Featured Racer: Christina Young
Perfectionism, gossip, judgment: that’s how Featured Racer, Christina Young, regarded church culture —until authentic community changed everything.
Christian and Asian American values blended together to form a very black and white worldview for Christina. Despite her family’s participation in their church, Christina never felt like she fit in.
“I heard so much about who I supposedly was from church members that by the time I was headed to college, I thought, ‘Well, everyone’s going to say I’m wild and crazy anyway, so I’m going to do whatever I want and find satisfaction wherever I want.’”
In rare quiet moments, Christina found herself “duking it out with God.” These nights ended in either explosions of anger at God or immense sadness at being separated from him.
“I wanted everything — to live however I wanted and pursue the world while still having God on my second-string, my break-glass-in-case-of-fire extinguisher.”
Finding it easier to walk away, she feared her life would always be in limbo between loving God and loving the world.
But halfway through college, Christina found a church community that drew her in. The Ark felt different – alluring. For the first time, Christina didn’t feel the need to be defensive. No one was there to attack her.
“People actually loved God, and not in that ‘perfect Christian’ way, but in a way that made me wonder if I could love God too.” It seemed a mystery to Christina that the people in this community actually loved each other and encouraged individuality.
But life pulled Christina away from the Ark. After graduation, success came quickly. She moved to San Francisco, got an excellent job, and started seeing a great guy. Her life seemed perfect.
Yet she still felt empty.
“I didn’t know who I was, because everything everyone was associating me with wasn’t me. It was just stuff I’d done. And if that stuff went away then who was I?”
After a yearlong hiatus, Christina went back to the Ark, where she confessed her dissatisfaction with her “perfect life” to the pastor.
As he prayed for her, she began to feel a shift: her heart filled with hope. She knew God had bigger plans for her.
“My heart began to change in ways that I had always tried to force on it before, but had been unsuccessful. The barriers I had before – the anger and hurt from the church and Christians – all evaporated.
“One day I realized I was willingly coming to church and participating in community. I didn’t feel like it was a fight anymore. It wasn’t just the physical expressions of faith aligning, but I was also being established in my identity and value as a daughter of God.”
This newly established identity meant giving up the position of power in her own life, of authentically surrendering to him and yielding her heart to him.
In her newfound intimacy, Christina began praying for God to change her heart, give her a new dream, and position her to do something “extreme” for the Lord.
That’s when God sent former Racer, Christine Louie to the Ark. Hearing about the World Race, Christina’s heart leapt. She recognized this as the opportunity and direction she had been fervently praying to God about.
When Christina began sharing her decision to do the World Race with those closest to her, her parents were skeptical. Family visits resulted in fights.
Facing the conflict head-on, Christina continued seeking quality time with her family. A few months before leaving, the family sat down together. They prayed for guidance and listened for the Lord’s answer.
This marked a turning point for Christina’s family.
“They got to see my heart for the Lord, and my mom said she felt peace from the Holy Spirit about me going.”
At her parents’ church, Christina gave a presentation about her trip, which allowed her family to catch the vision on Christina’s heart.
“Now, they’re my biggest supporters, and my mom is a total prayer warrior for me.”