We didn’t say a word as we walked out of the house we had eaten dinner in and got into our car and shut the door behind us.
My husband looked at me and said, “Don’t say it.”
We both knew he was talking about the beautiful farmhouse we had just left.
I tried to hold it in. I really did. I sighed and we both knew we were going to talk about it. “Did you see the tile on the bathroom floors?” I asked. “The huge island and cabinets–oh, that kitchen. Did you see that massive fridge?”
“It was beautiful. I wish we had floors like that. That house felt like us,” he said wistfully.
Yeah, that was it. It was like my dream house. For some stupid reason, my eyes filled with tears and I hated the thoughts that filled my head. I said them out loud because Terrell is the one person who knows me best and loves me most, even when I’m a terrible sinner. “If we hadn’t started Mercy House, we could have had a house like that.”
He smiled sadly because on the way to that very same dinner, after a very fulfilling day at work, I had said, “I love going to work every day. I love Mercy House, our life.”
Just like that–in a couple of hours while washing my hands over a farmhouse sink–I had forgotten.
I’m not sure if my husband noticed the silent tears that slipped down my cheek on the drive home. I wiped them away as quickly as they fell. I pushed away doubt and regret and the selfishness that threatened to choke my joy and purpose.
And while I’m certainly not proud of my words and feelings, I have to wonder if this is what happens when we make things about us.
David Platt says, “In a world where everything revolves around yourself- protect yourself, promote yourself, comfort yourself, and take care of yourself-Jesus says, “Crucify yourself.”
I don’t regret starting Mercy House, giving my kids a worldview, shaking up our normal with a view of the world’s. But some days when I get too focused on myself, I grieve what I might be missing. And I don’t like myself for it.
Because in my gut, I truly believe Francis Chan’s words, “Downsizing so that others might upgrade is biblical and beautiful and nearly unheard of,” This is the kind of life I want to live. Some days I just need to remind myself.
The rest of the night I felt unsatisfied –not with what I don’t have– but for not being thankful for what I do have.
The following day, a big shipment of fair trade product from Kenya arrived on my front step and I eagerly opened it. I pulled out bags of jewelry from our new fall collection and bracelets to restock our Code Collection. A slip of paper fell out of the bag I was holding and I bent down to pick it up. I knew the paper would be the code for the bracelets I was holding. It said, “It is not about us.”
I felt a gut punch because I was immediately back in the sweltering room in Nairobi with some of the most precious women in the world teaching them how to make these bracelets and explaining some of the messages that were new phrases to them.
When I got to this bracelet, I tried to describe our life here and how easy it is to get sucked into our culture of wanting more. I held up the tiny gold beaded bracelet and slowly decoded each word as they wrote down the letters, “I-t –i -s — n-o-t — a-b-o-u-t–u-s”
Standing in my foyer at home, with those bracelets in my hand, I got the message loud and clear.
Today, you can get an amazing deal and join me in wearing a “It is not about us” reminder on your wrists for just $7. Half price! Here are the available options in our Code Collection: But First, Coffee|Hope Is An Ocean|Hip Hip Hooray|You Are My Favorite|In Christ Alone|Love Mercy|It Is Not About Us|Be Awesome|World Changer |I Love You. I Know (Set of two)
It’s not a secret: It’s not about us.