[Abu Simbel, from Flickr]

All wonder and worship can only grow out of smallness.

The joy of small . . . makes life large.

– from Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts

I’m a high highs and low lows soul. Lukewarm is fully frustrating: the evening-out of medications that provide stability (but not joy), or the leveling of opposing opinion to provide a palliative (but not peace). There’s something untrue and untrustworthy about the middle ground, the moderate.

My trip to Egypt in 2008 brought literal mountain-top experiences, as I wondered at the view from the top of Mount Sinai, writing in my journal that it was my life’s most amazing experience to date. But it also brought the deepest depths. I was struggling with what seemed like dozens of factors pitted against me: I had accidentally packed my anti-depressant medication in my checked baggage and had to miss two doses; an old friend and roommate with whom I had a strained relationship was on the trip; and I was (unbeknownst to me) a month from becoming engaged, and I, a normally fairly independent person, was finding it surprisingly difficult to be away from Eric.  More often than not I was sad, anxious, moody, restless, and lonely as I encountered the various Egyptian sites.

I remember feeling particularly troubled at the site of Abu Simbel, where Pharaoh Ramses II erected several colossal (66-foot) statues of himself and his favorite wife Nefertari. His purpose? To glorify himself as God. This was a common goal and undertaking in ancient Egypt. Countless enormous statues and monuments pay tribute to men and women; our culture is just the same, is it not? Ironically, on the same trip I also saw Ramses II’s mummy.  Built up high, brought down low.

When we try to make ourselves large, we are shown, eventually, to be very small.

And yet, when we think the solution is to make ourselves small, we make ourselves bigger.

I am also a frequently self-deprecating person.  Over the last several years, I have learned (the hard way) how egotistical it actually is to try to convince myself of how small I am. Either I depress myself with my smallness, which is still thinking always about myself, or I end up feeling pretty good about making myself feel small (and isn’t that very big of me?).

Acknowledge my smallness comes not from thinking about myself but about His bigness.  This was the reason Sinai was so much more impressive than Abu Simbel. A camel brought me up and up, climbing tall in the darkness lit by stars to the view, the mountaintop, the high up airy cold, the sunrise, and then the oddness of camel knees folding beneath me, setting me down upon that huge rock. Surrounded by big, I felt wondrously small, but lifted in worship to His high place.

Outward, not inward, finds soul’s size properly shrunk; I go humbled and lifted up, where I cannot possibly place myself, where I should not be, where He places me.

The joy of small makes life large.  Make much of Him this week as you enjoy the small gifts He has so graciously added to Christ.

Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Krista

    Great post…very insightful. I also tend to be very continuously self-depricating, and to think that is even egotistical is pretty crazy…but true!! I’m so glad you brought that to my attention. Love you, Brynna! :)

    • Brynna Lynea King

      Thanks Krista! It’s a hard lesson I’m still learning constantly…

    • brynna

      Thanks, Krista! It’s a hard lesson I’m still learning constantly…

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