Pretty Beasts

“The only humility that is really ours is not that which we try to show before God in prayer, but that which we carry with us, and carry out, in our ordinary conduct; the insignficances of daily life are the importances and the tests of eternity, because they prove what really is the spirit that possesses us.”
― Andrew Murray


I think the main vehicle for personal growth, in my life, is A Move. The stress of planning, job hunting, networking, house hunting, bargaining, packing, purging, plane-riding, being-the-new-girl, finding-my-feet is the perfect catalyst for all of my Ugly Best to rear its head. It’s especially useful when A Move is in fact the 5th Move in 12 months.

There’s this nasty vein of unchecked privilege that flows so hidden beneath the surface. I grew up in lower middle class white America-my parents were a bit waifish themselves, dreaming of tomorrows and “one-days”, always reaching for the Next Great Thing. My brothers and I were raised in the comfortable mindset of “You Can Do Anything You Want, Because You are Called To Greatness”. The great , white, American lie. This was all from a genuine, albeit naiive view that their children really could reach to the stars and beyond. I love them for this, but also have come to realize in my own life how these glossy mantras hurt me, more than help.

I’ve never been one to accept defeat easily: I want things to go my way, because they should. End of story. If life does not align with my ideals, then I find myself thrown for a downwards spiral, a fast train to melancholia and self pity. This childish tantrum lasts for a time, and then I pull out of it, red-eyed and sniffling, and ashamed that yet again I have let life get the better of me. If you need an idea of how nasty my insides can get when I hear the word “NO”, reference Scarlet O’Hara and her renowned foot-stomping. I’m not kidding. The older I get, the more I see how terribly Princess-like this is. I want what I want, and I should have it because I want it, and I shouldn’t have to work too hard to get it. Oh Lord, what a tragedy.

In Sierra Leone, there was a tragic landslide that has killed hundreds and affected the lives of thousands. The war in Syria is still raging, millions and millions killed, displaced, hungry, without hope. In the UK, immigrants face possible deportation, in China billions are oppressed. In India, millions of street children fight for bread and water and love and a childhood they have a right to. In Mongolia, alcoholism is on the rise. In Venezuela, the country is torn assunder by years of unrest and civil war. In the united States, the lives of minorities are still being oppressed and threatened in barbaric ways. These are issues. These are real circumstances that are full of sorrow and hurt, and great yawning need for hope. Who am I, that my great, beautiful, full life should be for me to complain about?

When blessings and provision and serious, utter and divine providence make their Holy way known in my world, when life derails, my instinct is still yet to kick against the pillars.

I have moved to Bay Area, California. This is the ultimate place of habitation, in the US for me. I can’t imagine settling anywhere else, if the states must be the place. I have a job, a car, a ridiculously great deal on a room here that was so God sent, and I have the mountains and sea, vegan food mecca, great coffee, Asian culture, and a whole hundreds of miles in radius of people in my generation, teeming with youth and life. And even, my boyfriend moving with me. My calm, patient, stable, gentle, kind, generous, unflinching, responsible, driven boyfriend who has surprised me again and again with all of these qualities, and yet it is never enough, is it?

This monster living inside, is Malcontent. I understand exactly what Paul was celebrating, when he has learned the secret of being content: because I know what it’s like without it. I believe it comes ultimately, from a self-absorption. If my time was spent on others, pouring out and pouring out, I would not be concerned with being filled: God would fill me, and fulfill my needs.

I am here, in this wonderful new place that is ripe with adventure and a new life begging to be explored, and yet I have been stuck weeping for 2 weeks, feeling miserable. Granted, a huge outbreak of poison ivy put a damper on things, but nevertheless: it’s a heart matter. My boyfriend is swamped with responsibilities that make my head swim: finding a home to buy that’s under $1,000,000. (Truly.) Finding doctors for his mother, finding storage for his belongings, dealing with a heavy workload, after BEING PROMOTED HIS FIRST WEEK IN THE JOB (how awesome?!), no sleep, no time for food, and unfortunately not much time for his girlfriend. He funnels out little burrows of space in his day, and yet I need more. More. More. I need all of the time, all of the love, all of the attention.

Life and what I wanted actually was handed to me on a silver platter, in a picture of GRACE. I definitely have never done anything to deserve good things. My relationship with God has been so cyclic and unreliable this year, and yet in spite of my shortcomings, my Father provides for all of my needs.

What is this evil, this constant need for more, when I have been given everything I ever need in Jesus himself? What is this plague, that leaches onto every good thing and drains the joy away?

I don’t understand exactly why I am this way, only that it is a terrible way to be.

God forgive me, for this lack of gratitude and humility.  May I always be open to the light of the Holy Spirit, and the lessons of Life. May I never, ever curse my life, when it has been nothing but beautiful and easy. May I never let my privilege make comfortable lies about what I deserve.

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