Living in the Uncomfortable
|Driving home from our February Youth Unlimited Western Regional Retreat|
As I reflect on the work that Youth Unlimited does, I am reminded of how uncomfortable much of our job is. My coworkers spend their days approaching those deemed unapproachable by a lot of society. They work to advocate for these youth in community groups, schools, churches and family circles. Every aspect of our jobs is fundraised; salary, benefits, programs, transportation, buildings, etc. We have the uncomfortable task of approaching others regularly, asking for money.
In September, I made the decision to volunteer my Wednesday afternoons/evenings at our art and spiritual life programs and I have been shocked at how uncomfortable it is for me. Weekly I feel as though I am met face-to-face with insecurities that I thought had left me when I graduated high school. I find myself wondering how to approach youth, wondering what they will think of me, struggling to carry conversations past “hello” and “how are you?”. It can be so awkward and yet I continue to volunteer each week despite this.
I am finding that the more I make myself uncomfortable, the more I not only grow in my own confidence, but also in my reliance on God rather than myself. I like to be in control of situations and not knowing how an individual will react to me is difficult. These experiences have forced me to step out of my comfort zone and trust God to help me overcome my own fears.
When I first started with Youth Unlimited I began with limited artistic ability, which was comical and slightly embarrassing, considering I was working alongside some very talented individuals. I have had a unique opportunity by volunteering with our art program in that I am able to rub shoulders with youth while doing art alongside them. I have been shocked to see that I am not as bad as I thought and how this has been an interesting connection tool as I watch other students struggle and then persevere with me.
Taking this job two years ago, I never would have expected to be faced with so many of the challenges and insecurities that I have ignored for a good portion of my life. It has been difficult in the moment, but powerful in the long run. I feel like I am learning and growing on a weekly basis, just because I am pushing myself beyond what I thought I could do and taking a leap of faith.
Have questions about my journey on this and the rest of my work with Youth Unlimited? Please don’t hesitate to contact me and ask. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my phone number is 604-557-6507.
- Megan Adam