Guest Post: Overcoming Paralysis
Tonight I’m taking a step back and giving some time to a wonderful young lady I had the pleasure of meeting a few years ago. Her soul is just as beautiful as her writing and I’m honored to give her time to share her heart tonight. Introducing Carrie Cabush!
Paralysis is not confined to the physical body. It can plague the mind and the heart, in ways admittedly figurative, but threatening nonetheless. Too often, we choose to do nothing, to believe in nothing, because we might be wrong. We fall prey to the fallacy that the world’s problems are too big and our time on earth is too short.
I believe that positive change occurs when we face the hardest questions of all, acknowledge our limitations, and let God do His work. When we allow God to work in and through us for the benefit of others, the space between heaven and earth thins. It is in these moments that even those of little faith are forced to step back and acknowledge a miracle; a miracle no one person can bring about. I encountered my very own miracle in what many consider the holiest city in the world – Varanasi, Benares, or Kashi, depending on who you talk to. As we say in the church “use whatever language brings you closer to God,” and so it is with the name of the city sacred to Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. But on this day, Benares became sacred to me as well.
As part of my study abroad experience in 2013, I conducted an independent research project on anti-trafficking NGOs. One of these NGOs – Guria – invited myself and my fellow students to attend a Diwali celebration at their non-formal educational center, where they provide after school programs for children of the red light district. My program directors were nervous about driving into an area of the city most respectable Indian women would avoid, but once we arrived, even the most skeptical were transformed by what they saw. We were greeted by hordes of smiling, laughing children who were eager to show us the decorations they had prepared for the festival of lights. They quite literally transformed their center into a beacon of light in a dark place. Just outside the wrought iron gates, the streets were littered with condom wrappers and debri; but inside, these children beamed with the hope Guria had instilled in them, the hope that their lives could be different. For many nonprofit founders, the journey begins when they encounter a specific need they can no longer ignore and a sense of hope that they might be the one to meet that need. When a man named Ajeet Singh saw the way a young female dancer was treated at a family wedding, he knew he had to do something about it. So, he started by riding his motorcycle into the red light district and teaching the children he met there. Now, Guria holistically addresses the prevention, rescue, and restoration of prostitutes in India. Once Ajeet started using his gifts and talents to act on behalf of others, his community offered help and support, filling in the gaps of service he could not meet by himself.
In order to be a light in a dark place, we must first enter that dark place. We must encounter the doubts of others, the fear of the unknown, and the reluctance in our own hearts. Sometimes, you just have to start doing the work and trust that others will come alongside of you. It takes a failed community to put someone into prostitution, addiction, and life on the streets; it only stands to reason that it would take a restored community to build them up again. However, in order to build that restored community, we need to get out of our own way, and more importantly out of God’s way.
Jesus gave the disciples more than a way to think about the world – he gave them concrete actions to do. Each time the disciples urged him to reconsider his actions, Jesus pushed on anyway. He encouraged the children to come to him, he fed the multitudes, and he washed the disciples’ feet. Like the disciples, we get in our own way and we get in God’s way when we talk ourselves out of acting in love. When we act in love, no action is too small or too insignificant.
Got a problem that seems too big to solve? Start with a small act and a big leap of faith; and trust that God is already working there. Not sure how to act? Respond to the need right in front of you. And just remember: Jesus did not go knocking down doors and overturning communities – he responded, in love, to those he met along the way, and that made all the difference.
I hope you enjoyed this guest post as much as I did. To read more from Carrie, visit her at https://cgcabush.wordpress.com. Thanks for guest posting tonight, Carrie!