I left home in 2012 for college in upstate New York, not expecting to ever return to the small town in Wisconsin I grew up in. But once COVID hit, all I could think about was being at home with my family. Being alone through all of this would be too difficult on me emotionally and psychologically, so I road-tripped from California to Wisconsin to my parents’ house. After eight years, the four of us, my dad, my mom, my little brother, and I, were now all living under the same roof again.
After the initial excitement of being together wore off, the differences in our lifestyles started to cause tension. I’m used to washing all my dishes within a 24-hour period, but the guys in my family had no problem leaving dishes in the sink for days on end. Once the dishes were in the sink, they forgot about them. To me, it was important that they do their part in helping my mom and keep the kitchen clean, so it wasn’t all on her to do the cleaning. I brought this up to their attention, but each of us could only see things from our own perspective, and we weren’t willing to see things from the other side. This resulted in some fights and tears.
But the biggest problem was that I was trying to be a fair and proper daughter apart from the Lord. I was enforcing my “laws” upon the members of my family, and this was causing us to be estranged from one another. It was at this point that some verses in Philippians came back to me.
Phil 4:11-13 says, Not that I speak according to lack, for I have learned, in whatever circumstances I am, to be content. I know also how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to hunger, both to abound and to lack. I am able to do all things in Him who empowers me.
These verses reveal the key to finding satisfaction in any situation. Christ is not only our power, but He is also our secret to know how to be abased and know how to abound. To abound is to be rich, and to be abased is to be poor. You might view going back home as an abasement, the lowest of the low. For me, I viewed having to clean more than the other members of my family as an abasement. But Paul knew how to handle any situation: The secret is to be “in Him.” In Christ we are able to do all things.
So how exactly do we do things in Christ? I realized that it was by having many sweet conversations with the Lord. I prayed something like this:
Lord, I don’t know how to be with my parents anymore. I don’t know how to live at home again as a college student. But I’d like to invite you into my situation. Lord, lead and guide me. Thank You I am able to do all things in You. Lord, I’d like to learn how to be the proper daughter/son in You.
I hope all of us, like Paul, can learn the secret of doing all things in Christ. May our winter breaks be filled with conversations with the Lord!
By Yining D.