I’m not entirely sure how this happened, but here we are, in Stony Brook, NY. These last two weeks have been some of the hardest weeks of my life– we said good-bye to friends and family (and our house), loaded all our possessions into a 26′ moving truck, and traveled north to the land of parkways and toll roads.
There is a lot to share and much to reflect upon, so I figured I might as well resurrect the ‘ole blog as a means of keeping in touch with my people. There are many things I am feeling right now, but thread that runs through it all is Phil 3.
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection.
That bit of scripture has always been particularly meaningful to me. Years ago when I was in college, I read Philippians 3 and it utterly changed me. I changed career paths from engineering to teaching. I let go of a lot of my preconceived notions about how my life was going to go and what I wanted to accomplish. I started the process of finding my identity in Christ instead of in the world. In short, I’ve tried to count all the things I wanted as loss and instead cling to Christ, wanting to be found in him. Over the years, Michael and I slowly carved out a pretty fantastic life for ourselves. Living in the same place for so long allows you to get comfy. We bought an old farmhouse and spent 10 years transforming it into exactly what we envisioned. We settled into deep friendships with people that truly reflect the Gospel, and we’ve been changed by what we’ve seen. We have been incredibly blessed and know that all the good things in our lives have been given to us by the Giver.
Ever since my college days of discovering Philippians 3 and trying to figure out what it means to “count all things as loss,” I’ve constantly reminded myself that Christ is what matters. Jobs, houses, cars, 401k’s, vacations, etc. are not what I strive to obtain. Instead, it is people– souls– that we want to invest in. Dying to yourself so others can flourish is what we are called to do.
So here I am, almost 15 years after first reading Philippians 3. And I’m learning anew what it means to count all things as loss. This time it isn’t an engineering degree that will make people think I’m smart, or a job that pays a lot of money so I will finally feel like I’m okay. No, this time I’m counting some really beautiful things as loss– things that God himself has given me. And it’s harder than I ever imagined it would be.
But lest we despair, it helps to read the rest of Philippians 3. We don’t just count all things as loss, but also remember that we have gained Christ and are found in him! The extent to which I am able to remember the surpassing worth of Christ and to focus on what I have gained in him, is the extent to which I can give thanks for the last few weeks. Please pray for me (and for my family) that we would look to Christ, remember his surpassing worth, and live out of that reality.