A Lesson in Humility

Resting by the Fjord by Hans Dahl, date unknown

Three weeks ago today, I landed in LAX carrying two suitcases, a backpack, a curious head and an anxious heart. My husband was home and I officially became a new immigrant.
Within the first two weeks, I got to meet some of the people in Carlo’s life whom I “know” only through social media. In one sense, having that Facebook or Instagram connection was also great since it lessened the awkwardness of meeting them in person for the first time. We’ve been exploring San Diego starting with Balboa Park (a separate post on this coming up!), eating in many of the famous fast food places (I’m looking at you, In ‘N Out), and getting settled with new routines. Three weeks later, I probably got 5 pounds heavier but I’m definitely enjoying it here.
Before this feeling of enjoyment, however, I experienced a few episodes of anxiety and extreme stress. Everyone tells us not to rush things, but there have been days when I think about all the things I need to take care of ALL AT ONCE–insurance, learning to drive, finding a job, taxes, etc.–and that’s where my anxiety and stress come from. Carlo’s been in the Philippines as a missionary for 5 years and I’ve been uprooted from my homeland of 24 years, so it’s only normal to take it easy for now. I know we need to work on those important tasks, but we should still pace ourselves. We both need the time to adjust even as we set goals and begin new life here, but I struggled so hard to accept that. For the first few days of being in the US, I often felt pangs of guilt for not being able to contribute much.
I wrestled with the idea that we had to be dependent for a time even though the people around us are so understanding, caring, and generous. But mercifully, through Andrew Murray, the Lord has been constantly showing me the importance of rest and dependence.
I started reading Andrew Murray’s book Humility a couple weeks ago. Two chapters in, that’s when God spoke to my heart about my current situation and how it’s parallel to my relationship with Him. Murray wrote that “humility is the displacement of self by the enthronement of God.” He also explains in the book that if we do not know how to be humble before men, it will be difficult to be humble before God.
I extend it this way: to be in the situation I’m in–being a jobless new immigrant with so much to learn and do–is very humbling. Not humiliating, just humbling. I have to depend on other people to get settled, to stand up on my own two feet. I can choose pride and try to do everything at once because I feel guilty, because I feel unworthy to receive such support, and then I end up stressing myself out even more. I was about to start facing all of these tasks head on before I hit my first month here, until I ended up having tension headaches a couple days ago. I was so stressed out that my head, neck, and shoulders tensed up. The other option would be to recognize that as I depend on people for support, in the grand scheme of things I’m actually learning to be more dependent on God.
I’m depending on Him for wisdom to know where I’m going not just in terms of what kind of job I should take, but to understand that my life’s purpose is more than working, paying bills, and saving up for retirement.
I’m depending on Him for strength and courage to try and learn new things.
I’m depending on Him for provision and abundance in all aspects of my life, not just the material.
I’m depending on Him for the salvation of my soul and what it means to live a life of faith on a daily basis.
So here I am, three weeks and with much tears later, slowly realizing that God placed me in this situation not so that I can spend my days in anxiety and pride, but to be humbled so that I see how much I need Him and how He is able and willing to be my all. During this season, I’m deeply grateful for the love of my family here in the US. As I seek God, the plan is to still keep moving and doing what needs to be done, but doing it with a heart that worships and rests in God.
Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. — PSALM 116:7

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