Preaching the Gospel to Myself, Daily

I have neglected to journal as much as I should be. Every time I put a pen to paper, fingers to keys, or thoughts into words, I never think they come out coordinated enough to mean much of anything. There is such a deep desire to provoke intellectual thought, to captivate an audience with a well-written anecdote, or simply to rouse sentimental feelings.  My own standard of writing has been raised not only by the exceptional English teachers who taught me accordingly, but also by my own family members who offer an unannounced competitive vibe.

I know I can write better than, “Today in training we had a lady from the Ministry of Education come teach us about the 4 Blocks to Literacy. It’s a system that involves 4 steps of blah, blah, blah.” I am fairly certain my mother would be the only person interested in reading such posts. Critiquing others’ writing and comparing my own to theirs does not prove to be beneficial. I constantly battle with formulating my sentences to be both neoteric as well as accurate. Ergo, I succumb to laziness and pride whenever I do not have anything “worthy” to write about.

Though we did have a wonderful misses present a worthy session on the Four Blocks to Literacy this morning, there is something heavier on my heart.

During Christmas break S and I went swing dancing. Some dance partners were quite skilled while others left something to be desired. After a good few hours, we found ourselves enjoying the freedom of youthful singleness, aka, buying Oreo Fosties at the Wendy’s drive through at midnight. As we sat in the parking lot munching away and discussing the deeper things of life, S confessed to me that she carries a type of guilt or shame for living a privileged life. She is the daughter of a well-esteemed medical doctor and has never gone without want or need. Her parents are not frivolous spenders and are quite wise with their finances. But S is aware that her father’s income has bought her certain extra amenities in life. These feelings of guilt have provoked in her an attitude similar to that of penance. She feels as though she needs to somehow live a lesser life and endure hard things that she did not have to as an adolescent. Of course, this was news to me.

Fast forward to Peace Corps Jamaica. R (fellow PCV) told me about a Jamaican PCV some years ago who used her father’s wealth to provide luxuries for herself as a volunteer. I related to R what a recruiter friend told me a couple of years ago: that PC is experiencing an influx of applicants who come from well-to-do families. Her speculation is that they feel as S does. They have a need to give up what they know, to have a purpose beyond tangible things. I went on to tell Rabout S’s recent struggle. He confirmed the attitude to be true of his own life.

R’s testimony continued to play in my head throughout the day. My thoughts have been provoked. I could not imagine feeling as S and R and young people in their circumstances do. First, my parents did not provide me with the same lifestyle as S. Our larger family lived on a strict budget and saved money at every instance possible. Second, and most important, I know that my worth and my value far surpass that of monetary possessions. God gives and God takes away. He alone is the provider of wealth, and our individual stewardship of that wealth matters more than the value.

All these thoughts have led to the underlying truth that I have been set free. Free from sin, free from fear, and free from having to be “good enough.” Because of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, there is absolutely nothing I can do to be a better person, to win favor with God. Jehovah Jireh; the Lord provides. It is finished.


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