Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Small Steps and Giant Leaps

Hey everybody! I haven't written in a while. I've been occupied. But now I'll explain all you need to know. This is going to be about where I've been the last 2 years and where I believe that my life is going, what the next step in my life could be and why.

About a year and a half ago a friend of mine was going through discipleship training at a type of school called Youth With A Mission (YWAM). During that time he sent me a message and told me that God told him to point me in that direction. I listened because I was intrigued that I was pointed out. It seemed weird to me because I'm not used to it; being pointed out by God to do something. He told me I should try and do it for January 2012 but the truth was I had no desire to do it that quickly and it didn't seem to me that it was the right thing to do when I prayed about it. I had a lot of doubt that it would do any good at the time. However I did not dismiss the message. I just kept it in my mind, but shared it with the right people and moved on.

However not long after that I started to get depressed. I kind of felt like I was in a rut. It seemed to be a sort of selfish depression at first with being discontent in my current situation. After I thought about it more I found that there was a more pressing issue behind it.

I decided to do some self-searching. Having a lot of time on my own at work accommodated that fairly well. I must say though that having so much time to myself during work is not a good idea. Especially coming from a place (camp) before this one where I was barely alone ever. I was alone for sleep/naps and hygiene related stuff and that's pretty well it. But I loved it and I thrived in it. Which is weird because I'm typically not a fan of being around people a lot. Yet here I am thriving in a camp environment. It made me wonder if there is a type of environment where I could be with people and be on my own at times and we would make our own community. I wonder if that's the environment where I can thrive the most and I never thought I would survive in it before.

I am an introvert. I need time to myself. It helps me recharge my batteries. It gives me time to think. It gives me time to rest. I like being alone fairly often after a busy day. There's nothing wrong with that and I know it. But part of the reason is that I'm socially awkward all the time and it frustrates me a lot so it really does wear me out to be in highly social environments.

A problem has come up though. If I have too much time on my own (in any environment) my mind begins to wander into things that I have no business thinking about as a Christian. And I'm not just talking about girls. I'm talking about viewing all sorts of areas of life in an unhealthy manner and I start doing things that aren't healthy. Family, friends, girls, jobs, life all mixed up in a mind that isn't the most perceptive when it comes to the consequences and implications of these thoughts.

Now if I go to camp, yes I may still think those thoughts but they're minimized significantly. So are those actions. My thought life is significantly improved at camp where I don't have a lot of time to myself. And so is my community life. In fact my overall quality of life is better at camp. I don't spend much time depressed. I worship God more freely. I am also doing something that I'm passionate about.

I think I know why this is and why there's a huge issue in our current society. We've become too afraid or too stubborn to spend time with each other consistently. When we do, they tend to be close to meaningless and we project fake representations of ourselves and when we don't, we suffer a lack of communication and community in general. I have noticed that in myself and I want to strive to change that.

So I've thought a lot about it and I am choosing to do YWAM. Not because I want to be super-spiritual - no, there's more to it than that. It is my understanding that YWAM helps instill the fact that I have value (hopefully positive) and it will certainly help me in my relationship with God.

Here is my hope with YWAM. I hope that it will help me determine the direction my life should be going. I have been stumped by that question recently and it would be nice to have an answer. Another hope I have is to test living in community on another level and see how well I do. I want to push myself further than I've been pushed before- in more ways than one.

And the way this will happen is I will be spending the better part of 3 months in Pennsylvania. I'll be sitting in lectures learning about God. I will be doing chores and I aim to have my camera with me so I will be doing some video and photography and I may have something to show for my time during or after my stay. I will then spend the Christmas season and January on outreach. It will most likely be in the Ukraine. I'm not totally sure what we will be doing there but I have my theories so we will see what happens. Once I return, I may stay in Pennsylvania for a month depending on how I feel.

I do apologize if I caught anybody off guard about this. The reason I've been tight-lipped about what I'm actually doing is it took me a while to realize that it was something I could really do. That may not be a fair reason but I really believed it was a stupid idea and that I wouldn't be doing it. And now here I am, about to take the plunge into the biggest step of faith that I have ever taken.

The people who knew that I was really considering YWAM were friends whom I trusted to treat this gently but firm. What I mean is, we talked through it and I did not ever feel like I had to be defensive on the thought. That doesn't mean it wasn't questioned and contested, but that the conduct was constructive when it was contested and I really appreciated that. I hope that helps you with where I was while I was thinking about it.

Now I mentioned that there was an outreach phase - likely in the Ukraine. I am going to pay the down payment for it but I want to give you all a chance to get involved if you are being led to support me.If you are interested, send me a message and I can tell you how you can give support.

So I have determined that living in community with other people is the way to go for me. I don't know how it will work, but I'm convinced that it would be better than anything else I could have planned.

The point of all this is to test a theory that I have about myself and integrate everything I've thought about doing the last year and a half with real life to see how it works. I don't know how it will work or even if it will work. This is all based on a thought that I would live and thrive better living in community long-term. I may be provided with a way to continue in this type of community long after I'm done the training- which would ultimately make it a success.

I've also spent time thinking about what my life would be like had I continued on the path where I was going. It isn't pretty. On my own, I would open myself up to living a completely fake life because I can. I would keep to myself and I would be okay with it in time. I have searched the Bible for ways to justify this way that I want to live but the truth is simply that it's disobedience to God and myself. So that's why I realized that there needed to be change and it needed to be drastic.

Thank you for reading. I hope you consider supporting me in this endeavor as I learn more about God, myself and where I'm going.

May God give you peace wherever you are in life.

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