Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"An Untroubled Heart," Chapter 7


Welcome to our "Yes to God" study hosted by Lelia. Please join us... read along with us... comment freely~

Chapter 7: What's the Worst that Could Happen?

For me, that is a hard question to answer. There are fears that are preying on my mind. I always have them, but there are times when I am able to push them away or drown them out.

The past few years I have fought fears.
Fears of failure.
Fears of the past.
Fears of the future.

Fears.
Tons of them.

I know that many of them were played up by the enemy as well, because come on. Would he really want to see a child of God succeed, and grow and be productive in the Kingdom?

I like Micca's point that the very worst thing that could happen to anyone is to not know Jesus, and be eternally separated from Him.

I am so grateful to be His child. I can call Him "Abba, Father" because I have been given the spirit of adoption. He is my Father. I am His child. There is no comfort on earth better than that.

When I can boil it all down to that, my fears do seem to melt away.

But, as I live and breathe, things crowd in and take over, and life happens, distractions come. I lose my focus. It gets foggy. It gets muddy. Suddenly I feel like I am living under this huge weight.

It's a weight today, that only briefly, as I distracted myself by window shopping with my son, lifted.

It was a warm day, sunny for the most part, and we had a mommy and son day, doing some of our favorite things.

It was nice. It was really very fun.

I came home and reality crashed in.

Now my stomach is in knots again.

I am coming down a bit from the emotional high I was on from last week. That isn't what is causing the knots though. I would say that I am at a "lower emotional level" (like that dancing with words?).

Its some other circumstances... that frankly, I am not helping right now. My hubby wants me to get a job. I haven't yet. I should. We will be extremely lucky if we don't get overdrawn before the next check comes in. Literally. And it comes in on Thursday. You know the check that will over draw us? Our tithe check. If it gets deposited tomorrow.

Yes.
Our. Tithe. Check.

i feel pretty small right about now....

And I am trying to figure out how the heck to get even $10 into the bank before the check gets deposited by the church.

Ugh.

And so I am wide awake. Exhausted. A headache. A knot in my stomach. A sore back. And I feel like I could throw up.

Then I read this:
"Christ's provision goes far beyond heaven and earth. When you and I face the unknown, God is there, leading the way through our unknown territory until we are safe on the other side."

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

I know His history with me.
He has made that above statement a true one.
I can wholeheartedly agree with it...
concerning my past.

Intellectually, I can agree with it concerning my future.

But my heart?
Humpf.

My heart isn't having any of it...
which is why I still feel like throwing up.

My head keeps telling me I was dumb to put that tithe check in the offering plate this Sunday because I knew how close we were running this week to hitting "red." But I heard this little voice say, "Trust Me." So, with a deep breath I put it in, and let it go.

Then proceeded to use my credit card when I needed, or wanted, to buy something this week. So, where is the trust in that???????

Yeah, I took it into my own hands immediately that afternoon. When I went to the store to get some things we didn't need. Things I wanted.

So... should I really try to scrape up $10 to save us a $30 fee, or do I take my punishment for not being a good steward? It's one check. One item that will overdraw us. We won't spend anything till his check clears our account on Thursday... but I am not even going to want to look at the account on line... especially when it comes time to pay some bills.

Ok... so I don't know if this post had anything to do with this weeks chapter, or if I am just venting. But I look at the question, and apply it to my life... what's the worst that could happen?

I say to myself, and to others... well, we could lose everything, but we won't lose his job, because its a stable profession (at least right now they aren't firing nurses in our area!). We can always move in with his folks at the farm, and no one will let us starve to death....

But, inside I quiver when I say that, and pray that God won't make it come to that. But He just might. To get my attention. I can't blame it on my hubby's lack of money management skills. I can't blame it on mine. It's deeper than that. It's a control issue. It's a heart issue. It's a greed issue. It's a "I want it all and I want it now" issue. It's an issue of not being able to really take hold of and apply the delayed gratification principle.

It's an issue of trust. Letting go of the things that I think I need. The things I think I want. The things that I try to fill my emptiness with.

I try to go "cold turkey" and really clamp down on my spending. I may not be able to control anyone else's spending, but I can control mine. So... nada... nothing. Be careful. Get only the milk needed and not one extra thing more....
Then slowly I loosen things up a bit... without really realizing it, and suddenly I have my credit card out all the time, the bills go up, my "appetites" go up, and my control goes down. I justify it by telling myself I don't go out and spend it all on clothes, though I would love to go get some clothes that fit me, and stop trying to patch the jeans I have to make them work. Instead, I go out an I spend on coffee, food, extras at the grocery store, books... (oh, that's a bad one...) taking my son out to eat (twice) today rather than packing a lunch and being home in time for dinner.
and I am back in the hole... financially, spiritually, emotionally... fearful and stressed... and knowing that God has better for me, but no idea of how to get there.

