Once again, I've finished another semester, and year, at Gordon. I've packed up my room, taken down the years' worth of letters and notes from my walls, turned in my keys and let out a satisfied sigh at having made it through finals.
|Giant- This past May|
|Giant- One year ago|
But I also just finished leading another La Vida college expedition. Twelve days of hiking, little opportunity for hygiene, and feet calloused so much that I can't feel the ground on parts of my toes as I walk barefoot through my house. Last year I thought that was due to frostbite, which would make sense considering the weather during that trip (snow).
It's been tempting to want to compare this most recent La Vida trip to last year's, especially since I did the same hiking itinerary. The weather this year was immensely better, confidence wise I felt much more of an able leader, I had such a great relationship with my co-leader (co-Sherpa), and we were able to complete our entire itinerary with very little disruptions. And, to top it all off, I had an amazing
group of students. I always thought there had to be at least something that was not as good; either the community would be great but the weather awful, or vice versa. But over all this May I had an amazing trip.
Yet I noticed that even with everything going so well, I felt more distant from God this year, maybe even because everything was so perfect. It was much easier to forget to pray in the morning, or before meals, or just in general. There weren't stoves breaking and awful weather conditions that forced me to remember to rely on God. And I've come to realize that when I have more and more to be thankful for it becomes more and more difficult to remember to give thanks. Last year I was forced to rely on God for my strength, forced to put all my hope in Him because there was no way I could have led that trip through my own strength and wisdom. But this year...it was tempting to forget that I still needed Him, and that the fact that everything was going so smoothly was not because of me
but still because of Him
. As I came to realize that spiritually I wasn't as much the leader as I wanted to be, I became discouraged and worried that perhaps my participants weren't growing as much or taking advantage of the full potential for spiritual maturity that La Vida offers, because I wasn't the example I hoped to be.
That is where God has humbled me. Despite my feeling distant from Him, despite the countless times I've forgotten to seek his help and guidance, or give thanks, He still
used me. Because of my obvious flaws and shortcomings in my faith, I finally realized that the growth my students were experiencing was not due to me. Yes, God may have used my devotions or my words to prompt that growth, but He is the only One who can initiate that change. I am just a simple clay pot, a tool for His will, and that is all I could ever desire. While I strive for deeper intimacy in Christ and development of my personal faith, God is not dependent on me. And I am so, so grateful for that.
|My La Vida kids...I guess|
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