Stuart and I have been living on the East Coast for about a month now. Not only are we living on the East Coast, but we’re living in Chester County, PA. For those of you not familiar with this area, Chester County is the wealthiest county in Pennsylvania.
So when you think of wealthy areas, the kind of cars you’d think people would drive would probably be BMW’s, Lexus, Mercedes, Infinity, Land Rovers, etc. right? Around here? Absolutely.
But not everyone.
We drive this baby:
Living in Indiana or Ohio, driving this thing didn’t seem like a big deal. But around here? Let’s just say I’m going to rename her “The Humblemobile.” It’s tough not to stick out when you drive a car like this. And let’s be honest, when you drive a car like this remaining incognito is exactly what you strive for.
But as humbling as it is driving around in that big hunk of turquoise junk, I try to remember that it’s also a blessing. It was very inexpensive when Stuart purchased it (surprise, surprise…) and back in April, someone hit the side of his car, and it was declared totaled. But all that was wrong was his right front headlight was broken. So although it was given a death certificate, our insurance company said they’d give us the amount it was worth, and we could keep it. But you know the best part? The amount they gave us was MORE than Stuart paid for it in the first place! Um, yea, I’d call that a blessing.
However, even with that knowledge, living in a very materialistic area is still not easy. Especially when you’re trying to be frugal, save money, and don’t have a very large income on account of being a missionary. It’s still very easy to get the “comparsies.” Why is it that we always want what others have, but then if/when we get it, something new just takes its place and most of the time we forget how much we wanted that original thing?
A quote I read on a blog called, The Mom Diggity, really hit home in this area:
“Wishing for someone else’s spring will do nothing but make your winter even colder and darker.”
God is reminding me everyday that my worth and significance do not come from the car I drive. And that just because I drive a car that is 14 years old and looks like it’s been to hell and back, I am no less of a person than the guy who drives the brand new BMW and has a few sports cars in his garage. Materialism and comparison are definitely things I struggle with, so this is just one more step in the process of learning humility instead of entitlement.
When I was thinking about this blog post, the song, “Give Me Jesus” sung by Ferdinando Ortega came on the radio. Like hello perfect timing. I LOVE it when something happens like that and you just KNOW it came from God. The song is about how in every moment of our lives from when we rise, to when we die, all we should want and desire is Jesus. My favorite verse goes like this:
Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
But give me Jesus.
As hard as it is to not want “the world,” since it is the reality in which we live, I need to remember that what Jesus has to offer is so much more important than what the stores in the mall will ever be able to give me. There will always be trendier clothes, or next season’s purse to buy, but Jesus’ love and acceptance is free of charge and will never go out of style. (Pun intended.)
In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us to not run after the things of this world, but to seek His kingdom first and He will provide all we need. When I think about my own struggles with materialism and comparison, it really does all come down to TRUST. Can I trust God that if I don’t have name brand clothes or the brand new suped up car, I’ll be as worthy as the person who does? Can I trust Him that He will provide all I need, and that I don’t need to supplement the things I think I need with things I want? I’m not saying buying things you want or having nice things is wrong. (I have a few Coach purses and a Tiffany’s bracelet to name a few.) But what I’m realizing is that those things should not be what I strive for, but the occasional little extras of life that I hold with an open hand as to not idolize them. Instead, a life glorifying and dependent on God needs to be the goal of my life.
So for now, we’re driving The Humblemobile, praising God everyday that we have something that gets us from Point A to Point B. And knowing that when the day comes that we need a better car, God will provide a way for us to get what we need.