What is life? This is so often the question I ask myself. One week I am preparing for an Easter festival, the next I am wearing an an Islander dress, simulating missions for our students.
Growing up, I couldn’t have imagined myself living in Australia at 25. Nor living as a full time volunteer. I left England, very insecure, not sure of what I wanted out of life, nor where I was going. I had few hobbies and passions, but nothing I thought worth pursuing.
Leaving College was one of my most vulnerable times. Unsure of the path ahead of me, living with so much regret behind me, what was I to do? From my naive perspective, it looked like everyone around me had life figured out. Whether it was an internship or a Uni program, they had a plan. I felt the pressure of Uni applications closing, getting turned down from every job I interviewed for and wanting an adventure with zero income.
One day my friend introduced me to Youth With a Mission (YWAM), and told me I could travel, get to know God and study photography in Australia. Well, that sounded like a pretty sweet deal! Over the next few months, I became pretty anxious. I was nervous about the future, having no money and making the right decisions. Sounds pretty normal, right?
Well on October 19th 2011, with all those fears intact, I landed in Brisbane airport, unknowing this would be my home for at least the following 6 and a half years. Completely unaware to a God who had been perusing me and planted the desire in my 12 year old mind that I would indeed live in Australia at the age of 18.
With few passions, a lot of unhealthy-broken relationships and bitterness in my heart, I was ready to be completely transformed.
First six months
The first six months were spent fundamentally learning who God is, how He speaks and desires relationship with each and every single person. I then took an 18 month leadership course, welcoming a season of mentoring, road trips and the next 2-3 hardest years of my life.
For the first time in my life I started to deal with comparison and feelings of inadequacy. Much to my dishearten though, this wasn’t a rip of the bandaid kinda a deal.
It took days, which turned into months, slowly turning into years; of crying, having good days and then bad days, trying to overcome and feeling like a failure. For over a year, I was prescribed anti-depressants and a psychologist. When the moments of insecurity that would hit “my trigger point” would try and tip me over the edge, I needed to learn to not react or give up.
My brain and my heart needed to learn they were okay, I was loved and people wanted the best for me. There were many moments of feeling lonely and wanting to give up, but the encouraging thing was learning you can change your thought pattern. We are not destined to live out our fears, or act a certain way because we always have. We can be powerful people by holding on to truth and making healthy choices.
During the leadership course, I was set to co-lead a team to India. After booking flights, buying a visa, organizing things logistically, I learnt I wouldn’t be going. This is when it became real to me that I needed to change.
A loving community
I feel fortunate to be in a loving community, who believe in championing young people and getting to grow alongside so many. Looking back, I feel honored to have been given this space and time to grow and deal with things that could have otherwise held me back and stopped me stepping in and reaching my full God-given potential.
To begin with, it took a conscious everyday choice to learn to stand in the truth of who God is, and then it became easier to trust God, knowing He was trustworthy. And now, I love life, who I have been created to be and who I get to do life with, those far away and those I see everyday.
I believe in young people and seeing them learn who they are. Many think its something we will just know, but this isn’t true. To see a young person express themselves takes a lot of vulnerability. With all this in mind, I have prayed and made the decision to stay in YWAM Brisbane, until I get permanent residency.
I believe in the vision we have as a Centre and the direction God is leading us in. It has not been an easy decision, knowing it means I am away from so many in England and all over the world. However, knowing God is in control has been the best thing to learn and I am excited to see all He has for me.
Beckie Bowie is a Press Service International young writer from England