Less than a month ago I wrote about a challenging season for the purpose of being able to bring God praise when the way was made. Well friends, let us rejoice together because our Heavenly Father who knows our needs took care of me again and did the impossible.
On April 12, three days before Tax Day, I made the final deposit into my savings. Most people would be sad to see $617 leave their account, but I nearly cried with joy for God’s provision.
Looking back, it’s hard to believe this was only a two month journey. From the tear-filled evening of February 13 to the rejoicing of the final deposit April 12, God used that time to do amazing work in my life.
It’s true my miracle wasn’t a mysterious and large check in the mail or a surprise raise at work. I didn’t get more freelancing clients or suddenly find a large benefactor. Up until the first week of April, I still didn’t see a way. yet I trusted in the words of my God and the knowledge His promises never fail.
When going through my budget April 1, it was the first time I saw the miracle. Like I said, nothing big or life changing happened, but enough small things moved and worked out that suddenly I realized I would have just enough.
I didn’t need a miracle bail-out check. Well, I guess technically I did, but God knew it wouldn’t do me any good aside from putting a bandage over my financial problem. My issues with money didn’t begin with tax season and are far from over. If His plan had been to provide abundantly, I’m sure I would’ve fallen into the same routines as before.
This became clear when I was trying to sell some clothes for extra money. A friend brought it up and I just happened to have a bag full of clothes in my trunk removed from my wardrobe during spring cleaning. It felt like a perfect sign and the day I went to sell, I kept praying that even if I only made $20, I’d be excited.
But then my mind started to wander.
I thought about what would happen if I received even more money. Maybe I could treat myself to dinner out! I haven’t done that in months. I became consumed by how I would spend the money, and I missed the purpose of selling at all.
I walked away with $14.50 and a bag full of mostly unsold clothing.
This wasn’t a one-time thought process of how I’ll live with more money. I find myself all the time thinking “when my loan is paid off” and “when I make more money” I can buy this, this, and this. Even if I’m “content” with where I am, I’m always imagining what I’ll do with more money. Tithing is an important part of my life, but I rarely think of how much more I could give back.
I’m in my second year of living only on my means and it’s been a radical life change for me. With credit cards, you never have to deny yourself because there’s always room in one of your accounts. When all else fails, you get a new card. I taught myself that I didn’t need to want for anything, so even as I get back on track financially, my goal is to one day get back to that place without self-denial.
Don’t get me wrong – treating yourself is good. I firmly believe that once you’ve given back to God what is His and you know you can pay your bills, we should enjoy our money. But my goal shouldn’t be to make more just so I can buy more stuff.
Right now it’s clear God can’t trust me with a lot because I’m a bad steward of what little I have. In practice I’m doing a fine job because I can’t spend it elsewhere, but mentally I haven’t learned a thing.
I still want to dress a certain way and project a certain image. I care so much about my appearance and how it influences other people’s perception of me. There’s nothing wrong with my wardrobe, except it’s not the most stylish or new and maybe I wear outfits a little more often than I’d like because I don’t have as much as I used to.
Marie Kondo taught me about holding onto things that “spark joy” and letting go of the rest. I quickly realized how shallow and empty my purchasing habits are from this exercise. Most of my clothes I don’t really care about because they were purchased in a blind spending spree, not because I carefully considered and wanted it, but because it was cute and likely on sale.
The items in my apartment that bring me the most joy are almost all donated. I only have a few pieces of furniture I’ve actually purchased. Almost everything else is based on the generosity of others. That kindness and helpful attitude mean more to me than some fancy Ikea desk that I never even sit at anymore.
Even now, as I write in my living room, I’m reminded that I’ve purchased only one piece of furniture in this entire space. It’s a little pink ottoman I bought for my freshman dorm room 10 years ago. Everything else is a hodge podge of items from my parents, sister, grandparents, and friends. I love being in this room because it’s a constant reminder of the goodness of others.
As I learn about God’s provision, I realize I need to let my ambitions go in more ways than one. He knows my needs, He’s taking care of me, all I need to do is rest in Him and man, what a relief that is. Even if it means I’m going to spend every week for the rest of my life trusting Him with what little I have and knowing He will take care of me.
It means letting go of the aesthetic I used to want so desperately and instead focus on what I do have, which is a wardrobe of clothes that are clean and nice. I’m not wearing rags or clothes that look like they’re from the 1970s. My couch pillows may not match the room but they support my head and back and really, what else do you need from pillows? Maybe there won’t be a theme to every room of my apartment but it doesn’t mean it’s not cozy and a place where I feel safe.
What I know is I’m blessed beyond all measure with everything I do have, especially compared to most of the world’s population. I’m sad because I can’t buy a new dress for Easter when there are people starving without homes. My financial status is relative and the bigger issue I face is cultural pressures.
When I’m by myself in my apartment, not on social media or watching television, I can forget about the world’s expectations. I don’t see the latest styles or newly released makeup. I don’t have constant reminders about who I should be and what everything in my life should look like, and I’m content. As soon as I re-enter that world, I’m bombarded because I don’t have enough stuff.
I know I can’t change the world, but I can let God change me.
That’s exactly what He’s doing. My financial situation wasn’t radically changed moving forward so I’m still in the same place as before, just with less money owed to the government. Instead, God knew He had to change me first. I’m learning to be content and thankful for what I am blessed with instead of thinking about how much better it will be when I have more.
Then I also remember I’ve had more, and it just left me feeling like it was never enough.
I’m so thankful to everyone who prayed for me after my last post. I’m so excited that we’re here now, celebrating in the goodness and unfailing nature of God. I can’t say it enough – it shouldn’t have worked, but it did, because that’s who our God is and always will be, forever.
[Also, because of all this, I had to let my domain name and WordPress premium plan go. It was hard, but I have to trust God in giving up the ownership of my online identity. For now, you can find my blog here: https://seeminglygoodideasblog.wordpress.com]
Before I stop, I’d be foolish if I didn’t talk about the title of this blog, You made a way, and the significance of today. Initially, I was thinking of the Elevation Worship song “Do it Again” when I wrote the title, but quickly another came to mind:
Hear the roar of the rugged cross
Jesus Christ You alone have saved us
We worship You now
No wonder we sing Your praise
Jesus our hope forever
You made a way, You made a way
God made a way for me in this season, but what He did through Jesus Christ paved the way for my faith and salvation. Long before any of this, God sent and sacrificed His son so we could be together and how fitting this post comes on Good Friday.
I reminded that there’s nothing my God won’t do for me because of His deep love for all of us. That includes small miracles that overcome financial hurdles. I hope you have this hope as well.