Who's feeling worn out back in the swing of things now that summer is officially over?
A lot if y'all reading this will resinate with the post camp/mission trip/internship high that we all get. We leave summer and head back to school ready to change the world. Now four weeks in (or 3 or 2 (smh A&M) and you've lost it. From reading your bible everyday for hours, to catching a insta-devo twice a week. From the plans of telling the whole school about how good Jesus is, and how he can love anyone, to back in routine where a meeting a new person comes once a week at most and telling them about the cross is the last thing on our list. Or more real, you've dove head first back from the sin you were freed from for an ENTIRE summer! Only to find your self at it again, with no escape in sight.
So what do we do when the weight of school and routine has drown the fire that was lit just weeks ago? Mere days, telling kids about Jesus singing his praises to feeling more distant than ever. I think the problem is simple. It's not a location problem, i.e. you're back at college, or a ministry problem, i.e. you are doing school work rather than a mission trip. It's an intimacy problem. Our root problem is we are lacking intimacy with the God who created us. Good friends won't fix the problem, even doing summer over again won't fix the problem. The problem you need to address is where your intimacy lies.
My boy Piper lays out what we see at camp and what you are facing right now:
"We might call it a 'Field of Dreams' approach: If we build the right environment, God will 'come.'
Think of it like this: A candle-lit dinner with romantic music may encourage a sweet moment of relational intimacy between a husband and wife, but only to the degree that the environment encourages and deepens their mutual trust and love. If there’s relational distance between them due to a lack of trust, the aesthetics themselves have no power to bridge the distance. Only restoring the trust will do that."
Our intimacy with God feels so near at camp and on a mission trip because our proximity to Him is forcibly close. You are in a greenhouse, where you are living in community, unity, and are in the scriptures daily (if not multiple times a day). It's like vacation from the real world, but unfortunately as we all know, you can't live your life on the beaches of Cozumel. You have to return to reality at some point. Our hope is found in us drawing back to our Savior even when we aren't on the beach.
The secret to drawing near to God and having him draw near to us is revealed clearly in the Bible: we draw near to God through faith in Christ who alone gives us access to him (Hebrews 4:14–16, 7:25, Philippians 3:9), and we put our trust in all of his “precious and very great promises” which find their yes to us in Christ (2 Peter 1:4, 2 Corinthians 1:20).
God is impressed with our faith, not our feats. Where faith is lacking, he is not pleased with the quantity of our knowledge or the quality of our aesthetic events.
"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)"
When God sees a man or woman whose heart fully trusts his promises and lives by them, God comes to strongly support that saint (2 Chronicles 16:9) and manifests himself to him or her:
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21)
The goal should not be to get back to camp, or the mountain top high. It is to seek God and his intimacy in the valleys of school work. While you are at the library until 2am, when you have the worst roommate EVER or the bills pile up and there doest seem to be any money on the horizon. The richest intimacy is found when we seek after our Lord in the hardest times. We must force ourself to trust the one who is trustworthy, and as we lean on him we WILL find him strong.
As an old hymn goes: "they who trust him wholly find him wholly true."
*photo by Rooted Conferences