Tayla is a former competitive surfer and self-confessed introvert. After an injury halted her surfing career, Tayla felt that God was prompting her to step outside her comfort zone and live life with a focus more on others than herself. She shares her story…
Tayla: I found that living for myself is actually quite comfortable. So when I felt challenged to step back and start looking for others, it was scary, but I found that that’s actually what we are called to do.
When I was living in South Africa, I was surfing competitively for a while and I was just so focused on myself—until I had an injury that prevented me from competing. The day before a contest that I’d be training really hard for, I sliced my foot right open and I couldn’t walk anymore.
And that’s when I really felt God was like convicting me that I needed to step out. I’m a super introverted person, which made it challenging for me to step out and share my faith. So it took a lot of courage, but it also brought a lot of fear when it came to actually doing something.
So, I was praying for opportunities to come along where I could share my faith and one day I was in the water surfing and I came across these guys. I found out that they were ex-street children and that one of my friends was going to start volunteering at the organization where these guys were from, called Surfers Not Street Children.
I just had the idea one day, you know, maybe I should start a Bible study. So a friend and I started one up with these guys which was really challenging because it was really out of my comfort zone. The first time we rocked up at bible study, it was pretty scary as we didn’t really know what to speak about or how to engage with them.
They were late teens/young adults, and were pretty sceptical. I found their push back hard, but it was then I had to remember, you know, everyone comes from a different background, so just showing love towards them was the most important thing. Sometimes we have no idea where people have been or what they’re going through, and sometimes they just need to be shown love.
These guys were from the streets and they grew up on the streets. So we would try to choose topics that would relate to them. There was this one really skeptical guy who came for the first few weeks. After a while he became a bit more engaged in the study and asked more questions. It was so cool to see him interested in wanting to know more.
“Sometimes we have no idea where people have been or what they’re going through, and sometimes they just need to be shown love.”
One day he came to Bible study and just showed us his chest… he had ‘God is good’ tattooed across his whole chest—just like the ‘No Ragrets’ meme—which was really cool to see.
That’s when I was like ‘this is so awesome’ and this is why I’m doing this. It was so encouraging because I had been so scared in starting the Bible study. It was so awesome being able to see how God can even use an introvert.
I realised it’s so important to be obedient to God’s calling even when it’s something that’s scary and we have a lot of fear towards. It’s encouraging knowing that when we are obedient, God is with us and he has put the opportunity in front of us for a reason. He’ll always go before us and be with us through it all.