I stumble around on Jeremiah 17 these days, and by stumble I mean it catches me off guard, teasing me with how much I think I have it all figured out and how much I really don't: I trip over words like prosperity and cursed and no worries.
I am not afraid of poverty. Really. I'm not. Peanut butter and jelly are familiar friends and I can pinch a penny as far as you can throw one. I am happy to buy used and on sale and even not buy at all (ask me the last time I bought a stitch of clothing?). I've lived budgeting every cent for years on end and no matter what, I never felt completely covered. Provision was an unattainable goal for me--getting by creatively became my focus and the worry that I wouldn't became my favorite friend.
Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good (prosperity) come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.
It is strange how we do not see prosperity when it comes, strange how we are always looking for tomorrow's manna today. Strange how every day feels like a parched place. We are like the Israelites: maybe this will be the day our Messiah comes?
Six months ago I let go of the worry. I sold the table and every book. I let fear out the front door and didn't even give it a proper send off. I determined that I was going to live until the money ran out and I was going to do so with joy and expectation. I was not going to work my fingers to the bone and I was not going to love my bank account or my budget more than Jesus or people. I was going to pay my bills, not go into debt, and spend my energy and my heart on seeing every penny as provision.
It surprised me today when I checked my bank balance.
I mean, it really surprised me. I thought: how is that possible? How is it possible that I have spent my savings and made one third of what I normally make and there is still an abundance in my account?
Here's how: my perception of abundance has changed radically in the past half year--and it is not attached to a dollar amount or a stocked refrigerator or bills paid or Starbucks once a week.
Abundance, I am learning, is everywhere, but maybe we are too busy trusting in our strength to see it. Maybe we are like shrubs in the desert, sticking our roots down in parched soil, holding on for dear life, immovable and unfruitful.
Maybe moving to Texas was foolish, maybe, but I was moving. Maybe quitting my job was foolish, but I was trusting. Maybe living off of little for six months was ridiculous, but I was desperate. And here is what I have learned: my strength is not trustworthy and my accounting does not insure prosperity. Even with money in the bank, as long as I was trusting in me to put it there, I was dwelling in a parched land.
I don't have this down, I promise. But I am learning it and I am learning it all the more because never have I felt the provision of Jesus like I have felt it in this season. I am still not rich, but when someone says to me today, "Lo, you're POOR. I know you're poor!" what catches in my heart is not the fear that I will always be poor or frustration at that, but instead a strong and joy-filled rebuttal: I'm not! I'm rich! I have enough, more than I ever have before.
*This is also a good time to tell you that today was my first day at Sower of Seeds as their full time graphic artist. Which means, yes folks, my six months here is nearly up and I'm staying in Texas! Parched land and all!