March 15. One year ago yesterday we listed our house, not knowing how long it would take to sell it. In two days, we’ll be able to say, “One year ago today, the Lord sold our house!” We had made many preparations to sell the home we’d owned for a decade, but the actual selling of it meant we really were moving across the country. It was the beginning of the end of our time in Texas, but also the beginning of a new adventure.
When I consider that a new family has been doing life in “our” house for almost a year, it twists my mind a bit. But then my alarm clock beeps when the sun has yet to rise, and I remember that it’s not our house any longer. I amble through our apartment, assembling myself for a day with ten students at a private school that meets in an historic church. No, we are definitely not in Texas anymore. That is most obvious to me in that the places I frequent aren’t yet places where “everybody knows my name.” (Not that I would expect this, but I do notice that I am a bit forlorn and desire to spend more time building relationships.)
See, I want the deep authenticity of regular, extended Christian fellowship. I crave it. But for me, the most challenging part of our move has been my own introversion, in part because it directly works against the building of relationships. I didn’t know this, though, until well into February, when the Lord saw fit to shed light what lies beneath it. From my journal on February 15, 2014:
At the surface, my introversion is part of how the Lord designed me; I simply need alone time to regain energy and strength. While this is His perfect intention for me, it is marred by my own sinful nature. Recently the Lord revealed that my introversion (as it currently manifests) is rooted in a desire for control. I profess with my mouth that God is sovereign, but functionally I live quite differently. But to what end? What is being threatened such that I need to approach life (and God?) with a clenched fist? Today, in His grace, the Lord showed me the root of the problem: I serve an idol of comfort, ease, and simplicity. But I am not entitled to any of these things! Lord, slay this idol in my heart!
Because I am a visual learner, the Lord often gives me word pictures or mental images that help me to see what He wants me to learn. This time He chose an iceberg.
Because I had lived in Texas for 30 years, I had settled into relationships that were, for the most part, comfortable, comforting, easy, and simple. Of course we had hiccups along the way, but from my perspective my close friendships were all of these things because we had a history together. I didn’t have to explain why my immune system is compromised. I knew the best way to love each friend in Christ, and I often felt the love of Christ through and from my dear sisters. We spent time — close, heartfelt, honest time — and in that the Lord knit our hearts together in a way that was (and remains) almost tangibly eternal.
As an introvert, the thought of starting from scratch here is really challenging to my heart! And it’s true: My idol of comfort, ease, and simplicity demands slothfulness in every area, but especially in building Christ-centered relationships. This is why it is so crucial that I allow the Lord to eradicate this idol! In just over two months I will be faced with a summer full of free time. How will I use it? Of course I will tend to my home, because a school year never does anything positive for my homemaking skills. I will spend plenty of time with my sweet husband since this semester has felt like a wild amusement park ride. But, in the Lord’s strength, I will lay down the shackles of this idol and spend a lot of time investing in the lives of my new (beautiful, wonderful, amazing!) friends.
Soli Deo gloria!