First off I feel the need to explain to all my readers and apologize to my mom if she finds this embarrassing. I want to say that I am very aware that there are people way worse off then I am. And I am grateful, but just like you I am selfish and prideful at times.
Now I want you to take a long hard look at that picture above. (Shout out to Hannah for inspiring this recent thought in my prayer.) That picture above I took the other day as I sat on my back steps talking to Jesus.
I said “Why am I so ashamed of my house? I should be grateful to have a house, but Jesus I hate my house. More than anything I hate our kitchen.” (Like it’s so ugly we got 3rd place in a ugly kitchen contest)
Jesus responded with love like he always does and I felt very called to take a picture of the part of my house I hate the most. He told me I should look at it like I should the ugly parts of my heart and learn to love it. Often we get so caught up in covering up the parts of our life that show we are a failed god. We cover our poverty whether material, physical, or spiritual and put it out of everyone’s sight. We don’t want the world to know we are broken.
I look at that picture now and I no longer hear the roar of my pride saying to delete it. Jesus has come into this place where I feel like I’m lacking and he has shown me the beauty of it. I look at the side of that counter and the sharpie scribbles from when I was young. I see the little holes from where we used to take my dad’s hammer and play Bob the Builder. I see the cracks next to the door frame where my sister and I would pick at the crumbling drywall. I see scratch marks on the basement door from the dogs who wanted to come down stairs so they could curl up with me. I see the crystal door knob and it reminds of how the ones on the other doors used to fall out. It hurt if it fell on your foot, but made a satisfying sound as it rolled across the floor. I see a gap between the sideboard in the countertop because we moved it to install a dishwasher when I was like 10 or 12. It was so exciting at the time because I thought it meant I would never have to wash dishes again, but it turns out you still have to rinse them. I see old fashion key holes that my sister and I thought were so fun to peek through. I see a door that I used to be so quick to shut because I thought there were monsters downstairs. I see stains left behind from children who were lucky enough to have food in their fridge. Mom could have scrubbed them up, but instead she valued spending time with her kids. My parents could have done a lot to improve that kitchen, but a beautiful kitchen was never their priority. Loving their family was their priority. Being at their games, concerts, paying for trips, club fees, putting food on the table that was their priority. And as I write this I want to cry. I see the happy faces drawn all over that board, and I think we were so happy. We were happy kids. God has shown me something beautiful in the most crummy crusty picture on my camera roll. So go ahead and think what you want. But I invite you to find the crummiest place in your life. Maybe it’s your house, your heart, your body, I don’t know, but let God speak into it.
Let the voice of God roar over the sound of your pride. Let him humble you so you can again find gratitude for what you have been given. You are a failed god, we all are. We aren’t rich, we aren’t perfect, but we are still so loved. Jesus Himself was born in a filthy stable. The King of all Kings was crusty and crumby, and died in agony, broken and bloody. But He was God, and he walked out of His grave. Literally conquering it all. Because what we lack is never what we needed, what we needed is to be loved radically by Him. To remember we are created and chosen, that we already have it all, long before you earn your first dollar.
No longer do I look at this picture and feel shame. I look at this picture and feel loved. I feel like my heart is accurately represented by this picture, already so loved and cherished by him. He gazes upon me and finds me worthy of his love, because at the end of the day there’s nothing wrong with poverty, but there’s something wrong with pride.
Jesus you are so good, help me to trust in you always. Help me to let you into the places where my pride has built shame. Amen