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My name’s Anya and I’m a 2nd-year Christ in the City missionary from Lancaster, PA.
It all started with fruit snacks. I was attending a Catholic conference for college students (SEEK 2019), and noticed everyone who walked by the Christ in the City booth was getting pelted with fruit snacks. I walked over to the booth to see what kind of strange organization this was and submitted my missionary application by the end of the week.
I have seen the most growth in the way I view myself. When I first came to Christ in the City, I was convinced that I was only loveable insofar as I could perform. My worth depended on what, and how much, I could contribute to the community. I didn’t know it, but I was living in a cage of needing to earn love, and of associating my identity with the actions I performed.
I experienced a severe concussion about a month and a half into my first year as a missionary, which rendered me unable to do much of anything – I was unable to go on the streets, be in the chapel, participate in community life, or even think clearly. I was forced to be, and I was sure that now, no one in the community would ever love me or accept me. But my uselessness didn’t make anyone love me any less. Nobody hated me, except for me. And it was only then that I was able to begin to see myself as I was, as a creature first and foremost of being, not of action. I was unable to believe that others could possibly accept me because when I came here, I was unable to accept myself. How can you accept something you don’t know? How could I begin to know who I was when I was disgusted by myself?
The process of recovery from the concussion healed more than my brain. It altered my entire paradigm, and rooted it in reality, as the Lord sees me. I no longer think that who I am is dependent on what I do, or how I act, because it rests on a foundation that is unshakeable and infinite.