As I am in the middle of job-hunting, the next step in my life, the idea of moving is right in my face and challenging me at every other moment. What the heck am I doing?
There is no glamour in this new town of mine. It is a highly deprived and isolated area. If I can believe what people are telling me, there is a lot of poverty, mental illness, substance abuse, disability, emotional neglect, and a lack of community. It is a dead town past its heyday. There are many systemic issues which I confess that I don’t understand and I don’t know how to address. I want to help but how? I’m the least qualified person.
When I tell people my plans, their hesitant warnings are the same from Christians and non-Christians alike. Be careful down there, It’s uh well it’s a dark place. Only the Christians emphasise a spiritual darkness while the non-Christians express something more vague. It’s just a strange place. Do you know what you’re doing down there?
I don’t know what kind of impression people are getting but I certainly feel like I don’t know what’s going on. It doesn’t make sense to why I’m going and not someone else who has more experience. What am I doing?
How do you go to a place of supposed darkness and confusion? Even if you do go in, what do you do? How do you address all of these complex issues, especially when it’s just you and a few people? What am I doing?
Oswald Chamber writes about the conflict of faith in everyday life like this in his devotional My Utmost for His Highest.
Every time you venture out in your life of faith, you will find something in your circumstances that, from a common-sense standpoint, will flatly contradict your faith. But common-sense is not faith, and faith is not common-sense…Faith must be tested, because it can only become your intimate possession through conflict…the test will either prove your faith right or it will kill it….Believe steadfastly on Him and everything that challenges your faith will strengthen it
Steps are never easy. It is easy to fall, like a baby learning to walk, but steps need to be taken. Steps need to be tested otherwise the legs will never be strengthened and we would not walk.
My Common-sense challenges me and asks me what are you doing? Faith is suggesting something different, to take a deep breath before the plunge into the dark unknown. My Common-sense states that I’m not qualified to do this at all. Faith agrees and restates that God uses the weak and the foolish to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1: 26-29).
I can’t stop my doubts. Maybe doubts are natural? I can, however, stop doubts taking root and taking control in me. I don’t want to be the doubting woman or the fearful woman. I would like to doubt my doubts. I want to be confident and I want to be brave.
So what am I doing?
Most of the time these days, it’s driving me on my knees. It helps get rid of the panic in my throat. I am feeling humbled by my lack of qualifications as well as excited by the possibilities. I’m praying for strength to take that step of faith.
What else can I do?
T.S Elliot wrote ‘Lord, I am not worthy/ Lord, I am not worthy/ but speak the word only’ (p. 77, Act III, lines 118-120). This is the prayer that I’ve taken up as well.
Lord, I am not worthy, but speak the word only.
Chambers, O. [(1935) 1992] My Utmost for His Highest; An Updated Edition in Today’s Language, ‘ The Unsurpassed Intimacy of Tested Faith’, August 29, Dodd, Mead & Company/ Oswald Chambers Publications Association
*Elliot, T.S., Selected Poems (1954) ‘Ash- Wednesday‘, Chorus IX, Faber and Faber Limited,