Well Worth It

by, Lyndsay Berry, Next Step Summer Staff

Summing up just one summer with Next Step is hard. Summing up three summers is even harder. I try to think of where to begin and am reminded of a hundred different funny stories, and those are probably just from one summer. I could tell you about the elaborate pranks I helped pull on our partnership coordinator; the time I had to go to K-Mart to buy paint thinner for one of our worship team members who spilled oil-based paint ALL over his hands; or the time we went kayaking and almost sank them in the river. Those stories are probably only funny to those of us who experienced them, but I love to tell them because they remind me of the friends who became like family and the good times we shared on summer staff together-one of my favorite parts of a Next Step summer.

However, these stories are just a few in a sinking kayak’s worth of stories and experiences. I could not accurately describe my time on summer staff without even mentioning some of the ways the Lord has transformed my life-another of my favorite parts.

Each day, as I poured myself out, He showed me areas of weakness, the areas He is made strong. In my first summer He taught me about servanthood, leadership, humility, and community. In my second summer He dug deeper and revealed a belief I’ve long held. This belief that my worth is gained through the tasks I accomplish and how hard I work in “perfection”. Instead of “doing” so much, I was challenged to invest in others. In my third summer I was challenged even more to find a balance between tasks and relationships. In all of this, I saw the Lord work through the community and teammates I served alongside, the students I met, evening programs I participated in, construction projects I helped with, various challenges I faced, and the leaders who walked with me through them. Jesus used that setting to catalyze deep transformation in my life, and it is continuing to this day.

But in spite of all these things, I almost didn’t do this internship all three summers. I always came up with a list of silly excuses I thought were justifiable. These were all excuses that gratified my desires for my academic plan, travel plans, and social plans. What I realized each spring, when I made the final decision to commit to the internship, was that an experience on summer staff was well worth the plans I thought I was leaving behind.

Maybe He is calling you to do the same. Maybe He is calling you to step out into community, ministry, servant leadership, growth, friendship, and one of the most transformative summers of your life. If He is, know that He is faithful, and you won’t regret it.