When God leads you beyond your borders

By: 
KateLynn Slaamot

B

eing pushed outside of your comfort zone isn’t comfortable. Period. But oftentimes it seems like God pushes us out of our comfort zones to grow us. And in spite of the discomfort, there’s beauty in those places, and looking back on those experiences, you see the wonderful things that happened and the blessings you experienced that you never would have if it didn’t come with some level of inconvenience. 

Attending Survival a couple weeks ago, a youth camp put on by Bold Ministries, was one such experience. Survival teaches students survival skills throughout the week and offers opportunities to practice those skills. Students learn how to build fires, cook their food over fires throughout the week, learn medical training for survival situations, make survival tools out of natural materials and a number of other activities. 

Now, I’ve attended Survival, at Camp Judson in South Dakota, for the past two years as a student. Survival has always been a challenge because there are many obstacles and challenges to overcome during the week. These challenges range from physical challenges like scaling a 12-foot wall, to mental challenges like learning how to communicate with your team in a constructive and helpful manner. But this year, I attended the camp as a staffer, which brought the challenge to a whole new level for me. As a staffer, I wasn’t involved the same way students are. As staffers, we are supposed to be there to help, encourage and guide
the students. 

During the week, I was keenly aware of my faults and shortcomings as I attempted to navigate what it looked like to be a staffer and servant leader. I really struggled with this because I was having a hard time defining what it looked like to do that and let God use me to encourage and minister to the students. At the beginning of the week, another staffer said to me that staffing brings a new understanding to relying on God for your strength. Well, quite frankly, I found myself forgetting to rely on God and instead trying to bring my own definitions and expectations to the week and how I should serve. 

But one morning, during quiet time with the Lord, what I read in Ephesians 3:8 really stood out to me. 

It said, “Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ.” 

While Ephesians 3 is speaking of the apostle Paul’s ministry of the Gospel to the Gentiles, this verse served as a reminder, even to me, that God can and does use imperfect and faulty people to serve him and further his purposes. I mean, he kind of has to because we’re all
pretty flawed.

The chapter ends with another amazing reminder that it is God who works things out, and he alone has the power to bring about his purposes as he extends his strength to us and works through us. 

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21. 

And not only is he the one who works it out, but he works it out far better than we could ever imagine in our human minds. That’s such a beautiful thought. 

The truths expressed in those verses reminded me that it’s not about my performance. Staffing Survival challenged me to not be so focused on myself and to focus on God, realizing it’s really not about me at all, it’s about God using me, an imperfect person, to somehow make an impact in someone else’s life, even if I don’t always see the fruits of that right away. And it’s ultimately about giving Christ the glory through it all.

I definitely didn’t serve perfectly, and I still struggled through the week, but I can say with confidence, looking back over that week, that it was an amazing, fulfilling experience. I know that Christ was glorified, and I sure was blessed by the encouragement from and relationships with the students and other staffers.

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