My Personal Growth Essay Example
No one is able to do everything at once. We have to choose what is important, what is possible, and start where we are, with what we have. If we begin working on what we believe is important, the weight, the worry, the doubt, and the depression will begin to lift. We can’t do everything, but we can do something now, and doing something will help lift the weight and lessen the worry.
I have been a part of Pathways for the last three years as a participant and a young adult leader. Pathways is a week-long youth pilgrimage during the summer designed to shine light on the social and environmental injustices in Northern California. We spend the week worshiping, learning about the negative impacts our actions have on the environment, what we can do to create a positive difference and what social injustices have occured in the state.
The first time I heard about Pathways, I wanted nothing to do with it. I didn’t want to have to spend another week at a church camp talking about how we feel and making up scenarios about times God has helped us in our lives.
The next summer rolls around and here comes my Pastor to tell me all the wonderful things Pathways does. Somehow I was convinced I should give up a week of my summer to go to this ‘Jesus camp’. That decision changed my life.
The first year I attended Pathways changed my entire perspective about church and faith and is ultimately what led me to be confirmed six months later.
I quickly realized this wasn’t the typical way to sing church songs for an hour and then go play games for the rest of the day. This was going to teach me some of the most valuable life lessons that I honestly wasn’t sure I was ready to learn.
One of the largest topics addressed at Pathways was non-violent communication. We were taught how to talk to one another in a way that was healing instead of hurtful. I tried my best to use this kind of sentence structure in disagreements with my family and wow did it make all the difference. I felt closer with my mom than ever before because now we were listening to each other instead of ignoring one another in order to get our final words out.
One year later and I am back at Pathways, only this time I had a much more optimistic view about the week. The moment that sticks out to me the most about the week is when a small group of us were standing on the beach. The adult that was with us asked us “what’s the most important thing you’ve learned this week?”
It was dead silent. For a solid three minutes, no one said a single word. As we’re all silently standing there, a large wave came crashing in and we all ran a bit inland. This was God’s way of getting us to all say what we were thinking. The most important thing learned this week was not the same for a single one of us. At first, I was embarrassed to say what I thought was important because no one else found it as important. But that’s just it! We can’t all find the same thing to be the most important thing. Everyone has a different set of needs and to go along with that, a different idea as to what is important that lines up with those needs.
We, as individuals, need to find something that is important for ourselves, that we can be passionate about, and work with what we have to lift some of the burden off of ourselves.
For me, it was finding a way to communicate effectively, not only with others, but with myself, too. I found that most of the pressure I feel is self inflicted. I challenged myself to spend the rest of the week finding a way that I could use nonviolent communication with myself, not just with verbal conversations with others.
Fast forward to the following winter, my pastor asks me to be a young adult leader. I was all over it! I couldn’t wait to start teaching others about what I had learned in the previous years, specifically about nonviolent communication.
This summer, I taught the participants about the structure of NVC and how it has helped me in every aspect of my life. This is what I found to be the single most important thing and it is what I focus my energy on improving my conversations with myself and with others.
Pathways gave me an opportunity to grow as an individual from being the harshest on myself and taking it out on others, to communicating in a way that's healthy. It’s what led me to be confirmed and become a very active member of my church. I am now a member of the vestry and help with the children's ministry. In addition, I help out at the special needs service my Pastor has at our church each month.