I sat silently in a car full of noise on the side of a very busy road. A few minutes earlier my precious 1998 Jeep Cherokee decided it was time to rest. With my flashers on I slowly rolled it to a stop on the side of the road. Semi’s and cars whizzed past us making the car sway a bit. Smoke billowed out of the hood and a burning smell filled the car, griping the wheel I knew this wasn’t good. I got the girls out and transferred them into my husbands car who had been following us, thankfully. As I sat there watching my husband work under her hood, trying to bring her back to life, God began to speak to me.
“No matter the outcome, it’s time to let her go.”
You see, I have only had this car a year but I have fallen in love with this car. This car means a lot to me and I don’t want to let her go. Our family was getting bigger and we need a bigger car to travel around in. We also were trying to be very wise in our finances so we chose an older car. We didn’t want to have a huge car payment but I also wanted a “cool” car. That is when “jessie” came in to our life, our eggplant Jeep Cherokee. It was rugged with no fancy shrills. She was louder than most cars and that made it easy for people to hear me coming. The tape deck reminded me of simpler times, the doors were heavy and hard to open and it had a distinct musky smell to it. What I loved most about it was the person I became when I drove this car. I would blare my country music on the radio as my hand did roller coasters through the wind. I was a young cool mom of two that didn’t need the newest car of the road, I was happy and content in my old purple jeep. At lease that’s what I thought. God whispers again…
“Audra, do you think you can have pride in something even if your doing the right thing?”
“Sweet girl, you have pride in this jeep. You still care what people think of you.”
Friends, I am getting real and vulnerable here and want to confess this to you. God has been so good to me and has taken me on this simplicity journey. He has brought my worldly view crashing down and replaced it with a heavenly view. Our world is so focused on having more, getting more for our money and having the best of the best. I was stuck in that vicious cycle for a while. I wanted the approval of others, a cute house with cute decorations, a nice car, cute and trendy clothes and a Pinterest perfect menu. Then, God took me on a journey. A journey of simplifying, getting rid of the unnecessary, and ultimately down sizing our debt. All of this is great stuff and would highly recommend looking into simplify your lives but what came with it was a ugliness that hid deep down. Pride.
“Forgive me God.” I wispered
Pride is sneaky. Sometimes it is written across your forehead in permanent red marker and other times it creeps into places undetectable to the common eye. Even though I was doing what God had called me to do, I had developed a Pride in my behavior and my Jeep was a clear sign to others that I was “going against the grain.” It was as if I was telling people, “Hey look at me, I am frugal and I don’t need a fancy car or big house. I’m good with my jeep and I look cool in it!” Ha! I told you I was going to get real guys! It’s the truth and for that I apologize.
This is what God calls us to do; God calls us to “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (ESV James 4:10) I think as christian’s we can get caught in this prideful trap. We can get so consumed with ourselves and doing what God calls us to do that we forget to do a heart check. If we are doing all the right things how can it be bad right? The questions we need to ask ourselves is, are we currently worried about what others think of us (good or bad)? Are we judging others for not doing what we are called to do? Do we find ourselves better than others? If you answered yes to any of these questions you may want to do a heart check. Just as I needed one.
Here’s what we need to do; In everything we do seek ONLY the Lords approval. Galatians 1:10 says, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to Please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (ESV) Friends, you may have great things going on in our lives. You may be leading a bible study, writing on a blog, raising a lot of kids, reading your bible daily or hearing from God in crazy ways. Those are all great things but what God wants to remind us is to ask ourselves; Are we seeking the approval of man or of Him? Let us all do a quick heart check and ask God if there is pride hiding in our hearts today. Let us come humbly on our knees before the Lord and hand it over to Him. Let us get rid of the pride once and for all and let us love one another for who God has called each of us to be.
Thank you for reading and letting me be vulnerable with you all. I pray that you read this and are encouraged and know you are loved!
RIP Jessie the Jeep! You will be missed. (1998-2015)