Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Moving Back in with Mom and Dad

In 2016 I left my job and moved back in with my parents.

Sometimes people ask me how it is, living at home.

My honest answer is that it is wonderful and difficult and exactly where I need to be.

Right now I want to talk about why it is difficult, and what I am learning about myself, about grace, and about God through it all.

I did not dream of turning 31 while living with my parents, not paying rent.  I feel this stab inside when I write that.  That stab is my pride being put to death, I think.  That stab is my heart learning to be humble, and learning to trust my Heavenly Father.

I cannot begin to say how grateful I am to have  parents who welcome me back with open arms, who ask for nothing, who appreciate it when I cook dinner but do not need me to.  I might be able to serve in small ways but I am not in a position to contribute anything they need.  I might not be useless but I cannot really say I'm all that useful either.  That is incredibly humbling and incredibly frustrating.

The difficulty of moving back home has nothing to do with my parents.  It has nothing to do with there being 8 people living here.  It has nothing to do with who snores or who never washes dishes or who plays awful music.

The difficulty is about me.

What is difficult is that I took a lot of pride in having a career and living on my own.  What is difficult is that I placed some of my own WORTH in whether or not I was pulling my own weight and contributing my equal share.  I value my independence.  And all at once, those things were no longer there.  In their absence, I saw what was pride, what was sin.

Even  though God led me there, he did not force my hand.  I chose this.  And in doing so, I became aware of all the things I tend to find my identity in: my job, my career, my accomplishments, recognition by others, my independence.  All of these are gifts, but they are not who I am.  God began to point out all the pride that I used to protect myself and weigh myself as worthy.  He shaved all that away until I was exposed.  I felt helpless.  I imagine a dog wearing a cone maybe feels the same way.
My sister's dog in the cone of shame

And although I pray I will not be depending on my parents for very long, I admit, painfully, that I am dependent.  I am receiving their love and generosity without being able to contribute to it with any equality.

And I am reminded of the Gospel.  I was DEAD in my sins and Jesus saved me.  I was and am completely unable to save myself.

I am receiving the grace and love of God without being able to contribute to it.

I can serve God, but he does not need me to.  Just like with my parents, I serve God because I love him and because he first loved me even though I cannot earn anything by it.

With my parents, this time of dependence is temporary, and through it, God is tearing down pride and teaching me to find my identity in Jesus alone.  But with God, my Father, my dependence should be ALWAYS.  He says to become like a little child.  And he reminds me constantly that I do not have to do anything to earn his love or favor.  Jesus already paid for my sins with his very blood because he loves me.  Now I get to live my life taking part in his great plan for redemption.  He doesn't need me, but he invites me into it because he wants me.

I believe God intended for me to move home for multiple reasons, but I did not expect that the most important reason would be for me to live out a concrete picture of what it means to be a child of God.  For years I could have recited the gospel to you, but this year I am beginning to understand it on a whole new level.

Jesus has taken the weight off my shoulders, all the expectations that I have put on myself or have accepted from others, and reminds me that he called out from the cross, "It is finished."  He lived the perfect life I could never live and died in my place so that I could walk with the freedom of a child of God.  And he invites me to place my identity in that.