Given my situation of having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and able to work a bit, but not quite enough to support us, we are having to rely heavily on God to ensure that we can keep going. And this trip, although we feel very strongly that we are called by God to head out “into the unknown”, we have no idea how we are going to fund it - either to get all the things we need to get started, or to have an ongoing income along the way.
It seems to be an ongoing struggle to understand how much I need to push myself to do myself, and how much I just have to throw up my hands and say to God “ok, I can’t do it - I have to just rely on You to get us there!”
So with this as a background, read on…
An internet marketing offer came through yesterday, a program designed to take you through a process for a month where by the end you have the potential to make about $20,000. Sounded good. Especially as it was ‘only’ $250 (all US$ - ie. about AUS$310, and make about AUS$25k). I could use the money in the company account, and have paid it back within the month. It would take more time, which means I would have less time to be able to perform my pre-paid maintenance work, however I could hand more of that over to the guy who I am already paying to help me out there with the workload - this new venture should earn enough to pay all of that out anyway!
So, from there an interesting sequence of events and thoughts happened:
- Yay! This is the answer! This will not only provide money in the short term, but will also fund our trip.
- I didn’t have enough money in the business Visa account, and it takes a day or two to transfer, so if I used our personal account that would only leave us with about $100 to last over the weekend and for a couple more days. I had to order straight away (yesterday or today), because the following day it is “officially” lauched, with a starting price of $500 (double). So I didn’t have time to transfer money between accounts.
- So I prayed, and immediately got the thought “I am trusting God to provide, not for me to save myself”. Oh heck!! This sounded so much like an old fuddy duddy “You’re not allowed to do that. You’re not allowed to do anything that might get you something good.” Is that you, God, or is that my old Christian Bretheren upbringing speaking?
- I don’t want to live the joke about the guy and the flood, who turned down the boat and the helicopter because “God is going to save me”. Then he drowns and gets to heaven and asks God why He didn’t save him, and God says “well, I sent you a boat and a helicopter…”.
- I got Carla to read the sales letter, she prayed that she would receive it with the right attitude, and when she read it she was at peace about it.
- So then I was completely confused! So I did something that I haven’t done for a long time - I asked God for a sign.
- Carla had to go out shopping for a few groceries - attempting to keep it under $100.
Just then I received my daily “Ransomed Heart” email. This one was talking about “A System of Guilt”.
God speaks to Israel through the prophet Isaiah when she is surrounded by enemies and making every effort to appease them through diplomacy, gifts, treaties, and bribes, and says this to her:
“You went to Molech with olive oil
and increased your perfumes.
You sent your ambassadors far away;
you descended to the grave itself!
You were wearied by all your ways,
but you would not say, ‘It is hopeless.’
You found renewal of your strength,
and so you did not faint” (Isa. 57:9–10).
God calls Israel to repent by admitting her weariness and fainting. Instead, she looks for ways to use her personal assets to redeem herself. Jesus spoke to the people about rest and thirst. The Pharisees demanded that they obey a constantly growing weight of religious laws and traditions, and chastised them for staggering under the load. They led people in the exact opposite direction from where their salvation lay—in admitting their weariness and fainting. As long as they hoped in their self-sufficiency, they would not call out to God and receive forgiveness, healing, and restoration.
While the guilt part did not seem to apply to my situation, the part about attempting to fix the problem under my own strength rather than admitting my insufficiency and throwing myself at God’s mercy really spoke to me. Then I was really confused! Am I reading something into this that isn’t there, or is God telling me something through this? I have been admitting my insufficiency to God for a while now. But I am not sure that the answer is to do nothing and expect God to do everything for me. I figure that I have to at least do what I can. “If you don’t work, then don’t expect to eat” etc etc.
- So I got to the point where I thought I would order it anyway - I don’t want to hold back “just in case I make a mistake” - this is one of my frontier statements. My relationship with God is strong enough to carry me through such a hiccup.
- So I click on the order button and get the classic “One Time Offer” - upgrade your order to include these additional 20 products, or no thanks, but never have the chance to buy them at this price again. Trouble is, it was 20 products for an additional $197, which works out to $9.85 each, yet the sales letter said how it would be teaching us to source these products for as little as $2 each, and generally no more than $5. So an average of $9.85 each just didn’t ring true to me.
- So I didn’t follow through with the order. But I did place a support request asking them to “please explain”.
I have since received an response that adequately explains why they did this, however the point here is that because of this I did not place the order at this point in time.
- It was just as well I didn’t order, because Carla came home from the shopping and had spent $30 more, which meant that we couldn’t order it anyway. So it did make the whole thing a kind of academic exercise anyway, by that point!
- But I had asked for a sign, and the OTO, followed by the Ransomed Heart email, followed by Carla spending the money anyway, seemed to all add up to a pretty good sign!
Carla and I then discussed this at length during yesterday evening.
Does God see us as his treasured possession? Why are we always struggling for money? The experiences, of having our needs supplied at the very last minute, and with only just enough to cover only what we absolutely need, seems to speak to me of someone who is begrudgingly supplying our needs. “Oh, you need bailing out again? Oh well, here you are, if you really must have it.” It does not speak to me of extravagence. Of overwhelming and abundant blessings. Now before you all start naysaying me, I KNOW that blessings does not just mean money, but it DOES INCLUDE money!!!
