on money, and worrying, and finding rest for my soul

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I have to be honest, I worry about money.  I always have.  I worry about debt, and I worry about spending too much, and I worry about not giving enough, and — more than anything else — I worry about making mistakes.  What if I buy those shoes and I shouldn’t?  What if I give them money, and they waste it?  What if I save when I should have spent, or spend when I should have saved?

I came home to California in early August, hopeful to work as soon as possible, because, well, I was worried about money.  I just paid off my undergrad loans (praise God!), and now, of course, I’m looking toward a whole new world of grad school loans, hah.  And even though, of course, I know nothing about real financial crisis, and I’m blessed to be living with family, I still worry and calculate and anticipate.

So, I’m sure, you can just imagine what kind of impatience comes over me as I’ve hit so many roadblocks on my way to start working here.  I ask myself, should I just take any job?  Because we all know that making something always feels better than making nothing. And all this extra time and silence gives space for fear and doubt.

But inside my heart, I know that God is telling me to wait, to be still, to rest in Him.  Inside, I know that if I just keep with the course, all the paperwork and such will come through, and God will provide.

It reminds me of that time, when Jesus was talking to those people on a mountain, and he said that they can’t follow money if they want to follow God, and how treasures on earth are gonna rot away anyhow.  And then he says that we shouldn’t worry about how our needs will be met, because He’s got it.

“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own,” He said.

And so, somehow, I just have to be faithful to God for today, and use my time or money in the best ways I can to honor Him. Maybe, for today, I’m supposed to sit in a coffee shop and spend time talking with God.  Maybe, all along, these past weeks were meant to be filled with family, and making new friends, and rest.

Jesus knew all about rest.  In fact, He was the one who said that if we just take His yoke upon us, and learn from Him, we will find rest for our souls.  And I don’t think it’s the lazy, complacent kind of rest He’s talking about.  I think it’s the deep-down rest that comes in submitting to His control, and letting what He gives us today be enough.

So God, help me to stop trying to make things happen on my own.  Help me to take up that easy yoke, to let You lead me and teach me, and to find that place of rest in You.

*Excepts are from Matthew 6 and Matthew 11

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Love first.

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For years now, I’ve been on the hunt, looking for people I can “really” trust with my heart…you know, the people who won’t let me down, the people who are worthy of loving me. And I know it’s surprising, but I still haven’t found them yet.

So I’ve waited. I’ve held back the vulnerable things –the ugly, the sad, the scary — and built up walls to protect myself. It all seemed kind of heroic, like I was sparing people from the “burden” of loving and caring for me in ways that really cost something. Oh, and did I mention godly? It seemed pretty spiritual too, because I was trusting Jesus and only Jesus and keeping my heart clear of any other entanglements.

But all the while, I’ve been longing to be known, truly known, and longing to be loved once the real me finally stepped out.

And in the space — that scary unknown — between the people I love and the real me hiding in the shadows, God spoke. Love first, He said. Love first.

Because, the truth is, we’re never gonna know for sure. We’re never gonna know if the people we love most will be able to give us what we need or want. We’re never gonna know if acceptance waits around the corner, or if rejection does. And every step closer — in any relationship — is always going to be a risk. No matter how much trust we’ve built with others, the bottom line is, we’re all broken and if we’re holding out for the “ones” who are “good enough” to love and be loved, not one of us is going to make the cut.

Love first. Invest before you know it’s worth it. Ask before you’re sure of the answer. Give before you know they’ll take it. Be yourself before you know they’ll accept you. To those hardened by grief, the embittered, the skeptical, this sounds like utter foolishness. But to the one who knows intimately the power of the Gospel, it’s simply the way of our God.

For while we were sinners, Christ died for us. And before He knew we’d follow, He called us each by name. And even though many reject it, He pours out His love, His life, His gifts…freely and abundantly. In fact, all of this, the Bible says, defines love.

God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us….We love because He first loved us.
-1 John 4:9-12, 19 (HCSB)

He loved first. And by the redemptive power now alive in us, He asks us to do the same.