After great experiences it is easy to find ourselves wanting to “camp out” and linger in that moment. We just finished our annual summer camp in our student ministry. I remember being in high school and wishing that the moment would never end. It seemed so easy to serve God, be passionate and grow in my relationship with Christ there…why did we have to leave that environment.
I can honestly say now that I am glad I didn’t just stay there. I would not have grown to be the person that God wanted me to be if I just tried to stay in that moment.
When we find ourselves on the other side of a great experience, like a camp, conference, etc. I think it is good to ask ourselves a simple question:
I am not saying that we should ignore its significance. But if we are not proactive in taking what God just did in us and move forward with it, we will grow complacent and stagnant. If you have had a great experience, take time to appreciate it, but then get after it. What is next? Why did God do the things that He did? I can almost guarantee is wasnt to keep you exactly where you are at! More than likely He brought you through the experience to prepare you for whatever He has next for your life!
Here are some questions to help you process what might be next:
1. What did I feel challenged/encouraged/inspired by through that experience?
If you found yourself being challenged to know God’s Word more, become more focused at loving people with the love of Jesus, or you see an area you need to grow in, you already have a simple next step. Instead of just dwelling on the experience, allow the experience to move you forward!
2. How can I take my experience and use it to help others?
Sometimes the most profound changes start with simple obedience. If you consider HOW God spoke to you, WHAT God spoke to you or WHY God spoke to you and then allow that to move you towards helping someone else, you will grow in the process.
3. Why was that experience so significant to me?
Sometimes sitting down and figuring out why it was so significant to us leads us to understand what should be next. If it was significant because it has been way too long since we felt God’s presence in a tangible way, we may need to take the next step of learning to walk more consistently in His presence. If it was significant because something was broken in our lives that God mended and healed, the next step may be learning to avoid areas that will lead back to brokenness in life.
After a great experience we are often tempted to camp out. Peter had the same issue:
Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, “Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. (Mark 9:2-5 | NLT)
Peter had an encounter that he wanted to hold onto and camp out with. We all have moments that are significant and vital. But the point of them isn’t just to camp out and enjoy that forever – it is to lead us to what’s next.