I am a grateful person. I am. There are days though I have to repeat this to myself.
My husband and I joke about how being Christian almost makes you feel like you are going crazy sometimes. There is that desire and strive for perfection, even though we know that’s not possible. There is this deep desire to please God, and when we don’t, we carry this weight of failure and guilt on our shoulders. I know God doesn’t want me to feel like this. He wants me to come to Him with my struggles and talk to Him about them even if they seem petty and minute. But, wow is it hard to do when you are entertaining feelings like envy, frustration and worldly desire.
I want to go shopping.
I want to make more money.
I want to do whatever it is I want to do…. within reason of course.
I want a better job.
And there it is….I want. I want. I want.
I’d be lying to you if I told you I don’t get swooped up in the funnel of the never-ending wants at times. Of course I do. The world is crammed with all sorts of fun activities and amazing places to see, so yes I have desires to taste and experience some of it. But, to do so I need more of something…
But, is it really more that I need or do I need to do more with what I have?
Don’t misunderstand me here. God wants us to enjoy the many luxuries He has provided in this world. I’m not insinuating that we are never able to indulge in any of these things. It all comes down however to the choices we make that determines if we are able to or not; and how our hearts respond if we cannot when we want to.
Hmm, a moment of truth. That moment when I have the choice to justify or make excuses why more is needed or why more is never going to be enough. As I swirl around inside this funnel, I am still grateful. I am. If something distracts me from that truth, God has an amazing way of bringing me right back to all I have to be grateful for.
I am grateful for my job.
I am grateful for my husband.
I am grateful for my home.
I am grateful for my friends…and a trillion other beautiful blessings God has poured out into my life. He has without a doubt been good to me.
So, why do I have to struggle with this?
After I hung up the phone with my husband, I knew instantly that I spent our 15 minute phone conversation complaining to him. I also knew that by doing that, I more than likely made him feel less than a good provider for us. I don’t want him to feel that way because that’s not how I feel. If I had the option to choose between these nagging wants or being content with what I have with my husband, I would choose contentment with my husband hands down. I wouldn’t even have to think about it.
So, why then must I even have to spend time battling this struggle?
I instantly went into our prayer room after my conversation with my husband. I knew I was wrong. That’s not even a question. What came to mind was Philippians 2:13-15: “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose. Do everything without complaining and arguing.”
Well, I certainly fell short there.
I also came across in Proverbs, “A complaining wife is a continual dropping in a very rainy day.”
Well, looks like I fell short there too.
Now, let’s get into the whole “I need more” money struggle.
My frustration for a depleting savings account and feeling as If I am moving backwards and not forward in my finances has absolutely nothing to do with how much I get paid. It has everything to do with what I do with it. I already know in my heart that I am the problem. I do not do what I need to plan and save better. I have this false perception that not knowing how much money I actually have will protect me from the truth. Then God reminds me in Hebrews 13:5: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
But, I wouldn’t go as far as saying I Love money. So, then I read in Luke 14-28-30: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it-lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who seen it begin to mock him, saying “This man began to build and was not able to finish?”
OK let me stop right here. I felt a little piercing in my heart with this one.
Is this my problem? This is what my husband tells me I need to do. I need to plan for the things I want to do. A part of me kicks and screams at the very thought of planning, but the other part, the wise part knows that’s what I need to do.
So, right here. Right in the center of that part of my struggle, is where God speaks.
I have a choice. I can either choose to be obedient and start putting a savings plan into action, regardless of how uncomfortable it is for me, or I can continue to play by my rules, which always lands me right back into the center of this struggle.
When we choose God’s way, there will be a hundred more daunting thoughts that come with it. In this case, I know finances is one of my weaknesses. So, upon deciding to listen to God, will come the aching pain of the truth about my finances; the agony of being pushed out of my comfort zone, and my fears that will rear their ugly heads, etc. So, now the struggle just increased in size. Do I have the energy to battle them all? Of course I don’t, but God does….
And that’s where Faith comes in. That’s why we need to trust God completely. I already know God is for me and His plans for me are to give me a future and a hope, so why am I so worried about this? Does this mean I don’t really trust God?
Then, I read Romans 7:15-20
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”
And there it is. The crystal clear truth staring right through me. It is because I am a sinful person. And no matter how much I Love God, no matter how deep my relationship grows with Him, as long as I am on this earth, I will sin. I will fall short. That’s why I find myself dancing within the funnel of struggles from time to time.
No matter how pristine many of my choices or how beautifully God drenches my days with blessings, that funnel will make its way back to me. That’s why I can never reach that perfect, struggle free life.
My heart longs for purposes of being a faithful and obedient daughter to God. I am reminded that I sin and I always will. I am reminded that in this world I will have struggles. God knows this. I don’t have to carry that weight because He already forgives me. It is by my own disgust of my sin that pushes me into a corner of feeling completely unworthy of God’s grace and Love.
Because I repent today and I do it again tomorrow.
I repent and cycle repeats.
How can God continue to Love me when I continue to fall short like this? How can He still bless me when my tongue leaks the grumbles of my heart? How can He still show me grace when my flesh falls weak and when my insecurities and fears rise above the thoughts I have for Him? How?
“He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
1for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.”
Wow. He speaks. He reminds me that He knows who I am. He knows my struggles. He knows I will fall. He already knows and I need to know too.
So, even as I fight through the mess of my struggles, biting, kicking and complaining along the way, I feel His hand upon my heart, slowing down the rhythm of my anxiousness and separating the lies from the truth thought by thought. He unveils clarity and reveals His word deep in my heart.
I am grateful. I am.
I know what the Lord has done for me. I believe every word He says and as I shift through the debris of my struggles, I find the treasures of my gratefulness. As I find them one by one, I place them back where they were misplaced from. As the rapid streams of sin whisks them away in its current, I eagerly seek to find them….
Because I am grateful. I am.
I will not pretend to be perfect, because I am not.
I will not stand before anyone and tell them the Christian walk means perfection because it does not.
It means I recognize I am weak without Him. It means without Him, I would eventually drown in that stream of sin along with every bit of who God intended me to be.
But, because I have Him, because I fear Him, because I know His Love for me, I do not have to drown. I do not have to pretend. I do not have to ask why? I already know why. I just have to have faith and trust. I have to boldly approach Him in the times it hurts me to in repentance. There He renews His mercies. He restores what was misplaced and brings back all what He has done for me so I can whisper back to Him,
” Thank you. I am grateful. I am.”