A long time ago we decided to live life differently. The definition of “differently” continually changes, but along the way has included raising support from friends and family who helped financially free us to work in campus ministry here in New York, and accepting any invitation to come and sing and never ask for money from any of those engagements.
The current version looks a bit different, as I do certainly charge (a specific amount) for what I do, but I am still quite flexible and generous with my time. (Which is perhaps a very different thing?)
Bottom line is, we are happy to trust God to provide for us, instead of trying to do that for ourselves.
Many things have come together recently, however, to help us realize that we are not truly living a life of trusting God to provide for us.
True, we do trust him. Implicitly. We credit him for all provisions we receive. And even when we do not receive what we wish we would have received, we know that He loves us, and that He sees more than we see. And so we trust Him.
But what Jen and I have both seen—and Jen wisely alerted me to—is that we have been living with a foot in both worlds for some time now.
We have been on the one hand, trusting God to provide whatever he sees fit to provide, but on the other hand – while exercising frugal spending – going ahead of God and his provision, mostly in the form of paying for things we needed (or maybe didn’t?) with credit cards and other loans.
And now, the weight of that burden has caught up with us.
We are at least a month behind on most every monthly bill. We were warned by our mortgage holder that we were in danger of losing our house (though that has been corrected) and there really is a great, heavy financial burden on both of us at the moment. Seemingly more than we can work out from under.
We are taking steps to remedy this – including me working extra hours, Jen doing a little work for my dad, I applied for another job, etc – but I think perhaps the biggest step is really choosing what we believe. And how we want to live.
And that “way” is trusting God to provide for everything we need. Everything.
So we have decided from here forward to not use credit cards (barring perhaps a life-threatening emergency?) and see where that takes us. So far, so good. We have seen God provide tiny bits of cash when we need it, and we are much happier (when we are not thinking about the looming debt that is close behind us) spending the money that we actually have, rather than continuing to go ahead of God and pay bills or buy food or whatever we thought we needed on a credit card.
“What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these [what they will eat, what they will wear], but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
That’s from the end of Matthew 6. That’s a section of scripture that has always been very close to me, and I think maybe because that’s how God has always wanted me to live. And the amazing this is, that’s what he wants from Jen, and what we want together.
So, we are embarking on a journey that I know will take us deeper… and actually, other than that we have no idea where it will take us. Yes, it is frightening in a way… but, not when we remember whom we are trusting, and remember how He loves us, and has taken care of us so far… we know that he always will.
[PS… I do not write any of this to elicit some sort of financial response from anyone who might read this – which includes almost exclusively family and close friends. Only wanting to share this decision/shift in thinking that seems very important – milestone-ish – in our lives right now.]