God will not clean out your garage or take you to painting class.
But He will give you the courage and strength to do it yourself.
He won’t magically land you your dream job, but He may present opportunities for you to reach that position
He isn’t going to fully fund your retirement or even your mission trip, but He will give you chances to step out and do the work to earn the money. Can he multiply your efforts? Absolutely! But is He going to do it without work, courage, and effort on your part? I’d say nope.
There is this lie that says if we trust God enough, if we wait long enough for His timing, that what we dream of and hope for will happen. If we try to do it ourselves then we are going against God and His plans.
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I’m not saying we shouldn’t trust God; we absolutely need to put our faith in Him and His timing, but we also can’t sit back and do nothing. Hmmm, I’d really like to pay my bills this month so I should probably go to work… but I believe God will provide for my needs so instead I’m going to simply sit here and wait for His provision in my bank account.
That’s such a twisted way of thinking!
We are not promised wealth, an easy life, or for all our dreams to come true. Paul sat in jail and John was beheaded. But they took brave steps because of the calling and courage from God to do what they knew needed to be done.
All this came into my brain because I finished reading The Brave Art of Motherhood and then came across a review of the book on Amazon that basically said this book is nothing more than self promotion that puts our work above God’s plans. The reviewer was very disappointed that there was no connection to the gospel message or the author’s relationship with Christ.
I was shocked because this isn’t how I viewed the book at all. Is it an overtly Christian book? No. But does Rachel Martin reference her own faith and how her connection to it and others helped her? Yes.
To me, The Brave Art of Motherhood was encouraging and inspirational because of the motivation to move beyond wishful thinking and the dreams God has put on my heart into actionable plans. What good are our dreams if we never pursue them? What good are the talents God wove into our very being if we never use them?
We need to rely on God to fill us with courage to reach out to a friend and admit that we are struggling with anxiety. We need to pray for strength to take a step out the door and try running when we know we need to get into shape. We need to ask for the spirit to move in us to know who to speak to and who needs our prayers.
But if we never make that phone call, never lace up our running shoes, or speak to the person the Spirit is leading us to approach, that is on US. That is our choice, not God’s.
So yes, when it comes to bravery, when it comes to using our gifts, when it comes to being brave, there is a good amount of it that comes down to us.
When she was facing bankruptcy, repossession of vehicles, and utilities being shut off, Rachel faced a choice - keep doing life the way she was and pray that God would turn it around, or use the gifts that God gave her to do something about it. He put the gift of writing in her heart. He sparked the idea of a blog. But without sitting down and typing, without pushing publish and sharing it with the world, her talents would be wasted and her life would not have made a turn around.
God calls us to action, but He won’t do it for us. God does not want robots. This is the same reason He gave us free will to choose Him. It needs to be genuine love, choice without coercion.
Ultimately, this book serves as an excellent reminder that faith must be followed by action. God can’t clean our garage. He won’t sign us up for painting class, book our plane tickets for our mission trip, or reach out to that mom next door for us. We need to be praying for His direction and then taking action and following through on His prodding.
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.
James 2:14-18, NIV