My family and I had a 20 minute conversation about love yesterday morning. Why did we take the time to have this discussion? Because we want to be a family that is intentional about loving people.

The thing that started us talking is that we’re getting ready to spend the next two weeks at JUMP Camp at our church. Steve and I are volunteering together the first week and the girls and I will be there again the second week.

Of course, JUMP Camp is going to be a blast and we are really looking forward to it, but we wanted to have a conversation beforehand to discuss, as a family, how we could be intentional about walking in love with others and with each other these next two weeks.

What we talked about as a family not only applies to our family or to JUMP Camp week, but to each of us in our everyday lives. This is why I decided to share our conversation about love with you!

As we each opened up and contributed to the conversation, these were the main points we covered.

Be Realistic

To start the conversation we discussed the fact that even though we are going to have a blast at camp, there will also be times when we get tired and there may even be moments when we feel exhausted. I personally think this was a very important part of our conversation that will help us be mentally prepared  to respond to others and to each other in love, when that happens.

I’m not saying we can’t believe God for an increase in energy over these next two weeks. We will believe for this and I believe we will have it, but when the sun is beating down on you and the noise level is continuously loud, the truth of the matter is, it can cause fatigue –  mentally, physically and emotionally.

Our family went to Six Flags several weeks ago. We have season passes this year and have these special bring-a-friend-free coupons that we can use a number of times during the season. We brought some friends of ours and had a really great time.

Six Flags is a place I spent a decent amount of time growing up; therefore, I got so excited about our day of fun that I kept saying to everyone at the beginning of the day, “let’s stay all day, until the park closes.” (10pm) That sounded great until about 5 or 6pm when exhaustion seemed to hit each one of us at the same time! It wasn’t near as much fun after we got tired!

So…what do we do at JUMP Camp or in our everyday lives when we become physically, mentally or emotionally exhausted? The answers I’ll be sharing with you in this post apply to both.

1.) Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing

In our family discussion yesterday, we were reminding ourselves that we want to be a walking in love type of family. We talked about how we want to be a blessing in other people’s lives. We discussed how we want to be the light that Jesus said we are.

Of all the kids coming to JUMP Camp, a percentage of them may not have ever heard the good news about Jesus. You see how this one fact right here could change our whole perspective. This opportunity is much more than a camp – it’s a missions trip and God has given our family the opportunity to be change agents in the lives of these children.

Although Angel and Starr are not volunteering this year because this is their last year of being in camp, they can be all the things we talked about to their own friends over these next two weeks. They can be a blessing. They can walk in love. They can be an example. They can be a light. They can be change agents in the lives of their current friends and in the lives of the new 8th graders they’ll be meeting during their time at camp.

2.) Constantly receive God’s love for yourself

Another aspect of our conversation was talking about the fact that we can, at any given moment, receive God’s love in a very personal way. Steve, my husband, suggested to all of us, “If we’re tired, we can close our eyes for a moment (when the time is convenient) and receive God’s love all over again.”

Since we’re there to extend God’s love to others, we talked about how we would only be able to do this if we are first receiving His love for ourselves.

After all…

1 John 4:19 says, 

We love each other because He loved us first. (NLT)

Receiving from God is one of the most important things we can spend our time doing, but I also believe receiving is one of the most overlooked things in the lives of many Christians. If we’re not careful we can spend all of our mental energy thinking about what we need to be doing for God and forget to receive from Him the wisdom, strength and ability we need to fulfill what He’s called us to.

3.) Become more rooted and grounded in knowing who you are in Christ

My husband Steve and I have been talking a lot lately about the amazing results we get from knowing who we are in Christ – from understanding that our true identity comes from being God’s child and also understanding that our worth and value is 100% wrapped up in the person we are in Christ Jesus. You know what I mean, the things the Bible talks about like: we’re new, complete , alive, holy, God’s workmanship, more than conquerors, overcomers, righteous and forgiven in Him. And I’ve just barely gotten started with this short list compared to all the Biblical promises in God’s Word of everything we are in Christ.

Please do yourself a favor and search this phrase on google sometime soon: Who I am in Christ. Biblical promise after Biblical promise after Biblical promise will come up and if you’ll read them and remember them, you’ll see such an increase in your confidence level that this will in turn change your marriage, your relationships with your kids, your business, your personal life, and the list goes on.

