There is a certain insurmountable external pressure put on young adults to have their lives figured out by the time they turn 18. From such a young age you are constantly bombarded with questions about your future goals. As young as 5 years old you are forced to look far into the future and pick a career path. As you get older you wonder if you’re allowed to stick to those original desires or perhaps it's time to think more “practically”. In a culture that is so driven towards success it is easy to get caught up in the chaos of striving to be somebody; and with the standards of success constantly changing, the lists of ways you don’t measure up continues to grow. But what if we have it all backwards? What if instead of immediately trying to fit into the mold society has deemed valuable, we take a moment to stop and look within to discover the perfect way God already designed us to be?
I remember being 18 years old sitting on my couch day after day, lost; looking for a depth, purpose, and reason to get up from my computer and live. I wanted so much to have an extraordinary life but the internal battle that waged within pushed that desire far beneath the fear of failure. Time was pushing me into adulthood but the thought of choosing the steps for the rest of my life was to much. I was fighting something. There was a tug of war in my heart between the safety in the ordinary over the hope of something extraordinary. Looking back, I realize now that the chaos within was a battle being waged over my heart and my life. The problem was that I was fighting a battle that I did not know the rules too, against an enemy that I did not understand. I felt stuck with no clear way out of the whirlwind that seemed to be consuming my life. I think too many of us feel this way as we transition into adulthood. We want to bring new things to this world and we want our lives to have impact and meaning. I think where we often get stuck is in the how. How do I change the culture around me? How do I live life differently when everyone around me is settling for the norm? How do I believe for the extraordinary when I’ve never seen it? These were the questions I had with no one around me who could answer them. This was when I was introduced to the idea of doing a DTS (discipleship training school) and when everything in my life changed.
So what is DTS and why does it have such crazy impact on thousands of people's lives? DTS is a six month missions training program where you focus on knowing God and making Him known throughout the world. You spend 3 months immersed in a community of people who have dedicated their lives to living fully for God. As you learn alongside people from different cultures with different beliefs and worldviews, your faith, character, and beliefs are stretched and strengthened. You then spend 2 and a half months in a new country and culture, serving the poor, the lost, and the broken. You learn how to live a life on mission and what it looks like to serve God with every part of your life. But the transformation doesn’t come from the program that has been set for you. You have to understand that God doesn’t work in programs He works in people. God created the whole earth and everything/everyone in it with a purpose and plan. It is not a mistake that you are on the earth at this exact moment in time. There is something specific that only you can offer this world but choosing that call and purpose will be up to you. What DTS is, is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to step closer to your truest self and discover why God made you the way you are. It is an opportunity to grow deep in your faith and claim it as your own. It is an opportunity to see the heartbreak of God and counteract injustice. It is an opportunity, but only one that you can choose; no one will do it for you, and that is where the power lies.