I am going to take a break blogging about each book of the Bible and speak about life for a minute. If you ever wonder if God is speaking to you, pay attention to themes in your life. God is not always audible, but He speaks loud and clear. One clear theme in my life currently is perspective. We all pray for circumstance: God please heal this disease, God please fix our money situation, God please help this person have safe travels, etc. Not that those things aren’t important (I once listened to a Joyce Meyer sermon where she couldn’t find her keys and she thought that was so minuscule of a problem to bring to God and He answered her, “honey, it’s all small to me”). God wants an intimate relationship with us where we come to Him for all the small things, big and little. Where I think we get in trouble is when we’re so focused on circumstance, we lose sight of perspective.
We recently refinanced our house and, in doing so, we had two months where we had no mortgage payment. We saw this as an opportunity to build a little cushion in our savings. So, each paycheck for those two months, we’d put aside the amount that would have gone to the mortgage. The first time we did this, my car needed to go in for repairs and it cost exactly what we had put aside. Annoying but not too bad because we still had a couple more paychecks before we’d have to start paying a mortgage again. Fast forward and we’ve put away a couple thousand dollars. Dave Ramsey would be so proud! We paid off debt, had our thousand dollar emergency fund, and were on our way to building our 3-6 months savings. Welcome tax season. We have always gotten something back…but not this year. We ended up owing almost the exact amount we’d been able to put away. My initial reaction was anger, frustration, a little bit of hopelessness that we’ll never get ahead. Perspective: what if we hadn’t refinanced and been able to put that money aside and tax season still came around (as it does every year!) and we owed that amount of money with no way of paying it. We had a plan for that money, and a good one at that, but God knew what was coming and He provided…not by some miraculous means or outside source, but by blessing us with jobs that produce incomes that provide for our needs…and the timing of the refinance (we had tried to refinance months sooner and didn’t qualify…that money would have been spent on Christmas or flooring).
Years ago, our worship team was going to Bethel School of Worship. The cost was a couple thousand dollars, plus airfare and a place to stay and food to eat and time off work, etc. We all created Go Fund Me pages and “advertised” to the church and on social media, etc. I saw other members of our worship team earning money towards their trip. One person not only earned what they needed for the trip and all the extras associated, but he also earned enough to cover his lost wages from taking the time off work. I don’t think he had a single out of pocket expense. I had one single donation, and that bounced. I remember feeling bitter. I wasn’t expecting to raise it all, but something! A year or so sooner we were in one of the worst financial situations of our married life and would have never been able to afford even the thought of this trip…but we were blessed with the ability of affording the school, the airfare, all the extra expenses – ourselves. On top of that, I had just started a new job that adjusted my start date to work around my trip. I didn’t see these things as blessings back then. But, over time, God is shifting my perspective.
God’s blessings don’t always come through the way we’d expect. I see others being blessed by monetary or material gifts (or in some cases they feel more like handouts for people who walk around with their hands wide open). Don’t get me wrong, most of those people are more than worthy of the blessings they receive (others not so “deserving”). But I’ve always looked at the ways God was blessing other people as a sign of all the ways He wasn’t blessing me…because it didn’t look the same. I am learning to be more than grateful for God’s provision in my life. That my husband and I have great jobs and earn incomes that not only allow us to pay our bills every month (some people cannot say that), but that provide above and beyond our basic needs and give us the ability to bless others through giving. Now, when I’m faced with difficult situations, it’s not that I don’t pray for my situation to get better or that I don’t want to overcome what it is I’m going through, but God is shifting my focus on what I can learn, how God wants to grow me through each situation, and how persevering through my circumstances can produce fruit that will be a blessing for others (and let’s not kid ourselves, I still pray for God to fix everything and make life perfect).