A Place I Never Intended or Thought I Should Go

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.

BUT…

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.

MY DILEMMA…

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?

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