Monday, March 3, 2014

CAMP JOY-A-LOT


"The Hub" and I love camping.

We haven't gone for a while, but still…I hear those tents and campfires calling.

A camping trip takes a lot of planning.  Especially if you're *tent-camping* – because you know all those amenities that you find in an RV?  Well, they don't exist in a tent!

You've got to take your clothes, your bedding, your food, your lighting, your tools and supplies…oh yeah, and the tent.

"The Hub" has been known to start packing days before we leave on a trip.  He carefully lays out everything, just to make sure (and double-sure) that we indeed have everything we're going to need out in the wilds!

Then we find a way to *squish-pack* all of our stuff into the car.  It's usually a very tight squeeze.  Especially when we add the first few days' worth of firewood!  (I am a master squish-packer, by the way).  I really could fit 100 clowns into a circus car, or 30 people into a phone booth, or maybe even find a way to stuff my body into a Spanx…

The next step is the long, long drive to the campground.  That journey is an adventure it itself at times.  Crazy beautiful scenery, unfamiliar back-roads, and wide open spaces.

But, after the arrival, the most important step occurs.

Picking the campsite.

"The Hub" is not a fan of neighbors.  He likes to be as isolated as possible. Gotta be honest, I agree with him.  After all, for us camping is all about the peace and quiet!

We've had really good luck with campsites.

Only had a few bad experiences. Like the one time we got the last campsite available on the first night of a multiple-day trip – the site next to a group of teenagers, loud and drinking teenagers.  Yeah, not much sleep that night.

Or how about the time we were nearly eaten alive by an onslaught of marauding mutant mosquitoes?  Only to be awakened in the middle of the night when a huge tree came crashing down, just a few sites away…(can you say "TIMBER!!")

Or the time "The Hub" literally lifted up our tent and walked through the campground to a new site because we couldn't handle the crying toddler, the barking dog, and the loud parents who moved in right next door?

Yeah, sometimes it happens.

But, campsite selection is important, vital, crucial to what your attitude is going to be, and whether you're going to enjoy your stay or be miserable.

Trust me.


So, where am I going with this?

Well, I was having a conversation with my sister the other day.  We were talking about the last six weeks since my father died.  There's just been an incredible amount of things to do, situations to work out – and of course, the in's and out's and up's and down's of all our feelings.

I shared with her, as I did with all of you last week, that I've really been struggling to stay on top of it all.  I've been struggling to find joy.

And then, she talked to me about camping.  (My sister loves camping, too)

She reminded me of the whole process of picking out that all-important campsite.

She asked me, "Sharon, where do you go?  Do you go to a crummy site, that's dirty and dingy and depressing?"

(Um, no, I think to myself).

"No, you look for the site with the best view, that's all clean and comfortable, right?"

(Yup, I do).

"And why do you do that?"

I answered her, "Because that's where everything feels good.  My attitude is better, and I'm happy and at peace."

"Exactly," she said.  "So the same thing is true right now with your feelings.  Where do you want to camp?"


You know, what she said stopped me then, and it's still got me pondering.

Where am I camping?

And why?

The enemy would like me to camp at the worst site in the worst campground.

That's because he’s the "Camp Host" there.

He loves torturing visitors.  He enjoys throwing trash all over.  He thinks it's fun to steal their firewood, leaving them out in the cold.  He hysterically delights in making lots of noise, and scaring campers with weird sounds in the middle of the night.

Why would I want to stay there?

In real life, it would be ridiculous to *set up camp* in such an area.  

Why do I do it in my heart?


My sister's wise words were so true, and I've thought about them a lot.

Where am I camping out?

And, if I'm in the wrong place, I have a choice.

I. CAN. MOVE.

So yeah, I'm dealing with a lot of stuff right now.  And, that's OK.  I'm giving myself some grace for a very stressful last few months, and especially the last few weeks.

But, in spite of all the legitimate reasons I might be feeling what I'm feeling, I have still found myself sitting in a crummy campsite.

Setting up my tent, moving in, looking at the trash, shivering in the cold, trying to close my ears to all the noise, and jumping at scary sounds.

And then, there's the "Camp Host" to deal with…

Yeah…him.

My sister pointed out a grand truth that I sometimes lose sight of – I HAVE A CHOICE.

I don't have to stay here.  I can move.

I can see Jesus approaching me…as I sit huddled in my misery.

"Dear Sharon, come follow Me.  There is beauty just over here, by the green pastures and the still waters.  Here will be peace and quiet…"


Yes, Lord.

I will move to Your beauty, and I will stay camped there.

Camp Joy-A-Lot.

Sounds wonderful!!






Search for peace,
and work to maintain it.


"Whenever the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel would break camp and follow it.  And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel would set up camp.  In this way, they traveled and camped at the LORD's command wherever he told them to go." (Numbers 9:17-18, NLT)


So, where are you camped out today?


