by Shaina Bolin
Every morning, my ritual goes like this: before the kids get up, I meditate and do yoga, and then I sit down with a cup of coffee and write three pages of stream of consciousness called morning pages. I use this time for prayers: written, motioned, breathed, and sometimes, whined.
During yoga one morning, this was my prayer:
Help me be open to the gifts you have for me today.
Help me to notice and to recognize your hand moving in my life today.
Help it to be enough.
After praying this, I started writing, and the words coming out were all worried words focused around my finances. I’m just going to say this straight out: financially, things are not good for me right now. I’m behind on most bills and I’ve barely been able to pay rent lately. My car broke down one day and is completely totaled. Although my mom and step-dad have graciously allowed me to use their extra vehicle, gas is seriously expensive. Jobs are hard to find. Even with turning in multiple applications a week since November, and applying to job listings on craigslist.com and other online sources, I’ve had no calls, no interviews, no emails, and no offers.
In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron says, “We tend to believe we must go out and shake a few trees to make things happen. I would not deny that shaking a few trees is good for us. In fact, I call it doing the footwork. I want to say, however, that while the footwork is necessary, I’ve seldom seen it pay off in a linear fashion. It seems to work more like we shake the apple tree and the universe delivers oranges.” Cameron is talking about dependency on God as our Source; how we tend to depend on things like money, jobs, or other people to supply our needs, rather than depending on the Source itself.
Sometimes it feels like a catch-22. And I’m caught right in the middle. I’m not giving up, but I’m to the point where I’ve shaken just about every tree I think God has shown me, and I’m still somewhat empty-handed in the fruit department. What does that mean? Am I missing something?
Anyway, I’m writing and all of these words and feelings started coming out of me right after I prayed for God to open me for what he had for me that day. Then I got an email that included Proverbs 8:34-35, which says, “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting in my doorway. For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. But whoever fails to find me harms himself,” and I realized: what if I need this stuff: money, a job, etc., but all that God has for me today is him? Would that be enough?
What if the assistance I’ve been praying for doesn’t show up? What if the opportunities I’m searching for under every rock just aren’t there? What if I don’t experience that incredible miracle where suddenly that big problem I have is taken care of?
What if all God ever gives me is his presence? What if all he ever gives me is his mercy? Is that enough?
What if I already have everything I need, even if it doesn’t feel like it to me? Sometimes it boils down to trust…deciding whether or not I really trust God to take care of me; other times, I feel like I get to the end of my line of trees I can shake and there just isn’t any fruit anywhere.
Maybe trusting God for me right now means finding an abundance of peace and rest even though the biggest and smallest details of my life aren’t even close to being ironed out. Maybe trusting God for me means trusting that what he gives me is what I need, although it isn’t what I’ve asked for.
Here’s the thing: with God, there is abundance of something, whether its peace, or actual money, or the most generous friends, or creative solutions, God is never running out. Lately, I’m looking to God and, instead of finding money and jobs; I’m finding pieces of myself previously lost. Is that enough? I have barely enough money to live on, but I’m finding myself; I’m finding inner clarity. My creativity is exploding and I’m writing meaningful, wonderful things. I’m making beautiful art. Is that enough? Is that anything at all? It certainly isn’t paying the bills.
I keep thinking that if I look toward God first, and then shake whatever tree he tells me to, I can graciously accept whatever fruit falls. I can believe and trust that he’s providing exactly what I need.
Even when I’ve asked for apples, maybe what God knows I really need is oranges, and that’s ok.
Even when I’ve asked for a job, maybe what God knows I really need is to accept his generosity in the form of caring friends who bring ice cream to cheer me up and who graciously take me out to eat, and that’s ok.
Even when I’ve asked for money, maybe what God knows I really need is just him, and that’s…
Honestly, it doesn’t feel ok sometimes. I still find myself asking, is it really enough?
|Shaina Bolin is an art student at UT and is a single mother to two children. Shaina is learning what it means to hunt for God amidst writing papers, attending classes, checking elementary school homework, and changing diapers.|