Did you know that elephants are used in some regions of Asia for labor? For hard labor too-like uprooting trees! They're so useful and powerful...yet at the end of the day of hard work, the owner merely secures their elephant with a rope (twine for them-if that) tied to the their right back leg...which is then tied to a wood post (or stake for them-if that). The interesting thing here is...if an animal that can do great things-like uproot huge trees with deep roots, surely it wouldn't be there in the morning...but they are. The next day, they untie their elephant for another hard days work-fascinating huh? It blew away the youth when we told them, but we weren't done...
We followed it up by talking about 'low expectations' that we have for ourselves and low expectations that society holds for us too. Specifically, concerning teens-they're only expected to get into trouble and not be trusted. A few years ago when a couple of teens wrote a book called 'Do Hard Things' (Alex and Brett Harris) they did a lot of research and found that even Google has low expectations...a few years back, the top search results were: teens and alcohol abuse, teens and drugs, teens and smoking, teens and drinking...just to name a few.
We also mentioned that 'expectations are a self-fulfilling prophecy-whether you think you can or think you cant...you're right!' (paraphrased from the book) and that we live in a culture that wants to tell us how to act, how to think, how to look, and how to talk.
Now, I bet you're curious how an elephant stays put-tethered only by something we would consider a stick and some twine. Well, when the elephant is very young the owner trains them-they chain them (their back right leg) to a huge tree (more or less) and when they try to escape, they can't...and the more they try, the chain begins to hurt their foot...after a while, they give up and stop trying. When they're older, they no longer struggle because they have put it out of their mind to try and can be kept by simply tying them with some simple rope to a stake in the ground.
I wonder...how many of us can relate to this story/analogy? I know it was a powerful one for me and I hope that you will also consider what's holding you back in your relationships-more specifically with God. Are you and I unable to do things because we've been conditioned into a certain way of thinking or have we really maxed our growth? I guess it could come back to the issues of control and sacrifice we all struggle with-change isn't easy because it's uncomfortable and leaves us vulnerable.
Continue to pray for the youth and their 'mountain' experience here at Estes Park.