“But seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
When I came to the point in my life where I stopped believing that God would give me anything I asked according to my will, I stopped praying for a long time. I felt something in my soul, a grievance unknown to me. I felt like I was hurting God and treating Him with indifference; I called on Him to fulfill my wants like a spoiled child or thought I wasn’t praying eloquently enough. Finally, I reached a point in my prayer life where I didn’t know how to pray, so I stopped praying. It broke into the depths of my soul. I didn’t realize that I was grieving His Spirit, so instead of praying to know Him and His Righteousness, I asked Him for things to fulfill my wants rather than my needs. I wanted Him to make my abuser change instead of asking Him to cultivate the gifts He gave me as a child, as He gives all His children, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. I also missed the person God created me to be; a change agent. I lost sight of her after I was married thirty-nine years ago because I wanted to be like everyone else; I wanted to be what I was not. I was a child of God who craved the things of the world.
The Holy Spirit would tell me to talk to Him as child talks to her father; however, I argued I didn’t have a father figure to speak to growing up. I didn’t know my biological father, nor did any man talk to me as a child in a manner I felt safe. “How in the world could I speak to God then!?”
Finally, when my heart screamed these words, God intervened and taught me how to seek His Kingdom and Righteousness. That is when Day’s Journey, “Today,” was birthed; short prayers for the day helped me because cognitive dissonance was so ingrained by false beliefs and the opinions of others that I felt like I was trying to swim against the waves.
James 1:5-8 says,
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
Like the double-minded man, James refers to, the winds of doctrine tossed me back and forth. My mind and heart were constantly battling with one another; the flesh and spirit were always at war. Abuse, gaslighting, criticism, the opinions of others, and the like made me doubt my reality and God. Yet, I love how the Holy Spirit reminded me through Galatians 5 that I was saved by grace, not by my works, which I solely relied on to please God, not by the faith I received through His Son. If you ever get entangled in a web of legalism, read Galatians 5 repeatedly. My freedom from legalism was by the Power of the Holy Spirit as He guided me daily through His word.
Finally, I knew I could not attain these on my own. I tried and failed miserably the moment I read the word, walked away, and forgot when the test came. For instance, if I read, “Be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to get angry.” I read it, agreed with it, and walked away. No sooner than the test came, I quickly interrupted and did not listen to the person because the words spoken to me were destructive. However, I believed God didn’t want me to stand against those who verbally assaulted me; I kept silent or disassociated myself from the situation. The assaults were like fiery darts, some subtle, some intentionally cruel; however, the subtle comments are the most painful. Part of me wondered if God was deaf to the verbal assaults and blind to my affliction. As my childhood experiences, I felt abandoned over and over again. However, the Lord taught me how to grey rock and not engage. Proverbs talks extensively about arguing with a fool. Over time, these assaults seemed to lose power over me. Little did I know, the Teacher was schooling me until I returned to school and learned Behavioral Health.
More so, what I thought about God was core to my healing. For instance, growing up in a hierarchical environment, which most children grow up in, I needed to know God personally. Sarah Young’s book Jesus Calling introduced me to a different God my ancestors raised me to believe. Also, the text of Hosea introduced me to the concept of genuinely seeking God and awakened me from my slumber of ignorance; it was no longer beneficial. It was killing me. I felt a flame reignited in me, a love of justice rising within as in my youth. The Lord often told my heart that He would not snuff out a smoldering wick. My faith was a smoldering wick; I lost my fire for the Lord’s justice, righteousness, and truth (Is. 42:3). But God is faithful, He did not snuff out my hope in Him.
At times I was listening to my brain/flesh and was quick to get angry. I felt like I blew it every time, consumed by guilt for the rest of the day! Later, I realized God is a God of second chances. He is patient, kind, merciful, and compassionate. I also realized I couldn’t give what I did not have, so I began asking for the Fruit of the Spirit manifested in my heart. As James said,
James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
The testing of faith produces patience. God’s promises are faithful, yet, during testing, my faith shrinks to the size of a mustard seed, with little to offer Him, just a humbled heart. And that is when I realized the Holy Spirit was praying for me and giving me the gift of patience. At first, I didn’t understand because I wanted God to meet my physical needs and fix my circumstances quickly. However, He was transforming me from the inside out.
Jesus acknowledged our needs in Matthew 6. He talks about what we need for survival, such as food, clothing, shelter, etc. Although He was not dismissive of these, I didn’t understand how seeking the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness would provide for my physical needs, yet He is faithful and has been providing for me in ways I can’t explain because His ways are not our ways. So I don’t feel the need to describe God’s wisdom which is beyond our understanding.
God is merciful, compassionate, and faithful, Jesus showed us what to pray for what we needed most, and that is the Power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to be the Righteousness of God through His Son, Jesus Christ, and He says, these things will be added to us.