We are called to live in community. In fact, community living is part of our original design. Psalm 133:1 proclaims, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”
When I think of my brief time spent with YWAM Mazatlan, community is the first word that comes to mind. Dictionary.com defines community as, "A social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage." That definition, while true in some sense, doesn't quite capture the full picture of Christian community living. Truly seeking the heart of God with a devoted family of believers completely transcends words. If you are thinking about doing a DTS, and have any doubts about living in a community of believers, here are three things to help you navigate your uncertainty.
Living in community is fulfilling, but if you don't learn to find balance in your day-to-day life and set aside time to rest in God, you're going to feel mentally drained. This was a particularly hard lesson for me. I love being around people and I often forget to prioritize time alone. DTS is especially difficult because there are so many people around, making it really easy to hang out with friends or roommates 24/7.
Despite how much I love people, I struggle with anxiety, and it tends to creep up on me when I haven't been spending enough alone time with God. During my DTS, God told me that not only does He love spending quality time with me, but when I set aside a space in my day to "hang out" with Him, He gives me peace that transcends understanding.
We each have our own lifelong struggles, and they tend to slowly gain more and more power over our lives when we’re not constantly laying them down before Jesus. "Resting in God" doesn't have to look a certain way -- after all, you don't always do the same exact things with your friends or repeat the same old conversations.
Beware, a YWAM DTS Could Ruin Your Life
For me, resting in God means going to the ocean to sit and stare out at creation and feel His presence beside me. Other times I find divine inspiration in reading scripture or diving into theological books. Some days I sit and talk to God verbally, or I write my prayers in a journal. One of my favorite things to do is either walk or drive around while listening to worship music. In those quiet, intimate moments with Him, I am most sensitive to hearing His voice and guidance.
No matter where you are at in life, remember to set aside time for God, and seek after Him whichever way works best for you. God gives us a truly beautiful promise in Jeremiah 29:12-13: “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
DTS can be an emotional time. You will learn more about who you are and who God is. It can bring to light past hurts, failures, and regrets. On the other hand, it can also bring clarity, joy, and healing. Personal growth is never easy, and if you are experiencing significant breakthrough on your journey, the community surrounding you is likely going to get a glimpse of these emotions whether you want them to or not. My advice is this: Embrace it! Be open! Sometimes the most powerful, long-lasting healing comes from sharing our weaknesses, fears, desires, confusion, sorrows, and revelations.
What Are You Looking For On Your Next Adventure?
The enemy wants you to think you are alone and that no one cares about what you are going through. He wants you to keep quiet about your inner struggles. My experiences sharing with both the YWAM Mazatlan community and other believers has taught me that we are meant to lean on one another in times of sadness and joy. Our burdens become lighter when we share them with each other. When you pray together, God brings healing and light to even the darkest places. The first step is being open and vulnerable.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2)
When you live in a community of people from all different countries and backgrounds, there are going to be differences in perspective. Expect this and embrace it. There is a lot to be learned from seeing how different people live and how other cultures think. Learning to get along with people from all walks of life is an incredible way to remove the focus from ourselves and grow in humility. Sometimes we need to "die to our rights" and put the needs of others before ourselves. In Matthew 20:25 - 28, Jesus tells his disciples:
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave -- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a random for many."
Time and time again, Scripture declares that we are called to be set apart from the world. The world seeks to serve itself, but "not so with you." We are called to be life-giving, loving, gentle, peaceful, humble, and selfless. We are called to exchange our ego for the gift of eternal life. Luke 9:24 declares: "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it."
5 Quote That Will Inspire You to Do a YWAM DTS
These are only three of the many things God has taught me through living in the YWAM Mazatlan community. Now it's your turn! Come experience the laughter, joy, trials, and craziness of the DTS journey, and remember that it's impossible to experience it alone. It won't always be easy, but it will always be worth it.
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” (Rom. 12:4-6)
Want to join with like-minded believers and pursue God for six months? Click the link below to apply to a DTS!
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