Hi everyone. Rob here.
When I’m in one of those spaces where I’m struggling to trust God, I’m a bit anxious, a bit stressed and worried, I become an escape artist. I check out and struggle to engage with reality. The news becomes really interesting, every sports result matters, movies become attractive and so on. You may think that the antidote to this kind of passivity is to take charge, make life happen, get over it and get on with it and, to a certain extent, you’d be right. There is a need to face reality and take action. However, I find that if I move forward without giving myself over to God things don’t go so well. The anxiety and stress return and the desire to escape can become stronger and the escape routes unhealthier. God is my life and I don’t want to live life as if that isn’t true. I need a better way.
My first step is to name what’s bugging me. This involves asking Jesus to expose my heart and show me what’s really going on. I assume that it’s an internal issue and not an external one. This is important. Many people rush to try and find an external solution. Sometimes that’s needed, but when I’m checking out I know that it’s the internal wiring that’s off. Recently I was asking Jesus what was going on and he showed me that I was struggling to trust God with our finances, my new ministry and the future generally. The enemy then tries to get in with messages of worthlessness and failure. This could get serious but I’ve diagnosed the bug at an early stage and now action can be taken. I renounce the distrust, rebuke the enemy’s lies, pray for help with my faith (“I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief” – Mark 9:24) and ask Jesus what he wants me to agree with. This last step has really been helping me, and challenging me.
He wants me to agree with his abundance. That sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? The difficulty is that I’ve been cheap my whole life! I struggle to recognise and celebrate abundance. It all sounds a bit health-wealth and triumphalistic to me. But here’s the catch. He showed me that I’ve already lived a life of abundance. He reminded me about the overseas trips I’ve been able to take, the food on our table and in our freezer, the family holidays and so much more. There’s also the blessing of a home, a family and friends. Remember the older brother in the Prodigal Son parable of Luke 15? My older brother just got exposed. I need to hear the words of the father in the parable and my Father in heaven;
You are always with me and everything I have is yours (Luke 15:31).
The antidote to checking out isn’t to take charge; it’s to check in. It’s to check my heart in with the one who has made it new; Jesus. It’s to give him permission to name the real issue, to expose what’s under the hood and give it all back to him so he can put it to death on his cross. It’s to give myself afresh to him and agree with what Father, Son and Spirit are up to in my life, even if it stretches me, challenges me and upsets my categories. I agree with God’s abundance, his open heaven and the provision of his kingdom. I agree that I have already received his abundance. He defines abundance; not the world, not the church, not the televangelists. I just know that his abundance looks a lot like life in all its fullness.
Grace and peace.