The world is full of dangerous things. I learned this lesson at the age of three when I decided it would be fun to play with a cactus. My opinion changed very quickly, and my parents spent two hours pulling prickers out of my hands. I’ve since developed quite a list of dangerous things to avoid, such as spiders, bears, feminists, and gaseous cyanide. However, I’ve recently identified a danger that took me eighteen years to notice. My comfortable lifestyle is a blessing, but it carries a danger because it makes me numb to God’s showering of blessings.
This hypothesis started to form when I listened to a missionary speak and heard her talk about waking up in the morning, aware of her desperate need for Jesus. Before eating breakfast or even making coffee (!), she was in her Bible, starting the day in communion with God. Why couldn’t I wake up in the morning, depending on God? I decided this question demanded an answer, but I didn’t like the one I got: I don’t rely on God to feed me because the college cafeteria feeds me. I don’t rely on God to give me water because the faucet gives me water. I don’t rely on God to give me shelter because my dorm gives me shelter. Ugh. How could my thinking be so twisted?!
Sometimes I wish I could check out of life in America and head to Uganda for a while to learn to truly trust God. Unfortunately, God doesn’t have me in Uganda; He has me in Kankakee, Illinois, USA. So what am I to do?
1. Turn down the distractions
Sometimes I don’t pray continually. Why? Because I’m suuuper distracted. I wish I woke up, got out of bed, and got on my knees. Instead, I frequently wake up, grab my phone, and see what happened on Instagram while I was sleeping. I see the wanderlust-awakening photos in my feed and I wake up saying, what I wouldn’t give to be in Germany! instead of, thank you for giving me another day! In my life so full of music, videos, social media, et cetera, God seems off in a corner somewhere, while Snapchat lies only a tap of my finger away.
2. Fight my messed-up definition of ‘need.’
About a month ago, I bought earbuds because the ones I have now don’t always work quite right, and I’ll need some new ones when these ones break. I bought a new travel mug because my beloved green Stanley cup has begun leaking and needs to be replaced. I’ve never actually seen needy children in third-world countries, but somehow I feel the word ‘needy’ does not necessarily refer to a lack of earbuds and travel mugs. Rather, I’m blessed to be able to hear music frequently. I’m blessed to have hot coffee on me at all times. How much more would I praise God for blessing me if I moved more blessings out of the ‘need’ category?
3. Surround myself with people with accurate worldviews.
I’m incredibly blessed to have several people in my life who answer my questions with God’s truth and love. Some of these people are church friends, pastors, parents, or sisters. When I surround myself with people who have Godly worldviews, they begin to affect my own.
4. Praise God throughout my day.
I can develop a habit of praising God throughout the day when I didn’t before. I can thank him every time I use running water, read a Bible that is legal to own, visit the cafeteria, sleep in safety, and fold clean clothes. As I learn to be more thankful, I train my spirit to remember where things REALLY come from.
5. Be part of God’s provision
I can remember who provides for me by helping provide for those who spread the gospel to the world. This is a great way to remember that my money isn’t mine to begin with, and is better used for God’s kingdom than for my own.
As I’ve said before, I so wish that I were writing this post from the other side of the struggle, saying I start every day on my knees and never put my faith in the security of this world. I instead find myself toeing the line of what’s going to be a difficult race, but check back in a couple years, and I pray you’ll see me believing with all my heart that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
*Randy Alcorn, Money, Possessions, and Eternity (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1989)