I need to let God fill me. Let God show me the things I really need. Again. Show me the things that I really want. Again.

Part of my memory verse this time is from Psalm 86:11-13
Verse 11:
"Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name."

I need an undivided heart... one wholly devoted to Him, to His truth, and His way. I need to fear Him more than fearing our financial situation (than fearing how I handle our financial situation... clamping down or burying my head...). I need to fear God above all else. A holy fear.

If I would finally give in and fear Him and Him alone, maybe I could stop striving for things to fill me up and make me feel better. Maybe I would finally be able to rest. If I fear Him, I sure wouldn't have time to fear anything else!

I want to stand firm on Him. I want to stand firm on His grace. I want to stand firm, knowing the Holy Spirit guides me... in Faith not Fear!

"In times of trouble, whether it's in our family, workplace, community, church, or world, we have to get understanding from the Holy Spirit, who leads us in all truth and supplies supernatural strength to endure until the end by faith, not fear."

Please pray friends that I would let God have control of this area in my life and heart, that currently has control of me. There is a part of me - surprise - that just isn't surrendered to Him. Honestly, I really AM afraid of what it will take to get me to the point of letting it go. It seems the times I have tried in the past, in response to the promptings of the Spirit, well, I just keep taking it back. Maybe it's come in stages, a bit at a time, as I have been willing to surrender it.... but I see my spending habits, and attitudes about money reflected back at me, in my 5 yr old (a wonderful 5 yr old mirror), and I don't like it.

Micca said:
"If you are full of worry, then it may be that you have not fully given every area of your life over to God."

I agree with that... but I also know that I made conscious decisions today that caused me to spend more than I needed to.... probably that $30 overdraft charge I am going to have... on credit. And I consciously squelched the Spirit, and said I am going to do it when I want, and how I want.... I "deserve" it. HA!

There is no graceful way to end this post. So I am just going to publish this. But know my heart is cringing right now... just because it hates being this exposed. This hits a bit too close to home to be comfortable.
I suppose playing it safe, and coming up with generic comments about the chapter would be more comfortable. But it wouldn't be honest. It would be lying. It would be saying that everything is swell, when it isn't.

How could I really say that I am actually ON the road and really WALKING with Jesus if I didn't show the pot holes, washouts and rock falls along the way...

It's raw (as my heart and stomach... oh, does it feel icky right now... can attest to) but it's real.
No apologies for that... but praying I didn't over step bounds, or this post will be gone and maybe not re-written... just so I don't get tempted to lie!

5 comments:

Kim said...

wow...you have no idea how parallel our lives are to each other. wow...heather, you "spoke" out loud many things that i also need to say out loud.

i am so far behind in this study and have not even posted on it because of life circumstances but the Lord...the Lord is using you in this post to speak to me.

i will be praying for you as I work on my own control/spending/fear issues.

blessings,
Kim

Russell Earl Kelly said...

Sounds like you are not reciving "overflowing blessings." That is becasue we are not under the Old Covenant law. The whole law was a test --not merely tithing. Obey ALL to be blessed; break ONE to be cursed. Galatiasn 3:10 effectively replaces Malachi 3:10.

NT giving is primarily sacrificial. That means more than 10% for many and less than 10% for others.

www.tithing-russkelly.com
Russell Earl Kelly

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Heather,
I am so sorry you are enduring such pain and agony. I truly have no "advice" to you. I think your head and heart knows what it needs to do with your finances and your control of them. I would think that you did make the right decision in laying that $10 in teh offering plate. He will supply your needs but it may take some more pain and learning to finally get there. Keep trusting Him and you will make it.

In the last couple days my email devos have been about money and such. I would like to send them to you. I think so far the author has gone through three devos discussing it. This author usually takes 7-10 days to discuss in detail on issue. I will send them to your gmail address that is on your comment on my blog. Let me know if they were an encouragement or gave you any knowledge or ideas in this area.
Love,
Paula

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I'm sorry Heather. Indeed, you are under a heavy weight right now. I'll be praying for deliverance from all of these fears and for God's provision to be more than enough to carry you through. Thanks for trusting us with your difficult few days.

peace~elaine

Gail W. said...

Heather, your courage cheers my heart tonight! God bless you for choosing truth over comfort. Satan loves to isolate us in our temptations, but you have reached out for light in an area I think many in the Body of Christ suffer. Love you, precious sister!