June 24, 2011

Lessons Learned - About Myself

After sharing lessons learned about our home, our girl, and my man, it's only fair that I share lessons I've learned about myself during the past year and a half.

I am more easily satisfied and resilient than I thought.

Several years ago, I wanted the newest and latest of everything. I bought shoes and purses on a whim. I was constantly feathering my nest with pillows and other decor.  If I saw something I wanted, I found a way to justify buying it. We took trips to Boston and New York. We were living the American dream. And paying for it dearly.

God, in His sovereignty, knew that some things needed to change. Nearly two years before R's employer announced the mill closure, He began convicting me of all the waste in my life.  As I began to reduce the clutter and the spending, an amazing thing happened. I realized the things I thought made my life were really choking it out of me.

I've learned to weigh the value of everything before allowing it to take valuable space in my home and in my life. I've learned I'm just more satisfied eating a meal I've prepared, watching a movie at home, and hanging out in our back yard than going out for dinner, a movie, or shopping. I've learned that the things I have and the places I go don't define the quality of my life.

I am more controlling and selfish than I thought.

I've always been a controller. Not only do I like to know what's going on, but I like to be in charge of it. It's been an exercise in patience and self-control to balance helping my husband with schoolwork and paperwork with taking over completely. It's been an exercise in humility to remind myself daily that God's ways are higher than my own.

When this path doesn't seem to make sense, or I want to just get-to-the-end-and-be-done-with-it-already-thank-you, I must tell myself yet again that having control is an illusion crafted by the enemy to draw my attention from God. When I tire of being the primary source of our family's income, wanting to slough off that responsibility along with my work clothes at the end of a long day, I have to remember that this is temporary and that I should be grateful for the provision of my job. When I'm tempted to stomp my feet at God and ask why my dreams of going back to college have not been realized, I recall the changes wrought in my dear husband's life, changes I would not have witnessed if my plans had prevailed.

In those moments, I quietly whisper prayers seeking forgiveness and the strength to let go.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 
~John 15:5 (ESV)


Anonymous said...

A breath of life, for sure!

I just read that verse this morning. It is one of my mainstay prayers, just to say to God, "Apart from You, I can do nothing."

For this verse, the ESV footnote states that this obviously doesn't mean that we have NO ability, and that even unbelievers accomplish much. But what we cannot do apart from Him is bear fruit. And only in Him can we produce that which lasts.

It's true that there's so much waste and excess, but never is there waste in God.


Diana Lovegrove said...

"In those moments, I quietly whisper prayers seeking forgiveness and the strength to let go." I'm right with you there, sister. Abiding in Him, leaning on Him, trusting in Him. God bless you.

Nikole Hahn said...

I've also learned to weigh the value of everything. In this economy, we can find joy in the simple life. It's tough, but we've so long been caught up in the prosperity that we've forgotten the value of longsuffering. It's a word that I am learning to not fear, but count as something worth going through.

Leah in Iowa said...

That's the good, the bad and the ugly right there, sister. Giving Him thanks for pouring out His grace to you, immeasurably.

Teresa said...

I have experienced some similar things and at least with me I thought things were so tough at first. It was like I was in a fog in a way. It's hard to move to a smaller home, to give up things but looking back it's like you shake off the very things keeping you from really living. I read this the other day and I think it's fitting. Alexander Solzhenitsyn speaks about his conversion "I saw clearly the kingdom paradox, that millions in the abundance of Western life cannot.The meaning of earthly existence lies, not as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering, but in the development of the soul.

The longer I live and walk this path with Christ the more I realize just how true this is.