A Gift: Undeserved and Unpayable
Have you ever stopped to wonder why your family or friends love you?
Sifting through the times you were especially kind to them and did them favors might’ve earned a smidgen of affection from them. Yet, they truly love you despite what you do or how you act. An unconditional love that only God can provide. How do we grow to understand this love? I think it may come from a change of outlook.
Recently, I celebrated the best birthday of my life. I remember years of being discontent with the lack of attention given to me on “my big day.” After all, my birthday competes with America’s birthday (July 4th). A sudden realization came to me that in order to make this year better than any years in the past I would need a change of mindset. A heart positioned towards thankfulness instead of greed.
You know what? This change of attitude worked.
I was satisfied and grateful for the small moments of the day. Nothing extravagant was needed to please my ever-surmounting expectations of the past. I was content, and for the first birthday in a long time, I was happy.
A birthday is the ideal reminder of receiving gifts we don’t deserve. None of us earn our family’s love, it’s just given. God’s love permeates beyond our human understanding of give and take. Exact input equaling an equal and opposite outcome. His way of loving is more of a give-give and keep giving process.
“That is what a gift does to you. It causes you to be overwhelmed with the knowledge that someone loves you more than they should.” The Dusty Ones by A.J. Swaboda
The same is true when it comes to finances. I often reflect on my freshman year in college. I was barely scraping together enough dollars to pay rent, then I received a notification from my college that I owed them $3,000. My jaw dropped to the floor. How was I going to pay rent, let alone a ginormous bill? I couldn’t do it. Not on my own.
My storm of worry was blown away by God’s peace.
He reminded me of His greatness and my smallness. His power and my weakness. Nothing I could do would be enough to pay my debt. God would have to show up, and He did.
I was expecting God to have someone show up with an envelope with the exact amount I needed for my rent and school payment. Similar to other stories of God’s provision for other people. However, God surprised me. Nothing happened quickly. I had to wait nine months to see my school bill being wiped away and counted as being incorrectly sited. I had to pay rent late. My landlords were understanding and didn’t ask for any late fees.
Through it all, God proved He was in control, and I couldn’t do anything to change my circumstance.
Thankfulness robs Satan of the power of worry and doubting God’s goodness. My thoughts weren’t always full of thankfulness or void of worry in the process of my debt being paid. God had to weed out my negative and selfish emotions. I realized through the process that I was able to be thankful for what I had even when I didn’t see things working the way I wanted.
The most spectacular part is my inability to repay Him. Even if I spent all of my life doing good with the gifts God has given me, I would still come short of God’s love, grace and grandeur.
What can we do then? We give out of our abundance.
God doesn’t give small, meager gifts. He gives more than we need. As seen in the story of the loaves of bread and fish in John 6, Jesus multiplied the food to feed the crowd with an overflow of leftovers put in our baskets. There is always more than enough when God is involved.
All we have left to do is accept His gifts as, well, a gift. Humbling ourselves to realize our lack and His greatness. Receiving His gifts with a thankful heart just like you would on your birthday.
My challenge for you today:
How can God change your perspective in the challenging areas of your life? What things has God given you to be thankful for?
Perhaps make a list of ten things. Think about them throughout your day and thank God along the way.
I am a 23 year old learning to chase God’s dreams for me. I come from a family of eight kids and Christ met me in the chaos of it all. I like smiling a lot. I started smiling July 4th, 1995, and things that keep me smiling include Chai Tea, sunrises behind mountains, (really) old movies, Paris, my camera, barista-ing, asymmetry, the color teal — oh, and writing!