Life is a classroom with an uncharted bell time. You can’t count the minutes until you are dismissed for the day. Each day is a just another door we open into adventuring the unknown. I personally longed to discover my purpose in what seemed like a god-forsaken world that I was thrown into and told to fend for myself. I’ve been in Youth With A Mission (YWAM) for 2 years now. In that time I have learnt 5 lessons that have transformed my view and changed me to be the change.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.
-Edgar Allan Poe
As Edgar Allan Poe describes his experience in dreaming, he reflects what perhaps most of us feel. Growing up I had dreams. Dreams that seemed too big for my mortal mind to deem realistic. The more I dreamt, the more I watched them slip further away from possible. If I had remained where I once stood for any longer I would have given up completely on any sort of hope in for our world. In fact I had given up, completely convinced that dreams were a temporary false sense of hope and comfort. We all have dreams that we want to see come to reality. In my time here at YWAM I not only learnt that I am able dream, but that my dreams MATTER. I learnt that God both cares about my dreams AND wants to show me how to make them bigger.
Think about the dreams that you have because they matter. Once I learnt that my dreams matter, I took a step towards not just seeing a change, but BEING the vessel for change in this world.
2. FACE YOUR FEARS
Fears are unnecessarily paralyzing. Thich Nhat Hanh once said that fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. My time here at YWAM has taught and challenged me to face my fears. I have learnt how to step beyond the classroom, beyond my comfort zone, and give my fears someone to be afraid of. Things don’t get easier each time, but I have learnt how to stand face to face with a situation and creatively conquer it with courage. I like my comfort zone. It’s a safe protected bubble that sustains me long enough to live happily enough until I die. However, if I want to be a vessel for change in our world, I cannot stay in that bubble. Don’t just think outside the box. BE outside of the box and hold the structure of it in your hands for reference. In YWAM I have been challenged to face my fears and in doing so, I’ve discovered foundations that have changed me to be a change.
3. CULTURAL APPRECIATION
Here at YWAM Newcastle, you meet many people from cultures across the world. There are opportunities for international missions trips to various locations across the globe. It’s fun, exciting and educational all at once. What I’ve learnt here at YWAM though, is not how to have a multitude of friendships across the globe, but how to embrace many cultures outside of my own. Building relationships with people from different nations has given me a refined understanding of what life looks like outside the walls of my own western society. I’ve learnt bits and pieces of different languages, tasted international cuisine delicacies, compared cultural differences and even shared awkward moments of words that don’t always mean the same to someone else as they do to you. Having an appreciation for culture has opened my eyes to how others see the world and dreams they have to see change in their own cultures. I’ve seen a glimpse of the opportunity we have to join together and be the change cross -culturally across the nations.
4. YOUR STORY IS INFLUENCIAL. BELIEVE IN IT
Life is an unforgettable path of story. It is an individual account that moves into the future from a present that becomes the past. Imagine those moments in life you did something new for the very first time. The first day of school, your first paycheck or your first adventure trekking trails and painting the town red with the people who bring a breathe of fresh air to the sometimes stale moments in life. Perhaps you felt adrenalin, joy, courage, boldness, or even affirmation of how capable you really are. You may never want to do it a second time, but you came and you conquered. Regardless of how successful the outcome, I have cherished moments of my own that are unforgettable. The time I wrote my very first song. The first time I stepped through the front doors of YWAM. When I met my roommates who quickly transitioned into friends I now hold so dear to my heart. I learnt that I could take moments of my own experience and empower others. I learnt that I have an influential purpose that can transform and be the change in our world.
5. COMMUNITY LOVES
Living in community is one of the best lessons I have learnt so far. It can be hard and working in teams isn’t always easy. Sometimes people disagree with something I have said. Sometimes your roommates are messy. But nothing can replace the lessons you learn and more importantly, the relationships you build. Whether it’s at the dinner table casually chatting about your day, catching up in a local coffee shop before heading to the beach for a swim or spending time reading the bible and praying together- community teaches you how to be relational and love radically as Jesus did. You don’t forget the people who become family that love you, just the way you are.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing day- to- day, we live and we learn. We’ll find ourselves in situations that grow and shape us. Being a part of YWAM has opened my eyes to something bigger in life. Learning how to dream and dream big, how to face my fears and use my story in an influential way. It truly has changed me to be a change in this world. Dream BIG. Face your fears. Believe in your story.
How will you be the change you want to see in the world?
By Meg Kemp
School of Communication & Digital Influence Student