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Humility and arrogance.

humility and arrogance

humility and arrogance

I feel like I could just keep typing these words over and over and over, like I could continue mulling over them for days on end, like I could seek understanding of where they are in my heart, and never feel at peace, never grasp the truth.

humility

arrogance

me

I feel like I had my eyes opened to humility, true humility… for like 30 seconds.  And then after that arrogance just set on fire in my heart.

I talked with the teacher who is mentoring me through my first year at Raines (she is truly amazing, such an inspiration and a fabulous role model, I can’t believe God has put yet another person in my life who has such an understanding and love for Him) about the importance of humility.  I don’t know her full story yet, I truly hope one day I will, but I have a sense that she has been a huge impact on many people and has played a radical role in altering the paths that many of her students were on prior to their time in her class.  I also have a sense that she is fully aware of this, that others are fully aware of this, and that she has n0 arrogance in any of it.

As I confessed my insecurity in coming up with lesson plans she encouraged me to pray, telling me God would give me ideas.  She said that she has been doing this for the past 4 years since she came to Raines and that God has shown her how to help her students succeed (that’s when I noticed the teacher of the year award she has sitting on her desk, subtly, only where she can see really…).  Wow.

Pray to God about lessons? That’s a crazy idea, crazy… yet so simple right? Yet part of me felt hesitant.

This was quickly followed by her encouragement to seek humility from the Lord constantly.  To always realize that the goodness comes from Him and then through the teacher.  Her recommendation was to wake up every morning and get on your face and pray to the Lord that He would keep you humble.

Wow. That’s quite the image.

Her words stuck with me, but in a foreign way. I had never experienced this trust, courage, and humility that comes from relying on God for everything, including lesson plans.

That weekend I read Romans 9 and 10 and God opened my eyes to see, my ears to hear, and my heart to trust.  The scales fell from my eyes and I sat in utter humility before the God of gods, the Lord of lords, and the King of kings.

Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: ‘Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?’ But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God?’Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”

Romans 9:18-21

If I’m being completely honest, this is something I would typically either ignore or get angry with. I would usually go into detail about the frustrations and fears that typically arise when I read this, but I no longer can.  I am the pot, and for some reason, I can no longer question my pot maker.  However I can admit the sadness I feel at the idea of my God hardening someone’s heart.  I imagine that sadness reflects his heart more so than my own.

I can also say that the following verses bring me much comfort and peace.

“Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,
“I have been found by those who did not seek me;
I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”
But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”

Romans 10:20-21

And once again, I quote people far smarter than myself:

“The prophecy of Isa. 65:1 has been fulfilled in that the Gentiles who did not seek after God have now experienced God’s saving promises.  Israel, on the other hand, has fulfilled the words of Isa. 65:2. They have rebelled against and disobeyed the gospel message.  Still, God extends his hands to them, inviting them to be saved.  On the one hand, God predestines some to be saved. On the other hand, God still longs for all to be saved… Though it may seem impossible to understand how both of these statements are true, the Bible teaches both, and one should not use either truth to deny the other.”

-Smart people

Thank the Lord I have a God who loves and longs for all to be saved.  I can not question my pot maker, but I can find peace in knowing He is good.  The only perfectly good thing that exists.

After reading these words I left with an unshakable peace that transcended all understanding.  I felt more than confident in the truth I have picked up my cross for, I felt courageous. I felt humbly courageous.

Humility in knowing who God is, and having an accurate understanding of who I am in comparison to, and belonging in Him. 

Please don’t confuse this with insecurity.  I have never felt more confident.  I have never known a security in my identity like I did in the presence of sheer awe and respect for my Lord.  I have also never felt less important. Never been so ready to serve.

I woke up the next morning and thanked my God for who He was. I acknowledged my fear of Him and my respect for Him.  He was God and I was not.  He was calling the shots and I could NOT be more okay with that.

Humility is beautiful

Humility breaths freedom

Humility makes way for life

I wish that could have lasted.

The following day I woke again and I noticed instantly the humility inside of me was not present, or if it was I didn’t feel it.

“Oh crap… I’m going to have to choose to be humble today…”

Immediately arrogance filled me.

Why should I have to give thanks today?  Why should I have to talk or learn from people in this new place?  Why should I go out of my way? Why should I . . . me. myself. and I.

arrogance is ugly

arrogance fuels corruption

arrogance leads to death

I understand the words I’m using to describe arrogance are strong, however I have never felt so hardened as when I am focused on me.   I have felt both spiritually alive and nearly dead, and the times that I feel spiritually wasted are the times I am most focused on me

I am arrogance

the cross is humility

Sometimes I feel like I’m my own prison, and I know the only way to escape my cell, my prison, myself is to fall at the foot of the cross and just let my self, my arrogance, die.

