“It sounds to me that for some reason you believe it is a bad thing to be in a position where you have to depend on God to provide,” she said. My eyes were swollen from crying most of the day as I sat on my back porch on the phone with Chris. I swallowed the truth bomb she had just dropped on me and it didn’t feel good as it hit my gut. I knew she nailed it. “You’re right,” is all I could say.
God Provides What?
Earlier that morning I had turned Matthew 11:28-30 into a prayer that went something like: “Jesus you say if I come to you when I am weary and burdened that you will give me rest. Help me take your yoke upon me so I can learn from you because you’re gentle and humble in heart. Help me find rest for my soul. AMEN.” I prayed it because I was weary and teary. Little did I know, Jesus was actually going to answer that prayer – quite specifically – sooner than I expected.
On a typical Wednesday, since my kids are currently homeschooling, we do BSF bible study through ZOOM in the mornings as a part of school. I will often fold laundry or sweep or do a chore nearby the kids and listen as their group meets AKA make sure my kids are acting right and not poking each other in the ear instead of paying attention to the lesson… and I hear it.
“Boys and Girls this week’s AIM is ‘God provides all we NEED to obey Him.’”
Wow. I was shocked. Did she really just say that? Then she repeated it. “God provides all we neeeeeed to obey Him.” Hmmm. Emphasis was on the word “need” because she was giving the answer for the fill-in-the-blank kids’ notes. But I felt like it was emphasized because my hard head needed to hear it like that.
In BSF we’re reading through the book of Genesis. This was not the first time I hadn’t done an ounce of my own lesson. I just came alongside the kids to make sure they were prepared for theirs. So, I wasn’t expecting to really learn anything profound. But even though she was speaking to my school age children with her pleasant teacher’s voice…she was also speaking directly into my funk that very morning.
God will provide what YOU NEED TO OBEY HIM, Maddie. He says nothing about providing that particular level of comfort you idolize. Not what you want. Not your budget numbers adding up to make you feel warm and cozy. Not the American Dream.
I know in my head that God is the provider. It’s what I say to both myself and others. That’s what a person should say, right? It’s true. Except why do I keep professing it while internally stressing about and endlessly calculating all the 1,924 different ways I need to make sure we are going to have enough? Since COVID-19 so graciously allowed me to abruptly lose my income for the second time in less than a year, hot mess is an accurate way to describe me regarding all things budget. Honestly, I’ve always felt like that. But why?
Come to Jesus
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30
Remember my back porch conversation with Chris? Well, it turned into prayer as our conversations often do. I kept thinking I was struggling with being ungrateful but ended up repenting of having a sinful, scarcity mindset. I never even knew that was a thing. It sounded like an Economics 101 vocabulary word.
Jesus brought it up in prayer that I never feel like I have quite enough. I stress out that I’m not going to have enough and I am always thinking about what I could do to finally have enough. When I asked Him when it started, I got nothing. There wasn’t a time I could remember in my life that I haven’t felt that way. No Bueno.
We asked Jesus if there was something He wanted to replace my old way of thinking with and almost immediately the words “life to the full” popped into my head. Praying where I ask a question and wait in silence for an answer is a newer thing for me. It’s something I’d never done before I did a Freedom Prayer session in 2018. Often, He will answer with a few words from scripture, like He did that day from John 10:10, or bring a picture to my mind.
Before we got off the phone, Chris told me I needed to listen to that week’s sermon on the Oaks Church Brooklyn podcast ASAP because the pastor just so happened to break down the verses I had uttered in prayer for myself that very morning. WHAT?? Insert mind blown emoji. Tyler Staton’s sermon from January 10, 2021, at a church in New York was the way God truly began answering my prayer that day.
I had asked for help to take Jesus’ yoke upon me and for help to rest my soul. Honestly, I can’t pretend I had any idea what that even meant. I just believe in praying scripture. This podcast was God’s way to help me understand more clearly what I had even requested. It’s so worth the listen as I don’t have space to share all that I learned.
When Jesus said COME TO ME, that’s His invitation. Jesus is inviting me to recognize Him in the life I already have. I don’t have to DO anything FOR Him. Just come TO Him…
My Burden is my Qualification
After prayerfully processing I can expand on exactly what a sinful scarcity mindset looks like. It’s like having a never enough syndrome. And it goes like this:
“I’m not good enough, kind enough, slim enough, wealthy enough, healthy enough, friendly enough, fit enough, disciplined enough...” Fill in the blank: ‘I’ll never have enough ______.’ or ‘I’m not ____ enough.’”
People struggling with scarcity will:
Worry about things they have no control over
Have a strong sense of entitlement
Feel as though God owes them something
Take themselves too seriously
Rarely set goals
Hoard or struggle with sharing recognition and credit
Make decisions based on comfort, pleasure and avoidance of pain
Ugh. It’s so selfish. It is not fun to confess out loud that these traits describe me. Let me rephrase that: this describes my struggle. Praying to repent wasn’t a Thanos snap that immediately disintegrated my sinful mindset. It was just me confessing in prayer that the struggle is there and the struggle is real and I don’t want it. Can anyone relate? Help me Jesus.
“Jesus I am coming to you because I am weary from thinking this way and have been burdened by it for too long. Please help. I need your help to rest.”
On the podcast, Tyler Staton said, “Your burden is your qualification – it’s what gets you in the door. It is your ticket to rest.” Great. I’ve got tickets on tickets for rest then, so let me cash them in. This is not Chuck-E-Cheese and saving up tickets won’t get me a better prize. This is life in Christ.
He also said spiritual maturity is less like washing a dirty dish and more like peeling an onion. That makes so much sense. As each layer of sin has been “peeled” away in my life recently, I realize the next layer is there. I see it AND smell it. Onions stink. My sin stinks.
For the longest time I thought something was wrong with me because my life story could not be summarized as, “I used to be a dirty dish but Jesus washed my dirt so I was good after that and lived happily ever after.” That is not accurate. I am a stinky sin onion with lots of layers. The only variable that I bring to the gospel equation is the sin part.
Life to the Full
Jesus said He wants to replace my old way of thinking. Let’s go!! What does “life to the full” even look like? I can’t achieve it, but He came so I could have it.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
“Life to the full” is a relationship with Jesus. The rest I crave will come as I bring Him my honest burdens. Over and over and over. I’m thankful that He answered my prayer. He is teaching me He’ll provide what I need to obey Him as I am healing from believing the lie that I’ll never have enough. I’m grateful He helped me discern what my burden was through praying that scripture and asking Him for help.
“Jesus you say if I come to you when I am weary and burdened that you will give me rest. Help me take your yoke upon me so I can learn from you because you’re gentle and humble in heart. Help me find rest for my soul. AMEN.” Will you pray these words?