I want to start this post with a disclosure – I’m not sharing this story to “brag” in any way shape or form, but I felt it was important to share about God’s extravagant love and why it’s important to receive gifts from Him when He gives them to us.
I am a total car person, I love cars, always have, in fact my first car was a 70’s Camaro. About 3+ years ago I was doing really well with my Ask Anna blog and I asked Matt if I could buy myself a car. I spent months researching and narrowing it down to what I wanted and eventually ended up buying myself exactly what I wanted. I had never done that before but while I had that car I worked hard to pay for it and I LOVED it.
Just over a year and a half of driving it, the Lord convicted me one night. We were wanting to do some remodeling on our home, it was going to be the last big project of a 3 year remodel, but when we looked at the numbers, we didn’t have what it was going to take to do the remodel.
But the Lord started talking to me about my car and showing me that my heart and my money were in the wrong place. I loved my car, which in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, but it was all about me – I picked out the car, I paid for the car, me, me me… I wasn’t trusting the Lord for any of it. That night I felt Him ask me to give up my car, and to get a cheaper car, so we’d have enough money to do the remodel on our house.
Because I have a desire to always be obedient to the Lord, I agreed and shortly after that night we traded in my car for something much more ordinary. The trade wasn’t easy, in fact I asked the salesman if I could drive it one last time and I drove around the block crying. Crying not only because I was giving away a car I loved, but crying because I knew God was asking something so much greater of my heart, He was asking me to trust Him and not do it all on my own.
My child, don’t underestimate the value of the discipline and training of the Lord God, or get depressed when He has to correct you. For the Lord’s training of your life is the evidence of His faithful love. And when He draws you to Himself, it proves you are His delightful child.” Hebrews 12:5b-6
So for the last year and a half I’ve been driving this other car and taking very good care of it because even though I didn’t love it, I felt like the Lord was asking me to take care of what He’d given me. And even though I love cars, and thought some day I might have another one I loved, I put it out of my mind and chose to be thankful for what I had in the moment. I didn’t know the bigger picture, what God had in store, but I knew the attitude of my heart was what mattered the most to the Lord.
A few weeks ago Matt and I were talking about cars and he mentioned wanting to trade in his truck for a newer version. I was super bummed because I knew that meant I’d have to keep driving my car for a few more years. At first I fought back a little but then I checked my heart and the Lord convicted me again, it’s not always about me. After that I told Matt I thought he should upgrade his truck because he works hard to provide for our family and he blesses me with things all the time. And that was the end of it.
The next day he came home from work and said, “I think we should drive to Sacramento tomorrow to get you a new car.” What?! Hadn’t we just decided we were going to upgrade his truck? I was in total shock but agreed to do some research that night on a car we’d had our eyes on, and then we could drive to Sacramento the next day to test drive it (with no intention of actually buying it, in my mind).
Fast forward through the day, we test drove it, I loved it, we made the salesman an offer (he laughed), we told him to crunch some numbers, we were going to lunch. At lunch we got the call that they were able to come down much closer to our number so now it was decision time, and suddenly I freaked.
There were a million things going through my mind – “I don’t deserve this. I’m not worthy. I don’t want to make this about me, am I making it about me? What will my friends think, I’ve been driving the other car for less than 2 years and some of them have been driving theirs for years! I definitely don’t deserve this.”
After a few minutes of silence, Matt finally asked me what was going on in my mind. I spilled it all out and started to tear up because I was melting down. I felt so unworthy and so undeserving, yet here he was asking me if I wanted to receive this huge gift from him.
I’ll never forget one of the things he said that day because I know this is exactly the way the Lord feels about us. He said,
“I don’t just want to love you, I want to love you extravagantly.”
But the choice was mine. I could choose to receive his love and extravagance, or I could reject it because I was believing a lie that I’m unworthy and worried what others might think.
Through Matt’s love I felt the Lord telling me that’s exactly the way He felt. A few years earlier He had asked me to give something up, He had tested my heart to see if what was “mine” was more important, or if obedience was more important. And now He was using Matt to bless me “extravagantly” for my heart.
And it’s true, on my own I am unworthy, but because of His love and Christ’s sacrifice, He has made me worthy.
But how many of us spend our lives turning away from the extravagance of the Lord because we believe the enemy’s lie that “we are unworthy”?
Or on the other hand we view ourselves, and our accomplishments, as more than worthy so we come at it from the perspective that, “I deserve this because I’ve worked hard for it.”
In hindsight I’d have to confess my attitude was more of the latter, the first time I bought myself a car, but I’m thankful for the Lord’s patience with me and that He called me to give up that car so He could teach me what it’s like to allow Him to love me extravagantly.
I want to challenge you to examine your heart.
Do you feel unworthy, and if so, I want you to rebuke that lie because your Father wants to love you extravagantly but He can’t do that if you are believing a lie.
Or do you feel like you “deserve” something you’re not getting, and if you do, ask the Lord to help you examine your heart to see where that pride is coming from.
In the end, extravagance looks different for all of us, but I know the Lord loves you and wants to bless you with all the blessings of a Heavenly Father.
When you open your generous hand, it’s full of blessing, satisfying the longings of every living thing. You are fair and righteous in everything you do and your love is wrapped into all your works. You draw near to those who call out to you, listening ever closely, especially when their hearts are true. Every one of your godly lovers receives even more than what they ask for you. For you hear what their hearts really long for.” Psalm 145:16-19 (tPt)