Yesterday was tough. Life is always tough when we stare our shortcomings, our weaknesses, our neediness in the face isn’t it?
Yesterday morning while in a new - yet familiar - deep pit of financial despair I pulled out a devotional. Admittedly, I haven’t been reading my Bible consistently for months at this point. But at the turning of the new year I was like Brianna get a freaking grip and start even though it still feels overwhelming and daunting and easier to make excuses. Yesterday morning though I could feel myself teetering the line between self-serving panic and Spirit-focused prayer.
He said to me “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
She goes on to say this, talking about a season of her family’s life:
Our weakness felt so incredibly overwhelming, but still there was this promise that our weakness wasn’t in vain. Rather, it would help us access the power of God. The verse was encouragement to be honest about our weakness so we could find the strength that God had to offer.
I then listened to Jess’s podcast, Go & Tell Gals, that afternoon. I scanned the list of available episodes for one that was short and relevant. Ah, Dependency. Perfect. Coincidentally she spoke of needing help. Ok Lord, I’m listening.
What I gleaned from it was this – we strive to live in a state of being without need or, we consider that we are the ones responsible for providing our needs. But here’s the truth: we need God for our next breath, we need God for our next paycheck, we need God for our friendships, for our mothering, our marriage, our mission. We need him to show up and whether we acknowledge it or not, we still need him. As we step into that truth we’re able to start seeing what God’s doing and stop seeing ourselves as provider of everything good in our lives. Jess’s wisdom, not mine.
There’s this saying I have always had an issue with – she believed she could so she did. It’s on everything isn’t it? Cards, shirts, you name it. Several years ago I saw it rewritten from Lara Casey like this – she believed she couldn’t and so He did. I’ve always loved that. The first puts all the pressure on us, the second puts all the confidence in God.
This got me thinking about my Word of the Year. I’ve never really done this before but this year I knew some focus in my life couldn’t hurt. The word believe kept coming to mind. To be frank, I chose it in reference to diet and exercise. I was originally leaning towards discipline, but feared that would carry with it a huge sense of failure when I wasn’t, well, discplined. So I chose believe. Believe I can do it, believe in myself, believe I can make my life feel better.
But my current financial mega-lack and this wisdom from today all are challenging me back to a narrative I’ve always been drawn to. One that says I really really need God to show up and provide for me because I’m powerless to do so on my own. I’ve always felt kind of stupid or guilty for thinking this way – like maybe this is an easy way out, maybe it’s an Enneagram 4 excuse, maybe it’s a faith a little too radical. Suck it up and work harder or come back down to earth with your faith, Brianna.
Instead, maybe the recurring narrative I grapple with is intentional. Maybe that’s how God has wired me. Maybe it brings glory to him when I live through the lens of that narrative – trusting radically in him. Because I know he has made me smart. He has created me to value efficiency and competency. He gave me parents who are an Enneagram 8 and 1 for crying out loud – so like, HELLO. (Maybe they just had all the answers and did it all for me as a child so now as an adult I’m completely incompetent, but I’m going to go ahead and choose to think that’s not the whole story. It’s complicated, I know.) I’m not suggesting sitting in one place, refusing to act or contribute to my life. I’m suggesting a mindset and a perspective.
The tension of deep, believing faith in God’s power but also tending to real life responsibilities in front of my face is HUGE. I’m always questioning it and wondering where to draw the line. Although it’s hard for me to truly believe sometimes, what I’m coming back to is this: I know God’s voice is not one of striving, being better, getting a grip, sucking it up, or accomplishing more. He tells me to trust, receive, share, rest, praise, and love.
As it turns out, that word believe may not be as much about me and my capabilities so much as it is about me believing God in his power and ability and desire to help.
If I am the provider of my needs, when devastation hits my first response is crisis mode.
If God is the provider, my first response is prayer.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the mood by night. The lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
1 Corinithians 12:9
He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who does is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.