by Maria Scott:
I have been constantly thinking and praying these words since I began this adventure of intentional living in the Mt. Clare neighborhood of West Baltimore this week. I was not prepared for the things I have already been faced with. I knew I would learn, but I expected to be learning about the community, about ministry, about how to reconcile different races and social classes, and about how to seek God’s shalom for this city and the world. I am learning about all that, and it’s a great deal to absorb. So far, it has been a life-changing, heart-altering experience.
But in addition to this, I have also encountered a big part of myself that I didn’t know I still needed to learn about. I thought I was free from so many things that, in just the last 4 days, God has hit me with. He has put things in front of my face, opening my eyes to see that they are not the way they ought to be. Things ranging from social awkwardness, to judgmental opinions, to racial prejudices. Things I had dealt with in the past and thought I was free from. Things I would regularly see in other people and pat myself on the back because,
“I may not be perfect, but at least I don’t have that problem…”
I am beginning to see how broken I am. How much I need to not just be fixed and mended, but wholly healed and made new. I am beginning to see on an uncomfortably deep level my total inability to function without Jesus. I have been confronted with my brokenness and honestly, it is shameful. I am ashamed. I am ashamed of things I feel and think. I am ashamed of the assumptions I make and the apathetic actions I take (because, by the way, doing nothing is an action, too). I am ashamed of my inability to truly understand and hurt for the community in Charleston, S. C. I am ashamed of the opportunities God lays before me on a daily basis that I ignore and excuse. I am ashamed at the number of people I have failed to love like Jesus has loved me. I am ashamed at my complacency. I am ashamed at my selfishness. I am ashamed at my lack of compassion.
A few days ago, our director shared a verse from Jeremiah 29:7 as he was talking about our vision for this program. It says, “And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be…and pray to the Lord for it: for in its peace you will have peace.”
So seeking reconciliation for this city and this world is connected to seeking reconciliation within myself? But I didn’t choose to do BUP so that I could realize my own brokenness and reconcile my own heart! I thought I was coming to learn about other people and the brokenness facing the rest of the world. Not ME. Not MY brokenness!! I think that God is showing me that they are directly connected. In fact, I’m not sure if I can be an effective reconciler in this world and this community if I don’t begin to also reconcile within myself.
Honestly, I don’t know exactly what this means right now. What I do know is that God has started stripping me of my big, fluffy, comfortable blanket and is laying my brokenness out in plain sight. And let me tell you, it is ugly and unpleasant. But I know I need it. I feel so unprepared, but I know that my God makes up for all that I lack. He is the Great Reconciler, and I choose to trust Him to show me how to reconcile, too.