Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Finding God in Sin City

I am about to have a moment of pure honesty and naked vulnerability, so I hope you are all prepared for it. (If not, I might suggest skipping over this blog post). Otherwise, for those of you who are alright with me venting a little bit, here we go...

I am struggling a lot spiritually. Going to a Christian University and having a church home in Indiana made it easy to keep in touch with other believers and also made it very easy to remember to talk to God and to stay involved in ministry. Since I have moved to Las Vegas I have been trying to find a home church. I live on the north east side and I am craving some sort of spirituality in my life. Yes, God and I do have our talks on a regular basis and I have been reading bunches of books recently, but I still don't feel that I have the spiritual support that I need. Most of the churches in this area are Catholic/Hispanic and I am a Protestant who does not speak spanish...

I have such a longing to be involved. I feel as though in Indiana it was so easy to become involved in ministry doing things like... volunteering at The Christian Center and Dove Harbor, becoming involved with Aspire, or working with the Anderson Center. Several churches also had ministries available to do outreach in the community and Anderson University did missions trips and had jail ministries and womens ministries and availability to work with special needs children and adults in the community. Yet here in Las Vegas, where I feel there is a much greater need, I am struggling to find any way to connect with other people of faith in order to reach out to the community...

(and I'm sorry, but giving money to homeless alcoholics is hardly my idea of service).

It's so very difficult to find ground stability in a tourist city that never sleeps. In addition to this, with working 40-50 hours per week and trying to move into a new apartment, it is difficult to even look for some kind of ministry. I feel like I am drowning and I'm not sure how to pull my head up above the water level. Some sort of support system would be nice... I just don't quite know where to look for it.



Anonymous said...

It is when we are like this, when we feel totally closed off and lost, that God can reach down into our souls and point us toward what He knows would really help us the most.
Perhaps, since there seems to be no church for you and no premade way of ministrying, God is pointing you toward finding other people who feel the same and trying to pull you all together to minister to each other, and not in a formal church at all. And/or, perhaps, you are being pointed toward starting a new ministry of some sort yourself or with others. These are just thoughts. What I do know is that you are where God knows you can do the most good for yourself and others right where you are. I do not know what direction that will be; I just know it is so.

Brittany said...

Thank you so much Scott for the words of wisdom. :) I think you are exactly right. Since I have been here I seem to have been more focused on finding a church home and being involved, that I have been considering myself helpless instead of being proactive. One thing that is very difficult is finding those people who have the same problem as me; in that, they want to help and they want to find a group of believers but yet have not found a church home that they fit into. Maybe instead of praying for something like that to fall into my lap, I ought to be praying that God will send me people who are ready and willing to make a difference in this city. I am starting to meet people here from work and from all of my training classes and other VZW stores; however, Christianity is such a sore subject for a lot of people because of the poor representation it has had for so long and also because of the wounds that have been formed by negative experiences. I think it will be a challenge for me to get my intentions out there without turning people off... at least it will be if I do it all on my own. This is one of those times that I won't be able to do it alone... I will need to allow God to work through me.

Marisa and Brittany said...

Wonderful post, Brittany!

I think we busy ourselves looking for "something" that we miss God at work all around us. In our work place, at the grocery store, in our neighborhoods, at our favorite coffee shop (GOL), and so on, God places people in our path to minister to. It may be as simple as a smile and a hello, or a listening ear to someone in pain.

I think you're right, sweetheart... It's a perfect idea to begin your day with prayer for God to reveal to you just how you should relate and interact with the people you come into contact with.

Satan wants us to sit around and wait for the perfect moment, the perfect scenario, or the perfect venue and we all know "perfect" never comes.

Don't allow moments to pass you by... smile at the little one and tell her how pretty she is, help the elderly with the door or their cart at the grocery store, tell someone downtrodden that God loves him/her, offer assistance to a colleague...

God can plant the most robust seeds with simple, random acts of kindness :o)

Happy planting doll!!


Karima said...