Linked today with:

Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY
Michelle at HEAR IT ON SUNDAY, USE IT ON MONDAY
Laura at PLAYDATES WITH GOD
Hazel at TELL ME A TRUE STORY
Jen at SOLI DEO GLORIA
Jen at UNITE
Tracy at WINSOME WEDNESDAY
Rosilind at A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS
Judith at WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAYS
Kasey at WALKING REDEEMED
Beth at THREE WORD WEDNESDAY
Rachel at WHIMSICAL WEDNESDAY
Jenifer at WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY
Lyli at THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY
Bonnie at FAITH BARISTA JAM
Laura at FAITH FILLED FRIDAY
Wanda at THE FRIDAY FIVE
Mel at ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS
Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS
Barbie at WEEKEND BREW
Sandy at STILL SATURDAY
Salina at HEART REFLECTED
Janis at SUNDAY STILLNESS


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

36 comments:

  1. Hi Sharon! It's so good to see you today. You have been in my prayers my friend.

    Your sister is so wise, my goodness, your family is so filled with faith. What a witness. We do choose our camping spots, but sometimes it looks like we only have one choice. Like we have to be next to the teenage drinkers. It takes time to realize that I can move.

    When you're sad, it takes time to grieve and then be able to lift your head to move on. Be patient with yourself as you make that next move. The camping spot will be SO much better than where you were...but it might not be the last one. Its all a process.
    God bless your journey. I know he does, he is with the broken-hearted. And I know he will restore your joy. You are on your way :)
    Ceil

    ReplyDelete
  2. Such a wonderful post, love you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh how I can relate to this post!
    I have actually found myself using the words: "this is not where I want to camp!"
    I think it is (sometimes) OK to visit some places where our minds take us in order to truthfully deal with our feelings and get through them such as grief (as grieving is a process)...But it is not meant for us to camp there...a visit, Ok, unpacking and settling in..Not OK!
    I have not lost a loved one in many years...unless you count the recent loss of a friendship because she cannot deal with my cancer diagnosis (she lost too many family members to the disease in recent years, and suffers from clinical depression)...That has caused grief in my heart, as well as the grief over losing my breasts, and even part of the 'old me' through this disease...So I have learned that if I choose (yes, we do get a choice) to camp there in that grief, I will not have the tools I need in order to thrive...Just like as if you camped where there was no firewood, or no water source, etc...
    The analogy to psalm 23 is a perfect example of how Jesus already has the perfect campsite picked out for us...where there is everything we need to thrive for a time until it is time to pick up and follow Him to the mountaintop where the view is great.
    ((warm hugs)) & much love~ Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ah yes, Sharon ... camp J.O.Y. alot! Love your humorous ways even in the midst of the "crummiest" and how wise you and your sister (guess it's in your jeans "genes" of liking it rough it camping) such great insights and time for us to MOVE on! Yet, you my dear sis (and your precious family) are entitled to grieve and then you must remember to put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness and not stayed camped out in the pit. Love you and still praying for you all, Peggy

    ReplyDelete
  5. Such a good a lesson your sister shared and that you are sharing with us Sharon. Life offers many sites in which to camp but we do not have to choose to stay there.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Sharon, You have such a gift with words. I think I have been camping in the wrong place also of late. Time to take up our camp beds and walk. Jesus waits to lead us on - Thank you for this Sharon and for all the times you share yourself on here, I know it helps me and I am sure many others. Take Care and God Bless

    ReplyDelete
  7. ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just wrote you the longest comment, and I needed you to hear it too. When I posted, it disappeared. I'm frustrated.

    I loved and I needed this, and I really needed you to hear my comment too. Get thee behind me Satan!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Guess I had gotten bumped off of google. I just had to sign back in.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "I can move." Very empowering words. And sometimes we need to hear them just bluntly like that. Praying you find the right campsite for this season. We used to go tent camping as well and I remember it being a LOT of work!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I like how your sister said this, Sharon. It surely can be applied to anything going on in our lives. I need to choose a better campsite myself some days!

    I do hope when things settle down and the weather is good that you and hubby will get to go and do some camping!

    betty

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your challenge to us to spiritually camp in the right spot is right on! I've always liked tent camping too. Hope you get to get away with your hubby soon. I know the family stuff and decisions after a parent passes. Saying a prayer for you today! I like the way you are doing something about the way you feel.

    Hugs,
    Mary

    ReplyDelete
  12. sharon.. loved reading this post .. found you through SDG sisterhood. what a beautiful idea. I love it. Camp joy alot.. praying for you as you camp out in joy!

    ReplyDelete
  13. He turns our mourning into dancing - when we lose the ones we love, He gives us that mourning time - we need it! - and then when we're ready, He leads us to the dance! Praying for you Sharon as you mourn your loss. Praying also that He leads you to the joyful places again!
    BTW - You pack the clowns - and I can pack the kitchen sink and fridge! LOL We must pack just alike!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I loved this, Sharon. Isn't it remarkable how often we stay in those crummy places in our minds, when all we have to do is move? Wonderful analogy.

