There is so much goodness in this world.
With a thankful heart we can enjoy so much. With gratitude we can celebrate good news, new horizons and moments of laughter. We all want it – heaps of happiness.
Why is it that our instinct is to feel shame for the wealth that we have?
In recent years I have been incredibly fortunate to be in a wealthy situation both finacially and physically. So many abundant blessings are being poured out and I am so incredibly thankful. Yet, in all of this goodness, often sits a shameful lie telling me that I don’t deserve it; an awareness that others dont share the same wealth often leaves me feeling guilty.
When I hear and read about God’s goodness I cannot deny how abundant his blessings are. But I also have this idea that wealth and rich abundance is taboo.
When I was a teenager, the idea that living for God did not mean a high paid job or a perfect health or owning your own home was imprinted. Yes, we believe that living for God is not easy and what we do have we should share and not store up. However, I really cannot support this idea that denying ourselves of goodness is biblically healthy.
This year I have discovered how much I live under the shame blanket of ‘I dont deserve it.’ I wanted to honour God in my budgeting, my serving and my health. I fell far from this and found I was actually just denying myself.
I remember my family coming to visit me in February and my Dad just showered me with goodness. He took me for dinner, drove me around places, fixed my bike, bought me all the essentials I’d not bought in so long. When I did a food shop, my mum filled my basket way more than I usually did… They spent time with me and cared for me like a child.
When they left, I suddenly became so overwhelmed by just how abundantly they had loved. There was this small and still voice that said, “let me love you unconditionally and shower my goodness over you just like your earthly father does.” God used my parents to speak the truth – I was to live freely under God’s blessings and provision.
The story behind Japan
If you have been following me on Instagram, you will know that I have been in Japan. Again, this is another moment of realising just how good God is.
Back in December I returned home after a long first semester. I had this dream to travel somewhere in the Summer and an application for a travel bursary was made available to me. The likeliness of winning this bursary is pretty low – only 2 are given out.
Applying on a complete whim, the application was a chance to simply research another country. Soon I was falling in love with Japan and had to completely surrender this dream. I prayed, ‘Lord if you want to send me to Japan, then may this bursary be won. But if not, then I thank you for all the travel I’ve already done and for the summer plans you have for me instead.”
2 months later I’d completely forgotten about it all… The day after my parents left in February, I opened an email that told me I’d been one of the two winners. What?!
After the initial excitement, all this anxiety and shame hit. A) I had to travel to Japan alone, B) I really didn’t deserve it and it just didn’t seem fair that others couldn’t share in the same goodness.
If that wasn’t abundant enough, later that week my parents also told me that they were planning to take me and my brothers to Canada. Now come on – this is too much! I was so guilty that I actually put my foot down and said no to going to Canada. I was hands down ready to deny myself that trip even though my Dad and I had always dreamed of going there together.
All of this is just crazy. All of this is wealth. All of this is God’s provision.
Stubbornness and truth
I have spent months refusing to accept that God actually just wants to give these blessings to me. Two days before I left for Japan I was sat reading my bible and suddenly God just really spoke to me. He reminded me of the words he’d spoken in February. Again there was his voice that just said, “this next season is for you to enjoy. My grace is abundant and my goodness is for you – just flipping accept it!!”
Refusing to accept it and making wealth a taboo topic is not living out the grace that we profess. I’m not saying we should idolise wealth or store it up. But, when we are in a position of wealth (financially, emotionally, physically…) we should use that to worship God. We should share our wealth with others, but also not deny ourselves or give all of it away. When God blesses us abundantly this is to be accepted with humility and thankfulness, not boasting and bragging in ourselves and what we have, but boasting in God’s crazily abundant and unconditional blessings.
Nourished in gracious goodness
We can only live a nourished life if we ourselves are nourished in God’s goodness. Timothy was instructed by Paul to reject the false teaching that called the church to deny themselves goodness.
“They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.
1 Timothy 4:3-6 NIV
Behind the scenes, this year has been incredibly hard. Yet parallel to the struggle have been so many abundant and miraculous blessings both small and large. All of this must be received – the good as well as the bad. And in all of it I continually choose to praise God who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine.
God’s goodness is so rich. Recieve it.