Today's guest post comes from the lovely Katy (is it me or is this a really popular name lately?) from scottyboy and katygirl. Katy is such a doll. Her blog is refreshing, full of life and brings a smile to my face with each new post. Funny how she can do that even when she's convicting me huh? I hope you enjoy today's post and if you haven't stopped by Katy's blog, do yourself a favor and visit today. You'll be glad you did.
THE TRASH CAN.
i went on a trip to inner city L.A. in spring of 2004. i was working with college students at the time with Campus Crusade for Christ so i was leading the trip. i had no idea what i was getting myself into! when i left, all i could think about was coming back to san luis obispo - where i lived at the time. i was basically going on the trip because it was a job requirement.
when i drove into the area where we were staying, i wanted to turn right back around. it was ghetto. with a capital g. it was very unsafe. but since i was leading the trip (as a 22-year-old!) leaving was not an option. so i unpacked my car and headed into the church that was housing our group of 20.
the week was laid out for us: we would get a tour of inner-city, clean up some streets, take care of some kids around the neighborhood, and put on a lunch for some homeless people and neighbors around the church. it was an exhausting week. emotionally exhausting, physically exhausting, and just mentally challenging. i can't remember a time that i was more fearful for safety. there was even a drive by shooting right in front of the church we were staying at. i could not wait to get home.
the day of the lunch we set up the driveway of the church. we had tables lined up on both sides full of all sorts of things. each station had a specific item: clothes for you, clothes for your children and family, shoes, food, jackets, etc. the piles on each table were heaping. the tables were set up in a way that each person would end up at the back table which was serving a warm lunch for each person. the lunch table blocked off the rest of the parking lot - it was off limits. all day, each homeless person that walked down that driveway looked like a kid on Christmas morn. their bags were overflowing, stomachs were full, and faces were smiling.
until i met this little old hispanic woman who didn't speak english.
i watched her enter the driveway. watched her take her big bag and go from table to table filling it with each item. watched her drag her heavy and full bag to the lunch table where she got a plate heaping with warm food. i watched her eat it. and then i watched her proceed to sneak behind the tables into the off-limits area of the church driveway. and then i watched her take her overflowing bag and dig in the trash cans looking for more stuff to fill it up.
at first i was mad. wasn't what we gave her enough? what more could she possibly want or need? it didn't make sense. i went to the pastor and told him she was back there. i asked him what i should do. he said i had to go tell her she needed to leave and go back to the front of the driveway. so i mustered up all the courage i had and went and told her the best way i could without speaking her language. i can still see the look on her face when i tapped her on the shoulder. fear. embarrassment. knowing she had been caught in the off-limits section. it was an odd moment for me at 22 years of age.
as soon as she walked away dragging her bag full of anything she wanted from those tables, i walked back inside the church to clear my head for a moment. the minute i sat down in silence on those beat up couches in the basement of that ghetto church, the tears started streaming down my cheeks.
in that moment, i realized that i am the woman with the bag.
i am no different than her.
in fact, most days, i'm worse.
it's like i drag my bag down this driveway with all these tables full of all that God's offering: his forgiveness, his grace, his mercy, his redemption, his SATISFACTION, his contentment, his love, his peace, his JOY. and i take. and i take. and i take.
but somehow: after all that - after my bag is completely full - overflowing, in fact - i find the need to sneak in the back and start digging in the trash. cause for some reason, i don't let God be enough most days. and by trash i mean that i always have to see what else this world can offer me. in the old days, the days before i really understood having a relationship with God, it would have been whatever i wanted or needed at that very moment. but now, now my biggest struggle is approval from others. i like to put it before the Lord. and i feel like when i do, it's a direct slap in His face telling him his overflowing tables are just not enough.
it's a constant battle being satisfied in the Lord only. sometimes it's so much easier to just dig in that trash to see if there's anything else i can get. but HE alone is enough. and the days that i remember that everything He offers is everything i've ever needed are the days that i really get what this life is all about. and those are the days the Lord gets the most glory.
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Thank you so much for your honesty Katy. I too take and take and take; I pray we can all break free from our compelling desires to consume and rest in Him alone.