So today was an interesting day. I found out that vacation plans have fallen through. My immediate reaction was disappointment and self-pity. I'm such a selfish human. Something that I was very much looking forward to do, and that I thought was going to happen, has changed completely. There is an outside chance that it will still happen, but it's not likely. It's probable that we'll do something else, not quite as nice, but still something. And then it's possible that nothing will happen at all and everything I've been looking forward to will be for naught, with no time for me to come up with my own backup option. When I found this out, I was very disappointed, to say the least. And I'm still not sure what's going to come of it. I'm just kind of waiting for them to figure things out, then let me know.
It's all very disheartening.
And I've been in Chile long enough to know this was highly possible. And I was warned that it had happened many times in the past. But I was just so excited about it, that I didn't care. You see, quite often in Chile, plans aren't for sure until everyone actually shows up. This can be a challenge. They can be the most well-intentioned, loving people, really good friends, but it doesn't matter. It's not about that. They don't see it as anything offensive; it's just the way the culture is. There are exceptions to every rule, of course, and I have also met people like this in the States. But it can make planning very difficult!
This week I've started a study in James, and I've been going through the first 12 verses of the first chapter. As you may know, it's all about trials, wisdom, and perseverance. Now, I certainly don't want to blow this whole situation out of proportion. The word "trial" is a bit too strong to describe it. :o) But the same principle applies. I've learned a lot this week, but one thing really stuck out to me. It's impossible to get through trials, ask for and use wisdom, and persevere and learn through the trial, if you can't have joy throughout it, a right attitude. And you can't have a right attitude without focusing on God. (This all makes so much more sense in my head. I just can't communicate it very well.) No matter how big or how small the trial is, I need to endure it, I need to ask for wisdom throughout it. God wants to teach me something. And for all of that to be possible, I have to have a positive, Christlike attitude. I can't be bitter, I can't be self-pitying, I can't be selfish. All of that is too distracting from what we're supposed to learn. It's too disheartening to allow us to endure. When we have a Christlike attitude, we're open to the strength God gives us to get through, and we're open to the lesson we have to learn.
So, all that to say that I'm just going to pray for joy and patience and understanding, and trust that what God wants me to experience with my Chilean friends, I will experience.
I'm sure that I could have written this much more eloquently, but there it is. This is what happened today, what I thought about, what I learned. I just wanted to share it with you all.