“Counting, counting, counting….till you count God out!” belched my coach/teacher/preacher in an online class. As I heard this, the Holy Spirit ministered directly to my heart on many levels. She was teaching on being calculative and judging by our senses and not exacting faith as God would want His children to. As she spoke, my mind, heart, went in many directions simultaneously. I thought of how I trust God 85% and always leave open that 15% of “What if he fails? What if He does not come through?” like a buffer to protect my heart and myself from excruciating disappointment. I subconsciously prefer to play it safe as if to say our God cannot be trusted.
If you are a woman who is structured and tries to be organized like me, I am sure you plan. You plan your household supplies, plan your finances, your children’s meals, their after-school schedule and, of course, plan your schedule – your day, week, month. And if your husband allows, you can plan his schedule too 😊 This was, is and most likely forever will be me! I trust God, but I also subconsciously have a plan B ‘in case’. Whilst planning is good, to-do lists are great and the virtues of planning epitomizes the Proverbs 31 woman, there is a risk to taking this overboard and not factoring God into plans. This inevitably creates a barrier in one’s mind and when required, one is unable to obey a leading or instruction from God.
Let’s look at a text in 2 Samuel: 24: 1-19. David ordered a census of the mighty men of Israel and Judah during a season of war. This census took nine months and twenty days to complete. The head count was over a million. Initially I wondered why – what was David’s motivation? Even David’s captain of the army wondered in verses 3-4, “But why does my lord the king desire this thing?” Nevertheless, the king’s word prevailed against Joab and against the captains of the army. Therefore, Joab and the captains of the army went out from the presence of the king to count the people of Israel.”
This single act was one of self-reliance, counting men who were valiant and able to draw the sword with a focus for battle readiness. He was forgetting that the God who had saved Him from Saul’s murderous man hunts, from attacks when he was a fugitive in the cave of Adullam, and from the lion and the bear when he was a youth was the same God who never changes. He lost sight of his trust and faith in the Almighty God. Eventually this action cost him the lives of 70,000 men, as God sent a plague over the land as recompense for his behaviour. The irony – the very men he was counting on became an unreliable source of strength who could be here today, gone tomorrow.
Fast forward to today and our daily lives, how many times have we relied on our own strength, resources and abilities by constantly counting, monitoring our savings, investments, home supplies, even food – counting the days things would last, how much provisions and groceries we need for the week and month. Especially in the days of austerity I have been guilty of this and often my folly is revealed when all my plans, despite how thorough, fail! Now I am not saying here that as a woman who oversees her household you should be careless, sloppy and not plan for the needs of your home, far from it. I am only saying once it’s all about you trying to control your environment and outcomes, leaving God out of the equation, then you are bound to fail at it eventually.
I was confronted with this habit not by failed plans, but by the Holy Spirit himself. After reading the story of David’s headcount of Israel and Judah in 2 Samuel, a still small voice that would fleetingly invade my heart and my thoughts anytime I exhibited these behaviours, “You are counting”, “You are uptight about money”, “You are paranoid and fearful of lack”…. He took me to the source of my fears and why I had become this calculative machine. He took me to the story of David and I learned some naked truths which became my lessons –
- My obsessive need to plan, had become a barrier to my faith and my ability to fully rely on and trust in God’s providence. Though I was doing reasonably well by the world’s standards, I was indeed missing the mark, falling short of my full potential of the destiny God had purposed for me.
- Fears of seeing my family go through lack made me incessantly paranoid and eroded further my faith. This was deeply rooted in a time of severe lack we faced as a family and we were living from hand to mouth, never having enough to cover expenses and bills for the month.
- I sometimes forget the Lord’s sovereignty and many miracles he has wrought in my life, big and small.
- The things I fear the most can come upon me if I do not release these fears. Just like Job declared when his calamities started, “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me” (Job 3:25)
My first response to this admonition was one of self-defence, I debated how much of a giver I am, how I tithe, obey the voice of the Lord when he leads me to give. In an interesting exchange, the Holy spirit made me see I was giving legalistically, religiously, and though in obedience, it lacked faith. “
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
At this point, I laid down my defences and again surrendered, just as I have other parts of my life, this part was next in line to be fully yielded to God as, apparently, it was not.
I have learned that the word of God is indeed a similitude of water that washes clean and if we allow and are yielded, it goes into inward parts and finds us out. It exposes hidden attitudes, hypocrisies, sins, wrong mindsets and it erodes anything not of God and only that which is of God remains.
I rarely talk about material well being or money when blogging, but life comprises many things and money is one big part of it and though it makes me somewhat uncomfortable, one cannot avoid talking about money. Christ did! Severally at that! So, should we!
This blog is not for everyone, but if any of these behavioural indicators resonate with you then it IS probably for you. Do you count every penny no matter how small, get offended when you are cheated of small change at the stores? Paranoid that people are going to cheat you in any transaction big or small, constantly checking on those that work for you housekeepers, drivers, nannies, counting even pieces of chicken in a pot of stew and how it will go round? Lol! Upset with your kids when, according to you, they ’over eat’ beyond your ‘budgeted amount’? The list goes on…and only God could have shown me myself.
If you do identify yourself in this, yield yourself to the Holy Spirit and let him reveal yourself to you. He will expose your true motives and your relationship with money. Is it a liberating one or a fearful one, enslaved to counting and calculating? Only you can answer this and I pray you do an honest soul search and let the word of God illuminate your life. Our lives are in parts and to me like a house that if left without spring cleaning of all the parts from time to time, would gather so much dust and will eventually begin to dilapidate. So, when God shines the light of His word on hidden parts of our lives we should take heed, receive the correction, make amends and adjust, for this is for our good. It ultimately affects our destiny and where He is taking us. Some attitudes, mindsets and behaviours cannot thrive where God is leading you, so it’s a blessing to go through the pain of chastisement now for a greater glory which lies ahead. Remember we are being trained to conform into his glory. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
Do not count to the point that you count God out! Always keep him in the equation being assured that you can always count on him!