Maybe that’s whats going on.  Maybe I’m finally putting the me monster to death so that the daughter of Christ whom I’m meant to be can be fully resurrected along with Christ.

Maybe I’m just going crazy… who knows.

I know that it’s painful.  I know that it’s peaceful. I know that is awesome. I know that it’s infuriating. I know that it’s exhausting.

But most of all, what ever it is,  I know that it’s liberating.

Putting me to death, so that I can finally be free to be the me I’m meant to be.

Make sense of that one.

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This week has been weird.  This weekend I was just so tired the whole time.  Sunday we went to church which was being held for the first time in a new building.  Everyone (of which I know no one still) was super excited and emotional and for some reason I got super frustrated by it, which made me feel super guilty, and so I became super confused.

Tuesday I went to a staff meeting on “procedure” where everyone talked about the importance of sticking to the “procedures” that had been agreed upon during the weeks of training leading up to the start of school.  Weeks of training I was not a part of because I was not yet an employee, and I was confused.  I also received news about the direction my class was going, in our overall objectives (TAKS v. EOC if you know what that means) which apparently could have been wrong (we’re still sorting through it) and I was confused.

Wednesday came and I was relieved that Tim and I would be going to a bible study where I was hoping to get me a whole lotta selah (if ya know what I mean… peace rest meditation).  I was in for a surprise.  I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open to talk to people (thankfully food was served and was super delicious)  and when we sat down to begin the study portion something just clicked inside me.

These people are talking weird.  They are using weird words.  The intonation is weird.  Everything is weird and different. . .

This state is so freaking big.

and so freaking conservative.

Is anyone in this room liberal?  I miss living with liberals and atheists.  Is this politically correct? probably not…. 

I miss living in the blue. So much red everywhere.

There is so much money in this state.  What was that conversation I heard this morning? A couple who bought two Porches just for the hell of it?

If there really are so many christians in this state, then why are there families with two luxury cars and extreme poverty existing at the same time?

 Why are the churches SO big… do we really need coffee shops inside churches? I miss the cheap black coffee on fold out tables with wooden sticks and powdered cream.

This place is too big.

Everyone talks weird.

I’m so confused, where do I belong?

Yes. Living in the bible belt has finally taken its toll on me, and I just can’t deny it any longer.  I can’t keep joking around like it’s funny because it’s not, it’s infuriating.  I’m not saying there aren’t true brothers and sisters in Christ down here, there definitely are, I’ve been blessed to meet some of them.  “Christianity” is just kind of the norm here… and it bothers me a lot.

But I realized today, as I was trying not to stew in my frustration, that the state of Texas is not evil (although I find it odd, the infatuation Texas has with itself…), and it is not the sole cause of my confusion.  Moving to a new state with a new culture has not been the only change in my life recently.

I am no longer going to school where I can meet up with people my age on a whim and talk freely about how God is working in our lives or exchange prayer requests.  With my new schedule it would no longer be wise to host a bible study, attend a bible study, and take on a leadership role in a church while working a job.  Tim and I now only have one night where we go to be with community, rather than say 7 nights.  Living in community looks different when you work full time, and I wasn’t prepared for that.  I’m used to literally living with community.  Waking up with community, eating with community, walking to and from class with community, serving with community.  No longer having that is so hard.

And being in a city where it takes 20-30 minutes to drive and see community is much more of a challenge than when I walked out my door and was at church in 3 minutes.

I thought the stress of all the changes in my life were over the day I finished unpacking our belongings in Houston, but I was so. very. wrong.  The anxious stress may be over for the most part, but the exhausting, confusing, frustrating stress is just really reaching its peak.

I just wish i had known that last night before we went to the bible study.  Before all of this began clicking inside of me. And before I tried to make a prayer request and began CRYING!

Oh my gosh how embarrassing!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about being real and honest with people, and if you’ve known me, well, for like a week you’ve probably seen me at least tear up if not go into a full on waterfall fit.

HOWEVER, I don’t even know these people (like I’m still learning their names… called a guy Bryan all night last week only to find out this week that wasn’t his name, oops).

But then I couldn’t stop. I just tried to disappear into Tim while hot tears ran down my face.  Hot angry confused tears.

And the weirdest part about it all is that I know deep within my heart that all of this, every frustration, confusion, fear, and yes even tear is ok.

know the Lord is watching me.  I know He has a plan for me. I know that He cares for me. I know and He continues to confirm that He put Tim and I here for a reason (though he isn’t letting us in on what that reason is quite yet).  And I am at peace.

Totally and completely at peace deep within my heart, because I love and serve a God who is Holy and Perfect and True.  My confidence is in Him, and that takes a load of pressure off of me.

