When I Just Can’t Do It All! - Encouragement for Today - August 26, 2019

Bianca Juarez Olthoff

August 26, 2019

When I Just Can’t Do It All! 
BIANCA JUAREZ OLTHOFF

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“You do not have because you do not ask God.” James 4:2b (NIV)

I sat at my desk, overwhelmed by the tasks, deadlines, budgets and emails piling up as every variety of reminder notification seemed to pop up on my laptop screen at once.

My husband, Matt, and I were 49 days from launching our church, and everything seemed to pile up, especially the bills. In a moment of absolute frustration, I dropped my forehead on my cluttered desktop and whispered, “I can’t do this. I just can’t do this anymore.”

The weight of ministry, raising a family, travel for work and leadership obligations did, at times, feel like a burden. But it was a burden I could carry. The moment the bills started to come in, that burden turned into a boulder — one I was certain I couldn’t even begin to lift.

Eyes closed, head down, I felt insecurity creep in and cause me to question everything. Am I really called to this? Do Matt and I have what it takes? How will we raise the money we need?

Ask.
Suddenly, Gideon came to mind. If you’re not familiar with this man, head to Judges chapter 6, and check out his amazing story! Gideon wanted foolproof certainty that God expected him to lead the fight against the enemies of His people. Not once, but twice, Gideon asked God to prove His faithfulness. And our good God showed up and graciously gave Gideon everything he asked for and led him into a successful battle.

In that moment, I saw my situation differently. It felt selfish to ask for exactly what I wanted, but I knew I had to do it. The question I was forced to wrestle with, though, was whether I even knew what I wanted.

Trust.
Nearly ready to throw in the towel, I re-read Gideon’s story and was inspired by his brazen faith, I pulled out my journal and felt moved to ask God for a very specific amount in the span of seven days. I was confident God saw the work we were doing and would give us what we needed to advance the gospel.

For the next week, I set out to pray for this miracle. I was serious! Every day I checked the mailbox because I believed God would send us the money. Every day I checked my bank account — in case God direct-deposited funds straight from heaven. Every day I texted Matt to see if someone made a surprising donation. Nothing.

As my weeklong prayer party came to an end, I confidently placed my head on my pillow and smiled, knowing God was going to answer my prayer by the time I opened my eyes the next morning! But when I awoke, I realized the week was over, and we still had mounting bills, church needs and work deadlines. What happened? Was God even listening?

Wait. 
We had prayed about our church plant for months prior, but in the days following my special week of prayer, I became very emotional. I questioned my calling and wondered whether God even cared about all we sacrificed. Through it all, I pushed forward and chose to believe God was with us, even if we still had a great deal to fundraise.

Three weeks later, another church’s pastor said they wanted to bless us with the exact amount we still needed to raise. And I cried because God had faithfully answered my prayer.

The exact amount.

Greater yet, and the cause of even more tears, was the realization that it was never about the money. The donation was a game-changer, but we still had lots of bills to pay. The pastor’s gift was a sign that God was with us, for us and covering us.

James 4:2b reminds us: You do not have because you do not ask God.” I simply needed to ask Him for what we needed. Then, when I’d fully surrendered to my dependence on Him, in His perfect timing (not mine), God answered my prayer!

We don’t need to protect God’s ability or capability by praying small prayers. God is trying to break us out of our small dreams, small asks and small desires to pull us up to His big dreams, big answers and big desires.

Dear God, give us faith to ask, patience to trust, and hope in the waiting. We love You and know You hear our request. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
With her signature wit, engaging stories and brilliant insights from a counselor friend, Bianca Juarez Olthoff gives spot-on advice for adulting, careers, relationships and faith. Bianca’s newest book, How To Have Your Life Not Suck: Becoming Today Who You Want to Be Tomorrow, releases TOMORROW! Following the biblical story of Ruth and Naomi, Bianca's humorous and honest anecdotes will empower you to trust the goodness of God even in loss, betrayal and unanswered questions.

CONNECT:
To learn more, visit Bianca's website or follow along on social media @BiancaOlthoff!

Enter to WIN your very own copy of How To Have Your Life Not Suck by Bianca Juarez Olthoff. In celebration of this book, Bianca’s publisher is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and notify each one in the comments section by Tuesday, September 3, 2019.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
God is in the business of faithfulness. What do you want? What do you want God to do that no one else can do for you?

© 2019 by Bianca Juarez Olthoff. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Zondervan for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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