Saturday, June 11, 2011

Frustrated. Why does it seem that the older I get, the more this becomes a daily block of emotion? I never experienced "being annoyed" as much as I do these days. Previously, I would have faulted Egypt for this constant state of irritation at anyone and everything surrounding me. I even tried to get myself to accept this as part of the role of a westerner living in the Middle East, thinking it would make it easier. But "DING", a new light bulb has turned on, and suddenly, a fresh piece of insight is in need of being chewed on...and eventually swallowed. Ugh. why does it seem that my year and half living abroad has been one awkward personal lesson after another? Thus a new truth is ready to be unveiled...yet in honesty I am just not sure my pride is in the mood to process through it. But here goes.

"It's not about you." So many days I have come home from work frustrated that once again I had to look a student in the face and say this very bold phrase. I constantly found myself thinking, "Do parents treat their kids as if the world exists to please them?" Cause it leaves me with the annoying job of drilling it into their little minds that the opposite is indeed true. (I do think "child worship" is an epidemic, but that's for another blog). You are surprised I say this to children? It's good they hear this...cause some actually have no clue otherwise. No it's not hurting their self esteem, but hopefully knocking a bit of pride out of them.

Yet, I have come to the haunting conclusion that my constant state of frustration is linked to the fact that I believe this very lie...that it is about me.

When students interrupt me when I am intensely focused on a task...
when my schedule for our day gets shifted at the last minute...
when a donkey cart blocks traffic causing me to wait...
when the power goes off and I lose internet...
when the neighbors are noisy and I can't relax...
when my door bell rings and rings after I have gone to sleep...
When someone meeting me is late...
When a phone call or email is not returned...
When the waiter messes up my order...
when my planning time at school gets interrupted to deal with fifth grade drama...
When people walking in front of me are slow...
when I sleep in rather than taking some morning time to pray for some struggling friends...
when I argue with the taxi driver over 1 pound (16 cents)...
when I choose to look down on many people here, because of negative experiences with a few...
when I get cheated a little and lose...
when people make irrational statements about my culture, my beliefs, or my God...

and the list goes on...

If I let myself...each day could be one giant ball of frustration...one dealing of chaos after another. But who wants to live that way?

It's not about me. It's not about my dreams...my comfort...or even my prayers. It's not about Christy at all. I exist for one purpose...Him...His dreams for me...His comfort...His prayers. He's my inventor...my Author...my Boss . If He chooses to knock me around, and snip and tear at the comforts I have grasped onto...He has "the right" to. Although on the verge of crumbling, I have to get this into my "big head" that there is a more intricate picture playing out behind the scenes, the world we see with the naked eye is tiny...so many layers and elements to warfare we aren't aware of. Yet still, a couple of thousand of years after His time on earth, He is working on the story of His glory. I should just be in awe of the fact that I get to be around to see some of it...

Let Him work. Let him annoy me to tears if that is what it takes to create a new perspective. Getting irritated just because things don't go my way, is refusing to accept there is another view of my life story...a better one....with more intense reasons and strategies than I can plan in my own sinful state of self worship.

Thats what we as humans do...live our lives in the spotlight of self glorification. It plays out differently from person to person, but the root is the same. When did we decide that we call the shots? We have no rights. And thank GOD for that! Letting Him run the show takes a lot of pressure off me to "be responsible for my own 'happiness'." The more I live a life of releasing my rights of self, the more automatic the acceptance of daily trials will become.

What do many believe is the equation leading to fulfillment? Christians who maintain lives of control...security...safety...comfort. I am starting to recognize that at some point, I believed I had rights to these things. Maybe it's the "ME" belief system I was raised in, that is pouring poison into even the American church today. It's sickening. In honesty, I have always been judgmental of those who lived their lives for the goal of "the security of the American dream." But I am no different if my version exists for the same purpose...control. It may appear differently on the outside, but I am just as guilty of making plans that result in my comfort as the top priority.

I guess you could say I feel a strong conviction that we worship even "the rights to protect and serve our families." It's not wrong to strive for this, it's wrong when it takes priority. We live for this because we are most comfortable when we are assured they are "under control...protected." God asks us to give up the rights to even our families, I think this is the most difficult part of surrender...even harder than surrendering ourselves. But it doesn't change that it is required of us. You disagree with me? Re-read the story of Abraham and Isaac.

What about the gospel is comfortable? Discussing souls going to hell makes us squirm...often we are quick to change the subject...or dismiss it as "just part of the fall" ..but choosing to avoid dealing with it doesn't make this very real part of daily life go away. When did our mindset become so warped into thinking even for a second our comfort is of any importance?

I firmly believe that the dark forces and their boss Satan, have all seen the enormous impact of the obsession of "self" and "personal comfort" and are happy to use these against us. We make it easy for them. First, they work on desensitizing us to the horror of sin and hell by distracting us with OURSELVES. Once accomplished we are strategically right where they want us, perverting our minds and emotions to not process truth or feel conviction the way we were designed to. It has not been difficult for them to implement their key strategy of working with our individual weaknesses to shift our priorities, while twisting our mindsets to the belief that "what we want matters." It really doesn't.