Some of the things I am planning on doing this week include:
- Cleaning my carpet
- Buying paint and painting my walls and woodwork
Both of these items have been on my proverbial "to-do" list for several years. Why I waited is beyond me. I mean, how expensive is a can of paint (really?) When you think it over, I might spend $20 on something to eat, and a can of paint is about the same (especially on sale). A fresh coat of paint is the easiest way to perk up drab surroundings, and I am the type of person who finds refreshment in new things. Often I would change my furniture around, sew new curtains, repurpose an old item, etc.; and, by doing little things like this, would immediately feel so much better. I think it is the "doing" part of living, and I am a doer. I don't like to sit still and do nothing, and I feel like that is all I have been doing now for years.
When my son was little, I still thought about decorating, changing things around, making new out of old things. Something changed about ten years ago, and I think it was the realization that at age 37, my life was not getting better. You know, when you live just barely above the poverty line for so long, you learn the word "no" really well. I need a new washer (answer: no, not now, not sure when). It isn't that we couldn't save for one, it was more that the need was never elevated to a priority. I learned to do without, to make do, to live on nothing. After a while in this state, you simply lose interest in doing anything different BECAUSE you believe that nothing will ever change, that it is not possible to do anything different. You learn that "defeated" is normal.
The mistake in thinking this way is that, for one, it is not a Biblical Perspective at all. God is the God of all possibility, and He never calls us to settle for defeated lives. Yes, we may suffer, we may struggle, and we may always be poor -- but we are not to be defeated. Discouragement, disappointment, dejection -- these are all tools Satan uses to keep us defeated and feeling as though our lives do not matter to God. Of course, this is one big lie -- that God is too busy, is not pleased with us, or doesn't care about us. He does, He always cares about us. Our lives matter greatly to Him, and while He doesn't always lift us completely out of our circumstances; He does give us the Grace to endure them. God doesn't always send us a handout, but He does provide a way for us to help ourselves. He will show us how to solve such and such a problem; He will show us a way out (this is a promise from Scripture). Our problem is that often we allow the lies to permeate so deeply, to wound us so completely, that we do not believe there is any other way. In short, we live hopeless lives in light of the Hope and Glory of God. This is not to be, and it is not the condition God calls any of His children to live in.
Christ is our Hope and our Glory, and as children of the Most High, we are joint heirs with Him. We are given all spiritual blessings, have all material needs met, and can find that our sufficiency is supplied through our Risen Lord. We tend to focus on the need left unmet, and in doing so, color our perspective in such a way that we believe all our needs are unmet. Again, another lie of Satan. God doesn't always meet every need, only those which He determines are in need of being met. Some needs really turn out to be wants or desires; some needs can be met by others or by ourselves (if we change our attitude or mindset). He will meet all our needs; He just doesn't do it through His Hand all the time (indirectly versus directly). We want His Hand to directly give to us, like an ATM machine or a magic lamp. This is not how God works. He wants us to grow up and be capable people, people able to do His work. Therefore, we have to do some work, we have to do some of the diligence (as in "due diligence.")
Have you ever wondered why Jesus' required His disciples to go out and preach and heal people? I mean really, Jesus healed through thought -- He didn't always need to go there and personally touch the person. The disciples were witness to such an event, so they knew that He could do whatever He wanted. Why then, did they have to go out and do it in His Name? I think it was so that they would understand the personal connection that goes with doing anything in His Name. If we stood around and said "Jesus heal Thomas today" and then it was done -- would the outcome be the same as if we went out and personally met Thomas?
I think God sends us to Thomas (or anyone with a need) so that through our words and our testimony, we are able to experience living faith. We get to see Thomas' faith in God grow; and, we get to experience blessing through our faithful service. This is "faith-in-action," and it is what I think Joyce Meyer means when she says she is "blessed to be a blessing." As we minister to others, we ourselves are ministered in return. In the example of Thomas' faith, we see two things happening. First, as Thomas seeks healing from God, his faith is born and begins to grow. Second, as our faith is demonstrated and lived out, we then receive blessing in return. We are witnesses of this living faith -- sort of a merry-go-round effect. This is how God changes lives. His way in using us as a conduit for blessing and faith is far more complete than through a "gimme" handout. Our Lord knew this then, and He knows it now. Nothing has changed in over 2000 years, and I think this is why He still asks us to go out and do His work (versus just staying home and calling it forth). Does that make sense? I hope so.
So where does that leave me? I guess right here (laughing to myself). I am in the midst of a wonderful experience whereby God is doing a major work in my life. I know that I am in training, being prepared for His Work (ministry), but until He determines the timing of it, I have work to do (things to do). My eyes are open to see all the work (things) that need doing, and I have the time right now to do them. PTL! In a few weeks, Lord willing, I will be working full-time and then I will only have the weekends to get these types of projects done. Then in two months time, Lord willing, I will be starting my graduate classes, and I will simply not have any spare time at all. The Lord knows this, He knows what is coming round the bend, and in His Gracious way, He has given me the time to get these things done now.
God is SO GOOD TO ME and HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER.