Trust: Abound with Grace

Philippians 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

In the Western Church, we get a lot of sermons about how we’re very rich (true) and that we should use our riches wisely (true).  And we hear about how it’s hard to be rich and still real with Christ (true) and… well… maybe it’s just me, but at the end of a decade or three of that, and you get a little freaked out about having more than enough.  Maybe a touch *guilty*.  Children starving, after all.  And I’m not saying that maybe we shouldn’t do a better job of sharing our wealth.  Not in the least.

But I *am* saying, that if God has given you generously, you should enjoy it.  No, I don’t mean get heavily into conspicuous consumption.  I mean – enjoy it!  Thank God for what He’s allowed you, and enjoy it.  Trust Him to provide for you.  Don’t curl up into a little ball and say, “well… here today, gone tomorrow”.  Enjoy the fact that your greater resources give you a chance for greater generosity.   God pours into you?  Pour right back out.

Sometimes we can get into this mindset where we don’t want to enjoy what God has given us, because He can take it away anytime He wants.  It gets to be a hoarding thing.  Hoarders stack up stuff because they’re afraid of disaster, they’re not being sensible, they’re AFRAID.  We’re not supposed to be in fear.  If God thinks your character could be improved by poverty, He can manage that, and your not-enjoying things now won’t stop Him.  He’s probably not staying His hand because He’s impressed by your humility, you know.  :p

And if you get a chance to do something awesome, enjoy the experience!  We’re not ascetics, we’re not Stoics, we’re CHRISTIANS.  That means that we’re allowed to enjoy stuff.  Not all the stuff…. but the right stuff?  We can enjoy *that* to the hilt.

(You totally realize I’m writing this to myself the night before a family trip to Disneyland, right?  That I totally guilted myself about, even though DH worked some mandatory OT and paid for it in advance and wants to have some fun for once and the kids are bored out of their little minds and ready to have some real *fun*… because it’s not the nearly-free thing we COULD do.  Because um.  Virtuous?   God is sooo thumping me on the nose.  He provided the means, the time, the ability, and I’ve been snorking around when I could be excited.  Sucking fear.  -shakes head-  You realize this whole blog is basically me writing to myself, right?  I figure maybe someone else out there needs to hear what I need to hear, so I share).

It’s that confusion that leads, in the words of CS Lewis, to a pretty woman pretending that she’s ugly, or a smart man pretending that he’s dumb, so as not to appear immodest.  Thinking about your resources as YOUR resources is what’s immodest!  And what leads to hoarding.  What belongs to you can be taken from you.  What belongs to God can be reallocated, but it still all belongs to God, you just got reassigned.

God is a good Father, and He enjoys giving good things to His children.  So *when He gives them*, we should enjoy them.  And when He gives us an opportunity to flourish without them?  We should enjoy that… maybe learning to lean on Him a little harder.  Open hands to receive and not grab – and not push away because we’re afraid that losing it again will hurt too much.

Either to abound or to be in want, to be content in whatever God brings our way.

9 thoughts on “Trust: Abound with Grace

  1. Deborah

    You’re on a roll, Hearthie! Three amazing posts …

    This one really resonates with me. My family is in a situation that is envied by many–my husband is a diplomat, so we live overseas, moving from one exotic locale to another every couple of years, and we always have nice housing and access to US mail and all sorts of fun perks that aren’t available to those who stay in the US or who are overseas for other reasons. Of course others don’t always see the difficulties that we also experience–the repeated culture shock, the inability to settle in anywhere, the difficulty in making and maintaining friendships. But in terms of finances and physical comfort, we’re blessed, and we have the added blessing of opportunities for amazing experiences. I find myself downplaying our blessings–minimizing them when talking with my missionary friends (I always hang out with the missionaries more than the other diplomats), outright hiding them from my parents and siblings and in-laws … I often feel somewhat ashamed of them, especially since *I* don’t work in exchange for them; my husband does. This is the second time in just a few months that God has used a blog post to smack me in the head and say “Stop that. I have chosen to give these things to you for this season. Appreciate them, enjoy them, give Me the glory for them, but do *not* be ashamed of them!”

    Thank you. And enjoy Disneyland 🙂

    1. hearthie Post author

      -blush- Thanks!

      Disney was good. We had a great time, even if it was Spring-Break crowded (next time I’m so going at night!)

