Saturday, November 13, 2010

Giving God a Blank Check...and Other Good Ideas

Several weeks ago, I dropped the ball big-time.

I was out to dinner with the hub and two people I hadn't seen in awhile, and the conversation touched on how we'd ended up in Indiana, anyway. (That question always gets asked when you're from anywhere other than Indiana, especially from Chicago.) I responded that, while it was a question with a much longer answer, essentially, it was a matter of a) my hub was losing his job, b) a desperate financial situation that necessitated our finding a different place/manner to live, and c) my desire to get out of the suburban nonsense and traffic and noise.  So, as I wandered up the stairs in our suburban house, I said to God, "Well, if you want us to live in a small town, you're gonna have to provide a job in it."

...and then I logged on to Catholic, and the rest was history.

My friends were quick to laugh and tell me that was my first mistake: telling God that if He wanted something, He'd have to provide a way for me to do it, and leaving the rest to Him. Or, as one of them said, "You see, you can't give God a blank check, because out!"
I laughed along, but I shouldn't have.
I should have stood up for my God, and what He means, and what giving Him a blank check is all about. Because the woman who gave that advice—as intelligent, savvy, and creative as she is—was wrong.
Of course you're supposed to give God a blank check.
What else is being a child of His all about?

When we're children, our parents have those blank checks. They can write anything into our lives that they see fit. And we, as children, don't have much to say about it.
Now, in the hands of good, caring parents, this blank check is no problem. 
We all know about the other kind, and we needn't dwell on them here...because that's not what we're talking about when we're talking about God.
Because God isn't that "other kind" of parent.

But joking about "Don't ever give Him a blank check"...makes Him sound like one.
That makes God sound capricious at best, and sadistic at worst. Like He's sitting up there just waiting for one of us to "put our foot in it" and give Him too much leeway, so he can pull a "gotcha."
And that's wrong.
And I should have stuck up for Him.
Not because He needs me to stick up for Him. He's GOD, after all. Like he needs me to do that? Not.

But for my own sake, for the sake of what I'm truly trying to do—which is live my life under the parameters of "Be it done unto me according to Thy word"—I should have spoken up.
I should have said, "What do you mean, you can't give God a blank check? What else would I do for the Father who created me, who loves me, who sent his Son, for heaven's sake, just for me?"

A favorite Scripture verse for many of us is, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
But what does that mean, exactly?
The fact is...when we say that, we commit ourselves to just that precise "blank check" that this woman, and so many people in our culture, abhor so much when it comes to God.
Because we're saying we're going to serve.
As in, "You say jump, I ask how high." 
As in turning our own selves over to Him, to use as He sees fit.
As in this isn't about me. It's about what You're going to do with me.
I should have said so then...but at least I can say so here.

I should have told my friends that my job on earth isn't to give God some kind of "marching orders." I'll take this, but not that.
My job isn't to dictate to Him, to give Him conditions, or to hem Him in. Yeah, I want to have my writing published, but only by certain publishers, only under certain financial conditions, only with certain readership…
Because in the end, who do I think I am to even consider praying like that?

This is not to say that I haven't prayed like that, and continue to do so. (!) Old habits die hard, and I'm as much a seeker of creature comforts and convenience as anybody, if not more so. But as a Christian, I ought to know better. Heck, I do know better, even if it's hard to remember sometimes.

I'm trying to trust more. And the first step to that trust is being willing to see that I'm not here on this earth to fill out forms and write manuals full of rules by which I believe God has to abide or He's not being "fair."

The Scripture doesn't say, "As for me and my house, God is at our convenience."
It has to be the other way around, or it ain't real Christianity. It ain't real anything.

So, to me, real starts with giving Him as many blank checks as He wants.
And then hanging on tight.
Not because you can't trust Him to write something good for you...
...but because what He writes will probably be so far beyond what you can presently even imagine that it'll blow your socks clean off, knock you from your chair, and send you darn near airborne.

The flight may not be what you've got planned. In fact, it probably won't be.
But it can still be a glorious journey, if you're willing to ride it out on, and underneath, His wings.

That's what I should have said.

I apologize, Lord.
I'll do better next time.



  1. Great reminder Janny! sign me up for the blank check! My heart wants no less.

  2. Sometimes we laugh about things so we don't cry about them--because we know deep inside that we fall short (as in not trusting God to do the right thing if we write a blank check). So I would actually take your friends' laughter as a positive sign--a sign that they recognize that God is God and can do anything but that they also recognize they aren't trusting Him enough and are envious of you for doing something they feel too weak to do. And that's a good thing, because no one changes until they recognize the need.

    You probably advanced the cause a lot just by mentioning it in the first place.

  3. I love the blank check point of view. I'm going to keep that in mind as I go about my Christian walk. Whatever God chooses to give me, I'll take it!

  4. Preach it, sister. (So you're wearing a crash helmet, too?)

  5. Uh-yup. Although every time I hear the term "crash helmet" I think of an old Jose Jimenez routine...and if you know who that is, you'll be truly dating yourself. :-)