“Mary wished to say something sensible, but knew not how.” –Pride & Prejudice
Yes, this is about how I felt in French class this morning.
This morning I woke up four hours before class actually started, but I’ve gotten into the habit of waking up early and going to bed early, and I can’t quite shake it. But it’s okay 🙂 During my time with God this morning I realized another slightly vital-to-my-sanity-or-what’s-left-of-it truth:
This is not about me. This life for God is not about me. In fact, all of it has very little to do with me.
Part of me, as I read His word, was annoyed about the fact that it didn’t matter what I thought or what I had or wanted to say or even what offended me or hurt my feelings. And I caught pride in the act of trying to switch my thinking. Pride is just…it’s just sneaky. Just when you think you’ve beaten it and finally have your thoughts set on Christ, pride comes up and knocks on the door of your heart, looking like a girl scout giving away free boxes of thin mints.
When it comes right down to it, I did not come to NYC for me. I came because God wanted me to.
So there I am, sitting at my desk, my head in my hands as I feel ridiculous for forgetting that this whole experience isn’t about me at all. Here I’d been entertaining the consequences of messing up, of appearing less than perfect, of having my words not match up with my actions(because I’ve gotten into the awful habit of talking WAY too much), of failing. But that’s all really nonsensical, honestly, because it’s not about me. When someone has a question, it should always be, “Well, this is what God’s word says,” not my opinion. Or when I mess up, it should be humbling and a reminder of God’s grace despite my imperfections. If I make it about me, then failure and destruction are certain, fixed variables in this equation. It has to be about God and what He says, not about what I have to say and how eloquently I can say it. It’s not about my personal rights. This has absolutely nothing to do with any of that. It doesn’t matter if I mess up or if I’m attacked or if I’m offended or if I think this or that. It’s all about God and what His word says and about the fact that He loves me and all of the people around me and wants to love them and have them know He’s trying to love them. It’s not about anything else but Him. I’m here for God and His purpose only.
And then I’m sitting there, asking for forgiveness for thinking so much of myself and so much of what I want and what I think I need and what I’m going to do and how I’m going to do it…yeah.
Anyway, as I sat in Intermediate French I, listening to my French teacher as she, for the majority of the class, spoke in French, I was reminded of how imperfect I am, and how much I need God. I’ve subconsciously adopted the ridiculous idea that because I have one year under my belt I somehow know everything and can mature and grow and learn on my own without God’s leading or His comfort or His love. What on earth was I thinking? Why do I so easily fall into thinking I’m somehow more knowledgeable of the future and of humanity than the One who created it? Really?
Also, along with developing the frustrating habit of talking too much I’ve also been talking about men and marriage far too often, because my priorities are altered and moved around because I, however temporary of a time, put myself at the forefront instead of God, who should always be there, since He’s the One who can see, while I am blind. So that bothers me, but I know that at this point in life, though Satan is certainly using this subject of discussion to mess with my mind and shift my priorities as I fight to put them back where they’re supposed to be, that is not important. If I can’t even stay solid in my faith after a summer away from this kind of challenge, how on earth will I be able to handle the difficulties and wonders of relationships? I won’t. Pray for me concerning this, if you would.
But even though I’d been knocked down a few levels, I was able to really enjoy French class. I understand pretty much everything my professor said, but I mostly just sat there like a sack of potatoes, smiling like “I love the fact that you’re speaking French, and it sounds beautiful, but I have almost no idea of what you’re saying.” It reminded me of that time when Merlin, in Finding Nemo, is talking about Squirt. “It’s like he’s trying to speak to me, I know it!”
I left French class with Bree (she’s also taking the class) and grabbed lunch. I met Charlene ( 😀 😀 😀 ) for lunch. She blessed me incredibly by surprising me with a big fat slice of red velvet cake from Connecticut Muffin and Spanish rice, beans, and chicken. Unfortunately, I’d already bought sesame noodles with tofu, but she gave to me for lunch tomorrow. Charlene is wonderful 🙂
After Charlene left for her next class, I began to dig into my mountain of French homework, or, should I say, “ma montagne de devoirs.” I don’t have such a problem with writing it out and reading it and listening to it as I do with formulating sentences in my head and then confidently speaking them. Also, in case you didn’t know, French is spoken with great quickness, a skill I just don’t possess when it comes to foreign languages, at least not yet.
