“…and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2b (NLT)
Last year was the first time that I ever tried growing vegetables. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of being able to cultivate, from seed to food that would eventually go into my body. See my father is a farmer, but I grew up in the city, so I guess you could say farming is in my blood.
During a conversation about tomato plants with a colleague of mine at work, she said to me, “Tomatoes tend to grow an extra shoot where two stems meet called Suckers. Your job as the planter is to find and cut off these suckers and by doing so, increase your harvest”. As you can imagine, I was very eager to go into my garden to find these suckers and cut them off. That was the end of it, or so I thought. I didn’t bother to keep checking my plants as they got bigger and bigger, because so did the suckers. I’m sure you can imagine that my tomato harvest left more to be desired. I did make a few omelets from the tomatoes though, Sunny side up 😋.
And just like I struggled with constantly pruning my vegetables, I had a decade-long struggle with money, always feeling like I never had enough and would never have enough. I remember a friend once said to me, “You know you are always angry for no reason when you don’t have money?”. When she pointed it out, I thought defensively, “Well, is not having money reason enough to be angry? Didn’t everybody feel like that? Who doesn’t want to have money anyway?”. Back then, I had given my life to Christ and went to church regularly, I even taught in Sunday school. I was in university and I didn’t have a boyfriend. I had a part time job and a side hustle to boot. I was doing everything right or so I assumed. After graduation, I got a very good job and at some point, I was making over half a million naira a month. I still could not explain what happened to my money or where it went as soon as I made it. It took me five years to accept that I needed help and to begin to earnestly seek out knowledge of how money works.
“Sometimes you can’t see what you are learning until you come out of the other side”
I have since read several books, listened to numerous preachings and lectures, learnt the principles of tithing, savings, investing etc. I thought I was righteously pruned and royally prepared. I have been religious with my tithe, generous in my offering and singleminded in my savings. I would even go as far as saying that for a single mom in her mid 30s, I am financially secure. My car is fully paid and I even have an estate agent currently shopping for a house for us. I thought I had it figured out. Then I was invited to a wedding in another country and I automatically said no. When I was told that most of my family would be there, and I would even get to spend time with my newborn nephew, I gave the automatic reply that’s been my truth for so long that I had unwittingly made it my gospel, “I can’t afford it”. But it didn’t give me peace as it had so often done in the past. It wasn’t until the following week at Bible study that I learned the truth of what the Holy Spirit had been trying to tell me, “My relationship with money is a branch in my life that requires continual pruning”. The fear of losing it was stopping me from having the abundant life that was promised to me in Christ. (John 10:10)
You would have thought that when Jesus passed the first temptation, the devil would have left him alone. Or maybe even after the second but he didn’t. For the devil is nothing if not desperate. Hence why we are cautioned to think that we are standing too well for temptation (1 Corinthians 10:12 Amp). I have learned to meditate in worship, to seek God when peace is elusive and that was what I did.
I revisited the promise of God concerning meeting my wants and needs. I went back to my basic understanding of faith and what it means to step out in it. During this time, I also found out that I wasn’t going to be getting a bonus I was expecting. The temptation to submit to anger and frustration was almost too familiar but the Holy Spirit asked me, “Do you really think you can provide for yourself?” I’m reminded from Bible study that a lesson learned from this experience is to shift my focus to rely solely on God. I’m learning everyday and shifting my focus steadily, some days better than others. I know I can’t do without the Holy Spirit and I’m assured that I am more than a conqueror “and [I]gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]. I continually submit myself to be pruned in preparation for positioning.
Here’s the secret I’ve learned, this game of life is rigged in our favour as believers. Christ has won the battle, we are fighting on the winning side, victory is in the bag. Hallelujah.
And that last line had me screaming “all I do is win win win , no matter what’ life has definitely been rigged in our favor and no matter what happens, all things still work together for us, hallelujah!!!
Thank you very much Tai, this blessed me plenty.
Have a great weekend guys
Love & light