Why She Does It: Susie
''Why She Does It' is back with a brand new interview from the wonderful Susie. Susie tells us how she's chosen to follow God's call on her life and radically live a life that prioritises those in need. We're sure that Susie's words are going to inspire you today, and we pray that God stirs our hearts and helps us to think about how we can get alongside those in need around us. MP Team x
£10 treat: £7.30 bargain train return Birmingham - London to visit friends (plus leftover £2.70 for a coffee)
Song I listen to on repeat: 'We Love Your Name' - Jaye Thomas and 'You Are The One Thing' - Bright City
Book on my bedside table: John Grisham - The Confession (so good)
Item that’s always in my fridge: A love of hummus is all that remains of my Arabic degree
1. Tell us what you are up to at the moment? What does a typical day/week look like for you?
In September I moved into a community house in an economically disadvantaged area of Birmingham and began a 2 year course to become a social worker. The last few months have involved a work placement at a substance misuse recovery centre, and a typical day involves leaving bright and early to catch various methods of public transport. I then lead groups and 1:1 support sessions for clients, and in the evenings I sometimes return via the amazing Pret a Manger to pick up unsold sandwiches for the community meals our house provides.
2. What’s the highlight of your week? Which parts of your everyday life do you love most?
Living in a community house is a bit mad; there's a constant supply of people around and usually the thing I enjoy most about the day will be something totally unexpected - a neighbour's birthday party, a prison visit where someone really opens up, impromptu karaoke at bath-time for foster children staying over, taking youth group to a dessert parlour etc. Church and mid-week Theology group are a constant that I so look forward to each week, as well as drinks and dinners with friends.
3. Why are you doing life in the way you are?
Christians are called to imitate Christ (1 Peter 2:21, John 13:15, 1 John 2:6 etc.), which can feel like an overwhelming challenge! In his book The Irresistible Revolution, Shane Claibourne writes about an occasion when he asked a group of Christians whether Jesus spent time with the poor, and then later in the same talk, whether they themselves spend time with the poor. He writes, ‘We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what he did. We can applaud what he preached and stood for without caring about the same things. We can adore his cross without taking up ours. I had come to see that the great tragedy of the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor’.
While I believe we can show Jesus' love in all manner of areas and jobs in life, I knew I wanted to have a practical job that directly involved working to improve people's lives (such as social work), and also I wanted to know 'the poor’ well. I love The Message version of John 1:14 which says 'The Word became flesh and blood,and moved into the neighbourhood’. Moving into an area means the issues that affect your neighbours become your problem too, andthis demonstrates the way Jesus invites us to give up anything we think we’re entitled to and get alongside other people.
4. What is the one big thing that you think God is teaching you at the moment? How is He challenging and encouraging you?
Coming into contact with really desperate situations has challenged a lot of my preconceptions. The past year has given me so many more questions than answers, about the way society functions, about the way God works and about living in His grace versus what He requires of us. I always want a concrete answer and it seems the reality is always a lot more complicated! But ‘the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything He does’ (Psalm 33:4) so I’m learning to trust Him and study the promises in the Bible because unlike social issues and postmodern ethics, they are constant!
5. When life is busy, how do you make time and space to focus on God? How do you try to keep Him at the centre?
From experience I know that my day just goes better if I have started it reading the Bible, and I also know that if I don't do it straightaway there's every chance I won't get round to it! I also have a long commute to work so then I just like to listen to worship music and I try to pray for some of the people I'm going to see that day, but I want to make this more regular than sporadic…
6. Looking back at the last year, what encourages you about how God’s been at work in your life?
I would love to be able to say that I’ve transformed the area I live in and that all of my clients are now addiction-free with real homes to return to, but unfortunately that’s not the case. Often it can feel like there aren't any visible/immediate outcomes of anything I do actually! But at each stage, however difficult the situation, God has given me so much joy and new (small-scale) revelation of who He is and how much He LOVES the people I meet.
Huge thanks to Susie for sharing her story in today's wonderful interview! If you're interested in more information about the work she does, please contact [email protected]