Short answer- yes. And that's what it will always do, you can count on that. When I was a freshman in college I thought it was the coolest thing ever to rush for a sorority so that's exactly what I did. I was so excited to go through hell week and finally get a bid for the coolest sorority on campus. I know, crazy, right? I went to a huge school and our Greek life had a strict no hazing policy due to some not-so favorable incidents that happened in the years prior. That didn't stop our bigs from testing our dedication to the house, though. Nothing raunchy, but I can assure you it really took a toll on my mental and spiritual health at the time. I went through the whole shebang- even participated in Greek Sing, a musical type competition with our Brother Frat, TKE.
A couple weeks in and I realized just wasn't built for that world. I wasn't cut from that cloth and I needed to stop forcing myself into a garment that didn't fit me. Needless to say, I dropped out of the sorority and continued about my merry way. Nearly a decade later, I realize just how necessary the hazing process actually is. Many people view hazing as an effective way to teach respect and develop discipline and loyalty within the group, and believe that hazing is a necessary component of initiation rites. It's meant to be a time of test and discomfort. That's the whole point. You're supposed to feel embarrassed, overworked, under appreciated in order to determine how committed you are to the dream. To chisel your character and sharpen your loyalty. In hindsight, I suppose I never really wanted to be a sorority sister as badly as I thought I did. I had only adopted the dream after watching a couple episodes of Greek on ABC Family, after all.
In any case, I believe the story of my failed "pretty popular sorority girl" ordeal is an accurate depiction of the cyclical nature of reality. First, you identify a dream, then life tests you to see if you really want it. It will bend and break you- try and test you. Life will humble the crap out of you. It will tear down all your walls and leave you weak and vulnerable. Do you want it as badly as you think you want it? Would you endure seasons of ridicule, embarrassment, offense, and discouragement if it meant you'd reach the finish line? Is it even necessary? How much could my character possibly change in this process? Is the dream the finish line or are the feelings associated with the dream fulfilled the finish line? These are loaded questions so I'll attempt to break it down.
At the time, I believed that being in a sorority would ultimately give me a feeling of belonging. You see, I grew up away from my extended family. They remained in the motherland and, with blood that runs from a collective, that's a difficult reality to digest. So, I opted to manufacture that community by means of Greek "Sisterhood". A beautiful concept in theory, and I can fully recognize the beauty of it for others, it just wasn't for me. I still felt like an outsider. But I digress. I was using Greek life to reach a desired emotional outcome. The hazing process weeded me out.
Life has a weird way of weeding out people, places, and things that don't speak to our authenticity. And it will always do that- with or without our permission. Life hazes us by trying us. That's the only way we'll grow and our souls mature. It's why you tend to see the biggest "setbacks" right before the most significant breakthroughs. Take a large oak tree weathered by centuries of storms, wind, and drought. Can you imagine the seasons that majestic tree had to endure in order to provide the shade you seek and the oxygen you breathe? Oh, how sweet are its fruit come harvest.
Humans are, of course, a bit more complex than trees. We still have to deal with the whole existential "What's the meaning of life?" thing. We have to negotiate our own purpose. We assign our own meaning to life. And in my humble opinion, each stage and season of life carries its own meaning and purpose- thus, we must continuously revisit this experience of initiation and breakthrough. This world will haze you all the same so might as well make it something worthwhile. Write an epic story. Go for gold. One of my all time favorite metaphysical teachers, Neville Goddard, speaks on "living in the end". His lectures are part of the reason I am who I am today. "Living in the end" is a concept of assuming the wish fulfilled. I'll add to this lesson by adding "Then work backwards". Assume your dream is true already. How would you feel? What does your life look like? Who is around you? What would you be? Hold that vision. It'll give you strength. God always fulfills His promise- but not before He hazes you a bit.