Applying to be a part of our Summer Staff is not a short task. There is a several page application exploring your technical skills, discovering your personality, and digging into your spiritual beliefs. The interview team wants to ensure that everyone who is given a chance to serve on our staff is real, honest, and open to God moving in their lives. Really we can teach anyone the technical skills of working at a summer camp, but the heart is something that God molds.
All applicants are asked to write a 1-2 page personal statement. They are to answer how they will live out our mission statement, Offering ways for all to encounter life, love, and the God of grace.
This is Lily Johnson’s Personal Statement, answering how she plans to live out Lakeshore’s mission statement in her life and time here during the summer. Lily’s has graciously allowed us to share her direct words. This summer she will be serving as our Female WO RC, which stands for Wilderness Oxley Resident Counselor. Lily will alternate weeks between our Camp Hope Series (aka Oxley), working with at-risk Jr & Sr High girls, and our Wilderness Camps.
The transition from a full time volunteer counselor to a potential summer staff member should be a natural one, yet I never imagined that I would have ever considered applying until several months ago. I’ve spent over three summers at camp, and I’ve never felt like I’e succeeded in becoming the counselor that I wanted to be. Maybe I got upset with myself if I took my break, maybe I ran out of things to talk about at the lunch table, or maybe one night all I really wanted to do was sleep, theses little things were holding me back from seeing what God is doing in this camp.
I was too focuses on being perfect to let myself be a mess for my campers. Let’s get real. I am no way shape or for perfect. I’ve got a closet potty mouth. I am self-conscious beyond belief. I struggle with anxiety. I’ve been in therapy for over a year. My dad has chosen to not be a part of my life, but he has chosen to interact with my brother. Sometimes things get really hard, but in no way do ANY of these things define me. They make up a part of my story, but they aren’t my story. My story, isn’t even my story anymore, its’ all God’s, if you really step back and think about it.
Just because I’m in love with Jesus doesn’t make everything go away, but it give me a hope for a day when brokenness is no more. This hope is for my own self and my best friend and even the stranger sitting next to me in Starbucks while I passionately type this. (I’m pretty sure he is nervous, because I am slamming these keys so hard!! I don’t know how much more passionately to express it!)
Jesus has turned me upside down, told me that this life is a good thing full of adventure, passion, giggles, nights filled with staying up late talking about this that and the everything in between, and sometimes even heartbreak (and that’s even a good thing because it means that I am full of God-given, compassion filled emotions.)
God is changing lives; he’s changing mine and he’s doing it through this ministry. He is teaching me that I am good enough, whether I get this job or not, I am good enough for his kingdom. I’m good enough to serve him. I am worthy of experiencing his love, in the full. Guilt cannot overcome me; if I am tired, it will point to my weakness apart from God; if I need to rest through a break at camp, I will acknowledge that to take care of others I must take care of myself.
I am not only experiencing satisfaction from Jesus through camp, but in y daily life. I’ve spent February fasting from makeup, and intend on giving up weighing myself on a scale for lent. I am taking active steps towards seeking to understand only a small entity of the unfathomable beauty of God. This past year has been one of exponential growth in the way that I see the world; I am learning to find my happiness int eh love that pours over me from friends and family or the way the sun rises on my way to school. Sometimes the jokes on the back of a Laffy Taffy are all I need to make me realize that God is oh so present in every single moment of our lives; he is our joy and I don’t want to be anywhere besides rooted in his love.
What an incredible opportunity I have to spend the summer sharing not just Jesus, with Lakeshore, but my whole life; there will be good days, and there will be bad days, but I want to be the imperfect being I am, so that my life can point all the more to my perfect creator. I want my life to be a testament to the phrase that, ” If Jesus is for me, than he sure is for you.” I want to dive into my faith with my co-workers, my campers, and my world. If I am given the opportunity to be a part of the Lakeshore community this summer, I want to give all of myself.
I am ready to get real with people. It’s time we start listening, and then living life with those around us. Camp is an escape from the real world, but this community is real, we all experience brokenness and hurt, yet our common bond is never failing, Jesus. I want to learn to love him in everything; I want to encounter Christ in new ways.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have absolutely no idea what I am doing with my life, but the potential that Christ places within us is boundless. In these moments, even preceding camp, I will make an active choice to seek God in the seemingly insignificant, and transform it into intentional acts of worship. Whether I am in Eva, TN or this Starbucks in Memphis, TN I want my life to reflect the goodness and grace of God.