Tomorrow, I‘m leaving New York City for an indefinite amount of time. A lot has happened since I moved here six months ago. Here‘s a glimpse into a piece of my journey.
Who would have thought I’d arrive to New York City struggling to hold onto my faith and leave with it clasped anew between my hands? Places like these are where people come to forget about God, drown themselves in self, and abandon any idea of a loving, sacrificial, holy Creator. But coming here has renewed my faith.
Six months ago, I came here shaking (quite literally) in my boots, terrified of what my future may or may not have held. I was coming to the city where dreams come true, and I was not at all confident I could handle it. Being here made my dreams — those at the time and those forgotten from years past — feel possible, tangible, things I could reach. Now was my time. Don’t screw up; don‘t screw up, I told myself over and over, stressing myself out and making screwing up inevitable.
But as time went on, the fear and nervousness fell away, making room for me to be my genuine self, not the worry-wart who’d taken over my body. This was especially noticeable in my interactions with my co-workers at tbsp. I typically start a job quiet and get louder as time goes on, but this was different. I was a Christian twenty-something from rural nowhere come to New York City, working food service in Chelsea of all places. If loud, pushy liberal down-staters aren’t enough, throw in one of the most polarizing moral debates of our time. And then me, who hates arguing and, at that point, was having a hard time calling herself a Christian.
I don’t know how many months it was until the truth got out: Meredith’s a Christian, and she’s not doing homework before work — she’s reading her Bible.
They noticed I didn’t swear, but that action plus the cross in the logo on my hat didn’t connect for a conclusion of “Christian”. In fact, no one ever suggested Christian as a possibility. Catholic, yes. Mormon, yes. Christian, no. So I had to say the word and note, “There’s a big difference,” prepared to explain what the difference was.
By the time those situations came about, though, God had already done some major work on my heart — through conversations with my housemates, straight-up Bible preaching at church two and sometimes three times a week, and regular Bible reading (not to mention the people at church and bits of encouragement along the way from Christians I randomly met in the library, with a running group, and at a soccer tournament).
With every moment and word of truth and encouragement, God pulled me back, whispering, “See? I am real and present and active. You can trust me.”
And though I see-sawed from letting go slightly and holding on tightly — and, indeed, still struggle to trust God with my future — today, as I prepare to leave the city where dreams come true and return to Indiana for my first using-the-degree job, I am not the fear-filled, shaky, skittish girl I was six months ago. I am excited about my future and whatever it does or does not hold. I know that God is in control and that He will do a better job with my life than I ever could do on my own.
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