During orientation in Chicago, we compiled a list of rules for our time together. One of these rules was to “allow some grace space for yourself.” Basically, this means that you shouldn't be too hard on yourself. This rule was very helpful during orientation in Chicago and during in-country orientation as well. However, I have found that the idea of “grace space” has become even more prevalent and useful lately here in Soweto.
Throughout much of my YAGM experience so far, I have been feeling inadequate. During Chicago orientation, I was feeling in awe of the other YAGMs and feeling like I didn’t fit with this group of amazing people. During in-country orientation, this feeling was intensified. The other South Africa YAGMs are such inspiring and great people; how could I possibly belong in this group?
Here in Soweto, I have been wondering if what I am doing is enough. Am I working hard enough to step out of my comfort zone? Am I trying hard enough to learn a new language? Am I being open enough to create new, lasting relationships? Am I actually teaching the children anything? Questions like these seem to be constantly running through my mind.
When I am feeling overwhelmed with these doubts or feelings of inadequacy, I remind myself of our rule during orientation:
“Allow some grace space for yourself.”
Although nothing that I do ever seems to be enough, I know that God has provided me with the strength and courage to do exactly what needs to be done. I must learn that “being" can be more important than “doing.” After all, “We are human beings, not human doings.”
I must remember that I am who I am for a reason. I am here in Soweto for a reason, even though that reason may not ever become clear to me. I must constantly strive to be my best, but not let that get in the way of living. The relationships I have built and will continue to build are important, both to me and my community. Although I may not see it every day, my presence here is noticed and important. God entrusted this role of YAGM to me, and I must have trust in that plan.
Dear current, former, and future YAGMs, friends, and family, please don’t forget to allow some grace space for yourself. You are all beautiful people with a wonderful purpose in this world. You are loved, cared for, and relied on more than you know. Don’t allow yourself to feel inadequate as compared to others. You are unique and incredible in your own way, and that’s what makes this world such a wonderful place.