Do you ever find yourself wondering why you are stuck? Maybe you have been in the same exact situation for a while and its definitely not your favorite season of life. Maybe you feel like blessings aren’t pouring into your life like you’d hoped. Two things I always tend to check first are my attitude of gratitude followed quickly by my heart towards generosity.
First and foremost, do you wake up praising God for another day? Even in the midst of a storm, are you giving God the glory? Maybe the fog is so dense you can only muster a “Thank you, Lord, for my spouse, children, career, job, family, friends (or insert your own gratitude here).” Maybe it takes everything you have to thank Him for those things, because you may be feeling not-so-loving towards them. Thank God for them anyway and watch what He does to your heart. I have witnessed first hand how God can change my heart by waking up with an attitude of gratitude each day. Some days I may have only had 2 hours of sleep or a child had an upset tummy and didn’t make it to the bathroom or someone at work had a bad day and I just happened to be the one who was on the receiving end of the last straw, but somehow in the midst of all the “stuff”, I’d find a way to praise His name. Sometimes it might have been through clenched teeth, but I praised His name. You do have another day to do something different, to change your circumstances, to change how your story ends, but nothing changes by playing victim. For something to change, something has to change. We serve an amazing God who can do more than we ever thought possible! (see the promise in Ephesians 3:20)
Secondly, do you find yourself grasping onto “your” belongings with a tight grip? For example, someone needs a place to stay temporarily or someone needs some cash because they are in a tight spot. Do you open up your home with loving arms or hand over the cash you have to help someone in need? What if it’s a homeless person on the street? Do you hand them money and pray blessings over them? Or do you say, “I am not giving them money, because they will spend it on something I don’t approve of”? Did you know that every single thing we have is from God anyway? Every.single.thing! It’s not even ours to begin with! One of our pastors mentioned a story this past weekend about how children’s accounts are primarily made up from mom and dad…maybe from doing their chores or from doing some special work or birthdays. If you think about that a little more, our accounts are made up from our Father in Heaven. Wow! His perfect design of children, parenting, and marriage continue to amaze me daily. We get a tiny glimpse into what He feels as our Father! Whoa! But that’s a whole other blog post :)!
One of my close friends and mentors shared with me that when we hold on with clenched fists to “our” belongings, we also have a clenched fist when we try and receive. We all know we can’t receive things easily with a clenched fist. God gives how we give. It’s as simple as that. I know I don’t want God to give to me through clenched fists. Do you? I want freely flowing blessings from the Kingdom, so I strive to give open-heartedly and open-handedly when prompted by the Spirit. This was and sometimes still is a HUGE struggle for me, especially since I am so numbers driven being an accountant. Sometimes I don’t want to let go of “our” money and in those times, I know my heart isn’t right. God is in the business of multiplication so when we give generously into His Kingdom, He is going to multiply it on both ends. I have witnessed it first-hand! Even having witnessed it time and time again, I still struggle. It’s hard. We are human, but I continue to strive to open my heart towards abundant generosity.
Another friend and mentor shared that the ONLY thing that we can control are our own actions. If we receive a prompting from the Holy Spirit to bless someone, we should act obediently without question or hesitation. Too often I find myself wondering how they will spend the money or respect our things, but it all comes down to our heart. If I obey generously with an open heart to the prompting, God will take care of the rest. God also knows the person on the receiving end of the blessing and He will take care of them too. You cannot control that person…only yourself. I found so much freedom when I started following the promptings of the Holy Spirit and if someone did something I didn’t agree with, I handed it over to God, because I simply cannot control them and I wasn’t about to let them steal my peace and joy.
Here’s another great example a friend of mine gave me…If you send your child to the store with $10 and tell him to bring you $1 back and he doesn’t, what do you do? You probably wouldn’t trust him with $20 to bring you $2, $100 to bring you $10, $1,000 to bring you $100, or greater. You see if we can’t obey in the small things, there is no way God is going to trust us in the BIG things. He works on us little by little, building our faith, building the trust. He wants us to have abundant blessings, but He wants us to freely give, so that we can freely receive.
Today I ask you, how is your attitude of gratitude and how is your heart towards giving? Are you trying to control everything and everyone? Are you clenching those fists tight? Are you questioning God about how that will all work out, but you feel the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit? Did you know there is freedom in surrender? Did you know there is freedom in obediently responding to the promptings of the Spirit? I encourage you this week to open your fists and freely give when you felt called to do so. Maybe its something small to you, but to the person on the receiving end it might just be restored hope in this broken world. Maybe its a large, stepping way out of your comfort zone type prompting. I always say, you aren’t growing if you aren’t uncomfortable, so do something everyday that makes you uncomfortable and watch over time how God grows you! When you begin to live each day with an attitude of gratitude and opening your heart and mind to abundant generosity, God moves. I encourage you to adjust your heart stance and watch as God moves in your life today!
Thank you for continually pouring abundant blessings in my life. Thank you for your generous heart and always wanting what is best for your children. Thank you for being the perfect Father and showing us how to love others. Thank you for showing us how to give freely. Thank you for allowing us to hope for the future and focusing our eyes on you. Lord, today my heart may not want to be grateful, but I am choosing to have a grateful heart and to thank you for my blessings. I know sometimes I struggle to see the good in all situations, but you are my hope, Oh God. You are the foundation on which I stand. Lord, I know sometimes I struggle on giving freely. I want “my” money and “my” things even though I have watched you multiply my giving. I know each time it grows my faith. I know this is a process and I am so thankful you chose me for this journey! Lord, help me to keep my eyes fixated on you and to only worry about my own heart and actions. Help me to release the tension from my fists and to open my hands to pour love out to others. Help me to open my heart and soul to pour into others. Help me to remain constant in your peace that surpasses all understanding regardless of the chaos swarming around me. Thank you, Lord, for your grace and unending love. Thank you for taking the time to work on me and my heart. I am completely humbled that I am chosen by you!
In Jesus’ name,