    Prayers for you.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am at Camp Refuge and Strength. Won't you join me there?

    ReplyDelete
  16. I had to smile at your hubby lifting up the entire tent and moving to another spot. Sometimes we must forcefully lift our tent and move it to a better place. I loved your post and can understand the absence of joy at times. I keep remembering times with my mother when I was inpatient and guilt comes in. Then I know who is sending those thoughts and cast them aside. Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is Lovely. Thank you for sharing with us.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Give yourself lots of grace. Be gentle with your heart. visiting from three word Wednesday.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Well, I don't know how I missed your post until now but I sure am glad I stumbled across it! First of all, I love tent camping too, just so you know and can certainly relate to the dislike of "close neighbors". Secondly, you have one smart cookie for a sister! The way she related your broken heart to a camping trip was just amazing...and so true! I was actually thinking about you earlier this week and praying for you. Since I missed your post on Monday, I was thinking maybe you hadn't written one...not sure what was going on wioth you, other than knowing you were not in a very good place. I was relieved when I read this post....for you! Bless your sweet heart and I pray you will be camping there for a LONG time!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm so glad we are on this joy journey together because you keep sharing messages this heart needs to hear. LOVED this. Loved what your sister shared with you. I had been feeling not so very joy-filled the past few weeks but you are so right -- we have a choice. And I think I realized this after a few conversations with my husband and my lack of joy was spilling over and impacting the little time we have together. It was a wake up call I needed ... Beth, choose JOY. It's there. Reading this made me so happy...filled me with joy. Let's camp in this better camp-site together my friend. Love you. {Hugs}

    ReplyDelete
  21. What a wonderful analogy - thank you for pointing this out.....so thought provoking. Gentle Joy

    ReplyDelete
  22. Blessings, Sharon! I read your Camp post this morning on my Nook in Quiet Time and had to chuckle with fond memories of my one and only camp experience in the White Mountains of Vermont. Loved it - three days worth. I was a newbie with four other families who were accomplished campers. A lovely respite. But, yes - QUIET is key to the Joy. Love the take-away your sister ministered to you. Ministered to me, too - especially in light of my neck pain. I can "camp in pain" or "camp in joy" despite the pain and reap blessings. Thinking the latter is best - though more difficult. But, as I was just teaching in a performance program last week at a school: Harder is better.

    May you know Joy in the Quiet and camp there indefinitely.

    Joy!
    Kathy

    ReplyDelete
  23. Powerful analogy of how we can use the gift of free will provided by our Father. It's crazy how sometimes we settle for less than our Father has planned for us due to our short sightedness and relying too much on our senses instead of the wisdom He's given us.

    It's a stressful time after what you've been through and our Father is sorting it out for you. Praying for you and your family now.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love this, Sharon. Such a wise sister you have! :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love this! It's such a great analogy. You have a very wise sister. Keep on hanging onto Jesus. Sorry for your loss. ❤️

    ReplyDelete
  26. awesome right on analogy Sharon.....Loved it. Wishing you a wonderful weekend. Hope it shines in every way.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love it! Where we camp emotionally is such a fabulous revelation that will just carry us higher and deeper in our relationship with the Lord. Where I camp is very important to me too! Thanks for sharing such a precious insight!

    ReplyDelete
  28. It's to easy to blame attitudes on circumstance instead of taking the credit for a bad mood onto ourselves!

    I'm here from the Spiritual Sundays link up.

    ReplyDelete
  29. What a fun post--with a beautiful conclusion. I'll remember this: if I'm camping in the wrong spot, I can move. Thank you, Sharon!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I love your analogy of the camping spot and where we park our thoughts and feelings. God speaks to me so gently and when I let the devil set up camp in my head it is awful. On a camping note, have you ever tried canoing into your campsite instead of driving. You get a really beautiful spot and no partiers because they won't canoe in.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Yes, such an excellent fit with "picking the right fire" to warm our hearts. I'm not much of an outdoor camper, but within me, I am challenged to consider where I'm "parking my tent". Wonderful thoughts, friend. Praying God's continuing strength over you as you walk through this muddle time.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Sharon -

    My condolences in the passing of your father.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Your sister's very wise. We've had some interesting camping experiences, too, but we've never moved. When the kids were little, there may have been others who moved.

    So sorry about your dad. It takes time. Give yourself a little slack. Maybe move your tent a little further away every day. :) Bless you.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Sharon, I love your sister and her wisdom. You will never know how much this blessed me this week -- thank you for sharing. So glad you linked up at Thought-Provoking Thursday!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Such an insightful post! Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Blessings
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

    ReplyDelete
  36. You bless my heart so much.

    Thanks for linking up with Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday! God bless!

    ReplyDelete

"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!