Being very involved as a sophomore in my campus ministry means many things: I am not the youngest anymore, I have to adjust to the idea of change, I must grow in my outreach, ect. But combining those three especially, and wanting to actively participate and grow in them, my campus ministry has invited me to join what is called the F.A.T. program for sophomores.
It stands for Faithful, Available, and Teachable. It is basically a program designed to have those involved grow in their ministry outreach, particularly towards the freshman of the community to make sure they feel welcomed. There is also a weekly small group meeting (we have 3 different small groups) and requirements of reading the New Testament daily, memorizing a verse from scripture every week, and attending the weekly Spirit Night and a weekly bible study. Spitting out all of the requirements right now make the program seem tough and inflexible, but in reality, it probably only takes up less than 10 hours of my week (and that includes weekends).
Joining F.A.T. was a decision that everybody in the program made individually, and of their own free will. The requirements were laid out in front of all of us, and we all decided to give it our best shot. In saying that, towards the end of the first month of the program was when it started to get really hard for me. I was seeing my sisters in Christ, particularly the ones from my small group, not fulfilling their F.A.T. duties, and it made me upset, because I felt like me and handful of people were the only ones really trying in the program.
I came with the mentality that, they knew what they signed up for, so why are they not doing what they are supposed to be doing? This program is also supposed to allow us to grow closer to the women in our small group, and because I didn’t feel like they were putting forth enough effort, I didn’t feel as if I was growing in friendship with them. This lead me to believe that I could not call them out on their actions without coming off as haughty or arrogant. I really wanted to encourage them to involve themselves more fully in the program, but I was angry because I did not feel as if I could do that.
Brother Clinton (a religious brother from the order of The Brotherhood of Hope – look them up, they’re amazing!) is in charge of the F.A.T. program and I brought the way that I was feeling about my fellow “FATties” to his attention. In response to my, for lack of a better word, complaints, he told me several things, but the thing that effected me the most, was to read Luke 10.
At the end of Luke, chapter 10, the Word tells us the story of Martha and Mary. What a great story, Jesus has travelled and come to the house of a woman named Martha, who had a sister named Mary. While Martha was busy cleaning and preparing and taking care of her house guests, Mary was sitting at the foot of the Lord, listening to his word. Martha becomes frustrated and then:
“Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.’ The Lord said to her in reply, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.'” -Luke 10:40-42
In the moment of reading this story, I came to an understanding about myself; I was acting as Martha was. I was frustrated and felt like I was left with the all of the burden of servicing and I desperately wanted my fellow FATties help, but they weren’t helping.
In saying that I was acting as Martha was, that does not mean that my sisters were necessarily acting as Mary was, however, the could have been. The reality of the situation is that I didn’t know what was preventing them from fulfilling their F.A.T. duties, and it could have been something that was leading them, individually, closer to our Lord.
The phrase “…it will not be taken from her.” really stood out to me because regardless of if they were doing something to grow in holiness or not, my sisters had made their decision of where their presence was required most. They made that decision and that should not be taken from them. If it was taken, it would totally defeat the purpose of free will.
Let me be clear, that in being frustrated with them is a personal problem that I am working on, and I want it in no way to reflect a negative image upon these women. I do love them, and we are all busy, and we all fall short sometimes, myself included. I’m not writing this in order to tarnish their reputations, but rather to understand my own ability to grow in the situation that has been given to me.
In saying that, this situation has definitely prompted me to do more in my community, not because I would be “picking up their slack” but rather because I know now that I am needed, and even wanted by this community. I’ve looked at this situation as an opportunity to grow in the Spirit of Giving, and especially giving without complaint (which will take longer than one month, I know…). But hey, what can I say? I’m a work in progress.
In Christ and Mary