Be Blessed, Be Less
This phrase or revelation rather has been rattling around in my brain for about 2 months.
It happened one day sitting at my computer in my office.
I was just sitting there, holding a magazine and staring at the unopened front cover.
The word Bless was in a bold typeface and for some reason or another, it captured my attention.
I can’t remember what I was thinking about while I was staring down at my unread magazine but I remember seeing the word Bless transform right before my eyes.
My brain was telling me something.
Many seconds into my staring contest, the word Bless looked like this to me; B: Less
It’s a contradiction to the way I live.
But a worthwhile endeavor nonetheless.
So why am I telling you this now?
Well, it’s because my husband came home from a weekend retreat to tell me that God spoke to him in a life-changing way, urging him to spend more time with Him.
The next day, after going on a long walk with God, he shared with me some new revelations. About how God wanted him to start addressing his problem with greed, and money.
In a nutshell, He challenged Michael with these words – Try to outgive Me!
What followed was a litany of specific ways that God put on Michael’s heart about how He wanted him to start changing his approach to ministry, a renewed focus on giving rather than receiving.
And that included a lot of things having to do with what we charge and how he structures our income – er, His ministry – going forward.
It all sounded very counter-intuitive to me. But like Michael said, it also sounded very much like God.
While I work with The Christian View, I also design and build websites, and I’m also the main tech guru for my husband’s ministry called BraveHearts. (It’s a mentoring ministry for men seeking freedom from habitual sexual sin).
BraveHearts is an incredible ministry and one that I could talk about for hours. But that’s not my point.
The ministry is growing, but very slowly. And Michael’s been bootstrapping it’s growth out of his, er our, pockets for over a decade now. Read little to no donor support.
Now, it seems as though God wants us to reverse that equation, but with one big twist. He’s not supposed to ask any of the over 100 past donors (who helped to fund the ministry in its early years) for any support!
Not only that, but he’s also not supposed to ask them for referrals.
He IS supposed to meet with each of them again, but only to do 3 things: 1) update them on the ministry, 2) ask them how he can be praying for them, and 3) ask them how he can become a generous giver.
If they offer to give financially to support the ministry, he’s supposed to refuse their gift. What!
And while all of this new donor support is supposed to come from people who’ve never supported his ministry before, he’s also not supposed to ask his past donors for referrals. What-what!!
Now, I’ve never run a non-profit ministry before. But I’m pretty sure that approach goes against everything they teach about fundraising.
Yet these are things that Michael swears God has told him, laid on his heart, even had him write it down.
This is how God is going to show up in our lives in a big way, and in a way that Michael won’t be able to take any credit for it once it happens.
At least that’s how Michael believes this story of God’s goodness and dominion over our lives and his ministry is supposed to play out.
So here’s where my usual fear and insecurity would come in.
We don’t have extra money. In fact, truth be told, what we have instead is debt. A lot of debt.
We own just one car, and still owe a lot of money on it. We rent our house and have rented ever since we’ve been married. 10 years this December.
We aren’t wealthy, yet our lives are rich.
And I’d love for us to have our own home that I could paint and decorate and, well, you know that whole nesting thing. But God’s always provided a roof over our head.
So when God says to start changing the way you earn money, money that we actually could um, I don’t know, USE, it should have felt wrong.
But it didn’t. And I didn’t freak out. Like Michael, I trust it all.
I trust that if we accept less (in this case it’s money) we might just be blessed.
Almost in an instant, we undid hours, days, and months of planning to “earn” more money through generating a recurring revenue model.
Oh, the conversations we had trying to build an additional income stream – up to and including last night!
All that was undone in a new effort to be obedient to what it was that we believe God is now asking Michael to do. Asking US to do.
Now, I’m not saying that we will automatically be blessed because we are obedient…this is a much deeper conversation.
But what I am saying is that, more often than not, I’m discovering that less is more. And more is just, well, more.
This isn’t just the case for money.
It’s true for time, too, which by the way is our most precious commodity.
Let me explain.
I’m a worrier. Always have been.
I worry about crime, money, family, the instability of humanity, you know little things like that.
I bet if I had a worry timer that I could simply hit start each time I began to worry, I would be faced to admit that I waste A.LOT.OF.TIME worrying about stuff that is totally out of my control.
That time could be used loving God or loving my family.
That time could be used learning or reading.
That time could be used to volunteer or to disciple.
Have you said or felt like you didn’t have time to ______ this week?
I can guarantee you’re all nodding your head right now.
So what can be done?
Well, that’s what I wanted to share with you.
While I was watching the show about “Father Time” it hit me.
Instead of planning your weekly To-Dos, try planning your weekly To-Don’ts.
So what if listing out the things we won’t do could free us to do what is better?
So, instead of writing on your To-Do List, “work out every day”, try writing on your To-Don’t List, “I won’t worry if I don’t make it to the gym every day.”
Or try this
Instead of planning your day with action items (more or less To-Do lists), plan your day each morning answering this question, “How do I want to remember this day”.
What if we could mark our days by feeling rather than doing?
What would happen if you focused on accomplishing a feeling like gratitude, or joy?
What would you do during that day to accomplish those feelings?
Instead of planning on doing more this week, try planning on doing less.
I hope that you find more time and less stress this week!
Let me know if you try any of my tips!