      YES to your comment. In this season we’re blessed. God likes doing nice things for His kids. I watch my husband and how he enjoys taking care of our kids (and me!) and spoiling us, how he truly *enjoys* that. Why should God not feel the same?

      The knowledge that this may only be a season doesn’t help prepare me for the next season if I stop myself from enjoying this one. Maybe my enjoyment of this season is part of the preparation?

  2. ballista74

    This was so me for a longest time. So used to not having certain things that when I would have them I couldn’t enjoy them for fear of losing them. Hey once upon a time when I was working I had more than enough money to go where ever I wanted and I had so much worry. Whether I’d really need the money, where I would go that would be a blessing to me and if I would regret it if I did go, a whole host of other things. Even, I would be so worried and stressed that I couldn’t enjoy the real extraordinary blessings setting before me. Like my trip to Disney World and how it happened. If that was anything like Disney Land is, you’ll have fun if you just let yourself. Enjoy it!

    Even a little bit today I’m like that, though the Lord has worked on me in those ways to be appreciative of even the smallest things out of so many of the struggles He allowed to happen. That’s where I’m kind of weird now, I just don’t get the way a lot of people are. When it comes to marriage. When it comes to money. Health. A roof over your head. Clothes on your back.

    I’m much harder though when it comes to grace and my own self and my own actions, and something that still needs work. Especially when I have bad habits that keep coming up, or mistakes I make it’s hard to not really start in. I guess lately, in a way, my blog has been me just talking about myself too.

    1. hearthie Post author

      What is helping (I am not very far along!) is to remind myself that He commanded us to be child-like in our faith. My kids don’t worry about their father suddenly taking their stuff away (okay, except when they’ve really screwed up and he’s mad!) and so why should I?

      Sometimes life rolls around and we get different (and less comfy) ways of being blessed. S’okay. He has us in His hands, it will all work out. Trusting the Father as we trusted our physical fathers, back in the day.

      I just found your blog yday, I saw your comments and had heard about you but I had to rustle round to find you. 🙂 Good stuff there.

      1. ballista74

        I guess with mine it’s more been the appreciation side of it. Do others have these things? “There but the grace of God go I” has been one of my oft phrases as of late. For what I’ve been through, to be sitting with a roof over my head and my expenses taken care of, and certain things to be taken care of is extraordinary. The fact that I’m still here is extraordinary, and the fact that I have the desire to keep going is extraordinary. There’s some pretty hard trials still to come, and all that’s getting me by on those is an extremely delusional amount of hope, but I definitely am praying much on what to do about those.

      2. hearthie Post author

        Yes. I live in town with a lot of poor folks, I see homeless every day (often walking past my door). “There but for the grace of God go I”? Yes. Yes, exactly.

        You know… for the hope…. God loves you. This hit a lot harder once I became a parent, but Matt 7 – you wouldn’t give your kid a snake when he asked for a fish, right? And you’re not good like God is good. Extrapolate: If you go through suffering, it will be good for either you or someone else. God loves you with an overwhelming love. It’s not impersonal, He loves YOU, personally and intensely. He’d never waste your pain. You can trust Him.

        You don’t always have to know what to do, btw. I know in my worst trials I would not have known how God would work through them, and there is no way I’d have chosen HOW He chose to make a start to really fixing them (I’ll give you a hint – look at the scars on my foot), but I would never have dared to dream of things as wonderful as they are now. I *am* blessed. Maybe I should be more open about how amazing that is, and how sometimes I just stare in awe at God and what He has done.

      3. ballista74

        In response to hearthie comment-482: Thanks for the comment and encouragement. One thing I will say (not trying to be intentionally controversial, just saying) is that our view of God is definitely prompted by the view of our physical fathers. However, remember blessings do include good parents, and a phrase like “trusting the Father as we trusted our physical fathers” rings true to some and hollow to others. Some of us have to be able to transcend our physical fathers to grasp the Father’s love and be able to trust Him, while others of us have it very easy.

        If I ever know children, I definitely pray that statement will be true in their minds.

      4. hearthie Post author

        Yes, entirely true. Which is a heavy responsibility on fathers. My dad is awesome, but I have gotten a great deal of insight on this concept from watching my husband parent our children.

        The verse didn’t really hit me between the eyes until I had a child, seriously. And then it was OHHHH.

  3. Pingback: Hard Reset, Take 2 (Alternative Title: Pinterest Rocks!) | Loving in the Ruins

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