Feature

The Real Me

How Nyack College helped me discover who I am

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From my first days at Nyack, I was consistently challenged to understand and articulate my life experiences. The words “share your story” echoed at chapel services, in classes, in the resident hall, at the library, and even in the cafeteria.

A class called Introduction to Spiritual Formation helped me to discover the main character of my story: me. In one assignment, the teacher asked us to create a mask. On one side we wrote or drew how other people perceived us, and on the opposite side, how we saw ourselves.

Completing the outside of my mask was easy. I grew up as a pastor’s kid, so I always knew what people thought of me. The inside of the mask, however, challenged and frightened me. I was afraid to bring some things into the light.

Who Are You?

While I worked on this mask assignment, I attended a chapel service where the preacher spoke about our identity in Christ. He asked, “Who are you?” I rattled off a list of obvious responses, but then I reached a void.

Soon I sensed God say, “You missed the most important one: You are a child of God. Your identity is in Me, not in the things on your list. Allow Me to show you who you are.”

I left that service with an overwhelming urgency to finish my mask and unveil things that hindered me. In the encouraging and safe community that exists at Nyack, a process began that helped me to connect the pieces of my story.

Being Vulnerable

For the first time I began to open up about my anger and frustration with God. I acknowledged my irritation with my parents for making me feel like I had to compete with the church for their time and attention.

I admitted my sin and struggles. I acknowledged my addiction to busyness and to idolizing work. I spoke about living through abuse and dealing with constant fear, guilt, and shame. The process of revealing my brokenness and being vulnerable was a lengthy one, and it continues.

My Nyack education made room for me to get to know the Author of my story. I uncovered God’s unconditional love for me, His forgiveness, His grace, and His healing, as well as the freedom found in Him and being in His presence.

I felt a burden in my heart for pastors and missionaries and their families. With that in mind, I enrolled in Nyack’s Marriage and Family Therapy program where I learned “you cannot take others to places you are not willing to go to yourself.”

The faculty and staff of the Marriage and Family Therapy program encouraged me to dream and to surrender my doubts. At Nyack I was trained to be Jesus’ hands and feet to those I counsel and serve, as the legacy continues of “preparing men and woman to take the whole gospel to the whole world.”

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