In the last year God has been teaching me to NOT provide for my own needs. This has been a most amazing process and lesson. For instance, I’ll be in a store and I’ll be looking at the soap, thinking, “I am almost out of soap. I should buy some soap.”
But then I think, “Well, I can last another week or so with the soap I have. I’ll just wait to buy soap.” And within that week, lo and behold, someone gifts me some soap. This has happened a couple of times. Just like that.
Or, I’ll buy the soap, and then someone gifts me some soap!! And I realize that I really didn’t need to buy that soap.
This has also happened with coffee. I’ll be thinking, “I am running out of coffee, next time I’m out I’ll make sure to buy some.” But then I’ll think, “Well, I can last another week or two with the coffee I have, I’ll just wait to buy it.” And within the week or two, lo and behold, someone will gift me some coffee. Just like that. This has also happened a couple of times.
Today I drove my son to the airport and on the way I was thinking it would be smart to buy something to eat (the morning had been full and I would get home well past lunch). I opened my mouth to mention this to my son and, lo and behold, he had a burrito wrap that he had bought that morning but didn’t eat. Just like that.
A few months ago I was thinking about all the people I was connecting with this fall, all the places I’d have to drive to and how (not owning a car) I was going to have to use my parents car far too much – I began to wonder about how this was going to work.
Lo and behold, said son (the one with the burrito) began working up north for a couple of weeks at a time then home for a week. He has needed someone to drive him to and from the airport. Thankfully I’ve been able to do this for him as he needs, and lo and behold, I’ve had his car to use for the weeks he is up north. Just like that.
I don’t have to supply my own needs.
I DON’T HAVE TO SUPPLY MY OWN NEEDS.
I have many other examples I could give and yet I cannot even remember them all. This is becoming my new normal.
It was four summers ago that God first instructed me that I was to begin receiving. That August I came down with the flu, and from my sick-bed and via Facebook people began asking me what I needed, and I … I had ample opportunity to begin practicing receiving from others.
To one gal I said, “Yes I need some apples.” And she brought me a bag of apples.
To another I said, “Yes I need some onions.” And she brought me a bag of onions.
Simple things, but great humility (a breaking of ego) was required to receive and have these things not only bought for me but also delivered. Letting others take care of our needs is a whole other kind of lesson! It was the beginning of the experiencing of the Kingdom of God in a whole new way.
Last year I was sick and had honey and garlic delivered to my door.
I don’t have to supply my own needs
When I am overseas I live this way. I make no provision for myself. I rely on those I am with to feed me and to give me a place to sleep. Quite frankly, I am always blessed by all that people do to care for me.
It may be a mattress on a floor but it is made each day, sheets straightened and tucked in clean and straight. Beautiful, thoughtful, service. I am blown away.
It may be a mat on a dirt floor but a cloth is laid out, a pillow is fashioned, my mosquito net is hung from the rafters and I am secure. Just like that.
It may be an outside bathing area but the water is heated and honour is given. The best showers in the world are overseas. Fashioned with love and care.
The Bible talks about how itinerant travelling ministers are to be cared for by those they go to. Yet, as I work alongside pastors I have seen that we have taken these verses to mean ‘people will give money’.
Now, people may give money, but it is quite possible to live without money. If someone gifts me a bar of soap I don’t need money to buy a bar of soap. If someone gifts me a bag of coffee I don’t need money to buy a bag of coffee. If someone feeds me a meal I don’t need money to buy food for my meal. If someone gives me a place to sleep I don’t need money to secure a place to sleep. Et cetera.
Provision is not about ‘having money so that I can provide for my own needs’, it is deeper and more profound than this. It is the freedom to live outside of the cares and concerns that money brings. It is the freedom to live outside of the cares and concerns of our personal needs.
If you could make less money but have your needs provided for, wouldn’t this be the better way? Do we have to have the money for the soap or can we simply receive the soap? Except, that to do this we must put down our pride along with our infernal idolatry of self.
The hardest thing in all of this is the requirement that our needs become simpler and simpler. Years of practice are required to realize we don’t need what we think we need. In this process our addictions to stuff and our ego needs around security and comfort are challenged, stripped down, resolved, and we are renovated from the inside out. It is hard, hard work. But oh so very worthwhile.
Freedom comes at cost to self. It comes at cost to our pride and it costs us our fears. It requires that we boldly live with less and then boldly learn to say yes to all that others might want to give us and do for us.
Soap. Coffee. Boots (my boots were gifted to me last year by a friend).
Sleeping spaces. Warm showers. Food in my belly.
Welcomes. Hugs. Smiles. Kindnesses beyond my imagination.
Tickets to women’s events. Invites to gatherings.
Meals bought and paid for. Tea and coffee treated.
A car at my disposal.
The list goes on.
Extravagant, generous offers of care and sacrifice.
“Thank you so much.”
God delights to take care of us. For most of us this means that we must stop providing for ourselves. We must take the moments to pause and wait on the Lord. Holding back in ‘taking care of things’ takes courage, demands trust, and offers a world of good things from the hand of God.
It’s a pretty cool journey.