If I had it my way in this moment I would sing my praises to my God, my King, my Savior, my Redeemer, my Counselor, my Mighty Rock, my Salvation, my Prince of Peace, my Lord, my Love, my Friend, to the Father, the Son, and the beloved Holy Spirit.  But there are not enough words in existence to fully express the goodness of the triune God.

The goodness of a God who is so perfect.

I’m still learning to take life just one day at a time while I learn to navigate through this new world of marriage, employment, and red, so so much red.  However, my trust in the Lord is growing stronger everyday and that has been the biggest blessing I could have ever asked for.  My walk with Christ has taken a shift, in that it is becoming less conditional.  I am not shaken like I have been in the past, so though frustrations are arising God is walking me through it all, and I am trusting Him while He does it.

I love my life, I love my husband, I love my job, and I love this place.  Even though all of these things can at times drive me absolutely crazy, I love them (and yes my husband is among the things that can drive me crazy, I drive him nuts as well).

I continue to say and fully believe that though these things are not easy, they are very good.  And with God’s provision, the major waves of culture shock that I have been experiencing will eventually subside.

I only hope that in the meantime I don’t come off like a crazy person… like I did on Wednesday night.

Oh what a week.  I try to update my blog on Wednesdays, however yesterday after working over 10 hours and still not having everything done, I got home just to get back in the car and head to a small group (which was so awesome).  By the time we got home I had 15 minutes until my new bedtime (teachers get up freaking early) and absolutely no energy left in me.  Despite the eventful week I was so dead I couldn’t think of anything to write about.  So I just went to bed, and it was beautiful.

Today was about as crazy as yesterday, which was about as crazy as Tuesday.  Shockingly enough my first week of teaching was not perfect (I mean it was close… just not quite).  I left one day feeling dejected and exhausted, the next day crying and humiliated, and today just freaking tired.  The Lord has been incredibly faithful, He has blessed me with such great mentors and great support group already, and I am learning so much, so though things aren’t easy they are also so good.

And sometimes things are also fun and hilarious.

Apparently Tim talks in his sleep, and not just random things, but coherent ideas about nonexistent activities.  I would like to share three of my favorite episodes of what I’m calling pillow talk.

3. Jazz Hands:  The other night I was dreaming away when I started getting poked in the shoulder “Hey Hey Hey” Tim was trying to get my attention.
“What?” I responded still half dreaming
“Come here” and Tim pulled me closer to cuddle, which made me feel so happy. Until I realized why he needed me…
I don’t know what he was dreaming, but for the next 10 minutes Tim just kept tapping me with all 10 fingers like I was a piano and he was playing a song.  It was the weirdest most hilarious thing.  Thankfully the song ended and I was able to go back to sleep as the human I am.

2. Matching the Bodies:  This happened last night.  I fell asleep thinking about geometry (now that I teach it I’m consumed with the subject… constantly coming up with different ways to communicate lessons to my students).  I was picturing different figures I could use to discuss angle relationships, so naturally when Tim told me at 1:00 a.m. that he couldn’t match the bodies I thought he was telling me that my shapes weren’t clear and would confuse my class.  He said it again “I can’t match the bodies”
I replied, “are my coordinates off?” Still worried about my class…
Again Tim repeated “I can’t match the bodies”.
That’s when I realized he was not talking about my imaginary angles so I said to him “you’re not talking about math are you…”
“no, no” he said, “it’s the video game…”
I don’t know what kind of video games my husband plays in his sleep (I mean what bodies is he trying to match)… but I laughed about it all day.

1. The Big Golf Tournament: As I’ve already mentioned in previous posts, Tim loves sports.  As I’ve also mentioned, I do not. So when I got a wake up call the first week of our married life about a Golf Tournament, I was not very pleased.
“Hey… hey… there’s a golf tournament going on at the high school down the street,” Tim was actually shaking me awake to inform me about this.  I look at the clock and it was 5:00 a.m.  Now, I’ve always thought that golf was for the early birds (or maybe it’s fishing…) but I couldn’t help but think that 5 in the morning was a bit ridiculous.  A little confused I asked Tim what the heck he was talking about to which he repeated “There’s a Golf Tournament going on at the high school down the street.”
“Do you want to go?” I asked
“No I just thought you should know…” he told me.
Now I was just frustrated because I don’t like sports, but I do like me some sleep, so rather disgruntled I expressed my frustration asking Tim “Why on earth would I care about that?”  Feeling bad for being rude, when I woke up I asked Tim if he wanted to go to the tournament and watch to which Tim responded “what tournament?” Sleep Tim made the whole thing up… what a rascal.

 

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