At beginning of this summer I had the sweet opportunity to attend a Young Life camp called Pioneer Plunge. Plunge is unlike most YL camps.. it is a week of living in simplicity and out of the comfort zone in the woods. It is a week of being completely cut off from technology, electricity, mirrors, make up, deodorant, razors, and just society on a whole. It is a week of being challenged and a week of absolute growth. It is a week of being broken to be built and a week of being completely rooted in Him. At the beginning of the week you commit to three things; you commit to being family, commit to being real, and commit to being alive. This summer I’ve really focused on being alive and being present.
A synonym for alive is full of life.
I want to be utterly full of life and slowly God is showing me what that looks like. Committing to being alive is committing to saying yes. Committing to being alive is committing to whimsy. And committing to being alive is committing to be present whenever and wherever. My absolute favorite quote is “Wherever you are, be all there.” and that is exactly how I’ve been trying to live this summer, but I don’t think I completely understood what that looked like until this past week.
This past week the good Lord provided me with one of the greatest opportunities – the opportunity to travel to a different nation to serve Him, to serve His people, and to serve Young Life. What I realized through that is that serving is exactly what it means to commit to being alive. Our purpose is to serve and to love without limits – and that is where we are full of life. The times I am loving and living selflessly are the times that I feel so overwhelmingly full and that’s exactly what Ecuador was for me. In every little act of service and in every conversation there was purpose and there is purpose. Committing to being alive is more than doing, it is about being.
There is a big difference between doing and being and I’m thankful that I am in the process of learning that. In Ecuador I tried my hardest to be in the moments. I tried to be alive and present in the family breakfasts in the early morning all the way to the 3 am conversations and journaling with whoever was awake at night.I tried to be alive in the painting and digging jobs. I tried to be alive despite exhaustion and mental challenges. What I began to notice in myself was that when I wasn’t trying, then the Devil himself was trying to get to me. When I wasn’t trying, I was falling into the exhaustion and falling into the mental challenges. But when I was trying, He was filling me and He was providing for me exactly what I needed. When I was trying, He was giving me those moments of being and He was giving me the fulfillment of committing to being alive.
One of the sweetest gifts the Lord gave me in Ecuador was serving through playing soccer and that was absolute fulfillment. Never have I felt more alive than in the moments of loving on Ecuadorian kids while playing soccer with them. There was purpose behind the play, there was joy in the game, and everyone was present and full of life. I was being in the moment and man those moments are too hard to capture in words. But it doesn’t just have to be me playing soccer in Ecuador to feel absolutely alive. Some times after we experience crazy trips like a mission trip we think that we can only feel that full of Jesus and that full of life when we are in another nation. But that’s far from the truth. I believe that God gives us opportunities to serve in other nations to show us just how big He is and to teach us how to love and serve bigger so that we can go back home and do exactly that.
I am both terrified and thrilled for the next year ahead of taking on college. I’m thrilled because I am ready to continue to learn more of what it means to commit to being alive.