Over the next few Journey posts, we are going to take a look at Journey from the perspective of an intern. My hope is that this gives each of us an insider’s view of the discipleship and experience components of Journey as an intern. In addition to these things, I know that there is a lot we can each learn from this most recent group of interns and am privileged to share their stories with you. Enjoy!
---- Abi Thompson on Camp Highland ----
Boundaries. I’ve never had boundaries in my life. Not really strong ones at least. I’ve always “followed my heart” to the many places it’s led me in this world. And, as things seem to do, part of my world fell apart the week before Journey began. I went into it looking for a community that simply agreed with me and supported me. I guess part of me was also looking for approval from a guy.
I’ve heard people refer to God as our protector, but I always associated that with physical things. He protects us from harm. He protects us in battle. He protects us from evil. But what I learned and experienced at Camp Highland was a different kind of protection. My preacher has taught several times on guarding our hearts and the hearts of others but I never really understood what that was, what it was supposed to look like, or feel like. Then the Amazing Race happened.
Our group was paired off into teams and every team was a guy-girl pair –every team but mine. My initial reaction was an overwhelming sense of jealousy. I was jealous that the other girls got to hang out with the guys. But, as God always does, He let me know that this was His way of protecting my heart. Suddenly, I didn’t care about the guys talking to me. I simply cared about getting to know my beautiful teammate, Alyson. I cared about what else God was going to teach me that day. It was as if instantly my eyes were opened to why I was really on this ten week journey – to realize just how much I am loved by the one person that is capable of loving me perfectly, just the way I desire to be loved.
Throughout our week at camp, I found myself entering into beautiful friendships with the ladies, and for the first time in my life, true Godly relationships with the guys. I felt a freedom I had never felt before. Part of that probably came from the fact none of us had showered in three days, but at the core of that freedom, was Jesus. All week I felt as if a shield had been placed around my heart. Nothing came into my heart that shouldn’t be there, things that were meant to stay, stayed, and nothing formed that shouldn’t exist. It was because of this freedom that I found myself able to encourage and speak truth into my teammates. From this freedom came the confidence to share my story without worrying what others were going to think. I finally realized that it wasn’t MY story, but a rather a small part of God’s.
One week in the north mountains of Georgia was all it took for me to realize that the things God has planned for me really are better and more glorious than anything I could ever plan or want for myself. Most people don’t like boundaries. But when you encounter them in a way that helps you grow, you learn to really appreciate them. What I learned in one week carried on throughout the summer and it continues to shape me to this day. My friendships have changed, my desires have changed, and most importantly, my perspective has changed.
When you walk with Christ within the boundaries He’s set up for you, the things that happen can only be explained with one word: God.