In my previous blog, I talked about the gift of friendship, and some of the things that make friendship so valuable. God's gifts come in many different forms, and as we grow in our understanding of the things that are most meaningful, we express these desires to God. Some of the blessings we are often prayerful about are a loving spouse, children, fulfilling career, financial wealth, and good health. These are the things that people not only desire in today’s society, but I also read stories in the Bible of individuals who had a heart for some of these same longings.
It was the deception of Rachel’s father that lead to many years that passed before Jacob and Rachel were finally able to marry. Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth are only a few of the many women in the Bible who waited very long lengths of time to conceive during a period in society when often women were defined by whether or not they had children. Joseph had to endure years of affliction before he finally landed his dream job.
As I remain prayerful about the dreams I have for my marriage, my desire to bare healthy children, and have a job that leads to fulfillment emotionally and financially, I am becoming more aware of how I can place limitations on God. I often notice this as I reflect in my quiet times and communicate to God. I’m realizing that even though it’s difficult I really need to reshape my thinking about who God is and what sovereignty really means. I can often feel like God is dismissive or numb to my prayers, and that they do not move His heart to grant me my desires. Now looking back at some of the things that did not go my way, I knew in my heart that God was sovereign but my perspective of His sovereignty was skewed. What I still can really feel is that God is unbothered by my pain. I can feel like he is not moved to changed my circumstances or the discouragement I’m feeling, but the Bible say’s in 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
So, what I’m fighting for now more intentionally is to have faith, and not just in the fact that God exist, but that God’s thoughts of what is immeasurably more far surpasses anything I could ever pray for. Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. One day as I was on a prayer walk, it occurred to me that it just makes God happy when I believe he can do something special for me. When my students ask me for something, they ask knowing without a doubt that I will be able to help them, and in that sense my students coming to me, whether it’s to help with reading a word or understanding a new math concept, shows that they have total faith that I’m the solution to their problem. God wants me to have faith in him in the same way, but I don’t always because my pride kicks in and tells me as I’m praying that “God isn’t going to change my situation as quickly as I would like or at all.” My pride says that “sure God did a miraculous work in that person’s life, but he wouldn’t do something like that for me.” I even remember at times feeling like things were going really well, and my pride crept in again and I said to myself “It can’t get any better than this” as though God isn’t capable of blessing me with more than what I was experiencing then.
I know that it is because of God’s grace that I still receive his gifts even when my prayers are full of doubt. I do believe that God acknowledges that even in my lack of faith I still have enough faith to pray. I also think about the scriptures that talk about having a mustard seed of faith, or faith that can move mountains, and I believe God can take a mustard seed of faith and move mountains. It’s just that now as I am fighting for faith while praying, I don’t want my faith to come in measurements. Looking back, I think unfortunately I would use the mustard seed of faith scripture as an excuse not to grow in my belief of what God can do in my life, but now I just want to have faith and bring it all to God knowing that he is the solution. Believing that God can create something out of nothing takes a new level of faith that I don't often have to exercise. Recently, I launched my t-shirt business and trusting God will bring this business success means that I need to come to God having faith in what I can not see. I can not see profit in the future because I don't have a business degree, sponsors, a grant, or anything else that could reassure me that I’ll make sales and have success with this business. I've been quite literally going to God like "God please make this business grow out of nothing." Entrepreneurship has made the fight to grow in my faith quite real because according to society the probability of my success isn't looking to good, but I'm not to putting my faith in the ads, a course that teaches me about selling t-shirts, the algorithms, or anything else that I’m told is needed to grow a successful business. Yes, God can use all these things and work through them. Still, I must reach for more faith in solely what Christ can do because I'm tired of studying about, worshipping, and praying to the God that took a formless Earth and said let there be and there was, but not whole heartily believing that he can put something that is invisible into existence for me!
I’m also trying to faithfully believe that regardless of whether or not God answers my prayers the way I hope, that I am still loved just as much as the person who in my mind has it all. I sometimes wonder why some dancers are born with strengths in certain areas that are a struggle for me, and that can make it difficult to enjoy where God has placed me on my dance journey. It can also become easy to focus on where I wish my marriage could be instead of relishing in the season God has given me and my husband. I have to fight to remember that regardless of the monetary compensation, God has me at a specific job to learn valuable lessons that no employer will ever be able to match. At church, I can wish that I was chosen to serve in the capacity of another sister, and feel like what I’ve done so far doesn’t make a big difference to the Kingdom at all. On social media, I can look at certain Christian influencers that have made a huge impact and begin to think that my presence isn’t useful since I don’t have a large following. Then God reminds me of the joy I receive from engaging in the community he is building for me to serve, and how inspiring it is to be a tool used by God to bring even one life closer to Christ. I’m praying that God gives me limitless faith to believe that he will bless me with the gifts I’ve been praying for daily. I feel God is teaching me to persist in deepening my faith in him, but God is also helping me to deepen my conviction in believing that when my dreams don’t come true, he loves me just as he loves the sister in church, dancer, friend, or colleague who seem to have it all. God loves us all the same. I am not inferior or less loved by my heavenly Father because of what I asked for and got or asked for and didn’t get. Those around me are not superior or more loved because God blessed them with their hearts request. It is not easy to believe this and be confident knowing it, but I’m fighting to have faith in this truth. God’s love for me is not contingent upon my prayers that were answered in the way I hoped or the gifts I receive as blessings. God’s love is manifested perfectly through the gift of Jesus Christ.