Sunday, January 30, 2011

Content in [all] circumstances

I had quite the emotional moment tonight. I moved from one temporary room to another. I was juggling my computer, paper bag of clothes and my blanket and pillow across campus to what is my current place to sleep tonight.

It was a strange situation. In the paper bag is a change of clothes-designer jeans from a former life. A macbook, also from a former life where I had money to spend on such things. And I moved towards my next temporary place to sleep.

I set up my bed, my blanket, my pillow. I place my paper bag on the floor. It's a simple life, but tonight it feels like one of shame, of forced humility. A year ago, life was easy. It was then I bought the jeans...And now I am living day to day. (To clarify, I have two jobs and am a full-time student, don't get me wrong. I'm just trying to find the right place to live since I've moved back from my semester abroad).

In Africa, it was easy for me to only have a few outfits, my hair tied back, Teva sandals and no makeup. But now, that life doesn't fit in Orange County. I resent that I feel this way-like I'm not good enough for the likes of this place.

I can't place my emotional well-being on my circumstances. I have just never been here before. Not only am I in want and need, everyone can see that I am in need. This is a place where self-sufficiency abounds. There is an overabundance of everything-32 flavors of yogurt, 25 kinds of shampoo.
I don't want to Costco-sized version of everything. I don't want 20 chapsticks, or 5 pounds of coffee, or a family pack of frozen enchiladas.

I just want to find my fulfillment in something more simple. It doesn't get much more simple than this paper bag and pillow.

Jesus, make me ok to live out of my car.

Haha, what a silly prayer. But I don't need an overabundance of everything-I just need an overabundance of You- of your love, grace and joy.

If your eye is on the sparrows, then your heart is on me, God. They do the work for which they were created, and God takes care of them..


  1. amanda, coming back from being abroad is hard and its extra hard when you don't have the stability of "home". i'd love to talk to you more about the transition. i had a really hard time coming back to the states from africa... praying God would use your experiences abroad to teach us in the land of over abundance to be content with Him.

  2. I can relate to having that feeling of looking around at the world or your own life and having a divine moment of realization concerning the excess amount of crud you have in your life. It's frustrating. I had the same experience about a week ago when I was going through my closet/dresser and just being in awe at how many pieces of clothing I had that I didn't even really wear. I felt like throwing everything out and just having one pair of jeans, a couple shirts and some shoes. After calming down I realized how much junk everywhere else in my life too and how crumby I was spending my time, money, etc. When I came back from Haiti I went through the same thing you were describing. I look forward to talking more about it with you and Dannah.

  3. So encouraging to see you seeking such a serious and practical understanding of Christ's complete sufficiency.

    "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven"
    Find joy in your situation because it allows you to understand what it means to come to Christ empty, with nothing but a pillow (a great posture to have when approaching God). You're not having to fight pushing a camel through the eye of a needle to experience the Lord. It's when we have nothing else to rely on, that his sufficiency is most likely to be powerfully experienced.

  4. This is beautiful and honest. It's fascinating how these experience and questions are causing you to pray differently.

  5. What a neat perspective that God is giving you through your situation. I love the way how you are so descriptive and honest in this blog.

  6. You are steadfast and I find it very inspirational!!! I love what Dannah said about using your experiences to be a witness in this land of overabundance of what it really means to be content with Him. You "get" what so many people can never seem to understand.

  7. Oh my goodness, I don't know what to say to such an honest and beautiful story you just told. God certainly finds interesting ways of teaching us things and opening our eyes to see that it is really only Him that matters, its only Him we need. Whether we live out of paper bags or Louie Vutton suitcases, whether our wallets are burting at the seems from coins that we've scavenged around the house or from hundred dollar bills- its all the same to Jesus and its all the same to us. We need His love, and He needs us to live for Him. Bottom line. And its in times of desperation that we seek Him, we need Him, because He's all we have. But, He's all we need. And as soon as we see that, He will bless that and honor that. Just like I know He will bless and honor you with His abundant love and promises.


Thoughts, comments or questions are welcome!