I had a lot of justifications for why it was not for me, and why I should not go. As a matter of fact, I even had gotten so deep in my internal discussions that I was convinced I could not go even if I wanted to (to be clear, I did not want to go.) Some of the reasons I had come up with could be used to rightfully excuse myself when others asked, but some of other reasons for not going were maybe a little ridiculous.
Here are a few of the reasons that I had swirling around in my head (and trust me, there were more than just these):
· My family cannot be without me for an entire weekend.
· I am not going to know anyone there.
· This event is a little “too much God” for me.
· It is just going to be awkward for the whole weekend.
· I will not be able to watch any college football on Saturday!
(If you are still reading at this point, it may mean that you are on the fence about going to Man Camp this year, and this is where I give you that push you need to show up!)
See, it was easy for me to give an appropriate excuse to anyone who asked if I was coming – my wife, people at the church, others that were going, etc. There was just one person that I could not give any good excuse to.
You probably think I am going to say Jesus here, but that is the wrong answer. That person was my daughter, who was 11 years old at the time.
She had gone to a SpringHill week-long camp that summer. It was her first time spending the night somewhere away from home for that long without family. Guess what, she did not know ANYONE going into that either. She just dove right in and went for it. She showed up. She was 11 and had no phone, and no vehicle to get into and drive home if the camp was not for her.
How brave is that? If she could be that brave and go, what was my excuse? I was only going for a weekend.
Well, she used this against me. When my wife asked me a question about whether or not I was going to Man Camp, my daughter would respond with a counter argument of how she had done it herself. (And she would also be quick to point out how she did it for a whole week)!
So, honestly, my 11-year-old daughter set the example for me to go and was my inspiration to finally get over my hesitations and to go.
Was it worth it?
(Here I could answer that question with a YES in all caps, but that is too easy, and if you are on the fence like I was about going to Man Camp that may be the last thing you want to see, but yes, it was worth it and then some.)
What I experienced at Man Camp? Fellowship. That word gets thrown around sometimes at church and in Christian circles, but what you will experience is fellowship amongst men. Something Jesus had and modeled for us with the disciples. Think about it: Jesus was in his late 20s hanging with 12 other dudes.
Yes, they did some amazing things that we talk about in church often, but they also got to hang out as friends talking about life, hobbies, laughing and crying with each other, and just sharing what was going on in their lives.
Friendship amongst other men is something we forget is out there. It is possible to just be ourselves without feeling we need to act any certain way.
Trust me, we all need this guys, and God wants this for all of us men.
I am so thankful for my daughter and her bravery because it was through her example and her convincing arguments that I went.
Now, I know why it is worth going to Man Camp, and whether you believe it or not, I would bet that even if you show up alone Friday, you’ll walk away Sunday with at least one new friend. Not a temporary friend or acquaintance made over the weekend, but a friend that you can walk toward Jesus with and share things about your life with that you did not know was possible before.
I am talking from experience. And yes, I will be there this year again.
Oh yeah! I almost forgot. You will get to watch some football too!