Hi, I have awarded to you 'The Versatile Blogger Award' Here is my link to the post:

Karima xx

that's life! said...

Brittany, it sounds to me like to need to give yourself a break. Who died and made you Superwoman?

A 40-hour work week, a move, and the culture shock of a new city, so different from what you're used to, is not a joke.

The difference between the church home that you're used to and - Las Vegas! - the mind boggles - is a very real one and you are not to blame yourself for simply not liking the new environment, or for having not the foggiest what God expects you to do now?!

I don't need to preach to you; from your writing it appears that you certainly have the life tools to figure things out. Just keep opened minded (this looks like a serious case of 'Mysterious Ways') and cut yourself some slack!

Aunt Annie said...

I am intrigued that you feel you have to be within the structure of your own church to be able to reach out and help people. Have you thought of reaching out to help first, and letting your faith come along with you? I do understand the need for communion (I don't mean that in the Catholic sense) with people whose beliefs are the same as yours, but you still have power to offer service as YOURSELF. Your faith is part of you and it will accompany you wherever you go.

Random acts of kindness would be a good start... and I don't mean giving someone beer money either!

Anonymous said...

I (this is Scott) have to add one more thought on this post. Brittany, speaking as a person who had a stroke at a young (53 for stroke is not old) age, I think you should know that the majority of my high blood pressure, which caused the stroke, was from my constant worrying for years and years about things I now find...less worrisome.
I agree, give yourself a break. Take it easy and slow down. The people who go slow, take their time, and think are the ones who succeed. Even more so, the people who relax and enjoy life get to the end and find out it was, indeed, the journey, not the destination that made all the difference. "He who dies with the most toys"...still dies. That's only to say that you only have so much time, so relax and enjoy the ride. Hurrying and stress go hand in hand and I have seen a lot of young people who hurried and rushed and then realized they were sick or in trouble or just plain too tired to keep it up forever. Young people don't often listen to us older folks, but please remember we were younger and, most of us, wish we could do it again just a bit differently. Love life...that means...slow down and don't just smell the roses...draw a picture of them and contemplate their beauty.

Brittany said...

I have to say, that the time I have spent reading these responses tonight has been the most therapeutic part of my whole week. I have been struggling since I got here because no, I don't exactly need a church home in order to love God and serve others, it just made it so much easier back in Indiana. However, I think that God is encouraging me to be my own woman and do my own thing (mostly through all of your encouraging words), and I am hoping that by being sweet and kind to everyone around me and just giving in the small ways that I know how will open doors to more opportunity, just as you guys have all mentioned in your own ways. I do see now that I have been worrying about it too much... I just have such a big heart for giving to and serving others, and the fact that I don't see myself doing those things very often now makes me feel a little guilty inside. I think my first step is to start small and allow myself to become adjusted before jumping into big projects! I see prayers for patience and small opportunities in my future. :0)

Luana said...

Hi Brittany,

I'm a new follower from BlogFrog.

I too agree with the previous postings. God will lead you to the right church home that will be a perfect fit for you and you'll be a blessing to them. I'll be praying for you!!

Just remember that His plans are to prosper you and not harm you.. to give you hope and a future.. He will never leave you nor forsake you.. He is always with you.. He'll direct your paths.

God Bless :)

Brittany said...

Thank you so much Luana! That is one of my all time FAVORITE bible verses. :) Another one that I consistantly have to remind myself of is "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight." I can't do any of this alone. I just have to try to remember to let God be my guide and to always pray for his help. He is much bigger than all of this and im pretty sure he loves me. :)

Marisa and Brittany said...

Oh my child... HE LOVES YOU ENORMOUSLY! I'm so proud of your courage and your willingness to let go and let God guide you along this incredible journey. Never lose sight of those little God winks He freely gives to His children who are mindful of the small blessings. At 23, you are amazingly insightful. I am confident you are on the road to a rich and fulfilled life. You are forever in my thoughts and prayers my daughter and best friend!

Love, love, love...