Presence Devotion #28

Aisha Fatur

Scripture

2 Corinthians 9:8 “God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.”

Insight

I have so much to be thankful for in my life.  However, there have been times when I have fallen deeply into the ‘if only’ spiritual hole.  Looking at all the plates I try to keep spinning in the air I start to think things like…

“If only I had more time to exercise. If only I had more time to cook. If only I had more time to clean. I only I had more time to shop. If only I had more time to sleep.  I only I had more time to see my husband alone.   If only my house was bigger and didn’t look so messy. If only my mortgage was smaller. If only my husband earned a wage instead of a owning a business. If only my husband helped me more. If only my husband was home more.  If only my husband worked more…”. I know what you’re thinking… my poor husband!

To sum up this process, I become discontent.  I take God out of his rightful place as my Sustainer and Provider and put my frustrations there instead.   Discontentment can make you tight fisted with your time and your resources, it can make you more judgemental and most significantly, diminishes your faith and capacity for giving and receiving grace.

But why do we fall so easily into this ‘if only’ mindset?  Part of this process is looking at where your ideas about how your life should look come from. I believe a lot of frustration occurs when we take our eyes off God’s bigger story and look at the story the ‘world’ is persuading us to live up to.  A study by American researchers Killborn and Katz, found that an average person was exposed to over 3000 forms of advertising per day, yet most people reportedly don’t believe they are being affected by it.  But the reality is that we end up forming our identities in relation to what the media shows us to be normal, and we strive to meet the media’s view of success. A lot of advertising tells us how to achieve happiness because that’s what we are most likely to BUY into.  Trying to keep up with this ‘ideal’ is utterly exhausting and puts all the emphasis back on us, on our strengths, and eventually makes us want to hide our weaknesses.

Thankfully, I am happy to report that I got out of this hole (at least for now) because God showed me over and over again in a number of ways this one simple truth:  That God is writing a bigger story with our lives where your imperfections shine a light on the glory of He who gives us grace.  It is so important that when we fall short and struggle we reach out and not hide in shame, otherwise we get in the way of what God is doing through us. One of the biggest lies we’ve been sold is that real Christians have it together and that is what the secular population expect from us too.

God wants to show how we maintain hope and courage through the challenges of life.  Instead of asking “why God?”, ask “what do you want show me through this?”  In our text today it says, “God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.”  This sentence starts with God’s name, not ours for a very good reason.

God can equip you for anything you may be facing. So take pleasure and be authentic in your imperfect life and allow others that same privilege.

Reflective Questions

1/ what thoughts/feelings lead you to discontentment?

2/ How can you remind yourself of the goodness of God?

3/ What does it mean for you to live out this verse?