Monday, October 19, 2009

Life lessons.

Life is so silly, how one simple thing can poke and prod at our hearts disturbing our default mode of simply slipping through the day to day with little to no change. This evening I was gently reminded (certainly by the Holy Spirit) of what a prideful hypocrite I can be, and I am so thankful the Lord stopped me through one simple moment raking leaves to humble me.

You see, my husband is out of town on business and I am left to do all the nasty laborious chores he normally takes while he is here. Today, it was raking the yard. Leaves were everywhere, and I had some gloves, a small rake and some kitchen garbage bags. I jumped into the job with enthusiasm and as I made my way from side yard to the front, I thought to myself, "My neighbors must see me out here raking. I wonder what they must be thinking." My first guess was that they would wonder why Michael (who usually does the yard work) isn't raking the yard or carrying around a leaf-blower or doing something manly.

But my thoughts didn't stop there, as I noticed other neighbors out walking/playing with their children, carrying in groceries, etc. I sat there (piling leaves into bags) thinking they must just love having me as a neighbor! From what I've heard, the last tenant was not respectful of the property and ended up costing our landlord a lot of money. I figured the neighbors must love having a pretty yard to look at and love the fact that my husband and I are generally quiet, we don't do drugs, and don't have yappy/aggressive/big/stupid/whatever kind of dogs to poop in other people's yards. Furthermore, I thought, I'm not like this and such neighbor with this and such problem, and I went on and on in my head justifying what a wonderful person I am and how wonderful it must be to live next to me.

As I told myself that I respect my yard more than the neighbors across me because I'm raking my yard, I looked up to see the mom of that house handing her boys rakes. Conviction shot through me as I gaped at the little boys serving their mother by helping to pick the leaves/fruit that had fallen from their trees. I felt a push on my heart that what I had just been saying to myself was a pack of lies, that something evil, my own sin had been speaking to me, stroking my ever dangerously-large ego. Judgement had taken over because of some leaves accumulated on a person's yard, so very quickly I had elevated myself for the very purpose of looking down my nose at the "less worthy" neighbors that must be "such a burden" for their landlord.

Oh shame. Shame, Lizzy, that you do not love like Christ. Shame that you do not desire to serve, but only desire to be noticed and called great. Shame that you are impatient, so far from the Lord, our God, slow to anger and abounding in love.

These small things in life that bring me to a low place, these are the discipline of the Lord. Thank you Lord for your loving discipline! For disturbing my every day pattern of exalting myself.