Saturday, August 06, 2011

After Kumbayah

I was a camp counselor for three years. Best job ever! But that's another story for another time. :-)

Camp is such an interesting environment. I remember when I was a camper. At the beginning of the week, I wouldn't know a single person there, but on Friday I had a whole new set of best friends. And when I first went to camp, I didn't know how to do half the activities, but that changed pretty quickly. I fell in love and out of love and back in love with like three different guys at camp. But most importantly, my relationship with the Lord totally took off. Something about those campfires and daily devotional times and Bible study times and chapel services made me seek after God more intensely than I'd I've done before.

Me and some of my camp forever friends!

But camp doesn't last forever. We don't always have the advantage of scheduled devotions or powerful messages every day. And that super-awesome spiritual high we sometimes feel after a week at camp (or after a retreat or conference) has a tendency to fade after a couple of weeks. What is it about things like camp and retreats that make God seem closer than He is during "regular" life? And what can we do to make our relationship with God a little stronger during the day to day, like it is when we're at camp?

Here are some of my ideas:

  • Block out a time every day for some devotional time and stick to it no matter what! At a place like camp, the schedule is made for you. You don't have any excuses. Set up your every day life to eliminate any excuses, too. 
  • Write letters to the new friends you made and talk about the experiences you shared. Sometimes talking about the memories is just as great as the memories themselves.
  • Go back and re-read any notes you might have taken during any chapel services or retreat sessions. You might come across some things you've already forgotten.
  • Choose a few of your favorite worship songs from your camp or retreat experience and put them on your iPod. 
  • Set aside some time for yourself. Sometimes the busy-ness of life is one of my biggest enemies! An hour "retreat" at Starbucks or in a quiet room can make all the difference in how I feel spiritually. 
  • Pray together. Gather a group of friends and pray about the things you're going through. Community is part of what makes camp and retreats so awesome, so be intentional about developing a similar kind of community when you come back home!
What do you think? Have you ever experienced that kind of spiritual high after camp, and then wondered where it went after a couple of weeks? How did you deal with it? 

Ashley Mays is the former Editorial Assistant for Brio and Brio & Beyond magazines and currently writes her own fiction for teens. She enjoys rock climbing, people watching in airports, and expanding her shoe collection. Ashley lives with her husband in Colorado. No, they don't ski. Learn more about Ashley on facebook or on her website:


Melissa said...

YES! The "camp high" is so incredibly common for me. Thanks for posting this! It really helps

Sierra said...

I can definitely relate to how sometimes during camp or something like hat you get high on spiratual-ness, you pray a ton and feel connected.But then when you get back home and it's been a day or two...what do you do? This is a great post.I'll have to try some of those things you mentioned.Thanks!Sierra
Keep Growing Beautiful♥ (cause You Are!)

B.J. {& Ethan} said...

I have great camp memories too! These are all great ideas to keep the spiritual fire burning.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much. Just got back from a Christian camp, and the spiritual "high" is fading off slowly. This is just what I need right now! I will definitely follow up on your suggestions!

Nicole @Project Inspired said...

Great tips! Love the idea to have your own devotional time everyday.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the tips Ash.