A year ago when I decided I wanted to apply to be a YAV, I had ideas about what was going to be really hard for me and what wasn’t going to be as hard. I had researched the program and had several friends or people I look up to go through the program, so I felt I was familiar with what being a YAV entails.
The tenets of the program include:
Intentional Christian Community
Leadership Development through Faith in Action
(for more information on each of the tenets follow this link https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/yav/)
I knew that Intentional Christian Community was something I felt pretty comfortable with after being in Montreat for many summers where I lived in a type of Intentional Christian Community.
I knew that Simple Living would be a challenge for me. I didn’t often think about money and what it meant to live an abundant life with less. Most of the time I thought about spending my money mindlessly on eating out, shopping, Amazon, etc.
I was excited to try and break through the systemic challenges of race, gender, class, and power through Cross-Cultural Mission. I was so excited that I might have forgotten to think about how my life and my actions feed these issues.
Honestly, I didn’t think about Leadership Development. Maybe it was because I felt like I knew how to be a leader.
I thought Vocational Discernment was going to be the hardest AND most needed tenet of the YAV program within my life.
So, it’s been 6 weeks now and I’m starting to think I might have been wrong about some things. Maybe not wrong per say, but I have started to use my senses differently. Maybe I’ve started to think and feel differently. Maybe I’m being challenged… just kidding, I am definitely being challenged.
What I now know is that Intentional Christian Community is not always comfortable. Seven very different people living together and being around each other as much as we are is not easy. There are bumps and disagreements, but there is also laughter, fun, and love.
I am proud of myself and what I have given to Simple Living. I have tried to think about every purchase and what it adds to my life, physically and emotionally. Do I need it? Do I want it? Is it okay to buy this thing I really want? My next step will be to go deeper beyond the financial side of simple living.
Cross-Cultural Mission has been tough. I think a lot of this toughness stems from my naivety within the world. I used to think about how I can solve the problem, but the new thought is how am I a part of the problem. This idea is fresh, so I still don’t know what to do now that I am starting to recognize where I fall.
Within Leadership Development, I have learned that I know how to be a loud leader, a leader who takes control of any situation and acts. While I’m comfortable in this role as a leader, I need to learn how to challenge myself and explore new ways to lead. I have some learning to do from the people who surround me in my work, my home, and my community of New Orleans.
The one I thought was going to be my longest and hardest journey has surprisingly come quite clear to me in a short amount of time. My Vocational Discernment has shown me there is a piece of me missing in New Orleans. I am rarely with kids anymore and that has left a hole in who I am. Part of the program is figuring out God’s desire for my life and my work. I am pretty certain my calling in life is to be with kids and I think I might have found the work aspect as well, but it’s too soon to write that in a blog.