For the last fifteen years or so, my husband and I have been self-employed. Buying our own health insurance, working odd hours. Chaos is normal, but so is freedom. The flexibility worked for us as we raised our family.
Last summer, as both our industries were being ravaged by the recession, I had the brilliant idea to try to find a job in the corporate world, a glimmering emerald city with those wonderful things: benefits, job security, etc. Or so I thought.
As I engaged in “informational interviews” with people in this magical corporate world, I realized the grass is not always greener, even in the emerald city. People kept asking me if I liked what I was doing, writing books and freelancing. Oh, yes, I’d tell them. I love it. Then why, they wondered, would I want to give that up? The answer was, honestly, simply: salary and benefits. The rest of it did not appeal in any way.
After listening to God (and to myself—hello!) I knew I was to continue freelancing, and continue working in Christian publishing, which is the bottom rung of the food chain in freelancing. I felt God’s urging to trust; I sensed (despite my fears) that provision would come. I had a book contract, a paying gig: that was enough for the time being.
In ancient days, God fed his people with manna: bread from heaven that appeared each morning with the dew. Each day, they could only gather “enough” for that day, or it would rot overnight. Hoarding was not only prohibited, it was impossible. Centuries later, Jesus taught his followers to pray, not for lottery winnings or fat 401 K’s, or even a week’s worth of provision, but for “daily bread.”
Daily bread is so, well, daily. There’s not a lot of security in that, actually. You have to be grateful each day, and then get up the next day and say “do it again, God!” You have to learn to live with a manna mindset. It is at once frightening and exhilarating, scary and joyful.
You have to pray for that bread (or mortgage payment) each day, and trust that each day, it will be provided: that there will be enough. To pray for daily bread is to be willing to gather only enough manna for this day. In our self-indulgent world, “enough” is a powerful, but unpopular, word. And yet, it is a word of freedom.
The book I was writing is completed, which means payday will be coming soon, thankfully. But I’m in that scary place known to writers as “between projects.” Proposals for future work are still on editor’s desks, waiting to see if they will turn into contracts.
But today, God sent manna. I met with the head of an innovative marketing firm, whom I greatly respect. He who offered me a steady freelance gig. Once again, God provides.
This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for so much. But really, it’s not different from any other day. I am learning to live with a manna mindset: every day, to be grateful, for daily bread.
What sort of manna has God rained down on you today? Do you even notice the daily bread he provides? What are you grateful for?