As we walked up to our hotel, my four year old daughter scowled and said, “That’s not a castle!”. Gotta love the expectations of a child. For weeks before our trip, she had been told so much about DisneyLand that she had a couple moments of initial dissapointment until she figured out what was really going on. Some combination of adult testimony and childhood fantasy had built it up so much in her mind that she was trying to reconcile the difference between her expectations and her reality. Don’t worry, in no time she loved it like every other four year old. Now she says that she wants to live there.
A couple of times on our trip she even asked me if I knew where I was going. I did…sort of. That is to say that I knew to drive south on I5 and I trust the GPS on my phone. You’ll be comforted to know that we arrived there and home safely.
As I later reflected on our trip together, I realized something. My daughter, even though she questioned both my leadership and the experience itself, was going to get to DisneyLand and have a blast. There was no way on God’s green earth I would let anything else happen (within my own power of course). As her Father, I had the power, resources and competency to get her to DisneyLand. It was not only my job, but my delight to take her on that adventure and shepherd her through it safely as a loving Father should.
In my last post I wrote about preparing young people for their futures. Then I got to thinking about their futures. They’ve been promised DisneyLand their entire lives. Once they arrive at “the future”, they too stare at the reality and wonder why it doesn’t match the description. Then they question their leaders, parents, church etc…. But they also question God. Does he even know what he’s doing? Does he really know where he’s taking them and does he know how to get them there?
Don’t get me wrong. In many of these situations, an adjustment of expectations is not only realistic, but necessary. This is part of maturing and living as an adult. Real life isn’t DisneyLand. Yet they will need someone to reassure them that their Father is in fact competent to lead them. He know’s where he’s taking them, how to get there and he lacks no resource. They will wrestle with the emotions of dissapointment, wondering if they’re settling for less than best and why God hasn’t fulfilled the American Dream that they thought he promised them (a topic for another post I think).
This is where wise, godly, experienced people step in and shepherd them, reassuring them that not only is it ok to reassess their expectations (especially in regards to the “American Dream”), but that God is in fact able to lead them on their journey. Like a loving father, he leads on in thier adventures, patiently allowing them to experience both the joys and frustrations. As leaders in their lives, we have the privelage of coming along side and entering into their story, reminding them not only of God’s competency, but of his unyielding fatherly love for each one of us…which includes our futures.