When I first perceived the voice of God tell me specifically to not work, I was afraid that I was losing my mind and was hearing the same voices in my head that countless homeless schizophrenics had heard before me. The difference, I assume, is that they didn’t wonder if they were going insane and their voices didn’t respond to them the way this one did to me.
“How can I know I’m really hearing God?”
“Do you know it’s not your job? Hearing My voice I mean. It’s not your job. The speaking is the active part of what’s going on and hearing is passive. Do you think I don’t know how well or how poorly you’ve heard what I’ve said? Did I make a mistake in the way I made you so that you’d be experientially deaf to My voice and somehow I wouldn’t realize or I’d be somehow powerless to fix the problem? The bigger question to ask is, am I not willing and able to speak to you in a way you can hear? The even bigger question you’re actually asking is, am I good enough to say to you what you’re hearing?”
I had been living in London, England for two years and was back in Canada for what I planned to be 2 months in order to get a new visa to head straight back to my increasingly pleasant life in the UK. Things didn’t go according to plan and I soon found myself haemorrhaging my money away, hearing Holy Spirit tell me to use my time wisely but not to get a job and by the way, this season is a gift. It didn’t feel like a gift but through a number of interactions along these lines I eventually made the decision to believe that what God was saying was reality and that my feelings were not. I decided to believe that what God was saying was the ocean and my perception was just the boat I use to navigate the reality-ocean. He was telling me not to work and not to worry. And that we were going to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry but that I had to much money to make the trip. I ran out of money in May of 2015 and started BSSM that September.
Now let’s rewind the story a little bit to my first couple of months in London. I basically just took whatever job was the easiest to get in order to be able to get an apartment. Nobody will rent to you if you’re unemployed. I was working at Starbucks and I’ll never forget the day I got my first pay. I looked at the total and breathed a sigh of relief. It was £600. I thought to myself, “Ok, I can survive on this.” I said to my colleague, “So pay day is every other Friday then?” He replied, “Huh? No this is your pay for the month.” My heart sank. My rent was £485 and my bus pass was £80. The situation was dire but after3 months, several very strange and wonderful and random ways little bits of money came in, I had come up with a solution to what was obviously a massive problem. Starbucks started me with 25 days holiday so I would take all 5 weeks at once, get a second job and that way I’d double my income for the month and be able to survive one last month in London. I got a second job at a cocktail bar in a really pretentious hipster neighbourhood. The first day when it was time to go to work, I felt a feeling in my chest kind of like nervousness which I remembered from the first time I ever encountered Holy Spirit. My life had been slowly changing up until this point and I was in relationship with Christians again but I was still carrying outrageous amounts of pain, anger and bitterness so when Holy Spirit showed up I said, “What do YOU want?” There was nothing but silence. I went into my room, locked the door and thought, “I’ll wait you out.” After about 20 minutes of waiting and trying to pray the feeling away and trying to figure out what was going on, He spoke,
“You’re not an orphan.”
I was so bitter and angry and felt so abandoned by God that I responded with, “Oh! No, you’re right! I’m not an orphan. I’m an adult. So I’m gonna go to work and make some money and then I’m gonna use that money to buy food cos I’m tired of eating ****ing Doritos for dinner.”
I went to work that night and had the worst bar shift of my life. I hated the drink list, the decor, the clientele, my colleagues, my bosses and at the end of a busy Friday night slinging high end cocktails I left with £2.50 for my trouble. I said to myself, “Well, sometimes you just have to suffer to make your life better.”
The next day when I first thought to myself I should start getting ready for work, the nervousy feeling in the chest came back but twice as strong. I knew I wouldn’t be able to shake it and definitely wouldn’t be able to work through that feeling so I went to my room and locked the door and sat on my bed and said, “What is it?”
“You’re not an orphan.”
I was just broken enough from the night before that instead of responding with bitterness I said, “Ok. How am I operating in an orphan spirit?”
“You think you have to take care of yourself.”
So I made the decision to take God at His word and let Him prove to me that He would take care of me. I sent an email to my boss at the cocktail bar saying essentially, ‘thanks but no thanks, peace out.’ As I hit, ‘send’, the feeling went away. I waited for about an hour in silence before getting tired of wating and opened Facebook. The first post on my newsfeed was a friend from church saying another church in town was hiring temporary staff to do data entry. Through a series of very odd events including prophetic dreams and quitting Starbucks with nowhere else to go, I ended up being offered a job I wasn’t qualified for that paid more than I’ve ever been paid before. Indeed, I was an orphan no more. I still don’t really like Doritos anymore though.
Now let’s fast forward through the summer in Canada before I started school, let’s skip quickly through BSSM1 where God miraculously provided everything I’d need and more – including the missions trip down to LA with the day at Disneyland… Let’s fast forward to this past summer when I was back in Canada, this time in Winnipeg, wondering if I’d used up the grace that had obviously been on my life to know God as the provider and to walk in outrageous financial breakthrough.
“Y’know Holy Spirit, You provided everything I needed to make it through the summer before BSSM1. You provided everything I needed in BSSM1 including $4500 tuition, rent every month, food every day, I saw every movie I wanted to see, played every video game I wanted to play and somehow I even went to Disneyland. You’ve provided everything I’ve needed to make it through the summer between BSSM1 and BSSM2 and most of me really does believe that You’re going to provide everything I need for BSSM2. I just wish I could have gone through all of this without any fear, anxiety or worry.”
I could feel Him smiling at me, shining the pleasure of the Lord on me, “Yeh well, you can’t do ALL the growing at once can ya?”
What I judged to be failure, He called growing pains. I realized that all the time I had spent worrying if there would be enough for me to eat, or worrying if rent would get paid, or if I’d get kicked out, or if I’d be left out of the missions trip, or that my friends would all go out to see a movie I really wanted to see and maybe I’d get left behind or whatever.
All of the emotional energy I spent worrying last year was a waste of energy.
My worry never moved the hand of God. Worrying didn’t make Him the provider. When mankind first asked the infinite one to define Himself, He told us to call Him YHWH Who Provides.
He provided me with the resources to stay alive, yes, but more than that, He provided all of the courage I’d need to make the hard decisions and to make it through the path He had me on. People from school regularly ask me how I have access to such ridiculous provisional breakthrough. There really isn’t a formula but if there’s one key, it’s listening and obeying. My default has always been to not tell anybody my needs. So for me, exposing my need costs me something. Sometimes He tells me to expose my need online. Sometimes He tells me to just tell close friends. Sometimes He tells me to not say anything to anyone but to just watch. Sometimes He tells me to take my last $20 and hide it in someone’s bag before school. Sometimes He’s told me to put money towards stranger’s BSSM tuition when I still needed over $3000 to be able to even attend. He’s always comes through. I’ve always had what I’ve needed and I don’t ask money for permission to do what God has invited me to.
So, I came back to Redding, California with maybe $300. I’m now a month into BSSM2, somehow sporting another $4500 plastic name badge, running ferociously at fear and pain and I’d be lying if I said I never ever worry about money. But I worry less than last year, and that is worth celebrating.