This past weekend was a struggle for me. It started off pretty great, but by Saturday night, my heart was heavy... and soon my attitude turned sour. I've been trying to put my finger on why and there are a lot of contributing factors: my current bible study is pushing me out of my comfort zone a little, after four months, I thought I was finally past that awful stage of "morning sickness"... I was wrong, and then there's always the dreaded finances. And while it would be so incredibly easy to point my finger at any, or all, of these things, the truth is... God is trying to tell me something... and I don't want to hear it. I'm literally fighting it... and it's making me miserable.
So, this morning, I woke up and spent some time praying before I got out of bed. I prayed for a better attitude, a gentler spirit. I prayed for my family, the women in my small group. And I prayed that God would reveal whatever it is that I've been wrestling with Him over... even though I know I'm not going to like it... I also know that this isn't going to get any better until I confront it! So, I went down stairs and finished my bible study and then picked up Crazy Love. Of course, the irony here is that I have been avoiding this book for almost a week... which would explain the absence from the blog. Don't get me wrong, I've tried. I've sat at my computer, book in hand, many times this weekend... only to stare at a blank screen and wish for a timely distraction. I couldn't figure out why. It didn't make sense, because I usually LOVE this time. But... when I started to read the pages of Crazy Love, it all started to make sense: I didn't want to face what was coming next.
As he references the Book of Malachi, Chan says this: "...we get an incredible promise from God: 'Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse , so that there may be food in My house, and test me now in this,' says the LORD of hosts, ' if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows' Mal. 3:10.
"This is the only place in the Bible where God invites His people to test Him, to try to out-give Him. He knows it's impossible, that no one can out give the One from whom all things come... If you really want to experience God's supernatural provision, then do as He says. Test Him. Give more than you can manage, and see how He responds." p. 110
Seems pretty innocent, right? Well, not for me... not after this weekend. You see, my husband and I went to a local ministry fundraiser on Friday. I was already extremely hesitant about going because, to be quite honest, we had very little money to give. But, putting my pride aside, I knew that God wanted us to go... I couldn't tell you why (and my husband was more than eager to know God's reasoning because he wanted to stay home!). So we met up with some friends and had a really great time. At the end of the night, it was time to give our donation. I was already starting to fill out the envelope when MY HUSBAND told me to give more. I looked at him like he was crazy... for two reasons: #1 My husband NEVER says "give more" and #2 the only thing left to give was our grocery money for the week... and that is NOT an exaggeration. I can show you my checkbook!
I was flabbergasted... shocked. And this is coming from a woman that wrote a $1000 check to a local Christian radio station because she knew God wanted her to do it... and if you read my blog earlier this year, you know what God did with that! So then, why was this so hard for me? Well, I figured out the answer this morning... and I'm so horribibly ashamed of my response. But, what I'm more ashamed of is what happened as a result of my unwillingness to trust God. You see, all that was left in our account, after our donation at the fundraiser, was enough to give to our church for the next two weeks. But, instead of giving the money on Sunday, I just held on to it... rationalizing that we've given enough... SERIOUSLY, I THOUGHT THIS! It's no wonder I've been feeling this way for the past two days. There is no way in the world that I could give enough. I could empty out my checking account, my savings account, sell my house and all my possessions... it would never be enough. But, for this one moment, I allowed myself to believe that I had a right to hoard some of that money for myself. For what, I don't know... probably just out of fear of seeing $0 on the balance sheet... which can be a scary thing when there's still another 8 days to the next paycheck.
Even as I sit here this morning, sharing this with my husband... who, by the way, is reminding me that once I put this on my blog, it's out there forever ... I'm reminded of the fact that money has a tighter hold on me than I ever imagined. And, yes, this is NOT my finest moment... and definitely not one that I'm eager to share with the whole world... literally! However, it is a HUGE turning point for me in this journey. I'm tired of pretending. My bible study this week was focused on removing the obstacles that are keeping us from an abundant relationship with Christ. I didn't even realize this WAS an obstacle... but God is good and faithful.
The only person getting homework today is me! First things first, I'm writing the check to my church and handing it in tonight! Then I'm going to spend time in prayer, thanking God for this reminder. His timing is IMPECCABLE...what are the chances that I would be reading this excerpt in Crazy Love right after this happened? I'm still shaking my head in amazement and laughing through the tears. God is really good.