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Self-Reliance OR God-Reliance?

Self-Reliance OR God-Reliance?

Rev. Crystal November 4, 2013 0 comments
Self-Reliance OR God-Reliance?

I have this absolutely ridiculous fascination with creation, and with creating things. I love to go into the kitchen, pull out the craziest ingredients, and cook something new and exciting. There are a few problems that I run into. The first problem is that I don’t always have time to cook or bake. The second problem is that I don’t really have anyone to cook or bake for except myself. And, then the third problem is that sometimes the things I make don’t always turn out the way that I expect them to turn out. But I usually write off these excuses, and just create anyways.
Today I was having one of those days where you feel overwhelmed by the pressures in life. I was afraid and uncertain that I could attain to all the responsibilities that I have undertook. I was afraid of becoming a failure, and looking like an idiot in front of the world. Instead of creating an atmosphere where I felt safe, I created in my mind a place that was far from safety and far from the approving Spirit and presence of God. I created anxiety, stress, and worrying. All along I should have been creating a new alternative for the same old anxieties that seem to cycle around from week to week. I should have been brave, fearless, and courageous. But instead, I wanted to cuddle up in a corner in the middle of Alaska or the Bermuda Triangle and never be seen again. I wanted to run away from the dream, and run away from the call.

So I got back to my apartment, and decided that I needed to use the old bananas I had sitting in the fridge to make some bread. I had been saving them for a week or two to make the bread, but just never got around to actually making the bread. I started shuffling through different ingredients in the cupboard, only to find that I was missing some ingredients that I needed. I put a little flour into the bowl, poured a little vanilla, cracked a few eggs, and then I started putting in other ingredients I thought would be helpful to the creation. I mixed them all up and put them into the baking pan. Then suddenly, as only God can do, He spoke to me in the way that only He can speak to me.

You see, my day had been started upon self-reliance. I woke up, independently went along my way, and spent only a few brief moments with the Lord. I had placed my trust in self, instead of placing my trust in Him. I was afraid and fearful, because I was trusting in me. Me, who is temporal, unstable, and totally incapable of producing eternal things on my own.

Sometimes we have to stop and think about in whom we trust. We have to stop, and realize that He is able to take every ingredient of our life and make something wonderful. He is able to produce a sweet tasting delight for those who are hungry for the good news. It was when I stopped focusing on myself, and started focusing on Him that I felt a heaviness lift from my Spirit. 

So I’m kind of like the crazy honey banana bread that I made today. There are so many elements in my life (ingredients) that come together to form me as a whole person. I sometimes get scared, because I focus on one ingredient that I think I need. Then I realize that God is capable of producing the bread without the ingredient that I think I may need. Sometimes He uses a totally different ingredient, situation, event, or person to create me. I am a constant ever changing creation. The coolest thing is that the honey banana bread that I made is really good, but who would have thought that it would have turned out to be a delight. Sometimes we focus too much on areas of our lives that we have no control over, and forget about creating the parts that we have control over. Sometimes it is easier not to make the bread, because if we made the bread then we would have to share it and give it away. It’s easier to be boring and not creative in our relationship with God, but God doesn’t want boring. God wants us to be creative, to step out there, to do something new, and to be an agent that brings fresh perspective and renewal to the movement. God wants us to use the ingredients we have, he wants us to trust in Him, and he wants us to be willing and ready to step out and create.
It’s normal to be fearful, and it’s okay to be afraid within our own human limitations and margins. But NEVER admit or give into defeat because of a sole reliance on self. Always place your total strength, security, and hope in God. If your dream wasn’t scary or your calling wasn’t absolutely terrifying…how would you know if it was really from God for you?
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About The Author Rev. Crystal Rev. Crystal Schmalz is a licensed minister in the United Pentecostal Church International, holds a Master of Divinity degree from Urshan Graduate School of Theology, and a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Humanities and History from Michigan State University. Crystal has served as a staff chaplain at Barnes Jewish Hospital, has completed five units of Clinical Pastoral Education, and is a member of ACPE. She served as a ministry staff leader for ACMNP in Yellowstone National Park and enjoys the beauty of God’s creation. She served on staff at Life Christian Church pastored by David Stephens doing outreach, guest coordination, youth leadership, Sunday school, and music ministry. She currently attends New Life Center pastored by Garry Tracy, and is involved in teaching Sunday school, preaching at nursing homes, teaching Bible Studies, and helping people connect to God and community. Crystal loves to spend time with her husband Luke, and her hobbies include writing, “thrifting,” eating ice cream, and playing Settlers of Catan and Scrabble with friends and family.

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