There is Life After Gap Year Adventures...Danny Adams - 3 Aug 2017
So you’ve just landed back on home turf after an incredible, eye opening, comfort zone pushing time serving Jesus somewhere away from home...
And whether you were gone for a few weeks or the full twelve months, the time you’ve been away has probably been the best (and maybe hardest) time of your life.
You might have found family in the people you’ve shared the journey with; maybe you’ve got into a decent, consistent prayer rhythm; perhaps you’ve delved into the depths of God’s word and worked it out practically to the world - to the poor, broken or needy.
And now you’re home.
And you're looking around your room - and the familiar all seems slightly different than it did before. And the prospect of ordinary day-to-day, predictable life now lies before you. And, whether it looks like employment or you’re off to study more, the next season ahead seems less exciting than the last…
That's how it was for me, at least...
I remember finishing the Vision Course with 24-7 Prayer; God stories coming out of my ears and Bible verses filling my brain. And though there were signs of growth in my heart, in the time between the end of my gap year and, eventually taking up a role in one of the boiler room communities, I found myself lost, wondering what to do with my time and how to process my year, how to move forward.
And so I spent the summer working in a local coffee shop, trying to re-adjust to ‘normal’ routines, normal life.
This summer, if that's somewhere you now find yourself, I hope you can learn from some of the lessons I learnt along the way:
Be kind to yourself - I remember hearing wise words from Brian Heasley who talked about how, in the time after pouring ourselves out on the mission field, it’s important to stop, pause, and reflect. Do self care, read good books, eat good meals, get good sleep, do some exercise, find a new rhythm for reading your Bible.
Learn Something New - If you find that you’ve suddenly got loads of spare time, use it well and be intentional about how you use it. Don’t waste it; learn something new. I suddenly found myself with loads of time at the end of the day, because my evenings weren’t filled with street mission or youth clubs; so I learnt the Guitar. You don’t have to binge watch the Netflix series you’ve missed - Netflix will always be there - and you may not always have as much space and time in the future.
Wait - Be patient: don’t run after the next big thing. If you’ve recently spent time in a big church setting, it’s often easy to return home and compare your home church. But embrace your season of waiting and allow God to speak within it.
Use what you’ve got in your hands - You may not think your gifts are particularly special- especially in light of time away doing incredible things with incredible people - but use your gifts. It might be something as small as the ability to make good coffee or the recipe for some really nice cupcakes. But God can use that to change the world.
Prayer - If you need to find a new rhythm of prayer. You may find that 6am prayer session won’t fit around the day to day, you may need to get up even earlier. As a youth worker I find getting up at 6am after a 10pm finish pretty difficult, but I’ve learnt not to feel guilty for living a different rhythm in a different season.
Just because your gap year is over it doesn’t mean God done with you. Carry the things that you’ve learnt forward into your next season, and allow God to work through you in it too.
The adventures just beginning…