I believe in peace when it’s sweeping over me
And I believe in fear when I feel courageous
And I believe this life is more than tangible
And I believe the sky is going on for ages
God – Relient K
Today is August 26th, marking one whole year since my adventures in Australia began. On this day last year I touched down in Brisbane Australia and I was forever changed. YWAM was one of the most challenging, difficult, annoying, yet rewarding things I have ever done. Over the course of six months I was in Australia and China growing with God and growing as a man. I will be dedicating this blog to two lessons I learned since that journey began.
Let me set the stage for the lessons I learned. Prior to leaving for Australia I was having a pretty rough time. I had spent the entire year on academic probation and I found it near impossible to pull myself out of bad habits of staying up late, procrastinating, and wallowing in my own self pity. As a result I failed, throwing myself into academic suspension. Now although I knew all year that this was a possibility if not an inevitability it hit me like a ton of bricks. What was I meant to do with my life without Bible college. I grew up in church, I was heavily involved with my youth group from grade six until I graduated. The year between graduation and post-secondary was my hardest year and year farthest away from God, so the thought of losing my Christian community again terrified me. As a result I signed up for YWAM, and as embarrassed as I am to admit it, I looked to YWAM to be my savior. Luckily God is way bigger, and showed me how much of a savior and loving Father He is.
Lesson One: Slow Down
When I left Canada I had my foot in too many doors. I was holding onto my summers at camp, my life as a student at Ambrose University, my path to being a worship pastor, dreams of opening a coffee shop, as well as relationships to people and any new dream that came along. My thinking was that if I took my foot out of a door it would forever be close. I didn’t outwardly thing this but subconsciously it was eating me apart. Now you can guess how stressful it was when I decided to leave the country for six months, I was completely unsure what would be there for me when I returned. But during my time in Australia I had some chains broken in my life. As I started to rest in the Father’s love, I saw that things didn’t matter near as much as I thought. God showed me that I needed to slow down and focus on things of the heart, and character flaws trusting Him to line my paths up in good fruitful ways. The amazing part was that when I returned home all my options were still open, all my friends were still there, I had the option to return to camp and school, I had all my options back. So what did this change in the way I live my life? Well now I see that leaving something doesn’t mean I can’t pick it back up. I don’t need to stress about everything so much and I can just let life happen, knowing God will always have good plans ahead of me.
Lesson Two: The Love of the Father
This is one of the biggest lessons anyone can learn in their life, and I feel blessed to have learned it at a point in my life that was honestly a tipping point. Mostly all that I learned on YWAM was covered by this one including the call to slow down and trust Him. See I entered YWAM a certain person. I was Gil Donily; musician, worship leader, sometimes funny, well thought out, wise, I had long hair, I loved the Oilers, and much much more. Now this is not a conversation about how I gave away all of that (except the hair) to pursue God, because I don’t think He called me to let go of anything, rather He asked me to grab onto something, which was God Himself. Now of that list, musician and worship leader were, and at times still are, my biggest identity. The YWAM base that I went to was huge on creative arts and had a huge school of art students. The school I did was backpacking. Now you can maybe see how the jealousy started to rise up in me, which was followed by a complete stripping of my identity. How was I to live six whole months as someone that I was not. This is where God is cool. He started speaking identity over me constantly. Telling me that my identity was not something like music, hair, or anything else that can be taken away. No my identity is being a child of God, and if my father is the King of Kings then I am a prince with some pretty high creds. That is an identity that I want to hold onto. So how has this changed my life? Well when I pray I pray intimately to the Father and not some far off God I don’t understand. Also I try daily to put my faith less in the world and more in God. This is a continuous path of growth, and I look forward to where this love will take me in the next year.
Now to end this blog I want to talk a little about my plans for the coming year with this blog. I have really enjoyed writing here and getting feedback from many of you, but I definitely have not been posting even close to as much as I had hoped. This next year I plan on writing a post every week starting in September. Every first and third week of the month will be my regular posts on God and what he is teaching me lately. Every fourth week will be on music that is interesting me lately and probably what God is showing me through that. I am still working on what I want my second week of month will be. My hope is that this blog would take off a little, but if at the end of the year I have only made a difference in one life I will still be proud, and happy with what I did. So please share my posts if you enjoy my writing, and I look forward to the next year interacting with many of you through or because of this blog.