Balloons

This is one of those topics that sounds great in my head but inevitably feels so lame when I see it typed out. So Jesus-y and preachy.

I always imagined that when you’re hard pressed for money, God would magically write a check made out to you and zap it into your mailbox, something akin to the tooth fairy. How else would it happen? Maybe raining money, or simply finding an envelope full of ca$h somewhere. Is that so much to ask?

But instead, what I’ve found is that He sneaks it in by making you work for it. Ugh. Such a disappointment. (please don’t report me for blasphemy) You may know that over the last few years I’ve cobbled together a patchwork-like collection of jobs that mostly have very little to do with each other. I work for a church, I work for a stationery designer, I do a little designing of my own, I work for a couple of florists in town, I babysit, I worked at a biscuit place briefly, I worked at Paper Source, now I just teach lettering workshops there, I worked in a showroom as people bought thousands and thousands of dollars worth of beautiful homewares. I’m probably forgetting stuff. As you can imagine, it’s not a dream salary. So sometimes things get tight and I start panicking about money and finances. The bank account keeps getting lower and I am a bundle of anxiety bopping around like a balloon ready to pop if you hit it just the wrong way.

That’s usually when I get an email that goes something like, “Hey! I need some extra help this week, do you have time?” AND THEN I MAKE MONEY. The balloon slowly deflates to a more manageable size (because let’s be honest, we’re all anxiety balloons all the time to some degree) and bills get paid, the gifts get bought, the dinner doesn’t get cancelled, the tithe doesn’t empty the checking account. It took several of these well-timed employment adventures for me to realize that it wasn’t mere chance but a beautiful orchestration of care and teaching.

I care about your bills getting paid. I care about you being able to keep that coffee date with a friend. I care about your anxiety. I care about your balloon metaphor, that was cute, good job.

That’s God. He thinks my metaphor was cute.

But also, remember that I care about you. Remember that if you are that balloon, it’s for a good reason. I want you to learn to trust me. I want you to remember you can come to Me before you pop and I’ll make sure you don’t. I want you to learn that I’m here, waiting to hear your voice directed to Me.

God really likes this balloon thing. (Okay but really am I getting blasphemous? All in good fun, y’all. Pinky promise. I’ve got some embarrassing moments that prove He’s got a sense of humor.)

Weird self-praise aside, I really do believe these things. I pray a lot more now, and I reap the benefits, believe me. I never thought I’d be one to piece together several different jobs to try to make a whole one. I’m not great at it yet. It’s hard and exhausting. Establishing boundaries isn’t easy either. But little by little, job by job, one-off by one-off, I’m learning and trying new things and hoping that soon I’ll see why. But I at least have a piece of that big picture, even when I have to work for it.

the best I can do

I often feel inadequate or unworthy because I’m not bringing home a full-time, steady paycheck. I work at least two jobs a week, sometimes more, but still feel like I could/should be doing more. Every Wednesday morning I go to Community Bible Study for two hours, and I often feel guilty about that. Time is money, and Jesus ain’t payin me to read 1 John chapter 5 this week. But today I was reminded by my wise CBS core group leader that the best thing I can do for my family is to spend time with Jesus and study His Word. The best thing I can do is forget what my financial contribution is sometimes but always remember my value is found in the Lord. The best thing I can do is seek richness in spirit, not in wealth.

So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go read 1 John chapter 5 and sip my $6 wine thankyouverymuch.