Like many young adults graduating from high school, Shanan Zavocki was bombarded with decisions about the future. Do I want to go to college? Where do I want to go to college? What do I want to do as a career? What job do I want? What’s God’s plan for my life? What should I do next? What’s the right path? So much opportunity at her fingertips, and so much stress on her shoulders.
She thought about taking a Christian gap year for a long time. But even choosing a gap year program felt like another big decision to make.
She heard about the World Race: Gap Year, but originally decided the gap year program seemed too expensive and hard, but somehow too good to be true. After God used people around her to put the World Race in front of her again and again, she chose to trust that God and follow Him into the unknown. (Read more about why here.)
Now, as she’s wrapping up her 9-month gap year program, Shanan reflects on how God has used that step of faith and the World Race to change her life.
How could I ever sum up all the ways my life has changed since coming on the World Race?
It’s not that it’s even the specific World Race organization that has affected these changes: this program has simply been a conduit for change; a petri dish for spiritual growth; a place that has helped push me towards the relationship with God that I desired to have, but couldn’t bring myself to follow through with on my own.
Instead, I want to share one specific way the Lord has changed my life through the World Race.
Prior to starting the World Race Gap Year, I had the desire to pursue God wholly, but I was shackled by fear of judgment and fear of discomfort.
I’d gotten into a routine of reading my Bible and just breaking the tip of the iceberg when it came to conversing with Holy Spirit. Yes, I’d seen a slow gradual change throughout my walk with Him, transforming me into the person I was at that point.
However, that change didn’t truly expand past the perimeters of my own life and the lives of my family.
On the one hand, I felt good that I was pursuing God by regularly reading my Bible and sitting in His presence. I had a nice routine down, and I truly treasured the time I spent with Him.
On the other hand, I felt the beginning of a crippling conviction that I was living a double life – one where I didn’t explicitly deny God in my words or actions, but I also didn’t explicitly live out my faith either.
I had become so focused on pleasing other people that I’d let my internal tendency toward anxiety turn into a raging fear of expressing any difference of opinion.
The World Race became the catalyst I needed in order to push me towards the next steps in my faith.
I do believe that the Lord would have fully grabbed hold of me sooner or later, even if I hadn’t said yes to this opportunity. But because of my ‘yes,’ I was able to jump feet first into an amount of growth that I truly could not have imagined experiencing.
Through the World Race, I experienced enough outward encouragement to propel my inward desire forward. I’ve learned more fully how much my walk with God is truly a relationship and not a routine.
Because of that relationship, God has truly revamped and revitalized my life in ways I would never have expected. (Check out this blog to see a little bit of how God changed the course of my future).
Yes, I still have hard days and hard seasons. In fact, I’m going through a hard season right now. However, I have a greater awareness and knowledge of the Person that will always walk alongside me, through every season.
And even when my feelings and emotions don’t line up with what I know to be true, I can still rest confidently in His presence.
Colossians 2:6-7 says, “6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
The World Race can change your life, too.
Ultimately, the World Race doesn’t have to be the tool that empowers you on your walk with Christ. But it can be. And I think the only way you won’t grow on the World Race is if you don’t want to.
Thanks to God, I’ve had this incredible opportunity to not only grow in my own relationship with God, but to walk alongside other young adults my age in their faith journeys.
To see the body of Christ working like He intends it to, to experience a variety of different ministries.
To learn how to form Godly relationships, and to surrender everything to Christ.
And I know there’s more than that, too.
Lastly, I want to say a huge thank you to God for bringing me to this place. Thank you to all of the generous people who have so kindly stepped out in faith to help me get to where I am now. Thank you to my parents for supporting me in following wherever God leads me. And thank you to C Squad, for walking alongside me in this journey. I love you all.