Others may brag about themselves, but I have more reason to brag than anyone else…… Philippians 3:4 CEV

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. Philippians 3:8 ESV

I’ve been angsting for almost two years about whether to continue or to give up a YouTube channel that I created to help people acquire English. I started it with the idea of eventually replacing my classroom teacher’s income.  But the Lord worked out a different way to provide enough money when he rapidly moved Mike into a new job that required us to move here to Huntsville, Alabama.  I left my classroom before the school year ended and no longer needed to work.

Thus vanished my initial ‘why’ for the channel. Nevertheless, I continued creating weekly videos to help English language learners, referring to it as my ‘volunteer work’.  But the truth was I NEEDED to feel special about myself, to have an identity that was ‘interesting.’  Having lost the cachet or distinction of teaching French, I found myself clinging to this enterprise of being a content provider. But soon it began to feel like an obligation, not an ‘Oh, yay!  I GET to create another video!’

Over the past few months, I have worked to find out just what is behind this desperate desire to continue if it no longer gives me joy.  Of course, the One whose desire is to make me (and all believers) more holy has been gently but steadily pushing me to see the ugliness underneath this disordered need.

Recently, my personal trainer, the Holy Spirit, showed me that I have been chiseling a monument to Maria by continuing with English without Fear. Ouch! Embarrassing, but true.  

Further reflection along with a glimpse of my ‘ego-based yuck’ prompted this realization.

  • ‘It’s this need to feel special, Maria, that’s causing you to cling tightly to this English learning channel.’

With that insight, I then asked myself, ‘What does special mean? What’s that all about?’

The answer popped quickly into my mind. Feeling special is that craving to be admired as unique and different, all the while doing one’s inner ‘superior dance’.

Oh, my! It wasn’t long before I recalled Paul’s recitation of all the reasons that made him ‘special’.  Writing the Philippians, he rattled off his singular, stellar pedigree.

Oh, I so identify with him. I know he must have taken pride in his credentials and experiences.  For that is me!

But look at how he concluded what appears to be boasting.  In listing each credential, I think Paul is simply presenting the facts. God did privilege him.  But now, Paul has seen something far more satisfying, knowing Christ.  

Having my eyes now open to what has driven me all my life, I thank God for showing me the underlying motivation for much of my life.  I don’t yet desire Jesus’ glory like I long to, but I now know how to pray.

 “Father, give me Paul’s eyes and heart to feel as he does.  All my ‘specialness’ is but rubbish compared to intimacy with you.” 

In line with the wave of dismantling Confederate statues in the US, I am taking the first step toward a right view of God and myself by tearing down this ‘monument to Maria’.

And the YouTube channel?  I sense it’s time to close out that chapter.  It feeds my ego and feels burdensome.  From this point forward, if there is anyone interested in knowing how to acquire a language, I’m going face to face. That can be in person or through Zoom.  But no more just putting out new content week by week on the web.