There are so many barriers that keep me from my relationship with God. He’s not the one who puts them there though, I do. He has promised in Matthew 28:20 that, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” But my human heart is fickle and has trouble staying with Him in the same way. If you think these barriers get easier to face during YWAM DTS, you may be mistaken. While it is an incredible environment for growing in your faith, if my own experience is any indication, the challenges only seem to be strengthened and multiplied and it feels like I have to work 50 times harder to move forward. The difference is, the closeness that I have found in my relationship with God here whenever I do break through these barriers is so radical, so intimate, and so worth every ounce of strength it took to fight my way towards Him. Here are three areas I have had to battle through during this time in order to surrender my heart to Him completely, and when I am able to do that, the breakthrough is incredible.
Time management and alone time.My time at YWAM Mazatlan has been busier than I could have imagined. And even when it’s not, I’ve constantly been learning new ideas and working through emotions to the point of exhaustion. It can get easy to immediately fill any free time with naps, going out with friends, watching Netflix, and the like. I’m not saying any of that is bad, and I really think those things can be awesome and necessary when they are balanced out, but I want to emphasize the importance of setting aside time for devotions, meditation, and reflection on all you have been going through and learned. In order to do this, you have to find alone time. There are so many blessings that come with living in community, however, alone time is not one of them. Alone time is seriously something you have to make the effort and fight for here! The fight is well worth it, though, and the more you put into practice habits of setting aside time for yourself, the easier it will get.
Depending on people.
One of my weak areas has always been other people. I love them! Being around them, talking to them, enjoying life with them, etc. And none of those things are bad! However, I have come to see that I place too much dependence on them. Sometimes, way too much. I have often looked to other people as my primary source of joy, and that is something I’m continually surrendering to God, in order to make Him the priority in my life and to find joy and contentment in Him before all else. A verse that has helped in honoring God as my first priority has been Matthew 22:37-38, which states, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”
The distractions in my time here have been endless. Whether it’s the people around me, worries about the future, focusing on finances, or even just the weather, it has been so easy to get distracted from my main purpose for being here at YWAM Mazatlan, which is to know God and to make Him and His love known. The biggest battlefield for these distractions is typically my mind, and one of my best methods for combating it has been through 2 Corinthians 10:5, which states, “...we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” When distractions enter my mind, I try to filter them all through this verse and truly submit them to Christ. It doesn’t work every time, but the more I try the easier it gets and the more focused I’ve been able to remain on my true purpose for being here.
So, if you’re battling through any of these areas, don’t be discouraged. There is always a way out! Jesus’ main defense when He was tempted by Satan was to combat each temptation with scripture, and I encourage you to do the same. God will never give you anything that is too hard for you to handle, and He will be with you every step of the way. Keep persevering! God has promised us we will find Him when we seek Him with all our heart.
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