“Maybe this was a bad idea. I shouldn’t be here.” These were a few of my first thoughts as I touched down in Los Angeles to embark on a five month journey called Discipleship Training School. What was I getting myself into? I remember that day like it was yesterday. Anxiety filled my heart as I stepped off the plane and felt the warm breeze of California weather. When I arrived to the YWAM base, I didn’t think this was for me. I hadn’t thought this through enough. As I unpacked my suitcases, my mind filled with everything that could go wrong in this place I would call home for the next few months. Little did I know, God had a wild ride ahead for me and I had just taken the first step.

When I came to DTS, I was unsure about myself and didn’t think I belonged here.

I remember that insecure and doubtful young girl who came to Los Angeles. The first night here, I started believing I didn’t belong here. Maybe I had heard wrong from God. This was a big mistake. I felt way too out of my comfort zone and I didn’t like it. I didn’t like this feeling of being out of control.

During the first few weeks of my DTS, I learned quickly that I couldn’t hide here. For many years, I had learned to hide myself. Hide my feelings. Hide my tears. Hide my quirks. Hide my imperfections. Hide from God. Hide from people. Hide different parts of who I am. But I found that I couldn’t do that here. For the first time, I didn’t want to hide. In fact, I didn’t feel the need to hide. It was a new concept for me. I had learned this pattern of hiding and putting a smile on my face. However, this place was different. I felt like I could breathe. Like I could finally take off the mask and just be.

It started with not hiding from God. Over the course of just a few weeks, I discovered that I had been hiding from God. I thought He only wanted to see the good parts of me. I believed He wanted to see what I could do for Him. It was a complete shock to me when I found out God just wants to be in relationship with me. That’s all He has ever wanted. Not only that, but He already knows all the imperfections I carry. God knows I doubt Him. He knows I struggle with pride and proving myself to others. God knows I’ve denied Him in the past. He knows I struggle with depression even when I look joyful on the outside. In the beginning of my DTS, I met a God who met me where I was at. In the midst of my mess . . . and this concept began to change me.

As I learned about who God was, I saw myself in a new light.

Before coming to DTS, I wanted to change. I didn’t want to be who I was. I thought maybe DTS could fix me. God would help me become who I was always meant to be. When I got here, I found out that I had to accept myself where I was at. Yes, God wanted me to grow as a daughter of Him, but He didn’t want me to change completely. I didn’t need to be fixed. I needed to learn what it felt like to be loved by my Father.

And that’s exactly what happened. As I sat in class day in and day out, my mind began to turn rapidly. Was this God really who they say He is? Since I grew up in church, I thought I knew everything about Him. But this time I saw Him in a new light. God’s love felt tangible rather than just something I heard about. I started to experience His love firsthand through hearing Him speak to me, feeling His presence during worship, and seeing His hand throughout my story. As this happened, I began to flourish.

I flourished into who I always was, but had been hiding for so long. I surprised myself when I started to see this optimistic, bubbly, adventurous girl rising up in my heart. At first, it felt foreign. Yet, I heard God whispering, “This was my plan all along . . . for you to come alive. This is who you’ve always been.” As I continued to see who God was, I started to see more of who I had always been.

DTS was just the beginning of a long process of uncovering who I am and learning of a God who accepts all of me.

Those five months were extremely monumental in my life, but it was only the beginning. Now that I’ve joined staff and done a few secondary schools, God continues to blow me away with His unconditional love. Three years after my DTS, and I’m still learning about who I am and who God is. In fact, I think this will be a life long journey. An adventure of accepting myself and accepting the love from my Creator.

Is God asking you to go on a journey with Him?

Is God asking you to take His hand and discover who He is? Is He challenging you to do something new and learn about who you have always been? Take His hand and let Him lead. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Are you interested in doing a DTS? Click here to learn more.

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