The sun was rising over the Australian bush, the warmth of its rays starting to melt the dew that had formed on the grass overnight. I breathed in the fresh morning air, feeling it fill my lungs and wake me up. The purity and simple beauty of the nature around me provided the perfect setting for my conversation with God.
Here was the problem: I didn’t like what God had to say.
My Discipleship Training School was over. I had just spent the last 6 months learning about being in relationship with God. It was getting to the end of 2016, and I was ready to hear from God how my next year should look. This concept of getting God’s opinion about my decisions was still new to me. During my DTS, I learnt about God’s desire to speak to me and I learnt to wait on God for instruction and encouragement. I had grown in my ability to recognise God’s voice, yet I still needed the faith to obey His leading.
As I sat listening in the stillness of early morning, the Lord gently told me that He wanted me to return to YWAM Newcastle and join staff because that is where I would continue to grow and thrive. It sounded so scary that I convinced myself that my brain had created that silly idea on it’s own, rather than accepting it as a direction from the Lord.
I fought God’s prompting for a long time, growing increasingly anxious as I thought about “throwing away” the future I had planned. I saw myself moving further away from the path my friends were on, becoming more and more distant from what the world considers “normal”. My dreams for university and a nice part-time job quickly diminished from my line of sight. I felt the Lord challenging me:
“Do you love Me enough to obey, even when you don’t want to? Even when you’re scared? Even when you disagree with the direction I’m leading you?”
Eventually, I couldn’t outrun the truth that God wanted me at YWAM Newcastle, even though I was really scared. I had two options: do the will of God and step right into a life which I didn’t want, or ignore what God had spoken by choosing to do something that I wanted. I felt stuck.
God taught me so much during the time I spent praying, struggling and crying out to Him for help. He showed me that to love Him is to obey Him. Not only because He is Almighty and Sovereign – but also because it demonstrates that I trust that He wants the best for me. I had to remember that only God can truly see the bigger picture; He loves me deeply and wants me to experience joy, hope and peace.
So after a few months, I said “yes” to God, but it was a shaky yes. I continued to be plagued by moments of doubt and fear. I also experienced a sense a mourning for everything I was leaving behind. I would be leaving my friends, my family, the social circles I was already connected in, financial security, and everything that was familiar to me. In response, God pointed me towards His Word: the Beatitudes in Mathew. “Blessed are those who mourn, because they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). Through this time of difficulty which required strength and perseverance, God taught me that while I was going, I could be glad because it’s exactly these sort of situations which force us to depend on God. This is not to say that God causes these times of anguish – they are simply a reflection of the world we live in; but I have come to understand that perhaps He allows us to experience them because He knows our relationship will be stronger at the end.
So I joined my new family at YWAM Newcastle. From Day 1, I have discovered that this is where I am truly meant to be for this season. A new passion and joy has been stirred up in my heart. I’m reminded of the verse in Isaiah 43:19: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” My heart has done a 180 degree turn. I am so excited to walk alongside young people who are passionate in their love for God. I can be assured that I am following God’s direction for my life because this passion is His. I am fueled by what He sees as important, and encouraged because I don’t have to do things in my own strength.
God showed me that He knows me and the desires of my heart better than I do.
The beautiful thing is that if I hadn’t said yes to God in making this choice, I know that He would still be with me. But because I did say yes, I get to know that I’m actually receiving God’s best for me. I get to experience peace and satisfaction in my heart, knowing that no matter what trials I come across, God’s got my back because He is the one who called me to this mission field, and He will carry me through it all.
YWAM Newcastle Staff