Not Exactly What I Expected

We have not moved where I thought we would move. By that I mean that the description of Fresno that I got before we moved we not entirely accurate. Of course, all of these came from people who a)were not from Fresno or b)had not seen it recently. We had descriptions of Fresno as "the armpit of California". Someone told me that it was "the antithesis of West Virginia" (good word - antithesis). It was also described to us as a slow-moving, agricultural town - "kind of like Amarillo, TX, or Lubbock".

Well, I'm here to tell you that it is not any of these - there is a good amount of high-class living going on here. Especially in our neighborhood. We somehow ended up renting a house in a quite affluent part of town. We're literally surrounded with nice cars, nice houses, and tons of nice restaurants. There are Starbucks literally everywhere, and expensive marketplaces and bistros everywhere you like. (I still don't really know exactly what a bistro is, but I can get to one in about 3 minutes from my house). There are places where kids can go and take cooking classes. The local pets can have their choice of either pet resorts or (I kid you not) doggie exercise gyms.

Despite the slow national economy, and even worse California economy, there is a good amount of money swirling around this place. For example, when we showed up for Jericho's first baseball practice, every other child on the team had a)his own bat, 2)his own personal batting helmet, and 3)the catcher had his own personal catcher's gear. Most people in our area don't cut their own yard, and they certainly don't clean their own house.

Now, I do not consider myself a person who longs for a lot of money. Sure, I like to live comfortably, and I love to eat out and I love staying home from work right now. But in general I am fine in a modest home without a lot of fancy stuff. However, I do find myself in this new environment wanting to seem like I fit in. When I walk the 2-mile loop around the neighborhood I am anxious to not look frumpy in my sweatpants and big t-shirt. At our local gym, I want to look like I know what I'm doing. When I pick up Jacob from school, I want to look like the other moms.

However, I am trying my best to combat this attitude with my new favorite verse. What I am really appreciating lately is Jeremiah 2:13:
My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that can not hold water.

I love this verse because it speaks of God as the only thing that will really sustain us. It also speaks to how we often reject this provision and dig our own cisterns and fill them with water that will not sustain us.

In my mind, caring about how the other women at the gym see me is digging my own cistern. When I worry about our house selling in time for us to take advantage of these low house prices here, I am digging my own cistern. When I worry that Jericho won't fit in at baseball practice with his old, bulky batting helmet, I am digging my own cistern. Even worse, I may be projecting the feeling onto him that he needs to dig one, too.

I pray that I will remember that whatever cistern I think I need to build will never hold water, and that the only source of true water is from God. I especially pray that I will teach my children the very same thing.

Rob  – (26 February 2009 at 14:36)  

Great post! Thanks for sharing this.

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