Status (and not the facebook kind)Posted: May 31, 2010
Here’s what’s happened between me and God lately:
One day at Pre-Field, God opened my eyes to how pervasive and significance-less my emphasis on status is. I base status on age, education, way of dressing, understanding of the Gospel, articulateness, and much more. And how a person measures up on those scales, according to my judgment, tells me who is better and who is worse. If I come out on top, I’m proud and dismissive or patronizing of those “below” me. If I come out “inferior,” I shut down and take myself out of situations and conversations.
God opened my eyes to this a little (which felt like a ton) at Pre-Field. And it was hard and felt bad, but I knew it was good.
So, I gulped and said, “Please, sir, can I have some more?”
Actually, I wrote: “Help me to see others the way you see them. Take away my reliance on silly, harmful notions of status. Replace it with value based on your values.”
And God said, “I love you, so let me first begin to show you just how deep-seated your sin is.”
And then He said, “Here are some things you value for status:
-being an articulate person (and you can’t even get out simple phrases, much less the complex, nuanced thought you pride yourself on)
-speaking Spanish better than other people (This only worked around the other interns, and when they showeed themselves better than you, you stopped trying to one-up them. What do you think of your Spanish now that you’re in Peru where people speak ridiculously quickly?)
-being “the confident, unflappable one” (and you felt like crying your first day, while the other intern, who has never been to Peru, handled it just fine. You are are overwhelmed by things that you have experienced before. You are “flapped.”)
-You value people with things you call “Basic Life Skills” and secretly look down on them if they can’t do things you think they should be able to. (but you have to shop for your own groceries, which is a Basic Life Skill. And you’re not good at it.)
-You have been saying that you’re worried you won’t rely on Me enough, you go to New City, you’re a Rice, you can Do Ministry, which you’re secretly proud of. (But you can’t. You won’t be doing the work you thought you’d be doing, you can’t speak the language as well as you thought you could, and you can’t just Do Ministry.)”
So, He’s saying, “For you to really give up your love of status, you’re going to have to see how badly you fail at those standards and turn to me to really understand status, value, and identity.”
So, it’s hard. Harder than I thought it would be, but because my sin is being exposed, not something wrong with the field. I came in, whether I want to admit it or not, with the attitude: I’m Karen. I got this, and I’m vetter than you.
But I don’t got this. And I’m not better than you. And my measuring stick is wrong.
“As the heavens are above the earth, so are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above yours” (Isaiah 55:9). Turns out, God is right again. Here are His thoughts on status, value and identity: “Blessed are the poor in spirit; blessed are those who mourn; blessed are the meek…”
Thank you, God, that you’ve known how screwed up I am the whole time, and it hasn’t phased you. It’s still not phasing you or stopping you or keep you from using me. Continue to show me my sin, and make me more like you. Even if it’s hard and my sin is ugly. Thanks. Amen.
So, that’s what God and I have been up to lately.