Marketplace 2015 — Update #1

Exactly one more week before I’m on a flight for Oakland. California-bound!

Aerial view of Berkeley.

I wanted to take a quick moment to update everyone on my activity leading up to Orientation, which begins June 16th, and work at Skuid which begins June 19th.

In the past week, my sister (Joyce) and I drove to D.C. to visit an old friend and got a free tour of the US Capitol. I also read books to my younger sister (Anna), made dumplings with my mom, went for runs around my neighborhood, and started studying for the GREs.

But don’t let me fool you…this wave of activity is only the outer surface. Being at home hasn’t been easy. The unpredictability of travel, combined with hours of unstructured free time is a perfect recipe for restlessness, FOMO (fear-of-missing-out), and of course, too much time spent drifting on social media. Not everything has worked out so well!

In fact, sometime last week, I was trying to do my dad a favor and mow the lawn like I did for him pre-college. Picture this: me, standing in the middle of our front yard, about halfway finished, when suddenly, the 10-year old machine gave a “kaput!” and finally just stopped and broke down.

“What did you do to it? When I touch it, everything works fine!” Said Dad.

Nothing I could bring it back to life again. No amount of pulling made any difference. So much depends on a red lawn mower. I thought. I went to sleep that night feeling very ‘unaccomplished,’ and ‘incomplete.’

…Thankfully, however, my dad surprised me and bought a new lawn mower, the very next day!

WHATTT??! This literally changes everything. From this day henceforth, she shall be known as, “Black Beauty.”

And just like that, I was able to pick off where I left off. Mercifully, the sky was overcast too, so it was cool, but the clouds held up long enough and it didn’t rain until I could finish what I started.

To me, this event during the middle of the week was the perfect example of a turnaround.

Upon closer examination, my heart had tripped and fallen over the Tangling Wire of Self-Sufficiency. Not only was I trying to mow the lawn right for my dad on my own strength, I was relying on my own fallible self to stay organized, on-task, obedient and disciplined enough to accomplish my goals for the week.

I had the right intentions, but instead, I was a powerless, sluggish ball of anxiety, worry and contradiction. I was weak. I was tired. I had no ‘real strength’ to do what I set out to do this week.

As I read Psalms this past week, so many times the Psalter referred to his God as ‘refuge,’ ‘shield,’ ‘rock,’ or ‘strength.’ All of these truths about God’s identity should have been comforting and energizing to me, but deep down, they weren’t. Why? Because I wasn’t allowing God to be God. Since my mind was fixed on getting ‘things’ done, I was stubbornly holding onto my own self-sufficiency, my own righteousness. I forgot the refreshing and liberating word of Philippians 4:13, paraphrased here for myself: “I can ONLY do things because it is Christ who STRENGTHENS me.”

Will you pray with me? This is an old habit that I am fighting routinely to reorder in my life. Even as I grow older, and start work, I want to be especially wary of this bad reflex. The proud sin of self-sufficiency is an instinct I want to kill permanently. Once it has died, I can begin to enjoy Real Rest and work with Real Strength.

Pray that:
1. Jesus would cut the tangling wire of self-sufficiency in me, by replacing it with Strengthening Joy in his Perfect Sufficiency.

2. I would surrender to God’s will and timing, and relinquish my idea of productivity, or how things should progress. His will, his way, always.

Published: June 8th 2015

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