Faith and the Unique Selling Proposition in Social Services

Logo for the Prodigal Daughter Course

“I’m Not Perfect Nor an Expert. But I Know What I’m Talking About”.
And That is A Commitment To Adhering to The Greatest Good that A Human Can Offer to God–Love Thy Neighbour”

Father David Lubliner used to say to me that when we pray to God for something, you have to participate in the accomplishment or fulfillment of the prayer with effort….but sometimes I feel like I’ve tried every sure thing that would help to make this Institute a reality, and it feels as though I’m just stuck.

A few months ago, I had a talk with a friend about how I wanted the classes taught. How I didn’t want to come off as if I was better than the people in the room, how I wanted to really honour their inherent intelligence within their heart, mind and soul. I wanted to honour, the uniqueness of the ways they solve their problems—and help them to honour their own thinking strategies…I never wanted to feel as though I would be threatened by any bit of wisdom hard won through the trials and tribulations of their lives that they shared with me in the classroom process. I want most of all to give them the space to explore, share and implement that wisdom in the classroom and in their daily lives.

From living in Group homes and orphanages I learnt that the people who surrender to love, in spite of the injustice and cruelty around them, those are the people who survive with their human dignity intact. The people who make an inner choice never to go hard and mean as a way to survive the hard and mean things they’ve encountered in life—those are the people with the most gentle souls, with the sparkle in their eyes that defy death’s sting, they are the St. Seraphim Sarov’s walking amongst us who have found a way to inner peace.

Tonight I went to see Cory  Booker speak who reminded the audience that we have free will, and that we make choices every moment. And how we decide to respond to stress, and challenges, that is what exposes who you really are – to people and to self;  but as Father David, emphasises, this falleness is not who were made to be–so one shouldn’t get too depressed about the weaknesses we encounter in ourselves–but to remember that we are made in the image of God.  God’s confidence in us, in that we are made in His image, confers a type of expectation of what He knows we can be. So our confidence in His confidence in us reflects that knowledge that God, who is our Creator, has of us. His love is conditional, unconditionally, and he does not despise us when we Fall, but we greatly disappoint Him when we refuse to get up again.

So just what is my Unique Selling Position—well, I’m not perfect, and I’m not an expert, but I have walked the paths of being a traumatized, sexually  and physically abused child, who thought that everyone around her thought it better that that she was dead, and if she ever did aspire to anything, such as wanting to manifest the gifts God gave to her to manifest, that it was their duty to assure her that she was deluded, and just who did she think she was anyway, , to dream to be a human being, rather than to be treated worse than an animal that was whipped, molested, and belittled, till she became afraid to even be alive, much less to thrive. And in their twisted service to the flawed and false, ego serving, twin gods of humanistic humanity, ie,  rationality and logic, they learned to sabotage every good step I tried to make in order to become human, really human, and to give myself permission to even to live.

Now I say in my recovery of self through Christ Jesus, a line from the Psalter, “I shall not die but live, and I shall tell of the works of the Lord”. I say it with meaning, and with fear, lest i slip into the pit of suicidal stinkin’ thinkin–into the delusion that I do not matter.  Yes, I believed that I did not matter,  not even to God.  But this is changing.  Nonetheless, I sometimes find myself struggling with this demonic sense of worthlessness–Some demons do not give up—but I’m learning to remember who actually is Lord.

My uniques selling position is simply this, I am not perfect, nor am I an expert, but I do know what I am talking about.  I have been brought down into the pit, and every day, by the Grace of God, I am digging myself out of it—learning new ways of thinking, learning new ways to structure my life, and learning new ways to, yes, order my household, and sharing that with anyone who wants to learn what I’ve learned and am learning.

That is what I told my friend when we had our very heated and loud argument in the Barnes and Noble at Commerce Mall in New Hartford—and through the hardships that I’ve come across Im realising I do not want to do that walk of pretending I have it all together—because I don’t.  I still struggle, every day, to not to fall into the stink of despair, its prison which leads ultimately to the extinguishing of hope, inevitably to death. See, the demons do not give up, they are with you every step of the way, trying to make you fall off the ladder.  The demons’ track and stalk you, and when you start to get on your feet again they befriend you with little flattering remarks that are actually  consolations to your ego, and then they trip you up.  They are persistant whether they are flattering you or hounding you.  There was a woman where I worked at an  assisted living facility, who followed me after i quit after she pushed me because I had learnt to not to be afraid of her, ( i was implementing strategies that my new Orthodox Christian friends have taught me) and when she found out where I was working, took a job at my new place of work, just so she could continue to harass me.  They say the reason why the devil showed his face to Jesus when he was in the desert, was because there were no people around for him to work through. We got to love the people, but hate the demon that is influencing them.  How to do that—I’m still learning–the key is relying on God, and not on one’s own wisdom or strength.

But getting back to the subject at hand: I want to be dependable, I want to be reliable, I want to be competent, and I want t have compassion, I want to be meek, and I want to be pure in heart. I want to be what I profess to be, a Christian, even when I fall in front of others, and they judge me and say–some Christian she is, I want the freedom to Fall, and the humility to get up again, even when I’m slandered and abused by false convictions—That is the path, and each time this happens, perhaps I fall or slip a half rung on the ladder, but I don’t fall off-. I understand now that falling off is not getting up again, I have the courage, meekness, patience and humility to get up again. This falling and getting up again, it is a type of martyrdom, a witness to the brokeness of our beings and God’s unfathomable love for us.

So that is my Unique Selling Position: “I’m not perfect. But I know what I’m talking about”. Because I know I’m not perfect, I will never dishonour a student in my class. Because I know what I’m talking about, I will do my best to help any student in my class to be the best human being that she can be within the parameters of her unique personality.  And God will do the rest.

SCRIPTURAL READING THAT INSPIRED THIS POST

2Corinthians 9:6-11

    But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.

 

 

After the Sermon, Christ Helped the Fishermen, Peter, James and John

Luke 5:1-11

    And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

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