I have never been one to rely on other people. I have been on my own for most of my life. I left my house at the age of (barely) 18, went to college and have never really returned home or asked for help from my parents. While this might be commendable, this desire to be self-dependent has been a hindrance when it comes to trusting God to help you.
In my early times in ministry, I struggled when church members or people would come up and try to give me some sort of gift. I would brush it off or let them know it was needed. In some cases, they gave it anyways, other they just walked away. When I was at a church in Mt. Juliet, TN, my pastor and I were talking about this and he told me that receiving gifts was allowing that person to fulfill what God was calling them to do and that by not accepting them, you were limiting their work. I was floored. I had never thought of it that way. The conversation changed my thinking and since then I have received gifts and thanks with much graciousness and joy.
My other struggle has been allowing God to provide for me. I was like many other Christians who said that I trusted God with everything but deep down I didn't. I would tithe when I had the extra money but if I didn't then I would "forget" my checkbook. My thinking was that somehow I was fooling God. This was the way my whole life was. I said I trusted God but ultimately I was trusting myself to provide and allowing God whenever it was OK.
Over the last 10 months, God has been pruning away my desire to be self-dependent. He caused me to see that only through Him do I have a job, food and shelter. He showed me that leaning on Him is more productive then trying to live for myself. This came strikingly clear as I searched for a job. At about the 3 month mark, I hadn't received a single call back on any of the over 100 jobs I had applied for. I began to think that maybe I was looking in the wrong place, so I talked to my now pastor and being his volunteer associate pastor. He basically hired me that weekend. I was floored, it wasn't much money but it was some. I was glad to be at Epworth. I then struggled with applying for other jobs. I knew that God was providing for us and that I was at the church I needed to be at but I felt that I needed something else to bring in more money to provide for myself. I had this internal struggle of applying for jobs versus trusting in God to put me where he wanted.
It was hard. Very hard to let go. Sadly, I continued to look for jobs because I didn't want to "give up" on what God might have for me but I knew that I wouldn't find anything because God didn't want me working anywhere else. I also began to realize that I needed to branch out my circle of friends. Since moving to Newburgh and leaving the church we moved here for, my circle was incredibly small to almost non-existent. God provided my a job, working at Walmart, to help this. I believe He has called me there to reach others for Him or at the very least be a friend to those who need it...