I’ve been thinking lately how I ended up somewhere that I had no intention of ending up. While I praise God for landing me here, that’s not entirely what I have been thinking about. I had this idea in college that there were places that I was supposed to end up.
When I took Urban Min., I hated poverty weekend. I felt like the class was just repetition from my social work classes. I heard the following message: “Rich people are bad. The middle class hates poor people. Only good Christians (and social workers) work and live in the inner city. ” I know that’s not what any of my professors (Urban Min or Social Work) intended, but as a person who looks at life as black and white, it made sense to hear it this way.
I ended up in inner city Columbus for my senior internship. All I can say is once I stepped in there and I talked with my potential field instructor, I knew it was where I was going to do my internship. Throughout my time at The PEER Center, I learned a lot and I started to put together the difference between thinking I was bad as a middle class, country-loving Christian girl and recognizing the privilege I have as a middle class, country-loving Christian girl.
I thought I knew that I was going to live in the city in Columbus. I thought I knew the best church for me would be an inner city, multi-ethnic, small church. I thought I knew that I was going to work in mental health.
I sent out my resume and cover letters to all of these mental health agencies in Columbus. I waited and waited until I knew I had to apply other places. I applied to one place in Dayton and the day after I put my application in, I got an interview. Although I did not end up working at that agency, moral of the story was that I knew I was supposed to stay in Dayton.
I found every mental health agency in Dayton that was hiring and I applied. I heard nothing. Finally, I started applying to agencies that work with populations that I enjoyed learning about and working with in college. I got interviews, but nothing worked out.
As my summer job was coming close to ending, I had no job and no place to say. Then a person at Celebrate Recovery looked at me and told me I just need to get a job. I know, it seemed a little heartless. However, it finally pushed me to apply for every job I could find. As much as it hurt me, I applied to jobs entirely outside of my field (that I didn’t even need a college education for.)
I applied at a foster care agency, one of the last places I wanted to work. I got an interview, an offer and a job. Around the same time, I found the perfect apartment on the second try. I just knew that it’s where I am supposed to be.
I live in the suburbs. You know, the place where all of the bad middle class poor hating white privilege missing people live (I didn’t forget my black and white thinking.) I thought the only way to reconcile with my values was to find an inner city, diverse, small church. I did find one and I sort of liked it.
However, the entire summer, I started going to this Celebrate Recovery. I couldn’t help it, the people were so genuine and I could work on my issues. I found support and people like me.
I wanted to get involved at this inner city, diverse, small church, but all of their events conflicted with my Celebrate Recovery meeting. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my Celebrate Recovery support. I found a sponsor, who, praise God, is not easily pushed away. I found some friends. Plus, I wanted to continue to work on the steps. To be honest, the ability to stay with this Celebrate Recovery played a HUGE role in my choice to stay in Dayton.
It took me awhile to put two and two together that Celebrate Recovery met at a church where I could attend and become a part of. When I realized it, I pushed the thought away. The only way I could keep my integrity was to go to an inner city, diverse, small church. Do you know where I was going to Celebrate Recovery at? Fairhaven Church… a suburban, scarcely diverse, mega church. I said a long time ago that I would NEVER attend a mega church on a regular basis.
After a few weeks, I decided to try Fairhaven. I thought I hated it. Then I met with a friend for dinner and a movie. She asked me, “Are you just going to this (inner city, diverse, small) church because you feel guilty?” To be honest, the answer was yes. I thought the only way I could be a good Christian was to go to an inner city, diverse, small church.
So, I tried going to Fairhaven again. I recognized how critical I was the first time I went. I was somewhat shocked to find that I really liked the church and the messages actually spoke to me. I didn’t think a suburban, scarcely diverse, mega church could be anything but fake… but then they had Celebrate Recovery.
What if I end up in a place where I never thought I was going to end up? What if what I thought was best, things I still believe in isn’t where I am growing? What if I am supposed to grow and learn in a huge church, a foster care agency (that I really like) and a quiet (minus the fire department next door), suburban apartment complex? What if the very place I was trying to run from is the place where God wants me to be?