When I was in elementary school, a girl in my class came to the first day of school with a new Washington Huskies puff jacket. It was epic! It was gold and white with purple Huskies embroidered on it with purple W’s as the lining. Oh, it was so cool.
Let the reader understand: I was in 4th or 5th grade. I barely knew what football was let alone had a favorite college team. But I still wanted it. So badly. I would stare at it. Kinda creepy when I think about it now. I wanted it so badly that I ended up asking my grandma McLendon to get it for me for Christmas. December 25th, 1993 rolls around and guess what was wrapped in a giant box underneath the tree? I was giddy for days and weeks. About a month into it, that giddiness began to dwindle. Eventually that “epic” jacket just became a jacket and I wanted something new again. The newness had wore off. This type of situation has happened countless times in my life and it was only recently that I actually figured out why I’m left so unsatisfied.
I got my first job at 16 and grew up with a good work ethic. I knew that I had to work to make money but so often I would find myself with no money even when I had two or three jobs. I just figured this was how it was for me. It hadn’t clicked for me that handling money and managing what was given to me was really a heart issue. It wasn’t my money to begin with even though I worked for it. It was Gods. And I am deeply ashamed of how much money I’ve made with little to show for it. It pains my heart greatly.
My heart journey concerning money began several years ago with some real issues getting uncovered in the past few weeks. I’ve been in this struggle, this back and forth with my heart, money and God. I feel as though it’s the similar tension Mary had in John 11.34 where she wouldn’t let the death of her brother go with Jesus. She was persistent, she was honest, she was real, truly aching and intensely hurting that her brother died and Jesus could’ve of raised him up but He didn’t. She was weeping deeply and Jesus saw it. This is the point where Jesus began weeping. He was so deeply moved by her persistence, by her gumption to be real with Him and ask the hard questions that He wept. John 11.35 has been the easiest scripture to memorize because it is the shortest but there is so much behind it. Mary was so distraught, in so much pain yet she was willing to wrestle with Him. It says in John 11:35;
When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, He was angry in His Spirit and deeply moved.
Mary’s wrestle with Jesus deeply moved His heart. It is pretty epic that Mary, a lowly human, moved the heart of Jesus. That blows my mind.Wrestling with God is very biblical. He wants us to work out the issue at hand, to process, to ask the hard questions, to be completely honest with ourselves and God so that we become like Him. So I’m in this wrestling match with God. This struggle. Money is needed to live. Money is needed for kids. For pretty much anything in life you want to do, you need money. The one thing I have never done is ask God what I should do with what He gives me. I have my budget, bills, coffee money, etc. but whatever isn’t intentionally budgeted, disappears. The things we buy or do with our money is realistic and at times what is needed. But I didn’t ask God what He wants me to do with it. And this is no way for me to treat God and my Friend. He is rooting for me to get this and He helps me at every step and at every fall.
A few weeks back, while in the midst of a dark part of my internal struggle, I was looking at twitter and came across Dana Candler’s blog (danacandler.com). She is one of my all time favorite bloggers to read and the title to this particular blog is ‘Before we settle into inward weariness.’ During dark seasons of my heart, I get very weary. I wish I could say I get into super mom mode and am extremely productive in the midst of my mess but I can’t say that. I get weary, sad, lonely, (honesty sucks sometimes), I will watch TV or a movie to try to drown the feelings out. It’s the scripture ‘I do what I don’t want to do and don’t do what I want to do’ (my version). I began to read Dana’s blog and it was as if she was writing about every crevasse of my heart. The words she penned were water to my soul. It was hope that I hadn’t seen in a while. I began to weep and pieces started coming together in my heart and my mind. Money is so intertwined in my heart and my mind and this is what I hate. The scripture says in 1st Timothy 6:9;
But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
This scripture pains my heart. The more I saw the reality of my dark, money-loving heart, the harder I wept. Since then, it has been, at times, an hour by hour struggle. It’s the wrestle of the heart. I used to (and still do at times) look at other people and want what they have. It’s not even something I need or would ever wear but that’s the depravity of my weak and messy heart. I’ve never put two and two together in the form of a word but the truth is, that at it’s core, it’s coveting and envy. I just have never named it and been truly honest with myself and God. It hurts to tell the truth and to admit it but it’s also healing.
At times, I would do whatever I could to get what I wanted. Yet every time, I was left completely unsatisfied. The new shoes, the super cute new hand bag, the new ‘whatever’ would never satisfy. And it never will because He alone is the only One who can. I wasn’t giving God control of my money. I wasn’t letting Him near that section of my heart. As I begin to understand the dire importance of giving Him my entire heart and all my money, I begged Him for another chance to prove myself. I want to be one who can manage what He gives me, to bless people, someone who can buy cars for people. I want to be trusted by the God of the universe. I want to be able to fund ministry. But if He can’t trust me with the little He gives me now, how can He later?
This journey is so painful and tough and the tension is exhausting but the reality is, when I’m this weak, this broken, that is when He can do what He does best. He is so good at molding and carefully massaging a weak and broken heart and what comes out of that process is beautiful. I desperately want a heart like His and this is how I get it. I keep wrestling, I keep asking the hard questions and I don’t quit. It isn’t a money issue, He is dealing with my heart. He wants me to be free from loving money and trust Him completely. This is why He won’t let me hold onto things that hinder love. He will keep pursuing me until I let it go and for that I am so grateful. I don’t ‘need’ anything but Him.
He sees me here and now. He sees that I want to be free from the love of money. He is a big enough God to know how to provide for me and know exactly what I need, so why do I think otherwise? He sees me. Here and now and every second after this one. Why can’t I remember this always? I love that I get to go on this journey with Jesus. He is the best Partner I could ever have. I will continue to struggle, to wrestle, to keep moving forward, to fight through this life to be just like Him. Its in my struggle and weakness that moves His heart so deeply.