answered that prayer in ways greater than I could even imagine! The doors blew open, and I was able to do things that I never thought possible.
God gave me talents to use for His glory. I had to step out of my sense of worthlessness and shyness and volunteer.
God gave me talents to use for His glory. I had to step out of my sense of worthlessness and shyness and volunteer. For me that included signing that dreaded volunteer list. I went from helping out with potlucks to organizing them. I was given the opportunity to organize fundraisers and other activities. I went from someone who felt she had nothing to offer to someone who had much to give. Why? Because I asked God. Does God answer our prayers? You bet! But we have to ask. Jesus taught us: “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” We also read in Luke 11:11 Luke 11:11If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
American King James Version×: “If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?”
God wants to give us good things that we can use to help others. We must first ask. Your Father in heaven is there for you, and you are never too young to learn and realize that! Realize that not only are your parents special in God’s eyes, but you are as well. He is there for you, waiting for you to just ask Him. He loves you so much that He gave His only begotten Son. Jesus Christ willingly sacrificed His life for you! So ask God to give you talents that you can use to help others.
But is this all we are required to do? Do we just ask God and then wait for God to magically present us with talents? No! We have to take action, in faith, knowing that God will help us. Taking action helps you to find your talents. So step out in prayer and in action!
2. Reach out!
Encourage others to be the best that they can be. There are others who feel the same way you do.
“You can do it!” I still remember those loud words yelled out to me years ago, and I have never forgotten the effect they had on me.
We were at a church picnic, and one of the activities was a ladies softball game. I hated sports and was never good at them. But my motto in life that I have tried to live by is “take part and be supportive”—even at a picnic softball game.
I was not bad at batting. It was catching and throwing the ball that was my downfall. If I threw the ball, it seemed to just drop in front of me. So I hated the outfield! It was humiliating for me.
Well, it was time for our team to go to the outfield. I grabbed the glove and took a position as far out into the field as I could get. Glove in hand, I was praying fervently, asking God, “Please don’t let that ball come in my direction!”
I thought I was safe, because I had gone out into the field as far as I could go. “No one will hit the ball out here,” I told myself.
Well, the unthinkable happened! I could hear the bat crack and, to my surprise, the ball was headed in my direction, whizzing past the other outfielders. All I could do was open up my glove and hope for the best. Then, all of a sudden, I heard this loud voice from the crowd saying, “You can do it!” Those words gave me the courage to reach out and catch that ball. I’ve never forgotten that experience.
The power of encouragement should never be underestimated. We all need it, and we all need to give it in order to make it in this life. While it is easy to find fault with one another, encouragement is often more needed. Make the words, “you can do it” a part of your vocabulary.
Look for ways to reach out and encourage a fellow camper. God commands us to do it! Hebrews 10:24 Hebrews 10:24And let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works:
American King James Version×says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.”
“Encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 1 Thessalonians 5:11Why comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do.
American King James Version×, New International Version). It doesn’t take much time, but the results can be amazing! Consider what it did for me in that outfield!
Camp will be such a wonderful opportunity and a memorable experience for you if you take full advantage of all that camp has to offer. What a golden opportunity to grow!
So have courage and remember these two steps: step out and reach out! Step out and get involved in as many activities as you can while asking God for help in your insecurities, and then reach out to encourage your fellow campers. Seize the moment to make this year the best camp experience ever!