A DIFFERENT VERSION OF THE ONE PER CENT
Who will pay for Street-Smarts?
Recently, Papa God spoke to me in a message that startled me. I was pouring out my heart (aka "sorrowful complaining") about "God, I cannot keep up with the demands of the material world! I have almost no energy!! I never have!!"
He did not miss a beat and replied, "I can take your tiny speck of energy and use it and multiply it for good! Can I do that with you? Will you allow Me to??"
Point made, dear Papa God, and gauntlet thrown down.
The formal world speaks of "the one per cent", meaning the wealthiest of the wealthy. I have had almost no contact with such people in my life. Growing up plain old middle class from the labor of my Mom, a Registered Nurse and my Dad, a railroad worker, I had no clue of the hardness of financial life until I left home. While I did have some help and some breaks along the way, I have never reached even close to middle class status. I never formally married and I did not have children (two abortions, sadly, in 1973).
I am quite intelligent, supposedly my IQ about 119, according to my 7th grade teacher (long ago...). I have however, never "achieved" more than basic survival in this hard-driving western culture in which I live. I am a strong survivor and have "street-smarts" honed to a fine edge, especially from nearly 40 years of living in big cities, including Seattle and San Francisco and nearby Bay area through 2016. Sizing up situations and humans becomes a second nature to street-smart people, as we seldom place trust in human institutions. I have paid a steep price for my sharp tongue and cantankerous temperament and that price includes poverty. Street smart is a helper and also a hard edge that resists being polished by higher education, corporate jobs and the demands to "fit in and surrender, or else!" I have not surrendered but being poor is not fun over the long haul, especially as I get older, will turn 71 in November 2023. I have often wondered "who would pay for my well-experienced front-line street-smarts?" I learned street smarts, especially from 31 years of survival living in San Francisco, both in the residential real estate and property management arena and as a Personal Assistant. That place is an amazing tempest, contained in the tip of a peninsula and not a place for abject politeness. The battle continued from all four sides of the City and us street-smarts tended to band together in an informal mob. Street smart means an acute observation of surroundings and people and as I said, sizing up the situation quickly. Even though I no longer live in the big city, I still fully retain my street-smart persona and do not intend to ever let that go.
As I continue my gnarly journey up and out of the valley of financial lack with Holy Spirit as my Great Teacher, I see how deeply the mental-emotional state is prime, along with the realm of the Spirit. The mind can be a huge repository of potholes, rocky outcrops, ditches, dead ends, unknown caves that hold you back and drag your soul down. Getting up and out is not just an "affirmation", it is a partnership with God through the rough and tumble of human life. From young to old, we all go through it.
I can certainly be my own worst enemy, with my frequent dialogue in my head about "I cannot" and "I am so tired." No amount of useless human (including self-condemnation) scolding will defray me from this! Only the tender, gentle and RELENTLESS nudging of Papa God and His posse does the job, day by day, step by step. One of the verses I live in is Romans 8:1, "there is therefore now, no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit." Gosh, how I need this!
When God the Father recently threw down His gauntlet to me and said "I can work with even a speck of energy, WILL YOU ALLOW ME TO???" , that was a point very well taken and a pure moment of fellowship between my struggling self and the One Who made me. Just hearing His formidable but loving reply, even with a gauntlet being thrown down, was so heartfelt, it did not feel intimidating. Much of this comes from the foundation I have laid from the 2000+ days I have been daily, steadily just sitting down with Papa God, Lord Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit and sharing back and forth with pen and paper. This has established for me in real life that God is trustworthy, He is merciful, He is kind, He is patient, and He hears my fears and tears. What an enormous relief...He knows things I do not! He knows how to bring holy and needed change to my life in a gradual process that does not completely overwhelm me.
All this has required of me is sharing my heart and journey daily with God, not trying to impress or hide but simply pouring out my soul, repenting quickly and not in shame and condemnation, listening as deeply as I can for His counsel, comfort, nudge of correction and receiving His love.
Being poor can be very emotional. The world can be mean and cold and demanding. Gathering yourself to God's arms is a tremendous help, remembering Psalm 23 and the comfort it releases. Since God created me, He knows my strengths and weaknesses. He knows the gifts He gave to me and to me alone, unique among all who have ever been born. That thought alone is staggering and needs my time and sincere appreciation for the kindness of God in giving gifts to me and to each of us ever born on this earth. My main gift is as a wordsmith, someone who loves the power of words and the ability to offer "encouragement to the discouraged." I am at the prime corner of needing that encouragement because of my own terrible ongoing battle with discouragement.
I write about the deep sorrow of the poor and also, from my own vantage point, the immense fellowship of just hanging out with God and His Son. We draw strength from Them day by day, help for the battle and provision for the fray. This is not the intellect alone but the real and visceral material world, blended with the Eternity I have waiting for me as I stay on the narrow path day by day, toward Heaven. Anyone can do it, if you repent, turn away from sinful behavior and partner with the One Who made you. God has told me repeatedly over the last 2000+ days, "I do not ask for perfection, I seek your heart in partnership with Me." What a relief that I can set down my useless perfectionism, as I am so far from it anyway and it is so blasted heavy! I can no longer carry this heavy bag on my slender shoulders. I set it down often, at the base of Calvary and sit in the arms of my Savior and His Papa.
Praise be to Almighty God, for His incredible mercy over me, every single day. My prayer for all who might read this, is to have the same loving relationship with our Creator, Who longs for family and relationship, not the formality of "religion." Relationship is true family, through thick and thin and with a love that accepts no scolding or condemnation but a day by day, step by step journey TOGETHER through the difficulties of this world and into Eternity.
I can do that. I invite you to do the same.
Wendy Williams September 16, 2023
A blunt Oregon Girl is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.