Camp is always an amazing experience. I had forgotten how amazing it can be. I have a million stories to tell and pictures to show, and I am sure I will get around to them after I get back from the beach in a week. But all of those can wait. I want to take the time to talk about something much more important. I want to talk about the real reason I went. Part of my cannot believe I am about to put this on the internet for all to see, but here goes...
When I first talked to Jeff the camp director, I was really excited about going back. But in the weeks leading up to camp, I found myself experiencing more and more fear. There were so many things I was afraid of -- that I would do a bad job, that they would be disappointed, the kids would not respond, or that one of another 1000 things would go wrong and the whole experience would be a disaster. Every day in the two weeks leading up to leaving, I almost called to back out. The fear was paralyzing. I have learned through experience that giving in to my fear is never the best thing to do, but resisting this time was exceptionally difficult.
Some pretty significant stuff happened while I was there. While the experience was lots of fun, there were times that were really hard. I didn't know anyone on staff, and I was pretty lonely. Figuring out what music would work and what would not was a challenge. The learning curve for a lot of what I had to do was steep, and the stakes were high. It was hard. Probably the most significant thing happened Friday night before I left. I sat with Holly, the camp director's daughter who had been on staff the summers I was there, and we looked at photo albums from the summers we worked together. As I looked at those pictures, so much came flooding back to me, so many memories and experiences, some good, but some not so good.
I have a strange reaction to looking at pictures of my past. I find it very upsetting. I look at the person in the pictures and I remember being in that moment and I want to cry -- not because I miss it, but more often that not because I remember how much I was not enjoying myself. Which brings me to the point of this long post, and the reason I am so afraid to publish this.
The reason I get so upset looking at old pictures is because, for my whole life, from as early as I can remember, I have wrestled with self-hatred. And I truly believe that the reason God pulled me out of my normal life and sent me back to Camp Bethel was so that I could understand how that is affecting me, and realize God wants to deal with it for good. I know that it is sin, but it has only been in the past year or so that I have known that. The problem is dealing with something that is so toxic, but has been so ingrained in me for my whole life. It is at the root of so many other things. And once again, I am scared.
I have no idea why I feel compared to share all this with the world, and maybe tomorrow I will lose my nerve and take this entry down. But I know that most of the people who read this care about me and will pray for me. I have a suspicion that is what I will need most.