I can do all things through Him who give me strength. Philippians 4:13
If God is behind it, that is the driving force that will get us through. But if He's not behind it, then we may as well be paddling up steam without the proverbial paddle.
When I stopped working to raise my young children, we struggled financially. I ranted and raved to God, yet knew I was doing the right thing by staying home to take care of them. So I began working out ideas on how to raise extra money, and finally settled on making t-shirts. I'd even prayed about it and asked God if it was alright. I didn't hear him say "no" so I figured it would be fine. Actually, I felt He was perfectly fine with me doing this project.
Unfortunately, it never did take off. I never made a profit. If anything, I lost more money on it.
Defeated, I asked, "Why Lord? I hate the way we are struggling. I just want to do something to fix it."
He directed me to the proceeding verses of Philippians 4 where Paul says, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what is is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry. Whether living in plenty or in want." (vs. 12)
It came down to me going through a learning process of being content even in want. He taught me the secret. It started with leaning to let go of my expectations of how I thought things "should" be. He had my life in His hands and I needed to trust in that truth. Then I learned to listen to Him and be obedient to what he asked.
One of the reasons for my absence in keeping up with posting to this blog was I felt prompted to organize a Young Writer's club at my school where I work. I'd never done such a thing before, but the materials I needed simply came to me, and most surprising was the amount of kids who came every week. It was a great success.
And I believe it was such a success because He was behind the whole thing. In return, I've received much for doing this:
The thrill of helping kids find out they had it in them to do something hard as they wrote their stories and worked toward their goals.
The chance to write and finish my own book.
The honor of being nominated for an Extra Mile Award from my school.
The privilege of having the group featured in a podcast on the district website.
I think I'm finally understanding the secret. I can do anything so long as I do it through Him in partnership with Him and not on my own because of my own selfish desires.
He is the way. He is the truth. He is the life force that drives me to do great things. That helps me to stand firm in trials. That helps me to climb heights I'd never try on my own. At church, our worship leader, David Mayo summed it all up for me when he said, "We don't try to work God into what we are doing. We try to fit ourselves into what God is doing."
That's the secret.
Father, help me to seek your will first, knowing that all the other things in my life will fall into place as I drop my agenda and run after you. Amen.
If you'd like to hear the podcast, click the link.