Our culture thrives on self-sufficiency.
When I was a little girl I went to the bakery one Saturday morning with my dad. I loved running errands with my dad and going to the bakery was always extra special with all the wonderful aromas and the promise of a sweet treat. That day, the white-haired lady at the counter offered me a cookie and mentioned how lucky I was to be with my grandpa. I straightened up in indignation and told her that he was NOT my grandpa… he was my DAD. And I declined her cookie offer…. which was a big thing since my favorite desserts are cookies.
Having older parents was more of a blessing than not. And most people didn’t suggest that my parents were my grandparents. But, my parents were very aware of their age and continuously made reference to how I needed to be self-sufficient in case something “happened” to them. As an only I was taught to be independent. To not rely on others for anything.
While being independent and self-sufficient may seem like admirable traits, they aren’t necessarily good for marital relationships, and especially aren’t when it comes to our relationship with God.
I’ve struggled in fully relying on God.
My parents’ training and God’s training collided. Let’s just say it’s been a bit messy.
It wasn’t an issue in my mind when life was going well. As long as I could keep my “house of cards intact” while still growing spiritually… all was well… or so I thought.
I loved God, but honestly, I maintained my self-sufficiency. I deceived myself into thinking all was well.
That’s the problem with deception… things are not as they appear.
There is no doubt that I would have told you that everything we have and are is a gift from God. I would surely have said that we live and move and breathe at the hand of God.
But, I really didn’t live that way.
I don’t believe that God caused us to lose our jobs and come to the end of our ropes to teach us a lesson. (We live in a fallen world… bad stuff happens.) Instead, he walks the journey with us and uses our experiences to open our eyes to him and gently nudge and teach and guide us.
Over time, I started learning to rely on God rather than myself. I just wish I had learned this lesson six or seven years ago… before my world came crashing down. Then maybe I wouldn’t have constructed a “house of cards” and wouldn’t have carried all the heavy burdens by myself.
Over the past month, it’s becoming abundantly clear to me that God wants us to trust him. For everything.
I know that isn’t anything new.
If you’ve known me, or hung out here, for any length of time, you’ve ‘heard’ me talk about trusting God. For several years I led kids to say, “I can trust God no matter what,” every single Sunday.
Trusting God is something I do. But, only recently has it started to become a part of my nature.
It’s beginning to become my default.
I’ve been learning that God wants us to trust him completely. He doesn’t want my immediate response to be, “What am I going to do?” He wants my immediate and automatic response to be, “Lord, show me how You’re going to work this out for Your glory and my good.” I think He would even be pleased with a simple, “Lord, help me!”
God wants me to let Him be God.
My leaning on Him gives Him great joy.
God doesn’t want my help… doesn’t need my help… and certainly doesn’t need my interference.
When I take over on any level, when I throw my hands up in despair as if I have no Hope, when I worry and fret, I am putting myself on the throne. I’m playing God.
I’m learning that when we attempt, at any level, to become independent or self-sufficient, we in essence glorify ourselves. There’s no room for God when that is our posture.
We say God is in control, but really, we grab the steering wheel and take over. Seriously, who do we think we are? Oh yeah… God.
The big faith lesson for me hasn’t been so much that I need to trust God.
The big faith lesson for me has been that I need to trust HIM with my whole heart, soul, and mind.
Remember the great commandment?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind and with all your strength.
That is a core commandment.
It’s about getting this relationship we have with God right.
You know how you exercise your core so that it makes your whole body strong? It doesn’t help to have strong arms, or legs if your core isn’t strong. Having a strong core makes everything else work better.
That’s how it is with God. He must absolutely be our core. And this commandment is core to our faith.
If we LOVE God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength… then we will trust Him.
When we trust HIM we won’t be so inclined to make our own way.
We won’t want to be self-sufficient or independent of Him.
Instead we will want to lean on Him, wait on him, to sit at his feet, walk the path he leads us on, and trust him to walk us through the challenges of life.
Desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and
God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
If you want a life’s purpose… the best purpose you could have would be to set self aside and run after God and His ways. To live like this is to turn life as we know it upside down. Somehow we’ve gotten “the world’s” message that this life is all about “me, myself, and I.” Quite the opposite. It’s about God.
I think we sometimes forget who God is….
“Heaven’s my throne, earth is my footstool.
What sort of house could you build for me?
What holiday spot reserve for me?
I made all this! I own all this!”
God created this beautiful orb upon which we reside… and at the end of six days He was finished and called it good. Yet, the earth is just His “footstool.” He made it and everything else… what could we possibly do for this Holy Creator Who was and is and is to come?
Allow God to serve you.
I know that is totally the opposite of everything we are typically taught about God. Usually we hear that we need to serve God. Not exactly. He wants us to serve… others. Not him.
It’s the same way with the Son of Man. He didn’t come so that others could serve him.
He came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many people.”
When we serve others with the love of God… HE gets the glory.
What God desires is our obedience rather than our service (sacrifice).
He also desires that we respond to Him. Believe that He always has our best in mind. And trust Him to serve us.
I’m not talking about where we say, “God, do this… take care of this… make this for me.” Something that we probably already do to some degree when we pray. What I’m talking about is having a heart so in love with Him that we daily walk in anticipation of seeing how God will be at work in our day…. creating opportunities, being our provider, speaking love and grace and mercy into our lives, giving guidance, and more.
God wants you to quit trying so hard. He want you to quit being preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to His giving. (Matthew 6:33)
Of course that just might be easier said than done.
I was ironing one of Tim’s dress shirts today and decided to pray over it. I asked God if every time Tim would wear that shirt He would make it possible for Tim to sell two vehicles. In my spirit, I heard… ask anything you will in my name… and then… but, you need to trust me.
And that’s where things get tough.
Asking and letting go is a challenge for me.
That’s the point where I need to fully rely on God… get out of the driver’s seat.
Being self-sufficient or independent is not the place for me to be.
asking telling God how many vehicles Tim needs to sell I need a completely different posture. I need to do something totally not my style… I need to take a seat in the viewing stands and watch what God does.
I need to live in full anticipation that he is going to work on our behalf. I need to expect that he will bring in the clients who need what Tim has to offer. Even if it currently looks like we’ll never get out of this hole.
Instead of living in fear, and impossibility, I need to trust God and his grace and live in gratitude and contentment.
Even more… I need to be ALL about loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Because when I do that… I’ll get to see him do amazing things in my life…
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory…
My latest faith lesson?
Even though it sounds crazy… God delights in serving me… and working on my behalf. It’s His great pleasure. He wants me to quit being preoccupied with getting… trying so hard to make things happen (including telling Him what to do), so I can respond to HIS giving.
There is one thing I can do… love God with all I am and trust Him while I watch to see how He works on my behalf for His pleasure.
Ultimately… I’m getting off the throne and letting God be God.
What’s your latest faith lesson?
I’m so glad you’re here to join me for JoyDay! There isn’t anything better than each of us sharing the good things God has done in our lives this week. Both in the happy and the challenges.
Will you join with me in counting ‘seven’ from the past week?
Thank you God for…
- your amazing faithfulness. You are so worthy of my trust.
- a day of playing in the yard. There’s nothing like time spent planting and weeding.
- a great day with my friend, even if the rain changed our plans.
- a fabulous thrift store find. Totally unexpected… but exactly what I wanted.
- my laptop… even though I can hardly type a sentence without having to re-order letters.
- wanting me to put my laptop problems in YOUR lap so I don’t have to worry about it.
- coconut oil and the relief it provides for my bazillion mosquito bites. And such a good thing, because I cannot remember EVER getting bit so much in 10 summers put together.
Now it’s your turn!
Please join me by tapping in your ‘seven’ in the ‘share your extraordinary thoughts’ section below. I dare you!
Thank you for stopping by and taking time to leave your sweet thoughts.
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