I guarantee you that just the one fact alone that I am so much more convinced of who I am in Christ than the old Sandra was will make these two weeks at JUMP Camp, and the fact that God has asked me to do everything I do in a spirit of love, so much more than a possibility… as long as I keep the truth of God’s Word ever before me!

4.) Take care of yourself by exercising, getting enough sleep, eating healthy and drinking lots of water

Recently I had to take 3 months off from CrossFit in order to allow some physical symptoms I was having to subside. When I returned a month ago I noticed right away that my energy increased from working out again.

My Mom also started a walking program over a year ago. She walks 5 miles or more almost every day and her energy level is off the charts. She actually said she was praying for God to give her more energy and He gave her a desire to walk. She has enjoyed the walking and the results from the walking so much that she never wants to miss her walks!

Thinking of exercise this way – that it actually increases our energy – can give us a whole new perspective about it. After all, it’s kind of difficult to get the things done in our lives that God has called us to do if we are tired all the time. It’s also difficult to walk in love consistently if we are tired all the time. This is precisely why I’m planning to go to CrossFit after being at camp all day long to continue my workouts this week. I won’t have to go everyday after camp, maybe 2 of the 4 days and I’ve already talked to the coach and told him I probably won’t be able to work as hard as everyone else because I’ll be in the sun a lot during the day, but I can still go and do a good workout. If I do, I bet it will give me more energy for JUMP camp week!

Am I going to feel like going to CrossFit after camp. Probably not. This is exactly why I am making an intentional decision ahead of time. I’ll also use wisdom with it. For instance, I usually workout 4 days a week and I may only be able to do 2 or 3 days a week for the next two weeks, but I’m not going to mentally set myself up to not go at all.

My husband Steve also works out very consistently. He frequently reads articles about the benefits of exercise and we talk about them. We encourage each other in this area because we have seen the results, far too often, of people who have neglected exercise their entire life and now they’re totally dependent on others to care for them. We don’t want that to be us so we have decided to be intentional in the area of exercise…whether we feel like it or not!

Now, getting enough sleep is an area I could use a little more intentionality in! I do good for a period of time and then I get off course. I admit, this is an area I need to receive God’s grace in more often to form a better habit, more consistently. Although I may not need 8 hours of sleep every single night since I’m a high-energy person, I still need to give my body the opportunity to get the amount of sleep I do need.

In regards to eating healthy, for me that means taking the time to prepare healthy food each week and carrying a cooler with me everywhere I go to keep my blood sugar from dipping too low since I’ve had low blood sugar issues all my life. It’s totally manageable and isn’t even a problem if I eat right and eat often enough, but if I don’t, it can get whacked out for days.

In fact, right now I’m starting to get hungry and one of the times I despise stopping to eat the most is when I’m writing. I’m going to town here, typing away and don’t want to stop and then have to take the time to get refocused and get back in the flow again when I return; but if I want to feel my best and if I want to be able to react to others in love on a more consistent basis, I don’t have a choice. So I’ll be back in about 15 minutes, ok?

I’m back, and stopping to take the time to eat was so worth it! I feel wonderful now that my blood sugar is level again.

Regarding the food at JUMP Camp, part of the fun is the fun food; therefore, we have been talking to our girls for several weeks now about what they’ll be allowed to eat at JUMP Camp. There is actually nothing they can’t eat and we even let them pick out some special stuff for their lunches, but they also made an agreement with us to eat healthy the rest of the week at every meal.

Finally, speaking of the importance of water consumption, the average adult human body is 50-65% water. Our cells must have water to live and our vital organs contain 65-85% water, depending on the organ. It always inspires me to drink more water when I read facts like this.

I am blessed that I actually really like the taste of water. It’s all I drink, but I know lots of people can’t stand water. That has to be hard, but I will say (as a way of encouragement) that there have been numerous times when I have gotten out of the the habit of drinking enough water and when I got back on track, I found the more water I drank, the more water I wanted.

To help myself drink the amount of water I need each day I recently purchased 3 water bottles and placed them different places in my home – my bedroom, my office and the kitchen!

 1 Corinthians 13 says, 

Love Is the Greatest

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (NLT)

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!

Sandra McCollom