In this season of life, the Lord is teaching me humility.
A week ago today, I left for an entire summer in my favorite country in the world, Spain. To be specific, a tiny, northwestern town along the coast called Gijón. It’s pretty stinkin cute.
I came into this experience very confidently. Confident in my knowledge of Spain after spending two weeks visiting eight cities here my senior year of high school. Confident in my Spanish abilities after growing up in a home where both languages were spoken regularly. Confident in my ability to navigate Europe.
Confidence is a beautiful thing. In some areas of my life, it is something I am actively working to improve.
Confidence is tricky though. It can quickly turn to pride. When confidence is not rooted in something lasting, it can be taken away in an instant.
Often times, I have what I call unrooted confidence. Confidence that is referred to in the bible in Proverbs 3:5-6 as “leaning on my own understanding.”
Here’s the thing, my own understanding tends to fail me.
When my confidence is not rooted the steadfast grace of the Lord, I wilt rather than bloom.
This week, it took a whole lot of wilting to realize that my pride, my confidence rooted in my own understanding, was stunting my growth and truly prohibiting me from blooming.
You see, studying abroad comes with a pretty steep learning curve.
This week alone I have:
Sprinted through the Madrid airport like a total crazy person, so I didn’t miss my connecting flight to Oviedo.
Sat at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere for over an hour unable to figure out the public transportation system.
Completely misunderstood what my host parents have said due to their super cute, northern Spain accents and responded COMPLETELY incorrectly many times (which usually results in some laughter).
Answered questions totally wrong in class.
Gotten sideways glances from all sorts of locals in the small city for being the American student. I really thought I would blend in more. I definitely thought wrong.
STRUGGLED to fill out government papers in the city hall to get my bus pass.
Taken the totally wrong line of the bus and ended up on the opposite side of town from where I needed to be.
Had to call my host dad in the middle of his work day to ask for step-by-step instructions on how to use the keys to open their very European front door. I had to ask for help with keys of all things. I mean, come on.
Oh, and that list could continue on and on for a whole lot more lines, but I’ll spare you from reading that.
Bottom line, that unrooted confidence I came in with was wiped away the minute my plane touched down in Madrid.
Each of these little failures took a hit to my confidence, and to put it lightly, made me feel like a colossal idiot. But, about three days in, the Lord laid this verse on my heart:
But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
He gives us more grace.
What a powerful reminder.
Confidence rooted in the Lord is lasting. The humility to recognize my immense need for the abundant and unconditional grace of the Lord changes everything.
In recognizing the grace we are given, we bloom. And this week, my cup has run over with grace.
Grace in having the sweetest host family in the world, willing to rephrase something or say it just a little more slowly so I can understand.
Grace in having a professor that was completely understanding of me showing up a full hour late to our first program outing, because I could not figure out the bus system.
Grace in the kind man in the Gijón city hall who helped load money onto my bus pass and told me he was very impressed with my Spanish. (a HUGE compliment!!)
Grace in the bus driver of line 25 who took the time to explain the bus schedule to me, and proceeded to have me sit in the front of the bus so he could tell me about each and every bus stop as we drove around the city for an hour. The epitome of undeserved grace and total kindness.
Grace found me again and again and again.
The Lord reminded me of my need for Him through these people. What a beautiful way to be totally humbled.
We need to be humble enough to accept the grace that allows us to bloom. To root ourselves in what is lasting. To lean not on our own understanding.
Go forth in humility and grace will find you, guaranteed.
Here’s to a week of immense growth and the blooming that is yet to come in this beautiful country.