I was 18 years old and about to graduate high school when I first heard about the Great Adventure Camp.
A friend of mine, Allison, told me about it, and said that there were a few spots left for guy counselors. Although I didn’t have any plans for the summer, I was hesitant about giving it all up to go work at a camp (especially one I had never heard of). But somehow, I was convinced, and I had no idea that I was about to begin what would become one of the best – and most life changing – summers of my life.
From the moment I pulled in the front gate, I realized there was something different about this place. The first night there, I figured out what it was. We were sitting in the middle of the baseball field, looking up at the stars, and crickets were chirping all around us. One cricket would chirp, then five more would join in, and ten more after that, and so on until it was an entire symphony of bugs all playing at once. The noise grew louder and louder, until suddenly, they all stopped and the night was absolutely silent and still.
I realized in that moment how my life outside of camp was a lot like that field of crickets. Everyday there were thousands of things around me, all “making noise” – all needing my attention. From basketball practice, to homework, and studying for tests, and Facebook and Instagram, and trying to make sure I wore the right clothes and said the right things…all these crickets in my life were making noise, and I hardly even realized they were there until I couldn’t hear anything else. And they kept me distracted from what was really important.
But at camp, these distractions were hushed, and in the quiet I was able to think, and pray, and most importantly: listen. Because God had a lot to tell me.
Jesus understood the importance of getting away from distractions and focusing on God. In Luke 5, Jesus has become a superstar and he’s constantly surrounded by people and things to do. However, Luke tells us in verse 16 that “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16)”. Jesus went away from the hustle and bustle of life so that he could focus on what God had to say.
Back in the “real” world, I find these crickets popping back up. It starts with one, a soft buzz that is hardly even noticeable. But before I know it, God’s voice is drowned out by all the distractions of life. It’s only by following Jesus’s example, and retreating to a “lonely place”, that I can turn down the volume of life’s crickets and listen to God.
- What are the “crickets” in your life? What things distract you from really hearing God?
- What is a “lonely place” that you, like Jesus, can go to in order to get away from distractions?