Who are you? What do you believe? Why you believe the way you do?
Life is busy. It might not be easy to take the time to reflect on your own reasons for living life the way you do. There’s family, school, friendships, church, activities and the like. People are coming and going. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.
There are many stories like yours – a young adult searching for meaning in life with questions and wanting answers. Someone who wants to get a better understanding of who God is, who has questions about God. Someone who wants to be themselves in the midst of a culture telling them otherwise.
I grew up believing that what I had to say wasn’t important. I felt like my opinion didn’t matter. I chose to cater what I said and did so I would be accepted by others. I was affected by my surroundings and didn’t even realize it. I had grown up trying to gain the acceptance of my sister and was unaware of how much it affected me. I wasn’t being myself.
I walked through life this way.
When I got to a certain age, I didn’t want anyone to know the real me or that anything was wrong. I wanted everyone to believe I was fine. I never wanted the spotlight on me. If I were to let someone see the real me, know my likes and dislikes and they didn’t feel the same, I was fearful they wouldn’t like me.
My desire for acceptance was huge.
I also had thoughts that were inaccurate. Thoughts about what it meant to be a Christian. I felt right in my beliefs and my way of thinking/interpreting the Bible. I had all these opinions, judgements and thoughts about what following God really meant. I would judge people for things I knew nothing about and how they were doing this and that. I can’t even tell you why I felt the way I did.
It wasn’t until God got my attention that I started to see how wrong things were.
I decided to go to Australia to do a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with Youth With A Mission, mainly because I wanted to see Australia. Doing the DTS was just something that I would do while I was there. When it started, I was hit with wanting to open up to people. Even though I was in a new environment with new people, I had a mental battle going on – “Do I let people in and see the real me or do I keep my walls high and people out?”
When they would ask me what was wrong, I initially couldn’t respond with words. I didn’t know how. Something was pulling at me to speak but all I could do was cry.
I could tell they cared. So I took a chance and spoke. I was so afraid.
You know what happened? Acceptance. After I poured my heart out with tears rolling down my face, I was wrapped in a hug. I felt safe and loved.
That was the best thing to happen to me.
God did that. He used the new people in my life and my new environment to show me His love. Once I opened up, I felt I could do it more and more. It was a relief. There was no pressure to be a certain way.
I could be ME and I discovered that people liked me. I realized I could trust them. I could trust God.
During my DTS, I also realized why I believe what I believe. It was like having my eyes opened for the first time. I was finally getting understanding for my long held beliefs. It was amazing and humbling. I gained wisdom and knowledge of other people’s cultures and circumstances.
Little did I know that DTS was just the beginning.
God was preparing me for what lie ahead. After DTS, I stayed in Australia for another year where God would continue to break down my walls of feeling ugly and stupid. I would also grow to learn that what I had to say was important. Although it was an wonderful time, it wasn’t without its share of obstacles. Life is challenging enough but now I was in a relationship with God and He was helping me through.
He can help you through too.
Whether this is the first time you’ve heard of God or have known about Him your whole life, this could be the start of something extraordinary.
Have you ever considered doing a DTS? We have one starting every few months.
Come. Take the time to get to know yourself without the pressure of what you’ve always known. Find freedom and find God. Find answers. See your world expand and see differences come together. Work alongside people from different cultures and backgrounds. Come for the adventure of stepping out of your comfort zone and stepping into something more.
Come for 5 months.
Find your voice.
By Jaime Gomez
Port YWAM Kona Communications Staff