If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith--that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:4-10So, I had a serious "Ah-hah" moment this week. It was sobering, but at the same time, freeing. Someone (who has lived here for a long time) asked me if I liked living here. I hesitated in my answer...and then answered..."more or less." He asked what I didn't like. I gave a few lame answers. Later, I was reflecting on that conversation and realized that I can think of MANY superficial reasons for not always liking living here. In fact, I could provide a few deeper reasons for not always liking living here. However...(and here is the "ah-hah")...the primary reason for my dislike is: PRIDE.
Yup, pride. In the United States, I considered myself to be a competent adult. I could hold my own in conversation. I had a house that I considered "pretty" and I was proud of that. I 'belonged' there. Like Paul , in the Scripture passage that started this blog...I had a lot of reasons for 'confidence in the flesh'.
And now, with two and half years behind me here in Nicaragua...I am 'conversational' (on good days) but not fluent in Spanish. Thus, I am not able to 'hold my own' in a conversation. My house (while more than sufficient for meeting our needs) is not "my style" and I struggle with its appearance. I don't always feel that I really belong here...I am a foreigner. Friendships are still young.
Somewhat related, expressing these struggles feels like spinning a broken record. How many more times can I sheepishly apologize for my "ugly Spanish"? Yet, even this exposes my pride.
So, I find myself at the foot of the cross (which is a good place to find oneself). I, like Paul, have 'suffered the loss of all things' (competency, belonging, a pretty house....) and I MUST 'consider them rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.'
Challenging at best; but certainly necessary in this, my journey of faith.