Part 3 of a 4-part series: city
I am only in my 30s so I can only lay claim to a limited amount of wisdom. However, when I have reflected on my life thus far it seems that the best decisions I have made were the times when I chose my own path, one that was different from what was expected. Those decisions have been been God's way of directing me to the life He has for me.
When you outgrow home
During college, my husband and I attended a church that was led by a pastor who was globally-minded and very invested in diversity within the Christian church. She had a vision and a heart for the church as depicted in both Acts and in Revelation, a gathering of peoples from many cultures, unified by their Jesus. She played an important role in our spiritual development. Her heart for diversity is simply a reflection of God's heart and we left our university years changed.
Moving back home to mostly-white communities and mostly-white churches felt oddly uncomfortable. In college we had been blessed to be a part of that church that was home to a wide range of people. And we both had studied at universities that were more racially diverse than our hometowns.
When your ideas aren't welcome
Now we too had God's heart and passion for racial diversity. This seemed like something we could bring to our hometown church as the neighborhood around its physical location had been changing. Diversity was right at our doorstep. Our response was "Yes! Let's invite it in!" Conversations with the pastor and a formal invitation to the leaders' meeting to share our thoughts and ideas was met with resistance (to put it mildly). In short, they didn't share our passion and they weren't interested in hearing about it either.
In hindsight, I was young and naive. I was overly optimistic and highly unrealistic with the rate at which change occurs. I was also quite possibly overly confrontational with people who didn't see the world the way I did. And I know I judged them for it. For that I am truly sorry. All of us can only operate out of what we've experienced and what God has shown us. I can only hope that I've learned to show more love and grace since them. I hope I have more understanding for people who are at different places on their journeys.
House-hunting and church-hunting
When we realized that our church home no longer felt like a place we belonged, we began searching for a new place, one that was racially diverse. We were also financially ready to begin our house hunt and very intentionally turned our eyes to the city as opposed to the suburbs of our childhoods.
People have expressed their admiration for this choice, but I'd rather not take credit. All credit is due to our amazing God who had led us, and continues to lead us, on this path of appreciating, valuing, and belonging to racially diverse communities. This idea and these experiences are gifts from God and all credit belongs to Him.
What's your story?
Is there something important in your life that wasn't part of your own plans? Something that you can't quite explain and therefore must give the credit to God?