Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'm scared ...

“Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” (Galatians 2:10 ESV) 
I live in a city caught between two worlds, at least financially; Grosse Pointe, and Detroit. I have to admit that this placement has become a struggle for me, one in which I never expected. You see we moved to Harper Woods for a few reasons; it fit our price range, it was diverse, and frankly it was nice to live in a familiar area surrounded by family. However, after the housing crash, and homes in my area began to sell for $25,000, the impact to my city took a turn that I was not anticipating.

I’m not looking to judge, but I ask a rhetorical question; what situation causes a family to move into a home that is $25,000? I’m simply thinking (yes, this is my opinion) that while there most certainly are exceptions, that a family moving into a low cost home is possibly financially stressed. Perhaps out of work, disabled, single income with multiple low paying jobs just trying to provide for their family, etc. I understand this can be very subjective and open to interpretation, however what is not subjective after this change is that I went from a school playground across the street where I felt comfortable sending my kids to play, to one in which I feel uncomfortable. From issues of horrific language, inappropriate relational activity, aggression and fighting, disrespectful behavior, destruction of property, and even issues like public urination when my kids are playing. This is hardly subjective.

I drive one direction to shop at Trader Joe’s in Grosse Pointe and shop with my kids smiling, polite workers, and a community that smiles says hello.

I drive another direction to shop at my grocery store at the end of my street and I hear words or anger, frustration, pain, disappointment, verbal abuse, and faces that are downcast and keep to themselves.

Before someone wants to stop and correct me about a negative experience they had a Trader Joe’s or tell me about how nice the help was at our local grocery store, I know there are exceptions. In fact, at Vegas Foods recently (a local grocery store that I struggle to shop in now) I had a beautiful chat with the cashier about love, Christ, the importance of Scripture, and our children to share the light in this community.

I won’t lie, I want to leave. I want pack up, continue to pay my mortgage on a home that is worth a third of what we owe, and rent, or buy somewhere else. I begin to judge and think, if they don’t care about their community, then why should I care? Yes I then remember the recent words of my sister in Christ Jessica at church last week and her experience showing Christ in some troubled areas of Detroit. “There are certainly people who care.” she assures, “They’ve just given up hope, have little faith, and feel forgotten.” 
“Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” (Galatians 2:10 ESV)
Remember the poor. I don't think you need to be a bible scholar to know that we are commanded many times to remember the poor. But what does that look like for me though? God placed me here, and His Spirit is scorching the flesh of my heart, and I know that I was not placed here to become financially stable so I could move soon. Yet what does His calling look like for me?

This is where you come in. I’m asking for you to pray for me.

I need to discern what His will is for placing me here. I’m not going to hide from obvious facts and cloud them with exceptions and political rhetoric; there is darkness around me. Communities and individuals that hide behind city pride and let the darkness consume them are creating deeper damage, and are not resolving anything. Love for your community requires honesty, and effort to make a change. I know this, yet I struggle with the feeling that I want to simply run away. I know I may not be here (in this neighborhood) for the rest of my life; but I need to let Him make an impact through me while I am here.
“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.” (Luke 8:16 ESV) 
… a follower of Christ does not let His Spirit be lit within Him and run from darkness and take that light away from the darkness that so desperately needs it.

He has something amazing planned for me, I know it, but I’m scared of my flesh pulling me away from His calling; pray for me.



Ellen - SkoMomma said...

You're in a tough spot Matt-especially with young children in your safekeeping, I'm praying that God's direction becomes abundantly clear.

Anonymous said...

I very much understand your struggle. I live it along side you, and pray every day that an answer will come my way.

Anonymous said...

"if they don’t care about their community, then why should I care?". Wow. Seriously? How colonial. Seems to me that the key is to engage rather than run. To me, one of the greatest things about Christ was that he dove right in. Are you volunteering? Handing out bus passes to those that are working 3 jobs for minimum wage? Jesus was brave. Your honesty is beautiful, but perhaps your calling, and ticket out of there is to cultivate open heartedness, and a non separatist bravery that lights the darkness rather than masking closed minded fear as prayer and reflection. Prayer is active. Sure there is public urination, sex, bad language, anger...this is the stuff of base, mammalian life. Being able to illuminate the possibilities of improvement on a situation like that is an honor. You're in
Mother Teresa territory. Are you living up to that?

Matthew said...

Thanks Ellen, that's what is weighing on my heart. I'm involved and will continue to be involved, it's a matter of 'where from' as I have my primary ministry to consider, and that is my family. I know He will guide me, I just want to make sure I'm listening to His voice ... Thanks again.

Margie said...

praying! I am reading Compelled by Love and am getting swallowed into it's pages. Today I read about how the poor are interdependent (on each other) they share and the rich are more selfish and have the 'i can do it attitude' more independence. oh boy, I can tell you that for me, I can easily sway to the independence of me, not dependant on God.

I'm thinking..... maybe you are there to love THEM! to show them the way... TO HIM!!!! I'm praying! I'm praying for guidance and for you to love like He's shown you to do, you know the way... now you just have to walk out in obedience. Grace!

Margie said...

and... there is no fear in love... perfect love casts out fear!

1 John 4:18

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