Mom was sitting by my bed, finishing the last paragraph of a bedtime story. After I yawned the third time, mom tucked me in the blanket and kissed my forehead. Then she turned off the soft bed light, said, “sleep well,” and walked out the room. I was, in my cozy, comfy bed, feeling the joy and contentment brimming over me. Soon, I fell asleep. I was well-loved and taken care of. There’s nothing to worry about— my memory about security from my early childhood.
I wish to say that I always felt this way growing up. But I didn’t. The sense of security in a child is as fragile as a glass flower, which could bear the heavy blows of life in no way. In the following years, the death of my three grandparents, conflicts among family members, financial struggles, the decline of my father’s health, then eventually his passing away, summed up what I went through in my teenage years. The sense of security planted in me from my early childhood seemed long dead underneath the uncertainty and hardship of life.
Regardless, I kept growing up. At the age of 19, I came to know Christ. Knowing God and His ways opened my eyes to see the void in my heart. I came to recognize my inherent need for security and belonging— the way we are made.
In my 20s, I worked with a nonprofit, which required frequent moves and travels. The apartment I lived in the longest was for ten months. I didn’t have a regular income; my nonprofit didn’t pay me. Each staff raises funds from their supporters to cover the living and working expenses.
My lifestyle then was not the desired way to reclaim my sense of security in my core since it was the opposite of so-called stability, which I thought was the synonym of security.
Only years later, I realized that way of living— full of novelty and tangibly requiring “faith” is the profound wisdom of God, helping me to discover true security, which could have been easily overlooked in a standard, stable life.
In a different life—- like many others—- I would have a job that pays me monthly. I didn’t need to worry about how I would pay for my rent, food, or travels because there would be predictable, steady cash flow in my bank account.
But in my case, often I didn’t know where or when the money’s coming. That’s when I had to turn to the promise in the scripture, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33)—a promise I believed as I was following His lead.
Looking back, I understood there could be a ton of different ways to run a nonprofit. The expression of faith can also manifest in thousands of other ways. But in my 20s, that was the primary way I experienced God and understood faith. As extreme it sounded to some people, the fundamental principle of that lifestyle is biblical—- it encourages radically living out the truth that God is our provider—- not man, a company, or any other resources.
It worked. In that seemingly impossible way of living, I experienced God and His provision over and over again. Not only financially, but in every aspect of life —- emotionally, relationally, spiritually, etc. Tremendous healing was brought to me for the hurt from my teenage years, fulfilled my desperate need for security.
All that I learned and experienced in those years boils down to this fundamental truth: I belong to God. He is my provider for all my needs. And my security is only found in Him.
I left that nonprofit five years ago. I’ve finally lived in the same apartment for more than ten months— 3 years and counting. Over a decade of doing my best to discern and follow God’s will has led me to live in Geneva, Switzerland —-ironically, one of the most expensive cities in the world—-with my family. Very soon (could be within days), we will have a new addition to our family.
In this transitioning season, my husband, who once held a well-paid job, has been learning and preparing himself for his entrepreneurial calling. Therefore, at the moment, we don’t have a regular income. And unlike my nonprofit years, we don’t have any supporter either. But thankfully, we have some savings in the bank that can last us for some months as we are figuring out our work /income situation.
I’ve been brought to the reality of living upon the same promise again: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” No employer can be there forever( the company my husband once worked for, shut down awhile ago). Nothing can secure our future. But the faithfulness of God and His promise will never fail. He’s been providing the daily bread for us. We lack nothing. And He even provided me time and energy to finish this blog post in my 39 weeks pregnancy (thanks to my parents-in-law who came from China to take care of my son and cook meals for us)!
Many people live for making a living, for earning money to secure their future. What I’ve learned from my 20s has been very different—- to live for God’s purpose in that season of life, and all the needed resources will come ( even though it’s not without many wrestlings in prayers).
Dear readers, what gives you the sense of security today? Do you know your purpose in life or this current season? Are you living for something that makes you feel secure, or you are boldly and freely living for God’s calling (your purpose) since your security is set in Him ( you know you lack nothing).
May you remember His promise today.