When I'm honest, certain thoughts bubble just beneath the surface of my thinking. I rarely notice their influence. But when I pause to take them in ... I'm appalled. I think THAT? And maybe you do too? Friend Liz Ferree makes us stop and consider the damage such thoughts may be doing to the pure work of God in our beings.
God Owes Me or So I Thought
By Liz Ferree
"God, you owe me." The words raced through my mind almost uncontrollably. I didn't know where they came from. I didn't know how to stop them. There they sat, heavy on my mind and on my heart.
"Haven't I served you enough, God?" I'd argued, as I defiantly stomped my feet like a stubborn five-year old child. "I've given generously-of myself, of my time, of my everything!" I could hear the very selfishness of my words right below the surface.
In my limited understanding, I ever so subtly equated serving God (or living for him) with getting what I wanted from him. The ripple effect of this was grave. Instead of placing hope or expectation in the Lord, I found myself expecting, at times demanding, things like a career, relationships, good health, children, the list goes on.
During my first semester of seminary, the startling reality of simply living a life with God became ever true. The very first book assigned for our training and mentoring class undid me, With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God by Skye Jethani.
When I looked around my life, I found the root of that bitter, recurring question. My conclusion that God "owed" me was really arising from an insecurity of feeling like I wasn't enough and that I needed the things of this world to show for who I am.
Good thing God didn't leave me there. On an afternoon that otherwise was to be filled with many to-dos and places to go a snowstorm hit and my plans cancelled. I sat, perched in the corner wingback chair looking out over the snowy scenery of stillness. As I posed my question again, I noticed a small and gentle response. "Liz, I've taught you how to love. Is that not enough?"
Yes, I might not have every item on my prayer list checked off I have received from God what is eternal: learning how to give and receive God's love.
Do you find yourself in a place where such a question lingers in your heart and mind? Take it before God and ask him to share the words only he can speak to you. He may not actually owe you what you think ... and he may give you much more than you ever imagined.
Liz Ferree is a graduate of Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and worked in inner-city ministry for five years, serving as a key founding member of a grassroots organization called Hopeprint located in Syracuse, New York. Currently, she is enrolled in a Masters of Arts program at Denver Seminary in Christian formation and soul care. As a nurturer by nature, Liz would eventually love to run retreats for women in ministry. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.