Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Independence vs. Pride

As I was walking just outside of my neighborhood the other day, a car with a New York license plate passed by me. This thought happened to cross my mind: I think I know why I'm so attracted to New York City. It's not the energy or the sheer magnitude of the city or the amount of skyscrapers that line its harbor. It all boils down to this one word: survivor. NYC and I are both survivors. Superstorm Sandy tore through its streets bringing with it lots of destruction and causing a lot of damage. But did Lower Manhattan concede or raise a white flag? No. And when life after graduation delivered one blow after the other, did I surrender? You can bet your bottom dollar I didn't.

I've often considered myself an independent person long before the world accepted me as one. That's not to say that coming to that realization has made my life easier. In fact, it has done just the opposite. I constantly have to deny my worldly desires and focus on the people around me. The funny thing is, I have a hard time asking for help. I try so hard to do everything myself that I miss the opportunities I have to ask God to carry my burdens. He promises daily to do that for me yet I constantly reject His help. I've gotten better at 'asking for help' recently. There have been several instances in the past couple months where all I could do was look up and ask for His help. Yes, my faith has been tested more times than I'd like it to be but in a way, it's tested week in, week out.

For several years, I have always gotten a ride to church. When I'm home in Ohio, I try to drive to church and other places as much as I can. It's a privilege to drive a car. Here in Jacksonville, I don't have that option. At least, not right now. Well, a little over a year ago I found a solution to my ride dilemma. Public transportation! Using it helps me get around to the places I need to go daily and learn how to navigate the city at the same time. Plus, it's cheap and I don't have to worry about maintenance or insurance costs. It's a win-win, right? Not always.

Most weeks I'm very glad that I can go to and leave church on my own without help. Lately, however, it's been tiring me out. Burning me out. The systematic way I have to follow just to arrive at the door of the church, that is. I have to get up very early just to make everything work and arrive on time for the 10:30am service. Maybe later on I'll reveal the specific times and details but let's just go with, it's VERY early. It is the earliest time I get up at all week which is ironic because Sunday is a day of rest. Sometimes it is for me, but mostly it's not particularly restful. On the other hand, it's the most refreshing thing in the world for me to know that I can wake up, get ready and go to church, a church that I love dearly I might add, and leave by myself when the service is over. I have not had this freedom well, for as long as I have been alive.

Am I being selfish, though, for wanting to do that all on my own every week? Wouldn't it be better both relationally and financially for me and someone else to carpool instead?

I'm not sure I have the answer to that. At times I feel like I'm being incredibly prideful for rejecting any such help to carpool to church in order to get more sleep on Saturdays. Other times, I feel like going by myself makes me feel more independent and that in turn makes me a stronger person.

I'm also human, though. I need rest from time to time. And for now, I'm thankful to have a church family who cares about me just as much as I care about them. The challenges I face each week all prove to be worth it as soon as I walk through those doors. I'm also thankful for rest and relaxation....which is something I get to catch up on in the next few days. Thank God. :)

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