It occurred to me in a new way that God is doing a really comprehensive work in me – so much clean up! It’s why I’m so excited to see what He has in store for my future.
Over the past year and a half, I have changed significantly. A few changes happened so suddenly that they were immediately noticeable. For example, I stopped being a people pleaser practically overnight; that was a work of God that I won’t get into here because it’s too intensely personal to share through this medium. Other changes have been gradual and kind of snuck up on me, like how I grew out of being a romance novel addict (which I had been since I was in the 9th grade); it slowly dawned on me that I had committed way too much of my precious time to this activity and that more important work was at hand.
Recently, it has occurred to me that God is now working on my humility. In fact, it seems like He’s been working on it for a while without me realising.
Looking back now, I believe that I was full of pride in many ways that I never before recognised. Although I’ve always been a practical person, I still wanted to present the image of a certain life and lifestyle. I had the big-time job, the solid relationship, the fancy house on the hill, and the luxury car, all like I was supposed to. Then it all went away.
I was made redundant from the big-time job and became persona non-grata in those circles; I no longer had an impressive title or an “in” with the beautiful, important people.
The solid relationship failed suddenly and decisively; I no longer had the man and I shed the majority of my “friends” while I was cleaning my emotional house.
In order to cut all ties from the failed relationship I decided to sell the fancy house on the hill and its contents; I no longer lived on a half acre retreat, but in my mom’s guest bedroom.
And since I had no job, I decided that the luxury car had to go; in fact, I was driving my mom’s much more modest car. The last of my status symbols was gone.
Over the course of one year, I went from being an unhappy “in a relationship” yuppie driving a luxury car and living in a fancy house on a hill to being a joyful, single, unemployed walk-foot living in my mom’s guest room.
I had never been so at peace in my life. I was at peace simply because I no longer had to pretend to want that life, or work hard to maintain that life that I did not want. Because of that, learning to swallow my pride was easier than I expected.
Reflecting on these developments, I believe that God used my change in circumstances to bring about an awareness in me of what a successful life should mean for me based on His word and plans for my life instead of based on what others expect. Additionally, I believe that I’m in training for adventures and experiences that I cannot yet fathom. Part of my training has been learning to let go of pride in status symbols and dependence on people’s opinions…a.k.a., humility.
Now He’s humbling me even more.
I find myself living and working in a modest environment that is not even close to the comfort that I’m used to – living in a comparatively small room and sharing a bathroom with other people who are not related to me nor with whom I’m in relationship.
I find myself doing things that I have never done before – cleaning a level of grime that I have never encountered in my life, simply because it is unacceptable for me to exist in that state.
I find myself going back to basics that I left behind years ago – hand washing my own laundry and doing daily sweeping and tidying in order to maintain the cleanliness of my environment and set an example for others around me.
I’m living and working in a house with basic plumbing, donated furniture, and no functioning kitchen (hence our eating out almost every night). How far removed I am from the fancy house on a hill!
I’m getting around by foot or on the back of a bike. How far removed I am from the luxury car!
And my daily work consists of playing my part to keep a small NGO running effectively and trying to teach Indonesian children to speak English. How far removed I am from the big-time job!
I think of the beautiful, important people from my old job and all the “friends” I’ve shed on this journey and I know that if they could see me now, they would likely look at me with pity or scorn for how far I’ve seemed to fall and the influence I no longer seem to have. They would be so wrong and their pity and scorn would be sadly wasted. A year ago, I may have been embarrassed for them to see me now but my perspective has gradually shifted: my life may be basic and my environment may be modest, but I know a true joy and happiness that they may never know because my life is unencumbered by false pride and instead is saturated with service to others.
In fact, now I’m truly proud. I’m proud and grateful that God has bestowed this honour upon me…that I should be so blessed as to be so humbled.