Team leaders, room leaders, and servant team all have had a great secret to bear. It comes with the job, I guess. At the end of April, these students from five different schools gathered together for the Leader’s Retreat where the theme, verse, and book of the Bible to be studied this summer were announced. This all has to be kept from the disciples until the very first rally of the summer. That’s too long when you’re excited about something! And all the preparation that they have been involved in has definitely caused a lot of anticipation and excitement for these returners to Project.
As one of these returning students myself, I can completely relate to these feelings that we are experiencing in the final days leading up to Summer Training Project. Recently, however, I’ve been reflecting on why I am so excited. Though there are a lot of good reasons to feel this way, a large part of why I am excited is because of last summer. Last summer was my first year at Project, and I had one of the sweetest seasons of my life. It seems almost like the ideal Project experience – my room got along and became my closest friends, I worked at a wonderful Walmart with great coworkers, and I learned and grew so much over the two months. Not everyone who is returning has this same story, but it stands to reason that most people who go back do so in part because of how good their first summer was.
You wouldn’t think that this could be a problem, but it has become one for me recently. Whenever you experience something for a second or third or fourth time, you come in with expectations for what it will be like based on your previous experience with it. This has been the case for me, and I’m guessing many others. But coming in with too many expectations can be dangerous. Expectations have a tendency to rob your current experience of the joy that it brings because you are constantly comparing it to the past instead of embracing your present for what it is. This is unfair of you to do. Not only does this have a negative affect on you, but it could also land on those around you, especially as a leader.
During the Leader’s Retreat I had to mourn my last year’s summer. It sounds extreme, but that’s what it felt like. Last summer was a wonderful season that God brought into my life. It is so easy to want to hold on to that, but that’s not how life works. Time moves on, and it’s best if we let go and move on with it. That season served its purpose. This summer is going to be different. It could be harder, or easier, or busier… Only God knows what it holds. He is bringing a new season into our life that will have its own unique challenges, blessings, laughs, and memories. It will be its own kind of sweet.
I had to let go of the expectations for this summer in order to embrace the good that God is going to do in this new summer. I hope and pray that we can extend our hands before God wide open to what He has in store for us this summer instead of trying to hold on to the past, because as the wise C.S. Lewis says, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” And I don’t want to miss any of them.
“And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing and I will send down the showers in their seasons; they shall be showers of blessing.” Ezekiel 34:26
Jasmine Winter, senior
University of Northwestern
2019 STP Communications Intern