Then Carla talked about how Abraham and Jacob were blessed of God. They were incredibly wealthy men. Then she spoke about how Jacob’s wealth came about through God’s wisdom seeming like crazy advice in the face of being ripped off in a one-sided business deal, yet it produced astounding results. And I immediately resonated with this - that we will have astounding results with something that people would normally say “that won’t work” (like the business ideas that we are already working on, that ‘humanly speaking’ don’t have a hope to get us the kind of money we need in the timeframes that we need).
So I just need to keep on going with what we already know, and trust that God really will come through and provide - not in a “safety net” “just scrape by” sense, but in an astoundingly successful sense.
I keep expecting great things to be delivered to our door. Whenever I see or hear a truck coming up the street, I invariably think “what are we having delivered?” (not that I have ordered anything, but that it will just come out of the blue). And I also just imagine this RV coach (modern looking, sleeps 2 adults and 3 kids, annex, covered trailer with office & space for our car, all the other features we would like) driving up the road, and someone coming to the door and handing over the keys. A loan would be fine - we don’t need to own it. Just to say “here, have the keys - this is yours for as long as you need it”.
An update after yesterday’s thoughts above…
I mentioned that there were three reasons why not to get this product.
1. The One Time Offer. As I stated above, I got a response to this that did adequately explain this one, so this is ok.
2. The Ransomed Heart email, with the reference about the Children of Israel not being willing to just ‘give up’ and rely on God, but to continue to do it under their own strength. I wasn’t quite sure about how this applied to me, but I knew that I have been struggling with knowing how much to just rely on God, and how much I should be trying to help myself.
Anyway, I was working through the “Steps to Freedom in Christ”, from Dr Neil Anderson’s book, “Living Free in Christ”. And I got up to Step 5. “Pride versus Humility”. The section starts out saying:
Pride is a killer. Pride says, 'I can do it! I can get myself out of this mess of immorality without God or anyone else's help'. But we can't! We absolutely need God, and we desparately need each other.
Sound familiar? Well, I thought, yup, that is sort of me, but what is this “mess of immorality” being referred to? How does that apply to me? The over the page, as I’m going through the list of specific areas where I may have been prideful in my life, the second one in the list said:
More dependent upon my strengths and resources than God's.
Ooohhhhh! Ouch! That does sound like me!
The prayer to pray at the end of that step was “Lord, I agree that I have been prideful in the area of ____. Please forgive me for this pridefulness. I choose to humble myself and place all my confidence in You.”
And I immediately felt released, free. Like this was the absolutely fundamental crux of my problems. In recent weeks I have been lead towards the point where I am dependent on God for supplying my needs, which is relatively easy to do when I have nothing, but much harder to do (I find) when I do have some money, because I find myself relying on the money then, rather than on God. Even while I am thanking God for supplying, I am mentally relaxing because now I know where my next month’s meals are coming from. When in fact it should make no difference whether or not I have any money. I already know where my meals are coming from - they are coming from God!
3. Carla spending the money anyway. Anyway, as I was praying the prayer, I suddenly realised where I could transfer some more money from to be able to buy this package!
So after sitting on it for the rest of the evening, and praying about it, I felt that I could move ahead - if I have made a mistake then that is ok. But I am not being stopped this time.
And any money that I earn through this system is coming directly from God. It is not my ability, even though I do contribute, but it is God’s provision that supplies my needs. In this case via money earned through this program. But ultimately from God.
So stay tuned. I am sure that you will see more about this in the coming weeks.
haha Just when you thought it was safe to get to work…
It’s a few days later again, and both Carla and I still felt slightly uneasy about this internet marketing program. I realised that it was taking away from time that I would otherwise be spending getting this website prepared - something that I know God has told me to do.
And I just kept getting the thought - by doing this I am taking matters into my own hands, and not allowing God to come through for us. I am effectively setting myself up to miss out on God’s blessing.
I kept having thoughts like “this has GOT to work, or I’m sunk”, and “when this money starts coming in, we can relax”. No no no! I don’t rely on my money or my income or my work or my abilities. I rely on God alone. I can add my abilities to what God does, but the main thing is God, not me.
And I need to be able to relax - working so hard and continually pushing myself and never allowing myself time to relax is, I believe, at least partially responsible for me having this CFS. I don’t want to perpetuate the mistake. I need to be able to stop when my body is crying out for rest, and not keep on pushing because “I have to”. I need to rely on God for my sick pay!
Carla suggested that I could still do it, but only in my spare time. I need to put the website first (as well as keep up with my ‘normal’ work). That’s kind of good, as I was disappointed to think that yet again I couldn’t pursue something that I really want to pursue.
So now we wait and see, again! I have only been able to pay ourselves half of our usual pay for the month of October. And I don’t think I will have enough in the business acount to keep paying the guy who is assisting with the support work. Or maybe it is the tax that will have to wait?!? Anyway, I certainly don’t have enough to pay myself in November. And there is no way in my normal line of work that I could get some new work, complete it, put in the invoice, and get paid all in less than a month! So, God, I trust in You.