I studied and homeworked for about two or three hours before my brain needed to take a break and my body needed to run. I changed and went to the gym, getting in a good three miles before deciding I was ready to take a crack at my French again. I returned to the dorm, talked with Bree for a while, then jumped in the shower. After my shower, I continued my French and finished reading a piece my professor for my travel writing class had emailed me during the summer. Upon reading the first few pages, I wrongly judged the piece to be about a journalist from Playboy magazine heading to the Kentucky Derby and immediately shoved it away. But then, realizing I needed to read it for homework, when I read it through, I realized this was not the case and he’d simply been saying he was that kind of journalist when in reality he was a photojournalist from a very small paper in a far off town. Granted, the piece was not edifying at all, in any respect, but I did learn a few new words and I did consider this:
Most secular pieces, as in those pieces not about sacred things like God, the church, or the Bible, I’ve found, do one of two things: they either glorify the human condition in its natural state or they raise awareness of its presence in this world. The former depicts the human condition as a way of life that is the only way. Posters that say things like “Just Be Yourself,” and quotes about self-empowerment and such are virtually glorifying the human condition as it is, in its natural state, saying that you can change yourself and it’s easier than it looks. Other pieces of literature and sections of media reflect the hopeless state of humanity, displaying the “poor unfortunate souls” who won’t ever change and really don’t care if they ever do. This piece concerning the Kentucky Derby, was, I think, doing more of the latter than it was the former, showing how miserable the human condition is.
But then of course the question is always something along the lines of, “Is there any hope?”
…well, yes, actually, there is 🙂
I’m not driven to despair by the human condition, not to the point of no return that is. I’ll admit it frustrates me on occasion and every now and again I feel hopeless about change in my own character and change in the characters of others. But God is amazing, and maps out clearly yet mysteriously the love and worth and hope He’s given us, or, for those who don’t know Him, wants so desperately for us to have. He doesn’t provide it via self-empowerment, or just trying to be better, or believing we can be better, but by giving us Himself, His Son, and His Holy Spirit. He asks us to depend upon Him and His character and just who He is, what He’s done, as well as what He’s promised to do. He asks us to trust Him and enjoy Him and love Him, not because it’s impossible, but because, as God, He is the most enjoyable being in this world and every other. But don’t take my word for it…get to know Him yourself 🙂 But it’s through this knowledge of, trust in, and dependence upon Him that we begin to change, without even realizing it, naturally producing good fruit that is pleasing to those who have no hope, including ourselves. It’s kind of amazing.
I love the King James translation of 2 Corinthians 4:16, which says “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” Basically, although we break and shatter and our flesh divides us between wanting to be better but wondering if we’re really worth it, our inner most being, our soul, the place where the Holy Spirit resides if we’ve accepted Christ and have given our life to Him, is being renewed day by day.
The word renew, according to the Encarta World English Dictionary (yes, of course I brought my gigantic dictionary with me to college) means “to replace something worn or broken.” Just reading that definition made me smile. Because Christ has rescued me from being stuck in my hopeless human condition, because He’s gone outside of the boundaries of time, changed the course of history, became humanity all for the love of me, I can be certain that even though my flesh may fail Him time and time again, and even though my body gets old and worn and broken, my inside, my soul, the core of everything that is me, is being renewed every day. Does that give me license to do whatever I want? No. It gives me something better. It gives me hope that God is never going to give up on me, that His Holy Spirit thriving and living within me is going to keep changing me and testing me and reminding me of who He is and bringing me closer to my God each and every day.
How thankful I am that God doesn’t give up on me. He’s put me here, in this place, in this position, which, to me, considering certain variables, doesn’t make any sort of sense to me, but I can be sure that He knows exactly what He’s doing, and that because I’m here and obeying Him to the very best of my ability He’s going to bless me and provide for me and take care of me.
“Cast your anxieties on the Lord, and He will sustain you. He will not permit the righteous to be moved.”