What does it mean to be truly accepted and already approved?
This is the questions Andy Davis, a high school senior in Sundance, Wyoming, wrestled with as he began his week at FCA Black Hills Sports Camp. Joining his Huddle and working hard with the wrestling team, barriers began to break down as Davis felt this environment was different than any he’d experienced.
“It’s a very uplifting experience, very faith-building,” the first-time camper said. “It’s nice to be around other people with the same mindset and values.”
What really struck Davis was everyone’s vulnerability, from Huddle leaders to coaches to fellow campers. “It’s great to see everyone lifted up in faith and be themselves and not put on any facades or fakeness.”
Davis knows well the exhausted loop of seeking approval, spending years trying to measure up to his perceived standard of acceptance.
“I was never really thought of as the cool kid and I had a problem with that because I wanted to be the center of attention,” he admitted. “I was always searching, always trying to validate myself, have my friends validate me or tried to find validation through girls. I just never felt right.”
But the more he worked and bonded with his fellow wrestlers, dove into discussion during Huddle time and connected with the guys in Huddle and his Huddle leader, the more he realized he wasn’t alone in the struggle.
“The biggest help is definitely talking to guys with similar life stories who can say, ‘Hey, I used to want to be in the spotlight, but after I let God lead, it didn’t matter anymore.’”
The freedom to ask personal questions and examine what God says about his identity has lifted a weight off Davis's shoulders he’d been carrying for too long.
“There are too many people who would shame you,” he said about opening up. “Here, there are people you know you can find help and hope with.”
God continued to work in his heart and show him how he was already loved and accepted and there was nothing he could do or say to earn approval.
Once Davis leaned into Unconditional Love, his perspective shifted as he embraced confidence in being himself.
“It feels amazing. There’s a huge difference,” he said of realizing he’s already accepted and approved. “Now, I feel like my validation is through Christ and that’s all I need to know.”