Before I came to Discipleship Training School at YWAM San Francisco, my view of God and His Church was very small. Jesus and His Bride lived in little boxes in my heart, comfortably separated from my whole, real life.
I was living in isolation, from God and from my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I knew Jesus, but I only talked to Him when I felt like He wanted me around. If I was angry or confused or struggling with sin, I didn’t go to God, I walked away from Him. I believed God only wanted me at my best and couldn’t handle me at my worst.
I went to Church, but I didn’t believe the Church could love me. I’d never shared my story with the people who worshiped beside me every Sunday. I thought, if they knew who I really was, they wouldn’t accept me.
The first week of DTS, my classmates and I came together to share our stories. Not just the mountain-top moments, but all the valleys and scary stuff in between.
When my turn to share came around, my heart was racing. Surprisingly, as the words came out of my mouth, the roof didn’t cave in, the floor didn’t swallow me up, and everyone seemed to be okay with my story, with who I was.
In isolation, I believed nobody would understand my struggles. In community, I discovered I wasn’t alone.
It turns out, my experiences, questions and struggles weren’t that unusual.
During the school, I relearned what it meant to be in relationship with the Church and, in turn, with God. I realized the reason I walked away from God when I was upset was because I thought God was going to walk away from me.
In isolation, I believed I’d never be accepted. In community, I discovered I was already accepted and fully loved by God.
Because God loved me first, it was okay to talk to Him, or not talk to Him, when I was angry, upset or hurt. Either way, I didn’t have to walk away. I didn’t have to hide. I could share every thought with Him or sit in silence, but I always knew my Father was there for me and, most of all, with me.
God was bigger to me. I realized He wanted me all the time, at my best and at my worst. The Church was bigger too, with room for all of us. Those little boxes I’d built were falling apart and my life was coming together into a whole.
Discipleship Training School was hard. Sometimes I say it was the best time of my life, and sometimes I say it was the worst. Either way, I wouldn’t trade those five months with twenty strangers for anything.