Thursday, January 6, 2011
When Your Dreams Don't Come True
What do you do?
My brother went to a fantastic camp last summer, he told us all about it when he got back from a week-long session. It was a fabulous place, run by great Christian people and meant for kids in the community. They had water slides, a ropes course, archery, horseback riding, swimming pools, a lake, huge mess hall--in short, the greatest camp ever.
And though I was too old to be a camper I was old enough to be a camp counselor. It sounded like an awesome opportunity: serve God, help kids, meet new people, stretch myself, have bucketloads of fun...what could be better?
Then our family got a chance to go to the fall family retreat and spend one day like the kids do--playing around and having a blast, listening to speakers, being together in comfortable surroundings. In view of one day becoming a camp counselor (I heard that they have to take part in every activity at camp) I decided to see exactly what I was made of. I tackled the ropes course. Now I am petrified of heights, so this was not my idea of a good time. I was honestly scared stiff and probably would have backed out if Mom hadn't been right there with me. But I did it, and survived! I met a wonderful lady there whose sons had been in camp leadership for years, we talked, and from what she said it sounded like I had a good chance of getting in if I applied to be a counselor. I felt completely exhilarated, and the more I thought about it the more I wanted to do it.
So I applied.
I went through the whole process--filling out the forms, getting friends and family to fill out testimonials about me, even going through my first job interview (which was nerve-wracking to say the least). As the weeks went on I waited for an answer. Would I get in, or wouldn't I? I kept coming up with things I should have mentioned in that interview, regretting that I wasn't more enthusiastic. Wishing I could show just how much I wanted this job.
And I didn't get it.
They were only hiring about 360 workers, and over 800 people applied. I was one of many who got a polite little email, saying that unfortunately I would not be working at the camp.
So what do I do now? Do I feel sorry for myself because my hope was disappointed? I felt that this might be where God was leading me; there were so many coincidences that made it look like this was meant to be. And yet it failed. Yes, I have felt sorry for myself. I have cried. I have asked God why He made it look so promising, when all that work and expectation came to nothing in the end.
But I have to keep reminding myself: God's ways are not our ways. Even when it looks like everything is going wrong, He still has a plan. Psalm 139:16, "Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" And, last but not least, Philippians 1:6, "...he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Take a deep breath. Think over what I've learned. Try to imagine what it will be like looking back on this in thirty years. It will be different--it will be in perspective. Maybe I learned to have more courage, more self-confidence, more ease when dealing with forms and people. Maybe this experience prepared me for something, something I can't even imagine.