I recently got to write a blog for my sweet community pioneering Denver Gap Year, a program ruthlessly dedicated to see the hearts of 18-22 year olds come alive to Christ. Check it out and follow Denver Gap Year to join in God's awakening of young people!
Adapted from https://www.denvergapyear.com/:
We recently asked our good friend Leah van Someren to write us a blog, she brought us this beautiful written prose. Leah is a lover, poet, and adventurer. She has climbed the corporate ladder, served those in need all over the world, and is now interrupting everyday individual lives with love as a barista. Be sure to check out her blog to stay up to date with all of her happenings.
Do you recall receiving a gift the moment you took your first breath? A precise amount was given - no more, no less - and you’ve been entrusted to spend it however you see fit. It’s investable, has a notable ROI and can be budgeted based on preferences, needs and desires. And the harsh reality is, once spent, you’ll never get it back. In fact, we are each given the same gift but no matter how efficient and effective anyone is, we are all bound to its finite nature. Its effects often go unrecognized until we’re lacking. And if you’re anything like me, you find yourself lacking more often than you’d like to admit.
Have you recalled what the gift is?
It’s time. We are given time.
If time is indeed a currency, the world works ruthlessly to convince you, you are in debt before you even start. From three years old, you were habitually inquired of, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, as if that’s all you were made for. You take advanced classes and get college credits before finishing high school, teeing you up for an unquestionable transition. Immediately, you leave the comfort of home, pick a major and with your head down, start trekking without really knowing where it is you want to go. It’s as if there is a gigantic clock in the sky and with each tick and every tock, we have this keen sense that time is slipping away, pressuring and manipulating us with the factitious idea that if you’re keeping up, you’re on the ‘right track’. There is certainly a reason it is called the rat race because from childhood, every participant is trained to be concerned with arriving as fast as possible. But what if crossing the imaginary finish-line later than your peers is the least of your problems? Take it from someone who kept up, your biggest concern is getting to a destination you never wanted to go to in the first place.
I took the expected path: I earned A’s in high school, graduated with college credits, picked a major that gave me a vague sense of direction and plowed through four years of undergrad. From there, I accepted the first job offer and spent three years, day in and day out, typing toward a goal I had literally no passion to see come to pass. I stayed ‘on track’ only to come to a screeching halt when confronted with the dead end of my limited dreams.
It was there, sitting in an office chair at the dead end, I realized why my dreams were limited: I didn’t know God and I didn’t know myself. So, I did what the world would call reckless and irresponsible. I quit my career and took my own ‘gap year’ of sorts. By doing so, I discovered the flip side (praise God there is always a flip side)! What if not getting there - wherever everyone else is going as fast as they can - is the biggest gift you could give your future self? Your future vocation? Your future family? Your future world?
A gap year is a pivot point. A momentary pause from one transition to the next, in which you’re given the opportunity to mindfully listen and explore. And with ears and heart open, you may then set an intention for your life that, though potentially opposite of every voice you’ve ever heard, is more than you’d ever hoped for in the first place.
Think about that for a minute. Invest a couple pennies of your time and investigate yourself in this very moment.
Do you want to spend your gift of time by shuffling down a path without a clear sense of calling or passion? Are you keeping up for fear of falling behind? One of the largest fears we are met with, by students and parents alike, is if one takes a detour in the common course of high school to college, they’ll never get ‘back on track’. And we’re here to tell you…you may be right. You may never get back on the track you thought you’d be on but we guarantee you’ll be on a track that is better than any you could have ever dreamed.
Surrender your concern of running out of time or falling behind and invest in discovering yourself, God and the world around you. By doing so, you’re promised to make the greater impact you deeply desire - what you were made for. That is truly using the gift of time.