why i divorced my car.

So, I sold my car. September 25, 2009, to be exact. A day that lives in infamy…just kidding. :)

I guess this all started over a year ago when I went overseas to work with an NGO in Eastern Europe. I saw the world through “other eyes” for the first time in my life and it changed me. It had to. You can’t be human and ignore something like that. Upon my return, I began to have this crazy, burning desire to live more simply. My first move of simple satisfaction, was making a home in a 250 square feet flat in Central Austin. I was so sick of owning stuff. I called Salvation Army and had them come pick up everything except for about half my clothes and shoes, half my books, a few keepsakes and my TV. I got rid of everything. Furniture. Bathroom accessories. More furniture. A brand new coffee pot. All my kitchenwares. Gone. I even lived without a bed for a year.

It felt amazing to purge and get rid of all these possessions that I didn’t need, and set up shop in a smaller, simpler place. I felt healthy after this transition. I was rid of years of useless junk. I discovered at the heart of this, God was calling me to live even more simply. Did you know that just by owning a car, you are more wealthy than about 95% of the world? Sick! I just felt gross that this was the truth. And then He said, ‘what about your car?’ Yikes! But, ok!

The thing is…I actually really love public transportation. It’s so Euro—and has always had an exciting appeal to me. I remember at one point, making a list of pros and cons and only coming up with one con. The day I actually sold my car, was one of the most liberating days of my life. I thought I would cry or be upset, but as I walked those three, hot, long miles home getting dust in my shoes and sweat in my eyes, I felt that fat check in my pocket, that I knew would bring blessings to others, and I was overcome with intense joy.

It’s funny the different reactions I’ve gotten from people. Some feel sorry for me, as if I had something terrible happen and had to give up my car. Others treat it like I have a disability. As weird as that sounds, they just can not seem to, in their minds, allow me to ride the bus. But I like for people to sit in this tension. I think it’s both challenging and moving. And then there are some who have also done the same thing, or that applaud the effort to live simply, be green, give something up because God asked me to.

Knowing myself for the past, almost 29 years, I can not believe that I don’t have a single complaint to give you about becoming car-less, but I don’t. I knew when I took this step that God would be faithful in providing me what I’d be lacking. It’s made me more disciplined, forced me to start thinking ahead, and humbled me greatly by having to ask for help every once and awhile. I need to do this more. It’s weird to tell you that I crave those walks I’m forced to take now. I see things and buildings and nature, ways I have never seen them before. “Beautiful” is not a strong enough word.

So many “good” things and emotions have come from this, but there are still struggles I am on the field with, battling. Here’s my dark confession part. Since being on the bus, God has revealed a lot of prejudice I have been harboring in my own heart. Man is it ugly, and raw. The bus has a certain unshowered stench to it. There are people who, omg—ask you for money and OMG, have to sit by you that might seem scary. God has shown me more compassion and love through these people than I ever could have imagined. He has taught me every life is valuable and purposeful, no exceptions. The size of God has expanded, as if that’s even possible. As He continues to break through this hardness, it hurts. It’s embarrassing. It breaks me down. But this creates space for true restoration to happen. He is more, I am less. It’s worth it.

Last night I had to walk about six blocks home from the bus stop. Not a long way, but it was pouring down freezing cold rain. My legs and feet were freezing, my socks were squishy, and my shoes were completely soaked. I surprised myself when I found myself, in the dark, cold and wet, praising God. I felt so alive and satisfied. That—is how it is when you make choices with Jesus.

This whole experience has evolved me as a person. I’m just in awe. It has affected me physically, spiritually, socially, intellectually and emotionally. Who knows if I’ll buy another car ever again. Maybe if I move somewhere I need it, but learning to live without it has become a one way, constantly moving forward street.

So if you see me standing at a bus stop or walking down a random street letting the rain fall on my head and the wind blow in my face, sure. You can offer me a ride, I might take it. But if I refuse, it’s because deep, rich sanctification is happening. And…get ready. I’m praying for you to join me.

Thanks for reading.

13 thoughts on “why i divorced my car.

  1. Mandy says:

    I didn’t know you had done this. Thanks for sharing! Inspiring. I also like the way other countries live in ways such as this. So many things we do here seclude us from meeting people and living life with others.

  2. plastic cupcake says:

    thanks all!! another thing i forgot to mention—my commute into town is so long, it forces me to have down time. i get so much reading and npr listening done. :) it is awesome. and just a great transition from work to home so that when i’m home, i’m “home”. it is awseome. :) thanks for the support! and for giving me courage.

  3. Jacob Vanhorn says:

    “I surprised myself when I found myself, in the dark, cold and wet, praising God. I felt so alive and satisfied. That—is how it is when you make choices with Jesus.”

    I. Love. Those. Sentences.

    We offer a ride because it helps us feel less guilty ;-) You can have my car when I get a motorcycle. Maybe. Love ya girl!

  4. Mary says:

    For the record, i didn’t think it was weird. I thought it was pretty cool and very brave. I think its hard to step outside my box but you always step outside yours with true grace and conviction:)

  5. katy says:

    Love it Em!! I’m due for an apartment purge too… You have inspired me that it is possible in the great state of Texas too! We can be bike buddies when I come back!

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