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Journey Asks Josie Nottle – How did your Schoolies experience connect with your faith?

Josie Nottle
Most young Queenslanders have what is known as a “Schoolies” adventure in the weeks immediately following the completion of Year 12 at high school. This month Journey asked three young women who had very different Schoolies experiences how their Christian faith connected with that event.

Josie Nottle
Josie went to a Scripture Union (SU) Schoolies camp on the Sunshine Coast.

November 2002; Sunshine Coast; SU Schoolies; a time of celebration; you would think.

School was finally over; it was time to celebrate.

So, what was the problem?

My best friends were living it up on the Gold Coast and I was on the Sunshine Coast with SU.

I spent the week of Schoolies on the phone hearing all these incredible stories of all the fun they were having.

But, I was at a camp site with only a few friends and many people I did not know.

It was a week full of fun activities and opportunities, but I struggled to embrace the fun, because I was too jealous of others who got to have a more ‘traditional’ Schoolies experience.

There was a dilemma in this for me, because in my heart I knew I was in a place that was not only safer, but inclusive of faith. But still I felt I was missing out.

This was a little silly, considering I knew that if I was on the Gold Coast I would have felt pressured, unsure and I imagine that in the crowd of thousands I would have felt alone.

Although I was at a place that was God-filled and centred, I found it challenging to be excited about God in this time.

I felt excluded from normality because I had chosen to believe in God. I found it difficult to embrace the opportunity to celebrate.

In hindsight, I look at the situation differently.

I can now see that God is not a God of restrictions and boundaries, nor is he a God of boring activities, as I saw in 2002.

He is God, who can offer us joy that lasts longer and is more substantial than the emotions felt at a party.

Josie Nottle is a candidate for the Specified Ministry of Youth Worker and a member of Aspley Uniting Church Congregation

Photo : Josie Nottle