Blog

Stories from a life in progress.

Not my problem

Do you believe in coincidence?  I don't exactly believe in coincidence anymore.  Not after learning how much in charge God really is, and how much he cares, and how much he pays attention, especially to the people in his family.  I can believe in coincidence in little things, like how a cloud can look like a turkey because the wind just happened to make it that way, but I don't believe coincidence is responsible when I find significant things happening in my life.

(Please note, God can also deliberately make the wind make clouds look like turkeys if he wants to.  Just to be clear about that.)

Last Sunday, several people in my Sunday school discussion-group class talked about how they handled really hard experiences, like major health crises or divorce.  Every one of them noted how they lived through it by relying on the knowledge that God is in control of what happens, no matter what things look like at the human level.  This carried them through major decisions, like whether or not to accept chemo in cancer treatment, or how to continue ministry in the face of failed marriages.

I can be a wordy so-an-so in this class (which is not always awesome, because I like being clever too much), but I didn't have much to add this week.  It was my turn to shush and listen.

And then on Monday, I melted down over the state of my financial life.

I believe this setup was totally not coincidental, because without hearing "God is the one in charge of all the things" many times on Sunday, I doubt I would have remembered it on Monday, or Tuesday, or today.  I don't think I would have gotten the lesson I badly needed, which is to STOP thinking I'm in full control of my money, either when I'm all on top of it or when it's all on top of me.  My choices matter, but God is the one who finally and definitively chooses what happens in my financial life.

Without Sunday, I would have probably lost one of the main things giving me peace this week:  the ability, through prayer and need, to finally say "it's not actually my money, Lord, it's your money, and whatever happens here is what you want to happen.  Even a negative sign that pierces me to the heart.  This is your doing.  All of the numbers add up how you want them to, all the time, including right now, and I'm wrong not to acknowledge that."

The bible is clear that we are not owners in this world, we are managers.  We have both the privilege and responsibility to use what's available to us here, we can even gather up bunches of money and stuff and hoard it if we want to and figure out how to, but it still isn't really OURS in any fundamental way, certainly not in any permanent way.

My money isn't really mine, and I'm acknowledging it now.

I'm praying multiple times every day, "it's all your money, Jesus.  Please help me make the choices you want made with it."

There is enormous peace in this, because the pressure isn't on my shoulders when I remember it's not my stuff.  It's God's stuff.  The God who promises very specifically to provide what I need out of his own love and generosity, not because I earn it from him or prove myself worthy of it.

I am guessing some people will read this and say "yes, that's right" and others will say "she's dissociating herself from the problem," and possibly both of those are true.  I think the teaching is right but I'm not at all sure I'm carrying it out the right way.

Whichever is the case, all I can do is carry on -- and keep writing about what happens.  So watch this space, if you want to see the effects of this perspective.  I haven't got a clue what to expect now, so I'll be watching to find out too.