Friday, April 23, 2010

Embracing Limits Opens the Door Wide Open

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights. (Habakkuk 3:17-19 NIV)

Yesterday I was hit with a health care "bombshell" that our insurance would cost us another $2000 this coming year. Since we could barely afford the level it's at, I was more than anxious and disappointed. As I considered the all-too-familiar thoughts of my old self/orphan self:
"God won't provide."
"This is it, the doom I've been expecting."
"This is further proof of my worthlessness, and my abandonment by God."

For the first time, I felt a choice before me - did I want to embrace this familiar path, or go down a new one? God was calling me to trust him, and I felt drawn to a new path. I started indulging in new thoughts:
"This is a familiar place of need. I can recount many times of being overwhelmed with financial need and God has always come through."
"I am not abandoned, He is with me."
"Rather than this being a curse that says "I'm worthless," it is actually a blessing saying "He loves me" because of how close I will need to stay to Him."
"This is a gift to keep us close to Him."

Last night on my walk I felt that embracing this new "limit" as a gift from my Father who loves me placed my soul in wide open spaces. I felt myself breathing deeply, confident in the future grace of my Abba to meet our needs. In contrast, when I interpret my limits as curses and further evidence of my worthlessness, my soul is cramped and unable to breathe deeply. Even if I could manufacture a means to generate more "margin" with my financial limits (go out and get $10,000 for example, as if I could), my soul would still be bound to the limits of my bank account, and subject to the temporary "security" and "control" they provide (at least, until the next financial limit comes). But when my soul's boundaries are not bound to the limits of my bank account, they are free to be bound to the limitless limits of God's grace, which opens up an entire world of freedom and peace!

Though I stand on a precarious cliff, he makes my feet firm and my path wide.

Those who know me well know that I have always struggled with financial anxieties, so this is a major shift for me. I thank God for his grace at work in me to take steps forward in this journey with Him.

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