Life can change in a heartbeat.
I was actually starting to get a little ahead on my finances, when BOOM goes the dynamite--I found out I'm NOT getting that tax refund I was expecting. Not even close. Rather, I found out on Friday that I'm having to pay a significant amount to both the Federal and NC governments. It's not as much as it could be, I suppose, but it's a pretty hefty amount. As it turns out, having three jobs pushed me into a little bit of a higher tax bracket. The problem is, since I have three jobs, each separate job was only taking into account the money I was making for that particular job. Long story short, only one of my jobs withheld any money. I have to pay A LOT back to the IRS. I don't have A LOT of money to pay back to the IRS.
My first reaction was utter disbelief and denial. I was expecting refund. How could this happen? I got a refund LAST year and one of my jobs didn't withhold anything. There must be something wrong. So I immediately went and tried to do my taxes on another program. Same result. So I slowly shifted to the state of denial to the state of "Oh crap. I'm going to have to sell a kidney to pay my taxes."
This DOES have something to do with my writing. This has something to do with a lot of different areas of my life. In fact, it has a lot to do with something I wrote about in my last entry. As a Christian, I believe that nothing is impossible with God. The problem is, I don't always believe it as much as I should--I don't believe it completely. I don't always get that knowledge to move from the back of my mind to something firm that I can believe and live out in my faith. I want control. Often, I think I have control. The truth is, I don't have control and never did.
Because life can change in a heartbeat. I can go from foolishly thinking I have it all together to knowing that I don't have anything. Everything I do have is a gift.
The last thing I said in my previous entry was: "And here's...where I remind myself of something that is impossible for me to grasp: Nothing is impossible with God. If I can ever wrap my brain around that, I guess anything will be possible." In other words, it's impossible for me to believe that nothing is impossible. But God is teaching me, and I'm learning. I'm learning that nothing is impossible with God--and since I'm learning that, He's already shown me that He can do the impossible, by teaching me to believe that nothing is impossible through Him.
Hmm. I'm not sure it's possible to understand what I just wrote, but I hope it makes sense.
I first started thinking about that yesterday afternoon. And God did something else that I thought was impossible. He changed my attitude completely. I was still in the stage of "Oh crap! I'm going to have to sell a kidney to pay my taxes," but God moved me to a completely other stage. It was one I couldn't have expected or even believed, but He did it.
I'm now in the stage of thankfulness. I'm in the stage of absolute, amazing, knock-me-to-the-floor gratitude. Why? Because this is something the Lord wants me to go through. This is something He has given me, just like all the other gifts. I guess it's weird to think of financial trouble as a gift, but I'm weird, okay. And God is weird (sorry if that offends you, but if you really think about it, He is pretty strange).
The Lord has given me this situation for reasons I don't yet know, but I'm already seeing some of those reasons. Apparently, I've been under the illusion that I am in control. God pulled that rug out from under me. I'm not in control. I never was in control. One thing I've learned, the Lord is faithful to humble those who ask for it--and I asked for it. I'm overwhelmingly grateful that the Lord loves me enough to give me something that will make me more like Him--to make me more aware that I belong to Him. He's jealous. He won't let me go. He won't let me delude myself in thinking that I'm the main character of my life story--it's not even my story. It's His. He's writing it, and He's writing it for His glory.And this chapter right here is one for which I'm extremely grateful.
I've still got a lot to learn, obviously. It's hard to remember my ultimate goal. It's hard to remember that life is about glorifying Him instead of myself. It's hard to let go of all the control I think I have (though I never really had it).
What does letting go of control even look like? I don't know, but I think it might possibly look like getting over this fear of sending queries. It might possibly look like me taking a few chances by just WRITING instead of trying to have all my proverbial ducks in a row before I start.
One thing it definitely looks like is trust. Letting go of anxiety. Believing that life is more than what I will eat or drink or wear. I honestly have no idea how I'm going to pay my taxes. One thing I do know, it's going to be okay. It's going to be fine. If I end up living on the streets in a cardboard box, I'm going to be just fine. (But I really don't think it's going to come to that. In fact, I don't think I'm even going to have to miss any meals.)
I learned about this tax thing on Friday. Yesterday, Saturday, just one day later, God completely overwhelmed me by giving me this grateful attitude (sorry, I just CAN'T bring myself to say "attitude of gratitude"). It's nothing I could muster up myself. The Lord has done this impossible thing through me. I know He's going to do more. I believe He's doing something in me right now that's preparing me for things further down the road. Those things might have something to do with having published books, or they might not.
But I'm going to be okay.
By the way, I just have to brag on my God some more. Last night, I babysat--long story short I ended up babysitting for kids in three separate families. All of them paid me and they paid me well. The extra babysitting money I got was a drop in the bucket of what I owe, but I have to admit, it was a pretty big and a pretty encouraging drop. I have little doubt that God's going to provide the rest one way or another.
I'm learning. In time I pray He will obliterate even that "little doubt." After all, nothing is impossible with God.