Archive for March, 2008

March 1, 2008

change of perspective

I have struggled for many years with feelings of inferiority and insecurity, both physically and materially. I am learning to let go of much physical insecurity, finally believing God when He assures me that my identity is found only in Him, having created me in His image, and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Genesis 1:27, Psalm 139:14) But I have continued to struggle with the material aspect by being constantly bombarded with media and societal images of success and worth. In every arena of my life I have felt inferior and sometimes less blessed because I continue to see the closest people around me maintain higher standards of living and reward themselves with newer and better things. Though I know it is a superficial mindset, I have continued to wrestle before God with these selfish thoughts. But now my mind is settling.

One of my greatest insecurities, and even embarrassments, lies with the car that I drive. It is a 20-year-old Accord that has seen better days and is no longer functioning at its best. The exterior trim is peeling, the paint is getting duller, the upholstery is coming apart in places and has permanent stains that predate my ownership. The engine runs a little fast, the car itself vibrates loudly when idling, and little pieces of the interior have begun to break off here and there. The driver’s window won’t roll down entirely unless the door is opened to allow it room to expand, and the air conditioning has not cooled in almost three years. The cruise control stopped working a couple of years ago, some dash lights no longer illuminate, one blinker insists on ticking entirely too fast, and the car’s age is evident in its factory-installed cassette player. The vehicle is simply old and has seen better days.

Yet, suddenly I find myself in a world of people with equally interesting cars. Most are younger than mine, but some have worn less well. I’ve found myself looking at others and seeing that my little car is in pretty good shape, especially considering its age. And despite its issues, it still gets almost 34 in-town miles to the gallon, has no serious engine problems, and still has all its moving parts. What I once saw as embarrassing is now simply a state of aging.

This is how God works. He has changed my perception of the current state of things and reminded me of the blessings, the good. How easy it is to forget! But how faithful He is to gently remind us.

ADDENDUM: March 17, 2008
Just two weeks later, the Lord has revealed even more to me regarding the blessing of my car. Last Wednesday morning I came out to my home’s parking lot to find that several cars had been broken into during the night. Each of us had our driver’s side window smashed inward, and all the doors were unlocked where the thief had rummaged through all areas in search of something valuable. My experience, the first of this kind for me, was quite different than some of my neighbors. I felt no panic, no fear, no worry. Instead, my mind shifted into “how to deal” mode, running through the list of agencies I should contact while I waited for the police to arrive. Others were in great distress, lamenting the loss of CDs, personal information from the glove compartment, the destruction of their much-loved property. For my part, I knew I had nothing that couldn’t be replaced, and in fact there was nothing of value in my car anyway. Once again the Lord proven that having outdated technology wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

During the four days that my car was in the repair shop, I drove a 2007 loaner car. Yes, it was a very nice car and I did enjoy the upgrade. But I had more complaints with it than praises, not the least of which was the cost of $20.00 for the half tank of gas that was depleted in my short in-town drives over only three of the four days. Horrible gas mileage! At least it is to me, compared to the 34 in-town mpg I currently see in my ’88 Accord, a full tank of which generally costs $25-30 in total. God continually reminds me how good things are for me right now. And He blessed me even further with the replacement of the window. Before the break-in, the driver’s window had developed the above-mentioned issue of not lowering completely unless the door was opened. With the replacement pane, that issue is completely resolved.

This is truly How God Works!

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