For quite a few years now my husband and I have both been aware that being a blessing to our families is something we are called to do. I'm about 90% sure my husband fully accepts this. Me on the other hand? Well, I'm still at the awareness stage and have not yet stepped into acceptance. In fact, I sometimes feel some type of way about it.
At times I wonder if 'ATM' is written on my forehead or if there is a red and yellow S on my chest. Why do I always have to be the one coming to the rescue? Why must I bear these burdens? Will people take from me until I have nothing left to give?
I'm pretty ashamed that I feel and think these things. I know I'm not the only one though, just courageous enough to admit it.
A family member within the past week called and asked me for something MAJOR. I could hear the pain in her voice and I could tell there were some tears there too. While it hurt my heart to know she was in pain, the solution brings me quite a bit of discomfort.
My thoughts after the phone call were... "Man. I'm unemployed trying to start a business. My husband is bearing the weight of all our expenses. We just put our 10% tithe on autopay. He wants to purchase another investment property soon. I'm trying to figure out creative ways to pay for coaching and different business events on my own. I might want to start a family in a few years. We need to be saving. I don't want to put my own finances or credit in jeopardy." So on and so forth.
I got more and more irritated with each new thought running through my head. Next thing you know I'm shaking my head, sighing, groaning, trying to figure out how the hell this all works, and wondering why people think I'm capable of solving their problems.
And then something made me stop, and in my head I heard, "Remember what you prayed for."
"...Okay God. I hear you."
Several years ago I started once in a blue moon praying for God to show me who he wants me to help and how he wants me to serve. I don't know if I was serious about this prayer back then. I can say that I was definitely thinking about it in terms of career. The overwhelming majority of those who have explicitly asked for help, however, are my own family members.
Now, I do help, but not always cheerfully. Especially if I feel like it's stretching me or my finances, if it drains me mentally, or if it significantly infringes upon my time. Oh, and if someone made a series of bad decisions or ignored a problem until it got so bad it turned into an emergency, then I'm even less enthused.
Ughhhh! It is really hard to share this with all of you. I kind of want to throw this post out and go crawl in a hole somewhere as I publicly admit that I don't give with grace or cheer. I'm actually an "optional" giver which basically means my giving is random, emotionally driven, not a priority, and small. It was not fun discovering that during the Obsessed Journey I participated in.
*Sigh* God's still working on me and we've been having some honest conversations about this.
Since moving to Columbus and starting to think about business and impact, I began praying a bit more seriously about wanting God to reveal to me who I'm supposed to serve, what impact I'm supposed to have, and how to make that impact. I believe it's been revealed to me in terms of career, but I'm still being guided to help my family too. It's still a struggle though.
I think it all boils down to fear and a lack of faith. I also feel like I don't fully have my own shit together, thus, unable to focus on other people's problems, but...
Sayings like, "God doesn't call the qualified he qualifies the called" comes to mind. So I have to ask myself, If my calling is to be a blessing to my family, then is it true that God will provide me with everything I need to do so and still be able to take care of myself? ...Yes.
Isn't it also true that when I drained my whole emergency fund and then some to loan thousands of dollars to a family member (that I never received back) I didn't feel financially drained or strained? ...Yes... I mean I don't like seeing a savings account with a donut hole for a balance, but I ultimately didn't feel the impact of not having that money anymore and I was able to get back to the original balance within the same year.
Is it true that that one time I gave offering as a broke college student, a few days later I just so happened to jaywalk right to the same exact amount of money lying on the ground? ....also Yes.
And is it true that just by making some really smart, good decisions we have purposely put ourselves in a position to be a blessing? Again, I nod my head yes.
I have to remind myself that whenever we give, we also receive, although not always in the same form. I remind myself that we serve God by serving others. And I remember that whenever I obey I am always rewarded and my cup is always refilled so I can pour out again and again.
This calling is all up in my face right now. I feel God saying, "You want to build a business based on the premise of being a servant to others? Well show me how you serve. And when you serve, what's in your heart while you're doing it?"
I can't begin to tell you how many messages about obedience, giving, and servant leadership I'm getting.
At the end of my Obsessed Journey I felt called to give my time even though the church was talking about impact through financial giving. I have committed 416 hours over two years to spending time with God and being of service to others, not necessarily through the church. I'm pretty protective of my time so I guess it makes sense and ain't like I have a paycheck right now. *Shrugs*
Side note: When I asked God to give me a number and 416 popped into my head I thought it was totally random. But when I got to group that week someone did a calculation and it turns out, it's 20% of a 40 hour work week over 52 weeks. Interesting... tithe x2.
One of my girls posted a quote on her IG story recently. It said, "What you desire is deliberately out of reach so that you can become the person it takes to obtain it."
Girllllll that spoke to me! I'm stepping into the season of Cultivation and God is cultivating my character, my heart, and my will. And honey, it's not comfortable having Him confront me on all my flaws. There are certain traits though that I must possess and things I must do if I'm going to walk this path. Like.... He even asked me to clean someone's house who I barely knew and had only seen 3x. Weird and uncomfortable, but I did it.
I want to close with a couple of messages that are helping me through this.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. - Isaiah 41:10
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all." - Mark 9:35
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. - Galatians 6:9
"Joseph was a servant and prisoner with a dream before rising to command. David was anointed and then served Saul for many years before sitting on the throne. Elisha was a servant to Elijah, and Moses served as a shepherd before leading Israel out of captivity. Do you think any of them would have been prepared for the great ministry God had planned for them if they hadn't first learned how to serve? Certainly not! In order to lead, one must first learn to serve." - Next Generation Leadership Bible Plan
Do you have a calling you're struggling to accept? I'd love to hear how you're attempting to get over this hump or how you conquered it if it's no longer an issue.