When I first came to YWAM San Francisco, I was a perpetually anxious, twenty-year-old college graduate. I’d spent the last four years building my own security, in my own strength. I believed God’s goodness was something I had to deserve. I couldn’t understand how God could love me beyond my grades, my success, or my productivity for His Kingdom.
My life was a tightrope, and I lived in constant fear of misstepping and falling out of God’s grace.
I came to Discipleship Training School because I wanted to learn how to tell people about Jesus. What I didn’t anticipate was learning to confront my skewed views of identity, worth and God.
During my school, I worked in the Ellis Room, a drop-in center for homeless people in the Tenderloin. We offered access to bathrooms, showers, haircuts and more, but, most of all, we offered relationship.
In the Ellis Room, I met Charles. He was from the Midwest, just like me. We sat together, under the warm sunshine streaming through the storefront windows, and talked about what I was learning in my school and what he was learning on the streets.
One week, he opened up to me about his own struggles looking for identity and worth. He’d been rejected by his family, and the hurt pushed him into a life of striving and fear. He’d come to San Francisco looking for acceptance, just like me.
We sat together at our table, under the sun, and talked about Jesus. We talked about what God says about us through His Word. We talked about how God’s love changes how we live.
That afternoon, Charles decided he believed what Jesus said. He took a Bible with him to keep uncovering truth about himself and about God. A few weeks later, he told me, because of Jesus’ words, he’d decided to contact his family again and open the door for new relationship.
It was hard for me to find the right words to speak to Charles most weeks. I didn’t feel like I had much to share with someone on a journey like mine. But God spoke through the messiness of our discoveries and showed us how His perfect love casts out fear.
My life isn’t a tightrope today. It’s more like breathing. God’s grace isn’t something I earn, it’s what gives me life.