Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps member Chase Medelberg shares how the journey that led him to FMS required him to push through his fears of choosing a year of service over a corporate job.
Since my sophomore year of college I really wanted to participate in a year of service. I told my parents and they told me to wait until I finished college. College came and went and I started to look into potential service programs. I found three programs that matched what I was looking for and in spring 2016 I started interviewing with the programs. I was offered a place in all three programs I applied for.
During this discernment time I started to doubt what I was supposed to be doing. Why was I doing a year of service? Were my motivations selfish? Did I really want to “give up” a year of my life?
I was really struggling with doubt and fear because I was worried about the drastic change a year of service would bring to my life.
Home offered me the comfort of what I knew and a potential salary. Direct service offered me only the unknown.
As a result, I started to apply for full time work at places around my home in order to keep my options open, at least that is what I told myself. In reality I was just looking for an escape route.
After a long time of uncertainty, I spent a morning in adoration and simply asked God to put me where I was supposed to be. This time in adoration was filled with a lot of anguish and prayer. But, on a fateful afternoon, I received a phone call requesting an interview and for some strange reason I immediately declined their request. Awesome! There was nothing that could stop me from doing a year of service now.
Then I realized I still had to decide which program I wanted to pursue. This task seemed easy enough, but it was not. All of the programs offered me something different and unique.
On paper, one program was the obvious choice. It would have allowed me to get a master’s degree from a prestigious institution while doing service work. I really wanted to do this program, but I had to really ask myself why I wanted to do this year of service.
During this time of discernment, I was really stressed out. There was a perfect program that would nicely set up my future, but I still was not sure if it was right for me. I could not make a decision, so finally I decided that I was going to give my worries to God and let Him handle the situation. Immediately after this, I met someone who did a year of service and it became clear that God did not want me at that program.
With my decision narrowed down to two options, I was still struggling, but God ultimately made it clear that he wanted me at Franciscan Mission Service. Without letting go of the fear of the unknown and putting it in God’s hands, there is no doubt I would have never have made it to FMS. Now, I am having one of the greatest experiences of my life.
Reflection Questions: Was there a time when you were faced with an option that was better on paper and a very different option that truly resonated with you? How did you ultimately make the decision?