a good thing in a bad place

John is at work right now. 

Aw. Let that sink into my soul. My husband has a job. A real job. With benefits. So we can have more babies. And adopt babies. And buy groceries - maybe even some organic. And put gasoline into our cars. If, that is, we can ever find a car that runs for more than a week. Those of you who know us well, know that this is a serious problem. Requiring serious prayer. Because we are seriously unlucky with cars. Since September of last year we have owned a Honda, a Volkswagen, a Volvo, a Nissan, a Chevy and a Ford. The only one we own that currently runs is the Chevy.

But that's not the point. Or at least not this time. 

The point of this post is my retarded heart. I have a heart that seeks security in things of this world. Not of God. In what people say and think of me. Not what God tells me. In what money and a salary can provide for me. Not what God constantly and freely gives me. 

John has been on his knees for our family and for himself before Jesus a lot these last few years. And I have not. I have been patting John on the back while he gets on his knees, surrendering his future, and reputation, and money, and time, and health. Because I think it's great that he does it. But I just ride his coat tails, too stupid to receive His grace myself. I'm too prideful, too stubborn. And frankly, too lazy. A million other things sound more interesting and exciting than spending time with God on a daily basis. Do you hear that? THAT is pathetic. I would rather spend time with the created things than the CREATOR. I am so broken. 

So it's no wonder that I have managed to twist yet another good thing. The world often teaches that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. And that's probably true, except when it comes to Jesus. But here's another truth. A good thing in the wrong place in your heart is a bad thing. A real bad thing.

Like this job of John's. It's at a church that we are loving. And it's going to provide us with stability - thing that this family of ours has been longing for and praying for. And in the beginning it started out pure for me. I purely longed for stability for the right reasons. And I purely prayed for John's getting this job at this church for the right reasons. And then I started twisting this good thing and placing it in the wrong place in my heart. I started thinking about the approval that would come from a position in this church. I started thinking about the role that I would get to play in this church as a pastor's wife in the front pew. And what started out as a seriously pure desire to be blessed and be a blessing through becoming a part of God's church evolved into wanting others to applaud me for being a blessing. And I'm not even involved yet! And I'm already falling victim to lusting after approval and affirmation from people. And longing for pats on the back and oh, isn't she a great wife and mother. And maybe I even waited to write this and put this out there for people to read until I knew that John signed the papers and got the job. Because maybe I was afraid that maybe, just maybe once they saw how ugly my heart is, they wouldn't want to hire him. 

With sin, I used to think that acknowledging a possible fall or agreeing that you were capable of something awful was actually a bad thing. Like, don't even say that you are capable of cheating of lying or terrible pride! Because then it might come true. And also because some people aren't capable of those things and the fact that you are is disgusting. Now, I see though that I have to come before God daily acknowledging those things so that Satan can't get a hold on me. Because pride comes before the fall. And it's often where we think we're least capable of sinning, that we ultimately sin the greatest. Because Satan tricked us into not being on guard.

So this is my being on guard. This is me saying that I acknowledge how gravely prone I am to seeking the approval of others. It's me saying that I recognize that the healthy pride I have in my husband as he has been placed in such an amazing job runs quickly into ugly, fleshly pride that maybe we got there on a our own good looks and works, and not because of Jesus. 

This is me acknowledging that as much as I long for security, I have been closer to Jesus during our times of financial uncertainty than ever during financial stability. So, I can't be too quick to enjoy the consistency of this salary. I can't trust it or I won't trust God.

This is even me admitting that I don't know that I'll ever allow for comments on this blog because I just don't think I'm humble enough to not let it turn into an approval seeking, how-many-people-commented? game that does nothing but caress my ego. 

And before I let myself do something as foolish as congratulate myself for writing such a 'humble' post, let me remind myself that it's easy to write this on a computer screen, and really not humble at all. The real humility is admitting my sin in front of my husband. And my daughter. And God. Both through words of confession and acts of surrender. Surrendering my desire for approval.

This blog started out as a good thing. A keeping track of my family and my blessings and my home blog. But good things in the wrong place in your heart are dangerous things. So sadly, I have to fight my flesh even with every key that I type.

God has gone out of his way to teach my family the lesson of not putting our trust in things. That they fail. I've been so dense it's taken six cars to learn. And I'm still scouring Consumer Reports more than I'm praying for wisdom and discernment as we look for yet another car. 

Because my heart is retarded. 

I had planned to write a post FULL OF JOY about John's new job. Going on and on about how amazing it is and provoking congratulations left and right from anyone reading it. But this is probably more accurate: John has a new job, an amazing job. And if I talk more about the perks that the job brings than the blessings and security that God brings, I'll be in trouble. Because my sin is great. And my heart is dark. And even good things can become sinful. So, this job of John's and what is means for me needs to be surrendered every morning before a perfect and forgiving God.

*Photographs borrowed from Christ Community's website (ccefc.org)
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