I mentioned that we have currently been deciding what to do about housing coming October when our lease is up. We have three options (stay where we are, do an apartment ministry, or buy a condo) and we decided to break up the three options so they somewhat stand alone. Options 1 and 3 are very similar, because both involve renewing our lease. Also, we don’t have to decide between the two until October at the latest.
The other option is being a part of an apartment ministry team. We need to decide this soon, by mid-August when we have to give our notice to our current apartment if we will be moving out. We are going to make a decision about whether or not to do this first, before we try to bring in other options and confuse ourselves! :-)
I contacted the people from Apartment Life to get more information, and let me tell you, it sounds like a great program. Talking to them on the phone really dispelled some of my fears, namely about the comfort, security, and location of the apartment. She said they would give us a choice based on our preferences. She also said that almost all the apartments are in more affluent areas, and in places where we’d be able to live without fear for our own safety. We could be picky about where we wanted the apartment to be – she didn’t think it would be a problem to request a complex near a train station. She also talked more about the program itself, and I was pleased.
I want to take the idea of free rent out of the equation, and treat it more as a perk rather than a reason. I don’t want to pursue this just for the free rent, but rather because we want to serve the people we’d be living with and ministering to.
It sounds like fun. I picture myself in the position: working hard, putting together a welcome package for some new residents. Making a card, baking some cookies to include. Printing out a list of things in the area, an invitation to our next apartment-wide get together.
Then I imagine myself putting it all together in a little bag, tying it with a pretty bow, and setting out for the apartment of the new residents. I imagine walking up to the door…. and suddenly fear takes over me, I set the bag down, knock on the door, and run.
See, that’s where my most major concern is (actually, my only concern at this point). I might be outgoing in a group of people where I know each other, but I am SO shy when it comes to new people and new situations. I’m friendly if you approach me, but I’d rather die than approach you. (Of course, if everyone had a blog, then I’d be fine. Blogging makes it easier for me to meet strangers. ;-))
I’ve been somewhat introspective recently, because I am trying to figure out myself and decide whether or not I could handle being put in a situation where my job is to meet new people and make friends. The planning and organizing part of the job sounds like SO much fun! I already have tons of ideas, and I want to do them all NOW! :-) But the thought of building those new relationships makes my heart tighten. I look at how Paul and I are – we go to a newlyweds Sunday School class every Sunday morning, and we’ve made a few friends that we feel comfortable with. But if our friends aren’t there, or they are talking about football, we go hide in the corner and talk to each other. We usually have a conversation that goes like this:
Me: “We should talk to people.”
Paul: “Yes, we should.”
Me: “How about that couple over there? They look nice.”
Paul: “Yes, they do.”
Me: “You go.”
Paul: “Me? It was your idea.”
Me: “Yeah but I don’t want to go.”
Paul: “Neither do I.”
Me: “So we’ll just stand here and talk to each other.”
Paul: “Sounds good to me.”
Yikes. The more I think about it the more I wonder why I’m thinking I could handle something like an apartment ministry! The commitment is for 18 months, and I am just so scared I’m going to be SO burnt out before we get close to being done. Paul said that is his gut feeling too. I think the thought of meeting new people terrifies him even more.
And just to complicate things… Logically, aside from the shyness part, I would totally do this. I like everything else about the program and think I could handle all other aspects. And it is a ministry. Doesn’t God promise to equip us and not worry about it? Didn’t He tell Moses to go lead the Israelites out of Egypt? And when Moses protested, God provided his brother Aaron to speak for him? Am I just making excuses? That my faith is weak?
I don’t feel that God is telling me to pursue this, but I don’t feel the opposite either. A friend told me that if God wants me to do this, then I won’t be able to get away from it. I don’t want to ignore an open door because I’m scared, but I don’t want to intentionally put myself in a stressful situation for 18 months.
Paul and I realize if we say no to this, we’ll probably never get this opportunity again. However, we also realize that there are lots of opportunities to minister to those around us; it doesn’t have to be this particular way. There will probably also be ways we can minister in areas that are more comfortable to us. However, again, I know that I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13). Hence my dilemma.
How about you? Have you ever entered a situation that goes against your personality? Would you advise for it or against it?