For much of my life I focused on doing the right things and doing them well; on the outside I looked like I had it all together, but inside I was insecure, I didn’t like myself, and didn’t feel like I belonged. Although I had been a follower of Jesus for many years, when I came to Journey I was weary and on the verge of exploding from years of hiding and stuffing my feelings down.
What I found at Journey was a safe and invitational environment that challenged me to recognize and acknowledge that I wasn’t ok, and explore my struggles. The leaders made space for me to encounter Jesus and experience that He was with me; I learned I wasn’t alone and that how I feel is important. Through this process I was able to connect with years of confusion, pain and self-hatred I had carried inside, and God began to minister to my heart.
Over the years, I have so appreciated the way Journey staff and volunteer leaders have helped me “grow up” in my walk with Christ. They have been with me each step of the way, but not doing the work for me. I’ve had to be the one to respond to God’s invitation to me, to take risks to be vulnerable before Him and others, and to stop minimizing and suppressing what’s painful and uncomfortable. I’ve had to be the one to take ownership for my life, actions, thoughts and choices, and to count the cost of following Jesus. It’s sort of like training for a race. I need people “with me” - coaching me, equipping me with skills, helping me improve my technique and focus, encouraging me from the sidelines, or even running with me - but I still need to take the steps, choose to train, persevere and run the race myself.
Today, I’ve come to embrace the good and the gift of who I am in Christ, that I am my Heavenly Father’s beloved daughter. The journey has been hard and messy, but also filled with mystery, wonder, delight and freedom where I’m experiencing life more deeply and fully. It begins with what God is doing in me, and spills over into how I relate more authentically to Him, others, and the world.